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Top Play SP: German Marquez, COL ($9,200) at MIA
I’m not sold on German Marquez being the breakout star that he was in the second half of 2018. But this is too good a matchup to ignore. The Marlins figure to be a bottom of the barrel lineup in 2019 and did nothing on Opening Day to make us think otherwise. Kyle Freeland, a left-handed pitcher destined for regression himself, carved up the Marlins in the season opener with seven innings of one-run ball, allowing two hits and one walk while recording five strikeouts. The Marlins seem even more vulnerable to a right-handed pitcher such as Marquez, as their current left-handed options are limited to Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, J.T. Riddle, and Rosell Herrera. Marquez had a 35% strikeout rate against right-handed hitters in 2018 and in the second half posted a 33.9% strikeout rate against all batters. Even if Marquez isn’t the pitcher he was in the second half of last year, he still has a matchup in a pitcher-friendly park against a weak lineup that was just stifled by a likely inferior pitcher in Freeland. And if Marquez is for real, this is a dream scenario at his price. Until the Marlins prove otherwise, let’s play starting pitchers against them as often as possible.
Honorable Mention: Gerrit Cole, HOU ($11,200) at TB.
Value SP: Joey Lucchesi, SD ($7,900) vs. SF
Joey Lucchesi finds himself in a similar situation as Marquez, facing a Giants offense that was just shut out on Opening Day by a likely inferior pitcher in Eric Lauer. Lucchesi held left-handed hitters to a .286 wOBA across a limited sample in 2018, which should help neutralize Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Joe Panik. The Giants aren’t exactly loaded with right-handed threats, with aging stars Evan Longoria and Buster Posey as the only intimidating options. Lucchesi isn’t an elite option, but as a home favorite in a pitcher’s park against a team that produced a .285 wOBA against left-handed pitching last year, Lucchesi makes a very interesting play in both GPPs and cash games.
Honorable Mention: Nathan Eovaldi, BOS ($8,500) at SEA.
Top Play: OF Mike Trout, LAA ($5,700) at OAK
Mike Trout is always a top play in daily fantasy, but the matchup today is just too good to ignore. Oakland pitcher Marco Estrada has been much worse over the past two years against right-handed hitters despite being a righty himself, allowing a .389 wOBA to righties last year and a .366 wOBA in 2017. In his first start of the 2019 season against the Mariners in Japan, Estrada allowed two home runs and five hits against right-handed hitters across five innings. As evidenced by a .457 wOBA against right-handed pitchers last year, Trout destroys righties. The only knock against Trout is that Oakland is a subpar hitters park, but with good weather in the forecast, this shouldn’t be much of a hindrance. Let’s hope that Trout’s high price tag and a matchup against a same-handed pitcher scares off some owners because the only real reason for concern would be a sky-high ownership percentage. Trout is a slam dunk cash play if you can find the room for him.
Honorable Mention: OF Khris Davis, OAK ($4,800) vs. LAA.
Top Play: 3B Justin Turner, LAD ($4,200) vs. ARI
With five higher-priced third baseman on the slate, Turner will be a frequent option in my lineups today. Turner has owned left-handed pitchers over the past two years, with a .433 wOBA in 2018 and a .484 wOBA in 2017. He will face Robbie Ray, who struggled last year against righties, allowing a .342 wOBA and 1.47 HR/9. Ray has his moments as a high upside pitcher, and Turner just went hitless on Opening Day. Let’s hope Turner is a relatively low-owned option at home in a plus matchup.
Honorable Mention: SS Trevor Story, COL ($4,900) at MIA.
Value: OF Adam Jones, ARI ($3,400) at LAD
After Steven Souza suffered a season-ending knee injury late in spring training, Jones suddenly found himself leading off for the Diamondbacks on Opening Day. His homer off left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu was a good sign considering Jones has actually been a better hitter against righties over the course of his career. Jones will face Ross Stripling, who I’m actually pretty high on this year. But Stripling has been worse against same-handed hitters over the course of his career, so this matchup seems to play into Jones’s hands to some extent. He likely isn’t a tournament winning option, but finding a veteran hitter at this price in a favorable lineup spot can be hard to find. If Jones continues to bat in a premium lineup spot, he makes for a solid lower priced option in cash lineups.
Honorable Mention: OF Curtis Granderson, MIA ($3,400) vs. COL.
Top Stack: Angels at Athletics (RHP Marco Estrada)
Along with Trout, all other right-handed Angels are potential options against Estrada on Friday night. Andrelton Simmons stands out as the clear pairing with Trout, though Zack Cozart and Albert Pujols could be overlooked options with home run potential. Unfortunately, the Angels don’t have the most exciting lineup to attack this plus matchup, but this game is tied for the highest projected run total of the day so there is a reason to take a second look. Lower owned players with home run potential are always a good thing in GPPs, so consider all options in tournaments.
Honorable Mention: Athletics vs. Angels (RHP Matt Harvey).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Eriks44) 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.