Especially in head-to-head leagues, Sunday is a day to do what you need to do to win your fantasy baseball matchups. Sometimes this means taking chances with pitching. Other times it requires benching a power hitter in lieu of a speedster or loading up on closers in search of the elusive save. However, Sunday often features bench players getting some playing time, especially behind the plate, so it’s important to stay on top of lineups as they’re announced.
Derek Carty provides daily fantasy recommendations for today’s FanDuel contests.
A look at the statistics, splits and other factors that matter when deciding which hitters to start and sit in fantasy baseball.
A look at the statistics, splits and other factors that matter when deciding which pitchers to start and sit in fantasy baseball.
With that as a backdrop, here’s Sunday’s recommended pitchers and hitters to fortify your lineup, all available in more than half of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to stream
Chris Paddack (R), rostered in 47 percent of ESPN leagues, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants: The talk of the spring, Paddack impressed the Padres enough to make the Opening Day rotation. A former recipient of Tommy John surgery, he features a low 90s fastball and plus change, both of which he commands very well. Paddack needs a third pitch to be a front-line starter, but at just 23 years of age, there’s plenty of time for him to develop. Paddack draws a soft lineup for his major league debut. With a strong effort, he’s likely to eclipse the threshold used to highlight spot starters in the space.
Wade Miley (L), 7 percent, Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays: Miley followed up a surprising 2018 campaign for the Brewers with a solid 2.12 ERA over 17 spring innings. The Astros have a knack for accentuating a pitcher’s strength, so it’s fair to expect another productive season. Backed by a powerful offense and efficient defense, Miley is an under-the-radar pickup, making his inaugural Astros start at a favorable pitching venue.
Sandy Alcantara (R), 1 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Colorado Rockies: The centerpiece of the deal sending Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals, Alcantara joins a young and promising Marlins rotation. Alcantara lights up the radar gun, touching triple digits, but he lacks control as well as needing to hone his secondary offerings. There’s risk, but if you’re chasing whiffs, Alcantara is in play.
Matt Moore (L), fewer than 1 percent, Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays: Moore is a deep-league special. After showing promise as a Rays prospect, injuries curtailed Moore’s development. After struggling for the Giants in one of the best pitching venues in the game, Moore returned to the American League where he continued to have difficulties with the Rangers. This call is obviously not about Moore, but the relatively weak lineup of the opposing Blue Jays, further weakened by dealing Kendrys Morales to the Athletics.
The closer situation for the defending champions clarified a bit as Matt Barnes was called upon to save the Red Sox come-from-behind victory on Friday night. Currently, Barnes is available in about one-third of ESPN leagues. If he’s indeed in line for regular ninth-inning duties, Barnes could be among the league leaders in saves.
Projected game scores
Christian Vazquez (R), 2 percent, Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners (LHP Wade LeBlanc): The ball has been flying out of the newly named T-Mobile Park, including Vazquez’s first long ball of the season. The strong-armed backstop is known for defense, but with a solid contact rate, he’s an option facing LeBlanc, a pitcher not known for missing bats.
Ryan O’Hearn (L), 5 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito): O’Hearn’s power potential will render him a popular choice in this space when the Royals are in line to face a righty. Giolito has flashed potential, but he’s still a work in progress, especially it terms of control. With a career 1.58 HR/9, Giolito is the ideal foil for O’Hearn and those needing last-minute power boost.
Adam Frazier (L), 40 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tanner Roark): It may not last, but early on Adam Frazier has been leading off for the Pirates. Frazier earned an everyday role after posting a .890 OPS after the break last season. Roark was a steady innings-eater with the Nationals, but he’ll be put to a tougher test when working half his games at Great American Ballpark.
Zack Cozart (R), 4 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics (RHP Frankie Montas): Montas features one of the fastest heaters in the league, however he doesn’t miss many bats and is often the victim of loud contact. Cozart’s forte is putting the bat on the ball, matching him up well with Montas.
Brandon Crawford (L), 9 percent, San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres (RHP Chris Paddack): Paddack’s potential was discussed earlier, but this is his first foray into the Show. Crawford, a wily veteran, has the experience to make Paddack throw strikes, along with enjoying the platoon edge in a favorable lineup spot.
Ryan McMahon (L), 17 percent, Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins (RHP Sandy Alcantara): McMahon opens the season on the good side of a second base platoon with Garrett Hampson grabbing the at bats versus southpaws. McMahon has gap power, he just needs to make more contact.
Ian Kinsler (R), 4 percent, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Jeff Samardzija): There’s a good chance Kinsler’s time as a Padres regular is short-lived, but currently he resides at the top of an improving lineup. After amassing north of 200 innings for five straight years, Samardzija is coming off an injury-riddled 2018 campaign.
Christin Stewart (L), 16 percent, Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Trent Thornton): With injuries to Ryan Borucki and Clay Buchholz, the 25-year old Thornton is slated to make his MLB debut. Stewart may be challenged defensively, but the Tigers are more concerned about the slugger improving contact so he can get to his prolific power more often.
Curtis Granderson (L), 1 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Jon Gray): Granderson may be in the twilight of a productive career, but he still displays plate patience and can turn around a fastball. Both are good traits to have facing the hard-throwing Gray.
Scott Schebler (L), 6 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Joe Musgrove): Assuming Nick Senzel recovers quickly from his ankle injury, Schebler’s days as the Reds’ starting center fielder could be numbered. That said, he’ll have a few weeks batting atop a potentially prolific Cincinnati lineup.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher’s history (three years’ worth) as well as ballpark factors. “LH” and “RH” ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.