MLB Early Targets

This could be a predictable four-game afternoon slate in terms of ownership as people flock to the best matchup on the slate, and that offers a fun spot to be contrarian and throw some action on the other side of things. The Rangers and Mariners face off in a battle with weak pitching and bad bullpens for a second day in a row but might not represent the best spot on the slate. Let’s talk through some things in this article.



Frankie Montas, OAK at CLE, $9,500 — This isn’t necessarily an indictment of Luis Castillo ($11,100), but for the price I like Montas as my main spend up at pitcher. He’s been lights out this year with just one game below 10 DKFP and faces an Indians team that has lacked power all year, scoring more than six runs just five times in the past month. Coming off a 36.5-DKFP performance, he has a similar ceiling to Castillo for much less cash.

Other Options — Luis Castillo ($11,100)


Adrian Sampson, TEX vs. SEA, $5,000 — Alright, look, Sampson is really bad. I’m not here to deny that or argue it whatsoever. But on a four-game slate you never get a pitcher this cheap that will pitch meaningful innings, and he actually was really good in his most recent start with 11 groundballs and just one earned run. You gotta be weird on short slates, and I think his price is too low.

Other Options — Marco Gonzales ($7,100)



Yadier Molina, STL vs. KC, $3,700 — Molina has been downright OK in his past 10 games, sporting a slash line of .244/.262/.390 while averaging 7 DKFP per contest, but he does come into a spot against one of those worse pitchers on the slate and has the best matchup of the expensive guys. Against a pitcher that gives up a lot of contact, he’s got a decent chance at hitting his averages with room for upside.

Other Options — Omar Narvaez ($4,700)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Molina is not in the lineup for today’s game.


Martin Maldonado, KC at STL, $2,200 — This is a pure punt play for a catcher that is good at making contact and bad at doing anything of value outside of that. The matchup with Adam Wainwright ($7,800) is actually pretty good with him giving up seven home runs in nine games and coming off a game with five earned runs against, so the upside is there to take advantage of. You roster Maldonado for the 5-10 DKFP he can get you and take that as his ceiling as a super cheap punt at a bad position.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Maldonado is not in the lineup for today’s game.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Adam Wainwright has been bumped back to the second game of the doubleheader. Michael Wacha will start this afternoon for the Cardinals.


Daniel Vogelbach, SEA at TEX, $5,500 — If my touching motion towards using Sampson as a cheap SP option didn’t move you towards using him, you absolutely should be thinking of using Vogelbach instead. He’s averaging 11.4 DKFP with a 1.048 OPS in his recent sample with five home runs and has the platoon advantage against a weak RHP in a great park, and although he’s expensive, the spot is dripping with power upside.

Other Options — Edwin Encarnacion ($5,300), Logan Forsythe ($4,800)


Joey Votto, CIN at MIL, $3,500 — It feels weird writing up Votto as a value play, but that’s what it’s come to as he has struggled badly to give any upside on the season. He’s hitting .208/.323/.340 and has struck out a staggering 45 times this season. But he faces a pitcher with subpar strikeout stuff, which maybe gives him chances to rack up singles and doubles. This is a spot to bet on talent.

Other Options — Kyle Farmer ($3,500)



Whit Merrifield, KC at STL, $4,600 — Going up against Wainwright is a good position for a hitter like Merrifield thanks to low strikeout rates and at least two walks in six games this season. Especially at a leadoff position, we should see Whit have plenty of opportunities on the base paths to rack up a steal or two. Considering the blow-up games Wainwright has had this season (multiple games finishing with negative DKFP), the upside is massive for a team like the Royals.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Adam Wainwright has been bumped back to the second game of the doubleheader. Michael Wacha will start this afternoon for the Cardinals.

Other Options — Rougned Odor ($4,500)


Keston Hiura, MIL vs. CIN, $3,200 — Although his run in the bigs hasn’t resulted in much power (just a .375 SLG%), he has hit a respectable .250 with a .333 OBP. For the price, an average of 6.2 DKFP isn’t half bad. The matchup is tough, but the Brewers play in a great home park for offense, and if you don’t pay up at the position, Hiura represents a solid mix of contact and discipline at a cheap rate.

Other Options — Nicky Lopez ($3,300)



Logan Forsythe, TEX vs. SEA, $4,800 — Going up against a weak LHP in a great hitting environment, Forsythe represents a solid bat hitting near the top of the order (and sometimes leadoff) in a great platoon split. I do worry about his realistic upside because he isn’t a big home run guy, but he’s averaging 9.8 DKFP per contest over his past 10 games with a .667 SLG% — and that’s worth paying for.

Other Options — Matt Chapman ($4,500)


Asdrubal Cabrera, TEX vs. SEA, $3,900 — Another third base option for the Rangers, Cabrera is somebody who isn’t going to hit with the same consistency as Forsythe but does have upside thanks to his switch-hitting abilities, making him useful no matter who is on the mound. Outside of a two-homer game a couple nights ago, Cabrera has been more of a 5-10 DKFP guy and that’s what we should expect, but the circumstance allows upside as well.

Other Options — Hunter Dozier ($4,100)



Adalberto Mondesi, KC at STL, $4,900 — Mondesi has had an incredibly rough schedule to start the year that has spilled over into May. He still has five home runs, 37 RBI and leads the league in stolen bases with 17. He faces a pitcher that allows a lot of contact, giving Mondesi significantly more upside than anyone else at his position. He needs to be a priority in all formats.

Other Options — Paul DeJong ($5,100)


J.P. Crawford, SEA at TEX, $3,400 — A couple nights ago Crawford had his first outing with zero fantasy points in a game the Mariners scored nine runs, which was a bummer. Outside of that performance, he has been an incredibly consistent value at a bargain price. In 39 at-bats he is averaging 5.8 DKFP per game with nine hits and three doubles and faces arguably the worst pitcher on the slate.



Hunter Pence, TEX vs. SEA, $5,400 — Backing an old man on a power surge isn’t something I think produces long-term results, but we are living for the present, my friends. And in the present, Pence is crushing. He’s got an insane 1.006 OPS on the season and is averaging 10.9 DKFP in the past 10 games with five home runs. He goes up against a contact LHP that gives up a lot of flyballs. Let’s go hunting for homers.


Billy Hamilton, KC at STL, $2,900 — Hamilton actually is hitting like a replacement-level MLB player right now, and it’s going to lead to a lot of upside, even from the bottom of the lineups. He’s got nine steals on the year and one in the past 10 games. In a spot against a pitcher that lets a lot of guy on base, he’s a great play like the other Royals speedsters at half the price, making him one of my favorite GPP targets.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hamilton is not in the lineup for today’s game.

Other Options — Ben Gamel ($3,300)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Multichem) 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.