With three bona fide aces and games in Colorado and Toronto on Tuesday, April 12, you’re still going to need to go bargain hunting at certain positions so you can get the stars you need to carry your DFS lineup.
Three names stick out at pitcher on Tuesday’s slate, and two of those happen to be facing each other at Citi Field. Jose Fernandez and Noah Syndergaard will share a mound for the first, but certainly not the last, time in their respective careers. The inaugural battle in what should be a career-long rivalry is the must-watch game of the day. It also produces two of the best DFS options at our disposal.
Fernandez whiffed 13 batters in his first start of the season, but also gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings. Syndergaard, meanwhile, tossed six shutout frames with nine strikeouts in a win over the Royals. While both are strong plays Tuesday, it’s possible neither is the best option on the mound. That just might be Corey Kluber, who will take on the Rays in Tampa. Kluber has the best matchup of the three—he costs the most—and his offense has the benefit of not facing someone like Fernandez or Syndergaard. Though Matt Moore is no slouch, especially given the sharpness of his breaking ball in his first start.
Among Tuesday’s cheaper pitchers, the most intriguing plays are Hector Santiago and Aaron Sanchez. Santiago, who had a great first half last season, allowed two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in six innings against the Rangers in his first start, while Sanchez’s strikeout upside always makes him an attractive dollar-for-dollar play, especially in GPPs.
There are three five-figure pitchers in action on Tuesday, as well as games in Colorado and Toronto, making catcher a penny-pinching position. Our candidates are Travis d’Arnaud (vs. Fernandez), Matt Wieters (vs. Clay Buchholz) and Yan Gomes (vs. Moore). Wieters and Gomes both have the platoon advantage, and don’t have to deal with one of the best starters in baseball. We’re choosing Wieters, given the strength of the lineup around him. The Orioles shouldn’t have trouble scoring against Buchholz.
Speaking of the Orioles getting to Buchholz, Chris Davis is my favored play at first base. The slugger has three homers and four walks in his first six games, so he’s basically right where he should be. His third home run of the season was an absolute bomb off Craig Kimbrel in a tie game in the ninth inning of Baltimore’s win on Monday. Davis is 8-for-24 with a pair of homers and five walks against Buchholz in their respective careers. Given the way both players are going, it’s a good bet that Davis continues to win their matchup on Tuesday.
Slightly cheaper options to consider are Edwin Encarnacion and Eric Hosmer. There are no real landmines at first base on Tuesday’s slate, though Tyler White’s price tag is getting to a point where the profit potential is quite slim. The same is true of Brandon Belt, but at least he gets the Coors Field bump early this week.
This has to be another position where we find some savings, and we can do that while also starting a potentially lucrative Colorado stack. D.J. LeMahieu is off to a great start this season, going 11-for-23 with a pair of homers. He still costs just $3,700, and though he may hit toward the bottom of the order with righty Jeff Samardzija on the mound, he remains a strong play outside the top-pricing tier at second base. Nine of his hits this season, including one of his home runs, have come against righties.
Rougned Odor checks in at the same price as LeMahieu, and is going to start swinging the bat sooner or later. Logan Forsythe is way down at $3,000 thanks to a matchup with Corey Kluber, but you could do worse than paying close to the minimum for a leadoff man. At $4,400 against Syndergaard, Dee Gordon is not be trusted today.
Nolan Arenado in Colorado, Josh Donaldson in Toronto and Manny Machado in Boston. All are strong choices that make me wish we had a utility position to use, as well. They also display why we need to save at positions like catcher and second base. You’re going to want one of those three guys in your lineup today, and all cost at least $4,500. Arenado is the most expensive, but he’s also the best play considering matchup and environment. Jeff Samardzija and Coors Field are a beautiful match for the opposing offense. Arenado also leads us to a Colorado stack that could pay big dividends on Tuesday.
Well, it has happened. Trevor Story is the most expensive shortstop on the board, costing $100 more than Carlos Correa. That probably won’t be the case when Colorado hits the road again, but there’s just another way to codify his ridiculous rise. We don’t have enough money for either of them, however, so we turn to Francisco Lindor. The Cleveland shortstop has five hits in his first 15 at-bats and will be hitting third against Matt Moore on Tuesday. That’s a nice formula for a $3,700 shortstop.
Everything starts in our outfield with Carlos Gonzalez. Our Colorado stack requires teaming him with Arenado, which just might be the best 3–4 pairing in all of baseball, especially when they’re at home. They went back-to-back for the first time this season in their last game, combining for three homers in the win over San Diego.
That leaves us $8,100 to spend on two players. Rather than going for two $4,000 players, we’re picking one star around $4,500 and one value play around $3,500. We can either go all-in on the Rockies, taking Charlie Blackmon, or we can spread around our exposure, targeting someone like Mookie Betts ($4,700) or Jose Bautista ($4,500).
We don’t do any half measures at SI.com. If any pitcher has what it takes to counteract the power bats of the Blue Jays in Toronto, it’s Masahiro Tanaka, thanks to that nasty splitter. Rather than chase Bautista’s power, we’ll fill out our lineup with some speed, grabbing Blackmon and Washington’s Michael Taylor, who went 2-for-5 with a couple of stolen bases on Monday. Blackmon, meanwhile, is off to a dreadful 2-for-20 start, but a home matchup with Samardzija could be just what he needs to get going.
SP: Noah Syndergaard ($10,400)
SP: Hector Santiago ($6,900)
C: Matt Wieters ($3,200)
1B: Chris Davis ($4,500)
2B: D.J. LeMahieu ($3,700)
3B: Nolan Arenado ($4,900)
SS: Francisco Lindor ($3,700)
OF: Carlos Gonzalez ($4,600)
OF: Charlie Blackmon ($4,600)
OF: Michael Taylor ($3,500)