So technically, April 3rd is/was Opening Day. However, I think we all consider today to be the day. So in that case, WELCOME TO OPENING DAY OF THE 2016 SEASON! This article will cover the seven early slate of games. I will have another article up of the late slate of games. Let get right into all the information! As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24

Game Notes

Biggest Favorites

Washington (-200) vs. ATL – Max Scherzer – Hard not to like Scherzer in this spot against the lowly Atlanta Braves. Last season, Scherzer faced the Braves once going 8.1 IP giving up two runs on five hits and striking out nine.

Other Notable Favorites:

  • The Giants (Madison Bumgarner) are a -185 favorite at Milwaukee.
  • The Reds (Raisal Iglesias) are a -150 favorite vs. Philadelphia.

Highest Totals

Philadelphia at Cincinnati – 8.5 runs – This matchup has the highest run total of both slates, as it pits Jeremy Hellickson against Raisel Iglesias. We certainly could see some crooked numbers being posted up in this one, especially from the Reds. Hellickson allowed a .339 wOBA vs. lefties and a .330 wOBA vs. righties last season.

Other Notable Totals:

  • The Twins and Orioles have a projected O/U of 8 runs.
  • All other games have projected O/U’s of 7.5 runs or lower.

Weather Concerns

Editor’s Note: The Astros vs. Yankees games has been postponed. The players in that game will not earn fantasy points, so be sure to check your lineups.

1) HOU vs NYY (Yankee Stadium) As always, the forecast can change as we get closer to game time. This game seems to have a high chance of rain with 90% confidence during game time. It should be light, but it’s enough to possibly disrupt the flow of the game.

2) MIN vs. BAL (Camden Yards) – This matchup consists of a “chance” of rain instead of a sure thing in New York. With a 60% chance of rain here, be careful when picking hitters. Keep a watchful eye on this one.

3) BOS vs. CLE (Progressive Field) – This game will have a 18mph wind blowing in from center field, killing any potential power.

Park Factors

Progressive Field – BOS vs. CLE – On the surface, Progressive Field was the second ranked hitters park in 2015. It ranked second in terms of singles and first overall in doubles. The unfortunate part, snow might be rolling in for this first game.

Yankee Stadium – HOU vs. NYY If you’re looking for power on this slate, look no further than Yankee Stadium. This stadium ranked fourth overall of all ballparks in terms of home runs and 10th in runs.

Turner Field – WAS vs. ATL – Turner Field is the worst park for hitters in this slate. I wouldn’t be expecting much from the Braves. The Nationals facing Julio Teheran feels enticing but there is certainly risk in this ballpark.

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Madison Bumgarner.539.206Julio Teheran.893.300
Dallas Keuchel.606.177Wily Peralta.889.309
Cole Hamels.646.237 Jeremy Hellickson.790.273

  • The list of of the best pitchers against LHB is quite impressive. Keuchel was widely known for being a dominant force against them last season with his .177 AVG against them.

Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Dallas Keuchel0.4610.227Chris Tillman0.8280.271
Max Scherzer0.5380.184Wily Peralta0.7960.295
Corey Kluber0.5490.197Jeremy Hellickson0.7740.257

  • It should never be taken as a good sign when a pitcher appears in the “worst vs.” section twice. I’m looking at you Peralta. He should be avoided at all costs and stacking against him seems wise.

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

BatterOpposing SPABFP/AB
Bryce HarperJulio Teheran233
Jose LobatanJulio Teheran153.13
Ryan BraunMadison Bumgarner232.82
Angel PaganWily Peralta131.61

  • As you can see, Bryce Harper completely crushes Julio Teheran. In his 23 at-bats, Harper has produced six extra bases hit, three of them being home runs, with a 1.475 OPS. #smokeshow
  • I think Angel Pagan could be a nice sneaky play against the less than stellar Wily Peralta. Even though the sample size is a bit smaller, Pagan is 7-13 against Peralta, although he’s only amassed one extra base hit out of it. Regardless, $3,900 for Pagan isn’t too much to ask.
  • Ryan Braun is a little riskier against Madison Bumgarner but he does have a 1.000 OPS in 23 ABs vs. MadBum in his career.

Apr4 - Bryce Harper2

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Felix Hernandez – SEA vs. TEX – $8,880 – When was the last time you saw King Felix priced this low? If you said never, I would have to agree with you. Getting a premium pitcher at a low price like this seems like a no brainer. He wasn’t at the top of his game last season, as his K/9 was down and his BB/9 was up, both by one for each stat. With that being said, he does starts the season in Texas, a team he pitched well against last season. Texas doesn’t possess much power, and Hernandez only gave up one home run to this team in five starts. His K:BB ratio in those games sat at 24:13, which shows how much his walks were an issue last season. According to Hernandez, he felt like he had excellent control of his fastball in Spring Training, and he said he feels great. Time will tell, but I think he’s great value on Opening Day Part 2.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Bryce Harper – WAS vs. ATL – $4,500 – Make no mistake, if you’re on your mobile device and are looking to roster Harper, you’ll have to scroll for a moment to get down to him. We LOVE that. Getting Harper at a “cheap” $4,500 is a steal no matter who Atlanta was throwing out on Opening Day. Well, it’s someone he’s had huge success against with Julio Teheran. As noted above, Harper is producing 3 fantasy points per at-bat against Teheran. Taking it a step further, last season against RHP, Harper produced a .478 wOBA to go with a filthy .354 ISO. Truly, if Harper isn’t at least 90% owned in every contest on Opening Day, I’ll be quite concerned for America.

Save Big by Drafting…

Colby Rasmus – HOU vs. NYY – $3,200 I love the prospect of Rasmus because I think he’ll be overlooked, but his 30+ HR potential. He takes on Tanaka, which is another reason I think he’ll go overlooked; however, Tanaka gave up 25 long balls last season. He split them almost evenly last year with 13 going to LHB, and 17 of his 25 home runs were at home. If you want to break it down even more, 9 of those home runs came at Yankee Stadium against LHB, or 36%. Is that enough numbers for you? Truly, though, it’s home run or bust for this pick.

Stack Em Up

Washington vs. Julio Teheran – This was a close one between Washington and the San Francisco Giants. When I was going through the list of players I liked on this slate, I kept finding myself gravitating to the Nationals hitters. Teheran actually pitched better at home compared to on the road last season. When it came to the Nationals, though, he really struggled. Teheran went 16.2 innings, allowing 14 runs (10 earned) on 25 hits with a 14:7 K:BB ratio. With the exception of Harper, not one Nationals starter is priced above $4,000, thus making a stack easy to make.