The return of baseball season is a special time of year. Whether you're attending a game, watching it or listening on the radio, the chance to enjoy the game we love during this special time of year is wonderful.
Of course, the experience is made even better with daily fantasy baseball. FanDuel offers up plenty of exciting contests for daily fantasy baseball players to choose from. Maybe your preference is getting involved in the early slate of games so you have something to enjoy during those early hours of the work day and to help make the time go by, FanDuel offers you a nice selection of early-only contests. You might prefer to get the work ahead of time then rush home, grab a chair and sit back to watch and enjoy the afternoon or 'main' slate of contests, once again FanDuel covers you for that.
Whatever your preference is, one of the first decisions you must make when setting a daily fantasy lineup is who to start as your pitcher. A look at Monday's probable pitchers shows us plenty of starters to be excited about. It's heavy on aces to ponder, so those will be the top plays, but there are also some potential risk/reward plays to take some chances on. We only need one pitcher to make things happen, but eDraft Sports will provide you with an array of options for multiple lineups.
So let's help get your lineup off to the right note and talk about some pitchers for you to target on Monday.
1. Noah Syndergaard, NYM @ MIA, ($10,800)
It all starts at the top with Thor. While Kluber offers just as much strikeout upside, the lineup providing him run support is in a massive slump to start the season and it's no guarantee they provide him with enough support to where we'd feel comfortable penciling him in for a win. We feel much more confident in Thor reaching FanDuel's six-point bonus for a win and he carries just as much ability to dominate an inferior lineup. The Miami Marlins possess one of the worst lineups in baseball and will be at an even greater challenge against one of the game's five best pitchers. Given we can save $200-plus dollars with Thor than the other top names and his favorable matchup against an inferior opponent, he becomes our top SP target.
2. Corey Kluber, CLE vs. DET, ($11,000)
Kluber comes in second on this list entirely because it's too difficult to crust Cleveland's lineup to produce more than two runs in an entire game right now. Because of that, Kluber is at a greater risk of not landing the six-point bonus for a win. Detroit's lineup entered Sunday ranked 16th in wRC+ and its K-BB% sat at just 7.1 percent, so this matchup isn't quite as enticing as the one Syndergaard faces. That said, Kluber is still a sensational pitcher who is a threat to go nine innings with 10-plus strikeouts any time he takes the mound. So while we won't have as many shares of him as we will Thor, Kluber remains an elite play.
3. Max Scherzer, WAS vs. ATL, ($11,100)
One of baseball's greatest strikeout artists, Scherzer will be a little more challenged than usual by an opponent. Atlanta's lineup enters as one of the most productive units in baseball this season with the team ranked in the top five in runs scored and amongst the five lowest strikeout percentages in the majors. We've also seen teams work the count and foul off pitches against Scherzer early in the year, so he isn't making it as deep into games as usual. Yet even in briefer outings, like the five-inning stint against Atlanta in his last start, Scherzer can still rack up 30-plus FanDuel points.
4. Zack Godley, ARZ @ SFG, ($8,400)
While some might view Zack Greinke or Robbie Ray as Arizona's ace, the truth is it's Godley. Given his repertoire, command and production this year and in 2017, his listed price is a bargain. Entering Sunday, San Francisco ranked 17th in strikeout percentage (21.9 percent), 21st in wOBA (.306) and 20th in wRC+ (90) all before they faced Clayton Kershaw. While Godley might not be on that level, since July '17 the veteran righty carries a 3.49 FIP, 10.01 K/9 and 18.5 percent K-BB rate. He is quickly establishing himself as one of the premium pitchers in the N.L. and with a great opportunity on tap to quiet San Francisco's bats, FanDuel players should be sure to get significant shares of Godley on Monday.
5. Chris Archer, TB @ CWS, ($8,200)
Simply put, Archer is off to an ugly start this season. In 11 innings, the 29-year-old allowed 12 hits, four walks, two home runs and eight runners to cross the plate. He is still striking out batters at a significant clip and it shows in his 29.8 percent strikeout rate, but batters punish the baseballs they make contact on. If he can miss bats against a swing happy Chicago White Sox club, he could turn in a dominant outing. But remember, the White Sox entered Sunday ranked first in wRC+ (145), wOBA (.373) and slugging percentage (.504), so this is no chalk start for Archer.
6. Miguel Gonzalez, CWS vs. TB, ($6,000)
Gonzalez is not someone we'd typically target, but this is a matter of circumstances. Tampa Bay could very well go down as one of the worst teams in baseball this season and while there are many factors that would cause it, Tampa Bay's lineup is one of the biggest reasons. The departures of Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza leave Tampa Bay's lineup without any significant punch. Meanwhile, Brad Miller just landed on the disabled list and Kevin Kiermaier is in the midst of a slump. Gonzalez doesn't need to be great in this game, he just needs to pitch five to six innings and hold the Rays under three runs, which is very doable.
7. Francisco Liriano, DET @ CLE, ($6,600)
This situation is similar to where we are with Gonzalez, only slightly more costly against your budget. Cleveland's offense is dreadful to start 2018 in nearly every offensive category. All Stars Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Yonder Alonso are all hitting below the mendoza line, as is the team's top power hitter Edwin Encarnacion. Sure, this team will eventually figure it out and things will click again as the weather warms up and the unit will return closer to the top of the AL ranks. Until it does, we must target pitchers against them and that includes Liriano, who limited the Kansas City Royals to four hits and one run across 6 2/3 innings in his last start.
Also Target: Garrett Richards, LAA @ TEX, ($8,300), Jakob Junis, KC vs. SEA, ($8,000)