Got to get down on Friday. Personally, I had some success on FanDuel yesterday and you might’ve too if you used the Razzball lineup optimizer, which led me to a Lester/Tigers/Orioles lineup for the early slate and a lineup with Jake Arrieta, Ketel Marte, and Brandon Belt in the main slate. So of course I’m riding high after yesterday and I couldn’t have a picked a better time to do so as it is 4/20. Get it? Alright, alright, alright stay tuned for more bad 4/20 jokes and my DFS research and recommendations.
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Clayton Kershaw, SP: $11,500 — Kershaw announced his presence with authority in his last start by striking out 12 Diamondbacks on his way to posting 64 FanDuel points. Is the old Kershaw back? It’s tough to say after one start and it wasn’t an uptick in velocity, but rather the return of his best slider that drove this performance. Against a Washington lineup likely to be missing one of its right-handed bats in Anthony Rendon, he’s the ace I’d pay up for tonight if that’s the way I decide to go. The Dodgers are sizable favorites tonight at -140.
Max Scherzer, SP: $11,400 — Scherzer has posted at least 58 FanDuel points in three of his four starts so far this season. The Dodgers aren’t really clicking on offense yet and are without Justin Turner and Scherzer is arguably the best pitcher in the game. He’s a fine play, obviously, but my gut is telling me the Dodgers take this game tonight. My gut is also very hungry.
Justin Verlander, SP: $11,100 — I can’t find a line on the Astros-White Sox game at the moment, but it’s Verlander and the Astros against James Shields in Chicago. Who’s going to stop Houston tonight? The weather is a better bet than the White Sox. Clearly the Astros should be favored here in a nice spot backed by Verlander, who is pitching better than he has this early in the season in prior years. The way he and Gerrit Cole are pitching really makes you think the Astros know what they’re doing when it comes to handling pitchers. He has posted 58 FanDuel points in each of his last two starts and the White Sox should be no match for him, but he’s still firmly third in the pecking order for aces tonight.
Noah Syndergaard, SP: $10,700 — Syndergaard struck out 11 and had 49 FanDuel points in his last start against the Brewers. Both of those numbers represent a season high for him. While the Mets are favored at at -136 in this one, Syndergaard has completed six innings in just two of his four starts this season. I don’t see how I’d end up playing him tonight unless you’re doing multiple tournament lineups. It’s just not enough of a discount from the top three aces on the slate.
Trevor Bauer, SP: $9,000 — Bauer has posted 46 FanDuel points in his last two starts, which would be 5X at his current price tag. The Indians are favored at -118 over the Orioles, who don’t look so hot offensively these days. Baltimore is without starting second baseman Jonathan Schoop as he’s on the disabled list and is relying on the likes of Pedro Alvarez, Luis Sardinas, Anthony Santander, and Chance Sisco against right-handed pitching. Bauer should have no trouble carving up this group of Orioles.
Chris Archer, SP: $8,000 — Archer isn’t my favorite and he’s off to a shaky start with a 7.84 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in his first four starts, but we all know he has strikeout upside. When his price gets into the low $8k range like it is here, we have to at least consider him as an option in tournaments. Archer is not only favored here at -127, he’s also facing a Twins a lineup without outfield Byron Buxton.
Andrew Heaney, SP: $6,300 — Last time I recommended Heaney it didn’t really work out. He put up 27 FanDuel points against the Royals. However, it was his first start of the season and while he only completed five innings, he still struck out seven batters. Here he’s a big favorite at -148 against the Giants. I don’t love the cheap pitching options on this slate so he’s worth another shot if you decide to fade all the good pitchers.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, $4,800 — The Yankees are one of the biggest favorites on the slate at -190 against little Marco Estrada and his bad back in a game with an over/under of nine. Estrada pitched pretty well against New York in his first start even though he surrendered two home runs to Tyler Austin. This time he’ll be heading to the boogie down Bronx, where Stanton needs to produce just to avoid boos from the Yankee faithful. I think he starts to get on their good side with a big night at the dish tonight.
Charlie Blackmon, OF, $5,200 — Blackmon had at least 22.2 FanDuel points in three of his last five games, all of which came on the road. Last year he hit .391/.466/.773 with 24 home runs in 350 plate appearances at home, where he’ll face RHP Kyle Hendricks tonight. Fade at your own peril.
Kris Bryant, 3B, $5,100 — Bryant hit .294/.400/.544 in 508 plate appearances against right-handed pitching last year. He’s facing RHP Jonathan Gray at Coors Field tonight. Smoke ’em if you got ’em and it’s legal and you remember it’s 4/20.
Aaron Judge, OF, $5,100 — Judge has at least 18.7 FanDuel points in three of his last four games. He also hit .298/.417/.662 with 44 home runs in 523 plate appearances against right-handed pitching last year and will face Marco Estrada tonight. Judge is also at home, where he hit .312/.440/.725 in 366 plate appearances last year. It might be difficult to fit in with the expensive aces on the slate tonight, but jamming in Judge with Stanton would be fun tonight.
Eric Thames, 1B, $3,900 — Thames has as many homers now (7) as he did at this time last year when everyone was losing their minds about him being the next great power hitter. That didn’t totally pan out, but he’s a home favorite in a game with an over/under of nine and he’ll face RHP Trevor Richards, who has a 4.70 ERA in three starts this year. He hit .262/.378/.540 in 436 plate appearances against right-handed pitching last year.
Gary Sanchez, C, $3,900 — Did I mention I like the Yankees tonight? Because I really like the Yankees tonight, specifically the right-handed bats of Stanton, Judge, Sanchez, and Austin. It’ll probably be tough to stack them given the prices, but I haven’t really started constructing lineups yet. Anyway, Sanchez, unlike Stanton, has actually shown signs that he’s coming out of his early season slide. Sanchez has had at least 16.5 FanDuel points in three of his last six starts. He hit .282/.343/.530 with 25 home runs in 402 plate appearances against right-handed pitching last year.
Jose Ramirez, 3B, $3,900 — Ramirez is one of the best players that happens to be off to a bit of a slow start this year. He’s still hitting .197 on the season, but he’s coming around with two home runs in his last four games. He hit .312/.375/.583 in 416 plate appearances against right-handed pitching last year. He’ll face Dylan Bundy in Baltimore tonight.
Justin Bour, 1B, $3,300 — Last year, Bour hit .292/.374/.548 with 19 home runs in 321 plate appearances against right-handed pitching. He already has four home runs this season and is reasonably priced considering he’s facing Jhoulys Chacin (5.60 ERA and 2.00 WHIP) in Milwaukee tonight.
Ketel Marte, 2B, $2,600 — Marte saw his 10-game hitting streak end the other night, but he hit a home run last night and continues to be a sneaky value play this season. He hit .268/.346/.401 in 179 plate appearances against right-handed pitching and gets a matchup with Tyson Ross at home tonight.
Franchy Cordero, OF, $2,600 — Legalize Franch! C’mon, Mello, you know you need to have Franchy in your 4/20 lineup. I mean, 311 never happened and Franchy, who has both power and speed, gets to face something called Matt Koch in Arizona. He has at least 12.2 FanDuel points in four of his eight games in the majors this season.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Not a lot of bad weather out there tonight, but it looks like rain is going to be an issue for the Cubs-Rockies game in Colorado. That’s really too bad because obviously that’s a crucial game on this slate, but it looks like we’ll have to sweat it out.
Doing Lines in Vegas