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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB Snake DFS Strategy for April 12

Zach Thompson breaks down Monday’s DraftKings MLB Snake contest, which locks at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Major League Baseball season gets another busy work week underway with a jam-packed 12-game slate Monday night on DraftKings. To give everyone even more ways to get in on the action, DraftKings launched a new MLB Snake Draft fantasy format at the start of the season. The new style of play gives you a chance to build a small squad of top hitters, so check out how it works and keep your fantasy baseball draft skills sharp all season long.

Remember that MLB Snake only includes hitters, and the classic format requires two infielders, two outfielders and two utility players. The lowest score of the seven players on your roster is automatically moved to your bench slot if possible, so drafting at least three IF and three OF allows maximum flexibility.

The games on Monday include a wide variety of matchups as teams start new series. None of the games have an over/under of 10 runs or more on DraftKings Sportsbook, but the game with the most expected runs is the matchup between the Oakland Athletics and the Arizona Diamondbacks, which has an over/under of 9.5 runs. After a weekend with plenty of games impacted by the weather, there are a few possibly wet places to be careful of again on Monday, with showers in the forecast for the Seattle Mariners-Baltimore Orioles game and an even sketchier forecast for the Philadelphia Phillies-New York Mets matchup in the Big Apple.

There are some obvious matchups to be careful of, including the Blue Jays taking on Gerrit Cole, the Rangers taking on Tyler Glasnow and the Tigers taking on Zack Greinke. There are also a few very favorable matchups to attack, especially in good splits. Check out some of the players I’m significantly higher or lower on than their current MLB Snake rank listed below.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s Mets-Phillies game has been postponed.

Favorable Early Round Targets

Trea Turner, IF, Washington Nationals
MLB Snake Rank: 13th

Turner and that Nationals have only played six games this season after COVID-19 impacted the start to their season, and they have dropped five straight games after opening with a win against the Braves. Washington will be glad to leave Los Angeles after getting swept by the Dodgers and shut out in two of their three games. Turner was one of the few bright spots on Sunday, going 3-for-4 with his first stolen base of the season and finishing with 14 DKFP to raise his average on the season to 10.0 DKFP per contest.

In his limited sample size, Turner seems to be locked in with a .413 wOBA and .304 ISO. He also has a hard-hit rate of 47.4% and a barrel rate of 10.5%, according to Statcast, which would each be the highest marks of his career if he maintains them for the full season. Turner gets a good matchup against John Gant and the Cardinals on Monday. Gant didn’t allow an earned run in his first start but had an Expected ERA of 7.26 since he gave up a hard-hit rate of 45.5%, according to Statcast. If Turner and the Nationals make similar contact against Gant in this game, they should get their offense on track. Taking Turner early is a strategy I also like since he has multiple ways to have a big game due to his power-speed combo from the second spot in what should be a productive lineup.

Rhys Hoskins, IF, Philadelphia Phillies
MLB Snake Rank: 52nd

There are some weather concerns to monitor in this matchup, but if the meteorological forecast looks to be clearing up, Hoskins will be in a great matchup and could end up being an awesome pick at this point in the draft. Remember, there’s also the bench spot, so as long as you only have one player in this game, he will automatically become your bench play if you have two other players at that position. Of all the hitters in the Mets-Phillies game, Hoskins is probably my favorite option based on how late he’s going and how hot he has started the season.

Hoskins has a .397 wOBA and .333 ISO in his first nine games and has posted double-digit DKFP in four of his past six contests. He faced Mets lefty Drew Peterson in one of those games and hit a home run off him. In their career meetings, Hoskins is now 4-for-5 with two doubles and two homers against Peterson. Hoskins has been very productive against lefties this season with an unsustainable .562 wOBA and .643 ISO. Last season, he also beat up southpaws with a .509 wOBA and .390 ISO. He hits in a great spot in the lineup and is starting to become a fixture in my lineups whenever the Phillies take on a lefty.

Early Round Player to Avoid

Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves
MLB Snake Rank: 2nd

Acuña was my No. 1 overall ranked player coming into the season and has carried my DFS and season-long teams to multiple wins in the past. I’m extremely high on Acuña and love that he’s off to a fast start. However, Acuña is in an extremely tough matchup Monday against Sandy Alcantara and the Marlins. Acuña has dominated his division rivals as a whole but has gone 0-for-8 with two walks and two strikeouts in his past meetings with Alcantara. Acuña has started the season red hot, going 16-for-36 with five doubles, two stolen bases and four home runs, but Alcantara has also been dominant in the early going. In his two starts, he has a 1.57 FIP and has allowed just six hits and two earned runs in 12 innings while limiting opposing hitters to just a 15.4% hard-hit rate. He also hasn’t allowed a barrel to any hitter yet this season. Alcantara has been relying more on his changeup this season, and it has kept hitters off-balance. While I like Acuña overall, I’m downgrading him and the rest of the Braves due to the matchup, especially since there are so many other options to consider.

Late Round Flyers

This section tries to exploit players who are in favorable matchups and should out-produce their rankings even though they are below the threshold for drafted players in some formats.

Mark Canha, OF, Oakland Athletics
MLB Snake Rank: 107th

There was a point in his career where Madison Bumgarner was a matchup to stay away from, but now the 31-year-old has become a matchup to stack against. In his nine starts over the past two seasons, he has a 5.85 FIP and has allowed 2.8 HR/9 on a 44.0% hard-hit rate. He has given up 11 home runs in those nine games just to right-handed hitters, who have a .404 wOBA against him over that span. In his two starts this season, he has allowed a 53.1% hard-hit rate, per Statcast.

The Athletics have a few right-handed hitting options who excel against lefties, led by Canha, who had a .423 wOBA and .167 ISO against southpaws last season. He has a .205 career ISO against southpaws and has homered off of Bumgarner in their past meetings despite going just 1-for-12. Most of those at-bats were earlier in Bumgarner’s career, though, so don’t let the BvP scare you off the value play here. Canha collected multiple hits in each of his two most recent games and has a .393 wOBA and .231 ISO in his first 10 games of the season. He has hit leadoff most of the year for Oakland and gets a few extra at-bats as a result, even though he doesn’t have the speed of a prototypical leadoff option.

Eduardo Escobar, IF, Arizona Diamondbacks
MLB Snake Rank: 127th

On the other side of that interleague matchup, Escobar is starting to heat up for the Diamondbacks after starting the season 1-for-21 in his first five games. He did battle a non-COVID illness to start spring training, which may be part of the reason he struggled out of the gate. He has found his groove in his four games since, though, going 7-for-16 with two doubles, four home runs, a stolen base and over 20 DKFP in each of those four contests.

Escobar has a 34.6% hard-hit rate on the year with a .355 wOBA and .378 ISO. He is in a solid matchup against Chris Bassitt, who has a 5.53 FIP in his first two outings of the year and has surrendered a .402 wOBA and already allowed two home runs this season to left-handed batters, which would include the switch-hitting Escobar in this contest. It’s easy to see with these two SPs why this matchup is projected for the highest total on the board.

Jed Lowrie, IF, Oakland Athletics
MLB Snake Rank: 130th

Let’s finish with another player from that matchup to look for in late rounds. Lowrie is back in Oakland for his third tenure with the Athletics, and it must be something in the Coliseum’s water that helps the IF stay healthy. He has posted a .357 wOBA during the first 10 games this season, going 10-for-34 with two doubles and a home run. Most of that production came over the weekend against the Astros when he went 5-for-11 with four RBI, three runs scored and that home run. He has gone 5-for-8 against left-handed pitching in the early going this year and has always had slightly better splits when hitting right-handed against a left-handed pitcher. He has been hitting second or third in the order and makes a great late-round add.

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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 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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