Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings Strategy, Primer for April 18

Every selection in daily fantasy baseball requires careful consideration for a number of factors. You only get one day to make your mark, so you don’t want to waste a pick at any position.

With a full set of games Saturday, the key will be to take advantage of the best matchups both at the plate and on the mound. It’s tough to predict the future, but you can give yourself a great chance of having success by following this strategy.

Also, remember to check lineups before the game to ensure each player is set to play.


Top Pitcher Picks

Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals ($ 8,700)

If you had Jordan Zimmermann in your lineup in his last start, you likely won’t ever pick him again. The right-hander allowed eight runs (seven earned) in just 2.1 innings against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park.

However, the All-Star is too good to get rocked two games in a row, especially with the next start coming against the struggling Philadelphia Phillies. Returning to his comfort zone in Nationals Park (plus no more designated hitters) will allow him to bounce back for a quality start.


Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays ($ 7,600)

While grabbing a stud pitcher like Felix Hernandez always makes sense, you can save some of your budget by instead going after a lesser-known pitcher like Jake Odorizzi.

The 25-year-old starter is off to an outstanding start with just one run allowed in 14.2 innings pitched. Going up against a New York Yankees lineup that has been very inconsistent this year should allow him to keep up his momentum.


Pitchers to Avoid

Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees ($ 10,200)

Although Masahiro Tanaka got the win in his last start, he was far from his old self. He has now allowed nine runs (seven earned) in nine total innings over two games. Zach Braziller of the New York Post summed it up:

Tanaka has a decreased velocity on his fastball and simply can’t get swinging strikes at the same rate he was last season. Until he fixes his problems, it might be best to avoid the Japanese star.


Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox ($ 10,500)

This is not a slight against Chris Sale, who is one of the top pitchers in baseball. However, when you spend big money you want a guarantee the starter will come through with a dominant performance. You simply cannot do that against the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers are currently 9-1 and have a loaded lineup full of right-handed hitters who could be tough on Sale. While he might still have a strong game, you might be better off picking a safer option for cheaper.


Top Hitter Picks

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves ($ 4,200)

Going up against a knuckleballer like R.A. Dickey is usually a scary proposition, especially if you have never seen him pitch before. However, Freddie Freeman has plenty of experience against the former New York Mets pitcher.

The first baseman is 10-for-21 in his career against Dickey with two home runs and four doubles. Look for more of the same on Saturday.


Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles ($ 5,100)

Stick with the hot streak. Adam Jones has been one of the top hitters in baseball over the past couple of weeks and there is no reason to expect this to stop in his trip to Fenway Park.

The outfielder is always a threat for home runs, which also brings in runs and RBI at a high rate. If he gets the opportunity, he could be in line for a huge day at the plate.


Hitters to Avoid

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers ($ 3,700)

Although he still has the price of one of the top hitters at his position, Adrian Beltre has not performed at this level so far in 2015. Going up against Felix Hernandez usually isn’t the way to cure a cold streak either.

He actually has had moderate success against the former Cy Young award winner (.294 in 34 at bats), but this doesn’t seem like a smart bet at this time.


Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies ($ 4,500)

Tulowitzki is clearly one of the best shortstops in baseball, but he has struggled lately to provide fantasy players with much besides singles. Playing away from Coors Field against a solid starter in Zach Greinke does not indicate he will have much more success in his next game.

For the price, you might be better off finding someone else at the position.


Team to Stack

New York Mets

Miami Marlins pitcher Mat Latos has been awful to begin the year. You really can’t sugarcoat it any better when a pitcher has just 4.2 innings pitched in two starts. He probably will improve upon his current 17.36 ERA, but he isn’t all of a sudden going to turn into an ace.

With the New York Mets having plenty of lefties like Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson and the red-hot Lucas Duda, fantasy players could get a lot of production from this lineup.


Note: All prices courtesy of DraftKings. Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference. 

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