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Daily Fantasy Baseball: FanDuel Picks for Saturday, 4/18

Felix Hernandez, Kevin Schofield, Daily Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers

Saturday Daily Fantasy Baseball is just an awesome interval between a near full Friday night slate and an all-but-one-game Sunday matinee docket.

On Saturdays, you usually end up with a few games in the afternoon and a little more than half at night.

For Daily Fantasy Baseball players, the early games are good games to play small gambles, while the nighttime games allows for much more research.

With that said, if you can do enough of your own research in the mornings, you can probably earn some quality wins after your Saturday morning cartoons end. (Remember how excited you’d get Saturday morning? Cereal and cartoons!)

For today’s article, however, we’re only going to target the nighttime games because by the time this article posts, it’s too late to really use it for Saturday afternoon games.

Starting Pitcher Rankings: FanDuel Picks for Saturday, 4/18

There are three 1pm games, three 2pm games, one 4pm game – and eight 7pm games. It’s that latter set that we’ll break down.

Saturday, April 18, 2015 2014 2015
Rank Starting Pitcher, Matchup FD Price Vegas O/U K%-BB% Def-Eff Def-Eff
1 Felix Hernandez RHP, SEA vs. TEX $11,400 -220 4 17.0 0.712 0.668
2 Yordano Ventura RHP, KC vs. OAK $8,500 -128 4.5 14.0 0.693 0.757
3 Jacob deGrom RHP, NYM vs. MIA $9,400 -145 4 11.5 0.688 0.728
4 Zack Greinke RHP, LAD vs. COL $10,100 -200 4 20.8 0.69 0.654
5 Chris Heston RHP, SF vs. ARI $5,000 -140 4.25 11.8 0.703 0.664
6 Masahiro Tanaka RHP, NYY at TB $8,700 -105 3.25 11.6 0.687 0.663
7 Dallas Keuchel LHP, HOU vs. LAA $8,300 -117 4.25 1.8 0.685 0.727
8 Jake Odorizzi RHP, TB vs. NYY $8,500 -105 4.25 13.7 0.7 0.758
9 Jesse Hahn RHP, OAK at KC $7,600 118 3.5 6.1 0.71 0.733
10 Mat Latos RHP, MIA at NYM $7,600 130 3 0.0 0.675 0.711
11 Jeff Locke RHP, PIT vs. MIL $6,800 -135 4.25 3.8 0.694 0.719
12 C.J. Wilson LHP, LAA at HOU $8,000 107 3.25 7.1 0.703 0.702
13 Kyle Lohse RHP, MIL at PIT $6,500 125 3.25 12.8 0.696 0.64
14 Rubby De La Rosa RHP, ARI at SF $6,400 130 3.25 14.0 0.673 0.702
15 Jordan Lyles RHP, COL at LAD $6,200 180 3 2.1 0.678 0.715
16 Colby Lewis RHP, TEX at SEA $6,700 190 3 14.0 0.675 0.673

Interesting Notes About Today’s Starting Pitchers

Here are a few things that stand out to me about the above list of SPs, and why you should or shouldn’t consider using some of these players.

  • There are just two left-handers on the mound tonight – and they are facing off against each other. C.J. Wilson and Dallas Keuchel oppose each other, and while neither offense has an impressive batting average against left-handers (both hitting under .255 against LHP this season), they both rank among the top seven offenses in OPS vs. LHP (.785+). As much as I like Keuchel in general, this isn’t a great matchup at all. The Angels have just 12 strikeouts in 71 ABs vs. LHP.
  • Jesse Hahn, another good pitcher we like over the course of the season, is facing a Royals team that is destroying right-handed pitching right now (.894 team OPS vs. RHP).
  • Zack Greinke and Felix Hernandez are the most expensive tonight – and Vegas agrees with this. Both have the highest money lines on the night. We’ll try to find you cheaper pitchers with good win chances, also.

Weather Notes

It’s a pretty nice afternoon/evening across the country – there’s just one game with a 50-percent chance of precipitation (or higher). The only two games with any expected precipitation are:

  • OAK/KC game (35%) – Worth gambling on.
  • LAA/HOU game (55%) – A little riskier, but precipitation drops to 10-20% later in the evening. In other words, if there is a delay, the game will likely still finish. Be more careful with the starting pitchers, however, since they might not be able to come back out and finish after a rain delay.

FanDuel Picks for Saturday, 4/18

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.

Starting Pitchers

Felix Hernandez, Seattle vs. TEX, $11,400

There’s a reason King Felix will cost you over 30 percent of your salary cap. He gets the Rangers, who have a .646 OPS vs. RHP this season, and he’s at home in Safeco Field. Opposing hitters are batting under .200 against Hernandez, dating back to the start of last season. And while the Rangers have a lefty-heavy lineup, King Felix has actually been tougher on left-handed hitters at home, where they hit just .159 against him last season.

Yordano Ventura, Kansas City vs. OAK, $8,500

What’s not to like about this matchup? Ventura is pitching very well this early in the season, with one of the biggest differences between his strikeout rate and his walk rate (14.0%). Plus, his Royals hitters are hitting right-handers really well so far. He might see some speed bumps in Ike Davis and Billy Butler, however. Also, Vegas likes the Royals to get the win nearly as much as Greinke/Hernandez. While Jacob deGrom costs $900 more, I’d rather put that extra chunk into my hitters.

Chris Heston, San Francisco vs. ARI, $5,000

Vegas has the Giants as the third-largest favorite of the day, just behind the Dodgers and Royals. Heston has pitched well so far this year, with just one earned run allowed in 13 innings and no runs allowed. This might be one of the cheapest Vegas favorites you’ll see this season. He pitches in a great park and looks like an awesome tournament play.

Catchers

Salvador Perez, Kansas City ($3,700)

Perez will cost you a bit, but he’s in great shape for this matchup. Perez is just one of three Royals hitters currently batting over .400 against righties this season, along with Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas.

Chris Iannetta ($2,500)

Iannetta hit lefties pretty well last season (.272), and his struggles to start the season helped keep his salary super low for you today. Catchers is a nice throwaway position if you are loading up on a great pitcher or some expensive hitters. Getting a cheap one that draws walks is always a good idea. Iannetta’s .388 on-base percentage against lefties last season ranked third among all catchers.

First Basemen

Lucas Duda, N.Y. Mets ($4,300)

Dude hit 28 home runs against right-handers last season, and Mat Latos hasn’t had much luck this season. From his disastrous opener in Miami to a rain-interrupted second start – he seems snake-bitten in 2015.

Ike Davis, Oakland ($2,700)

His batting average is high (.353) – but so is his BABIP (.407), so that will obviously balance out at some point. But this salary and potential for round trippers is too nice to pass up today.

Second Basemen

Howie Kendrick, L.A. Dodgers ($3,300)

No right-handed second basemen had more RBI last season against RHP than Kendrick’s 58. Plus, Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles has a 3.75 K/9 this season. Kendrick is loving the move across the city, as his OPS could eclipse 1.000 with a decent game tonight.

Joe Panik, San Francisco ($2,500)

I love me some Panik at the Frisco, and he’s still at such a palatable price – especially against a right-hander in De La Rosa.

Shortstops

Jimmy Rollins, L.A. Dodgers ($3,600)

Rollins hit 14 HR and 41 RBI in 386 at-bats against right-handers last season — with 19 stolen bases against righties too.

Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay ($2,200)

This is a great day to punt on expensive shortstops – and roll the dice on a cheapie like Beckham. Make sure he’s in the lineup, of course, but he already has two homers on the season, with six RBI.

Third Basemen

Kyle Seager, Seattle ($3,500)

Excellent matchup for the young slugger, and he’s hitting at home, against a weak Colby Lewis. Seager hit 21 homers against right-handers last season, and Lewis gave up 25 bombs last season. (Only seven other pitchers gave up more home runs in 2014.)

Jake Lamb, Arizona ($3,000)

This is a definite “check-the-lineups” play, as the Diamondbacks called up Yasmany Tomas earlier in the week. The lefty Lamb has the better matchup against Heston, and he has for four multi-hit games in his past six contests.

Outfielders

Nelson Cruz, Seattle ($4,800)

If you go with some cheap pitching, and skimp at catcher or middle infield, Cruz makes for a solid play against a Lewis, who gives up plenty of longballs.

He’s a great play in 50/50 leagues tonight.

Corey Dickerson is also a great play against right-handers, but he’s facing Greinke.

George Springer, Houston ($3,400)

Springer has just one extra-base hit so far this season, but he’ll be facing LHP C.J. Wilson, who had a 5.86 ERA on the road last year against right-handed hitters.

Seth Smith, Seattle ($2,600)

Should bat second in the lineup tonight in front of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager. I’m smelling a nice stack of M’s-cakes! Smith’s .357 wOBA against right-handers last season ranked him 15th among outfielders last year.

Good luck with your FanDuel picks for Saturday, 4/18!

Felix Hernandez Photo Credit: Kevin Schofield

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David Gonos

David Gonos has been writing about Fantasy Sports online since 2000 – and playing Fantasy Sports since 1989. He has drafted both Curt Warner and Kurt Warner, along with Big Unit and Big Papi. A veteran of hundreds of drafts in the past 15 years alone, Gonos is closely acquainted with sleepers, breakouts and busts – as he has drafted many of all three. He was a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBSSports.com for five years, and he has been columnist on SI.com and FanDuel.com, while also getting published on MLB.com, NFL.com, FoxSports.com and USAToday.com.
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