What a start to the 2018 daily fantasy baseball season. Opening Day went quite well in regards to my MLB DFS picks, as I delivered a team with 184 fantasy points. That was good for a win in my single entry GPP and I’m betting it helped you cash wherever you played as well.
To summarize, Chase Anderson (40) was a terrific value pitcher, Lucas Duda (25) paced a solid three-man Royals Stack (Mike Moustakas also got 18), Giancarlo Stanton (53!) was absolutely worth paying up for and Rhys Hoskins (27) also worked out nicely.
My worst play? Mike Trout, of all people, got zero points.
Trevor Story (3) and Matt Kemp (6) also failed to deliver, but they did not stop this team from cashing.
Overall, it’s always nice to get a win and if you rolled me with you probably did that on Thursday. Let’s try to do it again as I take a look at Friday’s main slate (9 games) and try to piece together a GPP-winner:
SP: David Price – Boston Red Sox ($8.5k)
The starting pitcher spot is wide open tonight. There is no locked in stud like Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw or Corey Cluber, while Max Scherzer is being wasted away on a two-game early slate.
That means ownership will be divided up between several viable options and it’ll also call for more value diving at the position than normal. I still like the options up top, though, as Robbie Ray, Dallas Keuchel and Masahiro Tanaka join a strong group along with David Price.
I think you can build convincing arguments around all of these guys, but the pitcher I covet is Price. He could dish out some revenge against his former Rays squad, while he’s operating in a pitcher-friendly environment against a Tampa Bay lineup that was absolutely stripped down this offseason.
The Rays did find a way to keep Sale from getting the win yesterday, but I don’t think Price suffers the same fate. He wasn’t as good on the road as he was at home in 2017, but he did handle these Rays (2.25 ERA) across eight innings.
I know Price isn’t the same elite pitcher he was just a few years ago in Toronto, but he’s only 32 and can still dominate games. This is the exact type of game where he should be able to thrive, while he also has the offense that should help him get the win. Being backed by Vegas as -150 favorites doesn’t hurt, either.
You can go a number of directions tonight and I’m even tempted by Jhoulys Chacin in his Brewers debut (against his former Padres squad, no less), but I’m actually getting a mild discount on Price compared to the top portion of this field.
C/1B: Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs ($3.3k)
Chicago is one of the top stacks today, as they take on an unproven lefty in Caleb Smith. I also like Ryan Braun ($3k) in a very similar setting at Petco Park tonight and may split my exposure at C/1B between these two guys.
I see Contreras as the better play due to value and upside. He can be a monster and at this stage in both of these batter’s careers, he provides more reliable power. Contreras was solid (9.5) on Opening Day, but I think he sends one deep in this one.
2B: Scott Kingery – Philadelphia Phillies ($2.5k)
If I’m not paying for Jose Altuve, I’m punting 2B tonight. I’d have a ton of interest in Javier Baez (wrecks lefties), but he’s batting 8th tonight. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad play, but the higher in the order, the better.
Kingery is no lock to pay off, but he’s a very talented rookie who combines speed and power. He can dong it or he can get on base and wreck in as a runner. Hopefully he does both, but he’s clearly cheap and batting 6th in a solid park. I’ll take my chances and load up elsewhere.
3B: Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers ($3k)
I normally don’t love targeting quality pitchers like Dallas Keuchel, but he’s operating in a tough park and facing a very powerful offense tonight. Beltre is part of that and he’s put up impressive numbers against Dallas in the past.
Again, BvsP numbers aren’t everything, so I’ll put way more stock in Beltre’s staggering splits (.464 wOBA, .254 ISO) against southpaws.
I’m not demanding a homer here, but it would not at all be shocking to see it. Beltre started the new year off hot with two hits yesterday and I think he gives you solid value while keeping it going tonight.
SS: Trevor Story – Colorado Rockies ($3k)
I usually love Robbie Ray, but the Rockies knocked him around a bit last season and he tends to be far better outside of Chase Field. Some believe Chase Field will become more of a pitcher’s park this year, but I need to see it to believe it.
If I’m not using Ray, it might make sense to target him once or twice and hope doubling down works out. Even a one-off could be fine, especially since Story crushes southpaws and specifically has found stellar success (4 for 10, 2 HR) in limited action against Ray.
The bigger sell is Story’s splits (.432 wOBA, .364 ISO) against left-handed pitching. The best part is he doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, so you can pay down from guys like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager and potentially still land a stud masher.
Story did not work out for me last night, but in baseball there’s never anything wrong with going back to the well and trying elite splits out again. Speaking of that…
OF: Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angeles ($4.8k)
Trout is expensive, was awful yesterday (0-6) and there are a lot of cheaper mashers with fun splits tonight. Suffice to say, recency bias could push people off of him on this slate.
I wouldn’t mind a pivot to J.D. Martinez, but I get the feeling he’s going to be high owned due to staggering splits versus lefties (seriously, they’re great). Trout might not be and anytime there’s a chance I can get an elite hammer at low ownership, I’m biting.
OF: Aaron Judge – New York Yankees ($4.2k)
Much like Trout, Judge doesn’t need a big sales pitch. He’s a monster against both sides of the plate, but offers a nasty .440 wOBA and a .364 ISO against righties.
I loved Stanton last night and I bet his ownership spikes after he went yard twice in his pinstripes debut. Tonight, I prefer Judge.
Judge was the more contrarian play on Opening Day and that’s probably even more so the case on this slate. He’s not cheap, but he could be worth the price considering his splits, potential low ownership and the fact that Sanchez got carved up by right-handed hitting in 2017.
Sanchez is a capable pitcher, but I doubt he’s going to come out and shut the Yankees down. Somebody in that lineup is going to pop off again tonight and I don’t mind banking on it being The Judge.
OF: Rhys Hoskins – Philadelphia Phillies ($3.7k)
Hoskins was a beast down the stretch last year and showed everyone why again on Opening Day. I used him then and I’m content using him again tonight. He’s in a solid park and has a beatable matchup ahead of him, while his splits are amazing (.426 wOBA, .341 ISO) against right-handed pitching.
I think a good amount of people will pivot to George Springer at a similar price point, so it wouldn’t be shocking for Hoskins to come in at low ownership tonight. I’m all for that.
Util: Jesus Aguilar – Milwaukee Brewers ($2k)
I’m not sure Aguilar will start tonight, but the Brewers are facing a young southpaw and he wrecks left-handed pitching (.372 wOBA, .223 ISO). He also strikes out a ton, but if Aguilar is in, he’s an elite punt play to help make this roster possible.
If Jesus doesn’t play tonight, I don’t mind digging in the dumpster bin via the Utility spot, where someone at the bare minimum is bound to call my name. If you’re not down for that route, consider pivoting from Contreras to Braun and/or Trout to Martinez. If you do that, you can open up an extra $800 for the Util spot and chase someone like Joey Gallo, Justin Bour, Ender Inciarte or even Cesar Hernandez.
Personally, I’ll be looking for that $2k guy to keep this roster just as it is.
Overall, I’m starting with what I deem to be a rock solid arm in Price and loading up with some elite plays that could actually end up being shockingly contrarian in tournaments. Love or hate my MLB DFS picks? Let me hear it in the comments below!