Daily fantasy sports websites are all the rage nowadays as a form legalized sports gambling. Some people make a living off of daily fantasy sites, while others just play on them for fun. During the baseball season, we will take a look every day to try and find value for our readers in these daily fantasy contests at DraftKings and FanDuel.
It’s easy to fill in the lineup with high-priced talent and hope that it performs, but that’s not the way to win at daily fantasy sports. It’s important to take stud pitchers and find hitting value from guys with good platoon splits or low salaries and a lot of upside. There are a lot of strategies out there for daily fantasy sports, but one of the biggest ones is to stack lineups. The salaries listed are from DraftKings.
Friday is another day of aces with Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer, and Johnny Cueto all on the mound. Other frontline starters like Julio Teheran, Jake Peavy, and Drew Hutchison are also on the bump. You’ll pay for pitching today, so finding good value on hitters is going to be a big help.
Here are the top lineups to stack for April 17:
Boston – Have to do it. The Red Sox draw Ubaldo Jimenez, who threw an absolute gem in his first start. The problem is that Jimenez is very inconsistent with his mechanics and can go from looking unhittable to becoming a batting practice pitcher in a hurry. Both teams should score runs in this series and it should start right away with Friday night’s game. The Red Sox hitters are pretty expensive with Hanley Ramirez at $5,500, Mookie Betts at $4,900, and three other players at $4,500 or more. But, Jimenez has the chance to blow up in any start, so it may be worth the risk.
Washington – The Nationals found their offensive stride in Boston and now face Sean O’Sullivan of the Phillies. The Nats are still without Denard Span and Anthony Rendon, so there’s some concern with the top of the order, but those top of the order replacements are cheap. Michael Taylor ($3,500) and Yunel Escobar ($3,400) are getting a lot of plate appearances at a low cost. The five most expensive hitters in this game are Nationals, ranging from $4,700 to $3,900, so it’s reasonably affordable to load up on Washington.
Houston – Jered Weaver’s decline seems more evident this season, as his velocity continues to drop. The Houston Astros swing and miss a ton, but they should get some pitches to hit against Weaver. The fly ball guy against a free-swinging lineup in a good hitter’s park seems like a good pitcher to stack against. The most expensive Astro is Jose Altuve at just $4,300. That means you can load up on potential power for a low price.
Here are the top value hitters for April 17:
Kevin Kiermaier ($4,200) – On a day of pricey outfielders, Kevin Kiermaier is an interesting streaming candidate against Adam Warren. Kiermaier has a .344/.382/.750 slash in the early going and a nice platoon split against righties. Kiermaier came on the scene last season and proved to be a very effective player, both at the plate and in the field. He has bounced around the lineup, so keep an eye on where he is slotted. He’ll have decent value at the bottom of the order, but tremendous value if he’s hitting near the top.
Ike Davis ($3,900) – The value on Ike isn’t as good as we found it last week when he was under $3,000, but the platoon bat has a great matchup against Jeremy Guthrie on Friday night. Davis has yet to hit his first home run, but he has walked five times and has 10 hits on the young season. He’ll hit in the middle of the order and Guthrie should provide Davis will some quality RBI opportunities.
Nolan Arenado ($3,800) – Yeah, Clayton Kershaw is on the mound. But, Arenado has posted a .324/.395/.735 slash and has separated himself from the other third basemen around the league so far this season. Arenado owns a .306/.364/.544 slash against left handed pitching in his career, though some of that is Coors-induced. If you’re alright with small sample sizes, Arenado has a .267/.353/.333 slash against Kershaw in his career. The thing about Arenado here is that the Diamondbacks righties had some good success against Kershaw last start and the value on Arenado is too good to pass up.
Here are the top value pitchers for April 17:
Drew Hutchison ($7,200) – I love the first two value pitchers so much that I may end up playing both of them myself in order to spend on hitting. Hutchison draws a good matchup against a bad Atlanta Braves lineup. The one concern in this outing would be that the Braves have a handful of left-handed sticks, but there’s not a lot of power in those bats. Hutchison is coming off of an awful start after a good first outing against the Yankees. He’s a high upside guy that flashed good strikeout stuff last season and it could show up in a big way here.
Jimmy Nelson ($6,000) – The Brewers are hoping to get the train back on the tracks with this series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both offenses have been slumping in a big way, so both Nelson and Pirates starter Jeff Locke are catching the opposition at the right time. Nelson’s traditional metrics last season (2-9, 4.93 ERA) painted a negative picture, but his 3.78 FIP suggested better things and his .344 BABIP against was out of control. Nelson added a spike curve this season that will be an equalizer against the Pirates lineup. Nelson punched out nine in seven innings against the Pirates in his first start and a similar outcome is possible here.
Bartolo Colon ($7,000) – The portly right-hander has a good matchup against the Miami Marlins and David Phelps on Friday night. Phelps is the second-cheapest pitcher, for a reason, so Colon’s chances of picking up a victory are pretty high. Also, the Marlins have had to rely on walks for a big portion of their offense. The Marlins have a 9.5 percent walk rate, which is one of the better rates in the league. They’re only hitting .228 as a team and have only hit five home runs. Colon won’t strike out many, but April has been one of his better months for strikeouts in each of the last few seasons.