FanDuel MLB: Thursday Breakdown
FanDuel MLB: Thursday Breakdown

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

Welcome back for another Opening Day on FanDuel! This year, we've changed up the format a little to hopefully help our subscribers a little bit better.

PITCHING

Opening Day features every team's No. 1 starter, so there are plenty of aces in play.

Five pitchers are priced over $10,000 – probably the only time that'll happen this season. Max Scherzer ($11,700) was incredibly consistent last season with 14 starts of 46 or more fantasy points. However, he's only a -130 at home Thursday as his Nationals go up against Jacob deGrom ($11,500), who himself had 19 starts of 46 or more fantasy points in 2018. deGrom, new owner of an extension with the Mets, will be the lower owned of the two, which makes him a good target in GPPs.

Justin Verlander ($11,400) is a slight favorite at Tampa Bay, where his Astros will face off with Blake Snell ($10,600). In each of his seasons, Snell has been better at home with his ERA being over a run lower there than on the road. As an underdog, Snell should carry a low ownership.

Looking at the mid-to-lower-priced options, a few players stick out. Kyle Freeland ($9,200) wins the "Who's Playing the Marlins?" award. Miami had the lowest wOBA (.285) against left-handed pitching in baseball last season, and its lineup is now worse. 

Jose Berrios ($8,900) should continue to improve and could be ready for a breakout season. The Twins right-hander spun seven games of 52 or more fantasy points last season. His upside makes him a good tournament deployment, but his floor is a red flag for cash games. 

Looking at cheaper names, the Padres' Eric Lauer ($7,200) is a good starter to pair with expensive bats. He finished the 2018 season with games of 21, 21, 33, 36 and 41 fantasy points. The Giants had the second-worst wOBA (.285) against lefties last season while striking out at the eighth-highest rate. 

Luis Castillo ($7,600) compiled a 2.44 ERA over the second half of the season with a 26.3 percent strikeout rate leading to some big DFS performances. The erratic but talented Reds starter could be worth a GPP target.

KEY VALUES/CHALK

Bryce Harper ($4,400) seems like a good player to target for a hitting foundation. He gets a good matchup in his new park against Julio Teheran. For the "Batter vs. Pitcher" truthers, Harper is 18-for-40 lifetime against Teheran with eight home runs. 

Next, the Yankees at home are the biggest favorites of the day with the highest expected run total. Obviously Giancarlo Stanton ($4,300) and Aaron Judge ($4,600) are in play against Andrew Cashner and his flat fastball. Troy Tulowitzki ($2,600) offers great value at shortstop considering the price and positional scarcity and might be the chalkiest play of the day.

The debuting Eloy Jimenez ($2,800) offers good bargain in a matchup against the Royals' Brad Keller

Kris Bryant ($3,800) is the ninth-highest-priced player at third base but has a great matchup in Texas against lefty Mike Minor. Bryant for his career has a ridiculous .461 wOBA against southpaws. Teammate Javier Baez ($3,900) had a .384 wOBA against lefties and is arguably the best pick at shortstop tonight. 

At second base, Wilmer Flores ($2,400) is in play versus a lefty at the Dodgers (Hyun-Jin Ryu), and while he had a down season against that handedness, his career wOBA mark still sits at a respectable .328. 

Ryan McMahon ($2,400) sits at the same price and has a good assignment against Jose Urena should he draw the start. 

First base is littered with steady options, provided the money is there. Miguel Cabrera ($3,300) has looked like his old self this spring and gets to stare down Marcus Stroman. Staying with that game, Justin Smoak ($3,200) seems like a boring pick but had a .370 wOBA against right-handed pitching last season. He'll step in against the hittable Jordan Zimmermann.

STACKS

The Yankees will likely be the most popular stack of the day given their home matchup. One way to use them is to avoid both or deploy only one the obvious guys (Stanton, Judge) and go with Luke Voit ($3,500), Brett Gardner ($2,700) and Gary Sanchez ($3,300). 

The Cubs will be another attractive stack, and the same theory can be used there. Instead of looking at Bryant and Baez, maybe use one them with Willson Contreras ($2,700) and Ben Zobrist ($2,900). 

Though Luis Castillo was recommended as a GPP play, the Pirates could be a sneaky stack. Castillo's ERA this spring is over 12.00, and he might be coming in out of game shape and start slowly as a result. He had a 7.20 ERA in April last year and allowed four runs in five innings to the Pirates in his first start of the year. 

Looking to stack some combination of Pirates – Starling Marte ($3,500), Corey Dickerson ($2,800), Josh Bell ($2,700) and Jung Ho Kang ($2,500), for example – could end up paying off handsomely in big tournaments.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Kevin Payne plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: Fanduel: kevinccp, Draft Kings: kevinccp, Yahoo: kevinccp.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Payne
Kevin has worked for RotoWire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. You can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.
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