There are plenty of games tonight, and more than even daily action to go around, so here are a few players you should consider as your build your lineups. Here is a quick guide to some of the studs and values available at each position – I hope it helps as you struggle with those last few tweaks you’ll make on your way to the perfect lineup.
Jordan Zimmerman vs. NYM ($9,200) – The most expensive pitcher on the board, and for good reason. He’s as sure of a thing as you can get, facing an offense likely to finish in the bottom half of the league, at home, coming off a career year and, more recently, a spring in which he threw up a 1.37 ERA with 15 K’s in only 19 spring training innings. He’s also going against Jacob deGrom, who will be on a strict pitch count – and getting into the bullpen early
Carlos Carrasco @ HOU ($8,800) – Pitching against a mediocre lineup in a decent pitchers’ park, and he’s a kid who struck out 140 batters in only 134 innings last year. With a new contract in hand, he’ll be looking to pick up right where he left off.
Wily Peralta vs. COL ($7,400) – Of course it doesn’t hurt getting the Rockies at home rather than on the road, but you can’t simply bank on the offense being bad. Peralta is young – only 25 – but he had a phenomenal season last year, has been building on that success all spring, and can pile up fantasy points in a hurry with a good lineup helping him to wins and a live arm that can get K’s.
Rick Porcello @ PHI ($6,900) – Porcelo is not a strikeout pitcher, so his ceiling is certainly limited, but he’s got about as good of a matchup as a pitcher can get right now, putting him in line for a win, at least, hopefully with a good number of innings under his belt before his exit.
Buster Posey vs. Jeremy Hellickson ($4,400) – Going against an unproven starting pitcher, Posey (and the rest of the Giants) are going to be tempting choices all across your lineup.
Carlos Santana vs. Scott Feldman ($4,300) – Santana is another “catcher” with 1B eligibility, but unlike Posey, he is going to stay at 1B or DH most of the season. But he’ll still be able to produce at the plate, so anything that makes him easier to fit in your lineup works for me.
Tyler Florence vs. Danny Duffy ($3,200) – Florence is not priced like an every day starter, both because his numbers wouldn’t amount to much even if he was, and because, with Soto now on the roster, it is easier to imagine him not catching every game. But tonight, he could have an opportunity against a pitcher who’s been struggling all spring.
Yasmani Grandal vs. Andrew Cashner ($3,800) – He didn’t start on Opening Day, but he should be out there Wednesday night, slotted into the fifth spot in a lineup that should give him good chances to both score and drive in runs, even against a solid starting pitcher.
Paul Goldschmidt vs. Chris Heston ($5,100) – He missed a lot of time last year, so don’t let yourself overlook him as one of the very best options in fantasy. Playing on an offense that can score runs helps, of course, but so does an ability to play with speed, power and consistency, a sure-fire way to take advantage of all available options when it comes to scoring fantasy points.
Jose Abreu vs. Danny Duffy ($4,900) – Abreu is a fistfull of fantasy points waiting to happen at any given moment, and Duffy is just the pitcher to groove a fastball and make it easy.
Billy Butler vs. Ross Detwiler ($3,800) – Oakland has the kind of offense that could turn any one of these innings against Detwiler into a procession around the bases, and Butler is the kind of contributor who could use a couple of runs scored tacked onto his totals at the end of the day.
Ike Davis vs. Ross Detwiler ($3,600) – Davis is actually playing first rigth now, with Butler sliding into the DH spot in the lineup, and they also have in common the fact that Davis is the same kind of player who would benefit from the good play of other hitters in his lineup. For whatever it is worth, Davis is 2-5 against Detwiler in the past, potentially statistically significant for a career .240 hitter.
Dee Gordon vs. Shelby Miller ($4,400) – With a couple of other top 2B options facing tough pitching opponents, Gordon could be a great play against Miller. The new leadoff man in Miami, he has the speed to get on base with infield hits, stretch singles in doubles and doubles into triples, and in general help your fantasy team more than he might actually be helping the Marlins.
Dustin Pedroia vs. Aaron Harang ($4,000) – You might dismiss the two-HR game as a fluke, but I take notice if for no other reason than this: at least it shows that right now, he seems healthy. That’s not guaranteed to continue, so it couldn’t hurt to get him into your lineups now, while you are still assured of the chance.
Brett Lawrie vs. Ross Detwiler ($3,800 ) – I am going to be honest with you – he went 0-4 with 4Ks on 12 total pitches last night. Let’s chalk this pick up to “well, THAT can’t happen again.”
Micah Johnson vs. Danny Duffy ($2,600) – Just being named opening day starter was something of a surprise, but then he went out and performed, with solid defense and a base hit. He’s only 24 now, but played great in the spring, and if he can keep up an almost .500 on-base %, he should get lots of opportunities to run.
Adrian Beltre @ Scott Kazmir ($4,500) – For the last two years, Beltre has slugged almost .550 and had an OPS well over .900 against lefties. Kazmir has some good stuff left in his arm, and is in a pitcher-friendly park, but this Texas lineup is capable of wearing down a starting pitcher and grabbing their fair share of runs no matter who they’re facing.
Pablo Sandoval vs. Arron Harang ($4,300) – He went 0-5 on Opening Day, but remember that he hit under .200 against lefties all of last season, so he will be looking to redeem himself against hard-throwing (but right-handed) Harang.
Lonnie Chisenhall vs. Scott Feldman ($3,900) – He went 1-2 on opening day after a strong spring where he emerged as the clear starter, at least for now. He doesn’t have huge HR power, or great speed, but he has gap power that could lead to a bunch of doubles this year – which help your fantasy score on their own, but also would have a great impact on the Cleveland offense in general , which would be good for everyone.
Casey McGehee vs. Jeremy Hellickson ($3,300) – He had an OPS over .700 in more than 600 at-bats last year, and he’s facing a pitcher who could easily have a couple of high-scoring innings go against him in this one.
Hanley Ramirez vs. Arron Harang ($4,800) – And so we will watch the next chapter of Ramirez’s career unfold where it looked like it was starting: in Boston. Although at the time, no one envisioned him in left field, as a power hitter setting the table for Big Papi, but that’s exactly what he is. And with his 2-4 with two Home Runs on opening day, he looks like he is coming into the year prepared to handle it.
Ian Desmond vs. Jacob deGrom ($4,400) – 2-3 with a HR in his career against deGrom, tonight would be the perfect opportunity for Desmond to bust out after a slow start to his spring.
Brandon Crawford vs. Jeremy Hellickson ($3,800) – Hitting .375 with a HR against Hellickson for his career, Crawford is a good example of why there are Giants showing up all over this list tonight. Luckily, they are most inexpensive tonight that you could pick more than one.
Jean Segura vs. Eddie Butler ($3,800) – Virtually all of his numbers went down last year compared to 2013, which is why you see his price here to start the season. But there is a .280 hitter with speed in there somewhere is everything breaks right for him this season, so he is someone to pay attention to early on to see how he’s faring.
Mike Trout vs. Hisashi Iwakuma ($5,400) – He’s a stud. Guys like him make writing this portion of the Targets easy. He does everything well, but he is only 5-26 against Iwakuma on his career, if you want something to convince you to spend your money elsewhere tonight.
Andrew McCutchen vs. Mike Leake ($5,200) – Maybe like here? He is 14-54 with 2 HR and a handful of walks agaist Leake, which is to say – he’s fine. He should play like himself, which is enough to make him the second most expensive player on the board, so it should be good enough for your lineups too.
Starling Marte vs. Mike Leake ($4,700) – He’s cheaper than his teammate for a reason, but the two of these guys are a reason for Pirates fans to get excited. Marte has had decent success against Leake over his career as well, and if they Pirates can get him on the ropes it could mean fantasy goodness all around.
Michael Brantley vs. Scott Feldman ($4,600) – Brantley came back from a minor injury in spring training on fire, and hasn’t cooled off yet. Cleveland should be able to score some runs tonight, and he is part of the reason.
Mookie Betts vs. Aaron Harang ($4,300) – An honorary addition to the “Values” list, Betts is here now because it is one of a handful of times that getting him at this price will still be possible. He had a good spring, but everyone knows what the counts for in assessing a young player’s career potential, but if you see too many more nights like the 2-4 with a HR, an RBI and a walk, you are going to be wishing for the days when he only cost $4,300.
Angel Pagan vs. Jeremy Hellickson ($3,900) – One of my favorite plays of the day, I feel like Pagan is going to be a lot closer to the top of the price list eventually than he is right now, and this is the kind of matchup that will help propel him there.
David Murphy vs. Scott Feldman ($3,200) – He’s not flashy, but he’s consistent, whether he’s in the lineup in the outfield or as DH. He makes contact and can find holes in defenses, as long as pitchers aren’t missing his bat with too much frequency, which he should be able to avoid in this one.
Gregor Blanco vs. Jeremy Hellickson ($3,200) – I don’t mean to pick on Hellickson, but when a team has enough good options going against a certain pitcher, even the cheaper options start to look more enticing. Who doesn’t want to have guys in the lineup taking part of a big scoring game?
Whether you go with these guys, or go with your gut tonight, good luck!