Even though the MLB is just getting the week underway, Monday has a solid nine-game fantasy baseball slate. With just two days left in April, we have about a month of stats to evaluate as we look at matchups and recent form for Monday’s contests. There are a few big names scheduled to be on the mound led by Justin Verlander ($10,800) and Patrick Corbin ($10,200) and some interesting matchups across the board. Only one game features division rivals as the Giants host the Dodgers in the final game of the night.
Whether you decide to bulk up on big bats or build around aces, you might need to stretch your salary to fill in your lineup. To help you pinpoint the best low-cost options, I’ve listed my top five bargains including two affordable arms and three bargain bats.
SP MANNY BAÑUELOS, CWS VS. BAL, $7,500
The White Sox bumped back Bañuelos’ second start of the season back to Monday after their Saturday game was canceled due to weather. As a result, the lefty gets a great matchup against the Orioles, who have scored just four runs over their past three games and are hitting just .227 this season on the road.
Bañuelos was solid against Baltimore last Monday going four shutout innings and posting 13.4 DKFP. It was his first start after coming out of the bullpen to start the season, which was why he wasn’t able to last long enough to get the win. He still might not be ready to go extremely deep into the game, but he should have a good shot at a win and produce solid fantasy production if he can continue his current form, which has resulted in a 2.51 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings this season.
SP ZACH DAVIES, MIL vs. COL, $6,800
Davies has been solid all season for the Brewers and enters this start with a 1.65 ERA in his five starts, averaging just less than 15 DKFP per start (his FPPG is deflated by a game in which he was a pinch runner). He hasn’t pitched deep into many games but did throw a season-high 103 pitches in his most recent outing against the Cardinals. His best start of the season came against the Dodgers on April 13, when he had 25 DKFP in seven strong innings.
So far this season, Davies has yet to allow an earned run at home and has held batters to a .211 average through 10 2/3 innings. His WHIP and other advanced numbers suggest he has been lucky this season to have such a good ERA, but even with a bit of regression, he should be a good investment at less than $7K. The Rockies aren’t a great matchup, but they don’t need to be avoided entirely since they are away from Coors Field. Davies has faced the Cardinals, Dodgers and Cubs in his past four starts, so his numbers have come against good competition.
1B ERIC HOSMER, SD at ATL, $3,700
Hosmer had a big series over the weekend, going 6-for-12 with a double and two home runs against the Nationals. He still is hitting just .243 on the season but does have four homers and 17 RBI. He is known as a streaky hitter and seems to be heating up with his in six of his past seven starts, including six extra-base hits.
The Padres continue their road trip through the NL East and head to Atlanta this Monday, where Hosmer will face Mike Soroka ($8,600). He might move back up to the second spot in the lineup since Fernando Tatis Jr. ($4,600; leg) had to leave Sunday’s game early. Tatis has been hitting leadoff, and his absence would shake things up.
2B JOE PANIK, SF vs. LAD, $3,000
There is a lot of potential value in the San Francisco lineup as it returns home and faces Dodgers righty Kenta Maeda ($9,700). Maeda has been up-and-down this season and has gone 0-2 with 11 runs allowed in 9 1/3 innings over his past two road starts. Panik has gone 6-for-14 (.429) against Maeda in their past meetings including a home run. The left-handed hitting 2B hit leadoff Sunday since Steven Duggar ($3,500; wrist) was sidelined for a second straight day. Whether Duggar returns and Panik hits second or Panik stays in the leadoff spot, there is solid value if Panik can continue to turn things around after a slow start.
He is hitting just .184 on the season but has picked up three hits in his past three starts including a double and a home run. Over the past few seasons, Panik also tends to be more productive at home than on the road.
2B/OF STEVIE WILKERSON, BAL at CWS, $2,400
Since his call-up last Monday, Wilkerson has appeared in all six of the Orioles’ games including five starts. He homered off the White Sox last week in his third game with Baltimore and added a stolen base in Saturday’s game against the Twins. He has hit safely in each of his past four starts, averaging eight DKFP per contest.
Especially since Bañuelos is a southpaw, the switch-hitting Wilkerson likely will be in the lineup again Monday. He’s still extremely cheap and is better than a punt play since he has shown he can contribute with occasional speed and power when given the chance.
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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.