A multi-homerun game, a near no-hitter and the first rainout…Major League Baseball season has officially started!
Today we will focus on the top FanDuel plays for the 13 games beginning at 7:05 PM or later.
Scott Kazmir – OAK vs TEX - $8,400: After spending the latter part of 2011 and all of 2012 in the minor leagues, Kazmir resurfaced in the majors when the Cleveland Indians took a chance on him to fill out the last slot in their rotation. While he is no longer the strikeout per inning pitcher he was during the first several years of his career, he has become much more effective. Over his last two seasons (in 348.1 innings), he has had relatively equal success against lefties and righties, allowing a solid triple slash line of .249/.303/.385 (AVG, OBP, SLG) and an effective but not overpowering 8.4 strikeout per nine innings ratio. Currently on the MLB odds board, the Oakland Athletics are -160 ML favorites in a game with a projected seven runs. Wins are weighted heavily at four points in the FanDuel scoring system, so it is very important to target pitchers that are in a favorable position to earn one. Kazmir is coming away from a fine spring camp where he produced 18 innings with 14 strikeouts and a sterling 1.00 ERA.
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Hisashi Iwakuma – SEA vs LAA - $8,600: Early in the season, I like to target veterans who know how to prepare and are ready to begin the season with a strong workload out of the gate. While Iwakuma has only been in MLB for three years, he is a 33-year-old veteran with a long career in the Japanese professional league. He has a strong history against the current Angels batsmen, who have posted a triple slash line of .201/.229/.331 with 27 Ks and just 10 extra base hits in 139 at-bats against him. My only concern is that Iwakuma is again dealing with a minor blister issue on his pitching hand, which kept him from throwing any splitters (his best pitch) in his last spring training outing. On a positive note, that was a full 10 days ago, so he should be good to go.
Other Pitchers to Target – Jacob deGrom, Jordan Zimmermann
Devin Mesoraco – CIN vs RHP Gerrit Cole, PIT - $3,600: Mesoraco had a fine campaign in 2014 and was especially effective against RHPs, with a .384 wOBA and .883 OPS to go with 20 home runs and 20 doubles in 305 at bats. If you are looking for a premium catcher, Mesoraco is your guy on Wednesday.
Russell Martin – TOR at RHP Michael Pineda, NYY - $3,200: Well that escalated quickly! In his first game with his new team, Martin posted a hit, a walk, a run and two RBI in Yankee Stadium, where he spent two seasons. He fared well last year against RHPs, with a .382 wOBA and .865 OPS in 305 at bats. He is also at a very fair price point today.
Other Catchers to Target – Jonathan Lucroy, Michael McKenry, Tyler Flowers
Adam Lind – MIL vs RHP Eddie Butler, COL - $3,300: Yes, this is getting a bit repetitive, as I know my fellow analysts have been recommending Lind. Well, here we are on Wednesday, and courtesy of the Colorado Rockies, who are rolling out another RHP, we all need to give Lind strong consideration once again. His price has jumped a few hundred dollars, however, for this matchup it is still very reasonable. Expect to see a lot of people on Lind again today.
Freddie Freeman – ATL at RHP Tom Koehler, MIA - $3,700: Over his last three seasons, Freeman has absolutely raked against RHPs to the tune of .305/.390/.551. Yes, it is true that there is not much lineup protection for him now that the Braves have traded away most of their offensive talents, but if Freeman gets anything remotely decent to hit, he should be productive. Worst case, he will pick up a couple base on balls.
Other First Basemen to Target – Jose Abreu, Michael Morse, Carlos Santana, Chris Davis
Ben Zobrist – OAK vs LHP Ross Detwiler, TEX - $3,300: The Zorilla is a fine option anytime he gets to challenge a mediocre southpaw, as he finds a variety of ways to score fantasy points when he hits from the right side of the plate. As an added bonus, he is a switch hitter. So, even when relievers come into the game, he can always have the platoon advantage working in his favor.
Scooter Gennett – MIL vs RHP Eddie Butler, COL - $2,900: Much like I mentioned previously with Adam Lind, the Brew Crew righty killers are all in play once again today.
Other Second Basemen to Target – Neil Walker, Chase Utley
Ian Desmond – WAS vs RHP Jacob deGrom, NYM - $4,000: Desmond is one of my favorite sneaky plays to take against RHPs. Over his last three seasons he has hit 69 home runs, with a hefty 53 coming against same-handed pitchers. While this matchup with deGrom is not an easy one, Desmond did go 2-for-3 last year with a dinger against Jake daGreat.
Didi Gregorious – NYY vs RHP R.A. Dickey, TOR - $2,600 and Brad Miller – SEA vs RHP Matt Shoemaker, LAA - $2,600: Going cheap at shortstop tomorrow, a tactic also known as punting, is a viable option. Both Didi Gregorious and Brad Miller will have the platoon advantage in their favor.
Manny Machado – BAL at RHP Jake Odorizzi, TB - $3,100: Machado has been a very solid option against fellow right handers over the last two seasons, with a .284 average and 63 extra base hits. Odorizzi tends to get in trouble with his pitch count, which often leads to mistakes and big innings for the opposing team. This is a great price point for a player with Machado’s upside.
Kyle Seager – SEA vs RHP Matt Shoemaker, LAA - $3,600: Seager is one of the best kept secrets in daily fantasy baseball. He is a tremendous hitter in lefty/righty matchups and actually does his best work at the pitchers’ haven known as Safeco Field.
Other Third Basemen to Target – Adrian Beltre, Nolan Arenado
David Peralta, Mark Trumbo, Ender Inciarte and A.J. Pollock – AZ vs RHP Chris Heston, SF – various price points: Matt Cain was placed on the disabled list and is being replaced by Chris Heston. I want to get at least some exposure in this matchup, and picking one or two Diamondbacks outfielders is a fine way to do this because of their varying salary amounts. Not all four will start, so I have ranked them in my order of preference, taking into account their pricing and skills.
Corey Dickerson – COL at RHP Wily Peralta, MIL - $4,200: Yes, I am well aware that Dickerson’s amazing .419 wOBA against RHPs also includes his statistics from Coors Field, however, he is once again off to a hot start, and Miller Park is not exactly a pitcher’s paradise. As Crash Davis said, “You have to respect the Streak.”
Michael Brantley – CLE at RHP Scott Feldman, HOU - $4,100: Rarely will you be sorry when you roster Michael Brantley in a lefty/righty matchup. Fresh of his first career 20/20 campaign, I am again expecting big things from the often overlooked Brantley and will have him on quite a few of my rosters Wednesday.
Other Outfielders to Target – Adam Jones, J.D. Martinez, Ben Revere, Justin Upton, Charlie Blackmon