There are 14 games being played today, and the MLB has been kind enough to divide them up so we can get three great slates. On the early set of games, we have four matchups to consider. Remember that in early-slate tournaments, ownership should dictate even more of your decision-making than normal, as the slate is sure to have a ton of variance on it. Below are my favorite overall plays on the board.
For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app, as MLB lineups and betting lines can change throughout the day. There also can be unexpected late lineup changes and late injury news, making it important to stay up to the minute with the DK Live app until lineups lock.
StudBrad Keller, KC at CWS, $8,500 — Pitching is scarce on the early slate. Every game total is at least 8.5 runs, and only one team total is under four. Keller is the best of the bunch. Even though he is an average pitcher, Keller is terrific at limiting both fly balls and power overall. Since the start of 2018, his fly ball rate allowed is just 26.3%, and his ISO allowed is less than .100. The White Sox’ projected lineup has a strikeout rate of 25.2% since the start of 2018 against righties. Though Keller himself only owns a strikeout-rate of around 17%, he should approach his strikeout ceiling in this matchup. Other Options — Walker Buehler ($9,300)
ValueZack Wheeler, NYM at PHI, $7,600 — Wheeler is off to a slow start this season but was an elite prospect in the Mets’ farm system and has displayed massive DFS upside throughout his career. In the second half of 2018, Wheeler allowed just a .220 wOBA, and struck out 73 batters in 75 innings. His FIP was just 2.53. The Phillies are a tough matchup because of their elite power bats and overall offensive potential, but the price here is ultimately too low for a pitcher of Wheeler’s caliber.
Other Options — Lucas Giolito ($6,400)
StudYasmani Grandal, MIL vs. STL, $4,600 — The Brewers have the highest team total on the board at 5.2, and Grandal is $500 more than the next most expensive C. You could argue that isn’t enough. He is one of only two Cs on the slate that won’t be at a disadvantage in terms of the platoon, and he has by far the most power. Grandal has a .233 ISO against righties since the start of 2018. He is likely to be highly owned considering the pricing of the pitchers and how much he stands out versus the other Cs. This is chalk worth paying for in tournaments. Other Options — J.T. Realmuto ($4,100)
ValueTucker Barnhart, CIN at LAD, $3,000 — If you’re looking to punt at catcher, go with the other switch-hitter at the position on the slate. Barnhart boasts average power (.124 ISO against righties), and Walker Buehler ($9,300) is a tough matchup head-to-head. However, the young Dodger has not thrown more than 85 pitches in any of his starts and has not pitched more than five innings. Barnhart should see plenty of a Dodgers bullpen that is 20th in ERA to start the year and needed three relievers to close out a game last night.
Other Options — Martin Maldonado ($2,900)
StudPaul Goldschmidt, STL at MIL, $4,900 — Goldschmidt does not have the platoon in this matchup with Corbin Burnes ($6,800), but that does not prevent him from owning prodigious power. His ISO against righties is .248 since the start of 2018, with a .396 wOBA. Burnes is a mostly fastball pitcher (more than 55%), which plays right into Goldschmidt’s hands. He has a .262 ISO and .408 wOBA against fastballs since 2016. Other Options — Max Muncy ($4,300)
ValueRyan O’Hearn, KC at CWS, $3,200 — GOAT’hearn is in a tremendous spot against the right-handed Giolito. He has a monster .342 ISO against righties since the start of last season, and Giolito gives up a .197 ISO to lefties. Giolito has given up about a 40% fly ball rate since the start of 2018, perfect for a power hitter like O’Hearn.
Other Options — Lucas Duda ($3,900)
StudMike Moustakas, MIL vs. STL, $4,600 — Moose has very large platoon splits, with 81 more points of ISO and 58 more points of wOBA against righties than lefties. Michael Wacha ($7,200) allows a fly ball rate under 30% but generates a lot of ground balls with his changeup, which he throws nearly twice as often against lefties (28.1%) since the start of 2018. Moustakas crushes changeups, with a .331 ISO against them from the right-hand side since 2016. Expect him to get the ball in the air against Wacha today. Other Options — Max Muncy ($4,300)
ValueJose Peraza, CIN at LAD, $3,000 — Peraza is giving up the platoon to Buehler, but that has not made a major impact on his performance. And similar to Barnhart, he should see a couple of at-bats against the Dodgers’ pedestrian bullpen. Peraza has a wide range of outcomes, but you need to take some punt shots on a slate of this size. Peraza is one of them.
Other Options — Scott Kingery ($3,200)
StudMatt Carpenter, STL at MIL, $4,400 — Carpenter is one of the few lefties deployed by the Cardinals, and arguably their best hitter. He hits for 35 more points of ISO and 32 more points of wOBA against righties than lefties since the start of 2018. He sees even better numbers against fastballs, which Burnes throws about 69% of the time against left-handed batters. Carpenter has a .301 ISO and .429 wOBA against the pitch since 2016. Other Options — Mike Moustakas ($4,600)
ValueTravis Shaw, MIL vs. STL, $3,700 — We are going to continue the theme of lefties against Wacha with Shaw, who has insane platoon splits. Since the start of 2018, Shaw’s ISO is almost three times as good against righties as it is lefties, and he also hits for 97 more points of wOBA with the platoon. Wacha throws his fastball 39% of the time against lefties, and Shaw’s ISO jumps to .320 when facing a right-handed fastball.
Other Options — Eugenio Suarez ($3,900)
StudAdalberto Mondesi, KC at CWS, $5,000 — Mondesi is another batter that should take advantage of the weaknesses of Giolito. His combination of speed and power is always coveted on a short slate, and Mondesi has been running a lot more of late. He has stolen four bases in his past six games, being caught once. Ned Yost taking the handcuffs off of his young star is the key to him unlocking his fantasy upside. Mondesi also has a .225 ISO against righties since the start of 2018. Other Options — Paul DeJong ($4,700)
ValueCorey Seager, LAD vs. CIN, $4,100 — Seager does not boast a ton of power, but his ISO almost doubles when facing a right-handed pitcher to .156. He also has massive wOBA splits since the start of 2018, with .142 extra points against righties. Perhaps it is just my Yankee fandom bleeding through, but I am not a believer in Sonny Gray ($7,400) and his walk rate that extends over 9%. Gray also deploys his curve and sinker more than 50% of the time. Seager has a .378 and .410 wOBA, respectively, against each pitch from the right-hand side since 2016.
Other Options — Orlando Arcia ($3,400)
StudChristian Yelich, MIL vs. STL, $5,400 — Lefties. Against. Wacha. That is the mantra today, and it certainly would not be appropriate to not include Yelich, who is following up his MVP performance in 2018 with another awesome campaign. Yelich is batting .357 with nine homers and 25 RBI to open the year. His ISO against righties is .308 since the start of last season. He also has been hitting a lot less grounders this year, which has helped his power. Yelich’s ground ball to fly ball rate is 0.71 this season, despite a career number of 1.41. Other Options — Whit Merrifield ($4,900), Michael Conforto ($4,700)
ValueBen Gamel, MIL vs. STL, $3,600 — What’s that you say? More lefties against Wacha? The Brewers gave us a bonus treat today by deciding to hit Gamel leadoff, who is both cheap in price and a lefty. Gamel does not have the same level of power as the other Brewer bats, but does boast some speed, and, more importantly, should see some extra at-bats as the leadoff guy. This is a price play and someone who could take advantage of some stack correlation.
Other Options — Dexter Fowler ($3,200), Chris Taylor ($3,600)
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is amicsta) 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.