Daily fantasy lineup: Experts favoring Sonny Gray, J.D. Martinez
Monday’s MLB schedule includes 11 games, with half of those games starting before 4 p.m. ET. This is the last week of widespread weekday day games, so our DFS lives will get a lot easier next week with the league transitioning to its more familiar schedule. Until then, let’s get our lineups ready with our coffee.
Even with just 11 games on Monday’s slate, we’re not lacking for options on the mound. Max Scherzer, David Price, Jon Lester, Hisashi Iwakuma, Sonny Gray and Michael Wacha all take the mound Monday, and there are merits for going with any of them in your DFS lineups.
If you’re going to pay all the way up to secure the services of Scherzer or Price, I’d feel better about Scherzer, given that he’s facing the Braves while Price will see the Orioles. My favorite of the group, however, is Sonny Gray. He threw the ball very well in his first start of the season, allowing just one run on three hits with five strikeouts in seven innings. He also has a great matchup with the Angels, who seem to be finding inventive ways to waste Mike Trout.
Pitching thins out on the backend of the spectrum, but Brandon Finnegan of the Reds in an intriguing choice. He struck out nine Phillies in his season debut, though he’s going to take a major step up in weight class on Monday against the Cubs. Even with that tough draw, however, the $5,900 price is right for a pitcher with immense strikeout upside.
Catcher is a relatively barren position on Monday, with Travis d’Arnaud, Salvador Perez and Jonathan Lucroy leading the way. You’re going to want to use this position to add onto a stack while also saving money, making someone like James McCann or Devin Mesoraco intriguing. The latter is the better player, but the former is part of a potential Detroit stack that could be quite lucrative on Monday. That’s pushing us toward McCann.
Miguel Cabrera is the leader of that stack, and he beats a crowded field to win Monday’s nod at first. David Ortiz and Eric Hosmer are both good pivots with cheaper price tags, but Cabrera should feast against the lefty Jon Niese. Anthony Rizzo and Jose Abreu are always strong plays, but they both cost just $100 less than Cabrera. If you roster either Chicago first baseman, you have to think he’s purely a better play than Cabrera, not simply a superior dollar-for-dollar option.
Watch out for Joey Votto and Chris Davis on Monday. They’re two of our favorite first basemen, but both have tough matchups with lefthanded pitchers. Votto gets Jon Lester in the Cubs home opener, while Davis squares off with David Price.
If you’re following the Detroit stack, Ian Kinsler is a fine play at second base. He does cost $4,300, though, making him one of the most expensive second basemen on the board. A couple of cheaper options in Rougned Odor and Addison Russell are intriguing, given that both of these talented players struggled at the plate in the first week of the season. If you are going to pay up, take a look at Robinson Cano. He already has four homers and gets an attractive matchup with Colby Lewis.
Kris Bryant hasn’t been a big part of the Cubs offense just yet, but he was much better at home than on the road last year, so he’ll be quite happy to get back to Wrigley Field on Monday. He has a nice matchup with lefty Brandon Finnegan, who possesses impressive strikeout upside, but isn’t exactly a shutdown option on the mound. Bryant is the clear top option at third, since Josh Donaldson and Nolan Arenado are off, and Manny Machado has a matchup with David Price looming.
Carlos Correa is clearly the best shortstop any day the Astros are in action, but especially today since eight teams have the day off. There are a couple of cheaper plays worth considering, however.
One option is Xander Bogaerts, who gets Yovani Gallardo in Boston. He’s just 5-for-22 thus far, but is hitting third for Boston every day. A matchup with Gallardo could get him going. The other is Eugenio Suarez, who’s finally starting to get the love he deserves from the fantasy community. He’s 10-for-23 with four homers, nine RBI and three walks against one strikeout this season. He does draw Jon Lester on Monday, but at least he’ll have the platoon advantage against the Cubs lefty.
You can figure out for yourself why it would be good to play any of the hitters priced at $4,900 or higher, including Giancarlo Stanton, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, George Springer or Bryce Harper. Stanton has a ringing endorsement of the six with a matchup against lefty Steven Matz.
J.D. Martinez, however, is our favorite outfielder, completing our Detroit stack against Niese. Martinez raked against lefties to the tune of .265/.377/.538 with a .385 wOBA last season. He’s my top play of the day, regardless of position.
The Rangers promoted Nomar Mazara to the majors over the weekend, and he responded by hitting a home run in his first career start. He won’t be that good every day, but he costs just $2,900 right now. Even with a tough matchup against Hisashi Iwakuma, he is well worth a roll of the dice on Monday.
SP: Sonny Gray vs. Angels ($9,600)
SP: Brandon Finnegan @ Cubs ($5,900)
C: Jonathan Lucroy @ Cardinals, Michael Wacha ($3,500)
1B: Miguel Cabrera vs. Pirates, Jon Niese ($5,000)
2B: Robinson Cano vs. Rangers, Colby Lewis ($4,400)
3B: Kris Bryant vs. Reds, Brandon Finnegan ($4,800)
SS: Xander Bogaerts vs. Orioles, Yovani Gallardo ($4,100)
OF: Giancarlo Stanton @ Mets, Steven Matz ($5,300)
OF: J.D. Martinez vs. Pirates, Jon Niese ($4,500)
OF: Nomar Mazara @ Mariners, Hisashi Iwakuma ($2,900)