Another exciting day of daily fantasy baseball is upon us! There is a split schedule today with four early games in the window between 12:10 PM and 2:05 PM ET and then a robust 11-game “late slate” beginning at 7:05 PM tonight. These FanDuel recommendations will be focusing on the later game set.
There are no clear cut ace pitchers going today, but fear not…everyone is picking from the same player pool. For days like today, and with 180+ scheduled days of baseball, plus the varied early/late game slates, this type of situation will arise quite often. Key factors that we will want to focus on will be:
1. the pitchers’ strikeout potential;
2. the effectiveness of the offense he is facing; 3
3. the ever elusive win potential, which is very impactful on FanDuel, a single pitcher site;
4. and of course the price tag.
Jonathan Niese – NYM vs PHI - $7,800: Niese is a pitcher that often flies under-the-radar as he is not a flashy option and he is pitching for a team that is usually not in the spotlight, well outside of New York anyway. Of the criteria we are looking for, Niese checks several of the boxes above. He has posted a strikeout rate just under 7 per 9 innings over the last three seasons, and the Mets are a solid -160 ML favorite on the MLB odds board at home against Philadelphia. The Phillies are again struggling to score runs, checking in at just 2.6 rpg through their first eight games, and Niese has a favorable price tag. Again, he is not an ace, however, when compared to his available peers today, he does stand out.
Brandon Morrow – SDP vs ARI - $6,600: At the end of last season, Morrow was banished to the Blue Jays bullpen. This year he is in the starting lineup for the Padres, and his inaugural appearance this season against the San Francisco Giants was very solid, resulting in seven scoreless innings with seven hits/walks and seven punchouts. While the Padres are not as robust favorites to get the win today -130 ML, the Giants are posting just 2.7 rpg through their first eight games and Petco Park is very favorable to pitchers. Throughout his eight-year career, Morrow has posted just over a strikeout per inning, so he does have upside in that category today.
Dioner Navarro – TOR vs RHP Erasmo Ramirez, TB - $2,600: When looking at the cheaper catchers, we want to focus on players going into situations where their teams are in favorable matchups. Former Mariner Erasmo Ramirez will be taking the hill today for Tampa Bay. In his lone appearance out of the bullpen this season, Erasmo was roughed up by the Miami Marlins, allowing 6 hits, 3 walks and 7 earned runs in just two innings. While he was a starter last year, he is not fully stretched out yet and he will probably go just 4-5 innings at most. This is where Navarro’s switch hitting ability comes in hand, as regardless of who follows Ramirez, he will still have the platoon advantage in his favor.
Russell Martin – TOR vs RHP Erasmo Ramirez, TB - $3,000: Yes, going with a Blue Jays backstop is my preference today. Martin will likely be behind the dish with Navarro serving as the DH, so both should be options for us to choose from today. Martin tends to hit same-handed pitchers well and he was particularly effective last season while with the Pittsburgh Pirates, posting a .382 wOBA and .865 OPS in 305 at-bats against same-handed pitchers.
Anthony Rizzo – CHC vs RHP Jason Marquis, CIN - $4,300: Jason Marquis was solid in his first start this season, however, he is someone that is worth targeting against. Last year in 384 lefty/righty at-bats, Rizzo posted a .391 wOBA, .907 OPS and an elite .253 ISO with 48 extra base hits. While it is often folly to try and predict a home run, Rizzo is at the top of my shortlist for players to go yard today.
Lucas Duda – NYM vs RHP Jerome Williams, PHI - $3,600: While I don’t want my Mets fan friends to know this, I do always give Lucas Duda strong consideration whenever he is facing a mediocre righty, and journeyman Jerome Williams is definitely someone to target against. Last year in 403 at-bats against RHPs, he posted a .394 wOBA, .915 OPS, .270 ISO and had 53 extra base hits. Now compare those numbers to Anthony Rizzo above…yeah, Duda is in a great spot tonight.
Jose Altuve – HOU vs LHP Drew Pomeranz, OAK - $4,100: The beauty of going with mid-tier pitching today and discounted catchers is that we will have the luxury of paying up for premium bats as we see fit. Altuve is always a great play against southpaws, and last season in 152 at-bats he posted a stellar .440 wOBA and 1.013 OPS. With his ability to steal, he has solid upside and is someone I will have on the majority of my rosters.
Neil Walker – PIT vs RHP Alfredo Simon, DET - $3,700: I know, I know, Walker is a boring pick. However, that is an advantage for us as he will make for a nice differentiation play as most other gamers will overlook him for someone more exciting. Now I have a hard time not using Altuve everywhere, but I want to point out that Walker had solid numbers a year ago against RHPs, with a robust 42 extra base hits, .364 wOBA, .831 OPS and .222 ISO in 405 at-bats. Even if you do not employ his services today, file away those numbers for the next time Walker is facing a middle-of-the-road right-handed pitcher.
Other Second Basemen to Target – Rickey Weeks, Joe Panik
Jose Reyes – TOR vs RHP Erasmo Ramirez, TB - $3,800: Since we have the cap space today, I will likely be splurging and going with the premium SS in Jose Reyes. The key with Reyes is to take him when he is relatively healthy, as once the calendar starts to turn he is perpetually dinged up and always a risk of an early exit when he aggravates one of the plethora of nagging injuries that are usually plaguing him. We are in week 2 of the season, so he should still be at full strength.
Jhonny Peralta – STL vs RHP Wily Peralta, MIL - $3,100: No relation that I know of, but I do like this Peralta vs Peralta matchup for Jhonny, who has sneaky power in same-handed matchups. Again, most of my lineups will feature Reyes, however, in the even he is off today or where I am looking to spend at other positions, I will be rolling with Jhonny.
Manny Machado – BAL vs RHP Nate Eovaldi, NYY - $3,400: Throughout his career, Machado has been a very splits neutral player, and over the last two seasons he has posted a .284 average and 63 extra base hits. While Eovaldi has shown he has talent, he is still a young pitcher and prone to giving up big innings. I definitely want to have some Orioles in my MLB lineups tonight.
Evan Longoria – TB at LHP Mark Buehrle, TOR - $3,700: Longoria is an elite option against southpaws and he is no stranger to Mark Buehrle. Over the years he has accrued 42 at-bats with solid production as indicated by his .286/.326/.405 triple slash line. One added benefit is when Longoria homers, you can shout out Longo Dongo with a fist pump for added emphasis. Trust me, it is a lot of fun and provides much needed levity during a long MLB season.
Giancarlo Stanton – MIA vs LHP Eric Stults, ATL - $4,600: Bonus Early Game Set Play. Yes, Stanton is one of the most expensive options on the board, but don’t skimp today. Last season Giancarlo made southpaws pay and pay and then pay some more. In 108 at-bats he posted an otherworldly .453 wOBA, 1.075 OPS and a .287 ISO. The numbers speak for themselves.
Nelson Cruz – SEA vs LHP Brett Anderson, LAD - $4,300: Cruz is definitely making the Mariners happy that they inked him to the large contract this offseason. He has homered in four straight games, and with his history against lefties - .416 wOBA, .977 OPS and .255 ISO - I will be targeting him again tonight.
Corey Dickerson – COL vs RHP Tim Lincecum, SF - $4,800: With our savings at pitcher and catcher today, we can construct a formidable outfield with ease. Corey Dickerson is someone who is always in play, regardless of the stadium, whenever he is facing league average righty. While Lincecum does have a couple Cy Young Awards and no-hitters on his resume, he is very susceptible to allowing big innings. With the Rockies batsmen all healthy, I am expecting some fantasy goodness in the City by the Bay tonight.
Jason Heyward - $3,500, Matt Holliday - $3,500 and Jon Jay - $2,500 vs RHP Wily Peralta, MIL: At least two of these guys will be in the lineup tonight against Wily Peralta. While I am not advocating playing all three of them, they are in a good spot and I am projecting 6+ runs tonight for the Red Birds. If Jay is in, he is a fine cheap option - the other two have been solid throughout their careers against RHPs and they will be in the middle of the order tonight.