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The purpose of this column is to highlight some players with upside and well-suited for tournaments. While the majority of the hitter picks will likely have power upside, that's not necessarily the case for all the listed options. Other contextual factors such as batting order, ballpark, opposing pitcher, price, speed, etc also come into play, and you'll see these items sprinkled into the write-ups below. Along with that, we'll be gauging the ownership levels, giving you some plausible pivots from the popular choices in a given game slate.

We are back for the first day of REAL baseball and the first DFS slate of 2017. It is only a three game slate but there is plenty of firepower both on the mound and at the plate today to build some formidable lineups.

Top GPP Pitcher

Masahiro Tanaka (R), New York Yankees

FanDuelDraftKingsOppFIPK%GB%Opp Run TotalMoneyline
$8,700$8,800@ Tampa Bay3.3019.948.22.75-107

Tanaka has looked his old self this spring and that is enough for me to roll the dice on him for the first day of DFS Baseball! Madison Bumgarner will certainly be a top option in cash, and even in GPP. Tanaka is enticing to me due to his ability to get plenty of K's, as well as higher odds for that highly coveted win. Tanaka was nearly un-hittable in Spring, and threw 28 strikeouts in 23.2 innings. The Rays are projected to be the lowest scoring team today as well, and only had a team batting average of .240 against right-handed pitchers in 2016. They also struck out just under 27% of the time in 2016 against right-handed pitchers. This should play heavily in to Tanaka's favor. I have no problems using Bumgarner as well, but Tanaka will be a key cog in most of my GPP lineups Sunday. Tanaka also has the lowest walk rates of all pitchers on the slate, and the highest ground-ball percentage which makes him more efficient and pitch deeper in to games. His salary also allows us to get a few more boppers in to our lineups.

Top GPP Hitters

Anthony Rizzo (1B), Chicago Cubs

FanDuelDraftKingsOpp Pitcher
& Handedness
wOBA vs RHP

ISO vs RHP

wRC+ vs RHP

Batting
Order
Team
Run Total
$4,100$4,900Carlos Martinez - R.385.26115434.5

Rizzo was another one of my tough decisions along with Tanaka. I think Goldschmidt will be the chalkiest option, and for good reason Sunday. This is another coin flip for me but I am leaning towards Rizzo solely because of the pitching matchup against Carlos Martinez is slightly better than Goldy vs Bumgarner. The optimizer projects Goldschmidt to be the second highest scoring positional player on the slate, just behind Kris Bryant, so again no issues using him as well.

Carlos Martinez has been a very good pitcher but his numbers against lefties, primarily his wOBA of 0.342 which is significantly higher than his right hand opponents. This leaves Rizzo in a good spot to do some damage Sunday.

Rizzo has had success against Martinez in his 26 at bats against him with 3 home runs and hitting .269, so that is also encouraging. Rizzo is more expensive than Goldschmidt on DraftKings, so using him on FanDuel and Goldschmidt on DraftKings is another option. BvP s not a primary tool of mine, but it can help add some additional perspective when deciding between two players.

Yasmany Tomas (OF), Arizona Diamondbacks

FanDuelDraftKingsOpp Pitcher
& Handedness
wOBA vs LHP



ISO vs LHP



wRC+ vs LHP



Batting
Order
Team
Run Total
$2,900$3,500Madison Bumgarner- L.438.32118653.25

Tomas has somehow been an excellent hitter against lefties, and primarily Madison Bumgarner. Although it is only in 18 at-bats he has managed 6 hits for a .333 average and comes at a modest price tag. Plenty of risk as he also has 8 strikeouts in those 18 at-bats. Tomas is projected to be a top outfielder in the Cafe Optimizer, and should get overlooked plenty Sunday for some low ownership. Batting fifth, along with some shiny wOBA and ISO scores against lefties is enough for me to give him a whirl in GPP lineups.

Brandon Belt (1B), San Francisco Giants

FanDuelDraftKingsOpp Pitcher
& Handedness
wOBA vs RHP

ISO vs RHP

wRC+ vs RHP

Batting
Order
Team
Run Total
$2,900$4,200Zack Greinke- R.369.19015424.75

Belt is a cheaper option than Rizzo and Goldschmidt, and has some upside for sure against Zack Greinke on Sunday. In 33 at-bats he has managed a .276 average along with 1 home run when he has faced Greinke. His success against righties is also appealing for his price tag and ranks him third best 1B option in the Cafe Optimizer.

Looking at some other tools for reference Belt's park factor score is 1.04. The highest among first basemen, and tied with Goldschmidt. if you want to utilize this tool for future roster construction https://www.dailyfantasycafe.com/tools/park-factors/mlb it can also help break a toss up choice for positional players.

If you decide to spend up on pitching and a few other positions plugging Belt in at first Sunday, is not a terrible option. He will also have a lower ownership than the big two Sunday, which is a plus as always in GPP contests. He is significantly cheaper on FanDuel so he may be easier to squeeze in over there.

Randal Grichuk (OF), St. Louis Cardinals

FanDuelDraftKingsOpp Pitcher
& Handedness
wOBA vs LHP



ISO vs LHP



wRC+ vs LHP



Batting
Order
Team
Run Total
$2,700$3,600Jon Lester- L.356.24811473

Grichuk and his power potential is appealing here. His price is reasonable and although he is batting 7th can still do some significant damage against Lester and the Cubs. His career wOBA of .356 against lefties is serviceable enough with some limited options on the cheap. There are also some cheap Rays players you can plug in to your lineups as well, although I typically try to avoid using too many players against my starting pitcher in DFS. On a small slate like today's however it may be unavoidable.

If you are a firm BvP believer Grichuk and his .091 batting average in 11 at-bats is intimidating. It is a small sample however, and also the first game of the season so I am not putting too much stock in this, nor should you. He has power and a bomb on the cheap is always possible here. Especially on FanDuel.

Good Luck today! BASEBALL IS BACK!!



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