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 12:
Pittsburgh – Was Kyle Lohse’s first start a sign of things to come or was it the exception to the norm? Lohse was blasted by the Colorado Rockies, who have an excellent offensive team, to the tune of eight runs on 10 hits. The Pirates are dealing with a nagging injury to Andrew McCutchen, but Starling Marte ($5,000), Neil Walker ($4,600), and both Pedro Alvarez and Josh Harrison ($4,500) are all solid options. Francisco Cervelli ($3,400) is also a decent bat behind the plate to allow for more spending at premium offensive positions.
St. Louis – Raisel Iglesias makes his Major League debut and there are definitely some questions about the Cuban right-hander. Iglesias has a decent fastball and curve, but no third pitch. That means that Cardinals lefties like Matt Adams ($5,100), Matt Carpenter ($4,900) and even somebody like Jon Jay ($4,200) could have some success against Iglesias. The Cardinals are a tad overpriced because of Iglesias’s low price tag, but the Cardinals could certainly give Iglesias a rude welcome to the Major Leagues.
Seattle – I’ve talked about Jesse Hahn as a pitcher that I like, but he has some platoon split issues to work through. It was a very small sample size against Texas, but lefties had a .400/.471/.467 slash on 17 plate appearances. In 153 PA last season, lefties hit .227/.288/.369, which was much higher than the .194/.327/.256 that righties managed. Very small sample size here, but players like Seth Smith ($4,100), Dustin Ackley ($3,800) and Brad Miller ($3,800) could be good cheap options to load up at the major corner infield positions or with starting pitchers.
Here are the top three value hitters for April 12:
Joey Votto ($4,800) – Joey Votto is the 12th-most expensive first baseman for Sunday’s lineups. Votto is off to a terrific start to the season with a .524 wOBA in 22 plate appearances and three home runs, after hitting just six in 272 PA last season. Votto has been more aggressive at the plate so far, but the plate discipline is still going to be there when he needs it. Against Carlos Martinez, Votto may draw a couple of walks, but Martinez has some command concerns, so Votto could be poised for a big day at a very reasonable price.
Justin Upton ($4,100) – There’s some good power potential here for Upton against the broken down Jake Peavy. Peavy had his first start pushed back and it’s unlikely that he will be very sharp in this start. Upton provides excellent value at just $4,100, well below most of the other outfielders. The Petco Park factor plays a role for sure, but Upton also provides a little bit of a speed threat. The Padres lineup will struggle with better righties because of how heavy they are on right-handed bats, but Peavy is not a better righty.
Jason Kipnis ($4,000) – Jason Kipnis was one of the best opposite field hitters in Major League Baseball two years ago. Last season, an oblique injury zapped his power and ability to go the other way. Kipnis is swinging a much better bat this season. He’s underpriced because of the lefty/lefty matchup against Kyle Lobstein, but he had some terrific swings off of David Price on Saturday and has looked much more comfortable in the box this season. His focus is up the middle/oppo and that’s the approach to take against same-side arms.
Here are the top value pitchers for April 12:
Dallas Keuchel ($6,700) – The Texas offense was completely shut down by Drew Pomeranz earlier this week and Dallas Keuchel could have similar results. Keuchel was terrific against the Indians in the season opener on Monday and that same four-pitch mix should be effective against a watered-down Rangers lineup. Keuchel is a concern for DFS players because of the lack of strikeouts, but he’s efficient and stays out of trouble by having one of the game’s biggest ground ball splits. Considering he’s priced only $300 higher than opponent Colby Lewis, Keuchel is the top value pick for Sunday.
Nathan Karns ($5,700) – Karns’s 2015 debut was hideous. But, he draws a more favorable lineup here in the Miami Marlins and there is some upside in his arsenal. Chris Archer shut down the Marlins on Saturday and Karns has a similar, albeit less explosive, arsenal to Archer. He throws a good hard fastball with a good breaking ball and lacks a third pitch. The Orioles lineup is a lot better than Miami’s and Karns is underpriced a little bit here because of how bad the first outing went. If you want to load up on bats, Karns isn’t a bad flier to take.
Alex Wood ($9,300) – Wood was solid in his debut and has some high strikeout potential against the Mets. The Mets have struck out 40 times so far this season and Wood will be the second left-handed starter of the season for the Mets. Eric Stults didn’t fare all that well on Friday night, but Wood has a much higher upside. Wood is definitely the top option of the “second-tier” guys behind big names like Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, and Max Scherzer.