MLB DFS: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Sunday, March 31

MLB DFS: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Sunday, March 31

The first Sunday of the MLB season. It feels like baseball is back now. Every team is in action. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. ET. Here are your lineup recommendations. Enjoy the 2024 MLB season.


Brandon Pfaadt, ARI vs. COL ($42): It was a tale of two seasons for Pfaadt, and I am not talking about his impressive postseason pitching compared to the regular season, when he had a 5.72 ERA. One of the best pitching prospects in baseball, the righty struggled upon his MLB debut and needed to be sent back down to the minors. Pfaadt was recalled after the All-Star break and managed a 4.22 ERA in 70.1 innings while striking out over a batter an inning. This is a bet on Pfaadt taking a step forward in 2024. As to the Rockies, they finished 18th in runs scored last season, and that's with having the best home park for hitters in MLB.

Jack Flaherty, DET at CWS ($30): It's been several seasons since Flaherty had a 2.75 ERA with the Cardinals, but he did have a 4.10 FIP last year. He just needs to get his walks under control and have some better luck with his BABIP. The White Sox finished 29th in runs scored last year and had a .291 OBP as a team. If anything, the roster is worse in 2024.

Paul Blackburn, OAK vs. CLE ($26): The usual play when the Athletics are involved is to target their offense. This time, though, the script is flipped. Last year Blackburn struck out 9.03 batters per nine innings and allowed only 0.95 homers per nine innings. He had a 3.57 ERA in Oakland's pitcher-friendly (and soon to be departed) ballpark as well. The Guardians finished 27th in runs scored last year, mostly because they were comfortably last in home runs.

Top Targets

I, among many others, is excited to see what Corbin Carroll ($23) does as an encore. He ran away with the NL Rookie of the Year award by hitting .285 with 25 homers, 54 stolen bases, and 10 triples. Carroll had a .921 OPS against righties and a .902 OPS at home as well. Ryan Feltner is a righty, and while Coors Field has hurt his numbers, since 2022 he has a 5.29 ERA on the road as well.

The 2022 season was a wash for Ozzie Albies ($21), but that campaign is sandwiched by two seasons wherein he had over 30 homers, 100 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. While he's a switch hitter, he definitely likes to see a lefty out there. Albies had an 1.023 OPS versus southpaws last year. Ranger Suarez, meanwhile, had a 5.45 ERA at home and let righties hit .278 against him.

Bargain Bats

Out of nowhere, DJ Stewart ($15) popped into the Mets' lineup and splashed across 58 games. The lefty slugged .506 and hit 11 homers. He had a .919 OPS against righties, and an .833 OPS at Citi Field. Colin Rea was also a surprise last season, earning a spot in the Brewers' rotation even though he had not pitched regularly in MLB since 2016. That yielded a 4.89 FIP, with lefties hitting .251 against him.

Though Colt Keith ($9) is not an elite prospect, he is a notable quantity to the fantasy-minded folks because the rookie is ensconced at second base for the Tigers with a six-year extension he signed before making his MLB debut. Last season, Keith posted an .890 OPS at Triple-A. Last season, Erick Fedde was pitching in Korea trying to get his career on track. The White Sox are taking a shot on him, but Fedde has a career 5.19 FIP as an MLB pitcher. I'm not expecting a turnaround.

Stacks to Consider

Astros vs. Yankees (Clarke Schmidt): Yordan Alvarez ($23), Kyle Tucker ($18), Victor Caratini ($10)

Schmidt was moved out of the bullpen and into the rotation in 2023. It didn't go well! He had a 5.23 ERA on the road, and lefties smashed him. Southpaws batted .303 versus Schmidt. The Astros' two best hitters are lefties, but notable after that they lack for left-handed hitters. Caratini is a switch-hitting catcher, though, so at his salary I'd take a shot on him.

Alvarez is maybe the best hitter in baseball. He's slashed .295/.389/.586 in his career with over 30 home runs in each of the last three seasons. The Cuban hits in basically every scenario, but in each of the last two seasons he's posted an OPS over 1.000 against righties. Tucker is no slouch in the power department, having slugged .506 in his career. The lefty has some real speed on the base paths as well, though. He's been a 25/25 guy in each of the last two campaigns. Since 2022, the switch-hitting Caratini has a .717 OPS against righties. This is his first season with the Astros, which may benefit him. He had a .554 OPS at home in his two years with the Brewers, but an .801 OPS on the road.

Reds vs. Nationals (Jake Irvin): Elly De La Cruz ($19), Will Benson ($16), Jake Fraley ($13)

As a rookie, Irvin struggled mightily. He had a 4.61 ERA in 24 starts and allowed 1.49 homers per nine innings. However, on the road he had a 4.89 ERA and allowed 2.1 home runs per nine. Additionally, lefties hit .274 against Irvin, which is why I have three Reds with an affinity for facing right-handed pitchers.

Benson flashed as a rookie, even if he got overshadowed a bit. He hit .275 with 11 homers, 19 stolen bases, and eight triples in only 108 games. Benson likely would have played more, but his fellow southpaws really hamper him. That being said, he had a .938 OPS against righties. As a rookie, De La Cruz was fun, exciting, and…deeply flawed. The switch hitter tallied 13 homers and 35 swiped bags in only 98 games, but with a .300 OBP and a litany of strikeouts. While the shortstop is a switch hitter, he may want to think about giving up on that. De La Cruz couldn't hit lefties at all, but hit .255 and slugged .471 against righties. Fraley will DH whenever a righty is on the mound of the opposition. He's slugged .455 in total since joining the Reds, and last season he had 15 homers and 21 stolen bases. Since 2022, when he joined Cincy, he has an .838 OPS versus righties, and also an .827 OPS at home.