JEFF SAMARDZIJA HEADS UP MONDAY’S DAILY PLAY VALUES
A lot of Fantasy players either set daily lineups, or play in daily Fantasy leagues such as Draft Kings, Fantasy Feud, etc. During the course of the season, each day in Major League Baseball, we'll have a short and sweet blog to help guide you with your lineup decisions. And, in the late afternoon/early evening on busy nights in MLB, we'll have an updated blog with injury news, lineup changes, etc. to help you set the best possible lineup and pad your bank account.
For Monday, April 2, there are 12 games in Major League Baseball. The Boston-N.Y. Yankees (1:00pm ET, ESPN), San Francisco-L.A. Dodgers (4:00pm PT, ESPN), Philadelphia-Atlanta (ESPN/ESPN2, 7:00pm ET) and St. Louis-Arizona (10:00pm ET, ESPN/ESPN2) games will be televised nationally.
(DraftKings.com salaries provided in parantheses)
NINE QUALITY STARTS
Alcides Escobar, SS, Kansas City ($3,900 at CHW): Last season, Escobar had a very good .293 with 30 doubles, 52 RBI and 35 stolen bases. A good chunk of his production came in divisional games against the Chicago White Sox, the first opponent of the season for the Royals. Escobar racked up 30 hits in 67 at-bats (.448) against Chicago hurlers, socking two homers with nine RBI and four stolen bases. His 30 hits were 12 more than the next-best total of 18 knocks against the Detroit Tigers.
Clayton Kershaw, P, L.A. Dodgers ($11,700 vs. SF): Kershaw has the highest salary of any player on the board Monday. Sure, he is not quite a sleeper, but start the season off with a bang. You can find plenty of value in the middle infield positions to offset the high cost. Kershaw was 9-5 with a 2.05 ERA in 19 starts at home last season, as opposed to a 5-4 record and 3.24 ERA in 14 road starts. And, he was 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in nine day starts. Against the Giants, he was 2-3, but he posted a stellar 1.62 ERA in 39 innings over five starts, allowing just seven total runs.
Jedd Gyorko, 3B, San Diego ($3,400 at NYM): The highly-touted Gyorko will be making his Major League debut Monday at Citi Field against the New York Mets. The West Virginia native with prodigious power should not be phased by the moment, and he is a tremendous cheap option who will allow you to allocate more funds at other positions.
Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia ($4,000 at ATL): Howard is making his way back after an injury-plagued 2012 which saw an Achilles' and heel issue limit him to 71 games. When he was able to play, he managed a career-worst .219 batting average with a shockingly bad .295 on-base percentage. However, he could get off to a good start in this one, as he faces Atlanta's Tim Hudson in a favorable hitting park. Howard has a .338 average (22-for-65) with three doubles, seven homers, 12 walks and just 11 strikeouts in his career against Hudson. Just as an added bonus, he'll face Kris Medlen Thursday, and Howard is 4-for-7 (.571) with two homers and four RBI in his career.
Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City ($3,600 at CHW): Perez was very successful against the Chicago White Sox last season, hitting .308 (16-for-52) with two homers and eight RBI. The RBI were his most against any team in the majors, and each of his homers against the Pale Hose came at U.S. Cellular Field.
Justin Ruggiano, OF, Miami ($3,800 at WAS): Ruggiano is penciled in as the team's starting center fielder, and he might get off to a quick start in the first series in Washington. Last season, Ruggiano hit .351 (13-for-37) with a homer, three RBI and three stolen bases. Ruggiano also hit .333 during day games in 2012, as opposed to .301 in night contests.
Jeff Samardzija, SP, Chicago Cubs ($9,500 at PIT): The Pittsburgh Pirates were a nice surprise last season, at least through the early part of the summer. Samardzija wasn't fazed, winning each of his starts against the Bucs while throwing one complete game and striking out 14 batters over 17 innings. He finished with a 1.06 ERA, and the Bucs managed just five hits and two walks against him in the two outings.
Kyle Seager, 2B/3B, Seattle ($3,700 at OAK): Seager hit just .223 at home last season, but .293 on the road. Against Oakland, he hit .224 (15-for-67), but he had 10 RBI which was tied his most against any other opponent. Fantasy owners will like the fact he can be plugged in at second base or third base.
Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, N.Y. Yankees ($3,700 vs. BOS): How strange will it look seeing a clean-shaven Youkilis squaring off against the Boston Red Sox, rather than the menacing figure with the bushy goatee just a couple of years ago with a Red Sox cap? Fantasy owners will like the versatility with Youk, as he can be plugged into either corner infield position. While he had a down year last season, he went 5-for-12 (.417) with two doubles, a home run and three RBI against the Red Sox.
Carl Crawford, OF, L.A. Dodgers ($4,100 vs. SF): Crawford is making his way back from Tommy John surgery, and he hasn't looked 100 percent. Fantasy owners won't be affected too terribly by his elbow, but his inability to throw at 100 percent might lead to manager Don Mattingly lifting him early in close games for defensive replacements. It will be something worth watching during the early going.
Felix Hernandez, P, Seattle ($11,000 at OAK): Hernandez has been dominant against the Athletics in his career, and when he toes the slab against Oakland his Mariners have been victorious more often than not. However, last season King Felix was just 1-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 33 2/3 innings over five starts. Sure, he had 29 strikeouts during the five outings, but the A's hit a rather robust .278 against him collectively. It's not that he is a terrible option by any means, but you can use this salary on a much more certain option.
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston ($4,500 at NYY): The guy Red Sox fans affectionately call "Petey" has hit all right against Yankees SP CC Sabathia during his career, posting a .243 (9-for-37) career mark. Plenty have done much worse. However, he has only one extra-base hit, a double, one RBI and 13 strikeouts against the rotund Yankees ace. At this salary level, singles are not going to get it done.
Make sure to avoid San Diego Padres C Yasmani Grandal ($3,600). He is listed among the Top 10 catchers, but serving a 50-game suspension for violating MLB's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. ... The same is true for Philadelphia Phillies C Carlos Ruiz ($3,900) who is listed as the sixth most expensive catcher option. Avoid, as he won't be back until late May. ... When rustling through the bargain bin, you might want to take a look at Los Angeles Dodgers 3B Luis Cruz ($2,900) and SS Justin Sellers ($3,000). Manager Don Mattingly told The Orange County Register that those two would be "pretty much a regular thing" on the left side of the infield.
Dobish's Lineup at DraftKings.com
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