MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Saturday, April 20

MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Saturday, April 20

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

FanDuel is spreading things out Saturday, with five different slates offered at varying times throughout the day. The main slate is a condensed five-game contest with first pitch at 6:40 p.m. EDT. That only gives us 10 pitchers to choose from, immediately making that single choice paramount to success. That's reduced with the Padres not currently listing a starter. And it's a further challenge when five of those arms are priced at $9,500 or greater. It seems as though we'll have to accept paying up and seeking more bargains offensively. Keep an eye on the Rangers, as FanDuel currently lists Michael Lorenzen as their starter, though most other sites are listing Nathan Eovaldi

After weather cost us Coors Field Friday, it's back on this slate and, unsurprisingly, gives us the highest expected run total of the day, though it's only 10 runs as both the Rockies and Mariners are struggling offensively. We've got pitching uncertainty here, too, as FanDuel lists Mariners' ace Luis Castillo, though some sites are listing Friday's expected starter Emerson Hancock going here. He'd certainly be a different option on the bump for your builds given where he's throwing. We look precipitation-free across the slate. It's cold in Denver, with temperatures likely under 40 degrees at game time. Wind looks favorable in Cincinnati.

Pitching

Cole Ragans, KC vs. BAL ($9,800): It's never fun targetting against Baltimore's lineup, but Ragans has been rock solid all season, including a previous meeting with the Orioles, where he fanned seven across 6.1 frames in route to 44 fantasy points. Overall, Ragans is fanning 11.2 per nine, and his 1.93 ERA is backed up by a 2.30 FIP, suggesting major regression isn't immediately likely, something I can't say for Jose Berrios, in whom I initially had interest. Ragans gives us upside potential at a reduced price from the slate's two higher-priced arms, one of which he'll be dueling with and looking to match or better. No Oriole has more than five plate appearances against Ragans, but their roster is a collective 2-for-27 off him with 10 strikeouts.

Graham Ashcraft, CIN vs. LAA ($9,500): The Angels have been decent enough offensively to not love this, but they're still below average, ranking 19th with a .301 wOBA against righties, adding a below-average 94 wRC+ and high enough strikeout rate at 24.1 percent. Ashcraft has been decent but not excellent to date, and this price is slightly higher than I want it to be, but he's generated at least a 3.3x return in two of his three starts. His 9.9 strikeouts per nine is again good enough, and his 4.15 ERA comes with a 3.09 xFIP, so perhaps he's been a touch unlucky. Wind here is a concern, but Ashcraft has a 50 percent ground ball rate and has been at 47.8 percent in each of the last three years.

Dakota Hudson, COL vs. SEA ($7,000): Hudson is the slate's cheapest arm, and while he comes with the worry of combustion in Coors Field, the cold temperatures and matchup make him worthy of consideration. He's gone six innings in each of his last two starts, and his modest 5.7 K/9 can play up against a Mariners lineup that's whiffing at a massive 30.5 percent clip. His floor has been 18 fantasy points, which is close to a 3x return. Not terrific, but if he can get there here it opens up offensive spending.

Top Targets

I expect many will gravitate to Elly De La Cruz ($4,100), and I want to as well. But it's worth a reminder that he's far better as a left-handed hitter, where he won't start Saturday with lefty Patrick Sandoval on the mound. Sandoval has gone five innings in three straight starts, so De La Cruz likely only gets to turn around and hit left-handed twice at best against the Angels bullpen.

Marcus Semien ($4,000) has homered in consecutive games and in three of his last six, collecting five hits over his last two and nine in his last six, while going 9-for-24 (.375) against Braves' starter Charlie Morton, though with just a .881 OPS. He seems like a safe play with the potential for slightly more.

Staying in Atlanta, I don't know how we can fade Marcell Ozuna ($4,000) at this point. He's got a 17-game hitting streak, has cut down on his strikeouts (16.0 percent) and seems to hit everything hard, with only a 13.1 percent soft contact rate.

Bargain Bats

Similar to Friday's portion of this column, bats aren't priced up in Coors Field, given both teams offensive struggles. Julio Rodriguez ($3,600) seems like a set it and forget it option despite his awful .244 wOBA, 61 wRC+ and 34.6 percent strikeout rate. But for the same price, I'd consider pairing Ozuna with Austin Riley ($3,600) at the same price. The Braves are reasonably stackable with the expectation Michael Harris ($3,100) returns to the two-hole with a righty facing them.

There aren't a lot of plus matchups in the middle tier, making this slate a bit of a challenge. If you want to name shop in the cheap range, Manny Machado ($3,200) stands out despite mediocre form. If we want to be different, the Royals got Corbin Burnes for nine hits in an earlier meeting, though only two runs. Salvador Perez got three of those and is 4-for-9 off Burnes overall.

Anthony Rendon ($2,500) has shown no power, but at least an interest in hitting of late, hitting safely in three straight and seven of eight, collecting multiple hits in five of those outings.

Stack to Consider

Blue Jays vs. Randy Vasquez (Padres): Vladimir Guerrero ($3,200), George Springer ($3,100), Bo Bichette ($3,100)

Speaking of name shopping, that's largely what we're doing here, as the Blue Jay studs aren't lighting up scoreboards, but they aren't woeful either. We need to confirm Vasquez is being recalled from Triple-A to have more confidence here, but that appears to be the expectation. He had a 2.87 ERA but 5.27 xFIP in 11 appearances for the Yankees last year, struggled in spring training, and would bring a 7.94 ERA and 5.12 xFIP from El Paso into this matchup. Not expecting him to go deep, the Padres bullpen has a 4.12 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.  You have to go back to April 5 to find a game in which Guerrero failed to produce any fantasy points, so while we know the power is down, he's not a complete bust. Springer hasn't homered since the first two games of the season, but he's drawing walks enough to prevent him from busting. Bichette has quietly hit safely in four straight and 11 of 12. A pivot off one of these to a more statistically successful Justin Turner ($3,00) is fine. Any combination would give you three shares of the Jays top four in a plus matchup.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Chris Bennett plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: k30kittles, DraftKings: k30kittles.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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