Welcome to Opening Day, Part Deux. After 14 teams kicked off the 2022 season on Thursday, the other 16 take the diamond for the first time today. Whether you’ve been participating in fantasy drafts since Thanksgiving or just coming to the ballpark now that the lights of March Madness have gone dim, it’s a glorious time to dive back into The National Pastime. What makes Opening Day even bettor (see what I did there)? You guessed it, MLB DFS! Today’s slate gives us 13 total games to pick from after Thursday’s rainouts, including some very juicy matchups for pitchers and hitters alike. The hot dogs are on the grill, the popcorn is buttered and the beer is ready to flow. Let’s start the DFS season together with some early success, then join me here all season to build winning lineups and stuff cash into your pockets.
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Brandon Woodruff, SP: DK: $9,500 / FD: $10,200 – To put it nicely, Brandon Woodruff had a less-than-stellar Spring Training so many early DFS players may fade this start. Chalk it up to Spring Training and take advantage of their mistake. Woodruff gets a favorable matchup to rekindle his strong 2021 as he faces a depleted Cubs team at a cold and wet Wrigley Field. Of the Cubs projected batters, only Jean Segura has any distinguishable success (that is, a career average over the Mendoza Line) versus Woodruff, which should only add to your confidence. Look for about 80 pitches over 5+ innings, 9-12 strikeouts and a W to kick off the 2022 campaign.
Charlie Morton, SP: DK: $8,400 / FD: $9,000 – Charlie Morton takes the mound for the World Champs against the Reds. Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past month, you know the Reds roster looks more like a Buick at the chop shop rather than the near-playoff team of a year ago. They still have some good hitters in Jonathan India, Joey Votto and Tyler Stephenson but not the lineup that will give a veteran like Morton much trouble. Look for the Braves to roll and Morton to pick up the W with 8-10 strikeouts.
Will Smith, C/1B: DK: $4,200 / FD: $3,900 – The best lineup in baseball starts out at Coors Field versus Southpaw Kyle Freeland. “Coors Stacks” will be everywhere in your DFS matchups today. Whether you’re one of the stackers or just want a little piece of this action, include Will Smith in your plans. A general rule in DFS is to identify left/right matchups and pay attention to batting splits. In some cases, the splits don’t match up with conventional logic. This is one of those situations and I’m telling you to bet the exception. With a 3-year OPS 200+ points lower versus LHP, you may be swayed to look elsewhere for your catcher. Don’t do it. He’ll get pitches to hit in this lineup and already has one long-ball on his short resume versus Freeland. I’m betting on a second one tonight.
Jared Walsh, C/1B: DK: $5,200 / FD: $3,400 – If you prefer to roster 1B in Fanduel, I’ve got a name for you. What if the one thing I told you about Jared Walsh is that his 2021 OPS was .429 higher versus RHP? Then you look at the schedule and see the Angels face off against RHP Jake Odorizzi today. Wouldn’t you want to roster Walsh too?
Ketel Marte, 2B: DK: $5,200 / FD: $3,400 – With Josh Rojas out a number of weeks, Ketel Marte should get the bulk of the work at 2B for the Diamondbacks. He makes for an excellent play tonight versus the newest Padre, Sean Manaea. Marte has faced Manaea 13 times and logged 5 hits, 2 for extra bases. These results are in line with his splits as his OPS numbers versus LHP have increased the past 3 seasons, peaking at 1.171 in 2021. Expect Marte to be in the 1- or 2- hole and earn his DFS salary with 4 cracks at the plate . Perhaps a 5th is in order if the Diamondbacks generate some offense.
Anthony Rendon, 3B: DK: $4,500 / FD: $3,200 – Consider saving some money from the more popular hot corner options today and go with Anthony Rendon. Now that he’s healthy and has strong bats around him, look for a return to his days with the Nationals where he ended with a .319/.412/.598 triple slash. The dude can simply rake when he’s right. Grab your shares before his cost goes up.
Jeremy Pena, SS: DK: $2,400/ FD: $2,000 – If you’ve followed my lead today, you don’t have much cash left for SS. While everyone else is paying up for Trea Turner, I’m saving over 50% and taking a flyer on Jeremy Pena, despite the slow start on Thursday. The Astros had plenty of chances to sign a big-time SS but chose to hand the keys to this youngster. There’s not much history to go on here so tag it as a gut call but the situation and price are right for you to take a flyer as well.
Trent Grisham, OF: DK: $4,300 / FD: $3,100 – With teammates like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, it’s no surprise a player like Grisham tends to slip under the radar. Although the bat-to-ball skills won’t overwhelm you, there is a distinct uptick in his power and stolen base numbers versus RHPs like Merrill Kelly, a pitcher he has already proven to hit well against. Count on Trent to reside at the top of the order and benefit from the lineup turning over an extra time as well. A pair of hits, a couple runs, and a stolen base mixed in for good measure may be his floor tonight.
Louis Robert, OF: DK: $5,900 / FD: $3,900 – Robert comes into the season ON FIRE! Over 36 Spring Training at-bats, he has 3 HRs, 12 RBIs and a triple slash of .361/.385/.722. I know, don’t judge a player by his Spring Training numbers. How about this then…since 2019, his triple slash against LHP is .343/.402/.657. Look familiar? I suppose it’s also important to note he faces LHP Eduardo Rodriguez today. Be skeptical with the Spring numbers but trust the history.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
After a pair of rainouts on Thursday, Friday’s forecasts will generally cooperate with the MLB schedule. Weather will have the most impact on batters in the MIL-CHC game with temperatures in the 30’s, a slight chance of rain and strong winds blowing in from left field. There is also a slight chance of rain in the CWS-DET game. Winds will have some play for several other games, including CWS-DET (strong RL), OAK-PHI (strong LR), SEA-MIN (strong LR) and MIA-SFG (strong out). No other issues of note projected.
Doing Lines In Vegas
With a Moneyline holding steady at -200, the Buehler-led Dodgers lead the way in Coors as expected. Close behind is the Braves Moneyline at -196 at home versus the depleted Reds. This bodes well for Charlie Morton as included above. At the opposite end, the odds-makers can’t seem to figure out the Mariners-Twins game quite yet but give the slight edge to the home team with Moneylines of -104 and -112, respectively. Proceed at your own risk in this one.