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Fridays are the best, you know? We’re going to get into our FanDuel picks for Friday, April 8, but first, I thought we’d dip into some discussion about FanDuel’s scoring changes.

Part of what made FanDuel distinct from other Daily Fantasy sites was that they only allowed for one starting pitcher, and they took away points from hitters for outs. Well, they’re only down to one difference now, as they’ve multiplied their previous scoring by three – and they took away deductions for outs.

But one thing I think they didn’t realize they were doing was eliminating decimal scoring from every team’s score. (Obviously, they realized it, but I don’t think it mattered to them, is my point.)

Why should that matter to you? Well, imagine those big GPP tournaments you play in, with 23,000-plus entrants – where 3,940 entrants would finish in the money. (Those that finished in the last 1,500 spots would win 2.5x their entry fee essentially.) Now you’re looking at no one being separated by decimal-point scoring anymore, which means there are many more “ties” than in previous games.

That means there are more winners (good!) – about two percent more, though. But it also means about 10-percent less winnings for those that tied in the back end (no good).

Personally, I grew to love their former scoring system because it was simpler, and it rewarded players that didn’t get outs – rather than hot-and-cold big hitters.

An interesting article done by Jim Sannes over at numberFire.com shows which hitters will be affected the most by FanDuel’s new MLB scoring rules.

”The new scoring rules will add an extra incentive to roster mediocre hitters who find themselves at the top of the order. They can’t lose points, and the number of plate appearances they see will only give them extra chances to rack up points.” – Sannes, numberFire.com

Esssentially, Sannes goes on to say hitters in the back end of MLB lineups will be affected adversely, and the hitters in the front of the lineups, even if they aren’t particularly good, will score more than expected. Just like when you draft your Head-to-Head yearly teams, basically. Target at-bats with your cheap players.

Friday’s Weather Notes

Games start at 1:08pm today (NYY at DET), and there is one other 1pm game, and two 4pm games, before we get to the 10 nighttime games. By the time I get this article gets written and posted, it’s pretty useless for the early game players, so we’ll be focusing on the nighttime games. (There are four 7pm games, two 8pm games and four games after 9pm.)

There are some games that have good chances of rain, but I think only one (HOU at MIL) would have a real chance at a long delay. There are actually three games with a 50-percent chance of precipitation (or higher).

  • Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: 73% chance of precipitation (but percentages drop considerably at 8pm and 9pm)
  • Houston at Milwaukee: 74%
  • Washington at Atlanta: 60%

Vegas Lines: I’m a bigger fan of using VegasInsider.com to check which games have heavy favorites, and which games have the highest expect run totals (over/under lines).

Chicago Cubs at Arizona and Houston at Milwaukee are the only games with an over/under line of at least 9.0 O/U. What’s really interesting is that there are only TWO games with O/U lines of less than 8.0! St. Louis at Atlanta (7.0) and Minnesota at Kansas City (7.5) are the only “low-scoring” games expected to go down. Tonight’s going to be tough on pitchers, but great for hitters!

Probable Pitchers: Doug usually shares a link to ProbablePitchers.com, where you can keep up to date on tonight’s hurlers. And you can check FanDuel for that info as well.

Batter vs. Pitcher: Doug and I are in the same boat on how this information has become noise in the industry – although, we were both slow to convert. He wrote a great piece last season on why batter vs. pitcher stats aren’t something you should pay much attention to. But if you’re still into reading about BvP stats, you can check DailyBaseballData.com for that fix.

Rather than target hitters against certain pitchers, look at hitters vs. right- or left-handed pitchers.

Top Stacking Options for the Day

  • Chicago Cubs vs. LHP Robbie Ray: As we mentioned, the Cubs-Diamondbacks game is expected to be a relatively high-scoring game, and the Cubs have plenty of switch-hitters and good right-handed power. Ray’s ERA vs. righties (3.79) was almost one full run worse than against lefties (2.83) last year, and he was brutal at home (1-6, 4.88 ERA).
  • Houston Astros vs. RHP Chase Anderson: The Brewers traded for Anderson in the offseason, but just three other pitchers gave up more home runs this spring than the 28-year-old (six). Only a handful of teams had more homers and a higher OPS against righties than the Astros last season. Load up!

FanDuel Picks for Friday, April 8

Top Starting Pitchers for Friday, April 8

You still have to get a win from your pitcher to compete on FanDuel, so I’m spending money on the mound today.

Marcus Stroman RHP, Toronto vs. Boston ($8,100): Four starting pitchers are more expensive than Stroman tonight, but Vegas gives him and the Blue Jays the best odds of getting a win tonight (-170) – a line that moved 50 points since it opened. He’s going up against Joe Kelly, who had an ERA just shy of 5.00 in 12 road starts last year. (He’s my pick for 50/50s tonight.)

Taijuan Walker RHP, Seattle vs. OAK ($7,600): Walker, in Seattle, is a nice option against an A’s team full of “that guy’s kinda good, I guess” hitters. They’re a station-to-station team, but they’re batting just .212 (with a .271 OBP) on the young season. Walker struck out 23 batters this spring, with just four walks – and his control was part of what troubled him last year. (He’s my pick for GPPs tonight.)

Top Hitters for Friday, April 8

Here’s my favorite pick at each position for Friday night’s games.

Catchers

Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati ($2,400): Such a great price for one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball – but you really have to watch the lineup news on this one. Mesoraco got bopped in the back of the head by a bat Monday, and while he played Wednesday, he was given Thursday off. He’s likely playing Friday, and at this price, he’s a steal – plus-power, with a righty-lefty matchup and a home game.

First Basemen

Prince Fielder, Texas ($3,500): I get that this is going to be the most popular pick among the bunch, but Fielder has 5 RBI in four games this season, and he’s facing LAA’s Matt Shoemaker (RHP), who gave up nine homers this spring (two more than any other pitcher).

Second Basemen

Jose Altuve, Houston ($3,800): While he’s facing an oppo-handed pitcher Friday night, Altuve still hit .289 against righties last year, and using him in what should be a high-scoring game for the Astros is a good move. A cheaper option is Joe Panik ($2,800) going at home against a lefty.

Third Basemen

Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs ($4,100): Probably one of your more expensive players on the day, Bryant leads a Cubs team against a weak LHP Robbie Ray, and he got off the schneid last night.

Shortstops

Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto ($3,400): Carlos Correa’s salary ($5,000) shot up $700 since Wednesday, and he costs $1,400 more than the second-most expensive shortstop. So I’m fading him for now in 50/50s, but stacking him in leagues or tournaments is a smarter move. Tulo, on the other hand, is facing RHP Joe Kelly, who somehow posted a 6.00-plus ERA against right-handed hitters last season.

Outfielders

Nelson Cruz, Seattle ($4,300): Cruz ate up left-handed pitching last season, batting .357 against them, with a .435 OBP. He faces Eric Surkamp, a 28-year-old left-hander getting a journeyman’s spot start until Felix Doubront (forearm) returns.


George Springer, Houston ($3,700): We’ve saved enough money at pitcher, catcher and second base that we can afford two high-priced outfielders, and Springer fits our mold. He hit a grand slam earlier this week, and he’s facing RHP Chase Anderson, who posted a 4.66 ERA against righties last year.

Mitch Moreland, Texas ($2,700): I normally try to steer away from putting a couple pairs in my lineup, but Moreland hit close to .300 against right-handers last season, and I’ve already mentioned Shoemaker’s spring troubles.

Looking forward to seeing you cash in on our FanDuel picks for Friday, April 8 – but don’t play in any 50/50s with me!

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