As is customary on Saturdays, we have a split slate of games. There are six games on the early slate and nine on the main evening slate, and with big prize pools for both, I’ll be focusing on the entire day. I’ll give an early and a late-slate option at each position with some additional plays that encompass both. Remember, pitching is of the utmost importance on FanDuel. Wins are heavily weighted, and it’s imperative that you pick your pitcher wisely. Don’t take unnecessary risks in cash games. Rostering power hitters is fun, but unnecessary if you have to gamble at pitcher. With weekends being a common time for managers to give a guy a day off, be sure you check the RotoGrinders MLB Starting Lineups Page to ensure you selections are playing.
Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees, $9500 – I was surprised to see that the Rays are ranked 22nd in terms of team wOBA against right-handed pitching. I expected them to be lower given how completely ineffective they have been against righties so far this season. Their .296 mark is wholly unimpressive, and their 26.2% strikeout rate presents plenty of upside for opposing starters. Tanaka is not a pitcher I typically use, but we don’t have much to work with for the early slate. Corey Kluber has been a disaster so far, and I simply can’t trust him against a very good Tigers lineup. Below Tanaka, we don’t have anyone we can trust. Tanaka is a good bet for a strikeout per inning, an earned run or two at the most, and a win against Tampa. He’s the safest option on the board, and while you can certainly take chances on other arms in tournaments, I wouldn’t use anyone else in cash games.
John Lackey, Chicago Cubs, $9300 – I’m fading the expensive options at pitcher today. Jose Fernandez’s numbers against lefties aren’t worth paying for against a lefty-heavy Giants team that doesn’t strike out a lot. Something is flat out wrong with Felix Hernandez as he’s been walking a ton of batters, got scratched from last night’s start, and has even admitted his mechanics are off. He’s a total avoid for me as his strike out rates are on the decline as well.
Lackey’s posted a 14.7% swinging strike rate so far this season, and while I doubt he can sustain that, it’s certainly encouraging to see him missing so many bats. He’ll face an anemic Reds offense than doesn’t feature many left-handed bats, and is, for lack of a better word, terrible. Joey Votto has been brutal to start the season, and Jay Bruce is the only other lefty that’s worth worrying about. Lackey is excellent against righties, and that’s mostly what he’ll be facing tonight. Add in a very likely win with the high-powered Cubs offense behind him, and you have this evening’s top play at the pitcher position.
Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers, $2700 – I think most players are going to be hesitant to target Kluber because something’s not right with him right now. Maybe he’ll correct it and dominate, but he’s struggled in every start so far this season, so I’m inclined to think it continues. There are no great options at catcher, so I’m simply going with a cheap, very good hitter that I think has a good matchup. Detroit has seen Kluber a lot, so they’re very familiar with him, and if the struggles continue, Martinez could have a big day hitting out of the number four spot. He also has real upside from the catcher position, which is something you can’t see about nearly every other option.
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals, $3400 – I don’t love anyone at catcher, and I think Grandal might be popular given he’s playing at Coors. The problem is Tyler Chatwood does a fantastic job of keeping the ball on the ground and is a much better pitcher than people realize. I’ll take Perez facing righty Tyler Wilson tonight. Wilson isn’t very good, and he’s struggled when he’s made starts in the big leagues. Perez has been a better bat against righties for a while now, and given there’s not much to like with any other catcher option, he’s my top option tonight. I also wouldn’t be opposed to punting with a cheap option in order to spend up elsewhere.
Additional Plays: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, $3900 – Ortiz sure doesn’t look like a guy playing his final season in the league. Some players are basically done anyway when they choose to retire, but Ortiz is still an elite left-handed hitter. He’s crushing righties like he always does, and while Mike Fiers isn’t a bad pitcher, he does allow a very high rate of hard contact while failing to induce a high rate of ground balls. He operates on deception, and if Ortiz gets a hold of one, it’s likely going out of the park. I like Ortiz for a nice day at the plate, especially in the favorable park environment in Houston.
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs, $4400 – Adrian Gonzalez will be popular tonight, especially after his big night last night, but Rizzo is locked in at the plate and has a better matchup. Dan Straily is brutal against left-handed hitters. He walks far too many batters and allows a high rate of hard contact. Rizzo is raking right now, and in a very favorable hitting environment like Great American Ball Park, he’s my top option ahead of Gonzalez tonight. Again, I think Chatwood could pitch well tonight, and the Cubs have the best offense in the league.
Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals, $3500 – Murphy’s been on fire since the season started, and I like the matchup with righty Phil Hughes. Hughes rarely walks a batters, but he doesn’t strike many out, and, honestly, he’s an average arm at best. He’s also home run prone, can’t keep ball out of the air, and allows a high rate of hard contact to both righties and lefties. Murphy is underpriced at $3500, and, for me, he’s an easy play at second base.
Neil Walker, New York Mets, $3300 – Walker already has six home runs this season, and he draws a great matchup against Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin has pitched well this season, but he really struggles with left-handed hitters. His strikeout rate takes a dive, his walk rate is elevated, and he allows an extremely high rate of hard contact. Walker has always been better from the left side of the plate, and batting sixth for a very good Mets lineup should afford him plenty of run-producing opportunities. Given the power upside, he’s my favorite option at second base, though it’s hard to go wrong with Zobrist for a little cheaper.
Travis Shaw, Boston Red Sox, $3100 – When I write these articles, I try to keep in mind how much salary you’re going to have per player if you roster the pitcher I recommend. While I’d love to just roster an elite bat like Josh Donaldson, it doesn’t help you if I recommend players that are too expensive to roster with Tanaka. I’m a big fan of the Boston bats today as Mike Fiers allows a lot of hard hit balls that turn into line drives or fly balls. Were this in a park like AT&T or Petco, I doubt I’d target him, but at Minute Maid, I want to load up on bats. Boston is on fire offensively right now, and given Travis Shaw is a very capable, good left-handed hitter, I like him quite a bit at just $3100.
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals, $3700 – Nolan Arenado is priced out for me, so I’ll take the steep discount and roll with Moustakas. Moustakas is hitting the ball very well lately, and I like the matchup for the Royals against a pitcher in Tyler Wilson who strikes out very few batters. He’s a ground ball pitcher, but he isn’t very good, so the lefty Royals bats are certainly in play for me. Moustakas is the best of the bunch as he has the most power.
Additional Plays: Jacob Lamb
Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics, $2700 – I hope Semien is hitting higher in the order given Oakland is facing a lefty. I don’t like rostering number nine hitters, but shortstop is brutal, and Semien is more than capable against left-handed pitching. In fact, he posted a .377 wOBA and .178 ISO against left-handed pitching last season. Those are great numbers for a $2700 shortstop, and if he’s moved up in the order, he’s a terrific value play today.
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers, $4000 – I do like Tyler Chatwood as a pitcher (never in daily fantasy though), but he’s certainly not going to completely shut down this Dodgers offense. Seager is the clear top play at the shortstop position as the other options simply have little to no upside. I’ll spend the $4000 on Seager and find value elsewhere tonight. Seager’s been hitting the ball extremely hard all season, and a park like Coors Field is much more likely to reward him than Dodger Stadium.
Colby Rasmus, Houston Astros, $3900 – Rasmus is off to a great start this season as he’s been raking against right-handed pitching. He’ll face righty Clay Buchholz, who has struggled so far to start the season. He’s especially struggled against left-handed hitters early on, and although he’s better than what he’s shown so far this season, Rasmus has simply been too good not to consider at $3900. I’d love to just tell you to roster Bryce Harper, but his $5900 price tag makes him unusable today. Give Rasmus a look batting cleanup is a great park for hitters.
Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox, $2900 – I like Eaton quite a bit leading off against Colby Lewis. Lewis is brutal against left-handed hitters, and while he likely won’t face many of them against Chicago, he will have to deal with Eaton. Eaton has very good on base skills against right-handed pitchers, so I expect he’ll be able to register a hit or two, or perhaps draw a walk. Lewis is also very easy to run on, so Eaton could pick up a stolen base as well. For just $2900, Eaton makes for a great value play.
Curtis Granderson, New York Mets, $3200 – Granderson is absolutely locked in at the plate right now, and his price hasn’t moved up enough to accommodate this. He’ll likely be high owned, but his $3200 price tag is very hard to ignore. As I mentioned before, Jhoulys Chacin really struggles with lefties, and a matchup against all of the Mets power lefties is not going to end well for him. With Granderson crushing the ball right now, he’s a very easy play for me at this price.