Switching over from NBA to MLB is not only a change in sports, but it’s a change in the way I play daily fantasy. In NBA, I played strictly tournaments (GPPs). I’ve noticed in MLB, I am much more comfortable playing cash games (head-to-head, double ups, 50/50’s) because of the very nature of baseball. Even the best hitting options on any given day can go 0-4, which practically will ruin your chances of winning a tournament. So with that in mind, my advice will be cash-game oriented.
Today’s main slate includes 14 games (I’m not playing the all-day slate).
Tonight’s pitching is pretty simple. Corey Kluber is the only high-priced pitcher I fell 100% comfortable playing, as Felix Hernandez has yet to look like himself so far this season, and I don’t trust his upside against a Royals team that doesn’t strike out a lot. Strasburg has been great so far this year, but so has the Cardinals offense. Will that continue for St. Louis throughout the year? I doubt it, but you can’t go against them right now. Drew Smyly is a great option in daily fantasy most nights due to his high strikeout rate, but he gets a tough matchup versus the Blue Jays who eat lefties for breakfast.
For your SP2, the mid range looks risky tonight, and I have to scroll all of the way down to Aaron Sanchez in Tampa until I see someone I’m interested in. Sanchez is a great pitcher as long as his opponent doesn’t have quality lefty bats, and the Rays really only have 1 lefty bat in Corey Dickerson that I’m concerned about. Juan Nicasio has had troubles finding the strike zone this year, but the Reds are a great team to target when they aren’t at home. Nicasio also opens up a lot of flexibility for your hitting options as well.
Upper Tier: Corey Kluber, $12,500
Mid/Low Tier: Aaron Sanchez, $7100, Juan Nicasio, $5,800
Buster Posey always seems to be overpriced due to the lack of talent at the position, but we see him at a respectable price tag tonight against a lefty. If you want to save a little, you can go down to Yan Gomes against a lefty, but try not to fade Posey if you can avoid it.
Mid Tier: Buster Posey, $3,600, Yan Gomes, $3,000
Miguel Cabrera has struggled out of the gate, but he’s come alive recently, and if you look at his BvP against Phil Hughes, it’s pretty obvious Cabrera owns him. 17 hits in 40 plate appearances, batting .447 with 5 HR’s and an OPS of 1.449. Considering the depressed price tag, there is no reason to pay up any further than Cabrera tonight.
For sub $4k, Edwin Encarnacion and Joey Votto are great options. Why are they this cheap? I do not know. But Edwin has the platoon advantage, although I don’t necessarily look for when considering a hitter of his caliber, and Votto also has the platoon advantage. I would take Votto over Encarnacion due to the cheaper price tag and the fact that Votto offers a higher floor due to his incredible ability to get on base. Edwin offers more power, but Votto is the safer play here all things considered.
Upper Tier: Miguel Cabrera, $4,200
Mid Tier: Edwin Encarnacion, $3,900, Joey Votto, $3,500
Jose Altuve is good at baseball. Like, he’s really good at baseball. How on Earth has a 5’5″, 170 pound man already hit 6 HR’s this year? Because he’s good at baseball. How can someone this that sort of power also bring elite speed and contact rates to the table as well? Because he’s good at baseball. Altuve belongs in the conversation with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper as the best fantasy baseball options on any given night. Don’t feel dirty paying up at this position for him.
If you want to spend at other positions, consider Neil Walker, who has been raking so far this year. 9 HR’s to date, and a great matchup against Jake Peavy. Want to go cheaper? Starlin Castro gets the young lefty Henry Owens. If Castro gets a respectable place in the batting order tonight, I love this play.
Upper Tier: Jose Altuve, $5,100
Mid Tier: Neil Walker, $3,900, Starlin Castro, $3,300
Three sexy options tonight, and at least for me, I really hate how Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado are so much cheaper than Josh Donaldson. Donaldson is the lock of all locks whenever he is facing a lefty that isn’t named Clayton Kershaw (and to be honest, you still would have to consider him then), but Arenado and Machado are so much cheaper in great matchups as well. I believe your lineup’s will sink or swim tonight on who you pick here tonight.
If you want to be a dare-devil and try to fade all three of these guys, go ahead and take Jake Lamb with the platoon advantage in a hitters ballpark against a meat baller in Tyler Chatwood. I wouldn’t advice you to do so, but Lamb is playing well and is worthy of a mention for those rebels out there who want a little diversity in their lineup construction.
Upper Tier: Josh Donaldson, $4,900, Nolan Arenado, $4,200, Manny Machado, $4,200
Mid Tier: Jake Lamb, $3,600
It must be pretty cool to be a Houston Astros fan right now. The middle infield position offers some of the least sexy batters in today’s MLB rosters, but not in Houston. Carlos Correa has not been the beast we were expecting after a magnificent 2015 campaign and a hot 3 game series in Yankees Stadium to start of this year, but it’s not as if he’s been terrible either. The price tag is lower than it should be for this guy, and I’m cool with using him in a platoon advantage versus a rookie making his first major league start.
Dropping down further in the pricing, Francisco Lindor is such a nice cash game option when he’s facing a lefty. He gives you a little of everything, albeit nothing elite, but we aren’t looking for monster numbers at this price. Merely a hit or two, maybe a stolen base, potential a run or RBI, I don’t know. He brings the goods, and I’m buying.
Danny Santana is criminally under-priced. You need to take advantage of these punt plays when they are offered to you, and Santana will see that price tag rise in a couple of days, which will greatly hurt his value. For now, I’ll take a guy that leads off at near minimum salary every day of the week. Especially when it’s at a position that you aren’t losing the opportunity to roster a must-play bat.
Upper Tier: Carlos Correa, $4,400
Mid Tier: Francisco Lindor, $3,800
Low Tier: Danny Santana, $2,400
So far in 2016, Bryce Harper is the lock of all locks when paying up for an outfielder (outside of Coors bats), but tonight you also can’t ignore Mike Trout, who owns Colby Lewis with a .400 BA and 1.439 OPS in 36 PAs. Don’t get suckered in BvP, as it can be a misleading statistic, but when the sample size is this great and the numbers are this favorable, don’t be shy in trusting them. With that being said, I like Bryce Harper still, as he’s Bryce Harper. Jose Bautista at $4,200 with the platoon advantage is sexy, but I like J.D. Martinez at a similar price tag even more, as the Tigers have moved him into the #2 role in the batting order.
Rajai Davis with the platoon advantage should get him the leadoff spot tonight against the Phillies, which makes him an appealing mid-range play. Michael Conforto is once again criminally under-priced. This guy is the real deal. David Peralta gets zero recognition from DraftKings as a righty masher, as he’s always in this price range, and he continues to be a safe play here. If you want to swing for the fences, Corey Dickerson versus a righty is a nice option here, but don’t feel obligated in getting him in your lineups with better options in his price range.
Upper Tier: Mike Trout, $5,400, Bryce Harper, $5,200, Jose Bautista, $4,200, J.D. Martinez, $4,100
Mid Tier: Rajai Davis, $3,500, Michael Conforto, $3,500, David Peralta, $3,500, Corey Dickerson, $3,400