The Major League Baseball season is now a week old, and the daily fantasy baseball contests continue to provide multiple ways to play and win each day 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.
Thursday brings another afternoon slate in MLB Snake, with seven games on tap starting at 1:10 p.m. ET when the Miami Marlins visit the New York Mets. It also includes all the games that start throughout the afternoon until the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled get underway at 4:15 p.m. ET.
Six of the seven games are divisional matchups, with the one exception being the Minnesota Twins hosting the Seattle Mariners. That Twins-Mariners matchup is one of three games with potential bad weather on the afternoon slate. The worst weather situation is that Brewers-Cardinals matchup, where the precipitation chances are high all afternoon and evening. The weather in Chicago where the Chicago White Sox are scheduled for their home opener against the Kansas City Royals is also pretty iffy, although it could clear off in time for a potential late start.
Coors Field is in play as the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies wrap up their three-game set. As usual, that game has the highest over/under on the board at DraftKings Sportsbook with an over/under of 11. The only other game with an over/under of at least 9.0 runs is the AL East contest between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles.
There are some nice matchups to target on the board today as well as a few to avoid. 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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Favorable Early Round Targets
Kris Bryant, IF, Chicago Cubs
MLB Snake Rank: 15th
Bryant and the Cubs go on the road for the first time this season as they head to Pittsburgh, where they’ll open their series with the Pirates by taking on lefty Tyler Anderson. Anderson gave up three runs and one home run in his first start of the season, resulting in a loss to the Cubs. Bryant homered in that game and has gone 4-for-11 with two home runs and three RBI in their previous matchups.
Bryant has a .414 wOBA and .313 ISO in the early going this season and looked especially strong during his three-game set against the Pirates, in which he went 3-for-9. He typically hits southpaws well, with a .411 wOBA and .277 ISO in his career against lefties. Pittsburgh is one of the safest weather environments and a favorable matchup for Bryant, so he’s a relatively low-risk pick at this point in the draft with plenty of upside as well.
Francisco Lindor, IF, New York Mets
MLB Snake Rank: 35th
One way to avoid the weather issues is to target the Mets, who have a favorable matchup in New York against the Marlins. Lindor started his Mets tenure with a 2-for-11 series against the Phillies, walking twice and averaging 5.3 DKFP per game. He is locked into the second spot in the lineup, though, and should be due for a little positive regression with a .125 BABIP over that very limited sample size.
The Mets are a lineup that I like a lot as they are expected to face Nick Neidert and the Marlins. Neidert appeared in four games last season for the Marlins all out of the bullpen and will be taking the rotation spot of Elieser Hernandez (biceps) after a decent showing in Spring Training. Last season, Neidert broke into the Major Leagues and allowed five runs in eight innings while striking out just four batters. In 2019, he posted a 5.05 ERA and 19.8 percent strikeout rate in nine starts for the New Orleans Baby Cakes in Triple-A.
Early Round Player to Avoid
Whit Merrifield, IF, Kansas City Royals
MLB Snake Rank: 1st
I have nothing against Merrifield, but I’m putting him in this spot for the second day in a row since he’s still being drafted way too early. He started the season hot and provides a nice power-speed combo at the top of the Royals’ lineup, I get that, but he finished with zero fantasy points on Wednesday while going 0-for-4 and gets another tough matchup on this slate against Lance Lynn. Merrifield is only 2-for-16 in his career against Lynn, who allowed just two unearned runs in his first start of the season. Merrifield is a fine pick later in the draft, but there’s no reason to reach early when there are so many other potential power picks in much more favorable matchups.
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.
Alex Verdugo, OF, Boston Red Sox
MLB Snake Rank: 55th
The top of the MLB Snake pool is heavy with IF options, which could leave you looking for OF value late, so all three of my late-round flyers are from that category. Verdugo and the Red Sox are in a good spot against Matt Harvey, who looked much better than expected in his first start of the season, holding Boston to two runs on six hits in a no-decision last Saturday. Harvey was a train wreck last season with the Royals, allowing six home runs in seven games for a 4.63 HR/9 and 9.45 FIP. It was a very small sample size during a shortened season, but he looked pretty bad in 2019 with the Angels too.
The Red Sox found their offense after Harvey and the Orioles left Fenway last weekend and put up 26 runs in their three-game sweep of the Rays. Verdugo has been hitting second in the lineup when he has started and has gone 3-for-19 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and two RBI. He got the day off yesterday but should be back in the mix for this favorable matchup against Harvey, who has allowed lefties like Verdugo post a .399 and .556 wOBA in the past two seasons.
Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies
MLB Snake Rank: 86th
Tapia has not started two of the Rockies’ past three games while battling a stiff neck, but he was able to enter each of those games off the bench and may have been out yesterday due to the matchup against a lefty rather than the injury issue. He usually hits leadoff for Colorado against right-handed pitchers like Merrill Kelly, who he’ll face today if he’s back in the leadoff spot.
Like many of the Rockies, Tapia has started slow, going just 4-for-21 (.190) so far this season. He still brings nice upside, though, as the leadoff hitter in a lineup expected to score runs on this slate. In his 21 plate appearances, he has been making contact on a regular basis but has only managed a .188 BABIP. Especially for a player with Tapia’s speed, that number is incredibly low and stands in stark contrast to his .341 and .392 BABIP from the past two seasons. He did hit one home run earlier this season and has only struck out three times. He doesn’t offer a ton of power, for sure, but can be a solid source of runs and on-base production atop a lineup that’s expected to be productive. As a late-round pick in a shallow OF category, Tapia makes a solid insurance policy to round out your roster.
Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets
MLB Snake Rank: 91st
Conforto and the Mets have a good matchup in Miami against Neidert and getting a power bat in the middle of a good lineup this late is a great pickup. In his first three games of the season, Conforto went 3-for-15 with a double and two RBI. In the early going, he has had a 37.5% hard-hit rate, which is right about his career average, and should be just fine long term. Last season, the lefty had a .414 wOBA against right-handed pitchers and should be able to produce a solid stat line against Neidert.
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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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