It’s great to have Major League Baseball back for regular fantasy baseball contests every day of the week. To bring even more excitement into play, DraftKings launched a simple and fun new MLB Snake Draft fantasy format. The new style of play gives you a chance to build a small squad of top hitters, so check out how it works and get ready to 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 trying to have at least three IF and three OF allows maximum flexibility to avoid being burned if one of your players gets the night off, leaves early with an injury or has a postponement.
Tuesday night will be an interesting slate since the Coors Field effect is back to boost hitters’ potential in the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, but it also looks like there could be some rain issues, with an 80% chance of rain throughout the afternoon and winds getting up to about 20 mph, blowing in. You may want to avoid over-stacking this game and ending up with multiple zeros if the situation gets worse, so keep a close eye on the weather or just grab one player from that game and figure your bench spot mitigates the risk. That game in Colorado, not surprisingly, has the highest over/under on this slate at 10.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Since we’re getting a few aces back on the mound on regular rest after starting on Opening Day four days ago, the overall run totals are a little bit lower, with only the Coors Field game and the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers over 9.0 runs.
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Favorable Early Round Targets
José Abreu, IF, Chicago White Sox
MLB Snake Rank: 7th
The White Sox picked up a 6-0 win in the series opener in Seattle despite Abreu going just 1-for-5 with a single. He is 4-for-20 (.200) on the young season and has worked four walks as well. He has been hitting the ball hard, though, with a 62.5% hard-hit rate. Most of those hits have just been on the ground, but that should balance out as his GB% of 75% returns to closer to his career average of 45%.
In his matchup tonight, Abreu gets to take on lefty James Paxton, who is trying to revive his career by returning to Seattle after a rough stint with the Yankees. Abreu has historically been excellent when facing lefties and his one home run this season came against Angels lefty Andrew Heaney. In last year’s short season, his splits were pretty even, but in 2019 he had a .232 ISO and .420 wOBA against southpaws. Abreu has also had success in this specific matchup, going 6-for-12 with a double and a home run in his previous meetings with Paxton.
Joey Gallo, OF, Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays
MLB Snake Rank: 10th
Gallo has gone 5-for-13 with a home run, five walks, four runs scored and four RBI in his four games this year, averaging 13.8 DKFP per contest. Gallo averaged a 102.2 mph exit velocity through his first eight batted-ball events, per Statcast, so he’s hitting the ball hard, especially compared to last season when he struggled overall and only managed a 91.2 mph exit velocity.
Gallo and the Rangers get a good matchup in this contest against Tanner Roark, who posted a 6.86 FIP and allowed 2.94 HR/9 in his 11 starts last season for the Blue Jays. Gallo posted a .202 ISO and .324 wOBA in his first full season with Globe Life Park as his home stadium, and he and the Rangers should be able to put up runs as they try to level their series with the Blue Jays.
Early Round Player to Avoid
Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Snake Rank: 2nd
Yelich should be set up for a bounce-back season, and I’m still a fan of his upside long-term, but he has gotten off to a very rough start to the season. He has gone just 3-for-15 (.200) with all three hits being only singles. He has struck out nine times in those 15 at-bats and it’s never good when a player’s strikeout percentage (56%) is almost three times his batting average. He struck out three times on Monday and has multiple strikeouts in three straight games after opening the season with two hits in the Brewers’ lone win of the year. While you don’t lose DKFP for strikeouts, it does seem to indicate that Milwaukee’s star OF is having trouble making contact, so there’s a ways to go before he finds his typically productive form. Yelich looked great during Cactus League action and still has a very high ceiling, but until he gets into a groove, it’s hard to trust him for the investment of an early-round pick.
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.
Asdrúbal Cabrera, IF, Arizona Diamondbacks
MLB Snake Rank: 58th
If you’re looking to get some exposure to Coors Field later in your drafts, Cabrera is an option to consider since he has hit fifth in Arizona’s lineup in three of the Diamondbacks’ first four games of the season, going 3-for-12 with a home run, a walk and three RBI. Cabrera had a quiet but surprisingly decent season last year with the Nationals, posting a .205 ISO and .319 wOBA in 34 games. That ISO was a career-best for the 14-year veteran and was supported by a 37.7% hard-hit percentage.
The Diamondbacks have the tougher matchup in this NL West contest since they will be facing German Márquez. However, Cabrera has had success against him in the past, going 4-for-9 with a home run against the Rockies’ SP.
Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets
MLB Snake Rank: 93nd
Conforto and the Mets finally got to start their season on Monday night against the Phillies after having their first series canceled due to COVID-19 concerns with the Nationals. Conforto went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles, an RBI and 8.0 DKFP in the opener.
Conforto has only gone 3-for-13 in his previous career meetings with Chase Anderson, who will start for the Phillies on Tuesday, but all three of those hits have been home runs. Anderson struggled with giving up home runs last season, giving up 2.94 HR/9 in his 10 games with Toronto. He looked a little better during Spring Training, but this still seems like a matchup that the Mets should be able to thrive in on Tuesday. Grabbing a quality hitter with as much upside as Conforto in the middle of a good lineup late in your draft keeps your overall ceiling very high.
Jake Cronenworth, IF, San Diego Padres
MLB Snake Rank: 99th
Cronenworth doesn’t have the power potential of some of the hitters listed above, but he is off to a strong start to the season and could be in a prime lineup position in this matchup with the Giants on Tuesday. Cronenworth hit leadoff on Monday and went 3-for-5 with three singles and 9.0 DKFP. He would be an interesting option to stay in that spot since he doesn’t offer much speed (three stolen bases in 59 career games), but he has been an on-base machine, reaching in 54% of his plate appearances this season after a successful .354 on-base percentage during his rookie season last year.
With Fernando Tatis Jr. (shoulder) likely out a while, Cronenworth’s positional versatility could give him the chance to lead off atop a productive Padres lineup for the near future. He has started the season hot, going 7-for-18 with a .509 wOBA. While his ceiling isn’t quite as high as the power options, his floor makes him a nice late-round insurance policy if you have high-risk, high-reward plays in your other roster spots. It will also be worth monitoring if he can lock down the top spot in the Padres’ batting order moving forward.
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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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