MLB DFS: Opening Day at a Glance

I did not plan on putting together any words about MLB DFS on Opening Day, but here I am. I’ll go over a few things that I noticed when looking at the matchups and pricing on FanDuel and DraftKings.


Offenses to avoid

There are three games to avoid, in particular:

  • Mets (Jacob deGrom) @ Nationals (Max Scherzer)
  • Astros (Justin Verlander) @ Rays (Blake Snell)
  • Indians (Corey Kluber) @ Twins (Jose Berrios)

As a hitter, would you want to face any of these pitchers?


Offenses to stack


A projected run total of eight doesn’t seem like much, but Aaron Nola is pitching for the Phillies, at home, against the Braves. Pitching for the Braves is Julio Teheran. Pen in Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Jean Segura…pretty much whoever best fits your lineup. It’s hard to tell which Teheran you’re getting – it might be seven innings of one-hit ball, or five innings and five earned runs given up, including two home runs. Harper usually shows up on Opening Day, and had a streak of hitting home runs on Opening Day. If you want a play in the narrative and hype, Harper should be a fun one to follow. The Phillies are a -190 favorite right now, which is good enough for being the third highest favorite of the 15 games.


A no-brainer against the Orioles and Andrew Cashner, but why get cute if you don’t need to? The Yankees have a ton of right-handed bats, but Cashner’s splits between RHB and LHB have gotten closer over the last couple of seasons. But when you’re not good, the focus on splits shouldn’t take up too much time. Pitching in Yankee Stadium, especially on the first game of the season, isn’t going to be an easy task for most pitchers. Cashner hasn’t pitched a good first game of the season for a few seasons now. Vegas likes the Yankees for the win, at -380, with a run total of 9 (but possibly more). Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Luke Voit – stack them up.


This is more of a gut call, but not completely unimaginable. Jon Lester will be starting for the Cubs in Globe Life Park. Even with Lester being a southpaw, you can still roster lefty bats like Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, and Nomar Mazara. Righty, Hunter Pence had a really good showing in Spring Training, and can be considered if he’s in the starting lineup. If you’re not comfortable with this, perfect! Use Rangers’ hitters in your GPP lineup.


Pitchers to start

Kyle Freeland (COL @ MIA)

FanDuel: $9,200/DraftKings: $9,000

Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD vs. ARI)

FanDuel: $8,500/DraftKings: $9,200

Madison Bumgarner (SFG @ SDP)

FanDuel: $9,300/DraftKings: $8,800

Chris Sale (BOS @ SEA)

FanDuel: $11,300/DraftKings: N/A

These games have a run total of 7.5 or less, and all recommended pitchers are starting for a team that’s projected to win. Oddly, DK’s All Day slate doesn’t include the Red Sox and Mariners game (equivalent to FD’s Main Late Swap slate). Sale is the only one here that has ace-like salary, but he’s not pitching against another “ace,” and for that, I really like him.

Opening Day is tricky, especially with 15 games to sift through if you’re playing in an All Day slate. If it seems overwhelming, build lineups in the smaller slates. Even though there’s late swap, try not to heavily rely on it, as switching from one player to another during crunch time can mean the difference between winning and losing. Pay close attention to lineups as they are announced and any possible changes. Always do your due diligence. But most of all, have fun!

Thank you for reading, and good luck with your MLB DFS picks!


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