The Daily Grind: Opening Day Mayhem

The Grind is back baby! An exciting new season brings new opportunities.


  1. TDG Invitational Returns!
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. Patronage

1. The TDG Invitational Returns!

Most of you know what’s happening here. If you’re new to The Daily Grind or reset your memories of last season over the winter, I’ll explain. One of the biggest “features” of this column is the opportunity to form a pocket DFS community via the TDG Invitational. Every week day, we’ll have a private contest just for us. I’ll track the winners in a google doc. Congratulations will be offered to the previous day’s winner in this column. Fame! Or infamy!

I had sincerely hoped to have a major announcement to share with you today. I’ll say this – I’m working on a loose partnership with a DFS provider. Hopefully we’ll have everything ironed out by next week.

For now, let’s stick with what we know – a $2, 25-user contest on DraftKings. Please note, this is for the eight game slate scheduled for 3:05pm ET. Get your entries in!

If you’re new to DraftKings and wish to join us, please use my referral link. Usually, they offer a small reward to me and you for making a deposit. Presently, they aren’t advertising any referral bonus so maybe we’ll both get nothing. I don’t know.

2. Weather Reports

The Nationals-Reds game is already postponed. It’s not looking good in Detroit either. There’s a small chance the rain will avoid the stadium. New York (NL) and Atlanta are smaller risks for rain and storms respectively. Keep an eye on the forecasts closer to game time. I expect them both to play, but the starting pitchers could be affected.

And as I’m writing, the Detroit game was postponed.

3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse

Today features three slates, a two-game early, an eight-game main, and a three-game night crew. Since the early and late groupings are so small, I’m going to leave you on your own.

Main Slate: Of the 16 starters, Chris Sale is far and away the best pitcher available. He’s also the priciest at $12,200. Per SaberSim, he projects nearly six points higher than the next best arm – Justin Verlander ($11,600). Verlander should post a nice point total, but he’s also the worst value proposition. Sale is visiting Chris Archer and the Rays. Verlander has a softer matchup versus Cole Hamels and the Rangers.

Luis Severino ($10,600) is the most volatile of the premium arms. Toronto’s lineup isn’t intimidating. Nearly every hitter either has modest ability or a painful strikeout addiction. The downside is Severino’s longevity. If you’re expecting more than six innings, prepare to be disappointed. Granted, few pitchers will exceed six frames on Opening Day.

On the flip side, J.A. Happ is a solid value play. At just $5,700, he doesn’t need to do much to return a profit. Nobody will be surprised if he snipes a win while firing six innings of three-run, four-strikeout ball. That’s about a 15 point performance. Of course, avoiding starting pitchers versus the Yankees lineup is a very smart approach – especially when the upside is still below 20 points.

Julio Teheran ($7,600) had an encouraging spring, raising some small hope for a rebound campaign. Note: he pitched well last spring too. He has platoon issues, and the Phillies lineup can shove a few left-handed hitters under his nose. Although I’m not a BvP truther, I’ll note that he usually exceeds my expectations when facing Philadelphia. He’s a contrarian pick with Aaron Nola ($9,400) correctly drawing most of the attention.

Chase Anderson ($8,100) is my favorite blend of value and talent. He experienced a legitimate velocity and command breakout last season. Combined with improved defense and more run support, he should largely mirror his successful 2017 campaign. The Padres lineup is also improved with the advent of Eric Hosmer and, uh, Freddy Galvis. Even so, they’re not a top opponent. Anderson should be expected to supply about 19 points.

Stack Targets: Kendall Graveman, Hamels, James Shields, Happ, Clayton Richard

Hamels seems to have lost his luster. He’s just a guy these days. The Astros should lead the league in offense once again. Graveman makes a few strong starts before subsiding to mediocrity. Happ could run afoul of home runs. Shields and Richard have platoon and/or home run problems. Richard may have difficulty taming the Brewers right-handed sluggers. Shields somehow still has a job…

4. SaberSim Says…

The top arms are Sale, Verlander, Severino, Danny Duffy, and Chris Archer. I should have shared some words about Duffy. He’s hosting the White Sox in what could be a rare Royals victory. On a value basis, Richard, Duffy, Happ, Garrett Richards, and Dylan Bundy rate highly. I’m out on Bundy at Camden Yards versus the Twins. Richards may be the most popular pitcher in GPPs. He costs $6,800 for a winnable matchup against the Athletics.

Premium bats include Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, George Springer, and Jose Altuve. Duh. Tyler Austin, Mike Moustakas, and Evan Gattis could provide big value.

5. Patronage

Most days, section 5 will feature a fun GIF or video. Today, I’d like to point you towards my Patreon page. It will house basically everything I think and say about baseball that doesn’t fit in my paid columns. My content plan includes first-draft DFS lineups, a patron mailbag, and other unique patron-only opportunities. I think it’s a steal.

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Is the FanGraphs link to Projections/Sabersim working? I don’t see any projection data.