Headed into a long weekend, Friday night features a very nice 14-game fantasy baseball slate. Only the Brewers and Cubs are absent from the 28-team player pool since they play the Friday afternoon matinee at Wrigley. Exactly half of the 14 games on the schedule are divisional matchups while the other seven feature less common opponents, including the one interleague series between the White Sox and the Braves.
As you break down all the options on the board, you’re sure to find plenty of players in good spots to produce. If you run short of salary, though, check out these five potential bargains who can help balance out some big-salary players and still provide good production of their own.
SP KOLBY ALLARD, TEX vs. SEA, $8,000The Rangers acquired Allard from the Braves at the trade deadline in exchange for relief pitcher Chris Martin, and have used the former first-round pick in their rotation ever since. The 21-year-old lefty has a 4.64 ERA and 1.31 WHIP but most of that damage came in one rough outing against the Angels. He bounced back well in his most recent start, going 6 1/3 shutout innings against the White Sox and striking out eight on his way to 30.65 DKFP. He has actually produced over 15 DKFP in three of his four outings and has shown solid upside with 23 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.
Allard gets a good matchup against the Mariners, who struggle with left-handed pitchers and are hitting just .242 against southpaws on the season. Even in a less-than-ideal park situation at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Allard should be able to put together another strong start as he proves he’s ready to be a part of the Rangers’ rotation right away next season.
SP MAX FRIED, ATL vs. CWS, $7,500Another young lefty in a good spot will take the mound for Allard’s former team, the Braves. Fried faces the White Sox that Allard shut down in his last start as he looks to continue a strong second half. Since the All-Star break, Fried is 5-0 with a 3.35 ERA in seven starts. He has fanned 42 batters in 37 2/3 innings over those outings and averaged 18.8 DKFP as a result.
Fried had a rough outing in his last start against the Mets thanks to a three-run homer from Pete Alonso ($4,800). However, he only has allowed four home runs over his past seven starts, so it doesn’t seem to be a serious concern moving forward. Fried gets a good head-to-head matchup with Iván Nova ($7,300) and has a good shot at a win in this matchup.
2B NICK SOLAK, TEX vs. SEA, $3,500Since joining the Rangers, Solak has impressed, going 12-for-32 (.375) with two doubles, a home run and a stolen base to help him average 8.4 DKFP per contest. He went 2-for-4 with a steal on Wednesday for 13 DKFP and now has at least that many fantasy points in three of his four home contests for the Rangers.
Solak hit .289 in Triple-A this season, splitting time between the Texas and Tampa farm systems. He added 27 home runs for a .894 OPS and definitely has more power than he has even shown in the Majors to this point. Solak was very good against lefties in the minors, including going 11-for-28 (.393) with three homers and a 1.094 OPS in Nashville before being called up to Texas. The matchup with Marco Gonzales ($8,400) in a hitter-friendly environment should set him up to deliver nice value at the keystone spot this Friday.
1B/OF SAM TRAVIS, BOS at LAA, $3,500The Red Sox have gotten solid work from Travis, who has become their regular 1B against left-handed starters. He’ll likely get the start after an off day as the Red Sox visit the Angels and face José Suarez ($6,200) in a good matchup. Travis has gone 19-for-68 (.279) against southpaws with five home runs and a .871 OPS in the majors this season.
His role doesn’t lend itself to good per-game numbers since often he comes off the bench, but in his 12 starts this month, he has been held hitless just twice. He offers some good power potential especially against Suarez, who is 0-3 with a 6.93 ERA at home and has given up 16 home runs in 13 games including 13 to right-handed batters, who have a 1.038 OPS against him.
C FRANCISCO MEJÍA, SD at SF, $3,200Mejía has been playing in the OF and batting second against left-handed pitching for the Padres lately, and he’ll be a good value if he’s in that premium lineup spot against Madison Bumgarner ($10,200) and the Giants in the late game on this slate. Mejía is still just 23 and has put together an impressive month to show he can be a key part of the Padres’ young core.
In August, he has gone 23-for-66 (.348) with three doubles, four home runs and a 1.000 OPS. Like many Padres, his splits favor the road where he has hit .286 with a .843 OPS. He also has good splits against southpaws, hitting .298 with a .748 OPS. He has become a regular in the San Diego lineup and should return to action after getting Thursday night off.
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