The first week of MLB's regular season is now in the books and we're starting to capture a little more data to help us make more informed decisions. We hit some good picks this week, but also missed on a few. It's all part of learning as we go along, gathering data and putting ourselves in even greater position to achieve success later in the year. This is what DFS is about and it's something we love to do, so let's learn from it and get excited about Sunday's slate of games for DFS action.
Whether you're looking for a main slate GPP contest, an early slate 50/50 or perhaps an evening slate pick 'em contest, DraftKings has you covered with those and so many more options to fit your needs. Of course, the key to winning these contests is putting the right lineups together and maximizing your lineup with a mix of value plays, mini stacks and studs to help propel you into the green to finish the day as a winner.
Let's now get it all started with our DraftKings' DFS lineup for Sunday's slate of games.
Charlie Morton, HOU vs. SD, ($11,500)
Of course our two-pitcher picks start off with Morton. Not only did he deliver for us earlier in the week, but he finds himself once again set to face a nice matchup on Sunday. The San Diego Padres are off to a slow start at the plate this season as they sit outside the top-20 teams in runs scored (29) and scored a combined five runs in their past three games. This is also a team fairly prone to strikeouts and Morton displayed over the past year he is fully capable of making batters whiff and generating Ks. He'll also be at extreme odds for a win with the Astros' bats set to tee off against Tyson Ross.
Jordan Montgomery, NYY vs. BAL, ($7,000)
We tried to jump aboard the Montgomery DFS train earlier this week but cold weather took that away from us. Now we'll jump right back on and hope Montgomery can help push us towards the green and a very positive Sunday DFS experience. Like Morton, Montgomery will benefit greatly from New York's bats matching up against a below average hurler in Mike Wright Jr. More importantly, Montgomery's track record thus far in his young career is impressive with left-handed batters posted a sub.-280 wOBA and sub.-200 batting average against him. Even right-handed batters struggle against him as demonstrated by the .296 wOBA and .380 slugging percentage allowed to batters from the right side. This is a favorable matchup with significant upside influenced by a chance at strikeouts and a win for Montgomery.
Tucker Barnhart, CIN @ PIT, ($2,900)
While Barnhart might not typically be a name fantasy and DFS players think about, the reigning Gold Glove winner deserves some respect. He is off to a nice start at the plate this year with six hits in 16 at bats, potentially putting himself in position for a bump up in his lineup spot. On Sunday, the left-handed swinging Barnhart will face Jameson Taillon and his .309/.375/.458 slash line allowed to left-handed batters. It's a matchup well in Barnhart's favor and given Cincinnati's lineup is LHH heavy, this could turn out to be a very nice stack play.
Joey Votto, CIN @ PIT, ($4,500)
We mentioned the potential stack play possibility with Cincinnati's left-handed bats. If that's going to happen, it would be criminal of us not to include Votto. While he is off to a slow start at the plate, this is one of the league's most gifted players and it showed last year with his .454 OBP, .578 slugging percentage and 165 wRC+. Last season, Votto especially excelled when he faced righties, which is shown in his .331 batting average and .168 wOBA versus RHP. The park factors are favorable, though not to the level of Great American Ballpark, so this could be the 2018 breakout party from Votto we have all been waiting for.
Neil Walker, NYY vs. BAL, ($3,400)
Walker, a switch hitter, just fits in to cross off several boxes as a value play. First, the switch hitter will likely choose to hit left-handed on Sunday and it will put him in a very favorable position given Wright Jr. is routinely crushed by left-handed batters. In his MLB career, LHB are posting a .314/.377/.563 slash line and .394 wOBA off of Wright. Now let's focus on that .563 slugging percentage and connect it to the short porches in Yankee Stadium. The splits are in Walker's favor, Yankee Stadium plays in his favor and his spot hitting sixth in the lineup adds even more incentive to target him as a value play for second base on DraftKings.
Miguel Sano, MIN vs. SEA, ($4,200)
Sano's 2018 season is off to the exact start you would expect given his profile. When he doesn't strike out, which he has in 48.1 percent of his plate appearances so far, Sano is making great contact with the baseball as seen in his 193 wRC+, .720 slugging percentage and three home runs. He will play at home on Sunday and face a particularly enticing matchup against Marco Gonzales, who is routinely obliterated by right-handed batters to the tune of a .318/.383/.523 slash line, .389 wOBA and a 1.71 HR/9 rate. For his part, Sano crushed southpaws last year with a .307 isolated power, 156 wRC+ and an even more astonishing .431 ISO and 1.243 OPS versus lefties at home. Snow will be a factor to monitor early on Sunday, but the matchup is perfect.
Didi Gregorius, NYY vs. BAL, ($5,200)
In a little over a week, Gregorius made himself the highest-priced shortstop on DraftKings and an early MVP mention. Sure, it's early and his 304 wRC+ and .571 isolated power will not continue. Until he cools off though, this is not a bat we can ignore with the splits matchup, hot streak and park factors all playing in his favor. As long as Gregorius is in the lineup on Sunday for New York, he should be in a significant percentage of your DFS lineups.
Brett Gardner, NYY vs. BAL, ($4,000)
As we did with Gregorius, we'll only touch briefly on Gardner. As a left-handed batter, he matches up very well against Baltimore's starter Mike Wright Jr. and Gardner's ability to get on base against Wright Jr should set the table very well for the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gregorius. The 34-year-old outfielder is off to an excellent start this year with eight hits, seven walks and nine runs scored in 36 at bats. His price is reasonable and while we may not see any stolen bases, a two-hit day with two runs scored could be very beneficial.
Jesse Winker, CWS vs. DET, ($3,600)
Cincinnati's left-handed leadoff hitter naturally draws our attention. The 24-year-old is proving himself to be the right man for the top spot in the Reds' batting order and it shows with six hits and seven walks in 18 bats. Frankly, it's shocking to see Winker's consistent ability to get on base and then find out he has scored a run only three times this season. That could very well change on Sunday if Cincinnati's left-handed hitters can take advantage of their matchup against Taillon and the guys behind Winker start getting timely hits when he is on base. We saw it yesterday as the team went 6-for-14, so perhaps they can continue with that success and a Barnhart-Votto-Winker trio can reward us.