Welcome back to the FanDuel MLB Daily Lineups column. This is the Wednesday, April 4th 2018 edition. We’re a fantasy baseball column focused on helping you build a DFS MLB optimal lineup for each slate.
For the early only FanDuel MLB slate, we had Chris Sale as our top pitcher pick. Sale was expensive, and only pitched five innings. But Chris was able to fan six hitters and only gave up one run for 30 FanDuel MLB points. The disappointing result was the lack of a win, as the game went into extra innings. Still, it wasn’t a bad play considering the offensive stacks.
For the early only slate offensive stacking targets, we loaded up on the Red Sox and Mariners. We eventually flipped to Hunter Pence as our third team play, as Brandon Belt wasn’t in the lineup, our original target.
Pence had zero points, but the stacks worked nicely, creating over 130 FanDuel MLB points for offense only. Dee Gordon, Andrew Benintendi, Jean Segura, and Robinson Cano were the top scorers and all around 20+ FanDuel MLB points.
For the main slate, Chase Anderson bombed for us, only getting 15 FanDuel MLB points giving up four earned runs in four innings. But Chase did manage five strikeouts, salvaging his night a bit. However, fortunately, the offense stacks saved us again. The Blue Jays alone piled up a ridiculous 110+ points with Justin Smoak, Josh Donaldson, and Kevin Pillar.
Aledmys Diaz was the big play of the night, though, piling up 37.9 FanDuel MLB points with a home run, three RBI’s, two runs, and a double and single on a dirt-cheap $2,300 salary. Diaz always we not well owned, less than 5% in most cash games.
Switching gears for Wednesday, we have yet, again, an Early Only, All-Day, and Main slate to review. Again, we’ll review the top pitchers from the Early and Main slates and favor one over the other for an All-Day slate. With some of the top MLB pitching talent on the mound tonight, we likely have some chalky picks again.
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 only 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: There is a strong line of storms moving from the Ohio Valley down into the gulf, from west to east, targeting the east coast Wendesday. Depending on the arrival time for places like New York, we could see delays or PPD for the Yankees and Mets game. Atlanta hopefully is clear by then. Outside of that threat, the rest of the nation looks clear for play on Wednesday.
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
We started our lineup with Corey Kluber ($11,300) and, quite frankly we still think he’s the best pitcher of any slate on Wednesday, April 4th. Kluber only has a loss this season, but he pitched eight innings giving up six hits and a walk, with two earned runs, but eight strikeouts and a quality start. So Kluber was still able to pile up 46 FanDuel MLB points with a loss.
Kluber’s 2.49 xFIP and 2.25 ERA since the start of last year are just disgusting. Corey has a 0.87 WHIP, which is unheard of and only gets challenged by Max Scherzer‘s 0.90 over the same period. Kluber also has a 33.9% K-rate, and low 4.9% walk rate. Kluber is fanning over seven batters per walk. If you can find a way to afford him, go for it. But we do not like how much salary Kluber eats up, and there are plenty of awesome pitcher picks all day today.
So for the early slate, we actually prefer Alex Wood ($9,000), who we touted earlier in the season already. After recommending Wood last week, he hurled eight innings, also for a loss, but only gave up one hit, no walks, and had five K’s along with a quality start. The result was a very solid 43 FanDuel MLB points. In fact, compared to Corey, Alex has been a bargain so far this season.
From a DFS MLB optimal lineup perspective, Wood’s biggest knock is K-rate. But that’s also keeping his salary down. Wood’s 24.3% is below most of the top-tier pitchers you’ll see today. However, with a low 5.9% walk rate, Alex has the fifth best K/BB rate among all the starters today, for any slate.
Wood also gives up very few home runs, 0.84/nine, and has a low 1.01 WHIP. For $9K, we’re getting a solid shot at 40-50 FanDuel MLB points, and plenty of salary to load up on bigger offensive stacks.
FanDuel MLB: Top Pitcher Main Slate
Compared to the Early slate, the Main slate pitcher pick was a cake walk. Although, it still wasn’t easy. Johnny Cueto ($8,500) has been inconsistent, doesn’t have great offensive behind him, and the Mariners offense is hot right now. So he’s out. Jon Gray ($8,000) is in a more favorable pitching environment, but Gray actually performs better in Colorado.
Carlos Martinez ($7,900) seems cheap, but he looked rough in his first start and the Brewers appear to have a solid offensive lineup starting this season. Clayton Richard ($7,000) is tempting given his solid start to the season, but the Rockies lineup has been fairly successful in San Diego so far this trip.
So that leads us to an easy Sean Manaea ($8,300) pick. FanDuel MLB players from last season may pause when they see Manaea, but we believe his inconsistencies from last season are going to subside this year.
Manaea had some off-field issues he was battling last year, weight loss drugs, but seems to have fixed the problem and had a fantastic spring. Sean opened the season with an impressive 7.2 inning outing fanning seven Angels hitters, only giving up four hits and one run, and earning the quality start.
Sean was short of the win, but still piled up 45 FanDuel MLB points. The Rangers offense is struggling the start the season, and appear to be in worse shape than a solid Halos offense. So Manaea is in a perfect position for another 40-50 FanDuel MLB point outing on Wednesday night.
FanDuel MLB: Top Hitting Stacks Early Only Slate
Most of our stacking picks would not be possible with Kluber at the pitcher slot. However, Wood is still expensive, so we’re going to dig for value for a few of these picks. With that in mind, we like stacking the Astros, Indians, and Royals today. You could go with just two of those three teams, but we struggled to like any one over the other. However, we’re picking Astros the most.
Dylan Bundy is hurling in Houston, and he’s struggled in these situations in the past. There is some risk with this play, as Bundy threw seven innings letting six on base but fanning seven batters and getting a quality start.
We hope that forces many FanDuel MLB players to fade the Astros and lower ownership. Because, since early last season, Bundy has given up 1.32 home runs per nine innings, one of the highest rates among all starters today, and has a low 22% K-rate, lower than most starters today. And, on the road Dylan has struggled since early last season.
With that in mind, we’re at least targeting Jose Altuve ($4,500) at second base, Alex Bregman ($3,300) at third, and George Springer ($4,200) in one of the outfield positions. Three of these four are already averaging over ten points-per-game this season, and Bregman is 2-for-6 against the Orioles, with a double, run, RBI, and four walks.
Tyler Skaggs also looked solid in his first start, but has terrible stats since early last season. For that reason, we’re also hoping for low ownership of Edwin Encarnacion ($3,800) at first base and Jose Ramirez ($3,000) likely in the utility spot. Ramirez was hit-less until he slugged a two-run home run against the Angels last night. He could continue to heat up on Wednesday.
Speaking of heating up, Bradley Zimmer ($2,400) is a streaky value play we like after getting two hits in the last two games, and averaging around ten points per game in that time. Plug him into your outfield.
Finally, from the Royals, we’re snagging two more value plays we’re hoping others are missing right now. Jon Jay ($2,400) is having a solid start to the season, getting on base every game and with four hits in the first four games. Also, Alcides Escobar ($2,400) is a streaky speedster who had an 18.2 FanDuel MLB point game on Sunday against the Tigers. The Royals close out the Tigers series against Daniel Norris and his 1.61 WHIP.
FanDuel MLB: Top Hitting Stacks Main Slate
Johnny Cueto had a solid first outing against the Dodgers, pitching seven innings, giving up only one hit, earning a quality start and sitting four batters down with K’s. However, the Dodgers offensive lineup appeared slow and still developing into the season. We’re not convinced, yet, Cueto has turned a corner this season.
Since early last year, Johnny has given up 1.28 home runs per nine innings, one of the highest rest of all starting pitchers today, had a low 20.9% K-rate, and 7.9% walk rate along with a sub-par 1.39 WHIP. In fact, Cueto’s numbers resemble Tyler Skaggs, who we’re targeting with some Indians hitters in the Early slate. For that reason, and because the Mariners offense is hot, we’re stacking them against the Giants in the Main slate on Wednesday.
Of the Mariners, we like Robinson Cano ($3,700) whose averaging almost 15 FanDuel MLB points-per-game, Jean Segura ($2,900) whose now heating up and has five hits in the last two games, lead-off hitter speedster Dee Gordon ($3,300), and slugger Mitch Haniger ($3,000) who has two home runs in his first four games.
The other stack we’re targeting is the Chicago White Sox against Blue Jays Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez was a brief darling of FanDuel MLB players, but he’s since struggled significantly. In his first start of this season, he managed to stay in the game for 5.2 innings, but piled up a 6.35 ERA, 2.40 WHIP, and took the loss.
That opens the door wide-open for plays like Jose Abreu ($4,000) at the C/1B position, and Avisail Garcia ($2,700) and efficient hitter for the Sox in the outfield. While he’s cooled off since his three home run game in Kansas City, we’re expecting Matt Davidson ($2,900) to provide some offense against on Wednesday with a favorable pitching match up.
Finally, to apply the third-team minimum requirement, we have $4,200 in salary left over thanks to the dirt-cheap pitching salary, and reasonable salary for our stacks. That allows us to snag red-hot Josh Donaldson ($4,100) likely facing a young Carson Fulmer on the mound.
FanDuel MLB: Summary and Example Lineup
If you’re going to play the All-Day slate, don’t forget about Max Scherzer ($11,400). While he’s a very expensive, and offensive option limiting, pick like Kluber, he’s one of the rare talents who can consistently deliver 50+ FanDuel MLB points in your lineup. The key, will be finding the best value stacks, typically players batting int he top five with a $2.3K or lower salary.
That being said, we still think Sean Manaea is a steal at this price-point, and after tonight, his salary could climb significantly. Get him while he’s cheap. For stacking, we recommend targeting Astros, Yankees, or Nationals hitters with either the Royals, Mariners, or White Sox. And don’t be afraid to grab some of the cheaper players in the lineup, who may benefit from simply getting knocked in as a run.
Finally, here’s a look at the sample lineups for Early Only and Main FanDuel MLB slates on Wednesday, April 4th:
FanDuel MLB EARLY ONLY Sample Lineup: FanDuel MLB MAIN Slate Sample Lineup:
Remaining Salary: $0 Remaining Salary: $100
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!