Each week over the course of the season, every Wednesday, I’ll be delivering the DraftKings strategy and picks story – including for today, April 8.
But I want to make this more than just a listing of players you should start and which ones you should avoid.
I want you to take something away from it that will help you for the other six days of the week!
It’s like they say, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day – but teach a man how to make his own DraftKings strategy and picks and he’ll be able to eat at Red Lobster!”
So my DFS articles are going to have a little of everything in it. There might be some weeks when I can’t do everything, and I’ll only be able to share just a bit. And then there might be some weeks where I share more than usual.
Each week, here’s what I want to try to give you:
- Daily Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rankings for DraftKings
- At least two players at each position to consider starting
- A strategy nugget to think about
- A Daily Fantasy Baseball tool you can use when I’m not around!
- An introduction to a new game I think you might like to try.
While most of this information is based on DraftKings salaries, you should still be able to use some of the information for other Daily Fantasy Baseball sites, like FanDuel or DraftDay.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers Chart
This chart breaks down the probable starting pitchers for Wednesday, April 8, 2015, on DraftKings.com. The statistics are derived from 2014 MLB lineups until more stats fill out in 2015. The Ballpark Factor numbers are taken from ESPN.com. Players in bold indicate left-handed starters.
The RS-lines indicate the projected runs scored derived from the betting lines at VegasInsider.com, with the over/under line taken into account. Opp-wOBA and Opp-K% stand for the “opponents’ weight on-base average” and the” opponents’ strikeout rate.”
The Cardinals/Cubs and Twins/Tigers are both playing afternoon games, so they’re only included in the “Early Only” games, and playing with just two games on the docket is just a bad idea.
These rankings are subjective, based on the stats and prices.
|Rk||April 8, Wednesday||DK Price||BA-vs-L/R||Opp-wOBA||Opp-K%||RS for Opp||Def-Eff||Ballpark|
|1||Iwakuma, SEA vs LAA||$9,100||.254||0.321||20.1||3||.712||0.825|
|2||Zimmermann, WAS vs NYM||$9,200||.241||0.299||20.6||3.5||.691||1.068|
|3||Carrasco, CLE at HOU||$8,800||.233||0.308||23.8||3.5||.673||1.012|
|4||Cole, PIT at CIN||$8,600||.238||0.294||20.9||3.25||.694||0.963|
|5||deGrom, NYM at WAS||$8,500||.248||0.317||21||3||.688||1.068|
|6||Pineda, NYY vs TOR||$7,500||.263||0.325||18.7||3.25||.687||0.945|
|7||Quintana, CHW at KC||$7,700||.266||0.306||16.3||4.25||.678||1.014|
|8||Shoemaker LAA at SEA||$7,700||.246||0.299||20.6||4||.703||0.825|
|9||McCarthy, LAD vs SD||$7,900||.229||0.283||21.9||3||.690||0.907|
|10||Cashner, SD at LAD||$7,900||.271||0.327||20||4||.696||0.907|
|11||Porcello, BOS at PHI||$6,900||.243||0.295||21.1||3.5||.685||0.929|
|12||Dickey, TOR at NYY||$8,000||.240||0.305||18.6||4.25||.693||0.945|
|13||Odorizzi, TB vs BAL||$7,400||.257||0.323||21||3||.700||1.002|
|14||Kazmir, OAK vs TEX||$7,400||.276||0.305||19.3||3||.710||1.023|
|15||Peralta, MIL vs COL||$7,400||.276||0.337||20.8||3.5||.696||1.002|
|16||Miller, ATL at MIA||$7,200||.247||0.307||22.9||4.25||.687||0.94|
|17||Gonzalez, BAL at TB||$6,400||.246||0.305||18.1||3.5||.706||1.002|
|18||Duffy, KC vs CHW||$7,400||.256||0.312||22.4||3.25||.693||1.014|
|19||Leake, CIN at PIT||$7,000||.260||0.325||20||3.75||.712||0.963|
|20||Koehler, MIA vs ATL||$6,500||.236||0.296||22.6||3.25||.675||0.94|
|21||Harang, PHI vs BOS||$6,300||.245||0.305||21.5||4.5||.693||0.929|
|22||Hellickson, ARI vs SF||$6,100||.253||0.308||20.5||4||.673||1.154|
|23||Feldman, HOU vs CLE||$5,900||.254||0.313||19.1||4.5||.685||1.012|
|24||Butler, COL at MIL||$5,000||.254||0.313||19.7||4.5||.678||1.002|
Interesting Notes About This Chart
Here are a few things that stand out to me about the above chart, and why you should or shouldn’t consider using some of these players.
- Chris Heston is making the start in San Francisco in place of Matt Cain (forearm), but the announcement came late enough to not get him into the listing.
- Texas starter Ross Detwiler isn’t listed either.
- There are just three lefties going Wednesday, and two of them are facing off against each other:
- Danny Duffy vs. Jose Quintana
- Scott Kazmir, unfortunately, faces a Rangers team that ranked among the best against lefties last year, batting .276.
- Sure, Jordan Zimmerman is the most expensive ace, but he’s facing a Mets team that had one of the lowest wOBA last year.
It looks like the only games with a 50-percent chance of precipitation (or higher) include:
- Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (60%)
- Chicago White Sox at Kansas City (50%)
I’ll try to give you a regular choice (mid and expensive), with a bargain option as well, for each position. As always, check the team’s lineups as you get closer – a great spot to do that is on MLBStartingNine.com.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle
Iwakuma looks like the best play overall, even though he’s the second-most expensive pitcher. Last season, the Mariners were the most defensively efficient team, which cuts down on extra chances for other teams. Safeco Field is great for pitchers, and Iwakuma has one of the best K-rate minus BB-rate on the day. Vegas agrees this will be one of the lowest scoring games of the day.
Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland
I’m awfully tempted by Carlos Carrasco, too, considering he has the best K%-BB% rate from last season, and he faces an Astros team with the highest K-rate from last year. He just signed a four-year contract extension worth $22 million. He’ll celebrate with eight strikeouts Wednesday. (He struck out 20 Astros hitters in two games last year, including a two-hit shutout in September!)
Rick Porcello, Boston
While it’s true, opponents have the fifth-highest BABIP against Rick Porcello over the past three years, but Boston just signed him to a big deal Monday, too. Amazingly, he’s still just 26 years old (two years younger than Carrasco), and this Red Sox offense is going to give him a ton of support. Just six cheaper pitchers out there today, and the Phillies lineup is still not very good, batting .243 against right-handers last year.
Tyler Flowers, Chicago White Sox ($3,200)
Flowers hit a home run in every 17.6 at-bats against lefties last year (6 HR in 106 AB). He’s a relatively cheap boom-or-bust catcher.
Dioner Navarro, Toronto ($3,700)
While Russell Martin is expected to catch for R.A. Dickey, Dioner Navarro should get the nod at DH. Navarro’s the 15th-most expensive catcher, but only a handful of catchers had more hits against RH pitching last year.
There’s really not a lot of good cheap options at this position, so you might have to spend some cash to compete.
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox ($4,900)
I like a mini-stack against Duffy and the Royals today. The sophomore slugger hit a solo shot on Opening Day, and he should do well again vs. this lefty. He hit .353 in 136 at-bats against lefty pitchers last year.
Chris Davis, Baltimore ($4,000)
Crush didn’t do much against the Rays in his first back since his suspension, but his price might be low enough to take a chance on Wednesday.
Neil Walker, Pittsburgh ($4,200)
Walker’s price tag seems exorbitant, but he raked against right-handers last year – with a lot of power. His 21 homers vs. RHP last season was not only the most among second basemen, but it was the most by eight! (Ian Kinsler was second with 13.) Mike Leake gave up 13 homers to RH hitters, too, last year.
Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee ($3,900)
Robinson Cano and Jose Altuve were the only two second basemen that hit righties better last year, and only a few other 2B had more RBI than Gennett’s 54.
Logan Forsythe, Tampa Bay ($3,000)
With James Loney hurt, he could move over to first base, but he’ll definitely be in the lineup. He smacked a home run Tuesday, which is nice – but he’s someone you might have to squeeze in just because of his price.
Hanley Ramirez, Boston ($4,800)
Ramirez has hit Harang pretty hard in the past (five homers in 29 at-bats), but you’re not loading him in your lineup because of that. You’re using him because he hit two homers in the opener and he’s looking great in that Red Sox lineup.
Alcides Escobar, Kansas City ($3,900)
Escobar .313 against lefties in over 60 games last year for K.C., but you’re not going to get a lot of power out of him, obviously.
I’m not a big fan of the cheap shortstops (is anyone, ever?), so if you’re in dire need, check the lineups beforehand to see who might get a spot start from the basement.
Kyle Seager, Seattle ($4,200)
A relatively cheap option at the hot corner, considering seven others have a higher price tag. Seager’s 72 RBI against right-handed pitching last season led the position. He also did that in less than 400 at-bats vs. RHP, compared to the 17 other third basemen that had more than him.
Jake Lamb, Arizona ($3,700)
He has been on fire to start the season, with seven RBI and no strikeouts, and he’ll face spot-starting Heston.
Casey McGehee, San Francisco ($3,300)
D-Backs starter Jeremy Hellickson gave up five home runs in just 25.1 innings against right-handers last season, on his way back from elbow surgery. And McGehee had more hits against RHP than any other 3B last year, with an impressive .303 batting average.
Corey Dickerson, Colorado ($4,800)
There were few outfielders that terrorized right-handed pitching last year more than Dickerson – 21 HR, 62 RBI and a .328 batting average. And the Rockies already have 12 doubles on the season.
Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh ($4,300)
This guy had 28 doubles, seven triples and 11 homers against right-handers last year – and those 46 extra-bases against RHP ranked him 14th-best in the league. Remember that he’s eligible at third base also.
Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City ($4,000)
Lorenzo Cain hit .316 against lefties in over 60 games last year for Kansas City. He’s batting third in the Royals’ lineup right now.
Cameron Maybin, Atlanta ($2,700)
Maybin gets the start against Tom Koehler in Miami, and if the Braves’ hot bats continue, his speed could be a great benefit. With just 10 cheaper outfielders, he could be a nice plug-in for a star-studded lineup.
DFS Strategy Nugget: Bankroll Management
My approach to bankroll management might be a little more conservative than a lot of other Daily Fantasy Baseball players, but I’m known to be a risk-averse Fantasy player in general, anyway.
You might hear some people talk about doing a 60/40 split with their wagers on a given night. By this, I mean that of the money they put out there in games for any one night, 60 percent of it goes toward 50/50 and Head-to-Head games, where the payout is lower, but winning is easier. Then they put 40 percent of their nightly wagers into tournaments.
To me, it seems like I’m just chasing my tail here. I win money on DFS one night, only to turn around and throw it away in a tournament the next night.
I’m closer to the 80/20 range, where I’ll play 50/50 games with 80 percent of my money, then 20 percent goes into tournaments. I also like to choose the cheaper tournaments, so I can load up multiple lineups and get my 20-percent’s worth.
I like to think that one of my 50/50 games is paying for my tournament play the next night, and the rest are just for my bankroll – and pockets!
To play this out, if I wager $50 on a given night, I’ll do $40 in 50/50 games, usually $5, $10 or $20 each, and then save $10 for tournament play – usually in tournaments with $1, $3 or $5 entries.
Free Daily Fantasy Baseball Tool
It’s a little unclear where these projections are actually coming from, and obviously it’s a tool that breaks down a rest-of-season projections somehow (unless you think Adam Jones will get 4.27 at-bats tonight). But I envision this tool becoming ultra-valuable in the middle of the season.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Game You Didn’t Know About
The game sounds tough to explain, but it’s not very difficult once you see it.
They give you a set of three players on THIS side and a set of three players on THAT side. You pick which set will score more fantasy points today. Then, they have TEN sets of matchups for you to choose from. I attached a screenshot of one of my games from Monday.
I like doing the 50/50 games – especially the guaranteed ones that pay even if it doesn’t fill. The sharks haven’t gotten to this site yet, so It’s a great spot to go and win some cash.
Hisashi Iwakuma Photo Credit: Keith Allison
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