Wednesday is a huge day for daytime baseball with eight games filling up the early fantasy baseball slate, but don’t worry, there are still a handful of games scheduled to take place under the lights. The five games in the main fantasy baseball contest get a bit of an early start with the first game scheduled to get underway at 6:40 p.m. ET, when the Mariners host the Padres. Three more games likely will start shortly after that as the Orioles host the Yankees, the Brewers visit the Padres and the Red Sox and Royals meet in the rubber game of their three-game set at Fenway. Weather could be a factor in all those contests, but it’ll be dry in Arizona, where the Diamondbacks host the Phillies at climate-controlled Chase Field.
Even with only 10 teams in action, there are some nice bargain options to consider as you round out your roster and avoid the wet weather. Here are the five affordable plays that I think have the most upside.
SP JOEY LUCCHESI, SD at SEA, $8,600
Normally I try to go cheaper with my pitching picks, but the options under $8K are a scary bunch on this slate. Lucchesi is in a nice spot against the Mariners and will look to put together a strong start like his teammate Dinelson Lamet did Tuesday. Seattle has dropped five straight and scored four runs or fewer in each of its past four games. Since the All-Star break, the Mariners have scored the fewest runs in the Majors while hitting .232 as a team. Against lefties, they lose some of their most powerful pats with Omar Narváez ($3,800), Kyle Seager ($3,600) and Daniel Vogelbach ($4,200) all in tougher matchups.
The situation sets up well for Lucchesi, who is 7-6 with a 4.23 ERA on the season. He has struggled in his four starts since the All-Star break but has continued to pick up enough strikeouts to stay fantasy relevant. He had a good start two outings ago against the Giants and had 23.9 DKFP in a no-decision. While he hasn’t been locked in, the favorable matchup and his strikeout rate are enough to make him a good play on this slate.
SP JASON VARGAS, PHI at ARI, $8,000
Vargas had a successful Phillies debut against the White Sox last Friday. He ended up with a no-decision but threw 6 1/3 strong innings, allowing just two runs on five hits and striking out five for 16.7 DKFP. He has at least 15 DKFP in four straight starts, dating back to this time with the Mets, and is 6-5 on the year with a 3.93 ERA.
Usually, Vargas doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, but he has shown some flashes of strikeout potential lately with 39 punchouts in 40 2/3 innings over his past seven outings. He has a good lineup behind him and a solid chance to pick up some wins and finish the season strong in the Philadelphia rotation.
2B/3B HANSER ALBERTO, BAL vs. NYY, $3,500
The forecast looks dubious, but if the Orioles and Yankees get the game in, Alberto is a great play at only $3.5K. All season, Alberto has been in my bargains whenever the O’s take on a lefty, which they are scheduled to tonight as they go up against James Paxton ($9,000). Alberto usually moves to the leadoff spot against southpaws like the Big Maple and has been productive all year when given that chance.
Alberto is hitting .407 on the season in 145 at-bats against lefties with six doubles, three homers and a .943 OPS. He has been rolling since the All-Star break, going 25-for-73 (.342) with three homers and a .856 OPS and seems to take particular pleasure in punishing the Yankees, who he is 16-for-38 (.421) against this season. He was briefly with the Yankees as he went from Texas to New York to Baltimore to San Francisco and back to Baltimore in a 16-month span before the season. Whether you like the revenge narrative or just the splits, Alberto is a solid and versatile play if the weather clears.
OF TRENT GRISHAM, MIL at PIT, $3,200
The Brewers already were giving the 22-year-old Grisham a look before Lorenzo Cain (knee) was forced to leave Tuesday night’s contest. Grisham made his Major League debut Aug. 5 and has started four of Milwaukee’s five games since then, going 5-for-15 (.333) with a double, a home run and five RBI. He led off two games before dropping to seventh Tuesday with Cain in the leadoff spot, but if Cain is sidelined or slowed, Grisham could move back to a premium run-producing slot at the top of the Milwaukee lineup.
In the minors, Grisham hit exactly .300 in 97 games split between the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers and the Triple-A San Antonio Missions. He hit 26 home runs and stole 12 bases with a 1.010 OPS in those stops, showcasing an intriguing blend of speed and power. If he’s hitting leadoff against Trevor Williams ($7,600) and the Pirates, he’ll be a great play at this price.
C FRANCISCO MEJÍA, SD at SEA, $3,200
The Padres likely will try to get Mejía in the lineup against the Mariners, especially with the added bonus of having the DH as they take on lefty Yusei Kikuchi ($5,000). Mejía is a nice way to fill your catcher spot with a potential impact bat and has been making the most of his limited chances lately. The 23-year-old has gone 12-for-32 (.375) over his past 12 games with a double, a home run and a .912 OPS. He had a 24-DKFP performance Sunday against the Dodgers but wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday after an off-day Monday.
Mejía is expected to be more a part of the Padres’ future than Austin Hedges ($2,900), and swings a better bat. The two continue to split time fairly evenly at this point, but San Diego might use the rest of the season to start seeing if Mejía is ready for a larger workload next season.
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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.