MLB DFS: Opening Day Yahoo Plays and Strategy

MLB DFS: Opening Day Yahoo Plays and Strategy

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.

The MLB season gets underway Thursday with a packed slate of games. With so many options to consider, let's get right to the task at hand and highlight some pitchers and hitters to target on the main Yahoo slate.

Pitchers

With this being the first game of the season, we have aces galore. One that has arguably the best matchup will be when Shohei Ohtani ($52) faces off against the Athletics. Ohtani was electric in the World Baseball Classic, helping lead Team Japan to the championship. He'll take on an A's lineup that did not make any significant upgrades after scoring the second fewest runs in baseball last season.

The Reds might be rebuilding, but they already have what they hope will be a star pitcher for years to come in Hunter Greene ($45). He missed a lot of bats in the minor leagues, then followed that up with a 30.9 percent strikeout rate in the majors last season. He will also have a favorable matchup to start things off, facing a Pirates team that had the third-worst OPS last season.

With so many exciting top-tier options, the key to winning a tournament might be a pitcher providing value at a cheaper salary. One possible option is Pablo Lopez ($28), who will be making his Twins debut after being acquired from the Marlins. In each of the last three seasons, he finished with an ERA of 3.75 or lower and a FIP of 3.71 or lower. First up for him will be the Royals, who ranked inside the bottom 10 in both runs scored and OPS last season.

Top Targets

Yordan Alvarez ($23) dealt with a hand issue during Spring Training, but he was able to return and get some game action in before the start of the regular season. He has been cleared for Opening Day and is looking to follow up a stellar campaign in which he had a career-high 185 wRC+. He won't have the easiest of matchups against Dylan Cease ($44), but for a day in which most top hitters will have a difficult matchup, Alvarez being able to avoid strikeouts and being a part of a dangerous lineup makes him appealing.

The Cardinals will begin their season with Miles Mikolas ($32) on the mound. For a slate with so many strikeout pitchers, Mikolas only has a career 18.1 percent strikeout rate. This could be a good opportunity to roll out some hitters from the Blue Jays, including Bo Bichette ($20). He has hit at least 24 home runs and stole at least 13 bases in back-to-back seasons and has a career .355 wOBA.

Bargain Bats

Jonathan India ($13) had a promising rookie campaign, posting a .190 ISO and a .363 wOBA. His strikeout rate remained mostly unchanged last season, but his walk rate decreased from 11.3 percent to 7.2 percent. His power numbers also declined, leaving him with a .130 ISO. Part of the season for his decline in production might have been hamstring injuries, which contributed to him playing just 103 games. Improved health makes him worth taking a chance on in tournament play against Mitch Keller ($29).

The Blue Jays needed to added left-handed hitters to their lineup during the offseason. One that they brought in was Brandon Belt ($12), who has had trouble staying healthy. He has a career .329 wOBA against left-handed pitchers, but he has a .359 wOBA versus righties. He could hit cleanup and is healthy, making him an intriguing option.

Stacks to Consider

Angels vs. Kyle Muller ($25), Athletics: Mike Trout ($24), Taylor Ward ($18), Gio Urshela ($15)

The Athletics are going to be a popular team to stack against given the state of their starting rotation. Muller has only pitched 49 career innings in the majors, recording a 5.14 ERA and 4.05 FIP. One hitter who stands out for an Angels stack is Ward, who had a .362 wOBA versus left-handed pitchers last season.

Twins vs. Zack Greinke ($25), Royals: Byron Buxton ($17), Carlos Correa ($18), Jose Miranda ($9)

The veteran Greinke is back for another season with the Royals. He wasn't bad in his return to the franchise last season, posting a 3.68 ERA and a 4.03 FIP. However, his inability to miss bats doesn't leave him with a ton of margin for error. The last two seasons, his strikeout rates were 17.2 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. Correa is a great option for a Twins stack given his ability to avoid strikeouts and also his consistency, as he had a wOBA of at least .362 in both of the last two seasons.

Padres vs. German Marquez ($26), Rockies: Manny Machado ($21), Xander Bogaerts ($17), Jake Cronenworth ($14)

Last year was a down season for Marquez, who finished with a 4.95 ERA that was supported by a 4.71 FIP. He allowed 1.5 HR/9 and his strikeout rate dropped to 19.3 percent. He could be in trouble against a dangerous Padres lineup that got even better in the offseason by adding Bogaerts. San Diego also agreed to a massive contract extension with Machado, who finished with a .234 ISO and a .382 wOBA last season.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Mike Barner plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: mbarner, DraftKings: mbarner51.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Mike also won the 2022-23 FSGA NBA Experts Champions league. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.
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