The MLB is back to a full schedule this Friday with 13 games on the main fantasy baseball slate. Only the Pirates, Cubs, Nationals and Phillies are absent from the player pool due to their early starts with the other 26 teams all available. The Rangers and Astros are the only teams playing for the second day in a row, while the other 24 teams are playing their first game after the break.
As you welcome fantasy baseball back by building your lineups for what should be a fun Friday, take a look at these five bargains, who offer excellent upside at an affordable salary. They appear to be set up to outperform expectations and can help you save significant salary to pay up in other spots.
SP ROBBIE RAY, ARI at STL, $7,900
Ray always has a high ceiling due to his solid strikeout rate, which also can cover for some runs allowed if he struggles with his command. He was sharp in his most recent outing before the break, allowing just two hits and one run in six strong innings against the Rockies while striking out eight. He earned the win to improve to 6-6 and lowered his ERA to 3.96 while also posting 27.3 DKFP.
In five of his seven most recent starts, Ray has posted at least 20 DKFP with both of those slip-ups coming on the road. At home, he has gone 3-2 with a 3.45 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings. He hasn’t faced the Cardinals yet this season, but St. Louis hasn’t been a bad matchup to attack especially on the road, where the team is hitting just .243. Ray has a high ceiling and should deliver good returns for an option under $8K.
PLR FELIX PEÑA, LAA vs. SEA, $6,700
The Angels will use Taylor Cole ($4,300) as their opener Friday before giving the ball to Peña for the bulk of the innings. Peña has put together a solid season so far, going 6-2 with a 4.72 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings. He won his most recent appearance with four innings out of the bullpen for 16 DKFP against the Astros.
He’ll be in an even better matchup against the Mariners, who lead the majors with 911 strikeouts in their 94 games. Peña had 22.4 DKFP against Seattle when he faced them at the end of May and has posted at least 11 DKFP in six of his seven appearances dating back to that outing. He doesn’t have to pitch five full innings to get the win since he isn’t the starter, and he has the potential to be a great value if he continues to put together solid innings.
2B JASON KIPNIS, CLE vs. MIN, $3,600
Kipnis got off to a brutal start to the season but has been picking things up lately. He still is hitting just .240 on the season but has gone 23-for-83 (.329) over his 19 most recent games with 19 RBI, five home runs and 10.5 DKFP per contest.
He usually hits cleanup for the Tribe and offers good upside with power potential against the Twins. He is 14-for-33 (.424) in his career against Kyle Gibson ($7,600) with a pair of doubles and a home run. Gibson has been inconsistent lately, and the Indians could get to him and have a big start to the second half.
OF VICTOR REYES, DET at KC, $3,500
The Tigers placed JaCoby Jones (back) on the injured list a week ago and have been giving Reyes his starts in CF and batting leadoff. Reyes had at least eight DKFP in three of his four games after arriving with a splash on July 4 and posting 17 DKFP. The 24-year-old has decent speed and solid power. He had nine homers and an .806 OPS in Triple-A with seven steals in 65 games.
Reyes and the Tigers will take on Danny Duffy ($6,800), who has gone 0-4 with a 5.27 ERA over his past seven starts. Detroit’s lineup should be a solid source of value overall, and Reyes is a great way to save salary in the OF while still getting a bat at the top of the order.
2B/3B MICHAEL BROSSEAU, TB at BAL, $2,500
With Ji-man Choi (ankle) expected back Saturday or Sunday, Brosseau could be headed back to the minors after Friday’s game. He has played very well since being recalled, though, so he could stay around until Brandon Lowe (shin) returns next week. Brosseau has looked good in both of his two brief stints with Tampa Bay, going 10-for-26 (.385) with four doubles, a home run, five RBI and a 1.061 OPS.
Brosseau and the Rays return from the break with a favorable matchup in Baltimore against Dylan Bundy ($7,200), who has been more effective recently but still has allowed 20 home runs in his 17 starts, including five long balls in his three most recent outings. Brosseau and the Rays should offer good production at hitter-friendly Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the rookie will be a great cheap play if he remains in the lineup.
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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.