I’ll be bringing you the Saturday plays for today’s MLB action on FanDuel. We have a monster slate today that is split between a six-game early slate, and nine-game late slate. I’ll give you some options for both slates with the early slate being denoted by an (E) and late slate with an (L).
David Price, Detroit Tigers, $11,000 (E) - If you’ve got the money to spend, Price is the top salary pitcher on the board for a reason. He is one of the few pitchers that you can regularly project for 8 innings, especially this early in the season. He does have a tough individual pitching matchup with Corey Kluber, who was last year’s AL Cy Young Winner, but the majority of Cleveland’s best bats are lefties, so Price will have the platoon split in his favor today. He also has a great offense behind him, which should put enough runs on the board to put him in position for a win. Despite Kluber’s great season last year, he struggled against the Tigers, going 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA. If you’re looking to spend down some and load up on some bats, my favorite cheaper pitcher is Michael Wacha at $8,300. He can struggle with command and pitch counts at times, and this isn’t a pitcher’s park, but for $8,300 he offers big strikeout upside.
Jeff Samardzija, Chicago White Sox, $9,700 (E) - Picking up the win for your starting pitcher is a big deal on a site like FanDuel where it’s worth 4 points. You have a lot of aces going in the early slate, with some of them going against each other (Price/Kluber, Cueto/Wacha) so a win isn’t easy to predict. However, Samardzija is facing off with Mike Pelfrey, who is not good, and he is listed as a big -170 favorite today. He’s facing a mediocre offense in the Twins and he’s shown a very solid strikeout right of 8.49 per nine innings over his career. The primary downside with him is that you can only stack up three White Sox hitters with him as FanDuel has a four player per team limit.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, $11,900 (L) - As is the case with Kershaw every time he pitches, you’ll have to pay up for him, but he will likely be worth it. If you go to the Daily Pitcher Hub on RotoGrinders, which I highly recommend, you’ll see that unsurprisingly, Clayton Kershaw checks in at the top of the list for projected strikeouts today, and the Diamondbacks also check in at the very bottom of the list in projected runs. Allowing few runs while striking out batters is what we are looking for our pitchers. He’s the top pitcher in baseball, and even though he was off in the season opener, he still came through with 12 points, making him a terrific 50/50 and H2H option.
James Shields, San Diego Padres, $9,200 (L) - There aren’t a lot of runs expected to be scored in Petco tonight, as it’s a pitcher’s park and you have two great pitchers on the mound. The SD lineup is stuffed with righties, so I’ll side with Shields over Bumgarner due to platoon splits, but it’s close. The Giants lineup is pretty shaky now, as they are only projected for 3 runs, and Brandon Morrow mowed through them last night. The primary concern here is picking up the win, as you will probably see a pitcher’s duel similar to last night, which resulted in Morrow not picking up the win, despite pitching a great game.
Early - Michael Wacha
Brian McCann, New York Yankees, $3,100 (E) - You’ll need to double check that he is in the lineup, as the Yankees and Red Sox went 19 innings last night, so there is a solid chance he sits. However, he was subbed out early, so there is a chance he plays, and if he does then he’s a solid play in the early slate. Outside of the White Sox, runs look tough to come by on the early slate, as there are a ton of aces on the mound, so the Yankees are the next best team to target as they face Joe Kelly, who is no ace.
Miguel Montero, Chicago Cubs, $3,100 (L) - If you’re playing the night slate on FD, you’ll want a piece of the game at Coors Field, as it carries the highest total of the night at 10 runs. Montero is one of the cheaper targets in this game, and should be hitting around fifth for the Cubs. Kyle Kendrick has always struggled against lefty bats like Montero, and Montero has owned him in their meetings to date, going 6 for 13 with a home run.
Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals $3,100 (E) - Pelfrey stands out as the guy to target in the early slate, as he wouldn’t be starting if Ervin Santana hadn’t tested positive for steroids. Pelfrey has given it up to both righties and lefties as he has a career wOBA of .344 against lefties and .333 against righties. Jose Abreu is obviously in play, but with the ace pitchers on the mound, I’ll take the savings with LaRoche. He’s had a rough start to the year, but he hit righties hard last year with a .280 batting average, and has done so throughout his career. For those of you who like BVP, LaRoche has owned Pelfrey in a limited sample size, going 9 for 13 with two doubles and 6 RBI’s.
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs, $4,700 (L) - Whenever Kyle Kendrick takes the mound at Coors Field, you’re going to want to target the lefties of the opposing team. He allowed a .280 batting average and .360 wOBA last year to lefties, which is right in line with his career numbers of .279 batting average and .355 wOBA allowed to lefties. Rizzo is one of the most powerful lefties in all of baseball, and with this game being in Coors, he is one of the top hitters to target on the day. In their few meetings, Rizzo has already gone deep off of Kendrick as he is 2 for 5 with a home run against him.
Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox, $3,400 (E) - I’m not too sure what to make of the Yankees’ young fifth starter Adam Warren. Some analysts seem to like him, while others seem less than enamored and note that he has a straight fastball. The Yankees’ bullpen should also be depleted and this game is the next best game to target next to the White Sox, as it carries a total of 8.5. Second base is tough in this slate, as the top three guys all face aces, so Pedroia makes for a solid mid-range target in an offense that should put some runs on the board.
Tommy La Stella, Chicago Cubs, $3,000 (L) - FanDuel finally raised some of their prices on the hitters, especially the Rockies, but some of the Cubs are still fairly cheap. You’re going to want a piece of this game, and if you’re not paying up for Jose Altuve, second base looks pretty "blah" today. La Stella is another lefty, and we know that is who we want to attack Kendrick with, so he makes for a solid option at a weak position that won’t break the bank.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $3,400 (E) - I prefer to target him against lefties, but he is red hot right now (7 for his last 12), this position is really thin in the early slate, and Adam Warren has neutral splits so righties should be fine against him. If I’m not grabbing a White Sox bat in the early slate, then I’m looking to Boston or New York. Alexei Ramirez is also a fine option here as part of a White Sox stack, although he is better used against lefties as well.
Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers, $3,200 (L) - Troy Tulowitzki is by far the #1 option if you can afford him, and Starlin Castro is #2. I don’t want to write up every player in Coors, and with aces on the mound like Kershaw and Shields, you might have a hard time fitting their salary into your lineups. I’m looking at Andrus today because I see an opportunity for some stolen bases. He could move up in the order as Shin-Soo Choo left yesterday with back spasms, as well. Texas is projected to score 4.60 runs today, which is fourth most on the day. Robert Hernandez allowed the sixth most stolen bases last year, and now he is in Houston with Jason Castro, who is not a great defensive catcher. Andrus has swiped 42 and 27 bags the past two years, so if he can get on base, look for him to turn that one point from a single or walk into three points very quickly with a stolen base.
Early - Alexei Ramirez
Chase Headley, New York Yankees, $2,800 (E) - The Yankees are projected to score the second-most runs in the early slate, next to the White Sox. Last night’s game went a ridiculous 19 innings, so both of these teams were forced to use up their bullpens last night. This means that if Joe Kelly struggles, the Yanks should be in a great spot as there aren’t going to be a ton of available bullpen arms. Headley is a switch hitter who hits better against righties and has a nice cheap tag, allowing you to fit in an ace pitcher in the early slate.
Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers, $3,900 (L) - With everyone focused on the Cubs and Rockies tonight, the Rangers could be pretty sneaky. They are much cheaper than the Rockies, and are also in a favorable matchup with Roberto Hernandez. Vegas has them pegged for 4.60 runs, which isn’t far off from the 5.08 projected for the Rockies. Beltre was a great target at home last year as he crushed righties and lefties with a .355 batting average.
Melky Cabrera, Chicago White Sox, $2,800 (E) - Continuing with the cheap White Sox theme... like LaRoche, Melky has had a slow start to season, but that has resulted in a very cheap price for a very talented hitter. He’s hit better as a left-handed hitter with .310 batting average last year and .290 for his career, and should be hitting near the top of the order.
Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox, $2,800 (E) - You guessed it, another cheap White Sox lefty hitting at the top of the order. Eaton should be leading off, and he hit righties to the tune of a .301 batting average last year. Like the rest of his teammates, he has started off very slowly, but in general Mike Pelfrey looks the perfect slump-buster for the Sox, so take advantage of these cheap prices.
Matt Joyce, Los Angeles Angels, $2,600 (L) - I always love to target Jeremy Guthrie with lefty bats. He’s struggled his entire career to get them out and last year was no different as he allowed a .296 batting average and .364 wOBA. Matt Joyce stinks against fellow lefties, but he can really hit righties and should be hitting right in the middle of this Angels’ order. Based on Joyce’s strengths and Guthrie’s weaknesses, Joyce should have a productive day at a cheap tag, and that is exactly what has happened in their previous matchups as Joyce is 14/34 with two home runs against Guthrie in his career.
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies, $4,700 (L) - CarGo has come out of the gates hot to start the season. We know he’s a terrific player, but the issue with him is that he is always hurt. The nice thing with daily fantasy is that we only have to worry about today, and he is healthy right now. The Cubs are pitching a righty in Jason Hammel, this game is in Coors, and the Rockies are projected to score the most runs of any team today with 5, which means that the entire Colorado lefty outfield is in play.