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Opening day! I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s two-game appetizer because we’re set up with the steak dinner tonight! Fourteen games total today, with eleven on the main slate for today’s DFS. Oooooooooweeeeeee do we have some fun matchups today. In Chicago, Lucas Giolito faces Jose Berrios in what should be a great AL Central matchup. PitcherList darlings, Joe Musgrove, Andrew Heaney, Frankie Montas, and Ross Stripling get the call to the bump, so plenty of things to keep our eyes on. Speaking of something to keep our eye on, the Rangers open their new and improved Globe Life Park, which features a retractable roof to protect from that Texas heat. I’m very interested in seeing what the effects of blocking out the Texas sun have on the park factors. Let’s take a look at the top plays, as well as a couple of value plays from Fade The Noise for the Opening Day slate.
Top SP: Shane Bieber, CLE ($10,300 DK, $10,200 FD) vs. KC
Shane Bieber gets the ball for his first Opening Day appearance in Cleveland against the Royals. Bieber will look to build off of the 2019 success that saw him post a 3.28 ERA while winning 15 games en route to a 4th place finish in CY Young voting. Don’t be scared off by Bieber’s rain-shortened final tuneup, as he had already gone between 90-95 pitches in his previous two intrasquad scrimmages. Our friends over at Fade The Noise have the Indians projected for 5.4 runs, tied for tops on Friday, giving Bieber plenty of run support. On the flip side, the Royals are projected for just 3.9 runs.
Keep an eye on any news to the contrary, but I’m not listing Aaron Nola or Justin Verlander here due to their projected pitch counts. Nola got a late start to Summer Camp and manager Joe Girardi is hoping for 80 pitches on Opening Day from the Phillies’ ace. Verlander on the other hand threw 74 pitches in his most recent intrasquad scrimmage. I’m not saying Verlander couldn’t ramp it up to 90 pitches and completely dominate the Mariners, but having to pay top dollar for 85% of the Astros’ ace is not smart money when there are other aces on the docket.
Value SP: Joe Musgrove, PIT ($6,900 DK, $6,500 FD) at STL
With it being Opening Day, there is not a ton of value on today’s slate. So, I’m looking to PL favorite Joe Musgrove to get this DFS season started on a positive note. For those that missed it, my boy Michael Ajeto dropped this Going Deep piece on Musgrove in January. As Michael touches on early in his piece, Musgrove features a good fastball along with three secondary pitches that make hitters swing and miss. As of July 3rd, Musgrove was already stretched out to 75 pitches. With that in mind, I’d expect a full workload from the Pirates’ pitcher. While the Cardinals don’t present a super-scary matchup, their projected lineup did not strike out at a high clip last year. Perhaps that’s why Fade The Noise likes Ross Stripling and Nathan Eovaldi more than Musgrove.
Honorable Mention: Ross Stripling, LAD ($7,900 DK, $6,600 FD) vs. SF
OF J.D. Martinez, BOS ($4,800 DK, $3,900 FD) vs. BAL
Fade The Noise is all over J.D. Martinez and you don’t have to look far to figure out why they love the Red Sox slugger. The Red Sox open the year against Orioles’ Opening Day pitcher, Tommy Milone. Woof! The 33-year old southpaw has pitched for six teams during his nine-year career and the Orioles will make it team number seven. Per Baseball Savant, Milone ranked in the ninth percentile for barrel’s allowed – not great Bob. Consequently, Martinez has mashed left-handed pitching during his career. For measure, his 242 wRC+ against lefties was best in the majors in 2019.
1B/2B Max Muncy, LAD ($4,500 DK, $3,800 FD) vs. SF
On Opening Night, Max Muncy got the lead-off nod against the righty, Johnny Cueto. With Jeff Samardzija on the mound tonight, I’d expect Muncy to be in the same spot. Having Betts and Bellinger directly behind him should lead to plenty of runs scored, as Muncy put up a .377 OBP against right-handed pitchers in 2019. He also comes with a bunch of pop as his bat lands in the top 85th percentile in barrel rate. Samardzija will look to continue his 3.52 ERA while ignoring his .240 BABIP and 5.02 xFIP from 2019. Fade The Noise has the Dodgers projected to be tied for the highest team total of the evening slate at 5.4 runs.
Honorable Mentions: Xander Bogaerts, SS ($4,900 DK, $3,600 FD) vs. BAL; Jose Ramirez, 3B ($5,200 DK, $3,500 FD) vs. KC
Value Batter: 2B/SS Jose Peraza, BOS ($2,800 DK, $2,500 FD) vs. BAL
You’ll have to keep an eye on the lineup for this one, but against a mediocre lefty, I love Jose Peraza. Either Peraza or Kevin Pillar are expected to lead off against southpaws. Peraza has been turning heads this Spring/Summer Camp, including his own manager, Ron Roenicke. If Peraza sits atop the Red Sox lineup, his price is a bargain, especially on Draft Kings, where he mirrors a punt-price play.
Lineup Stack: Red Sox vs. Orioles (LHP Tommy Milone)
Three teams stand out more than the rest on our first full day of baseball. According to Fade The Noise, the Indians, Red Sox, and Dodgers all have a 5.4 run projected team total which is tops on the slate. The Dodgers stack is going to be expensive to get the top pieces. If Peraza is leading off for the Red Sox, putting together a stack of J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts with Peraza and Michael Chavis as value pieces makes a lot of sense. That should be a 1, 2, 4, 5 stack with Rafael Devers breaking it up. Four righties against Tommy Milone (plus the Baltimore bullpen) puts you on the road to success.
Honorable Mentions: Indians vs. Royals; Dodgers vs. Giants
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