The MLB had all 30 teams in action Thursday for Opening Day, and tonight 16 teams are back in action under the lights, giving us a solid eight-game fantasy baseball slate. Whoever made the schedules was strategic with where these games are being played to avoid weather issues, since only San Diego, Los Angeles and Oakland don’t have the option of closing the roof on this slate.
Hopefully, your DFS fantasy baseball season got off to a strong start and you’re back ready for more Friday. To help you get your team together for the main contests on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays this season, I’ll be highlighting some of the best plays with affordable price tags. In each post, I’ll provide you with two pitchers under $7,500 and three hitters under $3,500 who I think will return value and have good upside based on their form, matchup and opportunity.
SP TREVOR RICHARDS, MIA vs. COL, $7,000
Richards had a great Spring Training and will try to carry that momentum into his matchup with the Rockies. He made five starts and finished with a 1.86 ERA and 0.62 WHIP while striking out 20 in 19 1/3 innings. He finished with a gem against the Cardinals, allowing no hits over six scoreless innings.
The Marlins took the loss on Opening Day but will hope to level their series with the Rockies if Richards can have a similar outing to when he faced Colorado last season. He allowed just one run on three hits in six innings and struck out eight. If he can stay in his form from the spring, he could have a similar line to start this season.
SP MATTHEW BOYD, DET at TOR, $6,600
Boyd was a solid option last season, producing 14.4 DKFP per start over his 31 outings. He led the team with nine wins and 159 strikeouts in his 170 1/3 innings. The lefty struggled a bit in Spring Training but impressed with his velocity and picked up 20 strikeouts in 18 innings.
In the opener, the Blue Jays were stymied by Jordan Zimmermann, and Boyd will try to keep their bats quiet as he takes the mound for the first time this season. He could have a higher ceiling than last year if his strikeout numbers stay elevated like they were this spring.
OF ADAM JONES, ARI at LAD, $3,400
Jones was available on the free agent market until very late in Spring Training, but the 33-year-old went from unemployed to having a starting spot and hitting atop the Diamondbacks’ order in just a few weeks. With Steven Souza Jr. (knee) out, Jones is expected to be Arizona’s everyday right fielder.
He led off against the Dodgers on Thursday and went 2-for-4 with a home run. He doesn’t offer many stolen bases but still does have some pop and usually gets on base at a solid clip. He hit .281 with 15 homers last season and had 28 long balls just two years ago. It will be interesting if he stays in the leadoff spot against righty Ross Stripling ($9,500) after leading off against a lefty on Opening Day. If he does, he has some nice bargain potential.
1B ALBERT PUJOLS, LAA at OAK, $3,400
Pujols went 0-for-3 in the opener as the Angels were shut out in their loss to the Athletics. He’ll try to bounce back against Marco Estrada ($5,800), who was knocked around in his first start of the season in Tokyo. Pujols has had success against him in the past, going 6-for-13 with a double, a home run and four RBI against Estrada in his career.
The 39-year-old Pujols is still an important part of the Angels’ offense and hit .326 in Spring Training with three homers, six RBI and a solid .954 OPS. He hit fifth on Opening Day and should be in a solid run-producing spot if he stays there in the order against Estrada.
3B BRANDON DRURY, TOR VS. DET, $2,900
Drury made his Blue Jays debut Thursday, hitting in the leadoff spot against the Tigers. He only went 1-for-4 but did collect one of Toronto’s just two hits. Drury had a strong spring, hitting .315 with three homers, a .947 OPS and a pair of stolen bases.
After missing almost all of last season with injuries, Drury is looking to have a bounce-back year with Toronto. He has hit lefties well in his career and has a double against Boyd in his three plate appearances against the southpaw.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.