Opening Day was my day. Yesterday…not so much. As well as I personally performed on the season’s first day, I think I somehow was that bad (x10) on Tuesday.
But that happens. And I’ll save you the suspense; it will happen again. To me. To you. Even to my Uncle Bruce, who just started playing MLB and currently believes he’s unbeatable.
Even to Uncle Bruce, you say?
Yeah, even to Bruce.
As a true daily game and arguably the most unpredictable of the major sports on a day-to-day basis, baseball will take you through some pretty ridiculous swings. You could be a winning player and not profit for a week straight or a losing player and dominate your leagues for seven consecutive days.
If you’re going to be successful in this sport, you’ll need to learn to cope with that variance. The uncertainty involved with baseball is why I love it so much – and why I believe it can ironically be so predictable – but it sure will make you question yourself at times. The exact same process that works one day will get your crushed the next. While you need to test everything you do to make sure you’re on the right path, you also need to have confidence in your process through the dark times (and also know that things aren’t going to keep up forever when you’re running hot).
Make your decisions independently of what happened the previous day, and you’ll be good to go.
Arizona (vs. Chris Heston)
The usage on Arizona tonight is going to be a really nice test to see how much the general public uses the Vegas lines. The D-Backs aren’t frequently a popular stack, but they’re in an awesome spot tonight and currently the top-projected team by Vegas, just ahead of Detroit and Milwaukee. The over/under in the game is 9 runs, and Arizona is a slight favorite over the Giants.
My only reservation with the D-Backs is that perhaps there isn’t as much upside here as it appears from a fantasy perspective. Goldschmidt is a stud (who is far better against southpaws than righties, by the way), but Arizona might be an offense whose fantasy production doesn’t live up to their Vegas run projection at times. I still think they’re in play if for no other reason than how much Vegas likes them, but just be cautious if you believe I’m wrong in my assessment that their team usage won’t be high. If it is, it will severely limit their usable value in GPPs.
Cleveland (vs. Scott Feldman)
Unlike Arizona, I think there’s plenty of upside to allow for Cleveland’s fantasy production to match their favorable Vegas projection. Playing in 80-plus degree temperatures in hitter-friendly Houston, while many other offense will be forced to play in cold temperatures and/or rain, is another advantage for Cleveland.
Milwaukee (vs. Eddie Butler)
The Brewers have struggled the first two games of the season, but they continue to be projected well in Vegas. Along with Detroit and Arizona, they’re over 0.3 runs higher than every other offense in baseball today. There’s a chance that players who were burned by the Brewers in the first two games will move off of them tonight, which would be big for their tournament value.
On the individual level, the Brewers are an extreme team in terms of how well they punish lefties/righties; they have some players (like Adam Lind) who excel versus right-handed pitching, but other players (like Ryan Braun) who are extreme in the opposite direction.
Also note that on a day in which there’s going to be a lot of rain in baseball, you don’t need to worry about the Brewers playing in a stadium with a retractable roof.
1B Adam Lind, Milwaukee (vs. Eddie Butler) – $4000
Lind is one of the more extreme splits players in baseball, crushing right-handed pitching and struggling badly against southpaws. As I explained yesterday, I love those types of players because they often offer value; their salary is frequently a reflection of their overall numbers, which are thrown off by the matchups with pitchers against whom they struggle. When a batter like Lind is facing the handedness of pitcher against whom he excels, he’ll be underpriced.
2B Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee (vs. Eddit Butler) – $3800
Like Lind, Gennett excels versus righties with a wOBA that’s 0.243 points higher than versus southpaws. You might want to think twice about playing Gennett in cash games if he hits low in the order, but that’s less of a concern in GPPs.
1B Lucas Duda, New York Mets (vs. Jordan Zimmerman) – $4100
Duda’s matchup isn’t ideal, but you’re getting a really nice discount on a 30-dong player who crushes righties. His wOBA is 0.142 points higher against right-handers than versus lefties. This is a game for which you’ll need to monitor the weather, though, as there’s currently a 45 percent chance of showers.
3B Pablo Sandoval, Boston (vs. Aaron Harang) – $4300
Sandoval has struck out four times in his first two games on the Red Sox, though he did manage a pair of hits in his last outing. His Opening Day struggles came against Cole Hamels, though, and Sandoval struggles badly against lefties. He won’t need to face a southpaw starter today, though, as Harang takes the mound for Philly. Again, this is yet another contest for which you need to keep an eye on the possible precipitation, though it doesn’t look threatening at this point. Rain can actually help offenses a bit, assuming it doesn’t end up in the game being postponed obviously.
P Scott Kazmir, Oakland (vs. Texas) – $7400
Whenever I can get a pitcher who Vegas loves but DraftKings has priced outside of the top 10 in salaries, I’m going to take it. The Rangers are currently projected as the second-worst offense in Vegas, which means Kazmir has a favorable outlook tonight. Facing off against Ross Detwiler, Kazmir and the A’s are -161 to win, so he’s a good bet to get the W.