MLB Moment of Zen: Opening Day Thoughts with Lawr Michaels

Everything is new and optimistic on Opening Day, and that means there is a lot to be both optimistic and excited about playing both some prime and value picks among the host of FantasyDraft contests from which to choose.

FantasyDraft offers a fun configuration allowing a $100,000 Salary Cap for a lineup that features a pair of starting hurlers, three each of infielders and outfielders, tied to a pair of utility players, and that combo allows a lot of roster flexibility.

For our adventure into the 2018 season, we can look at DFS selections thinking in terms of pitching match-ups, ballpark factors, and of course, there is always the Zen, so let’s get off the first pitch and check out some players who look to give us some solid points the first day of the season.

Pitchers

Max Scherzer ($22,300):

Players are not going to get much more expensive than Scherzer, but Max, who has whiffed 36 over 26 spring frames while allowing just 17 hits, is in as much of a groove to start as an Ace can get. Thursday becomes the fifth straight Opening Day start for the three-time Cy Young winner who has notched a 3-1, 1.22 mark over 29.3 Opening Day innings with 29 whiffs and an 0.750 WHIP. The one loss Scherzer sustained was the result of three unearned runs over 7.6 frames with just four hits allowed. Advantage, Scherzer!

James Shields ($11,100): 

If Scherzer is a no-brainer, Shields might seem a stretch, but, to start remember in general hurlers have the timing advantage during the cool months to begin the season. Then, note that Shields went 1-0, 1.62 over three 2017 April starts striking out 16 over 16.6 innings while registering a WHIP of 1.11 before going on the DL. Meanwhile the Royals, who now boast big swinging Lucas Duda over on-base machine Eric Hosmer, managed a .258 average against right-handers last year and in a pitcher’s park, veteran Shields makes a fun and ideally sneaky value selection.

Hitters

Anthony Rendon ($8900):

The Nats hot-corner man turned in a monster–albeit somewhat quiet–offensive season in 2017, batting .301, posting an on-base percentage of .404 while boasting an OPS of .973 nailing a fantastic 44% of his hits for extra bases. Rendon has developed one of the more discriminating eyes in the Majors, and facing Homer Bailey (6-9, 6.93 with a 1.692 WHIP in 2017), whom righties clobbered to the tune of .339 last year, Opening Day looks to be a stat fest.

Joe Mauer ($7700):

This Joe Mauer is certainly not the All-Star, batting champ, and MVP, but he is indeed nettlesome at the plate, posting a .384 OBP in 2017 with 36 doubles, 66 walks, and a .305 average. Facing the hard-throwing Dylan Bundy could be a challenge, but the Orioles starter did allow a .261 average to lefties to go with a .321 OBP last year, and as a power pitcher, Bundy could encounter some troubles against the somewhat patient Twins who as it is hit .262 off right-handers and notched a .325 on-base percentage.

Tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Sunday, 2-4 PM ET/11 AM-1 PM PT, and you can follow me @lawrmichaels and Creativesports 2.0.

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