What do ya hear? What do ya say? We’re a week into the MLB season, are you jumping to conclusions yet? I’m just kidding, we’ve all been doing that since the very first pitch. While it’s nice to see your season-long teams at the top of the standings this early, it’s still just one week out of about 25 in the grand scheme of things. It’s not meaningless, but, you know, nothing is guaranteed. Plenty of guys who are off to slow starts will catch fire this weekend and vice versa, so it’s important not to get too up or too down or too high (especially if you aren’t yet on the 40-man roster) or too low. That being said, daily fantasy is a one night stand with no time for regression. You must dance with the matchups you chose when lineups lock, but only until about midnight. Wham, bam, thank you, sirs. Then start all over again tomorrow. But first, here are my picks for tonight’s slate on FanDuel.
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Carlos Carrasco, SP: $9,400 — Carrasco is the most expensive pitcher on the slate and understandably so, as the Indians are one of the biggest favorites on the slate at -205 and this game has the smallest over/under on the slate at 7.5. He posted 20 FanDuel points in his first start as the Mariners got to him for five earned runs, but the Royals are lacking offensive firepower without Salvador Perez and possibly Lucas Duda here. It’s also not going to be warm in Cleveland so Carrasco also has that going for him which is nice.
Kenta Maeda, SP: $8,800 — Maeda struck out 10 and beat the Giants in his first start. He’s looking to repeat that performance only this time in San Francisco, where the forecast calls for some rain. With a 10:15 start time, that could keep his ownership very low in tournaments if there’s still a chance they don’t play when lineups lock. That alone would make him worthy of using in tournaments if you’re playing multiple lineups.
Lance McCullers Jr., SP: $8,500 — McCullers (rap name MC Cullers) was outstanding in his first start as he struck out 10 Rangers on his way to 46 FanDuel points. Concerns about his durability are more for season long formats as he was able to rack up that total in his first start without completing six innings and getting points for a quality start. The Astros are the biggest favorite on the slate at -270 so as long as McCullers does his thing for five innings he should be eating a W like Jameis Winston later. The Padres lineup and opposite starter Luis Perdomo aren’t a threat and perhaps the day-to-day tag by McCullers on FanDuel’s site keeps his ownership percentage in check even though he’ll definitely pitch.
Kyle Hendricks, SP: $8,200 — Hendricks’ career ERA in 101 games is 2.93. His career ERA when he has six or more days of rest between starts? 2.93. He hasn’t pitched since last Friday, March 30th, but he should be fine and the Cubs are the fourth biggest favorite on the board at -143. While the Brewers are at home, they could be without Christian Yelich for this game so that’s something to watch.
Marco Estrada, SP: $7,600 — Estrada didn’t get the win or have a big strikeout game (2 K’s) in his first outing against the Yankees, but he did finish seven innings while allowing only three earned runs. Here he’s facing the Rangers in Texas, which is normally not a matchup to target but the Rangers have only scored 24 runs in seven games so far. With Delino DeShields hurt, Willie Calhoun in the minors, and starting catcher Robinson Chirinos also banged up, Texas’ lineup isn’t as deep as it could be. Sure, if you play Estrada it should be in a GPP and you’ll still be sweating out at-bats hoping he doesn’t grove one to Joey Gallo, but hey scared money don’t make money. Also, the Jays get to face Matt Moore so the run support should be there as the Jays are slight favorites at -113.
CC Sabathia, SP: $6,800 — While at first I was intrigued by Sabathia because the Yankees are big favorites over the Orioles at -170, here are some stats that aren’t encouraging. Last season, his ERA at home was 4.20 compared to 3.18 on the road and he had a 7.41 ERA over three starts against the Orioles. Sabathia only completed at least seven innings three times all of last year and went five innings in his first start in Toronto. The Yankees have been using their bullpen a ton so far this year and we should expect that to continue. On second thought, Sabathia isn’t cheap enough for me to land on him tonight so let’s try a different cheap pitcher.
Parker Bridwell, SP: $5,700 — Filling in for the injured Matt Shoemaker, Bridwell isn’t a strikeout artist (14.8% strikeout percentage and 5.4 K/9 last year), but he’s still a solid pitcher as he had a 3.64 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 121 innings for the Angels last year. In the second half of last season, he posted six starts with at least 40 FanDuel points. An under-the-radar home favorite at -140 with an improved lineup backing him up against the Athletics’ Daniel Gossett? Sign me up and beam me up, Scottie.
Aaron Judge, OF, $4,700 — Judge hit .426/.588/1.049 with 11 home runs in 19 games against the Orioles last year and got off to a good start against Baltimore by homering against them last night. He also hit .298/.417/.662 with 44 home runs against right-handed pitching last year as the Yankees will face Kevin Gausman tonight.
Mike Trout, OF, $4,800 — We all know Trout is great. He can play baseball and sell sandwiches. The guy does it all. Also, he hit 20 of his 33 home runs last year at home and his ISO was .362 at home compared to .285 on the road. He’ll face Daniel Gossett, who had a 9.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in his first start this season.
Charlie Blackmon, OF, $5,300 — He’s really expensive, but he’s also playing in Coors Field and this game has the highest over/under on the slate at 10.5 so it’d be foolish not to talk about Chuck Nasty. Ditto for Nolan Arenado ($5,200) and Freddie Freeman ($5,000). I prefer the Rockies’ hitters because they get a better matchup with Brandon McCarthy (he doesn’t have the power stuff to survive Coors) and with Nick Markakis hitting behind him Colorado can walk Freeman all day.
Justin Smoak, 1B, $4,100 — Smoak was the AL player of the week for the first week of the season. Last season, he hit .331/.413/.565 in 143 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. He’ll face Texas’ Matt Moore, who allowed 19 home runs to right-handed hitters last year.
Other Blue Jays
Josh Donaldson, 3B, $4,600 — Donaldson hit .271/.380/.671(!) in 100 plate appearances against lefties last season. Given his bum shoulder and lofty price tag, he probably won’t carry a high ownership percentage.
Kevin Pillar, OF, $3,100 — Pillar, who is off to a hot start this season (.320 1 HR 3 SB), hit .336/.381/.559 in 156 plate appearances against lefties last season.
Ian Desmond, 1B, $3,900 — Desmond is off to a hot start batting .348 with two home runs on the Rockies’ road trip. Now coming home to the launching pad that is Coors Field, Desmond makes sense as either part of a Coors stack or a less expensive alternative to Blackmon, Arenado, and Freeman. Carlos Gonzalez at $3,200 makes sense as well. Gonzalez hit .283/.373/.463 in 397 plate appearances against right-handed pitching last year.
Chris Taylor, OF, $3,300 — Last year, Taylor hit .297/.351/.486 in 151 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. The Dodgers are set to face Derek Holland, who last year allowed a .305/.400/.574 line and 26 home runs to right-handed hitters. Collision course. Even though the Giants play in a pitcher-friendly environment, Taylor hit .309/.387/.615 on the road last year so it seems like a good time to use him.
Brett Gardner, OF, $2,800 — Gardner hit .283/.367/.473 against right-handed pitching last year. He’ll be batting leadoff at Yankees Stadium and facing Kevin Gausman, who got rocked in his first time out this year. Gardner could be a popular play, but he’s probably the best guy available for less than $3,000 on this slate.
Rougned Odor, 2B, $2,400 — The options below $2,600 aren’t very appetizing as I look at them late Thursday night. Odor isn’t off to a great start, but he has hits in his last two games and I could see him running into one from Marco Estrada. He hit 25 home runs with a .224 ISO against right-handed pitching last year.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
There’s rain in the forecast in San Francisco for the Giants-Cubs game and it could be postponed so watch for that. With one of the smaller over/unders on the slate at 8.5, I didn’t recommend many hitters from that game anyway.
Doing Lines In Vegas
I’m gonna go with the Indians -205. Maybe their lineup isn’t quite as good against left-handed pitchers, but Danny Duffy is an up-and-down pitcher and he doesn’t have a great defense, lineup, or bullpen behind him. In fact, he has a bad all of those things behind. Go Tribe.