It's the 3rd week of the Fantasy Baseball season and DFS is in full swing. If you haven't already tried out Daily Fantasy Baseball, now is the perfect time to take it for a test spin. The beauty of Daily Fantasy is the short-term time commitment (one-day games) and the opportunity to win real money fast. To help aid you in the lineup construction process, below is a free sample of the type of daily content that is published over at Fantistics' sister site, MyFantasyFix. I always recommend starting to build your roster around your favorite pitcher of the day and fill out the rest of the lineup spots based on relative value-to-cost. To make this easier, below you'll find our top plays, value plays, and cheap (or punt) plays. To sign up for DraftKings click here or to sign up for FanDuel click here.
Give me a follow on Twitter @MichaelWaldo and ask me any of your DFS questions. I'll be happy to answer them not only today but throughout the week.
Starting Pitcher- Featured site is DraftKings
Matt Harvey (NYM) vs MIA $9,900 DK - Who said Tommy Johners have control problems? Through his first two starts, Matt Harvey has an unbelievable 34.7% strikeout and 2.0% walk rate. Miami's bats have been waking up lately but it's really hard to bet against Harvey at this point. He's the second highest priced pitcher but he's worth every penny.
Adam Wainwright (STL) vs CIN $9,500 DK- You won't be able to use him on day-only slates but the Reds have just the 6th highest wRC+ on the season and they're batting just .214 as a team. Waino is a gamer and for what it's worth, the Reds failed to score a run against Wainwright over 15 innings just a year ago. He's slightly cheaper than Harvey on DK (-$400) and even cheaper on FD (-$1,100)
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) vs PHI $10,100 DK- The Phillies have the 3rd lowest wRC+ on the season with a 21.5% strikeout rate. That's good news for people who want to pay up for Strasburg. My only concern with Strasburg has been his ability to stay late in games so his win possibility does come with some risk. At the same time, he has double-digit strikeout potential against this Phillies lineup. As a result, I'm reserving him as my top tournament option.
Shane Greene (DET) vs CWS: $6,000 DK is an absolute steal on DK at $6,000 and he's a must-own on that site because you start two pitchers. Greene might not be as impressive in his 3rd start as his 1st and 2nd starts but White Sox offense has been brutal (5th lowest wRC+). Add that to a brisk 17 MPH breeze blowing in from left field to an already large Commerica park and you're left with a fantastic value play.
Garrett Richards (LAA) @ HOU: $9,000 DK - At this point, it doesn't appear Garrett Richards will be on any type of pitch count limitation, which instantly makes Richards an intriguing value play on most daily sites. The Astros have the highest strikeout rate in the league and he could easily rack up a huge number of strikeouts in his return to the major leagues. Richards is just $9,000 on DK and $8,600 on FD.
Michael Pineda (NYY) @ TB: $8,100 DK - Pineda hasn't had his best stuff this year but what's really promising is his 29.4% strikeout rate and just 2.0% walk rate. He'll provide enough salary relief to be able to fit Mike Trout into your lineups on Sunday.
Two Pitcher Sites:
Andrew Cashner (TB) @ CHC: $7,700 DK - Cashner returns to Wrigley and faces an improved, but very inexperienced, Cubs lineup. I wouldn't use him on FanDuel or other one pitcher sites but he's a solid middle tier option at $7,700. Cashner wasn't sharp in his season debut but he looked really good in his last start against Arizona. He has a 12.8% swinging strike rate this season. Pay attention to weather in this one, rain showers are forecasted right in the middle of game time. If they hold off, it could be a good thing because there's currently forecasted to be a brisk breeze blowing in from centerfield.
James Paxton (SEA) vs TEX: $7,200 DK - The Mariners are -164 favorites and the Rangers have really struggled to get any type of offense generated on the year. Paxton has nice strikeout upside and he's really cheap around the industry which makes him a nice play on dual pitcher sites like DK.
Other Notable Two-Start Pitcher Site Options: Daniel Norris (TOR) vs Shelby Miller
Catcher - Featured site is DraftKings
Buster Posey (SF) vs Jeremy Hellickson: $4,000 DK - Posey has a nice matchup against Jeremy Hellickson and the D-Backs at home today. The catcher is usually the top catcher option of the day and there's no reason to expect anything other. $4,000 is a bit tough to swing, however, so it may be worth it to look towards one of the value options below or wait until lineups are announced and choose a cheaper backup option that's drawing the start that day.
**NOTE: Sundays are very unusual and sometimes unpredictable at the catching position. Do not be surprised if your catcher of choice doesn't start so make sure you have back-up options and contingency plans in place. In general, on a site like FanDuel that has early line-up lock, I try to avoid taking a catcher in a later game without knowing the starting lineup.
Derek Norris (SD) vs Jon Lester: $3,200 DK- Norris enjoyed a day off Saturday so he should get to play on Sunday. Norris destroys left-handed pitching and has averaged a .403 wOBA and .927 OPS vs LHP since 2013. It'll be a challenging assignment against Lester but the Cubs ace hasn't been particularly sharp this year so Norris could prove to be an excellent value priced just above the minimum.
Francisco Cervelli (PIT) vs Matt Garza: $3,200 DK- Better known for his defense than his bat, Francisco Cervelli crushes right-handed pitching with an average .387 wOBA and .879 OPS since 2013. He's also had 9 hits in just 30 at-bats to begin the year but the question will be whether or not he starts. For what it's worth, he took off last Sunday.
Michael McKenry (Col) vs Brandon McCarthy $3,100 DK- If McHenry draws he start, which there's a good chance he will, he's a nice punt play option against Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy struggles with the long ball at times and the Rockies offense is so powerful that they provide protection at nearly every batting order position.
Kurt Suzuki (MIN) vs TJ House: $3,100 DK- Suzuki is another speculative play based on my best guess of manager's patterns. He played last Sunday and he should get the start again today against the left-hander, TJ House. Suzuki averages 1.43 FPPAB (fantasy points per at-bat) on Draftkings, which isn't fantastic but it's solid. Considering the price point, he can return value if he can get on base just once.
First Base- Featured site is FanDuel
Miguel Cabrera (DET) vs Jose Quintana: $5,100 FD- Got the money? Miggy Cabrera is tentatively penciled in as the top overall offensive player of the day. This could change depending on the forecast closer to game time but he has an absolutely dominating stat line against lefties and he draws the start against lefty Jose Quintana at home in Detroit. Early forecasts do indicate heavy winds blowing in from the outfield (think 17 MPH constant and even higher gusts) so if this forecast holds, I'll start to fade him significantly. For now, however, I'll keep dreaming of that .440 wOBA and 1.046 OPS against southpaws since 2013.
Lucas Duda (NYM) vs Tom Koehler: $4,200 FD- Duda has been swinging a hot bat to start the year, slashing .381/.422/.595. Now the Mets 1B gets the platoon advantage facing the homerun prone Tom Koehler on Sunday. Duda crushes righties to the tune of a .382 wOBA with 40 homeruns over the last 2 seasons (628 At-Bats). Those are elite numbers if considered in the context of an entire season yet he's priced fairly reasonably at $4,200 and $4,500 on FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively. He's one of my favorite plays of the day and easily moves into the top first baseman play depending on the weather outcome in Detroit, as discussed above.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) vs Tim Hudson: $5,200 FD - Similar to Miggy, wind is playing in to my decision about Goldy on Sunday. Even though he has decent reverse splits, I'm not loving the matchup for him against ground-baller Tim Hudson unless we can get the wind to pick up and continue blowing out to centerfield. Should the win pick-up (think mid-teens), I'm willing to consider Goldy another top play and a good fallback option if Miggy doesn't work out but considering the price point and risk, I'm making him a tournament-only option.
Matt Adams (STL) vs. Mike Leake: $3,200 - Anytime Matt Adams faces an average right-handed pitcher, he's immediately placed into value play consideration with his heavy platoon split advantage versus righties. Adams has been hitting well lately, with hits in 5 of his last 6,and he gets Mike Leake on Sunday night. At just $3,200 on FanDuel, he's extremely affordable, especially for a player who averages an OPS of .862 against righties since 2013.
Brandon Belt (SF) vs Jeremy Hellickson: $3,000 - While I'd prefer to spend an extra $200 on Adams, we're in a time period where every penny counts so I understand why Brandon Belt would receive consideration. Belt gets to face a homer-prone Jeremy Hellickson and is extremely cheap at just $3,000. Against right-handers, Belt has averaged a .365 wOBA the last 2 seasons.
Second Base- Featured site is DraftKings
Brian Dozier (Min) vs TJ House: $4,300 DK- Slump buster alert! Despite the slow start, Brian Dozier is a top play for me at the second base position simply because his matchup against the combustible left-hander TJ House is too good to pass up. Thanks to the slump, Dozier's price point has fallen to an embarrassingly low $3,100 on FanDuel (making him an incredible value over there) and a respectable $4,300 on Draft Kings. Dozier smokes lefties and has put up a wOBA of .380 and averages 1.72 FPPAB (fantasy points per at-bat) against left-handed pitching on DraftKings since 2013.
Ian Kinsler (DET) vs Jose Quintana: $4,400 DK -Kinsler has slowed down a bit after a great first week but he's still one of my favorite second basemen of the day for Sunday. Despite heavy winds projected in the area, I still like Kinsler on DraftKings (he's a $900 more than Dozier on FD which is too much of a difference to sway me) at $4,400 thanks to his strong hitting against left-handers (1.51 average FPPAB on DK the last 2 seasons).
Neil Walker (PIT) vs Matt Garza: $4,100 DK: Sometimes it pays to play the players on hot streaks in daily and sometimes it pays to play the long-term historical stats. In the case of Neil Walker, he's one of those with with historically solid numbers against right-handed pitchers and a very nice lineup position (clean-up) that has simply makes him a decent play. I don't know if he's necessarily a great value but I do think there's still profit to be had, especially with how rough Garza has been this season.
Howie Kendrick (LAD) vs Eddie Butler: $4,300 DK: Kendrick's pricing is finally catching up to his performance on the field but he looks like he 's still a nice value on Sunday when he facing rookie right-hander Eddie Butler. In his short major league career, opposing batters have a very high 86.4% contact rate against Butler while Kendrick continually posted higher-than-league-average contact rates of his own. Batting clean-up in an unbelievably loaded Dodgers lineup more than justifies his price on DK and makes him an great value at just $3,500 on FanDuel.
Chase Utley (PHI) vs Stephen Strasburg: $3,700 DK - DK heavily discounts players based on tough matchups and Utley got a nice little price adjustment Sunday. Utley is a professional hitter and can do damage against pretty much anyone (as we saw with his homerun off Matt Harvey earlier this week). Strasburg hasn't been untouchable early this season and Utley hits righties for a solid .348 wOBA and .810 OPS since 2013. He's a nice price point on DraftKings but does carry some risk. Think tournament here.
Other Cheap Play: Dustin Pedroia is also a nice cheaper option on FD at just $3,300 and a weaker Miguel Gonzalez on the mound for the Orioles.
Shortstop- Featured site is FanDuel
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) vs Brandon McCarthy: $4,900 FD - Tulowitzki is a great play against an always homer-prone Brandon McCarthy but there's always questions whether he will suit up on Sundays. Typically Sundays are his day of and he's always quite expensive. If he's out there, however, he deserves consideration again a combustible McCarthy.
Eric Aybar (LAA) vs Scott Feldman: $2,900 FD- On most days, I like to ignore batter vs pitcher splits. However, in the case of shortstop, there's not a whole lot of options that truly excite me and Aybar's splits do jump off the page. In 31 ABs against Scott Feldman in his career, he has 14 hits. He's been scuffling as of late so he's just $2,900 on FD but he has an above average wOBA against RHP and will have a favorable lineup spot on a day when I really like the Angels middle-of-the-order hitters, especially Trout and Calhoun.
Danny Santana (MIN) vs TJ House: $3,200 FD - After a string of nice hitting days for Santana earlier this week, he has slipped into 0-for-8 skid this weekend. What better way to bust out of a slump than to face the ever-hittable TJ House? Santana leads off for the Twins and comes with just a $3,200 price tag. He also hits lefties quite well, posting a wOBA of .345 and averaging 0.41 FPPAB (fantasy points per at-bat) in his career against southpaws.
Jhonny Peralta (STL) vs Mike Leake: $3,100 FD - Despite a scorching hot start, Jhonny Peralta is still getting no love from the FanDuel pricing guys. He's just $3,100 and is an excellent value hitting 5th in what is a very good Cardinals lineup. Mike Leake is a soft-throwing right-hander and Peralta actually squares up well in his reverse splits, with an above average wOBA and a solid 0.45 FPPAB on FanDuel.
Marcus Semien (OAK) vs Danny Duffy: $3,000 FD At just $3,000, the hot hitting Semien is a great cheap option at SS when he faces the lefty Danny Duffy. Semien has hit lefties quite well, and averages 0.49 FPPAB on FD against them since 2013.
Stephen Drew /Didi Gregorius (NYY) vs Matt Andriese: $2,200 FD (Gregorius)- Depending on your site, Stephen Drew may or may not have SS eligbility. Either way, he's a great punt play option along with teammate Didi Gregorius in what should be a decent scoring affair against the Rays' Matt Andriese. Neither player has a good lineup spot, which really hurts since they will likelyhave one fewer at-bat than if they hit at the top of the order, but both is righties at a slightly above average clip and can provide salary relief.
Jose Iglesias vs Jose Quintana: $3,000 FD- Iglesias was going to have the night off on Saturday but ended up playing so be sure to watch lineups because he may get the day off. If not, he remains a solid cheaper option at the shortstop position thanks to his red-hot start that's he gotten off to this season. He's an on-base machine whose just $3,000 on FD and $3,400 on DK
Third Base- Featured site is DraftKIngs
Chris Davis (BAL) vs Rick Porcello: $4,600 DK- Davis qualifies at 3B and 1B on DraftKings but he's only 1B elgibile on FanDuel. Of all the1st baseman going today, Chris Davis rates out among the highest in the model thanks to the his tremendous performance against righties, especially righties in the mid-tier like Porcello. Davis has homeruns in 2 of his last 3 games and is still priced at a reasonable $4,600 on DK and $3,6500 FD
Adrian Beltre (SEA) vs James Paxton: $4,400 DK- Beltre's slow start to the season has catapulted his price way down across the industry. This creates an awesome value play that could explode at any moment. Beltre faces a solid foe in James Paxton. Unfortunately for the pitcher, Adrian Beltre is a professional hitter than also happens to dominate lefties. With an average 1.88 FPPAB (fantasy points per at-bat) against lefties on DraftKIngs since 2013, Beltre has nice upside, especially at the deflated price on FanDuel at $3,400.
Josh Harrison (PIT) vs Matt Garza: $4,000 DK - Josh Harrison can do it all for the Pirates; He can hit for power, steal some bases, and get on base to score some runs. If there's one thing that Matt Garza does often, it's allow a lot of baserunners. Never known to have a dominant WHIP, look for Harrison to continue his (somewhat) hot streak to stretch his hit totals 5 of the last 6 games.
Alex Rodriguez (NYY) vs Matt Andriese: $4,200 DK - Is Rodriguez back on the juice or did he just discover a fountain of youth at age-39? As fantasy owners, we neither care nor want to know the truth. All that matters is we have one of the current generation's best hitters teeing off against a very inexperienced Tampa Bay starter, Matt Andriese. A-Rod already have 3 multi-hit games to go along with 4 homeruns and 11 RBIs in just about 2 weeks of play.
Chris Johnson (ATL) vs Daniel Norris: $3,600 DK - If he plays, Chris Johnson becomes an excellent punt play on all daily sites. In addition to the nice ballpark boost in Toronto, Johnson hits left-handing pitching really well (.416 wOBA and .962 OPS since 2013 vs LHP) and he has hit pretty well in limited action this season. Don't expect a ton of power but he can reach base to return enough value to justify the low investment.
Outfield- Featured site is FanDuel
Nelson Cruz (SEA) vs Ross Detwiler: $4,800 FD - What's not to love about Nelson Cruz against a left-handed pitcher? wOBA is close to 4.00 and OPS exceeds .910 against lefties the last two seasons. Did we mention he has 6 homeruns in the last week? Why he's not priced at Mike Trout level is a mystery to me. Take advantage of the "soft" pricing and run him out there in what is surely going to be a plus plus matchup.
Justin Upton (SD) vs Jon Lester: $4,100 FD- It's not everyday that you get to play Justin Upton in a hitters ballpark facing a left-handed pitcher. Even though it's Jon Lester, I'm still feeling pretty good about Justin Upton on Sunday, as long as the forecast remains clear enough that they get the game in. Right now there's a 40-50% chance of rain during game time but check back closer to make sure. Lester hasn't been sharp this year and Upton has been locked in on his new team. It doesn't take much to get the ball out of Wrigley and Upton absolutely murders left-handed pitching. The last two seasons he has averaged a .422 wOBA with a .989 OPS and 0.73 FPPAB (fantasy points per at-bat). At just $4,100, he is a nice value as well.
Bryce Harper (WAS) vs David Buchanon: $4,500 FD-Almost no one is more red hot in baseball than Bryce Harper (no one not named Nelson Cruz, anyway). The opportunity to buy him at a discount is closing quickly but he can still be played at a relatively cheaper price than a Mike Trout or Nelson Cruz with the same ceiling upside. Harper's .864 OPS against righties stands out.
Other Top Play: Mike Trout is always a good play and we still love him today but his price tag is just too enormous to fit into most cash game lineups. He's a good tournament option if you take some risks on lower priced players elsewhere.
Michael Cuddyer (NYM) vs Tom Koehler $3,400 FD- Cuddyer has a 7-game hitting streak after notching two more hits on Saturday. The Marlins Tom Koehler has already given up 3 homeruns on the young season and Cuddyer actually ranks out as the 3rd best outfield option of the day in our model. Werth's track record against righties is quite strong, boasting a wOBA extremely close to .400 and an average of 0.61 FD points per hame.
Jayson Werth (WAS) vs David Buchanon $3,300 FD- Werth is still getting back into the swing of things but his price has begun to fall everyday thanks to a semi-slow start. His opposing pitcher, David Buchanan is not a very good pitcher and tends to give up a lot of hits and walks. Werth is an above average hitter against right handed pitchers and could prove to be a nice asset to own hitting in the middle of a Nationals lineup that should be getting a lot of homeruns tomorrow.
Rajai Davis (DET) vs Jose Quintana $3,300 FD- While his .261 batting average on the season may not look impressive, he's actually slashing .261/.393/.435 and has more walks (5) than strikeouts (4) on the year. At only $3,300, he has a plus matchup against Jose Quintana, a left-hander. Davis has crushed lefties to a tune of .393 wOBA with a .903 OPB since 2013.
Other Values: Kole Calhoun has a very favorable matchup against Scott Feldman and is just $3,700 on FD. Calhoun hits righties at an above average rate and normally gets very favorable lineup spots.
Mookie Betts (BOS) vs Miguel Gonzalez : $3,000 FD- For most of the last 2 weeks, you've been forced to pay for Mookie Betts potential rather than actual performance. That won' t be the case for today's action because Betts salary has finally caught up to his (lack of) performance. At just $3,000 on FD, Betts becomes a nice cheap, punt option against the Orioles' starter Miguel Gonzalez in a game that Vegas is already pegging as the highest scoring affair of the day.
Andre Ethier (LAD) vs Eddie Butler: $2,600 FD - The left-handed Ethier has gotten off to a scorching start this year. The Dodgers get to face a rookie right-hander on Sunday and the splits are in Ethier's favor. At just $2,600 on FD, his price point is low enough that will allow you to squeeze in a Wainwright or Harvey to your lineups. Either's 0.46 FPPAB (fantasy points per at-bat) provide enough point upside to easily surpass his cost in returned value.
Daniel Nava (BOS) vs Miguel Gonzalez: $2,200 FD- If he plays, Daniel Nava deserves consideration as a punt play at the minimum price on FanDuel. As I mentioned with Betts, Boston is projected as the highest game total and Nava has signficiantly better splits against RHP than LHP. Over the last 2 seasons, Nava has a .370 wOBA and has average 0.5 FPPAB on FanDuel (fantasy points per at-bat) against righties.