clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for April 1

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays for Saturday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings.

MLB: MAR 19 Spring Training - Rockies at Royals Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first weekend of the Major League Baseball season rolls on this Saturday with a jam-packed day of hardball with every team scheduled to be in action. Since it’s still early in the season, many of the games are scheduled for the afternoon to minimize cold and weather concerns. As a result, there are multiple slates on DraftKings throughout the day. The first wave of contests gets underway at 2:10 p.m. ET, featuring a dozen games. The biggest contest in that window is the $200K Relay Throw which features $200K in total prizes and awards $50K to the winner.

The focus of this post is the later featured slate, which includes the three games under the lights. All three of the games on this slate are from the West and all three are playing the third game of a four-game opening series. All four NL West teams are in action with the Padres hosting the Rockies and the Dodgers taking on the Diamondbacks. The American League game continues a nice series between playoff teams in Seattle, where the Mariners battle the Guardians.

As always, make sure to keep a close eye on pregame lineups and the latest player news by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the season continues.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $80K Relay Throw [$20K to 1st]

For up-to-the-minute news, analysis, and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.



Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,900) – Kershaw is back to start his 16th season with the Dodgers, but he still looked sharp this Spring Training, showing the ability to remain effective. Kershaw went 12-3 last season while posting a 2.28 ERA and 2.57 FIP with a 9.76 K/9 rate in 22 starts. Although those numbers are down a bit from his prime production, they’re still very serviceable on a slate this small.

Last year against Arizona, he allowed just one run over 13 innings with 15 strikeouts. Many of the Diamondbacks’ young hitters are left-handed which gives him an advantage as a lefty. This spring he had 16 strikeouts in 18 13 innings while allowing seven earned runs, and he looked especially sharp in his final outing of Spring Training, holding the Angels’ lineup to just three singles over six shutout innings. Even if he can’t quite duplicate that performance, he looks to be in strong form, and the Dodgers are the strongest favorite of the night on DraftKings Sportsbook as they take on Madison Bumgarner ($7,200) and the Diamondbacks.

Other Option – Logan Gilbert ($8,100)


Michael Wacha, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies ($7,600) – Wacha joined the Padres this offseason after a nice bounceback season with the Red Sox. After back-to-back seasons with an ERA over 5.00, he lowered it to 3.32 with a 4.14 FIP in 23 starts last season. He doesn’t offer elite strikeout numbers at just 7.35 K/9, but he’s still the best option under $8K on this slate, especially since he’ll face a Rockies’ lineup that should be one of the better matchups of the six teams in action on this slate, although they have taken the first two games of this series.

The veteran has turned into a bit of a journeyman, pitching with four different teams over the past four seasons, but he looked decent this spring with just five earned runs allowed over three starts despite not signing until mid-February. He definitely has the savvy to limit the damage but only had eight strikeouts over 11 13 innings this spring. While he isn’t someone I expect to target a lot this season, he makes sense at this salary on this slate.

Other Option – Aaron Civale ($7,900)



José Ramírez, Cleveland Guardians at Seattle Mariners ($5,900) – Ramírez has gone 2-for-9 with a pair of doubles in his first two games of the season and again looks to be one of the anchors in a solid Cleveland lineup. He had a strong spring, hitting .340 with a double, a triple and two home runs in 50 at-bats. After playing through injury last year, he is healthy to start the season and should be a good pay-up bat on this slate. Last year, he did most of his damage against right-handed pitchers, hitting .295 with a .255 ISO, .383 wOBA and 153 wRC+ in that split. Logan Gilbert ($8,100) doesn’t present a great matchup for the Guardians, but he isn’t one you have to avoid either. With their speed on the bases and the new rules, the Guardians lineup looks primed to produce this year, and Ramírez is poised to be right in the middle of the action.


Xander Bogaerts, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies ($4,700) – Bogaerts hit cleanup on Thursday night and then moved to the leadoff spot on Friday against a lefty. With the righty Jose Ureña ($6,500) on the mound for Colorado, look for him to drop back to fourth in the order. In his two games, he has gone 4-for-7 with a pair of doubles and a 50% hard-hit rate, per Statcast. He looks very comfortable and settled into his new lineup and should continue to be a steady producer from the middle of the order. As the rest of the order heats up, he should get plenty of run-creating opportunities.

Other Options – Will Smith ($5,000), Ketel Marte ($4,400)


Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,700) – Walker continues to be an extremely affordable power bat at 1B. He’s hit cleanup for the Dbacks in both games this year, going 2-for-7 with one RBI. He will be on the favorable side of the splits against Kershaw and has a good history against the Dodgers’ veteran. In their past meetings, Walker has gone 8-for-28 (.286) with four home runs and seven RBI. Just seven of his 36 homers last season came against lefties, but he hit for a much better average and had a .361 wOBA against southpaws.


Elehuris Montero, Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres ($2,700) – Montero has picked up two hits in each of the first two games of the season and smashed his first homer of the season on Opening Day. It looks like the 24-year-old is locked into the middle third of the Rockies’ order after an impressive Spring Training in which he won the job by going 19-for-64 (.297) with five home runs. He’s an extremely affordable option that comes with good power upside from the hot corner.

Other Options – Andrés Giménez ($3,800), Miguel Vargas ($2,100), Ezequiel Tovar ($2,000)



Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners vs. Cleveland Guardians ($5,400) – Rodríguez always brings a very high ceiling with his combination of power and speed potential, and he’s back in his regular spot atop the Mariners’ batting order. He hasn’t homered or stolen a base yet this season but has gone 2-for-9 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a run scored. He looked ready to resume his emergence as a superstar this spring, hitting .444 in 13 games. He should be able to avoid a sophomore slump and power the Mariners against Aaron Civale ($7,900) on Saturday night.


Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres ($4,900) – Bryant is looking to erase last year’s injury-plagued season, and he’s off to a good start through the extremely small sample size of the first two games. He has hit second in the order in both of the Rockies’ wins to start the year, going 4-for-10 (.400) with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. He has historically hit lefties well, with a .301 career batting average against them along with a .408 wOBA and a 156 wRC+. As long as he’s healthy, he has a chance to continue his return to form, especially when facing southpaws like Kershaw.

Other Options – Juan Soto ($5,500), Charlie Blackmon ($4,300)


Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners vs. Cleveland Guardians ($2,800) – I know, I know. Kelenic has burnt everyone before making fantasy owners very hesitant to buy in, but he definitely has my attention. The former top prospect was a huge letdown last season, hitting just .141 in 54 games with the Mariners. He has shown some signs of turning things around, though, after a scorching spring in which he went 18-for-51 (.353) with four homers, two doubles, two triples and three stolen bases. In the first two real games this season, he has gone 2-for-7 out of the seventh spot of the order with a double, a stolen base and a 100% hard-hit rate. He has struck out four times, but each of the three times he has put the ball in play it has been smashed, giving him an average exit velocity of 100.5 mph. Obviously, it’s an extremely small sample size, but he’s hitting the ball extremely well and brings power and speed upside from under $3K. At this salary, I’m back for more on Saturday.


Kyle Lewis, Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,300) – Lewis was the hero for Arizona on Friday night, coming off the bench with a two-run homer in the eighth inning to help them claim a 2-1 win over the Dodgers. Lewis started and hit leadoff on Opening Day against lefty Julio Urías and is projected to be back atop the Dbacks’ order on Saturday. In his 132 career games over four seasons in Seattle, he had a .304 wOBA against southpaws, so while he isn’t exactly a lefty-killer, his spot at the top of the order is enough to deserve attention at so cheap a salary if your hard-pressed for cap space.

Other Options – Trent Grisham ($3,800), Oscar Gonzalez ($3,400), David Dahl ($2,100)


San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies – The Padres have dropped the first two games of the season, but they should be in a good spot to get on track against Ureña, who is the cheapest pitcher on the slate. Last year, Ureña went 3-8 with a 5.01 ERA and 4.65 FIP, splitting time between the Brewers and Rockies. He gave up four runs on 10 hits in 10 innings against San Diego, and he was especially hittable by left-handed batters. In his 21 games, he let lefties hit .329 with a .379 wOBA while holding righties to a .234 average with a .293 wOBA. As a result, the Padres stack can include Bogarts and Manny Machado ($5,700) for sure, but be sure to lean into lefties like Juan Soto ($5,500), Jake Cronenworth ($4,300) and Trent Grisham ($3,800). For a value option, even David Dahl ($2,100) could make sense if he bats ninth as projected.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – The Dodgers face their old nemesis Madison Bumgarner ($7,200), who always seems to pitch well against the boys in blue even when his overall numbers are down. The veteran lefty went just 7-15 in 30 starts last season, giving up 25 home runs with a 4.88 ERA and 4.85 FIP. He also gave up a 42.8% hard-hit rate, according to Statcast, which was the highest mark of his career. He is still more effective against lefties, so building your stack around Dodgers’ righties seems to be the way to go. Mookie Betts ($5,800), J.D. Martinez ($4,700) and Will Smith ($5,000) are the power righties to consider, although it will be interesting to see if Smith or Martinez DHs with Austin Barnes ($2,900) expected to catch Kershaw. The Dodgers lineup is a little thin on righties after that, but Miguel Vargas ($2,100) and Miguel Rojas ($3,100) both do bring value potential.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $80K Relay Throw [$20K to 1st]

Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.