This Wednesday, DraftKings has a solid six-game fantasy baseball slate lined up with all the games starting fairly close together early in the evening. Only one of the six games is divisional contests, featuring the Braves hosting the Mets, while the other five games include a pair of interleague contests with the Cardinals and Royals wrapping up this version of the I-70 series and the Pirates visiting the Angels.
There are a few big-name aces on the mound and a few great hitting situations to attack, but you might find yourself strapped for salary if you want to include some of the high-priced options. The following five bargain plays are set up to produce solid returns on minimal investment and can help you have the salary to pay up for the stars you want on your roster.
SP MARCO GONZALES, SEA at DET, $8,700
On Friday, Gonzales had a solid start going against the Rays before a comebacker off his left leg forced him to depart after 6 1/3 innings. He already had matched his season-high with nine strikeouts and allowed just two runs on seven hits for 22.9 DKFP in the no-decision. Gonzales is expected to make his start against Detroit despite the injury and should be ready to take advantage of this favorable matchup.
Gonzales has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three of his four most recent starts and in eight of his past 11. He has gone 7-3 in those 11 outings with a 3.54 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings. Even though he doesn’t usually have a high enough strikeout rate to be an elite option, he has been striking out more batters lately and should be able to take advantage of a thin Tigers lineup. The Tigers are hitting an MLB-worst .236 as a team this season and have struck out 56 times over their past six contests.
SP DILLON PETERS, LAA vs. PIT, $6,300
Another affordable lefty to consider is Peters, who has been solid in his four games since re-joining the Angels towards the end of July. Peters has gone 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in four games as either starter or bulk reliever. He has 19 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings and has averaged 14.9 DKFP per contest. He was effective in his past two appearances on the road against tough opponents in Cleveland and Boston but will get a much easier matchup at home against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh has struggled badly since the break but has bounced back to take the first two games of this series in Anaheim. The Pirates have had their struggles against southpaws this season, hitting just .248 with a .680 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Peters has a high ceiling if he continues his form from his past two outings, and even if he has only a decent outing, he can offer strong returns since his salary is barely over $6K.
OF TRAVIS DEMERITTE, DET vs. SEA, $3,700
One of the few bright spots lately for the Tigers has been the play of Demeritte, who they acquired from the Braves in exchange for relief pitcher Shane Greene at the trading deadline. Demeritte was hitting .286 with 20 home runs and a .944 OPS in 96 games at Triple-A when he was acquired but immediately was added to the Tigers’ Major League roster and has been getting regular playing time.
After scuffling a bit in his first few games, Demeritte has hit safely in seven straight contests, going 9-for-25 (.360) with three walks, a double, a triple, a home run and two stolen bases, helping him average 10.7 DKFP per contest. He has at least 12 DKFP in four of those seven games, including the first game against the Mariners on Tuesday, when he had 15 DKFP in Detroit’s 11-6 loss. Even though I like Gonzales’ and Seattle’s chance to get the win, Demeritte has shown he can do enough to make him a nice OF option under $4K.
2B STARLIN CASTRO, MIA vs. LAD, $3,500
Castro has had an inconsistent year in the Marlins’ struggling offense but has started to turn things around recently. He did take the collar, going 0-for-4 against the Dodgers on Tuesday, but prior to that he had hit safely in nine of his previous 10 starts, going 17-for-44 (.378) with three home runs, 11 RBI and 12 DKFP per contest. He even had 20 DKFP or more in three of four before coming up empty in Los Angeles’ blowout win in Game 1 of the series.
The Marlins face a tough task as they take on Clayton Kershaw ($11,800), but Castro has been hitting lefties well all season. He has gone 41-for-124 (.331) against southpaws with five of his 11 home runs and a .843 OPS. He can produce solid numbers from either the second or fifth spot in the order and is a solid low-cost option at the keystone despite his matchup with Kershaw.
3B/SS DAVID FLETCHER, LAA vs. PIT, $3,400
The Angels have used Fletcher as their regular leadoff hitter this season, giving the 25-year-old a good chance to use his advanced approach to get on base. He is hitting .284 on the season and has a .343 OBP, so he makes sense at the top of the order even though he doesn’t have blazing speed.
Fletcher got Monday off but came back Tuesday with a big game, going 4-for-4 with a double, a walk and 22 DKFP. His hits tend to come in clusters, and he has gone 8-for-27 (.296) over his past six games with three multi-hit efforts. He doesn’t usually bring a lot of power to the table but is a line-drive specialist who usually can find a way to contribute when the Angels’ offense is going well. He and the Halos will take on Chris Archer ($8,200) as they try to avoid a sweep at home against the Pirates.
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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.