Thursday, April 29, offers a condensed slate, but there are still stacks like the Cubs and Diamondbacks that are looking like prime MLB DFS picks. This column will break down the best bats to target on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel given pitching matchups, environment and recent trends. Keep in mind that the Tigers and White Sox are playing a pair of seven-inning games after the rainout on Wednesday night.
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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Hitters and Stacks, Thursday, April 29th
Yahoo Stack of the Day: Chicago Cubs at RHPs Bryse Wilson and Josh Tomlin — 4.6 implied runs
Today Atlanta will be using Bryse Wilson as the opener, and he is expected to go two innings or so before giving way to Josh Tomlin. In his last 94 matchups against opposite-handed hitters, Wilson is allowing a 3.10 HR/9 with a weak 14.9% strikeout rate and an unsightly 12.8% walk rate. Tomlin does not walk many hitters with a paltry 1.12 BB/9 over his last 128.2 innings, so the 1.40 HR/9 rate is not as damaging without many runners on base.
Switch-hitter Ian Happ ($7) is at the Yahoo minimum salary, and he should be well positioned in the batting order today. Anthony Rizzo ($17) is not going to break the bank, and he will have one and maybe two opportunities against Wilson. Kris Bryant ($19) and Willson Contreras ($18) both provide power upside at a slightly discounted cost. Javier Baez is dealing with a hamstring strain, so he may miss today’s game. In his absence yesterday, Nico Hoerner ($13) drew the spot start and hit leadoff. Today it would not be a surprise if Happ is leading off. Even Eric Sogard ($7) could hit first to get another lefty at the top of the order in front of Rizzo.
New York Yankees at RHP Jorge Lopez — 5.5 implied runs
It is going to be in the mid-80s in Camden Yards this afternoon with a 10- to 12-mph breeze blowing out to centerfield. Jorge Lopez has a daunting task ahead of him after watching three of the not-so-usual Yankees suspects take righties deep yesterday, with Gio Urshela, Mike Ford and Clint Frazier hitting homers. Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton and D.J. LeMahieu went a combined 7-for-15 with four runs, a double and one RBI with only one strikeout. Hopefully Lopez did not have too many nightmares last night.
This will be the second time Lopez has faced New York, and he has allowed home runs in each of his four starts. He has 18 punchouts across 17.2 innings, but the six home runs and seven walks have led to a disastrous 8.15 ERA. New York has 32 home runs, which is only four behind Atlanta for tops in MLB.
Aaron Judge was out of the lineup yesterday dealing with soreness, so make sure he is indeed in the starting lineup today. Kyle Higashioka was behind the plate yesterday, so Gary Sanchez should be there today. It is worth noting that outside of his power, Sanchez has been a disaster over his last 689 plate appearances with a 29.6% strikeout rate and a .206 average. Yes, the 46 home runs and hefty .260 ISO are great, but he is a spendy, all-or-nothing type of MLB DFS pick these days.
The key targets will be LeMahieu, Stanton and Torres. Rougned Odor should bat cleanup, which will make him quite popular at his discounted salary across the DFS sites. Hicks, Frazier and Urshela can be worked in for some differentiation, though this will be the most popular team to stack on the early slate.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. RHP Antonio Senzatela — 5.0 implied runs
Antonio Senzatela is making another appearance in this article. Regular readers know that while he does not allow a lot of home runs, he does give up power and relies heavily on groundballs because of his mediocre strikeout ability. He has a 5.76 ERA across five starts and is allowing 1.41 baserunners per inning. While he has ceded just four home runs over 25 innings, he has managed only 15 strikeouts.
Tonight the Chase Field roof is scheduled to be open, and game-time temperatures are expected to be in the upper-80s. Surprisingly, even though they do not have many household names, the Diamondbacks are just two home runs behind Atlanta for the league lead. David Peralta will be a key part of stacks, along with switch-hitters Eduardo Escobar and Asdrubal Cabrera. Veteran Stephen Vogt will likely serve as the catcher tonight with the platoon advantage, and he still has a little pop left in his bat. Finally, Pavin Smith will likely be leading off, which will all but assure him of five at-bats tonight.
Final Thoughts for the Thursday, April 29th MLB DFS Slate
Unlike yesterday, there are no major weather issues to be concerned about. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a home run play on Yahoo may be a below-average MLB DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.
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