The return of the Major League Baseball season brings a nice resurgence with it in many ways. In one form, the return of baseball brings Spring and warmer weather, in theory (looking at you Cleveland and New York). In another way, it brings fans of the game something to clench on to for the next seven months. It also brings the return of Fantasy Baseball, and more importantly for those who struggle with the season-long grind, daily fantasy baseball.
What is MLB Daily Fantasy Baseball?
For those of you new to this, daily fantasy sports or “DFS” as it is more commonly known as, gives people the opportunity to enjoy the fun of fantasy games without the drudge of checking a lineup day in and day out. It can also be difficult because, with baseball, there are so many games and thus, so many variables and players to take into account.
Match-ups are crucial when it comes to constructing the very best DFS roster, in any sport. Consequently, you want to make sure that you are getting the best value on your roster relative to scoring. For example, if Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers were facing the San Diego Padres in PETCO Park, the advantage would strongly favor Kershaw, since PETCO is a “pitchers” park and the Padres do not have that strong of a roster, aside from Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer. It will drive the price of Kershaw up for rosters, as well as create an urgency of fantasy gamers to roster him.
Finding the best “value” plays within any game or match-up is vital for daily fantasy success. Many rosters which win big money tend to carry players with low ownership. As is the case with people familiar with NFL DFS, so it goes with MLB DFS. Here, we are trying to bring you two things: the best value plays as well as the best fades for that given day, both hitters, and pitchers.
Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC
Bryant may fall on the pricier side of roster additions, but it could be worth it. The Chicago Cubs face Zach Davies, and Bryant has walloped Davies in their career match-ups.
In 28 career at-bats against the righty from Milwaukee, Bryant carries a .393 AVG, with a .643 SLG percentage, and a 1.057 OPS. Bryant also has four extra base-hits off Davies, including a home run and five RBI’s.
Over the past three seasons, Zach Davies carries an ERA of 4.78 at home. It will bode well for the Cubs and Bryant as they look to get the bats going. As far as being on the road in Miller Park, it does not bother Kris Bryant one bit. He has a career .288 AVG with four home runs, 17 RBI, and 17 walks, in 28 career games there.
The Cubs through the first week of the 2018 season has struggled mightily in specific areas. However, the offensive broke open on Thursday night, finally. There will continue to be high expectations for fireworks in Milwaukee this weekend, and they will hopefully begin again with Kris Bryant.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, STL
Ozuna will get the matchup with Zack Greinke on Saturday. In his career versus Greinke, Ozuna has walloped him. He sports a .364 AVG with 3 HR and 4 RBI in only 11 at-bats. Despite the small sample size, Ozuna has Greinke’s number.
Greinke meanwhile does sport a respectable 3.74 ERA versus the Cardinals in his Diamondbacks career. While it indeed is by no means a bad matchup for him, targeting Ozuna is the play here in hopes that Ozuna keeps it going against the righty from the dessert.
Didi Gregorius, SS, NYY
The Yankees continue their rivalry with a division foe, the Baltimore Orioles this weekend in the Bronx. Chris Tillman will get the start against the newly revamped, vaunted Bronx Bombers.
Meanwhile, while many will uniformly be targeting the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, Gregorius could be a sneaky play. In his career versus Tillman, which has spanned a respectable sample size of 20 at-bats, Gregorius has batted .550 with seven extra-base hits, including a home run and four RBI’s. It includes a 1.050 slugging percentage.
It is important to remember too that Gregorius has a respectable amount of power. Last season, he hit 20+ home runs for the second straight year. As it is a home game in the bandbox which is Yankee Stadium, don’t be surprised if he goes yard again on Saturday.
Jose Abreu, 1B, CWS
The Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers face off this weekend, with Tigers SP Michael Fulmer going on Saturday afternoon. With that, Fulmer will face Sox slugging first baseman Jose Abreu.
In his career versus Fulmer, Abreau has seen the ball well. He owns a .357 AVG with a HR and 4 RBI in 14 at-bats. Surprisingly enough, he has also only struck out one time against Fulmer.
Abreu may not be the flashiest pick here, but he continues to be one of the most underrated hitters in all of baseball.
Rick Porcello, BOS (vs. TB)
In the past three seasons, Porcello has posted a 3.36 ERA versus the Tampa Bay Rays. His first start of this season, also a match-up against TB, Porcello went 5.1 IP and gave up 1 ER.
Porcello did struggle at Fenway in 2017, a year removed from his American League Cy Young award, however, do not let this scare you off from the match-up on Saturday. Boston’s offensive prowess should help provide Porcello with enough run support to walk away with a win.
Rich Hill, LAD (vs. SF)
Assuming Hill is the starter for Saturday, he seems like a pretty good bet to roster in a lineup. In his first start of the season, also against the Giants, Hill spun six scoreless innings, striking out five and notching the win.
In his Dodger career, Hill has a 1.40 ERA versus the Giants. Dating back to 2016, Hill has three quality starts, as well as allowing two earned runs or less in each start versus SF. Hill will probably not be one of the more expensive options in DFS this weekend and may be worth a spot on rosters.
Gerrit Cole, HOU (vs. SD)
The San Diego Padres make the trip to Houston this weekend for some interleague play with the Astros. Gerrit Cole will toe the rubber on Saturday in an evening match-up.
Cole pitched well in his Astros debut, surrendering only 1 ER in 7 IP vs. the Rangers for the win. He will attempt to keep it going against SD.
The Padres so far in 2018 are a mediocre offense. They are batting just .220 with a slugging percentage of just .390. Cole should be a good bet to put together another great start. Because of this, he should find himself on DFS rosters this weekend.
Good luck to everyone this weekend with your MLB DFS lineups.