Part of me says that I should introduce myself before I get into the 2023 MLB DFS Opening Day Picks. I will certainly be "stopping by" to occasionally provide some DFS picks. But my guess is only our newest baseball readers don't know who I am. Not trying to be narcissistic, but I've been here at F6P for a long, long time. And I've written for other sites as well. Let's just say this is not my first time writing any kind of MLB DFS article for F6P.
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Besides both of us knowing our stuff, one thing that @CorporalEddy and I both have in common is that we prefer playing GPPs to cash games. If you don't know what the differences are, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) to ask and I'll be happy to explain it to you.
If you want recommendations for Yahoo and other alternate DFS sites, feel free to hit me up for those at well. However, below are some of my favorite DFS picks for both DraftKings and FanDuel, with more of a GPP slant than a cash game slant. Also, usual caveats apply--be sure to check lineups before lock as you never know what those sneaky MLB managers are going to do!
Got it? Let's play ball!
2023 MLB DFS Opening Day Picks
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Pitching Options - Cash Game Play/GPP Anchor
Max Scherzer, New York Mets at MIA ($9,400 DK; $10,700 FD)
You could spend up for some of the other options on the board, but why? Scherzer is a lock for strikeouts. Even if he only pitches five innings, I wouldn't be surprised to see him post double-digit Ks.
But I also like him to get the W too. Scherzer has an 8-4 career record with a 2.40 ERA at Marlins Park. I love Scherzer to be one of the top pitching options this year and this will be the first of many sparkling performances.
DraftKings SP2 or GPP Play
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies (DK $7900, FD $9500)
I love Shane McClanahan to pair with Scherzer, but he and the very affordable Hunter Greene will likely be very popular options. I want someone who will likely see lower ownership than they should. And Blake Snell falls into that nebulous middle gap between guys like Greene and your Cy Young contenders like Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, and Sandy Alcantara. And especially on Fan Duel, I expect many to run away from his $9500 price tag.
Snell was good last year, but not great. And I think many fantasy baseball folks are suffering from that recency bias. He had a .500 record (10-10) and okay, but not stellar ratios (3.49 ERA and 1.26 WHIP). But despite just 141 IP, he had 188 strikeouts! And he's facing the Rockies (in San Diego), who shall we simply nicely say are not expected to be contenders this year. For those unfamiliar, Snell in German means "fast or quickly" or "now". Quickly put Snell in your lineups now.
MJ Melendez, C, Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins (DK $4700, FD $2800)
Melendez makes for a nifty GPP play on both sites. FanDuel players often neglect catchers due to the C/1B option on that site, and most folks like to spend down at their C spot on DraftKings. Either way, Melendez is a high-leverage play. Melendez hit 14 of his 18 HRs last season against right-handers. The southpaw will be taking on right-hander Pablo Lopez, who struggled a bit with lefties last year. Wouldn't be surprised if Melendez takes one deep on Thursday.
Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (DK $2900, FD $2700)
And if you like Melendez's matchup on Thursday, you are going to love what Casas will be facing. Pablo Lopez looks a Cy Young Candidate next to Kyle Gibson, whom Casas will be facing. Casas, a lefthander, will get to square off against Gibson and his 2021 ERA of 4.98 at home in Fenway. A note of caution here, however, as Baltimore has a surprisingly good record on Opening Day. But at sub-$3K on both sites, I'm willing to take a chance on Casas.
Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals (DK $3900, FD $3500)
Albies is a far better value on DK than he is on FD, but I'll be looking to have multiple shares of him on both sites. I am expecting a big bounce-back this season. And that starts with a matchup against
the rotting corpse that was once seasoned veteran Patrick Corbin. Corbin struggled to win just over 20% of his starts last year with an ERA of...(that can't be right. Checks notes....)...hope you're sitting down--6.31!
Albies owns a career average of .428 (12-for-28) against Corbin with three dingers, three doubles, and a triple. I don't see that trend slowing down. Albies is a slam dunk on DK, but I think he can provide a tidy profit on FD as well.
Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals (DK $4600, FD $3600)
If you are looking to save some salary, I'd give Isaac Paredes a consideration. But love me some Braves on Thursday (i.e. STACK ALERT!). And most of them are surprisingly fairly priced, bordering on attractively priced. I think the Braves can absolutely tee off on the lefthanded Corbin. And given the LvR matchup, how can you not like Riley, coming off a 38-HR 94-RBI year last season, on Opening Day this year?
Oneil Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (DK $5100, FD $3100)
Look, I absolutely love this kid and I like him both as a value play, but also has one of the top five lines of any SS on Opening Day. That latter statement is kind of bold, but is it?
In just 331 ABs last year, Cruz swiped ten bases and smacked 17 HRs. I like him to be a member of the 20/35 (or is that 35/20?) club this year. And to do that, he will need to start off hot. Got a feeling he does, and that includes Opening Day.
I'd probably be inclined to start Arozarena regardless. But after making possibly the catch and hitting a whopping .471 during the WBC, I think he's more than dusted off any rust and is ready to pick up where he left off....
He has hit 61 points higher in his career against lefties and has a homer about every 17 at-bats against southpaws. For those in the BvP camp, Arozarena is a solid 5-for-13 in his career against Rodriguez.
I love his floor for Thursday and his ceiling could be the difference in GPPs.
Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals (DK $5700, FD $3900)
And here is where I'm spending up. If you need to know why, phone a friend. I'm not wasting time telling you why to start Acuna.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals (DK $2900, FD $2500)
I know. Ozuna doesn't really get me excited either. But I'm stacking Braves and I foresee a number of RBI opportunities for Ozuna. And he's relatively affordable. I know that .222 batting average is scary, but he's a good example of a better DFS option than a seasonal fantasy baseball option. We get to pick and choose when we want to use him and this matchup is just too attractive.
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