The MLB regular season kicked off yesterday with a two-game showdown in Japan before heading back to our land of the free and brave next week for Opening Day. These two games feature the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. Last night’s game was a 9-7 barnburner where most winning DK lineups featured all hitters as Mike Fiers got knocked out in the third inning and Marco Gonzales put up a reasonable but unexciting 14.7 DKP. First pitch for Game 2 is once again at 5:35am EST (2:35am PST) and lineups are already out.
The best way to have some fun and get exposure to these games for fantasy is with the one-game DFS slates over at DraftKings and FanDuel. Each site has a different scoring setup, but the goal is the same. Accumulate fantasy points based on hitting and pitching and try to take down ‘all the money’.
DraftKings slate is called the Showdown. You utilize six (6) total players – hitters or pitchers – with your ‘captain’ spot receiving a score multiplier of 1.5. The salary cap $50,000 for your six players with the average player salary being $8,333.
FanDuel’s game doesn’t have a particular name, but they have a variety of different slate names depending on entry fee. Their basic big GPP (guaranteed prize pool tournament) is called the $10K Wed MLB Squeeze, costs $4.44 to enter (you can enter multiple lineups) and has a total of 2,681 entries. For FanDuel’s single-entry slates, the salary cap is $35,000 ($7,000 per player) and you employ a total of five players. Your ‘MVP’ has a 2x multiplier, your ‘All-Star’ has a 1.5x multiplier and the remaining three players are just regular plays. This 1.5x player is called your CAPTAIN.
Game 2 – Mariners vs Athletics in Japan
1 – Dee Gordon (OF) – LHH 1 – Marcus Semien (SS) – RHH
2 – Mitch Haniger (OF) – RHH 2 – Matt Chapman (3B) – RHH
3 – Jay Bruce (OF) – LHH 3 – Stephen Piscotty (OF) – RHH
4 – Edwin Encarnacion (1B) – RHH 4 – Khris Davis (DH) – RHH
5 – Domingo Santana (OF) – RHH 5 – Chad Pinder (OF) – RHH
6 – Omar Narvaez (C ) – LHH 6 – Matt Olson (1B) – LHH
7 – Tim Beckham (SS) – RHH 7 – Jurickson Profar (2B) – SWH
8 – Ryon Healy (3B) – RHH 8 – Ramon Laureano (OF) – RHH
9 – Ichiro Suzuki (OF) – LHH 9 – Josh Phegley (C ) – RHH
Yusei Kikuchi (LHP) – $9,200 DK
Kikuchi is the Mariners’ big offseason acquisition from overseas, making the start for the second game of the season. Ironically, he is the first major league pitcher born in Japan to making his MLB debut in Japan. He is 27 and doesn’t project to be a SP1 type of guy, but certainly has the arsenal to surprise this year. He has a fastball that comes close to 96-mph that he apparently hides well and dominant slider that have fooled the likes of Joey Votto this preseason. Kikuchi doesn’t have the same impressive command that Japanese (yet actually American) import Miles Mikolas has, but something tells me he will be up to task today in front of his countrymen and have a nice outing. I’m using Kikuchi in lineups today.
Marco Estrada (RHP) – $7,400 DK
It has been all downhill for Estrada since posting a 3.13 ERA for the Jays back in 2015. Last year was an absolute debacle for him – 28 starts of a 5.64 ERA and one of the league’s worst strikeout rates (16.4%) among qualified starters. He is substantially cheaper than Kikuchi for a reason and may likely see a similar short hook like Fiers saw yesterday if he gets up there in pitch count in the early innings. Estrada won’t be a part of my initial build nor main lineup, but he could always surprise – and will likely do so at a not-very-high ownership rate.
Domingo Santana, Mariners ($5,400 DK, $5,500 FD) – Chalktana came through for almost everyone yesterday with a single swing of the bat – a grand slam off Fiers in the third inning. With minimal price adjustment (+400) on DK and the same price as yesterday on FD, it will be hard to avoid not putting him into the lineup, outside of contrarian builds.
Chad Pinder, Athletics ($5,000 DK, $4,500 FD) – Back to the well on the guy who crushed lefties at over a 50 percent clip (hard hit rate) last season. His breakout is coming and should be in the lineup every time a lefty is on the mound. That’s the case here today, hence Pinder is in for us. With him and Santana, we have all the cap we could want (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with leaving money on the table do differentiate your lineups).
Mitch Haniger, Mariners ($7,800 DK, $8,500 FD) – Load up your right-handed Mariners against Estrada who was especially poor against them last season (2.04 HR/9, 5.98 xFIP, 1.63 WHIP). I repeat, load up and let it ride.
Edwin Encarnacion, Mariners ($8,600 DK, $9,000 FD) – Ency walked twice and scored two runs, but otherwise had an uneventful debut in that Mariners uniform last night. He’s the cleanup man and pairs well with Haniger and Santana. Only two hitters have more homers since 2014 than Ency’s 185 (Cruz 203, Stanton 188).
CONTRARIAN: Matt Olson, Athletics ($7,200 DK, $7,000 FD) – I only have a handful of hitters projected to approach 40 homers this year and Olson is one of them. He has massive power and should take his game up another notch this season. Olson hit only four homers of his 29 against lefties last year and because it’s a LvL matchup, Olson will likely fall under 10 percent owned given all the other options in this matchup. Just a feeling that Olson comes through today.
LINEUP BUILD OPTIONS:
Chalk: Kikuchi + Mariners RHB’s + choice of Davis or Chapman
Pitchers Duel: Kikuchi + Estrada + D.Gordon/Haniger + A’s bat
Kikuchi Rude Arrival: A’s middle of order bats + Estrada (fade Kikuchi)
Contrarian/Chalk Blend: Kikuchi + Olson + Santana/Haniger + Piscotty