This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Finally! Opening Day is here and FanDuel is kicking it off with some big contests for their main slate, starting at 1:05 ET on Thursday. There are plenty of different contests to choose from, and there's even a pool of $10,000 to be split by any roster that uses a player who hits a grand slam. Let's take a look at this new season and who might be worth rostering during Thursday's action.
There are plenty of elite pitching options Thursday, although they'll come at a pretty big knock against your salary cap. 14 pitchers come in with a hit of $9,100 or more for the main slate, but there are some options to consider there. The pitcher who stands out most to me is the Rays' Shane McClanahan ($10,400), who's a -230 favorite at home in a game with an over/under of only seven runs. The Tigers will likely be one of the worst offenses in the league again and as a team had just a .306 wOBA against left-handed pitching last year. McClanahan had a nifty 2.54 ERA and 0.93 WHIP while striking out over a batter per inning.
Looking at some mid-tier options, Hunter Greene ($9,100) of the Cincinnati Reds is an interesting option. Green had 164 strikeouts last season in only 125.2 innings and got stronger as the season went on. He lowered his ERA from 6.01 on July 4 to 4.44 over his final eight starts and only gave up two earned runs over his final five starts (29 innings). The Pirates are a good team to fade as they had the third-lowest wOBA against right-handed pitching last season (.296).
The long shot I like for Thursday's action is the Rockies' German Marquez ($7,100). His salary cap hit allows for a lot of big bats to be in a lineup and he'll be a prime candidate for GPPs given he'll likely be unpopular. Marquez has 966 career strikeouts in 966 innings and is still in his prime at 28 years-old.
There's nothing wrong with using the home runs, Aaron Judge ($4,400) despite his salary cap hit. His 15.51 fantasy points per game last season was tops among hitters for the main slate by over 3.5 fantasy points. There are seven other batters within $500 of Judge, but his upside is why he's worth taking over any of them.
Ronald Acuna ($3,900) is one of the more exciting players in the league and is the power/speed threat that DFS owners love to have in their lineup. He's well past his ACL tear and has a great road matchup against Patrick Corbin. The Braves are heavily favored (-240) in this game and it's not hard to imagine Acuna leading off the game with a home run.
While it remains to be seen how he adjusts to Major League pitching, Masataka Yoshida ($2,900) has shown plenty of potential playing in Japan and most recently the WBC. He's slated to hit cleanup for the Red Sox on Thursday in a game they're favored in with an over/under of nine runs, the highest on the main slate. It's unlikely his salary cap hit stays this low for long and Kyle Gibson is a good pitcher to roster hitters against.
Mitch Keller will toe the rubber for the Pirates in Cincinnati and he should see Wil Myers ($2,600) in the cleanup spot. This game has the second-highest over/under (8.5 runs) and the Reds are a slight favorite (-136) in this one. Myers gets a big park upgrade moving from San Diego to Cincinnati and is hitting in the prime RBI spot. He should be over last year's knee woes and easily get back to double-digit home runs this season with a respectable RBI total.
Stacks To Consider
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals (Patrick Corbin): Ronald Acuna ($3,900), Matt Olson ($3,700), Austin Riley ($3,600), Ozzie Albies ($3,500)
Albies (1.377 OPS), Riley (.962 OPS) and Olson (1.333 OPS) have crushed Patrick Corbin over the last few seasons, with Albies homering three times and Riley homering twice. This stack may not be the most popular (an honor which could go to Boston) but should be top-4 at the very least. This stack could almost be used in cash games as well, as these four could still be in a lineup with an elite pitcher provided some more economical options are also used in the lineup.
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox (Corey Kluber): Austin Hays ($2,600), Anthony Santander ($3,400), Cedric Mullins ($3,700), Adley Rutschman ($3,200)
Rutschman has only faced Kluber 11 times, though one of those plate appearances was a home run. Hays (.952 OPS) has two home runs against Kluber, but it's Santander (1.230 OPS) who has hit him the hardest. Mullins gets thrown in there as the leadoff guy who should score at least a run or two, and his .814 OPS against Kluber is respectable.