Friday wraps up a busy fantasy baseball week with a fun 15-game slate in which all 30 teams are scheduled to be in action. Six of the matchups are between divisional foes while most of the rest are against teams in the same league but a different division. The one exception is the interleague matchup between the Rangers and the Reds.
With 30 teams in play, there are obviously plenty of options to analyze and consider. If you find yourself short of salary in a spot or two, check out these top five bargains, who don’t cost as much but come with great upside in their matchup Friday.
SP EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ, BOS at BAL, $8,000
Rodriguez was knocked around by the Rays in his most recent outing but was cruising before that. He still struck out seven and finished with 13.4 DKFP in that start but had more than 21 DKFP in four of his previous six starts. He is 6-4 on the season with a 5.00 ERA, but those numbers still are inflated by a slow start.
E-Rod gets a great matchup and has great upside against Baltimore. The Orioles traded Rodriguez to the Red Sox as a prospect, and he has enjoyed coming back to haunt his former team. In his career, he is 7-5 with a 3.65 ERA in 16 games against them with 95 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings. In eight starts at Camden Yards, he is 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA. The Baltimore lineup has produced 20 runs over its past six games while hitting just .233. Rodriguez had a season-high 29.2 DKFP in his start against the Orioles earlier this season and has a ton of value potential at $8K based on his strikeout rate and matchup.
SP STEVEN BRAULT, PIT at MIA, $6,400
Another lefty on the road in a good spot is Brault, who is showing he can hold a spot in the Pirates’ injury-depleted rotation. Brault has pitched in 11 games with five starts this season and has dialed in lately with a 2.11 ERA over his past four outings with 14 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.
His longest start of the season came in his most recent outing against the Brewers. He went 6 1/3 and finished with 15.45 DKFP, which would have been more but a runner he was responsible for scored after he was replaced and he ended up with a no-decision. He’ll look to keep pitching well and hopefully get a win against the Marlins, who have scored an MLB-low of 232 runs in 66 games and hit just .236 as a team and .234 against lefties like Brault. The Pirates’ SP doesn’t have the high ceiling of Rodriguez due to a lower strikeout rate but still could be a solid play if he keeps putting together solid innings at such a low salary.
2B/3B HANSER ALBERTO, BAL vs. BOS, $3,400
The Orioles haven’t had many bright spots this season but one has been the progression of Alberto, who has feasted on lefties like Rodriguez this season. He is 34-for-80 (.425) with two home runs and a .982 OPS against southpaws and typically moves up into the leadoff spot. Even though I like Rodriguez’s value a lot, he does give up some hits and runs, so Baltimore’s lineup doesn’t necessarily need to be avoided.
Alberto also comes in riding a nice run of recent results, having played in eight straight games and going 14-for-36 (.389) with a double and 7.1 DKFP per contest. Alberto went 1-for-2 against Rodriguez earlier this season and is a great way to get production under $3.5K at either 2B or 3B, allowing you to pay up at other spots.
OF TYLER NAQUIN, CLE at DET, $3,400
Naquin missed almost a month with a left calf strain but has found a nice groove since returning from the injured list. He has started four of the past six games for Cleveland and gone 5-for-13 (.385) with a home run and two doubles. He has hit safely in all four of those starts and averaged 9.0 DKFP.
On Friday, Naquin and the Tribe will take on Ryan Carpenter ($4,800) of the Tigers. Even though Carpenter is a lefty, Naquin is worth a look since the Tigers’ starter has allowed left-handed hitters to go 10-for-29 (.345) with an .897 OPS in his six starts. He has a 10.53 ERA in his four starts at Comerica Park, so the Indians’ lineup has the potential for plenty of value starting with Naquin’s hot bat available for under $3.5K.
1B TYLER WHITE, HOU vs. TOR, $3,100
Last season, White offered nice power production for the Astros, hitting .276 with 12 homers in 66 games. This season, though, the 28-year-old struggled badly out of the gate and lost a lot of playing time. He has started to turn things around lately, though, and is worth a look at this affordable salary if he is in the lineup again Friday.
White hit his second home run of the season Tuesday and had 18 DKFP. He has averaged 9.5 DKFP in his past four starts and seems to be seeing the ball better and making stronger contact. Even with Yordan Álvarez ($4,400) adding some pop to the middle of the lineup since being called up, White has been in the lineup and playing 1B. He should continue to get playing time while Jose Altuve (hamstring, knee), Carlos Correa (rib) and Aledmys Diaz (hamstring) all are sidelined, which allows Yuli Gurriel ($3,900) to move to different spots and open 1B for White. If White gets the start Friday, he’ll be in a favorable spot against Blue Jays SP Aaron Sanchez ($4,600), who is 0-6 in his past eight starts with a 5.71 ERA and six home runs allowed in 41 innings.
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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.