FanDuel was a success yesterday (DraftKings not so much), so let’s look to keep it going tonight. Coors is on the early slate, so we’re 100% focused on Kershaw even at a full price tag. He should be the first person you click when doing your builds, and we’ll discuss the hitters in depth in FTA+ chat tonight. You can also follow me on twitter @jac3600, and watch me rant about the MLB Network guys omitting Didi Gregorius from the top 10 shortstops. Good luck!
Clayton Kershaw, LAD ($11,400)
I don’t like to use the term “lock” much in baseball because the range of outcomes is so diverse, but Kershaw is a lock tonight. The Marlins are a below average offense whose two best hitters (Dietrich and Bour) are both left-handed. Kershaw is doing what he does, posting a 2.54 xFIP along with a 27% K rate and a ridiculous 2.3% BB rate. He’s a -340 favorite with a 2.4 IRTA (both the highest and lowest I’ve seen this year). If you want to diversify in GPPs that’s fine, but don’t get cute in cash here.
Other options – Zack Greinke
Jacob Faria, TB ($5900)
Faria has been horrid to start the season (5.89 xFIP, 5.92 BB/9), but he’s a post-hype sleeper with K upside. He hasn’t worked deep into the games yet but Baltimore is a matchup that plays to his upside. Faria has a career 8.59 K/9 and Baltimore currently ranks 27th in wRC+ against RHP with the highest K rate. At that price, you can stack up a serious offense with GPP-winning upside, and hope Faria figures it out.
Other options – Eduardo Rodriguez, Michael Wacha, Jhoulys Chacin, Alex Cobb
Joey Gallo, TEX ($3900)
My first base preferences sit right in the Texas/Oakland game, which is the top offensive contest this evening (even though it busted last night). Gallo hits fifth which is not ideal but is fine, and he gets to face Kendall Graveman who doesn’t strike out batters. If Gallo is putting the ball in play, he’s an incredible weapon with his career .293 ISO, and his K rate is actually down to 28% to start this season. He’s playable in all formats.
Other options – Cody Bellinger, Anthony Rizzo, Justin Smoak, Yasmani Grandal
Matt Olson, OAK ($2900)
As long as Matt Olson is in the A’s lineup, he’ll be in mine as well. The A’s have an IRT of five runs and are getting a major park boost playing in Texas. They also get to face Doug Fister who is extremely contact-oriented (career 6.95 K/9) and has allowed a 35% hard hit rate to start the season. Olson has clobbered RHP for a .330 ISO so far in his career, and is an amazing bet to homer.
Other options – Carlos Santana, Chris Davis, Pedro Alvarez, Lucas Duda
Catcher punts – Robinson Chiniros, Russell Martin, Jonathan Lucroy, Alex Avila
Jed Lowrie, OAK ($4000)
2B is gross today, and Lowrie doesn’t fit in your cash lineups anyway since we’re using Kershaw. I do like him in GPPs, however, as we are talking about a guy who is crushing the ball right now with a .640 SLG. He gets the same elite environment and matchup against Doug Fister, so fire away in tournaments.
Other options – Asdrubal Cabrera, Whit Merrifield
Devon Travis, TOR ($2200)
The name of the game on FanDuel is to PUNT the 2B position, even if it comes with a terrible lineup spot. Travis will likely hit ninth, but he has a .202 ISO against LHP since the beginning of last season and will hit in a climate controlled environment. I hope we get something better in this price range, but it’s a necessary evil right now.
Other options – Jonathan Villar, Ketel Marte, Chase Utley
Travis Shaw, MIL ($4200)
Like most of the top plays in this article, Shaw is likely out of reach for cash with all the focus on Kershaw, but he’s a solid option tonight. Shaw has completely broken out with the Brewers, and has a .212 ISO against RHP since the beginning of 2015. Jason Hammel is awful, with a 4.51 xFIP and a meager 5.68 K/9, and he’s allowed 1.34 HR/9 since the beginning of 2015. The Brew Crew once again have an IRT approaching five runs.
Other options – Kris Bryant, Jose Ramirez, Mike Moustakas, Adrian Beltre (injured last night), Rafael Devers
Danny Valencia, BAL ($2200)
Valencia is usually someone to target against LHP, but his punt price tag can be used against Jake Faria who just hasn’t figured it out yet (and is backed by a subpar Tampa bullpen). It’s hard to assume Valencia will even be in the lineup, but he was scheduled to hit sixth yesterday against Faria before the game was rained out, and Baltimore is dealing with some injuries.
Other options – Daniel Descalso
Manny Machado, BAL ($4600)
Machado is priced way out of cash considerations, but he’s an elite GPP play against Faria. Machado is reverse-split hitter and is sizzling right now. He’s on an 11-game hitting with five homers and a 41% hard hit rate in that span, and Faria has been a mess.
Other options – Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien
Corey Seager, LAD ($3400)
Seager makes the most sense to me in cash, and he’s doable with Kershaw. He has a .381 wOBA and .200 ISO against RHP in his career and is facing Trevor Richards who is a highly rated prospect but has been a mess to start the year. Richards has posted a 5.71 xFIP while walking over five batters per nine innings, and is allowing a ton of hard contact. The Dodgers’ IRT of 4.5 runs honestly seems low to me.
Other options – Eduardo Nunez, Jurickson Profar
Khris Davis, OAK ($4500)
You want to target Oakland and Texas bats, but Davis is more of a luxury at $4500. He’s a cornerstone of A’s stacks and a top GPP target. Davis’ K rate is down this year (Fister doesn’t strike people out anyway), and his .262 career ISO is elite. Fret not, there are several cheaper options from this same game for cash purposes.
Other options – JD Martinez, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Tommy Pham, Michael Conforto, Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, David Peralta, Shin Soo Choo
Matt Joyce, OAK ($2800)
Joyce is always a pinch hit risk, but he’s a platoon darling for DFS. Joyce had a .360 wOBA and .256 ISO against RHP last season, and he should lead off on the road in by far the best game environment (10.5 O/U, hot temperatures, bad pitcher). At $2800, he’s a top cash target for me as this is the range you need to be looking in to build around Kershaw.
Other options – Nomar Mazara, Delino DeShields, Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, Steve Pearce, Randal Grichuk, Ian Happ, Chris Taylor, Matt Kemp, Jacki Bradley, Trey Mancini