Baseball is officially back, and we have another five-game main slate on Saturday starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,600) – Musgrove moved from the Pirates to the Padres in the offseason, which was a solid addition for San Diego. Musgrove didn’t get much attention playing for such a dismal squad last year, but he pitched to a solid 3.82 ERA and 3.42 FIP. He also struck out a career-best 12.48 batters per nine innings.
His first matchup with his new team should be a good one. The Diamondbacks ranked just 21st in wRC+ vs. right-handers last season, and they’ve made no real additions to their squad. Their current implied team total of 3.5 runs is tied for the lowest mark on the slate, and Musgrove is also the second-largest favorite of the day.
Other Options – Walker Buehler ($9,300), Jose Berrios ($8,800)
Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins ($8,200) – The line between stud pitcher and value pitcher is pretty thin today. There aren’t any true aces on the mound – at least ones that aren’t pitching in Coors Field – and none of the true value plays stand out as appealing.
Burnes is right in the middle of the pricing spectrum at $8,200, and that’s an excellent price tag for him. He was nothing short of dominant in 2020, racking up a 2.11 ERA and 2.04 FIP while striking out an average of 13.27 batters per nine innings. If he can replicate that success in 2021, Burnes should easily cost $10,000-plus.
The Twins’ offense can do some damage, but they also posted the seventh-highest strikeout rate vs. right-handed pitchers last season. Their implied team total of 3.5 runs is also tied with the Diamondbacks’ for the lowest on the slate.
Other Options – Logan Webb ($7,400)
Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels ($5,000) – Grandal is easily the class of the catcher position on today’s slate. He has historically fared better against left-handed pitching than right-handers, but he has an exploitable matchup vs. Alex Cobb ($6,200). Cobb had an xERA of 6.49 last season, and he also gives up plenty of long balls. The White Sox should be able to do some damage in this matchup, and their implied team total of 4.8 runs ranks third on the slate.
Other Options – Austin Barnes ($4,000)
Elias Díaz, Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,700) – Diaz isn’t much of a hitter, but he’s dirt cheap and expected to start at catcher in Coors Field. That’s enough to warrant consideration on a five-game slate.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Elias Díaz is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs, the Dodgers.
Other Options – Victor Caratini ($3,100)
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies ($5,100) – The Dodgers’ offense is absolutely loaded. So is their pitching staff, which is why they’re the current favorites to win the World Series on DraftKings Sportsbook. They simply don’t have any noticeable flaws at the moment.
Muncy is coming off a subpar year in 2020, but he has historically raked against right-handed pitchers. Jon Gray ($6,500) has actually done a decent job pitching in Coors Field throughout his career, but he struggled to an 8.39 ERA at home last season. The Dodgers’ implied team total of 7.2 runs is the top mark on the slate by more than two runs, so loading up on their bats makes a ton of sense.
Other Options – Shohei Ohtani ($4,500)
C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,600) – Cron has quietly been a solid fantasy first baseman for the past few seasons. He clubbed 30 homers for the Rays back in 2018, and he followed that up with 25 homers for the Twins in 2019. He had just 52 plate appearances with the Tigers last season, but he still finished with a respectable four homers.
Now that he’s playing his home games at Coors Field, he has the potential to put together a career year. His matchup vs. Buehler is less than ideal – Buehler is an excellent pitcher, and Cron is much better against southpaws – but he’s still too cheap given his power at Coors.
Other Options – Ty France ($3,900)
Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies ($4,000) – I’d like to save some time and just say that the Dodgers are going to have the stud option at every position, but I won’t do that since I’m a professional. I even have my own computer.
In all seriousness, Lux stands out as a strong option despite the fact that he’s expected to bat toward the bottom of the Dodgers’ lineup. Their offense is so good that the lineup spot doesn’t really matter, and Lux entered last year as the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball. He’s gotten off to an excellent start this season, racking up four hits through his first nine at-bats. Second base is also a relatively weak position, so I’m going with Lux or spending down with a value option.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lux will hit at the top of the lineup tonight with Mookie Betts out of the lineup.
Other Options – None
Tommy La Stella, San Francisco Giants at Seattle Mariners ($3,300) – La Stella can flat-out hit against right-handed pitching. He’s not going to hit for a ton of power, but he’s the type of guy who should bat around .300 most years. He posted a 150 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers in 2020, and he’s facing a mediocre right-hander on Saturday in Chris Flexen ($6,000). La Stella is also expected to bat leadoff for the Giants, which is an appealing combination at just $3,300.
Other Options – Donovan Solano ($3,200)
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($5,700) – Justin Turner ($5,100) is probably the best play at third base, but I’m bored of writing about the Dodgers. As I said, I’m a professional.
That said, Machado definitely has the potential to do some damage on Saturday. He’ll be on the positive side of his splits vs. Diamondbacks left-hander Caleb Smith ($6,800), and Machado posted a 154 wRC+ vs. southpaws last season. Smith has been miserable against right-handed batters throughout his career, allowing them to average nearly two home runs per nine innings. Overall, he has a career xFIP of 5.26 in those matchups.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Justin Turner is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Rockies.
Other Options –
Justin Turner ($5,100)
Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,600) – McMahon was once a highly-regarded prospect for the Rockies, but he’s struggled to live up to that billing. He’s never posted a wRC+ of better than 88, which makes him a decidedly below-average hitter.
However, he’s still just 26 years old, so perhaps this is the year he breaks out. He’s certainly off to a good start after going yard on Friday, and he’ll be on the positive side of his splits Saturday vs. Buehler.
Other Options – Josh Fuentes ($3,100)
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies ($5,500) – This is a close call between Seager and Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,900), but it’s hard not to side with the guy who’s cheaper and playing at Coors Field.
Seager is also coming off a monster 2020 season, particularly against right-handed pitchers. He posted a 168 wRC+ in those matchups, and 11 of his 46 hits turned into home runs.
Other Options – Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,900), Trevor Story ($5,200)
Josh Rojas, Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres ($3,100) – Cheap leadoff hitters are always going to have appeal in MLB DFS, and Rojas should get that designation on Saturday. He isn’t a huge threat with the bat, but he doesn’t need to do much to pay off his current price tag.
Other Options – Leury García ($3,600)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies ($6,000) – I still can’t believe the Red Sox traded this guy. Mookie has racked up two hits in each of his first two games, and two of those hits have gone for extra bases. He’s in a righty-righty matchup vs. Gray, but that’s not a problem for Betts: He posted a ridiculous 181 wRC+ vs. right-handers in 2020.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mookie Betts is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Rockies.
Other Options – Cody Bellinger ($5,500)
Tommy Pham, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($3,300) – Pham will occupy the No. 3 spot in the lineup for the Padres, which makes him an extremely appealing target vs. Smith. Pham was excellent vs. left-handers in 2020, posting a 161 wRC+. He went yard twice in just 30 at-bats vs. southpaws last season, so he can do some damage in this matchup.
Other Options – Adam Eaton ($3,500), Raimel Tapia ($3,300)
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