The Daily Grind: Opening Up This Day

Opening Day! Party Time!


  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. Notes About FantasyDraft

1.The Daily Grind Invitational <—– That’s the link! It starts at 1:05pm ET so GET IN THERE!

The Invitational is back on FantasyDraft with more no rake GPPs. I asked for a mammoth 100 entry contest today. Let’s get this thing filled so the good folks at FDraft continue to supply giant contests. As of this writing, there are still 57 slots available!

As with last season, we’ll track the daily top five performers on a leaderboard and also call out the winning formula. Last year, kidzero narrowly edged out jaymcstell for the top spot with $306 and 78 points to $304 and 77 points. Come join the fun.

If you have not signed up for FantasyDraft, please use this referral link for tracking purposes. If I understand properly, by using the referral, you will receive a 10 percent return on any rakes you pay.

2. Weather Reports

Chilly (but not cold) weather could put a modest damper on the home run game. Watch out for rain in Kansas City. There’s a 50 percent chance. Frankly, we’re lucky only one game has precipitation in the forecast.

3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse

This being Opening Day, aces are exceptionally prevalent. This actually seems to have a deflationary effect on the price of starting pitchers. There’s no reason you can’t afford any pair of pitchers your heart desires.

Topping the price list is Justin Verlander ($21,600) at Blake Snell ($17,900). I tend to shy away from double-ace games, especially when both offenses are well regarded. Snell truthers will note that he’s priced to move. And it’s not like he struggled against the Red Sox or Yankees last season.

Speaking of double-aces, it’s a Cy Young rematch of Jacob deGrom ($20,600) at Max Scherzer ($21,400)! Once again, both teams feature a strong lineups. Although they may cancel out their chances for the win bonus, they still project to easily supply a point per $1,000 – a rough guideline I use for selecting premium pitchers.

Corey Kluber ($20,300) is visiting Jose Berrios ($18,000) and the Twins. Frankly, I want the Berrios side of this equation. Perhaps I’m overreacting to the Columbus-quality Indians offense. They’re without Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, or Jason Kipnis (one of those is not like the others). Although Berrios obviously has the easier matchup, the gulf in pitcher quality between Kluber and Berrios is probably sufficient to take a contrarian tack with Kluber.

Aaron Nola ($18,800) and the new-look Phillies are hosting the division champion (and same-look) Braves. While I’ve heard good things about Julio Teheran ($14,900) this spring, I’ll believe them when I see ’em. Remember last season when Gabe Kapler removed a cruising Nola on Opening Day? Yea, that’s still a risk. I’m hands off on Nola today.

Masahiro Tanaka ($17,600) will be the most popular non-ace for one really obvious reason – the Orioles. Specifically, Tanaka is opposed by a clownish lineup led by Chris Tillman. He’s the only terrible pitcher of the slate. (I knew Andrew Cashner was pitching because I’ve been calling him Andrew Trashner for the last day. Yet I still mistook him for Tillman somehow).

Oh, there are still a lot of pitchers to discuss. Like Jameson Taillon ($16,200). It’s become fashionable to naysay Taillon’s positioning as a fringe-ace. To do so is to completely ignore the upgraded slider he developed in the middle of 2018. The Reds offense makes for a challenging Opening Day assignment, but that’s already accounted for in his price.

Carlos Rodon ($14,400) is as post-hype as they get. There’s still some talent trapped in that mediocre statistical profile. And a matchup against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium sure doesn’t hurt. However, I can’t in good conscience recommend Rodon when Brad Keller ($9,100) is practically free. Remember, that rough point per $1,000 guideline I use for picking pitchers. Keller projects for about 1.6 points per $1,000. Like Taillon, a slider-related second half breakout has confused projection systems and pundits. He matches up well against the White Sox strikeout prone offense.

Speaking of desirable matchups, Madison Bumgarner ($17,100) overshadows Eric Lauer ($10,900) even though the two pitchers should be expected to perform similarly. In Lauer’s case, his projection is buffed by the Giants terrible lineup. He finished the 2018 season on a high note, and he looked pretty sharp the two times I saw him this spring.

Favorite Plays: Tanaka, Kluber (contrarian), deGrom, Scherzer, Keller, Lauer

Keller and Lauer are massive bargains if you want to use an ace AND roster a bunch of stud bats. Or just play it straight with two aces.

Stack Targets: Luis Castillo, Jon Lester, Marcus Stroman, Jordan Zimmermann, Cashner

What? Not happy about Castillo? There’s a real limit to the pitchers we can target today. Castillo struggled to start last season, he flopped like fish this spring, the ballpark is tiny, and left-handed hitters crushed him last season. The Pirates have plenty of lefty bats.

4. SaberSim Says…

Scherzer, Verlander, deGrom, Kluber, and Zack Greinke carry the top projections. I left out Greinke (vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu) from the above analysis because I saw him as a poor man’s version of those bad ace matchups. Upon further reflection, he might carry a low ownership rate. I feel like I always trick myself into tepid Opening Day shares of Greinke. Top pitcher values are… you guessed it, Keller, Lauer, Jhoulys Chacin, Greinke, and Berrios.

Nobody should be surprised to see Mike Trout and Aaron Judge atop the hitter projections. I am shocked to find Yasiel Puig third on the list followed by Kris Bryant and Javy Baez (vs. Mike Minor). Perhaps SaberSim knows something I don’t. The bargain game features Jesse Winker, Adam Frazier, Austin Meadows, Elvis Andrus, and Jung Ho Kang. I heartily endorse the Pirates love. I like Andrus today too.

5. Notes About FantasyDraft

For experienced DraftKings players, playing on FantasyDraft will feel very familiar. The scoring system is virtually the same with the only differences on FDraft being a two point penalty for caught stealings and an extra five points (10 points total) for no hitters. The salary system is very similar too. Every player costs twice as much as on DraftKings, plus/minus a couple hundred. To afford everyone, you’re gifted a $100,000 payroll.

The biggest differentiation on the site is with positions. Instead of specific spots, FDraft offers two pitchers, three infielders, three outfielders, and two utilitymen. In my experience, this can lead to some ludicrous ownership rates among the top rated players and best bargains. If you’re new to the site, play it straight for a bit to get a sense for what I mean. Then you can try to get into the mind games of selecting good players with low ownership rates.

We hoped you liked reading The Daily Grind: Opening Up This Day by Brad Johnson!

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It sounds like Jose Ramirez will be in the lineup today