The MLB has a solid nine-game fantasy baseball slate on tap for this Wednesday as teams continue their first series of the week with several series closing out before teams travel tomorrow. There are some big-name aces on the mound, including Jame Paxton ($9,700) looking to help the Yankees avoid a sweep in Houston and some high-priced bats like the red-hot Christian Yelich ($5,500) and Cody Bellinger ($5,400). As you build your roster, though, you also will have to find the right bargain plays to balance out some of those big-ticket spends. Here are my top two pitchers and top three hitters who have affordable salaries but plenty of upside this Wednesday.
SP FRANKIE MONTAS, OAK at BAL, $8,100
Montas looked impressive throughout Spring Training, going 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 16 innings. He earned a spot in the rotation right out of the gate and has carried over that success with two strong outings. He allowed just one run in six innings and earned a win along with 25.1 DKFP against the Angels. His next start was a little bumpier against the Astros, but he still limited damage and had 11.3 DKFP despite allowing two runs on seven hits in five innings.
As he takes on the Orioles, Montas has a great matchup in which to continue his success. Baltimore has scored more than four runs just once in its past seven games. The Athletics’ lineup also has been productive, giving Montas a good shot at a win as he goes head-to-head with Dan Straily ($7,500), who comes into this start with a 33.75 ERA.
SP JORDAN LYLES, PIT at CHC, $6,800
Lyles came off the IL with a solid start Thursday against the Reds, allowing just three hits and three walks in five shutout innings. He didn’t get the win and only had a pair of strikeouts so finished with just 11.7 DKFP. He was limited to just 80 pitches in that outing but should have a higher cap after reporting no setback with the side injury that forced him to start the year on the bench.
Last season, Lyles bounced around, splitting time between the Padres and Brewers. He was very good at the end of the season in the Milwaukee bullpen and seems set to start the season carrying over that momentum. Lyles has never been much of a strikeout pitcher but did have 22 punchouts in 16 1/3 innings out of the bullpen last season for the Brew Crew. He will look to continue his early-season success for the Pirates after joining them as a free agent this past offseason. It’s not a great matchup, but Lyles has had success against the Cubs in his career, going 2-2 with a 3.89 ERA in 41 2/3 innings.
OF BRANDON NIMMO, NYM vs. MIN, $3,400
Nimmo still is hitting just .152 (5-for-33) on the season but has seemed to find his groove over the past two games, collecting three extra-base hits including his first home run of the season. He connected on a solo shot in the third inning Tuesday off of Kyle Gibson of the Twins.
He’ll get another matchup at home against the Twins, as the Mets face Jake Odorizzi ($7,500). Nimmo hasn’t faced Odorizzi in his career but fares much better against righties than lefties. He typically sits in a nice lineup spot in the leadoff spot and is a good option in the OF for the second game of this brief two-game series.
OF MELKY CABRERA, PIT at CHC, $3,000
Cabrera is an even cheaper option to consider in the outfield and has gotten off to a strong start to his first season with the Pirates. The 14-year veteran has gone 11-for-25 (.440) with two doubles, three RBI, a .982 OPS and even a stolen base in his first nine games with the Bucs. He went 2-for-2 in the series opener against Chicago on Monday and was the only Pirate with multiple hits.
In this matchup, he’ll face off with Yu Darvish ($7,400), who he has gone 3-for-12 with a double against in the past. Darvish struggled a bit with lefties in his first two starts of the season, allowing them to go 7-for-19 (.368) with a double, a home run and a 1.099 OPS. With all the injuries in the Pirates’ outfield, Cabrera should keep getting playing time and has a good chance to keep producing against Darvish and the Cubs at Wrigley.
1B ALBERT PUJOLS, LAA vs. MIL, $3,000
Another veteran with an extremely affordable price Wednesday is Pujols. Pujols has gone 9-for-39 (.231) to start the season but has hit safely in five of his past six games. He has at least seven DKFP in four of those six contests.
He usually hits in the heart of the Angels’ order and gets a chance to produce solid RBI. With Mike Trout ($5,600; groin) possibly missing from the lineup, Pujols and the rest of the Angels will need to pick up the slack against Brandon Woodruff ($8,300) and the Brewers. Woodruff has allowed six runs in nine innings over two starts so far this season.
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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.