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The Daily Duel: Early-Season Values

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

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Happy Opening Week of baseball! Now that games are under way and lineups can be analyzed you should have a good idea of who to play and who to avoid. Here are some tips for playing daily fantasy baseball games on Fanduel.com:

1. The Cardinal Rule – Make sure the players you put in your lineup are actually playing that day. It sounds silly but making sure someone is playing at every spot in your lineup gets screwed up more than you would think. This includes checking the weather reports for that day to make sure bad weather doesn’t threaten a postponement. Players will also take “rest” days as the season goes on so don’t assume everyone is in your lineup. Check out our MLB Daily Lineups page for help keeping tabs on the active players.

2. Be aware of who has been called up from the minors and who is coming off the DL each day. We’ll see more players come up from the minors as the season goes on, especially from June on after the arbitration can be delayed. Players coming off the DL may be a bit rusty, but they may also come at a reduced price as a result of the time they missed.

3. Don’t be afraid to avoid an expensive starting pitcher. Not that you should always avoid an expensive pitcher but in tournaments especially you can count on a bigger portion of the field to go with the expensive guys. This increases your potential profit if you go with a cheaper alternative. Check out pitchers who have friendly matchups and parks (Safeco, Petco, Oakland) when considering a cheaper option. This will allow you to load up on stud bats for you lineup that conversely have good matchups in hitter’s parks (Coors, Yankee Stadium, Arlington).

Let’s take a look now at some of the good values for the upcoming week.

C

Jason Castro, HOU, $2700 – What I find attractive about Castro is that the Astros are going to give him at-bats at DH, which is exactly what they did Tuesday. Castro has dealt with injuries in the past but appears to be completely healthy. He had a torrid spring, batting .349 and hitting six home runs, the most by anyone at catcher. Castro has also hit in the middle of the lineup, which should help provide ample RBI opportunities this season.

1B

Mitch Moreland, TEX, $2700 – Moreland will benefit this season from hitting in a potent lineup as well as playing his home games in an extreme hitter’s park. As a lefty, he should find himself in the lineup on a regular basis and have more success against right-handed pitching. Last season he had 12 of his 15 home runs and 17 of his 18 doubles against right-handed pitching.

2B

Brian Roberts, BAL, $2500 – By now the key to Roberts having any kind of fantasy value is him being on the field. Mired by injuries over the last few seasons, he’s healthy now and should be a regular in the Orioles’ lineup. He finished the spring with a .309 batting average and three steals in 55 at-bats showing there is still some gas left in the tank. He got off to a good start Tuesday going 2-for-4 in Baltimore’s first game against the Rays.

OF

Jordany Valdespin, NYM, $2500 – Valdespin is one of my darkhorses this year based upon the potential speed/power combo he possesses. He finished last season with eight home runs and 10 steals in only 206 plate appearances and has been discussed as a possible candidate for the leadoff spot. While he played the majority of his games in the outfield last season, he can play just about anywhere on the diamond, which means it’s possible his eligibility changes at some point this season.

Peter Bourjos, LAA, $2700 – The trade of Vernon Wells and eating millions of dollars of his contract should indicate that the Angels believe in Bourjos. He’s often thought of as only a speed guy, but he has some pop in his bat as well (12 home runs in 2011). The Angels have an elite lineup and Bourjos should always have the green light on the base paths.

P

Rick Porcello, DET, $5400 – Porcello may end up as a classic case of a youngster who was brought up too soon by his organization. Only 24, Porcello overhauled his approach on the mound and found great success this spring. He finished the preseason with a 3.00 ERA and a 21:0 K:BB ratio, indicating he may be back on the right track. He has an excellent pedigree and has an outstanding lineup as far as run support goes. Porcello is a gamble, but he’s also the type of inexpensive pitcher I discussed earlier in the article who is perfect for the tournament format.

Brandon Morrow, TOR, $6600 – His critics will point out that his K rate was down last season (at a paltry 7.80 K/9IP) but it’s hard to argue with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. He should benefit from solid run support and there’s a good possibility that the K/9IP rate goes back up. At 28, he’s in his prime and has the upside to be a top-8 starting pitcher this season.

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