The first weekend of the MLB sprint season is nearly over. By now, we are just dipping our toe in the water and gauging our expectations. We are using an 11-game main slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
This is Plan of Attack. We’re here to provide advice and recommendations to help you build successful daily fantasy lineups. We’ll be loosely guided by the tenants of our DFS Manifesto – namely, a single lineup build designed to improve your enjoyment of the game while giving you a chance to beat the rake.
Don’t be surprised if the column evolves. This is a living creature, and it’s sure to adapt in Darwinian fashion. If there are features you especially like or believe need tweaking to be actionable, please reach out to us.
1. The RotoFanatical Challenge
We will be hosting a daily 20-entry, $3 contest on DraftKings. It’s an excellent low-cost testing ground against fellow RotoFanatic fans. A level playing field is always lovely. Today’s 11-game slate begins at 1:05 PM ET on DraftKings. Reserve your spot now.
2. Weather and Park Factors
It does not seem like rain should impact any game on the slate. Much like yesterday, the only game where rain is possible is at Houston, but their retractable roof will prevent any delays. The assumption should be all games played at their regularly scheduled time.
Looking at RotoFanatic’s Park Factors, there are parks to pay attention to. Wrigley Field, overall, plays fairly neutral until you look at the power alley in LCF. The ballpark turns into a hitters haven, meaning a reverse effect to LF.
It’s essential to keep this in mind for the game today. As you can see from the chart, there is going to be a wind gust that may carry the ball into LF and LCF.
This is excellent news for the right-handed pull bats and lefties with HR power to go to the opposite field. I am highlighting players Yelich and Smoak from the Brewers that may get an extra boost of power from the SSE winds. From the Chicago Cubs, I would look at Javier Baez to pull the ball and maybe even Schwarber to put one out on Peralta.
3. Building Block Bats
Christian Yelich ($5,600 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel)
Christian Yelich is, without a doubt, a top five-hitter in baseball. He has been an absolute nightmare for pitchers. Last year Yelich put up a 40/30 season in only 130 games due to injury. A good sign he is back, and healthy is how he crushed that HR into the virtual fanbase in Wrigley yesterday. He pairs against Tyler Chatwood, who is known for two things: walking too many and giving up home runs.
Alex Bregman ($5,100 Draft Kings, $3,900 FanDuel)
Alex Bregman has all the tools needed to put up a massive afternoon. 41 HRs is no joke, and the lineup around him is stacked. Bregman is also one of the very few batters that walks more than he strikes out(119 BB:83K). He has spent the offseason reworking his swing, and while it hasn’t made an immediate impact yet, facing lefty Yusei Kikuchi might be just what he needs. Kikuchi has a problem with giving up the long ball, 2 HR/9 in 32 games started.
Also consider: Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, JD Martinez, Bryce Harper.
Justin Smoak ($3,700 DraftKings, $2,600 FanDuel)
At this point in his career, Justin Smoak has become a platoon bat. In 2019 he mashed 19 of his 22 HRs against RHP and had a .234 ISO. Much like his partner in crime, Yelich, Smoak gets to face Chatwood and his home run issues. Smoak is a bit of a boom or bust play, so fingers crossed he can take one out to CF with the wind blowing out.
Didi Gregorius ($3,500 DraftKings, $3,100 FanDuel)
Didi found himself a new very hitter-friendly home park in 2020. Citizens Bank Park plays very well into Didi’s pulled flyballs to RF & RCF. A good sign that Didi is healthy was the 417-foot bomb he hit against the Marlins yesterday. He squares off against RHP, Jose Urena, who has been in an out of the Miami rotation due to his horrid control.
Also consider: Joey Votto, Jonathan Villar.
Zack Greinke ($10,900 DraftKings, $9,600 FanDuel)
Grienke is one of the more reliable pitchers in the MLB. While he won’t blow away the hitters with a 100-mph fastball, he has elite level command. His pinpoint control helps suppress hard contact, and he often finds himself deep into games. The crafty vet opens his 2020 against the very youthful and free-swinging Seattle Mariners. Feels like a W for Greinke.
Trevor Bauer ($10,100 DraftKings, $9,700 FanDuel)
Calling Trevor Bauer a “safe” pitcher can be very difficult when you see him ERA over 4.00 and 15.3% HR/FB, but he draws the Detroit Tigers that looked baffled by Luis Castillo. Bauer has a vast pitch arsenal that will keep the Tigers off-balanced while he racks up the strikeouts and points for your DFS lineup. I would expect a deep run late into the game and potentially double-digit strikeouts.
Also consider: Blake Snell, Patrick Corbin.
Carlos Carrasco ($8,600 DraftKings, $9,100 FanDuel)
Better value at DraftKings is rarely the case. There was a lot of assumption that Carrasco would opt-out of the season, but not the case. Although his season was cut short last year with his health battles, when Carrasco pitched, he was lights out. Sporting a 23.5 K-BB% in 80 innings of work. The reports have him stretched out over six innings and ready to make a sparkling debut in 2020.
Mitch Keller ($8,000 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel)
There has been much discussion about Keller’s offseason work on his fastball. If this pitch takes a step forward, lookout! In 11 starts last year, he had a 7.13 ERA but an incredibly unlucky 3.47 xFIP. He matches up with the St Louis Cardinals, who have been swinging some hot bats as of late. Keller has the swing and miss arsenal to help make for a big day, though.
Also consider: Vince Velasquez, Spencer Turnbull.
Connectors are cheap guys who offer a tangible upside and enable you to explore top-heavy builds.
Jay Bruce ($3,600 DraftKings, $2,400 FanDuel)
Bruce is still a prolific power bat in the MLB. Last season he hit 26 HRs in only 333 plate appearances, mainly due to the fact it is usually against RHP. His .310 ISO and 20 HRs in 239 of those plate appearances makes me want him in my lineups every time he faces a weak starting pitcher like Urena.
Randal Grichuk ($3,600 DraftKings, $2,500 FanDuel)
Grichuk is a lefty masher for the Blue Jays. He benefits tremendously by hitting after the stacked front of the lineup. There will always be an opportunity for RBI for Grichuk. His career .223 ISO vs. LHP should make him appealing, even against a fireballer like Blake Snell. Grichuk excelled against fastballs in 2019 as he hit .290 with .572 SLG and .381 wOBA.
CJ Cron ($3,200 DraftKings, $2,700 FanDuel)
CJ Cron finally gets a chance to showcase his abilities full-time in Detroit. He had a 10.6 Brl/PA% last year, which made him sixth in all of baseball. Right up there with the names like Nelson Cruz, Mike Trout, and Aaron Judge. Great American Small Park is a perfect place for Cron to go full beast mode and hit a dinger or two!
Also consider: Todd Frazier, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Bryan Reynolds.