Early-season MLB daily fantasy is pretty tricky. We expect the best players in the league to get off to good starts, but that’s not always the case. Also, weather plays a big factor this time of year. You don’t want to get caught with a stacked lineup of guys in a postponed game, so make sure to check those weather reports ahead of time. The Astros/Yankees game was already banged for Monday and rain and cold weather will be factors in other places as well.
For those new to our MLB DFS articles, welcome! The goal here is to find DFS value, so I look at three teams to stack, three value hitters, and three value pitchers to fill out lineups and help with those GPPs, 50/50s, and H2Hs.
DraftKings or FanDuel are the industry leaders in ease of use and safe, free transactions. Use these tips and the tips from our daily radio show to improve your abilities and fill out the winning lineup. Our MLB daily fantasy tips and suggestions article is different in that we’re not looking for the top scorers, but for the best values so that you can get the edge that you need in order to save money for the game’s best players.
The salaries listed are from DraftKings:
Here are the top teams to stack for April 4:
San Francisco – This one is obvious. Wily Peralta has decent stuff, but he’s never been able to put the total package together. Last season, his strikeout rate hit rock bottom and his command took a tumble as well. This is also a pretty marginal defensive team for the Brewers, so balls in play will be worrisome. Peralta finished last season with a 4.84 FIP and a 4.57 xFIP. While he should be a little bit better this season, since he had a .320 BABIP against, I wouldn’t expect huge gains. He’s a guy you can fade more often than not in DFS. Not to mention, the Giants have a pretty good offensive ballclub and they play their first game of the season in a good hitter’s park.
Baltimore – I’m always wary of East Coast teams at the start of a season because weather can be a big factor, but it’s tough to ignore the power of Baltimore’s lineup going against a guy like Ervin Santana. The command profile is suspect for Santana and he’s not a big strikeout guy. Baltimore is a very aggressive offensive team and Santana just doesn’t have the repertoire to keep them off-balance. The Orioles will play some slow-pitch softball games with their offense and their rotation this season.
Toronto – Surprise, surprise. I really like Drew Smyly, but the Blue Jays are unquestionably the worst matchup in the league for him. Righties had a .448 SLG off of him in 219 plate appearances last season and own a .436 career SLG against him. Smyly has great stuff and should rack up a handful of punchouts, but Toronto bats can get to him. This is almost the same Toronto lineup as last season that owned a .278/.354/.463 slash against LHP with a .354 wOBA.
Here are the top value hitters for April 4:
Danny Valencia ($3,200) – Chris Sale is a tough customer, but Danny Valencia has carved out a nice MLB niche by being able to hit left-handers. You will find that a good amount of my value hitters are platoon players. Valencia posted a .298/.376/.458 slash against southpaws in 131 PA last season. Valencia now owns a .321/.369/.493 slash against lefties over 701 plate appearances in his career. Chris Sale is not your average journeyman lefty, but Valencia is 36 percent above league average against lefties in his career.
Franklin Gutierrez ($2,800) – The price tag for Franklin Gutierrez is rather interesting today. He’s facing a great pitcher in Cole Hamels, but Gutierrez has always hit lefties well. He owned a .317/.357/.615 slash last season in 104 plate appearances, including eight home runs. He’s a lifetime .291/.346/.491 hitter against southpaws in 958 plate appearances. Hamels is a good one, but Gutierrez has a good track record to fall back on.
Anthony Rendon ($3,700) – The comeback trail begins for Anthony Rendon on Monday. After an injury-plagued 2015 season, Rendon will be looking to get off to a hot start to try to erase those bad memories. Rendon doesn’t have a platoon advantage today against Julio Teheran, but he did bat .278/.347/.477 against righties when healthy in 2014. The Nationals have the ability to get off to a really good start with a very weak month of April and Rendon will need to be a key cog if that is to happen.
Here are the top value pitchers for April 4:
Tyson Ross ($8,400) – Armed with a better defense, Tyson Ross should, in theory, be able to improve his .320 BABIP against this season. One thing the awful defense did do was force Ross to strike out more hitters. For the fourth straight season, his K/9 and K% both went up. His walk rate went up as well, but that happens when pitchers try to make perfect pitches. Ross is going against Clayton Kershaw and he’s a +175 dog, so the chances of a win are slim, hence the price. But, Ross could easily be a strikeout per inning guy and can keep this thing close enough for a bad Padres offense to scratch something out.
Garrett Richards ($8,500) – Everybody has already crowned the Chicago Cubs the 2016 World Series champions. That may happen, but they draw a tough assignment on Night #1 with Garrett Richards. Richards throws a heavy sinker in the upper 90s and can touch triple digits. As great as the Cubs can be, no team in baseball struck out as much against right-handed pitching last season as the Cubs. If Richards has it working, he can mow through any lineup.
Felix Hernandez ($8,800) – The reports of Felix Hernandez’s demise are definitely premature. He would be the first to acknowledge that last season wasn’t pretty, but he’s still an elite arm and has really great stuff. His usage patterns changed a little bit last season from working behind in the count a little bit more and that took him out of his rhythm. A guy like him can adjust. You’re not going to get King Felix at this price very often.