In an effort to serve daily fantasy players and season-long fantasy players who use daily lineup settings, we present notes each day of the season. It's a daily version of our Fantasy Forecaster, in which we project the best pitcher game scores as well as the best team hitting matchups based upon a number of factors.
After a lighter slate for my debut on Daily Notes -- at least until rain changed things -- we've got some star power to work with on the second Tuesday of the season. Two are in a single matchup and sit at the very top of our list: Noah Syndergaard hosting Jose Fernandez. After one start, you might be leaning toward Thor over Fernandez because of how they fared, but it'd be foolish to let one start drastically change your outlook on either.
Especially considering that Fernandez was lit up for five runs in fewer than six innings and finished just nine points behind Syndergaard at DraftKings and five points at FanDuel even as Syndergaard went six scoreless at K.C. When you strike out 13 in your 5.7 innings as Fernandez did, it salvages an otherwise rough day. I have a hard time really splitting the pair, as does the game-score measurement, with a meager two-point split between 'em. The lineups aren't too different, either, so you're left with simple personal preference or leaning on the home side and going Thor.
Corey Kluber and the whole Indians team probably couldn't wait to get out to Tampa Bay just for the assurance that they would definitely play. They got in just four of their seven games at home and in Chicago during the opening week so the dome of Tropicana Field will be a welcome sight, something you don't often say about The Trop. He had an uninspired debut, but I can't ignore both the rainout effect and the horrendous weather.
I don't know if there has been a study on the rainout effect (a guy getting his start pushed back because of rain), but anecdotally, it seems to play. Kluber himself dealt with it early in that Cy Young campaign, and just loosely talking to some baseball people -- analysts and a couple in the game -- they seem to reinforce the idea that it can be problematic.
And then the next day, it was still 34 degrees in Cleveland. I'm not out trying to dole out excuses for everyone, but I don't think we can ignore factors that can definitely have an impact on a guy. It's not even a contrarian when you have a stud like Kluber, but he might be used less on Tuesday with superstars like Thor and Fern on the slate. Everyone knows Kluber is very good, but he's not as flashy as the two youngsters. That said, I don't think any of the DFS sites has "flash" as a category.
Both A. Sanchezes are going, so that certainly won't confuse anyone! I wonder if anyone will accidentally take one when they mean to select the other, especially if Aaron's price is pumped up closer to Anibal's after his big debut. The Tigers play early while the Jays are late, though, so that could eliminate any confusion, unless you play a full-slate game. Anibal Sanchez is a year removed from being really good and two years removed from his career year. A good indicator of his health has usually been home runs. In 2013-14, he was the best home run suppressor in the league and then last year he needed just 157 innings to allow the most homers in the AL (29).
Aaron Sanchez had a brilliant debut in Tampa Bay, going seven strong, with a Corey Dickerson homer being the only damage. Most important of all was the fact that he didn't walk a batter. Walks for Aaron are like the homers for Anibal. If you start seeing the walks from Aaron, trouble is likely to follow. Of course, that is better season-long advice because we're just looking for him to get through another seven strong against the Yankees. I peeked ahead of time and Sanchez's price is ripe on DraftKings. They still have him at $5,900. He will be super popular -- or at least should be.
We've got a really interesting group of low 50s on the docket, with Gio Gonzalez standing out because he's at home hosting the Braves. The Braves have a lot of platoons so they will probably load up with Tyler Flowers, Gordon Beckham, Jeff Francoeur, and Drew Stubbs getting into the lineup, but that's not exactly a stay-away kind of lineup. A Gonzalez-Sanchez combo could be slick.
Juan Nicasio has to face a fierce Tigers lineup, which could scare some off (understandably so), but he looked really good throughout spring training and in his debut against the Cardinals. His strikeout upside gives him a solid floor for the days when he's not at his best, too. However, that game is early and a lot of slates won't include Pittsburgh-Detroit and Arizona-Los Angeles Dodgers, so I wouldn't focus too hard on the four starters in that game either as targets to use or to load up against.
Clay Buchholz isn't good enough to take a shot against the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, not many starters are as the downside is just too severe with their mashing lineup. There will definitely be days when they're shut down because they have a lot of swing-and-miss hitters, but thinking you can accurately predict when that will happen is playing with fire. David Price learned the hard way on Monday.
I always take a look at guys pitching in Oakland, but Hector Santiago has always had a platoon split favoring righties and the A's aren't afraid to platoon so they could have a full lineup of righties/switch-hitters against Santiago with Josh Phegley, Mark Canha, and Coco Crisp likely in for Stephen Vogt, Yonder Alonso and Josh Reddick.
Spot starters and streamers
If you can find a contest in which they award prizes for the fewest points scored, Jeff Samardzija in Coors is a must-start. Pitching in Coors is like Mortal Kombat and Samardzija is Sub-Zero ... or at least his score definitely could be.
Matt Moore looked sharp early against Toronto, but a rough third inning ran up the pitch count and had him out after five. Frankly, a 5 IP/3 ER outing for a lefty against Toronto is actually pretty solid. Cleveland isn't nearly as imposing and its hitter ratings back it up. He is the best of the sub-50 game-score options who will be available in all games. Corbin is better than Moore overall, but again that day game will keep him out of most games on Tuesday.
I can't really support Kendall Graveman even against the modest Angels lineup, because what's the upside? He just doesn't miss enough bats to be an intriguing DFS play. Even as a cheaper option, is 6 IP/2 ER/4 K really worth it? And that line would require him to outdo his current projection of a 46 game score.
The Rockies are in Coors ... so, duh.
Now that we've got the hard-hitting analysis out of the way, let's move on.
The Tigers get a huge rating because they have a great offense and Juan Nicasio has a 5.06 ERA as a starter. Early returns suggest Nicasio is markedly different than the guy who put up that 5.06 ERA, though, so I'm not sure I'd stack Tigers even on an all-day slate.
If you want to zag away from Coors (and save some money), the Nationals look like a strong bet, particularly their lefties. Bryce Harper isn't exactly a money-saving option compared to the Coors studs, but Daniel Murphy and Danny Espinosa (a switch-hitter who could get the start) won't break the bank. Plus, I'd be open to a full-on Nats stack even with the 4 rating for RHB. Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Jayson Werth are all better versus lefties, but they aren't inept versus righties, particular those of Jhoulys Chacin's caliber. (No offense, Jhoulys!)
All those studly pitchers we get on the slate take a real chunk out of the hitting pool, with six teams registering an overall 1, including both teams in the Miami-New York Mets and New York Yankees-Toronto games. I wouldn't necessarily flat-out avoid Toronto, though. I didn't mention Masahiro Tanaka earlier because I think at Toronto is an obvious stay-away for every pitcher, but you might pluck a few Jays you really like against the homer-prone Tanaka. You're just home run shopping, though, because even a lesser Tanaka (such as last year's version) isn't someone to stack against.
The Royals check in only with a 2 rating, but their contact-heavy lineup is always DFS-viable. Plus, the key to Mike Fiers' success is missing bats and we know the Royals aren't much for striking out (well, unless they're facing Thor). Fiers rocks a reverse platoon split, bringing the K.C. righties into view if you can't fit lefties Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer or Alex Gordon into the mix.
Philly pulls a big rating against Robbie Erlin, but who are you really eager to use there? Maikel Franco, sure. But Odubel Herrera is the only other guy I really like off of that team and it's a lefty-lefty matchup for him. Actually as I say that, I remember that Cameron Rupp destroys lefties and should be a cheap option behind the dish. So maybe a Franco-Rupp mini-stack (can it really be a stack if it's only 2?) is the way to go.
I have to back-pat a little (and probably jinx myself for the rest of the year), but last week I went Goldy-Span for the HR-SB and nailed both! Now watch me hit an 0-for-10 streak or something. Once you start hyping yourself, the baseball gods are pretty good about slamming you down.
Most likely to go yard: Carlos Gonzalez. Don't worry, I'm gonna double up here for you today because it does feel a little cheap to go with a Rockies hitter, but we can't ignore guys just because they feel obvious. Lefties smashed Shark last year (21 HRs) and Cargo is insane against righties (.935 career OPS) so it's the perfect marriage. He will be highly used and with very good reason. Now for our long-shot homer: Brett Wallace. Lefties are why Charlie Morton has never really been more than a fifth starter (203-point platoon split favoring lefties). Unfortunately, the Padres don't have many guys who can take advantage of this, but I like Wallace better than slappier hitters like Cory Spangenberg and Jon Jay.
Most likely to swipe a bag: Francisco Lindor. Tampa Bay's Hank Conger was 1-for-42 at stopping base runners last year. One. For. Forty-two! He's 0-for-2 so far this year. Lindor is the best choice because he can also do plenty of damage with the bat, but we could see Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis, Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin and maybe even Carlos Santana get a crack at swiping a base off of Conger. Santana feels out of place in that group, but he did swipe 11 bags last year and always has a few stolen bases each season. Conger gives him a good chance to get his first of the year.