DraftKings Plays of the Day – April 2
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As many rotations reset to the top, Tuesday night is all about redemption. A handful of aces will look to turn the page after a ghastly Opening Day. Forgiving DraftKings contestants can bet on rebounds at a discount. There’s a good chance they’re under-owned on a 10-game slate also featuring Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Jose Berrios. Note that the Yankees-Tigers and Reds-Brewers are not part of the contest scrutinized below.
Top SP: Blake Snell, TB ($9,500) vs. COL
This seems like an overreaction to one rough outing against the Astros, who accrued MLB’s highest wRC+ (123) against lefties last season. The Yankees (115) and the Braves (107) were the only other squads to finish above 105. The Rockies, meanwhile, resided at a slightly below-average 98 when factoring in their Coors Field advantage. Snell’s Rays host them at Tropicana Field, where he posted a 1.27 ERA in 14 starts last season. Give him a mulligan for faltering in the fiercest matchup imaginable, as he’s a full $2,000 cheaper than Verlander at Texas and $2,300 less expensive than Scherzer against the reloaded Phillies.
Value SP: Zack Greinke, ARI ($7,600) at SD
This is a far riskier gamble. While Greinke also succumbed to a formidable foe in the red-hot Dodgers, he did so with an 88-mph fastball. He also had more home runs allowed (four) than strikeouts (three) on his final ledger while tallying just five swinging strikes. It was bad, as there’s legitimate cause for concern. That’s why someone who posted a 3.20 and 3.21 ERA in 2017 and 2018, respectively, costs $300 more than Eric Lauer and $600 more than Mike Fiers. The Padres are no longer pushovers, but they’re also a raw, aggressive offense that plated 11 runs in an opening four-game series against the Giants. They should chase more pitches than the Dodgers, and DraftKings is just daring everyone to play Greinke at this diminished cost. Take the bait.
OF Michael Brantley, HOU ($4,500) at TEX (RHP Shelby Miller)
Miller will make his first major league start since July 11, when he capped a stretch in which he allowed 21 runs in 14 innings. Facing the Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington is hardly a welcoming scene for a successful return. A stack, however, isn’t in the cards. Miller has yielded a career .288 wOBA to righties, but Houston’s righty-heavy lineup understandably still costs a fortune. Let’s just focus on Brantley, who pulverized righties to a .321/.380/.509 slash line last season. Batting cleanup for the Astros, he has reached base in all four starts. The favorable park and matchup give the contact fiend a perfect blend of floor and upside.
3B Justin Turner, LAD ($4,100) vs. SF (LHP Madison Bumgarner)
BvP proponents will trot out a full Dodgers stack. Turner and A.J. Pollock have given Bumgarner fits over the years, but Enrique Hernandez has owned the southpaw (19-for-39, .599 wOBA) since he was a scrappy platoon player facing one of the game’s premier aces. Expect Hernandez to be a popular cash play at $3,900, but I may pivot to Robinson Cano at the same price. Turner isn’t here because he has taken Bumgarner deep four times in 64 plate appearances. He’s here because he owns all lefties. Over the past two seasons, only Nolan Arenado has bested Turner’s .461 wOBA against southpaws. Although he looked strong in his 2019 debut, Bumgarner dropped a few steps when submitting a 3.99 FIP and 4.42 SIERA in 2018. Turner is an elite choice who isn’t quite priced accordingly.
Honorable Mentions: 3B Rafael Devers ($4,100) at OAK (RHP Mike Fiers); OF A.J. Pollock ($4,200) vs. SF (Bumgarner).
Value Bat: OF Brandon Nimmo, NYM ($3,900) at MIA (RHP Jose Urena)
DraftKings usually upticks the price on someone with a discernable platoon advantage, so it was surprising to see Nimmo available for the same price as Jake Marisnick, Curtis Granderson and teammate Keon Broxton. The jubilant outfielder posted a .407 wOBA against righties last season, which has earned him the leadoff role whenever one faces the Mets. Urena, meanwhile, has given up a career .332 wOBA to opposing lefties. Nimmo only has one hit (a single) and nine strikeouts (yikes) in 15 plate appearances to start 2019, but that was mostly against Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and southpaw Patrick Corbin. Take the early bargain.
Honorable Mentions: 2B Jeff McNeil ($4,000) at MIA (Urena); 1B Mitch Moreland ($3,800) at OAK (Fiers); 1B/3B Yandy Diaz ($3,400) vs. COL (Freeland).
Lineup Stack: Blue Jays vs. Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner)
Want to win cash? Target Cashner. It worked on Opening Day, when he served up three homers to the Yankees. All came against fellow righties, who lobbied a .370 wOBA against him in 2018. That puts every Toronto hitter on the table, despite getting no-hit for 6.1 innings by David Hess on Monday.
Justin Smoak ($4,200) has started slow, but the switch hitter sports a career 12.1% walk rate and .205 ISO against righties. Hitless until going deep on Monday night, Randal Grichuk is a riskier proposition at a garish $4,400 price. Yet he slugged .505 versus righties last year, so he could finally capitalize on Baltimore’s poor opposition. Brandon Drury ($3,600) and/or Billy McKinney ($3,800) are worth a look if they’re topping Toronto’s batting order, and Danny Jansen is also reasonably priced ($3,800), as he is still seeking his first extra-base hit. Less than a poor week of hitting isn’t enough to fade the Blue Jays against Cashner.
Honorable Mentions: Mets at Marlins (Urena); Red Sox at A’s (Fiers); Dodgers vs. Giants (Bumgarner).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is akgould4) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. 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 nonpublic information.