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

Garion Thorne gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Thursday’s Opening Day fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 2:10 p.m. ET.

We’re back! For the first time in two years, we will have Major League Baseball DFS in April, as things kick off with a frigid nine-game Opening Day slate on Thursday. Nothing says “spring is here” quite like watching baseball players head up to home plate equipped with a balaclava, right?

Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $500K Season Opener [$100K 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.


PITCHER

Stud

Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins, $8,800 - Don’t get used to being able to own Glasnow for less than $9K. Of the 81 pitchers who threw at least 50 innings in 2020, Tampa Bay’s right-hander ranked third in strikeout rate (38.2%) and fourth in xFIP (2.75). Really, the lone issue Glasnow ran into was home runs, which is something that might be aided in 2021 by a new baseball. Either way, I wouldn’t expect the Marlins — a team FanGraphs projects to score the second-fewest runs per game — to blow up Glasnow’s spot.

Value

Editor’s note: Today’s game between the Red Sox and Orioles has been postponed due to rain.

Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles, $6,300 - While there weren’t many bright spots during Boston’s 2020 campaign, Eovaldi turned in nine solid starts. In fact, he finished the season with a career-high 26.1% strikeout rate to go along with a 22.6% K-BB rate that would have been top 15 in baseball had he pitched the innings to qualify. It makes sense. Going all the way back to his time in Miami, no one’s ever questioned Eovaldi’s raw stuff. Now, with his curve, cutter and splitter all registering whiff rates above 16% last season, the right-hander has an assortment of pitches to finish off at-bats. It also doesn’t hurt that Eovaldi allowed just two earned runs over 19.0 innings against the Orioles last year.



CATCHER

Stud

J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves, $5,500 - I have my doubts that many will be paying up at catcher on this slate, so Realmuto as a variance play has some serious appeal. The Phillies will draw the left-handed Max Fried ($7,500) on Thursday — master of fly ball suppression — however, in 54 plate appearances within the split in 2020, Realmuto slashed .386/.500/.591 with a 197 wRC+. That’s pretty damn good.

Value

Elias Diaz, Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, $2,700 - When punting at catcher, you could do far worse than grabbing an asset at Coors Field for less than $3K. Diaz is also a career .289 hitter against left-handed pitching, so there’s a little more to this than altitude — though it’s mostly that.


FIRST BASE

Stud

Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $4,600 - Like seemingly every Cubs positional player, Rizzo is coming off a down year in 2020. Well, what better way to begin a rebound campaign than with a matchup against Chad Kuhl ($5,200)? The right-hander was atrocious last season, finishing in the fifth percentile in xwOBA (.384), xERA (6.70) and barrels per batted ball rate (13.1%). The winds don’t project to be too kind to hitters at Wrigley on Thursday, but I’m still willing to buy in.

Value

Carlos Santana, Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers, $3,600 - Couple things to think about here. First, Sanrana has always had more power hitting from the left side of the plate, making his matchup with the right-handed Kyle Gibson ($5,300) very enticing. Second, any LHB is in a great spot against Gibson, as the Rangers’ starter surrendered a whopping 2.20 home runs per nine within the split last season. Gibson also struck out just 14.0% of the 129 lefties he faced.


SECOND BASE

Stud

Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins, $4,600 - I’m not really looking to pay up at second base on this slate, but Lowe is viable in his matchup with Sandy Alcantara ($6,500). Dating back to the beginning of 2019, the right-hander has allowed LHBs to hit 1.4 home runs per nine, resulting in an ugly 5.58 xFIP within the split. Lowe has serious pop and could get 2021 started with a bang.

Value

Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs, $3,400 - In no way am I looking to stack against Kyle Hendricks ($7,700) on Thursday, but it’s already been announced that Frazier will be batting leadoff for the Pirates. That means we have the potential for five plate appearances for the 29-year-old in an opposite-hand matchup against a contact-oriented pitcher. Frazier’s ceiling is low, but he does provide a lot of floor at his modest price.


THIRD BASE

Stud

Manny Machado, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $5,700 - Among qualified hitters going back to the start of 2019, Machado owns the seventh-best marks in ISO (.330) and wRC+ (170) against left-handed pitching. He’s an absolute monster within the split and he draws a matchup with the husk of Madison Bumgarner ($7,100) on Thursday. Of Bumgarner’s 141 batted ball events in 2020, a league-worst 14.9% were barrelled up. Even with a little normalization due to a small sample, that’s still awful.

Value

Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves, $3,100 - I just can’t figure out why Bohm is so inexpensive here. It almost feels like a misprint. Sure, the rookie didn’t exactly showcase incredible power in 2020, but he did finish the truncated campaign slashing .338/.400/.481 with a 139 wRC+. He’s also set to hit in the top-half of the Phillies’ batting order. Take advantage of this while you can.


SHORTSTOP

Stud

Fernando Tatis, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $5,700 - As mentioned above, Bumgarner gave up his fair share of hard contact last season, and by fair share, I mean the most of any pitcher in baseball on a per at-bat basis. Meanwhile, Tatis ended 2020 in the 100th percentile in average exit velocity (95.9) and barrel rate (19.5%). You can see how mixing these two things might lead to explosive returns.

Value

Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays, $2,500 - Chisholm is more than just an amazing name. The infielder is one of baseball’s top prospects and, after securing the Marlins’ starting job at second base, he’ll be in the team’s lineup on Opening Day. It’s a rough matchup against Glasnow and the Rays’ bullpen, but Chisholm possesses plus-power and speed, so he’s a decent flier with a salary this microscopic.


OUTFIELD

Stud

Editor’s note: Today’s game between the Red Sox and Orioles has been postponed due to rain.

J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles, $4,300 - Martinez was terrible in 2020, but, in 2019, no one in baseball was better at hitting southpaws than the veteran outfielder. In 170 plate appearances, Martinez sported a .482 ISO and a .539 wOBA. Those are straight video game numbers. John Means ($6,000) allowed 2.47 home runs per nine last year — the sixth-most of the 111 pitchers to throw 40-plus innings. Can Martinez turn things around on Opening Day?

Value

Tommy Pham, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,100 - Pham had a slow start to Spring Training then, after changing his contact lenses, he started mashing. Even if you don’t buy that narrative, how about the fact that Pham owns a .318 average and a .397 wOBA against left-handed pitching since the beginning of 2018? Why is he this cheap? Especially against Bumgarner?

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $500K Season Opener [$100K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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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