It shapes up to be a fun Friday night of fantasy baseball with a dozen games on tap. The Wrigley matinee and a few unusual Friday off days leave us 24 teams to choose from on the main slate. Coors Field hosts one of five divisional contests as the Rockies take on the Giants, and the Red Sox and Yankees will meet in the Bronx as Boston battles to stay in the playoff race.
There aren’t many big-name pitchers on the mound tonight but there are some solid options to consider. It looks like an offense-heavy slate and there are plenty of high-priced bats to consider as you put together your lineup. If you need some less expensive options at the plate or on the mound, check out these five bargains who I think can produce good return on investment this Friday.
SP DUSTIN MAY, LAD vs. SD, $7,600
The Dodgers are getting great production from their rookies, and they’ll hope that trend continues when they call May up for his Major League debut against the Padres. May is only 21 but the big 6-foot-6 right-hander is considered the top pitching prospect in the Dodgers’ system. He has been impressive in his five starts in Triple-A, going 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings.
May features a curveball that gets plenty of groundouts, a nice cutter and a plus fastball. His changeup is still a work in progress but should continue to develop. He gets a great spot to make his debut at home against the Padres, who hit just .240 in July and scored the third-fewest runs in the Majors. May could find a spot in the rotation or the bullpen for the stretch run with a strong showing, and he has lots of upside at just over $7.5K, although there is always a slightly higher risk in debuts as players jump to the next level.
SP STEVEN MATZ, NYM at PIT, $7,700
Matz was dominant in his most recent start, throwing a complete-game shutout against the Pirates allowing just five hits and no walks while striking out seven. He gets a rematch against Pittsburgh in this outing and will look to build on his strong results since returning to the rotation three starts ago. In those three outings, he has posted a 1.89 ERA and struck out 15 batters in 19 innings.
While he has been good at home, Matz has scuffled a bit on the road, going 2-6 with a 6.40 ERA. He should be able to improve that number since he dominated the Pirates so thoroughly the previous time he faced them. Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled against southpaws like Matz all season, hitting just .244 with a .666 OPS, which is the second-lowest mark in the Majors.
2B SCOOTER GENNETT, SF AT COL, $3,500
The Reds traded Gennett to the Giants at the trade deadline, and San Francisco likely will get their new 2B into the lineup Friday as they open up a series at Coors Field with the Rockies. Gennett was injured most of the season but had been rounding into form a bit lately. He hit safely in five of his past seven games, going 9-for-29 (.310) with two doubles and three RBI.
Gennett had back-to-back strong seasons in Cincinnati, hitting .295 with 27 home runs in 2017 and .310 with 23 home runs last season. If the 29-year-old can stay healthy, he’ll offer a significant upgrade for the Giants at the keystone, where they have gotten minimal production this season. Gennett is a great way to get some exposure to Coors Field at an affordable salary. He has hit .423 in his 16 career games in Denver, going 22-for-52 with six doubles, three home runs and a 1.176 OPS.
1B/3B CHESLOR CUTHBERT, KC at MIN, $3,600
Cuthbert has had a solid season for the Royals and become a fixture in the middle third of the lineup. He is hitting .288 on the season with six homers and a .754 OPS and especially has had success against lefties, going 15-for-47 (.319) with three of his homers against southpaws, helping him to a .950 OPS.
The Royals open a series in Minnesota, where they’ll take on lefty Martín Pérez ($7,900). Cuthbert is 5-for-8 in his career against Pérez with a double, a home run and four RBI. He enters this matchup with a five-game hitting streak and hitting .299 over his past 20 games, averaging 6.9 DKFP per contest.
1B/OF SAM TRAVIS, BOS at NYY, $3,100
Travis has been a solid contributor for the potent Red Sox offense since being recalled from Triple-A on July 16. He has gone 12-for-33 (.364) in his 14 games with three doubles, two home runs, five RBI and even a stolen base. He has been a regular in the starting lineup when the Sox face a lefty, which they will again as they take on James Paxton ($8,700). Travis is 12-for-41 (.293) in the Majors this season against southpaws and both his home runs have come against lefties.
In what should be a high-scoring game in the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, Travis has good power potential and offers nice salary relief at just over $3K. Travis has averaged 9.6 DKFP per contest over his past five starts, so he’s worth a look if he’s in the lineup Friday night.
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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.