Today, the early slate of games is actually quite a full one. With seven games on tap starting at 12:35 ET, we have plenty of people you should be targeting for today. Let’s just jump right into all the information, and as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24
Stephen Strasburg ATL vs WAS – $11,300 – After being scratched yesterday due to illness, Strasburg will still get a crack at facing the Braves today, barring everything goes well by the time he makes it to the ballpark. His price tag is extremely high, but this is a team that could barely handle Tanner Roark, who stepped in place for Strasburg last night. This will be Strasburg’s second start of the season against the Braves. In his first he threw for six innings, allowing one run on six hits with a 4:3 K:BB ratio. I have a feeling we could see a much more dominant result this time around, as he owned a 10.6 K/9 in two starts against the Braves last season.
Danny Salazar – CLE vs. TB – $11,000 – Any stud pitcher you’re planning on playing this afternoon is going to carry quite the hefty price tag. Salazar gets the start against a Rays team that is very prone to the strikeout. Last season, they ranked 9th overall in strikeouts and they whiffed eight times last night against Carlos Carrasco. Salazar is certainly someone who can bring the K’s on a nightly basis, owning a K/9 of nine against both lefties and righties. He does have an issue with keeping the ball in the park, as he gave up 23 last season, with 14 of those coming on the road. Even still, Salazar should be in a prime spot this afternoon.
Vince Velasquez – PHI vs. SD – $7,300 -If you’re looking for a pitcher with some strike outs on the cheap, look no further than Velasquez. In his first start of the season, Velasquez had a tough task taking on the Mets, but came out with a fantastic outing. Velasquez pitched six innings allowing no runs on three hits with a 9:3 K:BB ratio. Velasquez didn’t pitch much in the majors last season, having logged only 55.2 innings, but even during that time his K/9 was quite high. Against righties, he ended the year at 10.9 and lefties an 8.1. The Padres were ranked 6th overall in strikeouts and have gotten off to a real slow start at the plate. Velasquez holds some serious value on the afternoon.
Mat Latos – CWS vs MIN – $7,600 – I have to admit, I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about Latos. With that being said, if you’re looking for a GPP flier, Latos could be your guy. He started off in Spring Training looking just as he did in 2015, horrible. Allowing 15 runs in 13 innings of Spring Training will certainly do that. However, he looked sharp in his first start against Oakland this season, tossing six innings of shut out baseball allowing one hit and a 2:1 K:BB ratio. Latos owned a 7.69 K/9 on the season last year and faces a Twins team ranked 12th in strikeouts in 2015. He’s cheap and going up against a weak team, just have your expectations low.
Bryce Harper (OF) – WAS vs ATL – $5,100 – Isn’t Harper basically an automatic at this point? He faces off against Julio Teheran, whom he tortured on Opening Day. Harper scored 23 DraftKings fantasy points that day grabbing a home run, two walks and a stolen base. Last season against righties, Harper owned a filthy .478 wOBA with an ISO of .354 which is honestly down right sick. Teheran really struggles against lefties and no one is better than Harper. Teheran owned a .386 wOBA against lefties last season
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – DET vs PIT – $4,000 – This might be the cheapest I’ve seen Miguel Cabrera ever on DraftKings. At just $4,000, he immediately feels like a steal on the day. Even in a down year for Cabrera, he still owned a .408 wOBA against right handed pitching. He faces Gerrit Cole today who has allowed a career .289 wOBA to rigties. While that sounds pretty daunting, Cabrera at this cheap is tough to pass up, in my opinion.
Darin Ruf (1B) – PHI vs. SD – $4,000 – I’m not completely sure Ruf will even be in the starting lineup today, as he has an injury to his rotator cuff. If he is, however, he’ll be facing a lefty, and that’s what we love about Ruf. Against lefties, Ruf owned a .371 wOBA hitting eight of his 12 home runs last season. With an ISO of .289, Ruf is purely a lefty specialist at this point, and getting him in your lineup when he in is almost imperative.
Matt Kemp (OF) – SD vs. PHI – $4,800 – Kemp might be one of the only shining spots in the early going for the Padres. Coming into today, he’s batting .303 with three home runs, 10 RBIs, and an OPS of .879. He faces off against Velasquez, whom I certainly like today. With that being said, Kemp could be the one to potentially give him some trouble. Kemp hit 17 of his 23 home runs against righties last season with a .317 wOBA and .170 ISO. Again, I believe his high price tag might scare some people off, which could make him a worthy scoop if you’re trying to gain in edge in GPP today.
“Kemp hit 17 of his 23 home runs against righties last season . . .”
Freddie Freeman (1B) – ATL vs WAS – $4,600 – Freeman is a bit expensive, and, on paper, a tough matchup against Stephen Strasburg. So what gives? Well, historically, Freeman has hit Strasburg quite well. Freeman owns an impressive line going 12-31 against Strasburg with two doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs. If Strasburg doesn’t end up being 100%, you know that Freeman will be severely under owned and potentially in a good spot.
Miguel Sano (3B) – MIN vs CHW – $4,600 – Sano has gotten off to a really slow start this season, but a potential blow up from opposing pitcher Mat Latos could do the trick. Sano was great against righties last season, owning a .397 wOBA with an ISO of .273. Sano also hit really well at home, owning a .450 wOBA with 10 of his 18 home runs. I’m honestly not sure what to expect from Latos, so this is a bit of a tough call, but at least we know that Sano has the numbers to hopefully be in line for a nice game.
Chris Carter (1B) – MIL vs STL – $3,100 – Chris Carter basically reminds me of Mark Reynolds, he hits home runs and that’s about it. Carter is exactly that player, coming into today batting .261 with three home runs, six RBIs and a 1.076 OPS. He faces Jaime Garica who overall does a good job at keeping the ball in the park, but with how cheap Carter is, it’s worth taking a shot. Especially with how overlooked he will be, I’ll take someone with a .322 wOBA against lefties for $3,100.
Cesar Hernandez (2B) – PHI vs SD – $3,300 – Truly, he’s my favorite second baseman to roster on an almost daily basis, Hernadez continues to be overlooked, and overlooked andddddd overlooked. Hitting .346 on the season with an .832 OPS, Hernandez is not your guy to leave the yard and throw up 14 points. He is the guy, however, that is averaging 7 points per game and costs you $3,300. Facing Drew Pomeranz today, he’s struggled against righties, which is no problem for Hernandez as a switch hitter. Pomeranz owned a .326 wOBA against them last season with Hernandez owning a .314. Believe me, no one will be on him today.
“Truly, he’s my favorite second baseman to roster on an almost daily basis”
Randal Grichuk (OF) – STL vs MIL – $3,600 – After a slow start to the season, Grichuk is starting to pick things up. With back-to-back games scoring in double digits, Grichuk has a nice matchup against Wily Peralta this afternoon. Peralta was a mess last season, allowing a .349 wOBA to right-handed batters and a .351 while on the road. While we’ve only seen Grichuk in one season, he hit 11 home runs against righties last season with a smooth .381 wOBA and a .281 ISO. Someone with his type of power at $3,600 in this matchup reeks of value.
Yan Gomes (CATCH) – CLE vs TBR – $2,900 – This one is a complete puny play, and Gomes could certainly be shut down today. But I’m willing to take a shot with how poorly Chris Archer has been pitching lately. Gomes is just $2,900 and has decent numbers against right-handed pitching. He owned a .301 wOBA with 11 of his 12 home runs last season. Archer has not looked like himself and has been getting whacked around lately. For someone that will most certainly be overlooked and potentially have something worth the value of his small price tag, I’m willing to take a shot here.