Friday night is a great night for fantasy baseball with 14 games on the slate after a matinee featuring the Padres and Cubs. The other 28 teams are all in the player pool for the main slate including familiar matchups, like the six divisional matchups, and some more unusual pairings, like the Rockies visiting the Yankees in the Bronx and the Mets out west visiting the suddenly surging Giants.
As you get your team assembled for the busy slate, make sure to take a look at these five bargains, who can give you a boost at an affordable salary to leave you the flexibility to pay up for big stars at other spots.
SP ADAM WAINWRIGHT, STL at CIN, $8,200
The 37-year-old Wainwright has flashed some vintage form lately and will look to keep things rolling in a good matchup against the Reds. He is still just 6-7 on the season but did lower his ERA under 4.00 with seven shutout innings Sunday against the Diamondbacks. He struck out seven and allowed just four hits on his way to an impressive 30.2 DKFP. He has posted more than 20 DKFP in four of his past seven starts while averaging 19.9 DKFP per outing during that span with a 2.98 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 48 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings.
The bump in strikeouts has helped compensate for some bad luck since opponents actually have an above-average .330 batting average on balls in play. Since that likely will regress in his favor, Wainwright should continue to dominate if he stays in form. The matchup against the Reds isn’t great because of ballpark factors, but he should get run support against a struggling Tyler Mahle ($6,000). The veteran Cardinal should have a good shot at a win after taking a tough-luck loss to the Reds earlier this season despite allowing just two runs in six innings.
SP TYLER BEEDE, SF vs. NYM, $6,200
One of the many Giants who has turned things around over the past few weeks has been Beede, who has started this month with a pair of sterling outings. He locked down the Padres and Brewers on the road and posted 23.4 and 22.2 DKFP, respectively, while going 2-0 and striking out 11 and walking no one in 13 2/3 innings.
San Francisco will need him to eat some innings after walking off a 16-inning marathon Thursday, but Beede has been up to the task lately. He has allowed more than three runs just one time in his past five outings and has picked up wins against tough opponents like the Dodgers and Brewers. He’s the best ultra-bargain SP2 option and should leave you plenty of salary to spend up on big bats.
2B/OF HAROLD CASTRO, DET vs. TOR, $3,200
There haven’t been many offensive highlights for the Tigers this season, but Castro has been a solid contributor in his 39 games since getting called up and recently has settled into the second spot in the lineup. The left-handed hitter has played 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and all three OF spots in his 30 games since June 1. During that span, he has gone 35-for-104 (.336) with two home runs, 12 runs scored, 15 RBI and a pair of stolen bases. He has been even hotter over his past 10 contests, going 16-for-41 (.390) with a 1.021 OPS and 10.1 DKFP per contest.
Castro and the Tigers open their series against the Blue Jays facing righty Marcus Stroman ($9,000). Stroman has been solid overall but has struggled a little bit against lefties, who he is allowing to hit .271 with a .750 OPS, compared to .234 with a .607 OPS for right-handed batters. There are some solid value considerations in the Detroit lineup, but Castro is my favorite bat under $3.5K given his impressive recent form and good spot in the lineup.
C JORGE ALFARO, MIA at LAD, $3,200
Alfaro has found a solid rhythm this month, going 13-for-40 (.325) with three doubles and a triple. He’s up to .270 on the season with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 74 games.
Whenever the Marlins take on a lefty, Alfaro is worth a look since he is 20-for-65 (.308) against southpaws on the year with a .840 OPS. He hasn’t face Hyun-Jin Ryu ($11,000) of the Dodgers but should be in the middle third of the Miami order as it opens its series in Los Angeles. Filling your spot behind the plate can be tricky, but Alfaro is a cheap option with upside.
OF BUBBA STARLING, KC at CLE, $2,800
Starling was once considered a top prospect but has had a long, tough road to the Majors including multiple injuries and a non-tender last offseason after being taken No. 5 overall in the 2011 draft just behind Trevor Bauer and just ahead of Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor and George Springer. The Royals are giving the 26-year-old a look since they don’t have much to play for and might as well see if he can be a part of their future plans. He was hitting .310 in Triple-A with seven homers and a .806 OPS before being called up.
Since joining the team after the All-Star break, Starling has started six of seven games, going 6-for-20 with a hit in each of his past five starts. He had his best game Thursday with 19 DKFP by going 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base against the White Sox. He’s in a tough matchup against Shane Bieber ($10,400) but has decent upside at an affordable salary. As long as he keeps getting something in every start, he’ll be a good option under $3K.
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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.