Welcome to FanDuel MLB Daily Lineups for Saturday, March 31st 2018. This is a fantasy baseball column focused on helping you build a DFS MLB optimal lineup for each slate.
Yesterday was full of hits and misses, but the early FanDuel MLB slate was fantastic. The Pirates and Tigers slugged a total of 23 runs in a 13-10 win for the Bucs in extra innings. That worked well for the Pirates stack. Josh Harrison was heavily owned, but with two doubles and two walks, he scored twice and piled up 21.6 FanDuel MLB points.
Jose Iglesias ($2,400) was a value play at shortstop, and he had a double and walk for two runs and an RBI for 18.9 points. Josh Bell ($2,800) added three singles and three RBI’s along with a run for 22.7 FanDuel MLB points. But the play of the day was Gregory Polanco ($2,200) batting third for the Pirates and piling up 53.6 FanDuel MLB points with a home run, four RBI’s, three runs, a double, single, walk, and stolen base.
Stacking the Pirates with Max Scherzer was easily affordable. Mad-Max was massively owned, especially in cash games, so you have to have him in your lineup for the early only slate to do anything yesterday. That’s not surprising, because Max had a shutout in six innings, a quality start, he got the win, and he piled up ten K’s for 58 FanDuel MLB points.
For today’s slates, we will review the top pitchers, and favor one over the other for an All-Day slate. Also, for offensive plays, we generally like to use stacking as a strategy. Stacking is ideal for DFS MLB optimal lineups, as it presents your best opportunity to win with favorable hitting-to-pitcher match ups, and you can benefit from RBI’s and Runs at the same time.
Finally, we’ll summarize our thoughts for the day’s slates, and offer some example lineups you can consider for both the Early and Main slates. But be sure to apply your own input into your lineup. These are general examples based on what we’ve discussed, and you may have additional information to apply to each lineup.
Weather Note: Good News! Like Friday, there appear to be no likely delays or postponements. However, monitor the weather throughout the day in the case that a weather event pops up before each game. If there is a PPD, your player receives 0 points.
Also, as we progress toward slate locks, you’ll continue to hear updates on player injuries and starting pitchers. So make sure you follow final lineup thoughts throughout the day on our twitter account @FantasyCPR and look for late breaking lineup news.
Now, let’s get to the top pitching options…
FanDuel MLB: Top Pitcher Early Only Slate
The top two options for the early slate are obvious. Stephen Strasburg ($10,000) had a dominate season most of last year, averaging 41.46 FanDuel MLB points. For that reason, and because the Nats are playing the Reds, who just fanned against Scherzer ten times yesterday, Strasburg is expensive today. He’s a solid play, but you’ll limit expensive offensive options with Stephen in your lineup.
Instead, we prefer Jacob deGrom ($9,300), who actually had a better xFIP than Strasburg last year, 3.23 vs. 3.27, and a nearly identical K-rate of 28.9%. deGrom’s 1.25 home runs per nine innings isn’t ideal, but it’s not terrible and he has a low 7.1% walk rate. At home in Queens, New York, Jake also has a pitching advantage with cooler weather today.
While we don’t love the idea of snagging a pitcher against the Nats offense, and the likelihood of getting a win versus Strasburg is low, Luis Castillo ($7,400) is worth a value play consideration. The Nats offense only produced two runs yesterday, and the weather conditions in Cincinnati benefit pitching. Castillo also has a high 27.3% K-rate, and his walk rate fell well below 10% as the season continued last year. Especially in GPP’s for the early slate, and all-day, Castillo is a great sleeper pick.
FanDuel MLB: Top Pitcher Main Slate
The top three most expensive pitchers, Yu Darvish ($9,400), Zack Greinke ($9,000), and Kenta Maeda ($8,300) are appropriately priced at the top for the main slate. All three have an xFIP below 4.00, the only three on the mound tonight. Darvish is the most expensive because while he’s away from Chicago, he has the better match up and Yu finished the best last season.
Greinke has pitched well in Chase Field. But facing the Rockies in a hitter-friendly environment is a risk. Also, Zack struggled toward the end of last season, and we’ve yet to see if he’s re-gained his composure on the mound. While Maeda is more affordable, and has a solid match up, Kenta has a lower K-rate than the other two, and more alarmingly gave up 1.47 home runs per nine innings last season. So we favor Darvish of all the pitchers in the Main slate tonight.
But, there are two very interesting value plays at pitcher we can’t ignore. For the purpose of this article, we’ll continue to focus on a lineup with Darvish, however, you should also consider Lucas Giolito ($7,400) against the Royals or Brent Suter ($6,200) against the Padres in San Diego.
The White Sox acquired former Nats top prospect Giolito in a trade for Adam Eaton last season. Lucas struggled in the minors for the early part of the season, but quickly emerged as a top pitching talent, again, during the summer. Giolito thrived when the White Sox brought Lucas up to the Majors last season, and he has a solid match up tonight.
Giolito is fanning hitters at a nearly 20% rate already, and has a solid 6.7% walk rate. Suter also has a low walk rate, 6.5%, and his K-rate climbed to 18.8% last season. Even better, Brent had a 4.15 xFIP in the 2017 season, fourth best of all pitchers on the mound tonight. And in a pitcher-friendly park, we’re getting a huge bargain for Suter.
FanDuel MLB: Top Hitting Stacks Early Only Slate
Before we dive into the stacks, we’re not focused on the Nationals offense today. However, we do like Bryce Harper ($4,700) against the fastball pitcher in Cincinnati this afternoon. Harper had a mild nine FanDuel MLB points yesterday, but he went 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk, getting on base three of his five plate appearances. Bryce is hot early, and if could get a hold of a fast pitch today and go yard. And with these stacks, we can afford to plug him into our lineups.
With an expensive pick already in our outfield, we’re looking for value and it’s easy to find today. The Pirates and Tigers slugged the ball all over Detroit yesterday, piling up 23 total runs. Today, both teams have two of the worst pitchers on the mound again, likely leading to another slugfest.
For that reason, we like stacking both the Pirates and Tigers for the early only slate, and we suggest using one for value for an all-day play. From the Tigers, we’re grabbing Miguel Cabrera ($3,700) for the C/1B or first base slot. We also like the value Jose Iglesias ($2,400) brings to the lineup again, and Jeimer Candelario ($2,900) was a solid play yesterday at the second spot of the lineup.
From the Pirates, we’re going with Josh Harrison ($2,900) again at second base, and we’ll find a way to plug Josh Bell ($2,800) into our lineup. Corey Dickerson ($2,500) was one of the more underrated hitters in baseball last season, and his versatility makes his salary seem dirt-cheap, so we’ll plug him into the outfield. Finally, Starling Marte ($3,500) may only hit sixth in the batting order, but his speed and power making him a great daily DFS MLB optimal lineup play.
FanDuel MLB: Top Hitting Stacks Main Slate
For the Main slate, we actually have three great stacking options. With Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner, and Derek Holland on the mound tonight, we love the White Sox, Twins, and Dodgers for stacking offense.
Cashner is unfortunately a ground-ball pitcher, so we’re not expecting many home runs, but we do expect a lot of walks and run production. Kennedy and Holland gave up two home runs per nine innings last season, and we’re expecting some big offensive production from the White Sox and Dodgers for that reason. All three also had the worst xFIP’s, last season, of any of the pitchers on the mound today.
At the C/1B spot, we’ve toyed with both Jose Abreu ($4,100) and Yasmani Grandal ($2,900). Ultimately, we went with Grandal because we’ll need the salary later, but Abreu is likely to have a great game tonight and if you can fit him into your lineup, do it. We also love Avisail Garcia‘s ($2,800) offensive production in the outfield position. We learned last season, Garcia isn’t a power hitter, but quietly gets on base often and scores a lot of runs. His FanDuel MLB salary is often too low.
While we’re not expecting many home runs from the Twins today, we do expect a lot of offensive production from Brian Dozier ($3,600) and Miguel Sano ($3,300) at second and third base. We’re also grabbing Eddie Rosario ($2,900) for an outfield spot. Rosario had a single and walk, along with a stolen base and run for 15.2 FanDuel MLB points on Thursday.
The Dodgers may get ignored because of their lack of offensive production so far this season. After the first two games of the season, both against the Giants, the Dodgers have yet to score a run. That is odd, and is very likely to end against Derek Holland tonight. So for that reason, we’re grabbing Joc Pederson ($2,500) as a value play in the outfield, and young studs Corey Seager ($3,500) at shortstop and Cody Bellinger ($3,900) in the utility spot.
FanDuel MLB: Summary and Example Lineup
Our two favorite pitchers today ar Jacob deGrom and Yu Darvish, but don’t ignore the value plays at pitcher today too, including Luis Castillo, Lucas Giolito, and Brent Suter. If you really want a lot of expensive offensive players, it’s affordable today.
The Dodgers have produced, literally, no offense after two games. That’s great for ownership today. We expect a lot of FanDuel MLB players to fade the Dodgers, but that’s a mistake. They have a great opportunity to develop a ton of offense. Some of the Dodgers are expensive, but we can afford that with stacks from the Tigers, Pirates, or White Sox. We also love Bryce Harper‘s home run potential today, and expect to use some Twins run production. Here’s a look at the sample lineups for Early Only and Main FanDuel MLB slates on Saturday:
FanDuel MLB EARLY ONLY Sample Lineup: FanDuel MLB MAIN Slate Sample Lineup:
OF Bryce Harper ($4,700) OF Avisail Garcia ($2,800)
Remaining Salary: $300 Remaining Salary: $200
Note: This is a recommended lineup after discussing our top options for today. You should use this as a guide, and provide your own input when building FanDuel NHL lineups. We are not telling you, or selling you, to use this lineup.
Best of luck in your FanDuel MLB contests and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all your DFS news and analysis across MLB, NBA, NHL, and EPL this spring!