3 Daily Fantasy Baseball Stacks for 2024 Opening Day

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
3 Daily Fantasy Baseball Stacks for 2024 Opening Day

Stacking is an integral part of daily fantasy baseball. Correlation drives upside, giving your lineups a slate-winning ceiling when your stacks explode.

This piece will do the digging and the dirty work each day to determine which stacks are worth rostering on FanDuel's main slate. While we want upside, we also need to factor in game theory, especially in a sport as random as baseball.

The MLB DFS heat map at numberFire is a quick way to get a feel for the overall slate and which offenses are in a good spot. You can also check out our daily fantasy baseball projections -- which are powered by numberFire -- to identify the slate's best bats.

Let's look at the top stacks for the Opening Day main slate.

MLB DFS Stacks

Cincinnati Reds

Implied Total: 6 runs | Opposing Pitcher: Josiah Gray

The Cincinnati Reds will kick off their season at home at the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. Considering that no park has seen more homers than GAB (131) over the last three seasons, expect Cincinnati to continue to be a favorable environment for fantasy hitters in 2024.

For their first series of the season, the Reds will take on the Washington Nationals, who have nominated Josiah Gray as their Opening Day pitcher. The fourth-year right-hander stepped up his game in 2023 but still isn't a pitcher to be feared for DFS purposes.

Gray has allowed a fly ball rate of 31% in his three seasons, one of the highest marks among Opening Day pitchers. Even after showing improvements last year, his 27.7% mark still ranked higher than average among starters in 2023. And in a park like Great American Ballpark, we should expect those fly balls to convert to homers more often than usual.

He doesn't strike out many batters, either. His 22.6% career K rate is below average among starters, and that rate dipped to just 20.5% in his improved season last year. We should expect the Reds' talented batters to put up numbers against him on Thursday.

The Reds have the highest implied total on the slate for Opening Day, so oddsmakers are also expecting some fireworks here. And, of course, it helps that their lineup looks absolutely stacked with young talent for 2024.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand ($3,000) has been arguably the best hitter in baseball this spring. In just 51 at-bats he has notched 5 dingers and 3 triples, recording a 1.166 OPS in the process. If his bat stays hot, this salary could be his lowest of the year.

Elly De La Cruz ($3,400) and Spencer Steer ($3,200) are the highest-salaried options on Cinci -- and are coming off a white-hot Spring Training where they posted OPS marks of .919 and 1.093, respectively -- but the Reds' deep batting order offers some more fantasy-lineup-friendly options, as well.

Given their tendency to platoon the back end of their lineups, I'm expecting left-handed hitters Will Benson ($2,700) and Jake Fraley ($2,600) to get the nod for Opening Day. Fraley posted a .468 SLG against right-handed starters in 2023 while Benson recorded a strong .938 OPS against righties in his first real stint in the majors.

Houston Astros

Implied Total: 5.75 runs | Opposing Pitcher: Nestor Cortes

Teams usually like to start their ace pitcher on Opening Day. Sadly for the New York Yankees, ace Gerrit Cole suffered an elbow injury in Spring Training and will not be available. That means they'll turn to Nestor Cortes to kick things off for them.

After a strong 2022 campaign, Cortes struggled in 2023. Between injuries -- and some possible regression -- he logged a grimace-inducing 41.5% hard-hit rate, as well as a 36.4% fly ball rate. Those marks were both noticeably worse than his career average rates (36.5%, 32.4%) so the Yankees are clearly hoping he bounces back in 2024. That said, his 7.71 ERA and 1.929 WHIP in Spring Training aren't the most encouraging signs of a bounceback.

Whether or not we see the return of "Nasty Nestor" in 2024, the Houston Astros' star-studded lineup should be able to put up runs against the Yankees on Opening Day. Their 5.75 implied total trails only the Reds' 6-run mark, meaning we're expecting a high-scoring affair in this one.

At this point, we're mostly all familiar with the top of Houston's lineup. Stars like Yordan Alvarez ($4,200), Jose Altuve ($4,000), Kyle Tucker ($3,700) andAlex Bregman ($3,400) are pretty much household names in baseball. Any one of those hitters could be the focal point of your DFS lineups on Thursday.

Their high salaries make them a touch difficult to stack, but the second half of Houston's expected lineup has you covered in that regard. Yainer Diaz ($2,600) is an appealing option at catcher given his proclivity for the long ball -- he mashed 23 homers in 377 plate appearances as a rookie -- and hits just after the Astros' top batters.

Veteran slugger Jose Abreu ($2,800) has been batting fifth this spring, as well, putting him in line to notch some RBI this season. He has looked sharp in limited appearances this spring with a .919 OPS.

Detroit Tigers

Implied Total: 5.25 runs | Opposing Pitcher: Garrett Crochet

As we mentioned with the Yankees above, not all teams are fortunate enough to have an ace pitcher ready for Opening Day. In the Chicago White Sox' case, they'll be turning to former reliever Garrett Crochet for his first career start.

The White Sox are expected to be among the worst teams in baseball this year. Their +25000 odds to win the World Series are tied for the third-longest, and their +6500 odds to win the AL Central are the fourth-longest of any team in any division. There's a good chance we'll be picking on them for stacks throughout the long season.

Crochet has been a serviceable reliever in his limited action but has still pitched just 73 total innings across his three seasons in the majors. We won't dig too far into his stats given that they've all come in relief roles, but it seems fair to want to attack him in his first career start for our DFS lineups.

The top player to target in this matchup should be Spencer Torkelson ($3,300), whose breakout 2023 campaign saw him launch 31 homers. His right-handed bat should match well against Crochet as a left-handed pitcher.

Behind him, Riley Greene ($3,100) and Kerry Carpenter ($3,000) both offer upside at the plate, even against a fellow left-hander. The Tigers are going to be relying on the top of their lineup for production this year, but veteran right-handed bats like Mark Canha ($2,600) and Gio Urshela ($2,200) could keep runners on base when things circle around for the top of the lineup's second go-around.

The Tigers' lineup doesn't project to be an especially exciting one during the season, but that could make them an interesting and low-rostered Opening Day stack on FanDuel. Circumstances don't get much better than going against a young pitcher making his first career start.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.