This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
We have split action today with five games early and five late. We’ll skip the three games in between. Two games in the early slate look to be cold and wet. Watch out for postponement between the Brewers and Cubs. The Red Sox and Yankees contest is also at risk.
Top Play: Aaron Nola - Phillies (vs Oakland Athletics)
The Phillies get the first crack against the Quad-A Athletics in the early slate. Although Nola allowed an unusual number of home runs this spring, he otherwise appeared to be in top form. The Athletics best hitter is Sean Murphy, a roughly league-average batter. They go downhill from there. It’s unclear how many pitches Nola (or really any pitcher) is cleared to throw today, but he looks like our best bet to reach six frames.
Pivot: Merrill Kelly - Diamondbacks (vs San Diego Padres)
The early slate also has the best pitcher bargain – Shane McClanahan. I like to offer split recommendations for these split slates. Reports out of Spring Training indicate Kelly is in his top form. The general feeling around DFS sphere is he’s a forgettable if not outright bad pitcher. Those inside the game account him a crafty mid-rotation innings eater. While the projection isn’t especially valuable, he should deliver acceptable numbers with a relatively low rostership.
Top Play: Mitch Garver – Rangers (at Berrios)
Although slightly overpriced, Garver has my attention in the late slate for his ever-present multi-homer potential. The matchup against Berrios is challenging. The Jays pitcher generally works down in the zone where Garver is strongest. His barreled contact rates are among the best in the game. We’ll see who wins the battle – Berrios and strikeouts or Garver and power.
Another multi-dinger threat, Higashioka regularly checks in as a cheap boom-or-bust target for GPPs. He projects to homer once every 10 batted balls. The key, of course, is to make contact. Like Garver, he has one of the better barreled contact rates coupled with a consistently high launch angle. The matchup against Eovaldi isn’t ideal. Between a five-pitch mix and a willingness to work up in the zone, Eovaldi may win this battle. The Red Sox bullpen is weak. Cold weather also works against Higgy.
While quite expensive, Guerrero is generally a sensible choice against any opponent. The late-slate offers quite a few decent first basemen so we should see a wide distribution of rostership. Gray isn’t a perfect matchup for Guerrero since there’s elevated risk of ground balls. The Rangers bullpen looks exploitable and Gray himself is one of the lesser pitchers available.
Pivot: Spencer Torkelson – Tigers (vs Giolito)
DraftKings has fired up a near-minimum price tag to celebrate Torkelson’s debut. While expectations might exceed his talent, Tork has the sort of high-floor profile that made Andrew Vaughn useful at times last season. And he can certainly exceed that modest output too. He’ll bat eighth. Giolito is obviously a rough first opponent.
Top Play: Ketel Marte – Diamondbacks (vs Manaea)
In his six seasons, Manaea has stumbled out to a slow start four times. One of the two remaining seasons included a September debut. If he flops again, it’ll only be par for the course. Marte is an exceptional pure hitter who matches well against Manaea regardless of which version of the Padres hurler shows up.
Pivot: Brandon Lowe – Rays (vs Means)
Veteran DFSers have an instinctive reaction to avoid Lowe against left-handed pitching. While he does struggle against same-handed pitching, that’s mostly limited to a higher strikeout rate and lower BABIP. His power still shines through. Means is a command-and-control guy, and there’s a chance he won’t quite have everything clicking after a shortened spring. He’ll also exit the game relatively early, exposing Lowe and the Rays to an exploitable relief corps.
Top Play: Manny Machado – Padres (at Kelly)
Machado is a hard contact machine while Kelly generally doesn’t induce many whiffs. The Diamondbacks still have a poor bullpen too. There’s a lot of meat for Machado and the Padres to dig into tonight even if they didn’t exactly feast yesterday. While I like Kelly as a bargain pitcher, San Diego could trounce him and/or his supporting cast. Machado figures to be front and center.
With Yoan Moncada temporarily sidelined, Burger will draw a few starts. He impressed me in limited work last season, especially with his exit velocities. Strikeouts were an issue. It’s easy to forget Burger didn’t play a single affiliated game between 2017 and 2021 due to injuries. He skipped straight from Low- to Triple-A. That he stepped onto a Major League field and held his own was a feat. The matchup against Rodriguez isn’t ideal – they both skew towards low-angle contact, making hard grounders far likelier than homers.
Top Play: Corey Seager – Rangers (at Berrios)
Seager is coming off a pair of fantastic seasons – one in which he upped his power output and another where he drew more walks. Either iteration is perfectly playable against Berrios. To be clear, he isn’t a bargain at his price, but he’s also one of the most consistent hitters in the league – close to Freddie Freeman with shortstop eligibility.
Beyond the mass of truly elite prospects entering the league, Stott is one of the most-anticipated. He figures to provide an essential upgrade to the Phillies infield – both offensively and defensively. While he already profiles as an above average hitter, it’s important to temper expectations. The profile is reminiscent of Jake Cronenworth. His lineup role figures to sap his value. If the Phillies hit as expected, he’ll still be plenty useful. Especially at these prices.
An Angels stack is perfectly sensible – all the more so because they might have somebody silly in the top two-thirds of the lineup. You’ll need bargains to fit the trio of Trout, Ohtani, and Walsh not to mention an overpriced (and interesting) Jo Adell. If you’re going for a one-off elite Angel, Trout’s your guy. Across the aisle, Alvarez also has one of the better matchups in the slate. Detmers is talented but as yet hasn’t proven himself in the Majors. The Angels have a mixed bullpen. If the Astros slide out to an early lead, they’ll face a number of soft arms.
Cutch might be a reach, but I’ve been impressed with his performance all spring, and he backed it up with a strong 2022 debut. His reputation is as a lefty masher – and Steele just so happens to be left-handed. I consider the platoon usage to be overblown, but we can into that when he’s facing a righty.
Lowe isn’t a lock to start since he’s a left-handed hitter and the Rays love to play matchups. That said, the alternatives are also left-handed so it seems like he should get the call. He might even bat leadoff. Regardless of where he is in the lineup, he’s more talented than his price tag. Margot is more tautly priced, though still a bargain, and matches a little better against a southpaw. Means sometimes doesn’t have his best changeup early in the season.
Alfaro is a Spring Training breakout. He posted huge exit velocities while putting on a laser show. The Padres sat him (and C.J. Abrams) in what appeared to be a favorable Opening Day matchup against Madison Bumgarner. Hopefully he gets a shot to build on his impressive spring today against a contact-oriented right-hander.
Also Consider: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Luis Robert, Joey Gallo, Matt Vierling, Tyrone Taylor, Aaron Hicks, Shohei Ohtani, Kyle Tucker, Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall, Trent Grisham, Brad Miller, Chas McCormick, Brandon Marsh