FanDuel MLB Plays for Monday, April 28th
by Owen O’Brien
It’s a bit of a light schedule in MLB with only seven baseball games being played on Monday, but that’s still fourteen teams worth of players to choose from on FanDuel. I’m here to help you start sorting through all those options with two recommended plays at each position. A dreaded day off or thunderstorm can strike at any time, so make sure to confirm that all of the players you include in your roster are actually in their team’s starting lineups and that the games are unlikely to be affected by bad weather before contests begin.
1. Michael Wacha, STL v. MIL ($8,300) – Wacha is looking as good as advertised so far in 2014 with a sparkling 2.10 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 35 strikeouts in 30 innings through his first five starts. He’s produced at least 12 fantasy points in each outing despite only receiving enough run support to get him a win on two occasions. That stat remained true even in his last outing when he lasted only four innings as the second-year Cardinal struck out 10 Mets in that abridged appearance. He also walked five, which would be a concern if his control hadn’t been superb in his other four starts with just three total walks against 25 strikeouts. St. Louis is favored pretty heavily and I like Wacha’s chances to be effective and pick up a win with Ryan Braun and Jean Segura sidelined for Milwaukee after their strange dugout accident on Saturday.
2. Wade Miley, ARI v. COL ($5,900) – The pitching options seem thin on Monday with the short slate of seven games and two looking likely to be impacted by bad weather in Cincinnati and Chicago. There are several appealing options in both of those games but I’m going to steer clear of them in my recommendations to avoid the storms and stick to players that are more certain to play. That leaves Miley as the best cheap option on the board that doesn’t come with a weather red flag. He’s pitched well this year overcoming a few too many walks by striking out nearly a batter per inning, racking up at least seven punchouts in three of his six starts. Miley has spent the last several years with Arizona and he’s got a history of pitching well against Colorado with a 7-0 record, 2.52 ERA, and 1.15 WHIP against them in nine career starts. Don’t expect miracles, but he should be able to turn in a quality start at home for an affordable price on FanDuel.
1. Yadier Molina, STL v. MIL ($3,500) – The greatest Molina brother is up to his usual tricks batting .345 with 10 extra-base hits so far this season. He recently snapped a 15-game hitting streak on Saturday but wasted no time starting another one with a double on Sunday. Yovani Gallardo is waiting for him on Monday and Molina has fared well against Milwaukee’s ace to the tune of a .405 OBP with two homers, four doubles, and more walks than strikeouts in 41 career plate appearances. I’m not banking on the long ball, but catcher is thin this time around and a couple of hits with some run production will probably be enough to make Molina well worth the reasonable salary he currently demands.
2. Chris Iannetta, LAA v. CLE ($2,800) – Iannetta has always been a quietly productive fantasy backstop when he’s healthy and getting playing time, and he’s proving that again so far in 2014 with an impressive OBP and seven extra-base hits. There’s a chance he won’t play as he’s been splitting time with Hank Conger, but if the veteran is in the lineup he should be able to capitalize on his consistent walk rate and pack an upside punch if Justin Masterson makes any mistakes. Platoon-mate Conger has done what he can to maintain the timeshare by flashing a bit of pop himself when turned to, and with a brief track record of success against Masterson he makes a solid alternative if Iannetta sits.
1. Albert Pujols, LAA v. CLE ($4,300) – There are a couple of ultra-hot hitting options available at first base on Monday but with a black cloud literally hovering over Jose Abreu, Pujols is my preference among the elite. He’s not cheap but even with an expensive pitcher you usually have room for at least one pricey hitter, and first basemen generally offer a more consistent return on fantasy investment than most positions. It’s been a renaissance year for the once unstoppable force after relative struggles in his first two seasons in Los Angeles, and with five homers in his last nine games and nine already on the season its hard not to buy in on Pujols and catch a piece of another stretch of excellence from one of baseball’s greatest hitters.
2. Brandon Moss, OAK @ TEX ($3,500) – I find myself considering Moss an awful lot so far this season on FanDuel as Oakland’s first baseman reminds me a lot of Chris Davis. I don’t think he’ll hit 53 home runs this year, but I don’t think Davis will either. I do think Moss has a great shot at outdoing his own strong numbers from last year and look for him to take one more step toward that objective on Monday against Yu Darvish. The Texas ace is a formidable opponent and a red flag for many hitters, but if Moss had to face Darvish every day he probably wouldn’t complain given the 1.484 OPS with four homers he’s blasted in 18 career at bats against Yu. It’s not a huge sample size but it’s enough to demonstrate an abundance of success that at worst should leave Moss feeling comfortable at the plate. Oakland’s lineup as a whole has done well against Darvish and you could do worse if you’re looking for a stealthy stack on Monday.
1. Aaron Hill, ARI v. COL ($3,500) – Wherefore art thou second base options? The compelling stories are few and far between at the position on Monday and beyond Ben Zobrist, who carries a big weather-related question mark, its hard to feel totally confident in any of the available players. Given the choices I’m inclined to roll with Aaron Hill as he’s really never a bad play against lefties and he has been ramping up his power production of late. The veteran middle infielder has five extra-base hits in his last five games and hitting in the middle of Arizona’s lineup gives him plenty of chances to drive in runs. He has no history against Franklin Morales but I wouldn’t be surprised if he he makes some on Monday.
2. Scooter Gennett, MIL @ STL ($3,200) – Gennett is another guy that’s been frequently ending up on my radar as I put together lineups recently just like Brandon Moss, although I have to say Milwaukee’s second basemen hasn’t made the final cut too many times. A little bit of his appeal is off the table with Ryan Braun and Jean Segura temporarily out of Milwaukee’s lineup, leaving a lack of protection and production behind Gennett’s spot hitting second. That said, with the scarcity of good weather and talent to pick from, the young Brewer makes a fine choice if you can’t afford Hill as he’s been hitting well over the last week. I recommended Michael Wacha above so I’m not projecting fireworks, but just a few points might be enough for Gennett to rise above his mediocre competition on Monday.
1. Matt Carpenter, STL v. MIL ($3,500) – It’s looking like there’s absolutely no way Carpenter will come close to the incredible 55 doubles he hit last season as he’s managed just two so far this year. Encouragingly one of them was on Sunday and the other came last week in a four-hit game against the Mets. The results have been disappointing overall for one of the more hyped players coming into 2014, but he’s still leading off for a potent lineup and seems due for some extra-base hits as his plate discipline has remained intact. He’s had success against Yovani Gallardo with three of those doubles and an .896 OPS in 13 career at bats in the matchup. Even with the slow start Carpenter carries a .400 OBP against right-handed pitchers into Monday’s game and I like him to end up north of that number when the day is done.
2. Nolan Arenado, COL @ ARI ($3,300) – Arenado still doesn’t seem interested in taking a walk, but he’s been a much more effective hitter overall this year than he was in his rookie season. He’s already got 10 extra-base hits and although he and the rest of the Rockies are on the road these days, Arenado’s numbers haven’t fallen off a cliff outside of Coors Field. He lacks some of his altitude-inflated power but he’s actually posted a better batting average and OBP in away games in 2014, and there’s no reason to expect that to change with Arenado carrying an impressive 17-game hitting streak into Monday’s contest. He should also benefit from the left-handedness of Wade Miley and like Scooter Gennett might need just a few points to post one of the better outcomes of the day for his price at third base.
1. Jed Lowrie, OAK @ TEX ($3,600) – Lowrie has been a consistent producer this year particularly given his position and seems to give you at least something in the fantasy point department every time out. He has 10 extra-base hits this year and looks extremely comfortable at the plate with a fantastic 19 walks against just 12 strikeouts. That’s left him with an OBP well north of .400 and a firm grasp on the second spot in a high-scoring Oakland lineup that’s fifth in the league in runs scored. As mentioned with Brandon Moss above, Yu Darvish is a name that will scare a lot of FanDuel users away from taking Oakland hitters on Monday, but I think that’s a mistake. Unlike Moss, Lowrie doesn’t have outstanding career numbers versus Darvish, but he hasn’t been totally overmatched with five walks and five strikeouts on his way to a .421 OBP in 18 career plate appearances against the Japanese ace. If you do stack Athletics, Lowrie should be one of them.
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE @ LAA ($3,000) – Cabrera’s struggles from 2013 have bled into 2014, although Cleveland’s shortstop has had his moments of fantasy relevance with eight extra-base hits. He’s also stolen a pair of bases in the last week and needs to keep that up if he wants to be the impact player that the Indians expect him to be. Unfortunately you can’t bank on steals even from the best speedsters, let alone occasional runners like Cabrera. The good news is he’s got major splits with horrendous numbers against righties but a stalwart .927 OPS with serious pop against lefties. With lefty Tyler Skaggs on the mound for the Angels on Monday, you won’t find a better way to spend $3,000 at shortstop.
1. Coco Crisp, OAK @ TEX ($3,900) – The third wheel in the A’s stack on today’s list is by no means the least as this guy just keeps producing at levels usually reserved for elite power hitters. On top of being an excellent cereal, Coco Crisp has been a relevant fantasy baseball asset for over a decade, and he’s really hit his stride over the last four years since coming to Oakland. His rare combination of speed, power, and plate discipline gives him multiple avenues to hit and surpass value on FanDuel. He’s always doing something, and those little things add up to big scores. The stats are there to provide the storyline for another helpful effort on Monday with plenty of recent production, significantly favorable splits against righties, and a 1.076 OPS in 20 career plate apperances against Yu Darvish.
2. A.J. Pollock, ARI v. COL ($3,200) – Pollock isn’t a guy you can rely on day in and day out on FanDuel, but he is one of those players that makes a great option when the opposing team has a lefty on the mound. The splits don’t quite bear that out in limited sample size this season, but in 2013 Pollock socked 16 doubles, three triples, and four homers in just 173 at bats against left-handed pitching. He also seems to be a bit more comfortable at home and shouldn’t be particularly worried about facing Franklin Morales in Arizona on Monday. The Diamondbacks have been hit by the injury bug this season and Pollock is getting to play pretty much everyday right now. He’s answered the call with nine extra-base hits on the season and three in his last three games, and after attempting his first stolen base of 2014 on Saturday he may be looking to repeat some of last year’s success on the basepaths.