FantasyDraft DFS Plays for April 5

The Yankees should rack up DFS points at home against Andrew Cashner on Thursday.

A pair of dueling aces gives Thursday’s slate a marquee matchup. That’s right, Jordan Zimmermann will square off against James Shields in a game that carries major 2013 Cy Young Award stakes. Those of us not stuck in the past will instead turn on the TV (unless Facebook finds a way to take this one, too) to watch Jacob deGrom and Stephen Strasburg pitch in D.C. That game, however, is left off FantasyDraft’s contests, leaving the afternoon and evening slates with uninspiring pitching options.

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Top SP: Robbie Ray, ARI ($23,200) at STL

I wanted to pick David Price, who faces the Rays again after looking right in his 2018 debut. Yet the afternoon slate starts after Boston’s 2:05 p.m. ET game. The early tilt is rough, but the evening is atrocious. Here are the probable pitchers for the three-game slate:

While I have my reservations regarding Ray–who allowed seven runs with diminished velocity last week–you almost have to play him out of default. At least he’s good for strikeouts, and he also boasts a 3.26 career ERA away from Chase Field. Lester comes with graver concerns and a worse matchup, so pay up for Arizona’s righty. As for the second starter, Homer Bailey probably has the best chance among the bottom four of providing five or six passable frames.

Value SP: Masahiro Tanaka ($17,600) vs. BAL

Masahiro Tanaka is not the typical bargain pick at $17,600. He’s the second-costliest starter from the afternoon slate after James Paxton ($18,600), but everyone else is scraping the bottom of the barrel. All things considered, a limited supply could have bloated his price like Ray’s, so let’s take the reasonable cost. He struck out eight while walking none and allowing one run in a successful season debut at Toronto, and the Orioles have mustered just 15 runs in six games. We might see the breakout foreshadowed by last year’s 15.1 swinging-strike % that ranked third among all qualified starters behind Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer. He also may surrender multiple homers at Yankee Stadium against an offense that swings for the fences, but the alternatives should compel gamers to take the plunge anyway. The Yankees offense should also give Tanaka every opportunity to secure his seventh win in his last nine regular-season starts.

Honorable Mention: Kyle Gibson, MIN ($16,700) vs. SEA

Top Hitter: Miguel Cabrera, DET ($8,900) at CHW (RHP James Shields)

Last week James Shields obliged and served up a home run to Lucas Duda. Let’s circle him on the slate again and look Miguel Cabera’s way. He has taken the veteran righty deep four times while accruing 10 doubles and an 1.109 OPS over 70 career plate appearances. While peak Miggy is not showing up in Chicago on Thursday, he has already tallied three doubles and one long ball in five games. FanGraphs has not classified any of his batted balls as soft contact. This still may be more a Shields indictment than Cabrera endorsement, but Nicholas Castellanos is the only Tiger with enough upside to play.

Value: Stephen Piscotty ($5,800) vs. TEX (LHP Martin Perez)

The A’s offer plenty of affordable options against Martin Perez, who teed up a .307/.370/.479 slash line and 21 homers to righties last season. Khris Davis ($8,300) is the best choice in a vacuum. Marcus Semien ($7,400) and Matt Chapman ($7,100) garnered consideration for this spot as well, but Stephen Piscotty is priced alongside the likes of Adam Engel and Tyler Saladino. Although he’s still searching for his first extra-base hit of the season, the 27-year-old sports a .375 career wOBA against southpaws. Thursday presents the perfect break-out scenario.

Honorable Mentions: Domingo Santana, MIL ($6,800) vs. CHC (Jon Lester); Hunter Renfroe, SD ($5,800) vs. COL (Tyler Anderson); Chad Pinder, OAK ($5,800) vs. TEX (Perez)

Top Stack: Yankees vs. Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner)

This is coming from a bitter, envious Mets fan, but any Yankees fan who booed Giancarlo Stanton should not be allowed to utilize him in any fantasy formats this season. Us grateful and level-handled followers, on the other hand, can load Thursday’s lineups with as many Bronx Bombers batters as possible. Andrew Cashner began his 2018 Regression Tour by relinquishing three homers to the Twins. Now he goes to Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees scored 18 runs over the last two games. Stanton ($10,600), Aaron Judge ($9,600), and Gary Sanchez ($9,000) aren’t cheap, but they’re worth the price of admission. A $9,300 tag, however, may be too heavy a tax to pay for Didi Gregorius‘ two-homer, eight-RBI game on Tuesday. Frugal spenders should at least tap Brett Gardner ($8,500) and Neil Walker ($6,600) against a vulnerable righty who is no match for the park’s short porch in right field. No qualified starter submitted a lower strikeout % than Cashner’s 12.2 last season, so not even impatient Yankees supporters will boo any of their studs on Thursday.

Honorable Mention: A’s vs. Rangers (Perez); Brewers vs. Cubs (Lester); Cubs at Brewers (Brent Suter)

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Andrew Gould

Andrew is Pitcher List's DFS Manager who also covers MLB and NFL for FantasyPros and Bleacher Report. He placed second in FantasyPros' MLB accuracy ratings in 2016 and fifth in 2018.

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