A handful of teams are opening up the home portion of their seasons on Friday, so there are a few day games on the docket. For DFS purposes and for the lead time of this article, we’ll overlook those early games and focus on the evening and night slate of games. That still leaves us with options on 20 different teams, so that’s a good chunk of the league at our disposal. Everybody is still in the feeling out process of the season, so it may even help us to narrow our focus a little bit more.
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The salaries listed are from DraftKings:
Here are the top teams to stack for April 8:
Houston - The Astros draw a good matchup on Friday in the person of Chase Anderson. I actually like Chase Anderson, but I have a lot of concerns about his move to Milwaukee. The Brewers are nowhere near the defensive team that the Diamondbacks are and that’s significant because Anderson had one of the lower strikeout rates among qualified NL starters last season at just 17.3 percent. Miller Park and Chase Field are both good yards for hitters, but Chase is a little bit bigger in the outfield. Anderson’s 4.26 SIERA isn’t exactly a good sign against a potent Astros lineup that really only struggles against strikeout guys.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: AJ Griffin is a great story, but he’s not a great pitcher. He won the job as the Texas Rangers fifth starter and draws a favorable matchup here against a subpar Angels offense, but who knows what to expect? One saving grace for him is that the start is in Anaheim and not in Texas, but Griffin hasn’t worked a MLB game since September 24, 2013. Nerves will definitely be playing a role in this outing for him and even a lackluster Angels lineup can take advantage.
St. Louis - Long-term, Matt Wisler could be a solid pitcher. In the short-term, he’s probably not a guy that you want to back in any format. Wisler only struck out 15.1 percent of opposing batters and gave up 16 home runs in just 109 innings. There’s really not a lot to like about his MLB sample during his rookie season and it’s hard to expect that things have changed. One overall element about these back of the rotation guys is that most of them haven’t worked in 10+ days thanks to the end of Spring Training and the start of the regular season.
Here are the top value hitters for April 8:
Adonis Garcia ($3,000) - Adonis Garcia faces Jaime Garcia here in this matchup between the Braves and the Cardinals. It was a very small sample, so take it with a grain of salt, but Adonis hit .328 with five home runs in just 61 plate appearances against lefties last season. He also added three doubles. Garcia has some really good power and he should be able to showcase it with some platoon split plate appearances this season.
Franklin Gutierrez ($3,100) - In some respects, Franklin Gutierrez is an auto-stream against left-handed pitching. This is a particularly favorable scenario with Eric Surkamp, a below replacement-level southpaw on the bump. Gutierrez owns a career .290/.346/.490 slash line against lefties. It’s not the greatest park to play Gutierrez in, but we know that platoon value is not properly accounted for in DFS formats, so we’ll roll the dice here.
Eugenio Suarez ($3,500) - Like Gutierrez, Eugenio Suarez is going to be a guy worth gambling on against left-handed pitching throughout the season. Suarez posted a .289/.337/.482 slash line against southpaws in 2015 and there are a lot of compelling reasons to stream him in those situations this season. For one thing, he’ll hit in a prime spot in this rebuilding lineup. For another thing, he’s going to keep flying under the radar because the Reds won’t be a good team.
Here are the top value pitchers for April 8:
Jason Hammel ($8,000) - The first half of the season has been very kind to Jason Hammel over the last two years. Hammel posted a 3.01/3.33/3.29 pitcher slash (ERA/FIP/xFIP) in the first half of 2014 with a .223/.277/.360 slash against. In 2015, Hammel had similar numbers, hanging a 2.86/3.12/3.28 ERA/FIP/xFIP and a .206/.251/.351 slash against. If you can jump on the value of Hammel before he starts to go south and battle injuries, that’s a good thing.
Taijuan Walker ($9,300) - The hope is that this is the year that Taijuan Walker puts it all together. He had some really impressive stretches last season, including a first half that saw him strike out 100 in 102.1 innings. Of course, his inconsistency kept his ERA high and his shaky command came into play. In the second half, Walker hung a 3.69 xFIP. His ERA wasn’t great, but the Mariners are a much better defensive team this season and that could help him a lot.
Francisco Liriano ($10,300) - The second-most expensive pitcher on the board is probably the best value of the day anyway. Francisco Liriano draws a light-hitting Reds lineup that will have issues with left-handed pitching most of the season. Liriano was terrific in his first start and is one of just five pitchers making his second start among the 20 that you can choose from for the late games. That should help.