We have lined up 50 RotoWire baseball experts for participation in the highly anticipated RotoWire/FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship contest beginning Friday, April 10th. Now, we're inviting RotoWire subscribers like you to step up to the plate on FanDuel and compete against us!
Here's the deal: Entrants will participate in a series of 14 weekly qualifier contests each Friday, leading to 'The Final' on July 10th, with $15,000 in free prizes to be won, including $2,000 awarded for first place.
Before setting your lineup, it's highly recommended that you check out RotoWire's daily lineups page and corresponding weather feeds, containing data from our provider Forecast.io. Taking advantage of these pages will help prevent the dreaded goose egg that results from a rainout or player unexpectedly out of the lineup.
With the season in its infancy, you're going to see a few pitchers that have yet to be fully stretched out. For this reason, I advise choosing a veteran arm, someone who has spent multiple offseasons experimenting with the best way to mentally and physically prepare for the rigors of a long season.
Marlon Byrd (OF) Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals
FanDuel Salary Price: $2,700
I expect this old Byrd to take flight Friday after a slow start. The journeyman is familiar with Cardinals pitcher John Lackey and his tendencies tossing a fastball, having recorded a .370 batting average and 1.046 OPS against him in 27 career at-bats. Byrd comes with a low price tag and gives you an opportunity to pad the rest of your lineup with the bigger names in baseball.
Pedro Alvarez (1B) Pittsburgh Pirates @ Milwaukee Brewers
Fanduel Salary Price: $3,300
Alvarez strikes out a ton, averaging nearly 160 three-strike whiffs per season since the start of his 2012 campaign. This shouldn't scare you away from Alvarez in daily leagues since FanDuel only subtracts for hitter outs, and not strikeouts in particular. This guy has plenty of power, carrying a ridiculous .700 slugging percentage, and don't forget that he had an NL-best 36 home runs back in 2013. Most of Alvarez's power comes from squaring off against right-handed pitchers, which he's projected to do Friday against Milwaukee's Mike Fiers.
DJ LeMahieu (2B) Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs
FanDuel Salary Price: $3,100
LeMa-who? Well, let's just say I'm not going to throw obvious recommendations your way. Here is a guy best known for his defense, having won a Gold Glove in 2014 after leading NL second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved. But he's off to a pleasant start at the dish with five hits and a stolen bag through three contests. LeMahieu is generally a safe roll on FanDuel if you need a budget player.
Editor's Note: The Rockies play at 4:10 PM ET. This FanDuel qualifier contest starts at 7:05 PM ET, so the aforementioned LeMahieu note is mostly bonus content for those of you playing in earlier contests.
High Risk / High Reward
Alfredo Simon (SP) Detroit Tigers @ Cleveland Indians (Zach McAllister)
FanDuel Salary Price: $6,800
I love it when they call him "Big Pasta," but it's anyone's guess if Simon will hold the recipe for success on the heels of a forgettable spring training in which allowed 14 earned runs, three homers and eight free passes in 27.2 innings. On the other hand, the Tigers' offense has been spectacular so far, totaling 22 runs in three games. With one pitcher slot on FanDuel, you shouldn't get too cute with whom you select most days, but the win potential alone has me tempted to choose Big Pasta with the hope that he doesn't get creamed.
Matt Kemp (OF) San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Salary Price: $4,000
With a .333/.412/.400 slash line, Kemp looks rejuvenated with the Padres early on, but it's doubtful the uniform change will help him solve Tim Lincecum all of the sudden. Over his career, Kemp owns a .196 average in 46 plate appearances facing the former ace, plus he's still searching for his first home run against him. This Friday slate is packed with No. 5 starting pitchers for hitters to feast on, so it will be easy finding alternatives to Kemp.