We have 13 games today and I will cover all of them here, so this should be relevant whichever slate you decide to play.  The 6:10 pm DET @ CLE game isn’t included in any DraftKings classic slate, but I’ll include it for FanDuel contests.  The 2:20 pm PIT @ CHC game has been postponed due to weather concerns, so I will ignore players from that game.  Other than that, weather looks pretty clear across the board today based on the early forecast so all other games should be in play, but be sure to check the forecast closer to game time.  As always, check back throughout the day because I plan to update these rankings & recommendations as lineups are released (even after the early games start).

How did my previous picks do?

My sample FanDuel lineup from Saturday’s main slate preview scored a respectable 113.3 FD points but finished short of the cash line.  It might have cashed if Trout didn’t put up a rare goose egg.  Other than Trout, the rest of my Angels stack did well (highlighted by 28.2 FPTS from Upton) and Kuhl put up a solid 30 FPTS for a punt play at pitcher.

Here’s how my sample lineups have fared thus far (all entered into large GPP tournaments):

# of lineups Average score (FD) Average GPP finish % of lineups that cashed
4 119 Top 48% 25%

 

What’s particularly frustrating so far this season is that the lists of best stacks & hitters produced by my software app have generally been spot-on, but except for one lineup I have failed to parlay these into high-scoring lineups.  I have had great success choosing pitchers, but it always seems like one of two of my chosen hitters sabotages my lineup with an off day.  Such is the nature of MLB DFS…game-to-game variance is unavoidable, and every hitter in the league has a floor of 0 FPTS on any given night.  It’s crucial to stay the course, trust your research, and practice disciplined bankroll management while you wait for your next winning lineup.

Anyway, enough pontificating.  Let’s dive into today’s games…

My Favorite Hitter Stacks

Let’s first take a look at how the probable starting pitchers rank in terms of FPTS given up to hitters per plate appearance (over the past 1 year):

Pitcher Opponent FPTS/PA given up (FD) FPTS/PA given up (DK) # Plate appearances against
Derek Holland (P, SF) ARI 2.9 2.2 626
Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) KC 2.6 2 185
Francisco Liriano (P, DET) CLE 2.6 1.9 439
Cody Reed (P, CIN) PHI 2.5 1.8 79
Julio Teheran (P, ATL) WAS 2.5 1.9 812
Clayton Richard (P, SD) COL 2.4 1.9 858
Ben Lively (P, PHI) CIN 2.4 1.8 372
Miguel Gonzalez (P, CWS) TB 2.4 1.8 684
Doug Fister (P, TEX) LAA 2.3 1.7 392
Jakob Junis (P, KC) SEA 2.2 1.7 422
Dylan Bundy (P, BAL) TOR 2.2 1.7 698
Chris Archer (P, TB) CWS 2.1 1.6 852
Jose Urena (P, MIA) NYM 2.1 1.6 724
J.A. Happ (P, TOR) BAL 2 1.6 626
Jhoulys Chacin (P, MIL) STL 2 1.5 765
Jon Gray (P, COL) SD 2 1.6 461
Lance Lynn (P, MIN) HOU 2 1.5 776
Justin Verlander (P, HOU) MIN 1.9 1.5 849
Zack Godley (P, ARI) SF 1.9 1.4 627
Noah Syndergaard (P, NYM) MIA 1.8 1.4 124
Max Scherzer (P, WAS) ATL 1.6 1.3 779
Corey Kluber (P, CLE) DET 1.6 1.3 777
Garrett Richards (P, LAA) TEX 1.4 1.1 108

 

I omitted Miles Mikolas (P, STL) from this list because he has only pitched 1 MLB game in the past 4 years, so we don’t have enough recent data from him to do a meaningful analysis.  Of course, the fact that he has only pitched one game in the past four years might be reason enough to target hitters against him today.

Now let’s drill down and take a look at how each pitcher fared against right-handed, left-handed, and switch-hitting batters. Here are the top splits by FPTS given up per plate appearance to hitters:

Pitcher Opponent Against hitters who bat… FPTS/PA given up (FD) FPTS/PA given up (DK) # Plate appearances against
Justin Verlander (P, HOU) MIN Switch-hitter 3.3 2.5 92
Derek Holland (P, SF) ARI Right-handed 3.1 2.3 378
Derek Holland (P, SF) ARI Switch-hitter 3 2.3 114
Doug Fister (P, TEX) LAA Switch-hitter 2.8 2.1 83
Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) KC Right-handed 2.8 2.2 127
Clayton Richard (P, SD) COL Right-handed 2.8 2.2 588
Francisco Liriano (P, DET) CLE Right-handed 2.8 2.1 296
Miguel Gonzalez (P, CWS) TB Left-handed 2.8 2.1 228
Cody Reed (P, CIN) PHI Right-handed 2.8 2 47

 

I don’t put too much faith in the Verlander and Fister stats due to the small sample sizes so we’ll instead look to target the highlighted matchups today.  Colorado and Cleveland stacks will be chalky today thanks in large part to their high implied run totals.  Arizona (due to playing on the road in San Francisco in a pitcher-friendly park) and KC, on the other hand, should be less popular and make decent contrarian plays.  You can also make a case for Philly (despite the small sample size for Cody Reed), Washington, and to a lesser extent Houston, but I don’t have space to cover every viable stack.

I will list multiple hitters for each potential stack, so feel free to choose any sized stack that you like from this list.  I will choose hitters from the projected starting lineups based on which side they bat from and their calculated “value”, which is their projected FPTS divided by their salary.  I use my own algorithm to generate projected FPTS for hitters.  Projected FPTS and value are primarily based on the following:

  • Hitter’s average FPTS per plate appearance against similar pitchers over the past year
  • Hitter’s projected # of plate appearances (i.e. the league-wide average for his batting position)
  • Pitcher’s average FPTS per plate appearance given up to similar hitters over the past year
  • Ballpark factors (e.g. the impact of the ballpark on fantasy production)
  • Current salary on the specified DFS site

The number before each player’s name is his projected position in the batting order.  Be sure to check the final batting order before lock to make sure your chosen players are all starting!  

Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed hitters

2) Ketel Marte (S) – 11.91 proj FPTS & 4.76 value on FD ($2500), 8.95 proj FPTS & 2.56 value on DK ($3500)
3) Paul Goldschmidt (R) – 13.98 proj FPTS & 3.25 value on FD ($4300), 10.5 proj FPTS & 2.19 value on DK ($4800)
4) A.J. Pollock (R) – 12.91 proj FPTS & 3.31 value on FD ($3900), 9.76 proj FPTS & 2.03 value on DK ($4800)
5) Chris Owings (R) – 11.98 proj FPTS & 3.74 value on FD ($3200), 9.09 proj FPTS & 2.39 value on DK ($3800)
7) Deven Marrero (R) – 13.02 proj FPTS & 6.2 value on FD ($2100), 9.76 proj FPTS & 3.49 value on DK ($2800)
8) Jeff Mathis (R) – 11.18 proj FPTS & 5.32 value on FD ($2100), 8.44 proj FPTS & 3.67 value on DK ($2300)

All of these players offer solid-to-spectacular value, but given that this is a late game I’d be hesitant to start Marrero or Mathis unless lineups are announced early enough to swap them out if necessary.  Marte, Goldschmidt, and Pollock should be safe to roster even in all-day contests.

Kansas City Royals right-handed hitters

2) Whit Merrifield (R) – 12.47 proj FPTS & 4.02 value on FD ($3100), 9.8 proj FPTS & 2.97 value on DK ($3300)
4) Cheslor Cuthbert (R) – 10.53 proj FPTS & 5.01 value on FD ($2100), 8.33 proj FPTS & 2.78 value on DK ($3000)
5) Jorge Soler (R) – 10.81 proj FPTS & 5.15 value on FD ($2100), 8.46 proj FPTS & 2.82 value on DK ($3000)
6) Paulo Orlando (R) – 11.05 proj FPTS & 5.53 value on FD ($2000), 8.79 proj FPTS & 3.03 value on DK ($2900)
7) Cam Gallagher (R) – 11.05 proj FPTS & 5.53 value on FD ($2000), 8.8 proj FPTS & 3.52 value on DK ($2500)

Given the relatively small sample size for the Marco Gonzales pitching splits and the wide variety of safer stacks on this slate, I would only recommend using a KC stack in a contrarian lineup or as a way to save $ spent elsewhere (such as a top pitcher or a higher priced stack).

Colorado Rockies right-handed hitters

2) DJ LeMahieu (R) – 13.47 proj FPTS & 3.21 value on FD ($4200), 10.36 proj FPTS & 2.07 value on DK ($5000)
3) Nolan Arenado (R) – 16.47 proj FPTS & 3.05 value on FD ($5400), 12.48 proj FPTS & 2.19 value on DK ($5700)
4) Ian Desmond (R) – 12.28 proj FPTS & 3.15 value on FD ($3900), 9.37 proj FPTS & 1.77 value on DK ($5300)
6) Trevor Story (R) – 13.06 proj FPTS & 3.18 value on FD ($4100), 9.89 proj FPTS & 2.25 value on DK ($4400)
7) Chris Iannetta (R) – 11.63 proj FPTS & 3.63 value on FD ($3200), 8.89 proj FPTS & 2.22 value on DK ($4000)

None of these players offers great value, but sometimes paying up for chalk is justified.  Pairing a Rockies stack with a Royals stack might be a good way to make an otherwise chalky lineup more contrarian and offset the nearly prohibitive cost of the Rockies’ top hitters.

Cleveland Indians right-handed hitters

1) Francisco Lindor (S) – 11.46 proj FPTS & 2.73 value on FD ($4200)
3) Jose Ramirez (S) – 11.93 proj FPTS & 3.31 value on FD ($3600)
4) Edwin Encarnacion (R) – 11.79 proj FPTS & 2.88 value on FD ($4100)
5) Brandon Guyer (R) – 10.62 proj FPTS & 4.62 value on FD ($2300)
6) Rajai Davis (R) – 10.73 proj FPTS & 4.66 value on FD ($2300)
7) Yan Gomes (R) – 11.09 proj FPTS & 4.27 value on FD ($2600)

Lindor and Encarnacion offer sub-par value at these prices, so I would be hesitant to include them in a stack unless you’re really sold on Cleveland today.  For my money, I prefer the idea of using a Guyer-Davis-Gomes value stack to supplement a higher priced stack from another team such as Colorado.

Best Hitter Values

FanDuel – expensive hitters ($3500 or more)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Ian Happ (OF, CHC) $3600 Ivan Nova (P, PIT) 15.01 4.17
Eric Thames (1B, MIL) $3600 Miles Mikolas (P, STL) 13.12 3.64
Michael Conforto (OF, NYM) $3800 Jose Urena (P, MIA) 12.68 3.34
Jose Ramirez (3B, CLE) $3600 Francisco Liriano (P, DET) 11.93 3.31
A.J. Pollock (OF, ARI) $3900 Derek Holland (P, SF) 12.91 3.31
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, ARI) $4300 Derek Holland (P, SF) 13.98 3.25
Joey Votto (1B, CIN) $4000 Ben Lively (P, PHI) 12.98 3.24
Travis Shaw (3B, MIL) $4000 Miles Mikolas (P, STL) 12.94 3.24
Starling Marte (OF, PIT) $3600 Tyler Chatwood (P, CHC) 11.64 3.23
DJ LeMahieu (2B, COL) $4200 Clayton Richard (P, SD) 13.47 3.21

FanDuel – midrange hitters ($2500 to $3500)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Scooter Gennett (2B, CIN) $2800 Ben Lively (P, PHI) 13.66 4.88
Ketel Marte (SS, ARI) $2500 Derek Holland (P, SF) 11.91 4.76
Aaron Altherr (OF, PHI) $2700 Cody Reed (P, CIN) 11.73 4.34
Dexter Fowler (OF, STL) $2800 Jhoulys Chacin (P, MIL) 11.98 4.28
Yan Gomes (C, CLE) $2600 Francisco Liriano (P, DET) 11.09 4.27
Odubel Herrera (OF, PHI) $2500 Cody Reed (P, CIN) 10.62 4.25
Brian Goodwin (OF, WAS) $2500 Julio Teheran (P, ATL) 10.62 4.25
Domingo Santana (OF, MIL) $2800 Miles Mikolas (P, STL) 11.87 4.24
Rougned Odor (2B, TEX) $2700 Garrett Richards (P, LAA) 11.13 4.12
Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX) $2600 Garrett Richards (P, LAA) 10.64 4.09

FanDuel – cheap hitters (less than $2500)

Hitter FD Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Deven Marrero (3B, ARI) $2100 Derek Holland (P, SF) 13.02 6.2
Joey Wendle (2B, TB) $2200 Miguel Gonzalez (P, CWS) 13.2 6
Cam Gallagher (C, KC) $2000 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 11.05 5.53
Paulo Orlando (OF, KC) $2000 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 11.05 5.53
Jeff Mathis (C, ARI) $2100 Derek Holland (P, SF) 11.18 5.32
Ben Zobrist (2B, CHC) $2200 Ivan Nova (P, PIT) 11.61 5.28
Jorge Soler (OF, KC) $2100 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 10.81 5.15
Denard Span (OF, TB) $2400 Miguel Gonzalez (P, CWS) 12.26 5.11
Justin Bour (1B, MIA) $2200 Noah Syndergaard (P, NYM) 11.06 5.03
Cheslor Cuthbert (3B, KC) $2100 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 10.53 5.01

DraftKings – expensive hitters ($4000 or more)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Ian Happ (OF, CHC) $4500 Ivan Nova (P, PIT) 11.3 2.51
Michael Conforto (OF, NYM) $4000 Jose Urena (P, MIA) 9.51 2.38
Joey Votto (1B, CIN) $4200 Ben Lively (P, PHI) 9.8 2.33
Trevor Story (SS, COL) $4400 Clayton Richard (P, SD) 9.89 2.25
Yoan Moncada (2B, CWS) $4100 Chris Archer (P, TB) 9.19 2.24
Chris Iannetta (C, COL) $4000 Clayton Richard (P, SD) 8.89 2.22
Nolan Arenado (3B, COL) $5700 Clayton Richard (P, SD) 12.48 2.19
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, ARI) $4800 Derek Holland (P, SF) 10.5 2.19
Trea Turner (SS, WAS) $4700 Julio Teheran (P, ATL) 10.18 2.17
Ryan Zimmerman (1B, WAS) $4000 Julio Teheran (P, ATL) 8.64 2.16

DraftKings – midrange hitters ($3000 to $4000)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Scooter Gennett (2B, CIN) $3200 Ben Lively (P, PHI) 10.34 3.23
Whit Merrifield (2B, KC) $3300 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 9.8 2.97
Dexter Fowler (OF, STL) $3100 Jhoulys Chacin (P, MIL) 9.07 2.93
Jorge Soler (OF, KC) $3000 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 8.46 2.82
Eduardo Escobar (SS, MIN) $3200 Justin Verlander (P, HOU) 8.96 2.8
Carlos Gomez (OF, TB) $3000 Miguel Gonzalez (P, CWS) 8.38 2.79
Cheslor Cuthbert (3B, KC) $3000 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 8.33 2.78
Travis Shaw (3B, MIL) $3500 Miles Mikolas (P, STL) 9.7 2.77
Rougned Odor (2B, TEX) $3100 Garrett Richards (P, LAA) 8.57 2.76
Shin-soo Choo (OF, TEX) $3300 Garrett Richards (P, LAA) 9.05 2.74

DraftKings – cheap hitters (less than $3000)

Hitter DK Salary Opposing Pitcher Projected FPTS Value
Joey Wendle (2B, TB) $2500 Miguel Gonzalez (P, CWS) 10.05 4.02
Jeff Mathis (C, ARI) $2300 Derek Holland (P, SF) 8.44 3.67
Cam Gallagher (C, KC) $2500 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 8.8 3.52
Denard Span (OF, TB) $2700 Miguel Gonzalez (P, CWS) 9.48 3.51
Deven Marrero (3B, ARI) $2800 Derek Holland (P, SF) 9.76 3.49
Paulo Orlando (OF, KC) $2900 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 8.79 3.03
Cliff Pennington (2B, CIN) $2500 Ben Lively (P, PHI) 7.32 2.93
Drew Butera (C, KC) $2500 Marco Gonzales (P, SEA) 7.28 2.91
Justin Bour (1B, MIA) $2900 Noah Syndergaard (P, NYM) 8.35 2.88
Mallex Smith (OF, TB) $2700 Miguel Gonzalez (P, CWS) 7.67 2.84

How I plan to approach this slate (on FanDuel)

I can’t find a low-cost pitcher that I like today, so while I like the idea of using one of the premium hitter stacks (such as the Rockies) I’d rather spend my money on a top pitcher.  I considered Scherzer but opted for Kluber instead because the Braves lineup scares me and I think Kluber is in-line for his first dominant fantasy performance of the new season against a mediocre Tigers lineup.

I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and build my lineup around a 3-player Diamondbacks stack and a 3-player KC Royals stack. I really want to include Marrero due to his extreme value, but given the late start time and lack of other games at that time I don’t want to be left without anyone to swap him out for if he doesn’t start.  I might switch Cuthbert for Marrero if Arizona releases its starting lineup early enough. I didn’t have a ton of salary left over, so I filled out the rest of the lineup a couple of my top hitter values from the lists above.

Here’s what my lineup looks like today:

Stay tuned throughout the day because I will publish changes as the weather forecast and starting lineups become clearer.