There are just three Friday nights left in this year’s MLB regular season, so take advantage of the massive fantasy baseball slate while you can. All 30 teams are scheduled to be in action under the lights, putting all the options in the player pool. There are some top-shelf starting pitchers to consider for your roster, but there are also some solid hitting matchups to try and squeeze in as well. If you’re paying up for pitching or heavy hitters, you’ll need to find some value plays to balance out your salary cap as well.
As you look through all the options, make sure to take a look at these players poised for success as studs and values at each position.
StudWalker Buehler, LAD at STL, $10,100 — Buehler fell victim to the harsh reality of pitching at Coors Field in his most recent start, allowing four runs in six innings and dropping to 6-5 on the season. In each of his seven previous starts, Buehler had allowed two runs or fewer. He went 2-1 in those seven outings with a 1.48 ERA, a .168 batting average against, 51 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings and 23.9 FPPG. Buehler faced the Cardinals during that run of success and held them to three hits over seven scoreless innings, striking out nine and finishing with 30.75 DKFP. Buehler was at home for that start, which is where he has had most of his success, but he’s worth a look in the road rematch in St. Louis as he tries to bounce back after his rough start in Denver. Other Options — Max Scherzer ($13,700), Cole Hamels ($9,200)
ValueJorge López, KC vs. MIN, $6,600 — López threw eight perfect innings against the Twins last Saturday and was lifted after a walk and a single in the ninth inning. He still got the win and finished with 26.8 DKFP. He actually was an even better fantasy baseball option in his previous start since he had twice as many strikeouts against the Orioles in seven strong innings to post 30.8 DKFP. López will look to continue his great results in a rematch with the Twins, this time at home in Kansas City. He has made five starts since joining the Royals as part of the Mike Moustakas ($4,100) trade and has flashed sufficient big-time upside to make him a great play at under $7K.
Other Options — Matthew Boyd ($8,400), Wei-Yin Chen ($6,800)
StudWilson Ramos, PHI vs. MIA, $4,300 — The Phillies have taken it easy with Ramos since acquiring the veteran catcher at the trade deadline, but he likely will return to the lineup after being out of the lineup Wednesday and an off-day yesterday. When he has played, he has been excellent hitting .404 with seven doubles, a triple and a home run in his 19 games for Philadelphia. He has thrived all season against lefties like Wei-Yin Chen ($6,800), going 33-for-100 (.330) with seven doubles, six homers and a .938 OPS.
Other Options — Salvador Perez ($4,000), Yan Gomes ($3,700)
ValueNick Hundley, SF vs. COL, $3,400 — Hundley has taken over behind the plate for the Giants since they shut down Buster Posey (hip). He has hit safely in five of his past six games, going 7-for-22 (.318) with a double. Most of his power production this season has come against lefties like Rockies starter Tyler Anderson ($6,400). Hundley is hitting .260 this season off of southpaws which includes six of his nine home runs, giving him a solid .801 OPS against lefties.
Other Options —
Tucker Barnhart ($3,400), Jonathan Lucroy ($2,900)
StudTyler White, HOU vs. ARI, $4,400 — While he isn’t the most well-known option at 1B or in the Astros’ lineup, White is a great midrange play as Houston opens its weekend series with Robbie Ray ($9,500) and the Diamondbacks. White has crushed lefties like Ray this season, hitting .327 with two doubles, three triples, three homers and a 1.092 OPS. He has become a huge part of the Houston offense and has hit safely in 16 of his past 20 games. In that timeframe, he is 25-for-76 (.329) with six doubles, two triples, five homers, 23 RBI and 11.3 FPPG.
Other Options — Anthony Rizzo ($5,000), Ji-Man Choi ($4,200)
ValueRowdy Tellez, TOR at NYY, $3,300 — Tellez has gotten some good playing time when the Blue Jays face right-handed starting pitchers, and both Kendrys Morales ($3,400) and Justin Smoak ($3,700) have awful track records against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka ($11,600). Tellez should get into the lineup in homer-friendly Yankee Stadium as a result. In his six starts since being called up, the 23-year-old is 9-for-22 (.429) with seven doubles, a home run and 10.7 FPPG.
Other Options — Ryan O’Hearn ($4,000), Daniel Murphy ($3,900)
StudWhit Merrifield, KC vs. MIN, $4,200 — Merrifield leads the American League in stolen bases after picking up five in his past three games to give him 36 on the year. He has 14-plus DKFP in five of his past six games and continues to be an affordable play from the top of the Royals’ lineup. He gets a potentially tough matchup with José Berríos ($9,000), but he has gone 6-for-20 (.300) against his AL Central rival in their previous meetings. Merrifield is hitting .302 on the season with an .802 OPS to go with all those stolen bases, so there are many ways he can boost your fantasy baseball lineup either from his 2B spot or in the OF, where he is also eligible.
Other Options — Javier Báez ($5,000), Jeff McNeil ($4,600)
ValueKetel Marte, ARI at HOU, $3,900 — Marte has had an underwhelming season as a whole, but he has been heating up lately and is especially worth a look since he’s facing a lefty. Marte is 6-for-19 (.316) with a double, a triple, and two stolen bases in his past eight games. He is hitting .314 with 15 doubles, three triples, six homers and a .928 OPS against lefties on the season, so he’s worth a look against Houston’s Dallas Keuchel ($7,900).
Other Options —
Brandon Lowe ($3,800), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ($3,200)
StudAlex Bregman, HOU vs. ARI, $5,400 — Bregman reached 100 RBI on the season by driving in three runs Wednesday night in Detroit. The 24-year-old has been on fire over his past 30 games, going 42-for-112 (.375) with 14 doubles, eight homers, 29 RBI and 12.3 FPPG. He has very favorable splits both at home and against lefties, so he’s worth paying up for as he faces Ray and the D-Backs at Minute Maid Park.
Other Options — Anthony Rendon ($4,700), Wil Myers ($4,400)
ValueHunter Dozier, KC vs. MIN, $3,400 — Dozier was scratched with a bad back Wednesday, but he returned Thursday, going 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and nine DKFP. Dozier has gone 18-56 (.321) with six doubles, three triples, two homers, 10 RBI and 9.6 FPPG over his past 14 games. Even though he is a right-handed hitter, almost all his success has come against righties, so look for him as a cheap option against Berríos if you need to save salary at the hot corner.
Other Options — Evan Longoria ($3,900), Rafael Devers ($3,300)
StudTrevor Story, COL at SF, $5,100 — Story and the Rockies have surged to the top of the NL West and opened up a game-and-a-half lead over the Dodgers. Story has emerged as a legit MVP candidate, and so far in September, he is 15-for-48 (.313) with four doubles, seven homers, 17 RBI, a 1.173 OPS and 14.8 FPPG. Most of that production has come at Coors Field, but he is hitting .283 with 10 homers on the road this year too, including going 13-for-31 (.419) at AT&T Park, where he’ll face Chris Stratton ($6,200) and the Giants. Story is 5-for-9 with a triple against Stratton in his career.
Other Options — Didi Gregorius ($5,200), Jurickson Profar ($4,300)
ValueWilly Adames, TB vs. OAK, $3,600 — Adames started slow, but since being called back up to the majors in July he has looked ready to deliver on his top prospect potential. He is hitting .320 with five homers, 16 RBI and five stolen bases in his 36 games since Aug. 1. He has hit six of his eight homers at Tropicana Field, where he has a solid .740 OPS. After being out of the lineup Wednesday, Adames should return as the Rays host Edwin Jackson ($7,100) and the A’s.
Other Options — Jorge Polanco ($3,900), Marwin González ($3,200)
StudNicholas Castellanos, DET at CLE, $4,800 — Castellanos has put together a solid season despite a thin Tigers lineup around him. He is hitting .294 with 21 homers, 81 RBI and an .842 OPS on the year and is surging to the finish with a strong September. He is 15-for-51 (.366) with four doubles, two home runs, a 1.047 OPS and 9.5 FPPG in his 11 games this month. Castellanos is a .318 career hitter at Progressive Field with four homers and an .863 OPS. He also has had success against Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin ($5,500), going 11-for-34 (.324) with three doubles and two home runs in their head-to-head meetings.
Other Options — J.D. Martinez ($5,000), Tommy Pham ($4,600)
ValueBilly McKinney, TOR at NYY, $3,600 — McKinney has been a nice pickup for the Blue Jays, who acquired him in the J.A. Happ trade from the Yankees. McKinney will be back in New York to face his former team, so he might have some extra motivation as he returns to the lineup after getting Thursday off since Toronto faced a lefty. In his 19 starts with the Jays, he is 23-for-69 (.333) with six doubles, four home runs, a .999 OPS and 8.9 FPPG.
Other Options — Nelson Cruz ($4,100),
Adam Engel ($3,400)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.