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The Daily Duel: Can Slim CC Fatten Your Wallet?

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.


Welcome to another season of daily fantasy baseball from FanDuel.com! If you’re new to daily fantasy baseball, the beginning of the season is the perfect time to try it out. This column will focus on players that are good values in FanDuel’s salary cap contests. Typically, I’ll try to cover a player or two at each position every week throughout the season. Being the first column of the year, please feel free to comment below on any changes or requests you would like to see to the column. And feel free to check out the archives from last season to see the different formats I’ve used in the past.

Remember a value here could be a minimum-priced player ($2200) or a higher-priced option that is still undervalued based on expected production. Finally, this column got a little long-winded being the first of the season so don’t be surprised if it’s a little shorter the rest of the season.

Catcher

Yan Gomes, CLE, $2900 – Lost in all of the Carlos Santana moving to third base talk is the fact that Gomes could end up with a heavy workload this season. It appears Gomes will start the season as the Indians’ primary catcher, which give him nice upside. Last season, Gomes finished with an .826 OPS and 11 home runs in only 322 plate appearances. He showed decent power throughout the minors and may not have hit his peak yet.

J.P. Arencibia, TEX, $2600 – With Giovany Soto likely to start the season on the DL, Arencibia appears to be the starter on Opening Day in Arlington. Arencibia is always a candidate to strike out, but he does have some pop, averaging over 20 home runs the last three seasons. Check and make sure he’s playing before considering using him in your lineup.

First Base

Billy Butler, KC, $3200 – The price here isn’t overly attractive until you look and see that it’s the 18th highest price at the position. I wouldn’t use Butler against the Detroit aces, but his price going forward is appealing. He’s a virtual lock every season to hit around .300 and he should see a slight uptick from the 15 home runs he hit last season.


Paul Konerko, CHI-A, $2200 – It’s very possible that last season was a sign of things to come for the 38-year-old first baseman. However, Konerko dealt with a plethora of injuries in 2013 and he should be completely healthy now. He’s not going to play every day given the other options on the White Sox, but he’s worth a look considering the price tag. Konerko is the perfect piece to use if you decide to go with a high-priced pitcher.

James Loney, TB, $2200 – It doesn’t surprise me anymore when players come into Tampa and turn in a bounce-back year. Loney had a .348 OBP last season (55 points higher than the previous season), but I’d shy away from him at home, as his .OPS was 226 points higher on the road. The Rays don’t leave Tropicana until April 7th, so keep that date in mind if considering Loney.

Second Base

Aaron Hill, ARI, $3400 – Coming off an injury-plagued season, Hill seems to a forgotten man amongst the elite second basemen. He’s hit .291 and .302 each of the last two seasons with decent power when healthy. Hill is an especially good option at home, posting an OPS over 100 points higher than on the road the last two seasons. The addition of Mark Trumbo to an already potent lineup won’t hurt either.

Brian Roberts, NY-A, $2800 – By now you should know the deal: it’s probably only a matter of time before Roberts gets hurt. But he’s healthy now and slated to man second base for the Yankees on Opening Day. While the Yankees won’t be in the friendly confines of their home stadium to start the season, they draw a nice matchup against the Astros. Just make sure Roberts doesn’t injure himself between now and then.

DJ LeMahieu, COL, $2500 – LeMahieu has won the starting second base job for the Rockies and could be a sneaky source of fantasy value. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but he’s worth using when he’s in the friendly confines of Coors Field. He hit .311 last season while swiping 15 of his 18 stolen bases. Just 25, there’s potential for some growth here.

Third Base

Aramis Ramirez, MIL, $3400 – Like Hill, I get the feeling Ramirez will be overlooked by daily owners due to the injuries he dealt with last season. While he isn’t a spring chicken any more, the 35-year-old third baseman should still have a couple of solid seasons left in him. He’s finally healthy and should be hitting in a good spot behind Ryan Braun in the lineup. Look for Ramirez to get back towards 25 home runs this season.

Shortstop

Brad Miller, SEA, $2900 – Miller outplayed Nick Franklin this spring and should be the starting shortstop for the Mariners. While it’s never good to read too much into spring stats, it doesn’t hurt that Miller his hitting .447 with a 1.512 OPS. He possesses a nice speed/power skill set, especially looking at the other players at the position, and there’s a possibility that he leads off for Seattle..

Marcus Semien, CHI-A, $2800 – I remember writing about Semien towards the end of last season after he got called up for a cup of coffee with Chicago. He’s an interesting player who displayed both speed and power at Single-A and Double-A ball. He’ll start the season at second base for the White Sox, but he’s currently listed as a shortstop on FanDuel. Look for him as an option as long as Gordon Beckham is out.

Outfield

Wil Myers, TB, $3600 – The reigning AL ROY is coming at a nice price given his immense upside. Myer will be a fixture in the middle of the lineup while hitting in a great spot in front of Ben Zobrist and, more importantly, Evan Longoria. Look for Myers to put up stellar stats in all offensive categories except stolen bases, which will only happen once in a while.

Kole Calhoun, ANA, $3000 – I think Calhoun is one of the more intriguing players currently flying under the radar. He’s having an outstanding spring and the Halos are considering him as a leadoff option. If he can handle himself at the plate, Calhoun could be a nice power-speed combo, although we’ll likely see more power than steals.

Junior Lake, CHI-N, $2800 – Similar to Calhoun, Lake’s going to be handed a starting job and has some pop and wheels. Lake will likely contribute more in the stolen base category than home runs this season, but in the FanDuel format those steals count for two points. Seeing him connect on three home runs the other day is an encouraging sign and he should have a pretty long leash even if he gets off to a slow start.

Pitchers

Pitchers are easily the most important position on FanDuel, as they typically lead your roster in points scored. Every elite pitcher is going to struggle at times, but overall this is the position you should be fine with spending a large chunk of your budget on. That said, there could still be cheaper values to be used that can produce at elite levels.

Starter(s) to target for Monday, March 31st

Francisco Liriano, PIT, $8100 – There are four main criteria I use to evaluate which pitcher I want to take when picking my FanDuel lineup: 1) the pitcher’s strikeout/win potential 2) opposing matchup 3) price and 4) whether they are home or away. That’s probably the order I’d rank the criteria, too. Liriano has all of check marks in his favor for Monday, kicking off the season in Pittsburgh against a weak-hitting Cubs’ lineup. He’s got great strikeout potential with a 9.11 K/9 last season and a nice lineup behind him for run support.

Justin Verlander, DET, $8600 – Like Liriano, Verlander is home and has, at worst, a neutral matchup against the Royals. He’s looked outstanding this spring and has a great lineup behind him. Look for Verlander to try and carry over his 2.27 ERA (39.2 innings) from last September.

Starter to target for Tuesday, April 1st

CC Sabathia, NY-A, $7100 – I’m not sure if the skinny CC is a good CC but I’m willing to gamble on him at this price given his great matchup against the Astros. He’s been lights out this spring, but there’s cause for concern as he’s had declining fastball velocity for the last three seasons. Still, he has a potent lineup behind him and Houston proved to be very strikeout prone last season.