7.25.20 MLB Main Slate

Opening Day came and went and it was a lot of fun. We saw some crazy overlay that we are not likely to see again anytime soon. Draftkings is not including a few of the late games on their main slate for whatever reason but FD has the whole day in one. These big slates are fun, frustrating, and the best chance to see solo takedowns for big monies. Have some fun this weekend, stay safe, and game on. 

Fanduel and Draftkings both offer great MLB contests and the biggest difference between the sites involves pitching. On Fanduel, you only need 1 starter whereas you need to pick 2 on Draftkings. On small slates, it’s best to pick the aces on each site but when you get to larger slates, an ace and a value pitcher can be a great combo on DK to afford solid hitting as well. Stacking is important for DFS baseball so be sure to try to pair your top guys with other players around them in the lineup. A 4 man stack is usually what you want in order to shoot for a GPP win.

DraftKings uses this scoring:

Single+3 Pts
Double+5 Pts
Triple+8 Pts
Home Run+10 Pts
Run Batted In+2 Pts
Run+2 Pts
Base on Balls+2 Pts
Hit By Pitch+2 Pts
Stolen Base+5 Pts
Inning Pitched+2.25 Pts
Strikeout+2 Pts
Win+4 Pts
Earned Run Allowed-2 Pts
Hit Against-0.6 Pts
Base on Balls Against-0.6 Pts
Hit Batsman-0.6 Pts
Complete Game+2.5 Pts
Complete Game Shutout+2.5 Pts
No Hitter+5 Pts

Fanduel uses the following:

Single+3 Pts
Double+6 Pts
Triple+9 Pts
Home Run+12 Pts
Run Batted In+3.5 Pts
Run+3.2 Pts
Base on Balls+3 Pts
Hit By Pitch+3 Pts
Stolen Base+6 Pts
Inning Pitched+3 Pts
Strikeout+3 Pts
Win+6 Pts
Earned Run Allowed-3 Pts
Quality Start4 Pts

Brewers(+130) V Cubs(-150) 1:05 EST

Corbin Burnes$6,200$5,7008.821.84.514.343
Yu Darvish$10,500$9,3003.981.10.320.266

Corbin Burnes is the definition of high risk/high reward. He allowed over 3 HR and BB per 9 innings last year in limited time in the majors, but he had almost 13 K/9 as well. The Cubs only put up 5 hits yesterday, but 2 were home runs, so there is a decent chance that we see a similar result here. Look to target the lefty power bats of the Chicago lineup or, if you’re daring, maybe get a share of Burnes and hope the ball stays in the yard and he racks up some strikeouts for a very cheap price.

Yu Darvish is usually a solid option to limit damage from his opponents and he has plenty of tricks to garner strikeouts as well. Milwaukee’s offense slept through the game yesterday and have historically performed poorly against Darvish. He is a bit pricier than we would like but has a solid matchup to perform. 

Orioles(+170) V Red Sox(-200) 1:35 EST

Alex Cobb$5,200$6,00010.951.86.399.601
Martin Perez$5,500$6,7005.

Alex Cobb is atrocious, the Red Sox popped off yesterday and will continue binging on the buffet that is the Orioles pitching staff. JD is again a top option and the entire lineup is playable. The Boston scrubs had their fun yesterday and hopefully the stars can bounce back from a rough game.

Martin Perez is starting the second game of the year for the Sox out of pure necessity. Is a bottom of the rotation arm at best and even with a matchup against the Orioles there is not enough upside to justify playing him. Renato Nuñez, Hanser Alberto, and Rio Ruiz are flier options. 

Twins() V White Sox() 2:10 EST

Randy Dobnak$5,800$5,6001.591.13.183.346
Dallas Keuchel$6,700$7,0003.751.37.268.339

Dobnak is making a spot start here and has no fantasy relevance. White Sox bats should be popular here and we don’t have to limit ourselves to righties based on his splits, he likely won’t be around for very long. 

Keuchel only tossed 5 innings in his last appearance and with the way the Twinkies looked yesterday, it should be a tough start. It looks like this is a game to target for offense only, like yesterday ended up being, and we want to look at righties here. Josh Donaldson, Mitch Garver, and Nelson Cruz are solid targets. 

Pirates(+140) V Cardinals(-160) 2:15 EST

Trevor Williams$5,800$6,8005.381.41.393.319
Adam Wainwright$9,200$7,7004.191.43.368.297

You don’t have to be Billy Beane to look at Trevor Williams’ stats and realize he’s not very good at baseball. The Cardinals have done well against him historically and should continue that trend here again. Carpenter, DeJong, Goldschmidt, and Fowler are a solid core to stack. 

Wainwright is several years removed from the good old days, but the same can easily be said for this Pirates lineup. His upside is lacking for fantasy as his stuff won’t rack up the strikeouts we crave, leaving him as a better real life pitcher than fantasy pitcher. We want to target lefties against him; like Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds, and Colin Moran (if you are Scrooge McDuck). 

Blue Jays(+135) V Rays(-155) 3:10 EST

Matt Shoemaker$8,300$7,2001.570.87.279.212
Ryan Yarbrough$7,300$6,5004.131.298.265

Matt Shoemaker has already been built up to a full workload and he should be excited to prove his epic start last year, ended by injury, was not a fluke. The Rays lineup is normally weak but COVID and other situations have knocked it further down. He’s not the sexiest arm but he is an intriguing SP2 on DK or a cheap FD arm if you want to go nuts with your lineup. 

Ryan Yarbrough was a better pitcher last year than many of us remember. He wasn’t as sexy as some of his fellow staff members but he got the job done. The Blue Jays have some talented bats that have the ability to light him up but this is far from a plus matchup. Look for Vlad and Bichette to lead the way. 

Marlins(+160) V Phillies(-185) 4:05 EST

Caleb Smith$6,900$7,1004.521.23.270.329
Zach Wheeler$10,100$9,0003.961.26.328.269

Caleb Smith really isn’t a good pitcher and he has to open his season against the Phillies which should go about as well as you’d expect from a Marlins pitcher. Smith has been hit hard by righties so we will start there, with Andrew McCutchen as the top target due to his great success against Smith in the past. The Phillies are in a good spot today, but they disappointed yesterday so maybe don’t go overboard here.

Zach Wheeler isn’t usually someone that should be this expensive, but this is what happens when you face the Marlins. In saying that though, a better pitcher in Aaron Nola surrendered 4 runs to this Miami team yesterday, so maybe they have come to play this year. Who am I kidding, they’re still the Marlins and it’s hard to see them repeating yesterday’s performance. Wheeler is a serviceable option, but at his price, don’t go out of your way to fit him in.

Rockies(-110) V Rangers(-110) 4:10 EST

Jon Gray$8,100$7,6003.841.35.345.302
Mike Minor$9,000$8,4003.591.24.298.301

Jon Gray has been a solid performer for the Rockies, a notoriously tough task but the Rangers’ new ballpark is not an easy venue either. He has his struggles against lefties and that’s great news for a lineup led by Joey Gallo. Pair him with Santana and Odor. 

Mike Minor has a 5.24 career ERA against the Rockies despite a great season last year as his organization’s top pitcher (frankly not that big of an accomplishment). The Rockies fell flat on their face yesterday but a lefty might be just what the doctor ordered. Look for Arenado and Story to wake up. 

Braves(-110) V Mets(-110) 4:10 EST

Max Fried$8,700$7,5004.
Steven Matz$7,200$7,3004.211.34.339.321

Max Fried is a solid pitcher but has struggled with giving up hard contact so there could be some long balls here. The Braves have a pitch count for their starters right now and we saw Mike Soroka only throw 69 pitches yesterday, so Fried isn’t too appealing for DFS today. Look for some right-handed power bats from NY, such as Alonso or Cespedes, to take advantage of Fried’s struggles, though they will have to get to him early before he hits his pitch limit.

Steven Matz doesn’t seem to favor either hand, he’s just bad against both. Jacob DeGrom held the Braves to 3 hits yesterday, but a lineup with that much talent isn’t likely to stay dormant for long. The Braves have a good chance to bounce back here so all of their lineup is playable, but lean towards the top of the order with Acuna and Freeman, while Adam Duvall could be a solid value option. 

There’s a decent chance that this game is the opposite of yesterday’s pitching duel, so you may want some exposure here.

Giants() V Dodgers() 4:10 EST

Kevin Gausman$7,000$6,2005.721.42.329.333
Alex Wood$7,800$6,8005.801.40.374.382

Kevin Gausman is making his Giants debut and he’s hoping to find consistency that escaped him with the Orioles and Braves. He was a highly touted prospect who has shown flashes but this is not the matchup to hope he finds a groove. The Dodgers have been hot and they are all in play again. 

Alex Wood is bitten by the injury bug seemingly every time he begins to impress. With this in mind and Dave Roberts’ love of pulling pitchers way too soon, Wood likely has a limited ceiling here and the tantalizing matchup won’t make up for a short outing. 

Angels(+125) V Athletics(-145) 4:10 EST

Dylan Bundy$7,700$7,0004.791.35.330.328
Sean Manaea$10,000$7,8001.

Dylan Bundy was destined to be the beacon of hope Orioles fans were craving but injuries and terrible player development left fans dreaming of what could have been. He is still talented but is as boom or bust as you’re ever going to find. Long balls can be an issue for him and Khris Davis has loved facing him in the past. Matt Olson and Marcus Semien deserve a look too. 

Sean Manaea is a mighty lefty with strikeout potential. He had reverse splits in a small sample size last year and Mike Trout has had success against him. His is a top pivot option on this slate and could pay off on Fanduel in a big way. His price on DK is much harder to justify and he’s a scary proposition there. 

Mariners(+220) V Astros(-260) 4:10 EST

Taijuan Walker$5,000$5,6003.461.418.244
Lance McCullers Jr.$8,500$8,0003.861.17.258.318

Taijuan Walker’s numbers here are a bit misleading because they come from very small samples over the last 2 years. It’s honestly tough to gauge where his talent level will be but the leash should be short to help ease him back. Astros bats are in play, especially the cheaper lefties sprinkled in. 

This matchup would have been killer 2 years ago but major injuries have left this as a redemption game as McCullers makes his return from TJ surgery. The Mariners can’t hit themselves out of a paper bag but we are concerned that the Astros will be gentle and hold a tight leash. His price is worth a flier or 2 in GPPs but tread carefully. 

Tigers(+177) V Reds(-210) 5:10 EST

Ivan Nova$5,500$6,6004.721.45.347.355
Luis Castillo$8,000$9,8003.401.14.296.256

Oh cool, Nova is still playing baseball….pass. The Reds offense looked pretty good yesterday and they have some sneaky talent that shouldn’t go overlooked. The Reds are a team to stack and Castellanos, Suarez, Barnhart, Votto, Galvis, and Winker are all playable. Wait and see how the lineup comes out before deciding which direction to go. 

Luis Castillo is looking like one of the top options on Fanduel, at a price that’s too low for his talent and opponent. The Tigers lineup is a joke and Castillo can sling it, look for him to rack up strikeouts often. 

Royals(+210) V Indians(-250) 5:10 EST

Brady Singer$4,500$5,5003.471.24
Mike Clevinger$9,800$10,4002.711.06.282.236

Brady Singer has never pitched above AA and he now gets to make his MLB debut against a strong Indians lineup. Uh oh. On the bright side, Singer has had a low walk rate and is mostly a groundball pitcher, so the damage shouldn’t be too great against him. Still, a 3.47 ERA in AA does not inspire the most confidence in him. There aren’t many lefties for the Indians, but half their lineup is switch-hitters and really everyone is playable here. Even if they aren’t hitting homers, Cleveland should be able to give Singer a debut to forget.

Mike Clevinger is as close to a perfect pitcher to target today as you’ll find. He was phenomenal all of last year, should have a full workload, and he gets the lowly Royals delivered on a silver platter. A win seems fair to assume and his upside is second to none today. Start him with confidence, he should be chalky. 

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