Since it’s still early in the season and there are many weather concerns, the MLB has a busy day of getaway games this Wednesday but also still offers us five games on the main fantasy baseball slate. With 10 teams to pick from, you’ll need to select each matchup carefully. If you are going with big bats, you might need a cheap starting pitcher, or if you go with aces on the mound, you’ll have to save on a spot or two in your lineup.
This post is available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and tries to help you find the best bargains for your lineup. Each post will highlight two pitchers at $7,500 or under and three hitters $3,500 or under, who I think will offer good returns based on their form, matchup and opportunity.
SP JON LESTER, CHC at ATL, $7,500
The Cubs will give the ball to Lester for their second game in Atlanta on Wednesday night. In his Opening Day start, the lefty looked sharp, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings. He only struck out three so finished with 15.9 DKFP.
His matchup against the Braves is a tough one, but the Braves are hitting just .182 against southpaws so far this season in an extremely small sample size. Last season, Lester went 11-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 15 starts on the road and most of his awful outings came at Wrigley Field. He still can be a boom-or-bust play, and his strikeouts will need to go up before he is again an elite option. However, his record on the road last year and proven track record give him enough upside on this limited slate to be a solid mid-range option.
SP MILES MIKOLAS, STL at PIT, $7,200
Mikolas also started on Opening Day but ended up taking the loss after giving up five runs in five innings to the Brewers. He’ll look to bounce back against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Like Lester, he had success on the road last season, going 10-0 with a 3.53 ERA in his 16 road starts. He also pitched well against Pittsburgh, going 1-2 but posting a 2.90 ERA in five outings.
The downside of going with Mikolas is he doesn’t typically rack up strikeouts, which limits his upside. Mikolas had 146 strikeouts in 200 2/3 innings last season. He can give you solid innings and a good shot at a win because of the lineup backing him, but he probably won’t go off for a huge number. What he can bring is solid production with low risk so that you can bulk up your bats.
OF STEVEN DUGGAR, SF at LAD, $3,200
The Giants added Kevin Pillar to bolster their OF, but they still should save a space for Duggar in their lineup, especially against righties. Duggar has hit leadoff against both righties and lefties this season and has had decent success, going 7-for-24 (.292) with a pair of doubles, a stolen base and a .721 OPS. He collected multiple hits in each of the first two games in this series against the Dodgers, going 2-for-5 and 2-for-4.
Last season, Duggar hit .272 in Triple-A and .255 in the Majors, stealing 16 bases in 119 games at the two levels. Duggar likely will hit at the top of the lineup against Ross Stripling ($10,200) and will be in a good run-producing spot even though the Giants’ lineup isn’t power-packed.
1B RONALD GUZMÁN, TEX vs. HOU, $3,500
Guzmán is just 2-for-14 to start the season but both hits have been important and for extra bases. He had a double Saturday against the Cubs and homered Monday against the Astros. The 24-year-old lefty showed some pop as a rookie last year, hitting 16 homers with a .722 OPS.
Even in a tough matchup against Gerrit Cole ($11,400), Guzmán is one of the few bargain options with significant upside since he does bring some power potential.
C CHRISTIAN VÁZQUEZ, BOS at OAK, $3,300
The Red Sox’ lineup has been a letdown so far this season, and the reigning champions failed to score a run in their first two games against the Athletics. Vázquez did get one of the team’s seven hits Tuesday with his second double of the season.
Vázquez has a hit in four of his first six games and is hitting .222 (4-for-18) with a home run, two RBI, a stolen base and a .763 OPS. The Boston bats should be able to break through against Marco Estrada ($5,200), and Vázquez is a cheap way to get a piece of their turnaround.
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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.