This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
Happy Cinco de Mayo, everybody! While some people are using this minor Mexican holiday as an excuse to day drink, the world of Major League Baseball is up to business as usual for a Sunday. That means a full slate of games, the bulk of which are in the afternoon. As always, all you daily fantasy baseball players have to get your lineup in early. You have less time to consider the matchups, less time to find out about guys who are hurt and less time to see how the weather is going to play out as well. Fortunately, the weather seems like it won't be an issue in the bulk of the country, and afternoon starts gives teams more time for potential rain delays as well. However, I've got some recommendations for you to try and make your decisions easier, short timeframe or not.
I will not sugar coat this: It's a BAD day for pitchers. Justin Verlander ($58) is always reliable, of course, but he's also on the road against the Angels. That's not a terrible matchup, but if I'm excited about it at all it's only because of Verlander's pedigree. Zack Greinke is stuck pitching in Coors Field. If you consider Jose Quintana a top-line pitcher, fair enough, but he's facing a Cardinals team that's in the top 10 in runs scored to start the year.
However, there are a couple of hurlers who stick out to me. Luis Castillo ($54) is off to a hot start to the season. He has a 1.45 ERA, and even though his FIP indicates he's been lucky, a 2.79 FIP is nothing to sneeze at. Sure, this marks a big uptick in performance from the Reds pitcher, but there's a lot of potential in his arm. Plus, his opponent, the Giants, finished 29th in runs scored last season, and they are in the bottom five again to start this year.
I'm a Tigers fan, so I happen to have caught a couple of Spencer Turnbull's ($35) starts recently. He's not a name on most radars, but he's allowed exactly one run in his last three starts. Additionally, though he had a 6.06 ERA in limited action in 2018, he had a 2.79 FIP, so that was some small sample size bad luck. Turnbull is at home against a Royal team than finished 25th in runs scored last year and doesn't have much power in their lineup.
Of course, the flip side of an iffy day for pitchers is an enticing day for hitters. People are wringing their hands about the Red Sox, but Mookie Betts ($24) has given no reason for fear. He's not hitting like last season when he had a 1.078 OPS and won the MVP, but complaining about a .289/.392/.500 slash line is silly. Plus, he's facing Dylan Covey, who is stepping into the White Sox's rotation. He has a 6.11 career ERA and has allowed 1.54 home runs per nine innings.
Francisco Lindor ($20) has gotten off to a slow start, but I'm not worried. He has more than 30 homers in each of his last two seasons, and he had 25 stolen bases last year as well. His BABIP is .214 in 2019, compared to his career BABIP of .300. He will get better. A matchup with Erik Swanson could cure what ails him. The Mariners pitcher has been in four games this year and posted a 6.62 career ERA.
If you want a couple less-prominent names to consider, Randal Grichuk ($18) has hit more than 20 homers in each of his last three seasons, and he already has five this year. This game is in the Rangers' ballpark, which is a hitter's paradise, especially when the weather gets warmer. Drew Smyly is returning from the injured list, and he has a 7.80 ERA in five starts. Lastly, there's Avisail Garcia ($14), who is now plying his trade with the Rays. Since 2017 he has an .894 OPS against lefties. Baltimore's starter John Means is a southpaw, and he's allowed 1.55 homers per nine innings in his career.
Brewers vs. Jason Vargas (Mets)
Christian Yelich is usually a safe bet, but he's been dealing with a back issue, and Vargas is a lefty. It's not like the reigning NL MVP is a zero against southpaws, but he is worse against them. So let's go with two righty bats and a switch-hitting catcher in Grandal.
Cain has a .917 OPS against left handers since 2017, and he's stolen at least 24 bases in four of his last five seasons. Braun doesn't hit like he used to, but he still has power. He's hit seven home runs this year, and six of them have come at Miller Park, where this game is. Meanwhile, Grandal had to sign a one-year deal this offseason, but he's paying off for the Brewers. He has a .264/.347/.453 slash line.
As for why this is a matchup worth stacking against, Vargas has a 5.75 ERA this year, which is actually an improvement on the 5.77 ERA he had last season.
Braves vs. Pablo Lopez (Marlins)
Lopez has only made 16 starts in his career, but he's not done a great job in that time. He has a 4.37 career ERA, and that's with his home runs per nine innings having dropped considerably from his rookie campaign. This is mostly about me liking these bats from the Braves, especially the two lefties Freeman and Markakis.
I mean, I don't need to tell you about Freeman's bat, right? The dude hasn't had a batting average below .300 since 2015. Markakis doesn't wow anybody. He doesn't have a ton of power at this point. What he does have, though, is a reliable bat. He has a career .289 batting average, and his average this season is .322. As for Swanson, it seems like the first-overall pick is finally putting it together. He has a .261 batting average to go with a .514 slugging percentage. Plus, last season he did hit 14 homers while stealing 10 bases in 136 games.