WELCOME BACK! BASEBALL IS FINALLY HERE! As of last night, the games matter. Season-long fantasy is going to be extremely difficult to manage and stay on top of this season, with all of the uncertainty ahead. However, on a daily basis, we should be able to narrow down some solid choices to have good production (and actually play, which is maybe the most important part of this current Covid-19 baseball world). With that said, I’m really sick of talking about the pandemic, as I’m sure you are too. It’s baseball time, so let’s get to that. Here are some players I’ll be rolling with tonight.
Ross Stripling ($7,900 DK, $6,600 FD) – On a normal Opening Day type of DFS slate, someone like Stripling wouldn’t even sound appealing, compared to the other big-name, more proven pitchers also getting the nod. However, Stripling will be pitching against a very weak and dismantled San Francisco Giants lineup, in a good park for pitchers. Stripling has caught the eye of many in the fantasy industry and is highly thought of as a sleeper pick. How about we start the season off strong, with a good solid outing and a win right off the bat?
Kyle Hendricks ($7,400 DK, $7,700 FD) – The Professor didn’t pitch all that great in his final tune-up against the Chicago White Sox last week. Be that as it may, he was able to stretch out to 83 pitches and seems ready to pitch deeper into games than most at this time of year. The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t hit Hendricks all that well in the past, and he’s definitely capable of limiting Christian Yelich and the big boppers in that lineup. I’ll double down with the salary savings between Stripling and Hendricks and load up on the bats. At the very least, they shouldn’t kill you and should provide a solid floor.
If you’re looking for more strikeout potential, albeit coming with a higher price tag, select from the pitchers below.
Willson Contreras ($4,300 DK, $3,200 FD) – Willy the Beast has really shined during this summer camp. He’s known for coming out of the gates hot, hitting much better in the first half of each season so far in his young career. If it weren’t for injuries and fatigue, Contreras might get more respect for his bat. I usually don’t like paying up for catchers, but there are exceptions, and this is one. Contreras blasted two bombs off of Homer Bailey in the Cubs’ final summer camp game before the season and I envision him picking up right where he left off. He seems locked in, so I’m locking him into my lineup.
Carlos Santana ($4,600 DK, $3,200 FD) – Many DFSers will lean toward Francisco Lindor or Jose Ramirez, but Santana is just as capable of delivering a massive blow. Working in his favor, he has Danny Duffy’s number. In 36 ABs against the lefty, Santana is 16-for-36 with three HRs and a .530 wOBA. He also hit .324 with a 153 wRC+ versus southpaws last season. He may not be able to play the guitar like the other Carlos Santana, but an Opening Day blast would be music to our ears.
Kyle Seager ($3,400 DK, $2,700 FD) – A value hitter against Verlander? Yes, why not? Verlander had another stellar season last year, adding on to his already Hall of Fame resume. However, when he gave up runs, they came via the home run ball. JV allowed a 1.45 HR/9 rate, which was the highest rate of his career. He didn’t get himself into a whole lot of trouble because most of them were solo shots. Still, all it takes is one solo bop from Seager to have a very good DFS day, especially at his cheap salary. Seager has hit at least 22 HRs each of the last seven years and has struck JV well, with a .278/.333/.694 (1.028 OPS) career slash line against him in 36 career ABs, while he’s also cracked four bombs off of him.
Los Angeles Dodgers – They started slow versus Johnny Cueto and the Giants last night, but ended up stringing together some hits and putting the game away after the right-hander exited. Jeff Samardzija isn’t a complete gas can pitcher, but he’s nothing like he was early on in his career. It’s going to be tough to find terrible pitching on an Opening Day slate like this, so why not place a bet on one of the best offenses in the game? I’ll be sprinkling in a mixture of Dodgers in different lineups, but my favorites are Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, and Corey Seager.
Oakland Athletics – The lineup hasn’t changed much from last season, and if anything, it should be improved with a resurgent Khris Davis. The A’s ranked fourth in MLB in wRC+ (115) versus lefties, and sixth in wOBA (.340). The opposing pitcher, Andrew Heaney, ranked in the 20th percentile in HH% and ninth percentile in exit velocity against. Both are not good and shouldn’t boast a lot of confidence in this matchup. Heaney also had a very high 1.89 HR/9 rate, which would’ve put him in competition with Matthew Boyd (also a 1.89 rate) for the worst rate in baseball among qualified pitchers. Luckily for Heaney, he didn’t pitch enough innings to qualify. Nonetheless, I’ll take a stab with the A’s and bet on them to rough up Heaney a bit.
Please Note: Fanduel pricing has been included but for all intents and purposes, the article was based on DraftKings research. The main slate of games beginning at 7:05 EST were the ones addressed. Recheck starting lineups and weather concerns before the games start and make changes accordingly.
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