It’s Opening Day (kinda), and MLB DFS is officially back! The Yankees and Nationals kick off the 2020 season at 7:08 p.m. ET in D.C., and the Giants and Dodgers cap off the night at 10:08 p.m. ET in L.A. Both FanDuel and DraftKings are offering a host of different cash games and tournaments for the two-game slate, and you know daily fantasy baseball players are more than ready to make their lineup picks and win some money.
Below are sample lineups for tournaments on each site. Given the limited options, you’re undoubtedly going to have some chalk picks and/or hitters facing your pitchers. There isn’t much you can do about that, but on slates like this, it’s usually best to go all-in on one or two teams and hope your stack(s) pay off. Good luck!
Opening Day FanDuel Picks: MLB DFS Lineup Advice
The following picks are for a FanDuel single-entry tournament.
SP: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers vs. Giants ($10,300). Kershaw is $1,100 cheaper than Gerrit Cole and $400 cheaper than Max Scherzer, so this is really just about saving some precious dollars on such a small slate. Generally speaking, Kershaw doesn’t have quite as much upside as those two, but given the more favorable matchup, there’s a good chance he’ll be the highest-owned pitcher tonight. Some chalk is unavoidable on this slate, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but any of the top three are great plays if you can budget accordingly. Johnny Cueto at $6,600 is a legit “contrarian” value (especially for tournaments) who will allow you to have the best hitters, but with quality starts counting toward your point total on FD, he presents even more risk because of a likely short leash.
C/1B: Eric Thames, Nationals vs. Yankees ($2,400). Thames is a risk not only because of the pitching matchup, but also the likelihood that he gets pinch-hit for in the later innings if the Yankees bring in a lefty. He still has plenty of power/RBI upside for his cheap price, and if Cole has one weakness, it’s giving up homers.
2B: Wilmer Flores, Giants @ Dodgers ($2,100). We needed someone cheap, and Flores, who’s killed lefties four of the past five seasons (.299/.336/.546), is slated to hit third tonight. If you need to save money, Flores presents a great value at a tricky position.
3B: Justin Turner, Dodgers vs. Giants ($3,100). Cueto hasn’t pitched much the past two seasons, so it’s tough to know if any of his career splits still matter. He’s been pretty neutral overall, with righties performing slightly better. Turner has been better against lefties the past three seasons, but he’s still hit righties well in that span (.295/.383/.469), so we’re not too worried about him. Given his affordable price and prime spot in the Dodgers’ lineup, he’s a great play.
SS: Trea Turner, Nationals vs. Yankees ($3,600). Turner is an all-around threat who can put up points in a variety of ways. You know he’s going to get his at-bats, and with the DH in the NL, he might even have a few more RBI chances this year.
OF: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers vs. Giants ($4,500). Bellinger is the most expensive position player tonight, but he’ll still be plenty popular. That’s fine. He’s destroyed righties in his career (.287/.380/.583), and chances are if the Dodgers score a decent amount of runs, he’ll be involved.
OF: Joc Pederson, Dodgers vs. Giants ($2,800). Pederson has the same potential “pinch-hit” problem as Thames, but we’re stacking Dodgers, so let’s take another lefty power threat. Pederson is significantly better against lefties (.507 career SLG compared to .310 against righties), so we’ll have to hope he strikes early — or that the Dodgers jump out to such a big lead the Giants don’t care about playing matchups late.
OF: Brett Gardner, Yankees @ Nationals ($2,700). Gardner is hitting fifth tonight, so he’ll be in a prime spot for RBIs and even some runs. He also hit well against righties last year, especially on the road (.275/.350/.566). Scherzer isn’t a typical righty, but this still isn’t a terrible spot for Gardner, who should be a relatively low-owned option.
UTIL: Corey Seager, Dodgers vs. Giants ($3,200). Yet another Dodger who feasts against righties (.305/.375/.513). Again, it’s possible Cueto comes out early and Seager is forced to face a lefty reliever, but unlike Pederson, he can hold his own against southpaws, too (.272/.336/.445).
Opening Day DraftKings Picks: MLB DFS Lineup Advice
The following picks are for a DraftKings single-entry tournament.
SP: Max Scherzer, Nationals vs. Yankees ($8,600). It’s tough to fade Gerrit Cole in both lineups, but his DK price tag of $10,000 is tough to build around. Getting Scherzer for $1,400 less saves us needed money for our hitters, and the overall upside is similar.
SP: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers vs. Giants ($7,700). Once again, we’re playing the matchups here. Johnny Cueto for $5,000 is worth trying in some tournaments if you’re playing multiple lineups, but since we’re only playing the one entry on DK, we’re taking slightly more of a cash-game approach with our build. Kershaw is the “safe” play.
C: Gary Sanchez, Yankees @ Nationals ($4,400). It wouldn’t be shocking to see Sanchez go 0-for-4 with four Ks tonight, but we know he can put up big points if he connects just once. With no overly appealing catchers on the small slate, we’ll take the one with the most upside.
1B: Max Muncy, Dodgers vs. Giants ($4,600). Muncy has actually hit lefties better than righties in his career, so this isn’t a pure splits play. We just think Muncy has the most upside of any 1B tonight, and given Eric Thames’ high price on DK ($4,500), it wasn’t worth opting for anyone else.
2B: Wilmer Flores, Giants @ Dodgers ($3,800). We almost went with expected leadoff-hitter Mauricio Dubon as our token Giants player here, but we really didn’t need the $700 savings he offers over Flores. So, we stuck with our “lefty-killer” and will hope for some extra-base hits and RBIs.
3B: Justin Turner, Dodgers vs. Giants ($4,100). There aren’t a lot of great options at third base tonight, especially if you’re playing Scherzer and don’t want too many Yankees in your lineup (the three highest-priced 3B-eligible players on DK are Yankees). Turner offers plenty of upside against Cueto and any relievers the Giants use.
SS: Corey Seager, Dodgers vs. Giants ($4,400). We couldn’t afford Trea Turner here, so instead we stuck with our Dodgers’ stack and took Seager over Gleyber Torres. Obviously, the Dodgers need to light up the scoreboard for either of these lineups to pay off, but given the pitching matchups, they have the best chance. If you don’t have as much faith in LA as we do, Torres makes for an even higher-upside alternative.
OF: Mookie Betts, Dodgers vs. Giants ($4,900). We couldn’t ignore Mookie on Opening Day, so we found room for him here. He has a lot of reasons to celebrate after signing his huge contract extension, so let’s hope he rises to the occasion.
OF: Adam Eaton, Nationals vs. Yankees ($3,800). Eaton is always a threat to get on base, score some runs, and even steal a base. His average and OBP are very similar against righties and lefties, but he hits for significantly more power against righties (.436 SLG vs. RHP compared to .336 vs. LHP). Obviously, we’re not banking on Eaton taking Cole deep, but he shouldn’t be completely overpowered.
OF: Victor Robles, Nationals vs. Yankees ($3,700). Robles hasn’t had many at-bats in summer camp, but with no Juan Soto (COVID-19), he figures to start. Throwing him in against Cole could result in a bunch of swings-and-misses, but like Eaton, he has some speed and some pop, and he also hits for slightly more power against righties (.438 SLG vs. .411 SLG vs. LHPs).
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