To help start the weekend right, Major League Baseball has 28 teams in action Friday night with only the Brewers and Cubs not on the main fantasy baseball slate since the teams have an afternoon game at Wrigley. Everyone else is ready to go for the weekend series, and the weather seems ready to cooperate as well. With so many options to choose from, there should be good distribution across the board.
Whether you decide to pay up for pitching or build around big bats, you may end up short on salary for a roster spot or two. If you fill those spots with the right bargain play, they can give you good production while also enabling you to pay up for those players with heftier salaries. Here are my top five bargains for this Friday, who I think will return excellent value based on their form, matchup and expected opportunity.
SP TREVOR WILLIAMS, PIT at STL, $7,500The group of starting pitchers under $8K on this slate all come with pretty major risk factors. Williams is one of the most well-established of the bunch, but his matchup is the concern since the Cardinals have been hitting the ball well all season and opened their series against Pittsburgh by hanging 17 runs on the Pirates.
Williams will try to turn that around as he goes for his second win of the season. In his seven starts, he has a 3.74 ERA and 1.11 WHIP to go with a 1-1 record and 32 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings. He has reached double-digit DKFP in six of those seven starts but hasn’t been able to match the 27.1 DKFP he put up against the Reds in his first start of the season. While he is risky due to the matchup, he typically works out of enough trouble to be serviceable. He’s the lowest risk of the options on the board under $8K, but he’s a low-ceiling, high-floor kind of play most of the time.
SP ANÍBAL SÁNCHEZ, WAS at LAD, $7,000The Nationals shut out the Dodgers in the first game of their series in Los Angeles behind a strong outing from Patrick Corbin. Sánchez will try to continue the Dodgers’ downturn, but it’s a much tougher lineup for righties to navigate. The 13-year veteran comes into this out having lost four straight starts but has pitched better than his 0-5 record indicates.
Sánchez has 36 strikeouts in his 36 2/3 innings including 16 strikeouts in 9 2/3 over his past two starts. His last time out he allowed only two unearned runs to the Phillies and put up 24.9 DKFP despite not being able to work five full innings. He has at least 11 DKFP in five of his past six starts, so like Williams, he probably won’t be a total bust if you use him as a salary-saver in one of your SP slots.
1B/OF MARWIN GONZALEZ, MIN vs. DET, $3,400The Twins gave their offense a boost with a busy offseason that included signing Gonzalez as a free agent from the Astros. In the early part of the season, Gonzalez struggled to get anything going and was hitting just .167 when the calendar hit May 1. However, since then he has turned things around and started to produce some nice numbers. He is 9-for-29 (.310) in May with a double and four walks boosting him to a .739 OPS.
Gonzalez has shown in the past he can get hot and be a great fantasy asset and should be in a good matchup to keep things rolling on Friday. He’ll be at home and against a righty which are both favorable splits for the switch-hitting utility fielder. The Twins will start their series against the Tigers as they on Tyson Ross ($6,000), who hopes to start after dealing with a stiff back that forced his start to be delayed. Ross has allowed 22 runs in 30 1/3 innings and gave up five runs in 1 1/3 inning in his most recent start.
3B GIO URSHELA, NYY at TB, $3,400The Yankees have been able to weather the storm of their early-season injury onslaught thanks to players like Urshela stepping up. The 27-year-old has played 29 games for the Yankees this season, already surpassing the 19 he played all of last year in Toronto. Urshela has had a hot bat, hitting .354 with eight doubles, two home runs, and a solid .947 OPS.
Even with Miguel Andújar ($3,300) and Gleyber Torres ($3,600) back, Urshela has stayed in the lineup, for the most part, playing 3B while Andújar plays DH. He was forced to come off the bench Thursday after sustaining a knee contusion Wednesday but still delivered a two-RBI, pinch-hit single. Urshela should be back in the lineup Friday for a tough matchup in Tampa with the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow ($10,400).
2B JOE PANIK, SF vs. CIN, $3,100Panik has taken over as the Giants’ leadoff hitter and been productive in the role for a lineup that is still in search of more regular production. He is hitting .306 (11-for-36) when batting at the top of the order with a double, home run and .759 OPS. Panik doesn’t steal a ton of bases but can get on base and help get the lineup going.
On Thursday, Panik was out of the lineup against a lefty, but he should be back in the top spot Friday against the Reds’ Luis Castillo ($10,600). Panik is 2-for-5 with a walk in his career against Castillo and will hope to continue that success and extend his hitting streak to 10 games. In his past nine, he is 12-for-37 (.324) while averaging 8.3 DKFP per contest.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.