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Weather: It’s that time of year where weather seems to affect at least one game every day. Rather than try to play weather man this early in the day, I’ll direct you to my favorite sites that specialize in weather forecasts for MLB games. One such site is DailyBaseballData.com, where you not only see the chances of precipitation, but also wind speed and direction, along with humidity and temperature. They also use something called the Air Density Index, which helps measure how much balls will move and carry on a given night. I can’t say I understand it all, but every bit of information helps.

FanDuel also has a nice page for MLB weather, with simple visuals that show the forecast including wind speed and direction.

MLB Injuries: MLB.com’s injury page is a great stop in your daily prep just to make sure you’re up to date on the latest injury news. The key item we want to watch for today is the status of Stephen Strasburg, who left his last start with shoulder irritation. His salary is not down much, so I’m staying away from him in 50/50s. If you’re playing tournaments though, he may be worth a gamble if he starts as planned.

Vegas Lines: I like to see the run totals expected by Vegas, so OddsShark.com is my next stop. Most nights there are a couple games that stand out, but tonight there are a handful of games at 8.5 and plenty at 8.0. If you’re looking money line, the two big favorites are Pittsburgh over Philadelphia and Detroit over Minnesota.

Probable Pitchers: I’ll check a couple sites to be sure, but ProbablePitchers.com is my favorite place to check out each day’s starting pitchers. Of course FanDuel also has this info as well. I just like to verify things on a couple of sites.

Batter vs. Pitcher: I’m not much of a believer in Batter vs. Pitcher numbers. You can read why here. If you do the BvP thing, the two sites that present it in the most helpful way are DailyBaseballData.com, where you can also link directly to FanGraphs and Baseball Reference pages for each player, and on RotoWire, where they have adjustable criteria to help you find the most extreme matchups.

Also Check out these helpful tools:

FanDuel Strategy for the Day

My FanDuel strategy always starts with pitching. In 50/50 contests, getting a win from your starting pitcher is a huge leg up on finishing in the top half of the field.  Taking a chance on a lower priced pitcher may be an option in larger tournaments, but chasing wins in 50/50 contests is a necessary evil, so I’m looking for an ace who’s matched up against a weak offense and a shaky opposing pitcher.

Today is a day of very tight matchups, with no clear-cut aces going against a low quality mound opponent. The closest we get is Chris Sale against Mike Fiers and the Brewers, but Sale has not gotten it going yet and the game is in Milwaukee. Other pitchers I like for the day are Carlos Carrasco, Jake Arrieta, and Chris Archer. If you’re feeling adventurous you might even give Mets phenom Noah Syndergaard a shot. My first impression is that today may be the rare day when I go with a cheaper pitcher in the form of A.J. Burnett and ride the money line.

Top Stacking Options for the Day

With a bunch of close matchups, it’s not a day of too many obvious stacks, but there are a couple of offenses I’ll be leaning on.

  1. Los Angeles Angels vs. Kyle Kendrick (RHP) – Kendrick is probably a better pitcher than I give him credit for. After all this game is not in Coors and Kendrick is obviously a better pitcher at lower altitudes, as his 8.57 road ERA indicates… Hey, it’s 9.00 at home… On second thought Kendrick is not a good Major League pitcher. Use every Angels bat you like.
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Sean O’Sullivan (RHP) – A look at O’Sullivan’s career numbers tells you all you need to know. Lefties hit O’Sullivan better, but he hasn’t exactly shut anyone down, so I like Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte in addition to lefties Gregory Polanco and Pedro Alvarez.

Top Starting Pitchers for the Day

The following rankings take into account skill of pitcher, quality of opposing offense, quality of opposing pitcher, ballpark factors, and of course price at FanDuel.

  1. A.J. Burnett ($8,200) vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Burnett will not keep up his current 1.66 ERA for long, but he will for tonight’s matchup. It’s just the safe thing to do and the Vegas money line agrees.
  2. Jake Arrieta ($9,500) vs. New York Mets – He doesn’t have the shiny sub 3.00 ERA he flashed last year, but all the peripherals say he’s the same pitcher. He also pitched much better at Wrigley last year than on the road. Syndergaard makes this a hard game to read, but Arrieta is another safe play that should deliver a solid outing with a good number of strikeouts.
  3. Chris Sale ($9,600) vs. Milwaukee Brewers – FanDuel, you sure are quick to raise the prices on hot players, but we don’t get much of a discount on Chris Sale, who currently has a 5.93 ERA. He’s the most expensive pitcher on the day because of his proven upside, but he’s given up 13 earned runs over his last two starts. A win with 12 strikeouts wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ll wait until he’s on a bit of a roll.

Top Options at Each Position

Here are two choices at each position; one is the best bet for production and the other is a lower priced option with a favorable outlook.

Catcher:

Russell Martin ($3,800) vs. Chris Tillman (RHP) – I’m not in love with any of the catcher matchups for the day, but Tillman does give up plenty of longballs. If you have room for a somewhat elevated salary, Martin is probably in line for a few crooked numbers today.

Salvador Perez ($2,600) vs. Edinson Volquez (RHP) – I don’t like the matchup all that much, but when things line up like they do today, I’m going to take the lower price and proven production and just ride with it.

First Base:

Edwin Encarnacion ($4,100) vs Chris Tillman (RHP) – Until Tillman rights the ship, I like pretty much any power hitter vs. him, and Encarnacion is not just any power hitter. He’s off to a bit of a slow start, but the Blue Jays should do some damage against Tillman and as the visiting team, Toronto is guaranteed nine innings of at-bats.

Albert Pujols ($2,900) vs. Kyle Kendrick (RHP) – Sure Pujols is off to a slow start, but this is Kyle Kendrick we’re talking about. At this price, you could really stack your outfield with top bats if you go with Pujols.

Second Base:

Dustin Pedroia ($2,900) vs. Drew Pomeranz (LHP) – I don’t really understand FanDuel’s pricing when it comes to Pedroia. He’s not my favorite player, but he’s averaging more points than any other second baseman in his price range and his power has rebounded nicely so far this season.

Logan Forsythe ($2,200) vs. Nate Eovaldi (RHP) – I really like using Forsythe against LHP, but he’s swinging a hot bat right now and is a nice play if you go cheap at second base.

Third Base:

Josh Donaldson ($3,800) vs. Chris Tillman (RHP) – I feel like I’m recommending Donaldson almost everyday, but he keeps on coming through. He’s a must-play against left-handed pitching, but Tillman’s fly ball ways are also a nice match for Donaldson’s power.

Mike Moustakas ($2,800) vs. Nick Martinez (RHP) – Mouse Tacos is back in the KC lineup and should get some nice swings against the average stuff of Martinez. I’m not a fan of going cheap at the corners, but tonight might be a case where the matchups push me that way.

Shortstop:

Troy Tulowitzki ($4,400) vs. CJ Wilson (LHP) – Shortstop has been a pit of despair for DFS players so far this season. Did you know the top two scorers on FanDuel are Jed Lowrie and Zack Cozart? Tulo is not doing anything special, but I do like this matchup. It’s just a matter of whether his salary fits into my lineup for the day.

Jung-ho Kang ($2,800) vs. Sean O’Sullivan (RHP) – Kang seems to have grabbed ahold of the starting shortstop job in Pittsburgh and may not let go. I like the price, but what impresses me more is that Kang has scored positive points in each of his last seven games. In 50/50 contests that’s nothing to sneeze at. The matchup against O’Sullivan is just a bonus.

Outfielders:

Mike Trout ($5,400) vs. Kyle Kendrick (RHP) – Sometimes the obvious play is the best play. You’ll have to go cheap at a couple of other positions, but there are a couple cheap options right in Anaheim.

Kole Calhoun ($3,100) vs. Kyle Kendrick (RHP) – I’d like to see him run a bit more, but he could do plenty of running (around the bases) tonight if Kendrick holds true to form. Stacking is not always ideal in 50/50 play, but you’ve got to like left-handed bats like Calhoun against a less than impressive right-hander.

Gregory Polanco ($3,100) vs. Sean O’Sullivan (RHP) – The power has been missing, but Polanco is quietly up to 10 stolen bases. I’d expect him to be in the middle of things against a mediocre minor league pitcher.

Jay Bruce ($2,700) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (RHP) – Bruce is not hitting, but he can hit a fastball and that’s what this Astros’ rookie does. It’s a bit of a hit or miss play, but for the price I like the chances of a breakout. If you want to save it for GPP contests it may be a better play there.

Matt Joyce ($2,200) vs. Kyle Kendrick (RHP) – Matchups like this are why Joyce exists in Daily Fantasy Baseball. Ignore the early numbers and know that he pounds mediocre right-handed pitchers. Kyle Kendrick aspires to be mediocre.

My Lineup for the Day

Just so you know a little of my money is where my mouth is, here is an early look at the lineup I’m considering. Of course I’ll be visiting RotoWire and BaseballPress.com to make sure all of my recommendations take the field tonight.

FanDuel Picks for Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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Doug "RotoDaddy" Anderson

Doug Anderson took on the moniker RotoDaddy with the birth of his son in 2003. He's a veteran of the industry and has been playing Fantasy Baseball for over 20 years. His work has been seen on RotoExperts.com, SI.com, Yahoo, USAToday.com and also in the pages of various Fantasy magazines. He's currently also in charge of aggregation efforts at The Fantasy Sports Network and represents them in the LABR Mixed Experts League.
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