The early slate gets going in just a couple of hours, so I’ll do my best to piece together a winning FanDuel lineup that our readers can use. Remember, these are just my favorite picks smashed together in a team, so anytime you aren’t with me on a deep dive or a particular arm, be sure to change things up as needed.
I won’t always offer early slate lineups, but today’s five-game schedule is one worth attacking.
There don’t seem to be any huge weather concerns, so let’s dive into my favorite daily fantasy baseball picks for the early slate:
SP: James Paxton – Seattle Mariners ($8.4k)
Lance McCullers Jr. is the only other pitcher on this slate I feel good about. Unfortunately, he’s on the road against a dangerous Twins lineup in a hitter’s park. On top of that, he’s had difficulty pushing past five innings of play so far in 2018.
I’ll pivot to Paxton, who is in more of a pitcher’s park in KC and takes on a Royals lineup that seems far less explosive when compared to Minnesota. The big thing here is the Royals don’t hit southpaws all that well.
Paxton is a high strikeout guy who struggled in his opener and looked better his last time out. I think there’s a solid chance he rounds into form in a dominant performance today. He’s also in line for the win as a -135 favorite at Bovada, which is even more reason to love him.
C/1B: Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves ($4k)
The Braves were embarrassed over the last two games, putting up one run in the face of two nasty matchups. Today they get A.J. Cole, who gets slammed hard by lefty bats and got destroyed in his previous start (10 runs!).
I’m not calling for that here, but this is a good matchup for ATL bats from the left side of the plate. That’d be the case for Freeman no matter what, but his splits against righties (.420 wOBA, .280 ISO) are pretty great. I’m game for a small Braves stack here and Freddie is actually leading the way at a bit of a discount.
2B: Joey Wendle – Tampa Bay Rays ($2.6k)
I’m game for targeting James Shields a bit on this slate. Tampa Bay bats can fail rather easily, but Wendle has been playing well (12+ fantasy points in four straight games) and the matchup is there. I’ll take a shot with his .214 ISO in this one.
If you want to spend up, consider Jose Altuve or Ozzie Albies.
3B: Matt Duffy – Tampa Bay Rays ($2.8k)
You don’t need to force a Rays stack, but James Shields is bad. I’m down for a three-man group with Duffy as the middle man. Duffy owns nice splits (.461 wOBA, .235 ISO) against right-handed pitching and Shields can implode at any time.
I don’t think Rays will necessarily be low-owned as one-off options, but a three-man stack might be somewhat contrarian just because there are pricey bats people are going to covet. If you need to pay up here, Travis Shaw ($3.8k) makes a lot of sense versus a righty.
SS: Carlos Correa – Houston Astros ($4.2k)
Houston bats have not been kind to me lately, but there’s a chance other people will agree and roll with Nats players. I hope that’s the case, as I’m not super high on Washington guys today and would rather sprinkle in some Astros.
Kyle Gibson can be annoying, but this is a terrible matchup for him. Correa gives me an elite SS option that hits righties well and brings some power to the table. Dansby Swanson ($3k) could save you cash if you require value here, but I don’t love his splits here.
OF: Preston Tucker – Atlanta Braves ($2.7k)
Tucker offers some power and nasty splits (.563 wOBA, .381 ISO) against righties and he’s another lefty bat Cole will have to deal with. The price is great and the matchup is there, so this feels like a low risk bat to chase on this slate.
OF: George Springer – Houston Astros ($3.7k)
Kyle Gibson has been frustratingly decent dating back to late last year, but he’s still facing a stacked Astros lineup in a hitter’s park. I’ll give the advantage to Houston, plus their struggles as a whole lately might help keep their ownership low.
Springer is an elite pivot off of Bryce Harper, who is an absurd $5.5k. He obviously can be a monster, but his matchup isn’t the greatest. I’ll hope it’s Springer who gives us the double-dong day and a hopefully over-owned Harper disappoints.
OF: Carlos Gomez – Tampa Bay Rays ($2.9k)
Gomez is on a tear right now, as he’s hitting really well and has registered multiple hits in three straight games. I’m really just seeking his power here, while he boasts nasty splits (.354 wOBA, .227 ISO) against right-handed pitchers.
I am a fan of the Rays today, as they take on a pitcher in James Shields that gets shelled frequently. This is still a weak lineup, so I don’t want to go crazy here. You can go with a full Rays stack, but I’ll simply pick my spots. Gomez is a good one.
Util: Ozzie Albies – Atlanta Braves ($3.6k)
Eric Thames could be really popular against a beatable righty, so I’ll pivot to Albies, who gets a very enticing matchup against A.J. Cole. Cole struggled immensely in his first game this year and gets torn up by lefty bats (45% hard hit rate).
Albies is in a fine spot here and completes a nice three-man Braves stack. With Astros, Twins and Nats on the board today, I am thinking paying up for pitcher and grabbing some Braves and Rays could be a fine strategy.
Whether you’re with me or not, I wish you luck!
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