The long winter has finally given way to spring, and the return of baseball.
Along with all the pageantry of Opening Day is the return of fantasy baseball, and while the year-long leagues are all drafted and ready, the daily fantasy lineups need to be set again. So where should you invest your budget today? Let’s start by looking at the pitchers.
Chris Sale @ Tampa Bay Rays: $12,200
With the Nationals getting an early postponement due to rain, the Red Sox’s Chris Sale is the big name on the docket today.
Sale comes into 2018 off the back of a 17-win, 308-strikeout season and gets to play in the power-dampening Trop against a very uneven Rays lineup. Despite taking a liner off the hip in Spring Training the big leftie is ready to go. He averaged a massive 27.1 points per game last year, so expect big things again.
Aaron Nola @ Atlanta Braves: $9,400
Nola was solid last season, posting 12 wins, striking out more than a hitter per inning and finishing the year with a 3.54 ERA.
The Braves are a young team and projected to have, at best, a bottom-third offense. While the same is true of the Phillies lineup, Atlanta should provide plenty of strikeout opportunities for Nola and his big curveball.
Garrett Richards @ Oakland A’s: $6,800
When healthy, Garrett Richards is a star. He missed almost all of last season but when he returned in September he had a 27:7 K/BB ratio and an ERA of just 2.28. He made just six starts in both 2016 and 2017, but he has the potential to be a dominant starter if he can just avoid injury.
The A’s lineup is shaky and should provide good stats for Richards, who at a low price tag could be an absolute steal today.
Mookie Betts, OF @ Tampa Bay Rays: $5,000
The temptation is to immediately throw money at the pair of Yankee sluggers, and I understand that, but if you are going to take an expensive outfielder it shouldn’t be them. JA Happ is pitching for Toronto and his sinker is going to keep the ball in the park.
Instead go for an all-rounder. Chris Archer was somewhat homer prone last year and Betts is a machine capable of scoring points from everywhere. He is also $400 cheaper than Mike Trout.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B vs Minnesota Twins: $4,100
Offense at second base is always nice, and Jonathan Schoop was a machine last season, putting up 8.3 points per game thanks to 32 homers and a .293/.338/.503 slash line.
If you do go cheap on a starter and want to splash out in your lineup then Schoop is the perfect player to do so with.
Robinson Chirinos, C vs Houston Astros: $3,100
Chirinos left camp early for personal reasons, but should be back behind the plate today for the Rangers. While facing Justin Verlander is hardly a simple task, Chirinos is good value today, as the ninth most-expensive catcher. After picking up 7.0 points per game last year he is a nice play today.