MLB is back! There are a number of ways you can go about building your lineups, and there are plenty of superstar pitching options to consider on today’s slate. I’ll take a look at some options to consider at every price range ahead of the day’s games.
Noah Syndergaard — NYM vs. ATL — $11,600 – If you’re looking for a slam dunk, or home run rather, look no further than Syndergaard, who starts the regular season off at home vs. the Braves, who had the second worst offense in the MLB last season. Thor struggled in his lone start vs. Atlanta in 2016 (5 ER in 3.2 IP), but that shouldn’t deter you from rolling with him at SP if you’re willing to pay up. Syndergaard came out of the gate strong last season, fanning 38 batters in 26.2 IP over four starts in April.
Other Options – Stephen Strasburg ($9,900)
Ricky Nolasco — LAA vs. OAK — $7,000 – Nolasco will get the nod for the Angels after an impressive finish to 2016. After being traded to LA prior to August, Nolasco went 4-6 with the Angels, but posted a solid 3.21 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 11 starts, including one complete-game shutout. Nolasco has longevity, lasting 6-plus innings in 10 of those 11 starts, and his low WHIP with LA should make up for his lack of strikeout totals.
Other Options – Junior Guerra ($6,400), Scott Feldman ($5,300)
Salvador Perez — KC vs. MIN — $3,300 – Ask Perez which team he loves hitting against and he’d probably tell you the Twins. The former World Series MVP absolutely raked vs. Minnesota last season, hitting .355 (1.032 OPS) on 22 hits, two HR and 13 RBI in 62 AB. Most of those hits were singles, so his ceiling isn’t particularly high. But his ability to get on base easily to set up the Royals 3-4-5 hitters to drive him in should make up for his lack of power.
Other Options – Welington Castillo ($3,700), Yasmani Grandal ($3,400)
Tucker Barnhart — CIN vs. PHI — $2,700 – With Devin Mesoraco on the 10-day DL to start the season, Barnhart will start Opening Day vs. the Phillies. Barnhart has a decent bat for a catcher, belting 7 HR with 51 RBI in 115 games last season. The Phillies will roll out Jeremy Hellickson and he was significantly worse on the road (4.33 ERA in 16 starts) and Barnhart has some upside as a switch hitter at home, where he hit six of his HR while batting .269 last year.
Other Options – Travis d’Arnaud ($2,700)
Chris Davis — BAL vs. TOR — $4,300 – Davis is only 2-for-16 vs. Blue Jays expected starter Marco Estrada, but both hits were HRs and he also walked seven times. With that said, consider Davis a boom-bust option at first base batting fifth in the Orioles’ potent lineup. He should have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and absolutely rakes righties, he hit 30 of his 38 homers off them last season.
Other Options – Mark Trumbo ($4,200), Jose Abreu ($4,000)
Mitch Moreland — BOS vs. PIT — $3,300 – Moreland figures to debut for the Red Sox in the middle of the lineup, hitting behind the likes of Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez. This should help his prospects of racking up RBI throughout the season (and on Opening Day in Boston). The Red Sox will start the season off vs. Gerrit Cole, who really struggled for the Pirates late in 2016, losing five straight (22 ER in that span). Basically all of Moreland’s power is derived vs. righties (17 HR, 42 RBI last season).
Other Options – Yonder Alonso ($2,800)
Brian Dozier — MIN vs. KC — $4,500 – If you thought Perez enjoyed playing vs. the Twins, check out what Dozier did to the Royals last season. He hit 11 of his 42 HRs against Kansas City last season, and while most of his power comes vs. righties, he hit .282 vs. lefties with a far higher contact rate. Dozier also has some added bonus batting leadoff, which could lead to some steal opportunities despite having to deal with Perez.
Other Options – DJ LeMahieu ($4,300)
Logan Forsythe — LAD vs. SD — $3,600 – Forsythe and the Dodgers get arguably the easiest draw at home vs. the Padres against Jhoulys Chacin, who finished last season with a 4.81 ERA. Batting behind Yasmani Grandal and Adrian Gonzalez should give Forsythe some RBI opportunities and the ultra-utility man should relish the chance to face his former team, the Padres. Forsythe is an ideal target if you’re looking to stack LA’s lineup.
Other Options – Brandon Phillips ($3,100)
Nolan Arenado — COL vs. MIL — $5,000 – You’re not going to get Arenado in the hitter-friendly Coors Field quite yet, but in Milwaukee vs. the Brewers isn’t half bad either. Arenado hit .400 with three HR and six RBI vs. the Brewers in limited ABs last season. He also gets the privilege of facing Junior Guerra, who will be making his first Opening Day start in front of the home crowd with plenty of pressure on him. I think the Rockies lineup is too good to pass up in this spot.
Other Options – Xander Bogearts ($4,400)
Danny Valencia — SEA vs. HOU — $3,300 – Valencia joins the Mariners, who are actually looking like one of the better lineups in the AL heading into this season. He’ll bat behind Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz to start the season and should have no trouble vs. Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel. Valencia batted .318 with seven HRs and 19 RBIs vs. lefties last season.
Other Options – Mike Moustakas ($3,200)
Corey Seager — LAD vs. SD — $4,400 – Seager did just about all of his damage vs. right-handed pitching last season, hitting .334 with 21 HRs and 53 RBIs. He got off to a slow start in 2016 in his first full season, but should jump right into things this year in the heart of the Dodgers order. He’ll likely be popular, priced 8th among SS for Monday’s contest.
Other Options – Troy Tulowitzki ($4,400), Jean Segura ($4,200)
Zack Cozart — CIN vs. PHI — $3,400 – Cozart is just about the only Reds batter who can hit Phillies’ projected starter Jeremy Hellickson, going 3-for-6 with a pair of doubles. Weather could play a factor here, but if the Reds-Phillies game isn’t held up, Cozart is a great value play with some pop at short. He got off to a fast start in April last season, hitting .361 with a .911 OPS.
Other Options – Alcides Escobar ($3,200)
Trea Turner — WAS vs. MIA — $4,900 – Turner looked more than ready to start the season during spring training, so expect him to waste no time vs. the Marlins on Opening Day. In his second MLB season, Turner hit .342 and had an impressive 3.6 WAR. At the top of the Nationals order, Turner will be in line for plenty of runs and stolen base chances.
Other Options – Jose Bautista ($4,700), Nelson Cruz ($4,400)
Khris Davis — OAK vs. LAA — $3,800 – Davis finished tied for third last season with 42 homers, and with so many great options at OF, he’s not a bad boom-bust play for tournaments. Sure, the A’s lineup is lacking, but Ricky Nolasco (though impressive with LAA) isn’t the most imposing SP on the slate. Davis could draw a lot of BBs with very little protection in the lineup.
Other Options – Byron Buxton ($3,400), Jarrod Dyson ($3,000)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is bzweiman521) 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.