This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
Tonight’s 11-game slate is stuffed to the gills with quality pitchers. That means stacks will be condensed into just a few popular targets.
Top Play: Trevor Bauer – Dodgers (vs Rockies)
The sea level Rockies possess one of the worst offenses. They’re liable to be strikeout prone and project as roughly 20 to 30 percent below average as a unit. Bauer carries the top projection for innings pitched and strikeouts. Although he’s one of the three most-expensive pitchers, the other two have the misfortune of facing each other (Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito). Despite the lofty price tag, Bauer is a dollar-for-dollar bargain.
Pivot: Max Fried – Braves (vs Marlins)
Miami is running a bottom-10 offense. While they’re not especially strikeout prone, Fried has the tools to silence them. He’s a ground ball pitcher with around a strikeout per inning. Through two starts, he’s suffered from an unlikely 39.1 percent line drive rate. As his batted ball profile regresses to normal, so should the results. Tonight, he can be penciled in for six innings and six strikeouts. Given his bottom-five price tag, he’s the top bargain. Fried threw 94 pitches on April 1 so he should be free and clear for a full outing.
Kevin Gausman (vs Reds) is a close second in the bargain column.
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Top Play: Will Smith – Dodgers (vs Antonio Senzatela)
A combination Bauer and Dodgers stack is the most glaringly obvious play tonight. It’s so obvious that it becomes tempting to take a contrarian approach. With his high fly ball rate against Senzatela’s ground ball tendencies, Smith is one of the best bets for a home run or multiple deep shots. That’s not a catcher-specific recommendation either.
A few juicier pivot/punts like Alejandro Kirk could appear as lineups are announced. For now, Ramos appears to be the best opportunity to save money and shoot for power. He’s already popped four home runs this season. Minute Maid Park is notoriously homer friendly, and Odorizzi is making his season debut for a pitching-needy club. Past iterations of Odorizzi have ranged from power-suppressant (0.91 HR/9 in 2019) to homer prone (1.88 HR/9 in 2017, 2.63 HR/9 in 2020). As a fly ball pitcher, his new home venue is not ideal.
On most days, Lopez is one of the better arms available. He’s outside the top 10 tonight. While I still won’t advocate any kind of Braves stack, a one-off of Freeman works – especially if you’re going for “bargain” pitchers like Fried and Gausman. Otherwise, you probably can’t afford Freeman.
Taillon pitched well in his Yankees debut, but he’s still one of the lesser pitchers on the bump this evening. He’s struggled at times to induce whiffs from left-handed hitters. Of course, the Jays lineup is overwhelming right-handed, giving Taillon an advantage. Tellez is one of the few exceptions. He entered 2021 as a popular sleeper. He’s yet to find open pastures with his batted balls (.063 BABIP) and has a 33.3 percent strikeout rate which is incongruous with his aggressive approach and solid 9.8 percent swinging strike rate. Regression, the good kind, is coming.
Bonus advice: Tellez doubles as a buy-low candidate in deep traditional fantasy leagues.
Regular readers will know I hunt for hitters facing pitchers with an opposed batted ball profile. The reason is two-fold. When a fly ball hitter like Lowe sees a ground ball pitcher like Gibson, it leads to better launch angles for hits and power outcomes. Perhaps more importantly, almost no DFS research pays any attention to this dynamic. Vegas-based analysis might give Lowe a boost because he’s facing one of the worst pitchers in the slate, but it misses this crucial detail.
Until lineups release, there aren’t any obvious second base pivots. Perhaps Rougned Odor? Peterson represents a full punt. He’s nearly minimum priced on every platform, and… that’s it. He’s really cheap. He’ll play like somebody who should be cheap. Perhaps he’ll help you take a snazzier pile of Dodgers.
Top Play: Alex Bregman – Astros (vs Matt Boyd)
The best alternative to a Dodgers stack runs through Houston. Despite not allowing a home run yet, Boyd should be considered one of the most homer-prone pitchers on the docket tonight. The Tigers disastrous bullpen pushes things further in the Astros’ favor. Both Bregman and Boyd our fly ball guys which increases the risk of Bregman fly outs.
Pivot: Kevin Padlo – Rays (vs Gibson)
Although not guaranteed to start, Padlo is fly ball-hitting masher with serious pull-side power. The right-handed hitter matches up well against Gibson, and the Rays rarely miss these opportunities. He’s perhaps overly disciplined and probably has exploitable holes in his swing. He’s a little like the Higashioka recommendation from yesterday – it could work in a big way, but the likeliest outcome is a zero.
Top Play: Carlos Correa – Astros (vs Boyd)
Correa generates lower launch angles than Bregman and thus his matchup against Boyd is all the better. He’s one of the likeliest outfielders to go deep – right up there with Smith and Muncy.
Pivot: Miguel Rojas – Marlins (at Fried)
This isn’t a juicy matchup, nor is it especially overwhelming. Rojas is priced as a solid dollar-for-dollar value – the best available at this stage of the day. Other, bigger names, will undoubtedly outperform him, but they’re 50 to 80 percent more expensive.
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Meadows is back in 2019 form, but his price tag doesn’t quite reflect it yet. As a left-handed fly ball hitter against a middling right-handed ground ball pitcher, I consider Meadows a must-play. By now, we can see the seed of a Rays stack – a perhaps less popular alternative to the Dodgers and Astros. Gallo is discounted because he’s facing a lefty. Many DFSers won’t touch lefty-on-lefty matchups. Thing is, Gallo doesn’t have platoon splits, and Yarbrough isn’t exactly an ordinary sort of southpaw anyway. With a one-in-three chance to homer, Gallo is perhaps the best power-play in the slate.
As usual, pulling Trout out of the hat doesn’t require much analysis. He’s the best pure-hitter in the league with one of the easiest matchups of the slate.
Duvall has a reputation as a lefty masher. More valuably, he’s an extreme fly ball hitter set to face an extreme ground ball pitcher. He has better than a one-in-four chance to homer. Isbel has a challenging matchup, but his widely distributed skill set – he’s above average in most regards – makes him a daily candidate to deliver a surprise performance.