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DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks (4/9/21): MLB DFS Lineups

Happy Friday, RotoBallers! It's just over a week into the season, and I have to tell myself every day not to overreact in my season-long leagues to the early trends. That's part of the reason I love DFS. You can overreact a bit because you can play the hot hand and grab whoever you want each day.

MLB hasn't settled into its usual Friday rhythm yet. There are still teams waiting to play their home openers, and it's taking some games off our regular featured slate. Still, we have six games to fill our lineups with this evening and some exciting stacking opportunities. I think Lance McCullers Jr., Joe Musgrove, and Tyler Mahle all make sense as possible pitchers to start if you don't want a piece of the Zach Plesac show versus Detroit. I think their offenses can back them enough to put them in line for wins, and that does give them a slight edge in that department compared to the Cleveland offense supporting Plesac.

This article will provide you with my daily fantasy baseball lineup picks for DraftKings on 4/9/2021. The lineup will range from some of the elite players to mid-priced options and value plays. You can also check out today's FanDuel MLB DFS lineup picks and read more DFS advice and lineup picks for other sports too. It’s also important to monitor injury news and today's MLB starting lineups. If you have any questions or comments, contact me on Twitter.


DraftKings DFS Starting Pitchers

Lance McCullers Jr. - P, HOU vs. OAK ($9,100)

It's hard to keep the excitement down about LMJ this season. He's locked into a new contract, pitching in front of the hottest offense in the American League, and there's a brand new pitch with incredible results. In his first appearance of the 2021 season, McCullers went five innings allowing two hits, one earned run, three walks, but racked up seven strikeouts against these same Oakland A's. He earned six of those seven Ks with his new slider. According to baseball savant, the 27-year old threw it 35.8 percent of the time and produced a 40 percent whiff rate.

Another thing in the plus column for McCullers is pitching at home. In five starts last season, the right-handed hurler was 3-0 at Minute Maid Park with a 1.42 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, and a 28.4 strikeout rate. He will also have a fantastic chance at a win facing an Oakland team slashing .172/.232/.333 versus righties to begin the 2021 campaign.

Joe Musgrove - P, SD at TEX ($8,500)

I was pleasantly surprised to see Musgrove as the fourth-most expensive pitcher on the slate. He lived up to the pre-season hype in his Padres debut with six shutout innings and eight strikeouts against the Diamondbacks. Now, he will face a Rangers lineup that has gotten off to a hot start versus righties but seems to be playing over their collective heads right now. The righties they have faced wouldn't make you quiver with fear, and Musgrove is in a different class.

The 28-year old threw his cutter 24.4 percent of the time in his first start, which was highly effective. He only threw that pitch on 6.2 percent of his throws in 2020, and it will be interesting to watch tonight's start to find out if the heavy-cutter usage is a trend or a one-game blip.

Other Options: Zack Wheeler at ATL ($8,800), Tyler Mahle ($7,500)


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DraftKings DFS Infielders

Tucker Barnhart - C, CIN at ARI ($2,600)

The Reds have stuck to a routine over their first two series, and it's producing great results from their catcher position. Barnhart starts the first two games of each series, and then Tyler Stephenson appears in the final game. This season, Barnhart is 5-for-13 with four runs, a home run, and five RBI with a 1.121 OPS. Although that OPS is unsustainable, the 30-year old has a career-high 37.5 percent hard-hit rate and a .497 expected slugging, per baseball savant. As a team, the Reds lead the majors with 57 runs as they have stormed out to a 5-1 record. They will look to keep the good times rolling against Taylor Widener and the Diamondbacks on Friday.

Yuli Gurriel - 1B, HOU vs. OAK ($3,800)

The Astros will be a popular stack against left-hander Sean Manaea tonight, and Gurriel is the cheapest piece of the lineup to roster. The Cuban has cooled off this week after his blistering start to the season, but we will buy the dip and snag him at sub-$4,000 cost. Houston's lineup is pummeling teams to begin the year and leading the American League with 51 runs in seven games and a plus 31 run differential. Even with Gurriel slotting in as the sixth hitter in the lineup, he will have his fair share of chances to knock in some runs and continue the Astros ascension to the top of the AL West.

Jonathan India - 2B, CIN at ARI ($3,500)

What does India have to do to move up the lineup? I know the Reds are hot but come on, guys. The rookie has exploded onto the scene with a National League-leading .476 batting average yet still finds himself anchored in the bottom half of Cincinnati's lineup. The one positive about batting in that area is getting to drive in the guys ahead of him. Mike Moustakas (.560), Nick Castellanos (.480), and Tyler Naquin (.435) sit inside the top-30 hitters for on-base percentage. If India keeps raking, he will find himself higher up the batting order in no time, and DFS players won't see his price as low as $3,500 again.

Anthony Rendon - 3B, LAA at TOR ($4,900)

Rendon is averaging a modest 5.8 fantasy points per game through the first week of the season. Tonight, against the Blue Jays Steven Matz, that number has the chance to shoot up. The 2019 World Series champion is on a four-game hit streak but still waiting for his first extra-base hit of the 2021 season. However, the expected stats tell us it shouldn't be much longer. The Angel's third baseman has seen 74 fastballs this season and is hitting .235 against them with a .236 slugging percentage. That's well below his .296 expected batting average and .493 expected slugging. Matz threw his sinker 47.3 percent of the time in his first start. It all lines up for Rendon to have a quick bounce-back performance versus a pitch he routinely crushes.

Bo Bichette - SS, TOR vs. LAA ($4,700)

If I am doing a game stack on Friday, this Blue Jays vs. Angels may be my favorite target. Three home runs flew out of the TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, last night, and that trend should continue to start the weekend. Bichette has reached base in six consecutive games and had two home runs on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers. The shortstop went 1-for-5 in the series opener against L.A. last night with a run and a stolen base. It's hard to believe this is his third season at the major level, but he only played his 82nd career game on Thursday. For his "career," Bichette is battering lefties .992 OPS and a .250 ISO, and he will look to add to that against the southpaw Andrew Heaney.

DraftKings DFS Outfielders

Bryce Harper - OF, PHI at ATL ($5,400)

After looking at Harper's statcast page for 2021, it's a minor miracle that he hasn't hit a home run yet. He is inside the top 10 percent of the league in barrel rate, exit velocity, expected batting average, and expected slugging percentage. Per Fangraphs, he also has a hard-hit rate of 64.3 percent. Yes, short sample sizes are tough and risky to make conclusions from, but it only seems like a matter of time until Harper hits one way, way, way over the fence. It won't be the easiest matchup against Charlie Morton, but the six-time All-Star does have nine home runs and a 1.071 OPS in 27 games at Truist Park.

Trent Grisham - OF, SD at TEX ($4,400)

Grisham is expected to be activated from the 10-day Injury List before tonight's game and hopefully return to his leadoff spot for the Padres. The 24-year old broke out in the shortened 2020 season with 10 home runs and 10 steals. His .808 OPS left something to be desired, but his advanced stats back up his breakout last season. His 2020 season elevated him to a top-80 pick in redraft leagues, and expectations are sky-high for his encore. He will be in a lovely spot against the Texas Rangers as they throw out Kohei Arihara for his second start of the season. Arihara contained the Royals to three earned runs in five innings for his season debut but had a 10.35 expected ERA after that start. The Padres lineup is far more dangerous than the Royals, and Grisham will have several chances to open his 2021 account with a positive fantasy evening.

Myles Straw - OF, HOU vs. OAK ($2,800)

Straw was in contention for the leadoff spot during spring training, but manager Dusty Baker ultimately decided to return to the tried and true Jose Altuve method. This sunk Straw's place in the Astros lineup, and ultimately, his appeal in season-long leagues. However, he is doing his best to prove that he still deserves to be an everyday member of this electric lineup. Over his last four games, the outfielder is 3-for-10 with three runs, three RBI, one stolen base, and (in his most significant sign of improvement) has four walks to one strikeout. The power will never be there, and that limits his upside, but if you're telling me I can grab another piece of this Astros lineup for $2,800, that's an easy buy for me to kick off the weekend.


DraftKings DFS Stacks

  • Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea, LHP)
  • Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Taylor Widener, RHP)
  • SNEAKY STACK - Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays (Andrew Heaney, LHP vs. Steven Matz, RHP)


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