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.
Here are the top three lineups to stack for April 14:
San Diego – Who would have thought that we would be talking about stacking the San Diego Padres in daily fantasy? This is clearly a much different offensive team this season with the great improvements to the roster by AJ Preller. I do not believe that this is a legitimate offense over the course of the season and average or better righties will shut the Padres down, but Jeremy Hellickson is not average. Hellboy was blasted in his first start with the Diamondbacks and it should happen again here. Hellickson’s stuff is pedestrian and a new team won’t help that. Not to mention, the Padres hitters are cheap, as only Matt Kemp costs more than $4,300. New catcher Derek Norris ($3,400) has been a pretty good value so far this season.
Colorado – Tim Hudson is one of the smallest question marks in the San Francisco Giants staff, but the Rockies lineup has a lot of lefties capable of doing damage against Hudson. Hudson walked four of the six lefties he faced in his first start and the other two singled. Lefties slashed .276/.327/.428 against Hudson last season and 24 of his 34 walks allowed were to left-handed sticks. You’ll have to pony up a little bit for Rockies hitters, but not nearly as much as you would have to if the game was at Coors Field. The perception of AT&T Park keeps their salaries low, as Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson are the most expensive at $4,800.
Houston – Kendall Graveman had a nightmare first start against the Texas Rangers and command was a big reason why. Graveman is a pitch-to-contact guy and the way to dominate the Astros is to pitch away from contact because they are a free-swinging group and chase a ton. Graveman got unlucky with BABIP bad luck in his first start, but mistakes will get hit a long way by this Astros offense. This could actually end up being a pretty high-scoring game with Brad Peacock on the other side for the Astros. This is a spot where you could stack both lineups with big bats.
Here are the top three value hitters for April 14:
Jerry Sands ($2,900) – Why not? The newest platoon bat in right field for the Indians will hit in a prime run-producing spot in the lineup with Yan Gomes’s injury and Sands drove the ball very well against lefties David Price and Kyle Lobstein. The Indians draw yet another left-hander in Jose Quintana, so Sands will definitely be in the order. With Carlos Santana’s quality start to the season and Brandon Moss showing good at bats against lefties, Sands could get some RBI opportunities.
Adam LaRoche ($3,400) – Carlos Carrasco is getting quite a bit of respect, and deservedly so, but LaRoche has a platoon advantage in this game. Sure, LaRoche is just 4-for-23 so far this season, but both of his home runs are against right-handed pitching and he owned a .280/.390/.501 slash against right-handers last season. He also walked more than he struck out against righties last season. Balls in play are an adventure with the Indians defense once again this season, so LaRoche provides some good power potential at a very low price.
Howie Kendrick ($3,700) – It’s another week day for second basemen around the daily fantasy scene, but Howie Kendrick is a very intriguing player. Kendrick will be one of the few Dodgers with past experience against Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners. Kendrick, of course, was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the Andrew Heaney trade this past winter, so Kendrick is a good under-the-radar look against Kuma. In 25 plate appearances against the righty, Kendrick has nine hits, including four doubles.
Here are the top value pitchers for April 14:
Shane Greene ($5,800) – Shane Greene should be an undervalued commodity for the next few starts because of his relatively low strikeout totals and the fact that he is overshadowed by bigger names on the Tigers staff. Even though the strikeout upside was not there in his first start, Greene did strike out 81 in 78.2 innings last season for the Yankees. With the Tigers offense, Greene always has a shot at a win. Taking a flier on a guy like Greene will allow you a lot of flexibility with the lineup. It’d be easy to pay Greene with a horse like Matt Harvey and have a good shot at two wins and somewhere around 15 strikeouts.
Jose Quintana ($7,900) – The Indians manage to avoid Chris Sale in this brief two-game series, but he’s actually the lefty that they have had more success against. In nine career starts and two relief appearances, Quintana has never lost to the Indians, though he only has three decisions. Quintana has a 3.24 ERA with a 47/19 K/BB ratio in 58.1 innings against the Tribe. The Indians, as everybody knows, struggle with lefties and Quintana has been a benefactor of that over the last few seasons.
Jake Arrieta ($8,600) – Jake Arrieta is the fifth-most expensive starter behind Strasburg, Harvey, Iwakuma, and Carrasco for this one against a Cincinnati Reds lineup that is in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories so far. Arrieta was terrific in his first start against the St. Louis Cardinals, which was a carry over from how he performed with the Cubs to end the season. All of the top pitchers offer some upside, but Arrieta has similar strikeout potential at a lower price tag.