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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Mets vs. Nationals Showdown on April 1

Pearce Dietrich gives his top lineup advice for Thursday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Mets and Nationals, which starts at 7:09 p.m. ET.

Editor’s note: Tonight’s Mets-Nationals game has been postponed.

The nightcap is no different than the daytime slate; opening day means ace vs. ace. That’s bad news for the hitters, but this is no cakewalk for the pitchers either — especially with Thursday’s Mets-Nationals matchups, which features two of the best offenses in the NL.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $30K Showdown of the Week Premiere [$10K to 1st] (NYM vs WAS)

Captain’s Picks

Juan Soto ($15,000 CP) - It’s a tough matchup, but it’s tough matchups across the board when an ace faces an ace. Someone has to rise to the occasion, why not the best hitter in the game? In limited appearances (15 at bats), Soto has been solid against deGrom (.889 OPS). That’s a small sample size, so let’s examine last season’s stats. Soto had a .472 wOBA, a .308 iso, and a 197 wRC+. Those are insane numbers and could be the product of a 60-game season. That stat line is difficult to sustain over 162 games; only an MVP pulls off those numbers. His 2021 steamer projection is predicting an MVP season. Soto is projected to have 0.472 wOBA, 0.308 ISO and 197 wRC+ against right handed pitching this season.

Jacob deGrom ($17,100 CP) - Steamer and ZiPS project deGrom to be the 2021 Cy Young winner. DraftKings Sportsbook has deGrom as the favorite (+425), and the betting public agrees so far — those projections and bets are fair. In his seven-year career, he owns a 3.00 xFIP and a 29.2 K%. As if that wasn’t enough, he looked unhittable in spring training, posting a 0.66 ERA and lighting the radar gun up with speeds north of 100 mph. The matchup isn’t great, but it’s not awful. That Nationals were a little above average with a 104 wRC+ and just a 20% K rate against right hand pitching. deGrom faced the Nationals once in 2020, his final game of the season, and he struck out 10 batters, but he also allowed two home runs.

Value Plays

Jeff McNeil ($6,200) - Against right handed pitching, McNeil posted a .377 wOBA and a 141 wRC+ in 2020. Max Scherzer allowed a .366 wOBA to left handed batters and a 3.99 xFIP (3.12 xFIP vs. RHB). Ultimately, this matchup comes down to Max Scherzer’s superior ability to strike out batters. McNeil was a tough out last season, only striking out against right handed pitchers 11% of the time. He isn’t going to take Scherzer deep, but he will be involved in the innings where a crooked number goes up on the scoreboard.

Victor Robles ($5,000) - He’s the second-cheapest starter on the slate, and he’s the best way to fit deGrom into lineups. Robles’ career averages aren’t great, but when he gets volume, he produces. Throughout 617 plate appearances in 2019, Robles hit 17 home runs, scored 86 runs and stole 28 bases. His 2020 slump could be attributed to a weight gain of 20 pounds (not good for a lead off hitter), but the word in Spring Training is he lost that weight. Robles had a .945 OPS and five stolen bases in Spring Training.


Max Scherzer ($10,600) - The Mets lineup is tough. On paper, this could be the best offense in the NL, but they have to hit better with runners in scoring position. The Mets ranked 12th in batting average with runners in scoring position last season. That translated into a top NL offense in 2020, scoring the seventh-most runs. They should be more efficient this year, but the only thing we have to go on at this point are the names and stats on the page — and on the page, this lineup is formidable. It’s also loaded with left handed bats. Last year, Scherzer allowed a .366 wOBA to left handed batters, and his K rate was only 27% compared to the 36% vs. right handed batters. Scherzer still has plenty of good games left in the tank, but in a head-to-head matchup with the potential Cy Young winner, it doesn’t make much sense to get cute at his price.

The Outcome

The Mets are not huge favorites, but they are road favorites. The addition of Franciso Lindor (CPT $14,700; $9,800) boosted an already strong lineup that could break out this season with some timely hitting. There are some suspect arms in the Mets bullpen, but deGrom should be able to pitch deep enough, so that those arms stay in the bullpen. In the end, it’s Scherzer’s Achilles heel that seals the Nationals’ fate. The Mets will take Scherzer deep twice, and his propensity to give up the long ball (1.3 HR/9 in 2020 and a similar projection by all stat models for 2021) gives the Mets the opening night road win.

Final Score: Mets 5, Nationals 2

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $30K Showdown of the Week Premiere [$10K to 1st] (NYM vs WAS)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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