The MLB has a massive Friday night fantasy baseball slate to get the weekend started with only two teams not scheduled to be in action under the lights. The Wrigley Field matinee will keep the Cubs and Diamondbacks out of the player pool, but the other 28 teams all are scheduled to play. There are multiple weather situations to monitor as we approach game time, especially in the early games in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New York, Cleveland and Detroit.
As you break down the matchups and find the spots you want to get a piece of, you might find yourself a little strapped for salary as you fill in the final few spots on your roster. If you need a bargain bat or an affordable arm, these are the five options I think make the most sense based on form, matchup and expected opportunity.
SP ADAM WAINWRIGHT, STL vs. NYM, $7,400
Although I love Braves rookie Touki Toussaint ($7,300) against the Indians, I think the weather there will be too much of a factor to role with him on this slate. Instead, I’m going to the other end of the experience spectrum and going with Wainwright, who has been a fixture for the Cardinals for the past 13 years. Wainwright battled a slew of injuries but has worked his way back and looked strong in three outings this season. He has gone 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA and thrown six innings in each of his past two starts, allowing a total of just three runs.
Wainwright was excellent in his one start at home this season, holding the Padres to one run in six innings and picking up nine strikeouts on his way to 30.5 DKFP. He always has thrived at Busch Stadium, where his career ERA is an impressive 2.87 (compared to 3.82 on the road). He has had mixed results against the Mets but does have a good shot at a win given how the Cards have been crushing lately and their matchup against Jason Vargas ($5,600) and his 14.21 ERA and 2.84 WHIP.
SP AARON BROOKS, OAK vs. TOR, $6,900
Brooks was acquired by the Athletics at the beginning of September last season but didn’t make a start for Oakland until this season. The 28-year-old California native has been solid across three outings this season, going 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. His totals are a little high from a beating he took in Houston against the Astros. In his other two starts, he has allowed just three runs in 12 innings and two of those were inherited runners the bullpen allowed to score after he left his most recent start against Baltimore. He still got the win, though, and ended up with 13.9 DKFP.
This will be Brooks’ second start at home, and in his first, he earned 27.7 DKFP against the Red Sox. He’ll try to get his third win against the AL East as he takes on Toronto on Friday. The Blue Jays are hitting just .211 as a team against right-handed pitchers and rank in the bottom 10 in runs scored per game. Brooks doesn’t have a ton of strikeout potential but should be set up for solid innings and a good shot at a win.
SS ANDRELTON SIMMONS, LAA vs. SEA, $3,500
Simmons is known for his defense but has been a fixture in the middle of the Angels’ lineup this season, usually hitting third or fourth. He doesn’t offer prototypical power for a middle-of-the-order bat, but he has shown a bit of pop and the ability to drive in runs, trailing only Mike Trout ($5,700) for the team lead in RBI. Simmons has collected four RBI in his past two games and multiple hits in each of his past three contest to raise his average to .253 for the season.
After a wild 11-10 loss to start their series with the Mariners, Simmons and the Halos face lefty Marco Gonzales ($8,000) on Friday. Simmons is 9-for-22 (.409) against Gonzales in their past meetings and has had a little more power potential when facing lefties over the past few seasons. Even if he doesn’t bring a ton of home run potential, he can give you a solid middle-order bat and usually doesn’t come up empty as a value play.
1B MIGUEL CABRERA, DET vs. CWS, $3,500
Cabrera has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games, going 14-for-41 (.341) with three doubles, three walks and four RBI for 7.4 DKFP per contest. Hitting in the middle of a struggling lineup doesn’t provide him with a ton of opportunities to drive in runs, but the veteran still is making hard contact even though he’s in search of his first home run of the season.
If they’re able to dodge the rain and get in the opener of their three-game set against the White Sox, the Tigers will face lefty Carlos Rodón ($8,300), who Cabrera is 3-for-7 against in the past with a home run. The splits are in his favor as well since Cabrera is hitting .371 at Comerica Park with an .882 OPS this season and usually hits southpaws well.
2B/3B ERIC SOGARD, TOR at OAK, $3,200
Sogard played the first six seasons in the majors in Oakland, so it will be a bit of a homecoming as he and the Blue Jays take on the A’s. Sogard was promoted Monday and started the final three straight games of Toronto’s series in Minnesota. His elite on-base skills have landed him in the leadoff spot in each of those three starts, and he has been productive, going 6-for-12 with two doubles, three RBI, a stolen base and 13 DKFP per game.
Sogard had a nice run in 2017 as a regular member of the Brewers but struggled badly last season. After signing with the Blue Jays as a free agent this offseason, he might be the answer to their search for a leadoff hitter and makes a great affordable option while priced so affordably and hitting in such a prime lineup spot.
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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.