There’s no NBA action tonight. The playoffs begin tomorrow at 12:30 Eastern and DFS contests are already open at DraftKings. The $150K Sharpshooter is only a $3 buy-in (FREE with your initial deposit.) The top 11,780 teams (from up to 57,500 entries) win cash. First place earns $12,000.
My hoops selections will be posted here early Saturday morning. They will not be completely unbiased — go Raptors! — but I hope they help you build a winning lineup. Early-season daily baseball has been fun and profitable, so let’s try to keep that going.
Yesterday we touted Vince Velasquez for his complete-game, 1-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts. He cost only $7300 and scored 59.5 FPTS at DK. My $2100 pick Tony Wolters added 18 FPTS — no, I did not expect two stolen bases from a backup catcher. Jose Altuve homered (again) and doubled for $4600; he costs $300 more this evening.
My only “mistake” was Danny Salazar, who also earned a W, did not allow a run and punched out nine. Because Vince was so cheap, I was willing to spend $11000 on another stud. The error was imagining the Brewers might be respectable enough against Jaime Garcia that he wouldn’t earn his $9700 salary. Instead, the Cardinals lefty was almost as brilliant as Velasquez: CGSO, 13K for 54.1 FPTS.
Salazar’s 31.9 FPTS was more than enough to put me in the money, but using Garcia instead would have left $1300 for even better hitting. All that is ancient history. Today we start a new season with a new draft.
$20,000 MLB Contest Free To New Users
The $20K Moonshot is our MLB freebie. The $3 entry fee will be waived for new deposits and you could win $2,000. There are 1,540 guaranteed cash prizes and a maximum of only 7,666 entries. Even after the 2:20 EDT entry deadline, you can swap players in and out of your lineup until their games begin.
There are expensive aces galore to choose from. Clayton Kershaw $13700 once again faces Madison Bumgarner $11400 and Chris Sale $12200 will be tough on the Rays. However, you have to compromise on bats to afford those guys, so we’re trying to get decent production on the mound at a lower cost
The Cubs are 8-1 with an average score of 7-2. At home against Chad Bettis $7800, you have to like all their hitters. Kyle Hendricks $7400 beat Zack Greinke in Arizona last time; the control artist won’t run up the K’s but should earn another W with a quality start.
Joe Ross $7700 was outstanding in his opener and costs $100 less tonight against the Phillies. That’s hard to resist, but Jeremy Hellickson $6800 has been very good so far (11K, 1 BB in 11.2 IP) and whatever he’s doing differently might surprise the Nationals.
Our batting order looks strong, with four Cubs and four All-Stars. You can save at C with Yadier Molina $3500 or Miguel Montero $3000. Both veterans are healthy and off to good starts.
Anthony Rizzo $4700 is my top choice at 1B but it’s worth noting that Mark Trumbo $4100 just took Cole Hamels deep, now has a 1.088 OPS, faces a much easier southpaw tonight and also qualifies in the outfield.
The only reason not to use Altuve at second is a hunch on Robinson Cano $4500, who hit two homers in 11 AB at Yankee Stadium last year. If you spend more on pitching, 2B/SS Addison Russell $3100 and Jonathan Schoop $2800 are possible bargains.
There’s unprecedented talent in MLB at 3B, with Josh Donaldson $5000 in his prime, while superb young two-way stars like Nolan Arenado $4200, Manny Machado $4400 and Kris Bryant $4400 are still improving.
DK lets us use Manny at SS, an even better idea, though Troy Tulowitzki $4100 went deep last night and Xander Bogaerts $4000 has hit well (11-for-30) against the knuckleball.
In the outfield, Jose Bautista $4900 is an “obvious” selection after crushing two homers off Rick Porcello $7200 in Toronto last week. My concern is that every team will pitch around Joey Bats until Edwin Encarnacion $4800 (.599 OPS) begins to hit; the Edwing home run trot has yet to be seen. Mike Trout $5400, Bryce Harper $5100 and Giancarlo Stanton $5300 all have good matchups. Andrew McCutchen $4500 is overdue for a breakout game. On the lower end of the salary scale, Dexter Fowler $3900 reached base four times for us last night and costs $100 less. Rookie Jeremy Hazelbaker $3700 keeps on hitting and rookie Nomar Mazara $3300 has all the tools.
|P1||Clayton Kershaw $13700||Kyle Hendricks $7400|
|P2||Chris Sale $12200||Joe Ross $7700|
|C||Yadier Molina $3500||Miguel Montero $3000|
|1B||Anthony Rizzo $4700||Mark Trumbo $4100|
|2B||Robinson Cano $4500||Jonathan Schoop $2800|
|3B||Josh Donaldson $5000||Kris Bryant $4400|
|SS||Manny Machado $4400||Addison Russell $3100|
|OF1||Bryce Harper $5100||Dexter Fowler $3900|
|OF2||Mike Trout $5400||Jeremy Hazelbaker $3700|
|OF3||Andrew McCutchen $4500||Nomar Mazara $3300|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season, and switches to baseball in the summer. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.