Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Opening Day

On Opening Day, you might want to hitch your fantasy wagon to Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals. AP

Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades dialy to to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.

What you need to know for Opening Day's MLB games

by Mike Sheets

  • The New York Mets kick things off against the Washington Nationals and Patrick Corbin, who was arguably the worst pitcher in baseball last year, stumbling to a 5.82 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP across 31 starts. The left-hander was also highly ineffective against right-handed batters, surrendering a .302/.359/.562 line and a .387 wOBA. This sets things up well for a pair of lesser-rostered righties - J.D. Davis (1% rostered in ESPN leagues) and James McCann (3% rostered) - to do some damage with the platoon advantage.

  • With so many aces on the slate, there aren't many widely available hurlers, but Madison Bumgarner (11%), who has shown an uptick in velocity this spring, deserves at least some consideration as a streaming option. The San Diego Padres were below-average against lefties in 2021, and their lineup looks a little soft on paper with Fernando Tatis Jr. sidelined. Chase Field also suppresses homers.

  • The Cleveland Guardians lineup isn't overpowering, but it still provides a cheap, under-the-radar stacking opportunity against Zack Greinke and his pitch-to-contact approach. Bobby Bradley (2%) provides the power, Andres Gimenez (3%) brings the speed, and Steven Kwan (1%) offers a little bit of everything after having hit .328 with 12 dingers and six steals in 296 at-bats between Double- and Triple-A in 2021.

  • On a day that's filled with staff aces, JT Brubaker of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands out as someone we want to attack. The right-hander sported a 5.36 ERA last season, including an ugly 7.57 mark in the second half. Brubaker's biggest problem was his inability to keep the ball in the park, as his 2.03 HR/9 would have ranked worst in baseball if he had enough innings to qualify. Harrison Bader (25%), Yadier Molina (21%), Paul DeJong (3%), and perhaps even 42-year-old Albert Pujols (3%) should take advantage of one of Thursday's most favorable matchups.

  • Rowdy Tellez (3%) may be part of a first-base platoon this season, but he'll be in the heart of the Milwaukee Brewers lineup on Thursday with right-hander Kyle Hendricks taking the hill for the Chicago Cubs, giving him appeal as a streamer or DFS option. The lefty slugger consistently makes hard contact, and Hendricks looks like one of the more exploitable hurlers on the slate. After being drilled for a 4.77 ERA over 32 starts last season, the veteran's spring performance (9.53 ERA in 11 1/3 IP) doesn't offer much hope for a turnaround.

Starting pitcher rankings for Opening Day

Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Opening Day

Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more.

Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Opening Day

THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Opening Day

Prop of the Day

Zack Greinke Strikeouts: Over/Under 3.5 (-135/+105)


THE BAT X sees Greinke putting up 4.3 strikeouts for this matchup (on average), while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 57.9% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the OVER.


  • The Guardians rank as the most strikeout-heavy offense on today's slate.

  • The Guardians have four hitters in their projected lineup today (Yu Chang, Austin Hedges, Bobby Bradley, Franmil Reyes) with an underlying K% over 30%, according to THE BAT X.

  • Cold weather is strongly correlated with less offense (and more strikeouts), and the weather report calls for the second-lowest temperature on the slate at 48 degrees.


  • THE BAT X projects Greinke to be the 16th percentile when assessing his strikeout talent.

  • Greinke's 88.3 mph fastball velocity since the start of last season ranks in the 9th percentile among starting pitchers.