Before we get to today’s Daily Fantasy Baseball FanDuel picks for Thursday, April 9, I thought it would be prudent to go over some of the basics of the Daily format and the differences in strategies that you will want to consider when building your lineup.
If you are new to Daily Fantasy Baseball, this will hopefully help guide you through the first couple weeks as you get your bearings.
If you are a DFS veteran, you are free to ignore me and proceed directly to my FanDuel picks that follow!
Types of Games
Your approach to winning should take into account the type of game you are playing. A 50/50 or cash game usually pays out evenly to the top half of the participants, so hopefully you double your money, more or less.
This is opposed to a tournament or league where only the top 10-30% or so normally make money, although, the payout compared to investment can be huge depending on the size of the tournament.
Some tournaments may have 20,000 entries, for example. So a tournament is going to require you to nail each lineup spot, if you want to win the first-place prize.
This format, therefore, is much more likely to eat your money. On the other hand, a cash game gives you much better odds of doubling up your hard-earned dollar bills, but without the chance for the big lottery win. Managing this risk is a major component to the daily game.
Daily FanDuel Strategy
Your FanDuel strategy should vary depending on what type of format you enter. Many Daily Fantasy players balance their contests by entering both types to hedge their risk while keeping the chance alive of winning big. Gonos mentioned yesterday in his daily article he usually goes 80/20 for cash/tournament games, for example.
In a cash game, I will usually pay for top-tier pitching and then target some consistent hitters with good matchups. The idea here is to ensure that I give myself the best chance of finishing in the top half and avoid unnecessary risk.
In a tournament, I will target high upside but riskier players. I might look for a strikeout pitcher I think can get a win, but is not the sure thing you get in a bonafide ace. This will save you some money to stock up on big name sluggers.
In either format, when picking hitters, look for right-handed batters hitting against below average lefty pitchers, high-run totals in Vegas lines, and hitter-friendly parks.
If you choose wisely you may just end up with a pile o’ cash in your pocket. Enough strategy for now, it’s time to look at who’s going on my list for today. The prices are for FanDuel.
Stephen Strasburg, Washington ($10,500)
This is the cash game ace for today. Strasburg piles up strikeouts and is throwing at home against a less than perfect lineup in the Mets. The only concern I have is that he’s going up against Matt Harvey who is no slouch either. If these two end up in a duel, it might lesson Strasburg’s chance for a win.
Matt Harvey, N.Y. Mets ($9,000)
Harvey is returning from Tommy John surgery, but he looked good in Spring Training. He has an upper-90s fastball and if he’s on — he could reward you big. I still like Strasburg better, but the price difference and the fact the Nationals are knee-capped with injuries might make Harvey worth it.
Trevor Bauer, Cleveland ($7,400)
Remember when I mentioned risk? Bauer was the third overall pick in the 2011 draft and he posted an 8.4 K/9 last year. Unfortunately, he also gets blown up at times. He had a 4.55 ERA and allowed seven long balls in Spring Training this year. He faces the Astros who either strike out or hit home runs.
If you are feeling lucky in a tournament he might be your guy. Just don’t come after me if he’s out after 3 1/3 innings and six runs.
Trevor Bauer struck out 26 and walked one this spring. He gets Houston in Week 1. These are good things.
— scott pianowski (@scott_pianowski) April 5, 2015
Shane Greene, Detroit ($7,000)
Greene showed some promise at the end of last season and averages over a strikeout per inning. He is going up against a Twins lineup that doesn’t scare anyone. Another tournament play here with high upside potential.
Salvador Perez, Kansas City ($3,400)
The Royals square off against John Danks today. He has a career 4.28 ERA and he did not have a stellar spring. Perez is generally a decent play at a thin position and has a plus matchup today.
Russell Martin, Toronto ($3,200)
I will be targeting Toronto players today because I don’t trust that CC Sabathia has anything left. He has struggled against right-handed hitters more and more, so I’m guessing Toronto’s lineup gets to him today.
Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto ($4,700)
If you can afford him, the Toronto first baseman is an excellent play today.
Carlos Santana, Cleveland ($3,400)
The tribe faces Asher Wojciechowski today in their tilt with the Astros. While Wojciechowski looked good in Spring Training — it was Spring Training. It’s now the real season and this might be the game Cleveland’s offense wakes up.
Ike Davis, Oakland ($2,600)
Davis is a cheap source of power when he’s in the lineup. No one will accuse Nick Martinez of being a strong pitcher and I think he’s going to get lit up often this year. Davis has a good shot to be one of the ones doing the lighting today.
Ben Zobrist, Oakland ($3,200)
I’m targeting Athletics, as well as Blue Jays today. Zobrist is always reliable and a good pick against Martinez.
Devon Travis, Toronto ($2,500)
Travis has started out hot and hit a home run in his first game in the majors. He also has three hits and two walks in eight at-bats so far. The downside is that he will likely hit in the nine hole in the order, but at this price you can take a chance.
Devon Travis has taken some excellent at-bats in his first week as a big leaguer. He's a keeper for the #BlueJays.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) April 9, 2015
Josh Donaldson, Toronto ($3,900)
He started out 0-for-7, but I think that changes today. Another expensive player, but if you can find the budget, he’s a good bet for power against Sabathia.
Brett Lawrie, Oakland ($2,800)
Lawrie struck out four times the other night, hopefully, getting it out of his system. He’s solid when healthy and yet another Athletic that could take advantage of Martinez.
Luis Valbuena, Houston ($2,700)
Valbuena has yet to get a hit through two games, but he has been batting third and had a great spring. If Trevor Bauer decides to fall apart in this game, Valbuena might get on the board.
Alcides Escobar, Kansas City ($3,000)
Batting leadoff gives Escobar the chance to be a top Fantasy shortstop. He’s batting over .500 so far, with four runs scored and a stolen base. You could do worse at the shortstop position.
Jose Iglesias, Detroit ($2,700)
Iglesias is 6-for-7 so far and he has two steals already.
This certainly won’t last, but you might as well take advantage while you can.
Jose Bautista, Toronto ($4,600)
He may have started out slow, but he’s Joey Bats! He’s due and just too good not to get his sooner or later.
Hey Jose Bautista. The season started.
— FantasyRundown.com (@FantasyRundown) April 9, 2015
Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox ($3,000)
The White Sox offense has struggled in its first two games, but their top end of the order is bound to wake up. When it does, Eaton may be the spark.
Sam Fuld, Oakland ($2,800)
Make sure he’s in the starting lineup, but if so, Fuld is a good deal after starting out hot this year. He’s a lefty facing a weak right-handed pitcher in Martinez and due for more hits.
Anthony Gose, Detroit ($2,500)
If he’s in the lineup, his speed is intriguing. He also went 3-for-6 with a double, triple, and three RBI yesterday against the Twins. He’s a great deal at this price.
Hopefully, with these FanDuel picks and strategy for April 9, we helped you nail a few great picks for your Daily Fantasy Baseball lineups, no matter what site you’re on.
Stephen Strasburg Photo Credit: Keith Allison