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The MLB Fives for May 1

The MLB Fives_03

Starting Pitchers

1. Clay Buchholz RHP BOS @ TOR (Elite)- The Blue Jays have hit 30 HRs off of right-handed pitching so far, good for second in baseball. I say that to present a risk factor with Buchholz for today. However, I still think he’s pitching at such a high level that he still deserves consideration as the best option. Arencibia and Encarnacion have been the big hitters so far against the RHP. Their BvP data against Buchholz suggests that they won’t be so “big”. Arencibia is 0 for 11 and Encarnacion is 1 for 15 against Buchholz. That’s a .038 AVG if you are keeping track. The reason why I’m not worried is that Clay has only given up 1 HR so far and not given up more than 2 earned runs in any of his starts. Don’t be scared.mlb_g_buchholtz11_600

2. Chris Sale LHP CHW @ TEX (Elite)- Sale is a very talented LHP, and he will be facing a very talented right-handed lineup in the Rangers on first glance. Digging deeper you see some struggles to hit for power and average past Berkman, Jeff Baker and Cruz this year against LHPs. In fact Cruz and Baker have four of the five HRs they’ve been able to hit. Only five HRs puts the Rangers as fourth worst in baseball against LHPs. Sale has eliminated lefty batters. They are of no use to even put on the field against him (1 for 27).  Sale has struggled against RH batters so far this year, but that is mainly because of one really bad outing. He’s had 4 out of his 5 starts go for a minimum 7 innings, 6 Ks, and a quality start.

3. Paul Maholm LHP ATL vs WAS (Elite)- Picking Maholm against the Nats makes me nervous, but the Nats generate most of their run support from their lefty hitters. Espinosa should be out for this one, and I don’t think Maholm will have any trouble righting himself after his last start was rather bad. The Nats have the second worst AVG against LHP at .212 in all of baseball. Maholm owns lefties (3 for 33 so far). The Braves also seem to be in the Nationals heads at the moment which should present a real problem towards the end of the season.

4. David Phelps RHP NYY vs HOU (Value)- I like that the Yanks are giving Phelps a shot to start again. I’ve always thought he had the chops and didn’t understand why they haven’t given him more of a chance. David can’t get a better prove-yourself matchup than against the Astros as a RHP. I don’t think he can fail today. I only worry about his innings. Everything else will take care of itself.

5. Andrew Cashner RHP SD @ CHC (Value)- I told you guys that Cashner is way to talented to be wasted in middle relief for the Padres. He is as filthy a flame-thrower as there is and maintains the speed on his pitches deep into games. He’s fully stretched out and should find a matchup with the Cubs to be favorable. I only worry about Rizzo, DeJesus, and Schierholz. Cashner won’t be worried I’m sure. Enjoy his lower price tag while it lasts. I will be running him out there on those grounds alone. He’s not going to be cheap for long. I’d even recommend a Phelps/Cashner staff for DK based on their 5K price.

Hitters

1. Chris Davis 1B/OF BAL (Elite) @ SEA RHP Aaron Harang- I’m in love, infatuated, blown away, beside myself with Chris Davis new-found approach at the plate. He looks like an entirely different hitter. He’s cut his K rate and increase his walk rate tremendously. I’ll go one step further and proclaim Davis a very real MVP candidate this year if he keeps up his patience at the dish. I love his flexibility on DK too, and his price is still managable. Harang is bad, and matchups don’t get any juicier than this. He’s a no-doubter today.

2. Paul Goldschmidt 1B ARI (Elite) vs SF RHP Tim Lincecum- Goldy has been a guy that I’ve used quite often this year. I’ve also used a lot of Lincecum’s competition against him, which hasn’t worked out for me to this point. I’m still not a believer in Lincecum. Call me stubborn, but I’m not buying just like I wasn’t buying that Halladay was all the sudden okay after three good starts. You should know I’m not crazy about BvP data, but Goldy’s numbers against Lincecum are worthy of note. He has a .571 AVG and 5 HRs in just 14 ABs. That’s just filthy. Lincecum is still throwing meat with his fastball, and Goldschmidt is due to hit a bomb. Goldy’s R/R split is .314/.417/.500 compared to a much lower split against lefties. So he’s definitely liking the righties this year. I think he’s a must-start.Paul+Goldschmidt

3. Chase Headley 3B SD (Elite) vs SD RHP Scott Feldman- Headley is at his best when he gets to smash right-handed pitching. Feldman is a very smashable RHP. Headley has hit safely in his last five games and laced five extra base hits over that span. I like using switch-hitters. I don’t really know why because their splits are usually comprable to that of a strict lefty or righty batter. Feldman is nothing more than a filler pitcher, and somebody is going to generate some runs for SD in this one and I think it could be Headley. If you like switch hitters, I also like Carlos Santana C and Nick Swisher 1B/OF against LHP Cliff Lee believe it or not. Don’t tell anybody though because Lee could make me look stupid for that one.

4. James Loney 1B TB (Value) @ KC RHP Luis Mendoza- Loney is hitting .333 against RHP so far. I could argue that there isn’t a hotter hitter over the past week. Loney has three 3-hit performances in his last four. Don’t expect Loney to hit a HR, but he is definitely stringing together great at bats. Loney profiles better for FD (2,700) than DK (3,300)  because of his propensity to hit singles, but I think Mendoza will give him every opportunity to hit some extra base hits as well. I don’t know if I will be able to squeeze Loney in any of my lineups but he has plenty of value at his low price.

5. Nolan Arenado 3B COL (Value) @ LAD RHP Josh Beckett- There is all kinds of value to be found at 3B on DraftKings. Arenado, Brandon Laird(1B elig), Anthony Rendon, and Cody Ransom (SS elig) are all that beloved 2,000 dollar price tag. I like Arenado the best mainly because of his matchup versus RHP Josh Beckett. Beckett has been very HR prone to start the year. He’s given up 2 HR in four of his five starts. Five of those eight HRs have been to right-handed hitters. Now, I’m not positive Arenado will be the righty or Rocky to take Beckett deep, but he has the pedigree to hit for power and average. He has more tools than 90 percent of the players ranked ahead of him. He’ll have those rookie-clunker games which he’s already showed in 2 of his first 3 games.

**Jeff Baker 1B/OF TEX vs LHP Chris Sale seems to be a good matchup as Baker has hit .467 and 2 HRs vs LHPs and is only 2K on DK. I think Sale dominates this game or else he’d definitely be in my value section. I would have no problems rostering him as a filler and Sale at the same time either.**

Five Teams to Stack

1. Baltimore Orioles @ SEA RHP Aaron Harang

2. Tampa Bay Rays @ KC RHP Luis Mendoza

3. Boston Red Sox @ TOR LHP Mark Buehrle

4. Arizona D’backs vs SF RHP Tim Lincecum

5. Cleveland Indians vs LHP Cliff Lee

About Ben Pritchett

Member of the FSWA. Top 4 2012 Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Expert. Top 3 Finisher in the 2012 DSFC football championship. Written for The Hardball Times and Daily Joust.

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