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Daily Diamonds - Thursday

Editor's Note: Daniel Dobish, an award-winning writer and veteran in the Fantasy industry, has joined the team. Be sure to check out his Daily Fantasy Analysis throughout the entire MLB season!


Thursday, May 1, 2014 - TV schedule

1:10 p.m. - L.A. Dodgers at Minnesota (MLB Network)
7:10 p.m. - Seattle at N.Y. Yankees (MLB Network)
7:10 p.m. - Tampa Bay at Boston (MLB Network)


-- Each day we'll provide a look at MLB cities with outdoor venues which have a 30 percent or more chance of precipitation. It's rather risky to insert guys into your Daily Fantasy lineup in games with a good chance of delay or postponement.

1:10 p.m. - L.A. Dodgers at Minnesota (50 percent chance of showers)
7:10 p.m. - L.A. Dodgers at Minnesota (30 percent chance of few showers)

When setting your lineup in advance, it is probably a good idea to avoid players from Game 2 of the doubleheaders in L.A. Dodgers-Minnesota and Tampa Bay-Boston. My theory when setting a lineup in advance is to avoid players in the nightcap of doubleheaders and any game with a 30 or more percent chance of precipitation. There is still plenty to choose from after those games/teams are eliminated.

BIG-TICKET ITEM (Salaries $10,000 and Above)

Marco Estrada, SP, Milwaukee (at CIN): Estrada hits the road for Great American Ball Park. He is 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three road outings this season with 16 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. Since the start of the 2011 season, Estrada is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in four appearances (three starts) at GABP with 27 strikeouts over 21 innings. The Reds are hitting a collective .176 against Estrada at home, making him a must-start. Plus, during the same stretch, Cincinnati's Homer Bailey is 3-5 with a 5.37 ERA in nine outings against Milwaukee, while the Brewers are hitting .277 against him.

Ervin Santana, SP, Atlanta (at MIA): There are a few things that made me post this pick with some trepidation. First off, the Marlins have been great at home this season, winning the first two games of this series by a convincing margin. However, Santana has also lasted at least six innings in each of his four starts, he has allowed a total of six earned runs during the span, and he has struck out six or more batters in each of his four outings. He doesn't walk people, he limits damage and he will make plenty of Miami bats miss, win or lose.

MID-LEVEL VALUES (Salaries between $7,500 and $9,999)

If you spend big up top, you’re going to need some fillers to bring down your average per player salary. Check out these steals from the bargain bin:

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado (vs NYM): Arenado pushed his hitting streak to 20 games, longest in the majors this season, posting another multi-hit game Wednesday night in Arizona. Now, Arenado returns home where he is hitting just .275 versus .344 on the road. However, all four of his homers and 10 of his 15 RBI have home in Coors Field despite having 10 fewer at-bats. He is a must-start at this price level regardless of splits, because he has just been red hot and he still comes with a very reasonable price tag.

Billy Butler, 1B, Kansas City (vs TOR): Butler comes into Thursday's game still searching for his first home run of the season. He also has struggled with a .221 batting average. That's why he enters into this game with an ultra-low price tag. He is a career .333 hitter (20-for-60) with three doubles, three homers, 15 RBI and a .903 OPS all-time against Toronto Blue Jays SP Mark Buehrle. At best, he finally breaks that ugly homer drought against a guy he is very familiar. At worst, he disappoints again, but at least you save salary to spend at other positions.

Melky Cabrera, OF, Toronto (at KC): The Major League's leader in hits (41) left Wednesday's game at Kansas City due to a bruised shin. However, the injury is not believed to be serious, and he could start Thursday's series finale. If he is in the lineup, 'The Melkman' has been delivering, especially against Kansas City Royals SP Jeremy Guthrie. He is 13-for-37 (.351) with five doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBI to go along with a .973 OPS.

THE BARGAIN BIN (Salaries less than $7,500)

Travis d'Arnaud/Anthony Recker, C, N.Y. Mets (at COL): D'Arnaud started the last game behind the dish Tuesday, and Wednesday's game was rained out. So each receiver is well rested and ready to go. Check back later in the afternoon to see the final lineup before settling. Either way, you cannot lose. D'Arnaud comes with an ultra-low price, and he'll save you money to spend elsewhere. Recker has been hotter, and he might be the better play if he gets the nod.

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