Get ready to finish the work week with a fantasy baseball frenzy because the MLB is scheduled to have all 30 teams in action Friday night. In the marquee matchup, the resurgent Red Sox face the Astros in an ALCS re-match at Fenway Park, while in the National League, the Cubs and Nationals meet in a matchup that used to have more elite luster before the Nationals struggled badly out of the gate.
As you break down all 30 teams and their matchups for this Friday to build your lineup, you’ll want to make sure you get the most production for your salary space at each position. Check out my top five bargains listed below to see who I think is set up to out-perform their affordable price point.
SP COLE IRVIN, PHI vs. COL, $7,000
Irvin had an impressive MLB debut last Sunday, fanning five Royals in seven innings on the road and only allowing one run on five hits. He finished with an impressive 24.2 DKFP and earned another start while Vince Velasquez (forearm) is on IL and Nick Pivetta is figuring things out in the minors.
While he isn’t viewed as an elite prospect, Irvin went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in Triple-A before being called up and continued that success against Kansas City. He’ll take the mound at home this Friday as the Phillies host Colorado. If this game was at Coors, I’d stay away, but the Rockies are a much different offensive team away from altitude. On the road, they average just 4.5 runs per game (compared to 6.0 at home) and are hitting just .217 as a team. Irvin isn’t known as a strikeout guy, but he’ll be worth his affordable $7K salary in this matchup if he continues his momentum from his hot start in the minors and strong debut.
SP JEFRY RODRIGUEZ, CLE vs. BAL, $6,800
Rodriguez has made four starts for the Tribe this season and put together a solid 2.92 ERA and 1.18 WHIP while going 1-2. He has pitched at least 5 2/3 innings in each start and earned between 11-16 DKFP. Rodriguez has done a good job limiting damage, but his fantasy ceiling is limited because he only has 15 strikeouts in his 24 2/3 innings.
Even without big strikeout potential, Rodriguez is a solid sub-$7K play for Friday because he has a great matchup against the Orioles, who rank 25th out of 30 teams in runs scored and are hitting just .236 as a team on the season. Over the past week, they’ve been even worse, scoring just 14 runs in five games while hitting .222. Rodriguez has shown he can give solid innings and limit damage enough to be a relatively low-risk bargain play in this matchup.
1B YONDER ALONSO, CWS vs TOR, $3,400
Alonso is always an intriguing play when under $3.5K because he brings nice power potential. He hit 23 homers last year with the Indians and already has six this season with Chicago, despite hitting only .182. His average has been on the rise lately, though, as he has gone 5-for-21 (.238) over the past week.
The 32-year-old Cuban typically hits in the middle of the White Sox’ order and gets a good matchup against Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez ($6,900), who he has gone 3-for-5 with a home run against in previous career meetings. Sanchez has allowed four home runs and 13 runs over his past three starts, so the White Sox could be a solid source of value.
2B JASON KIPNIS, CLE vs. BAL, $3,300
Kipnis is another veteran who struggled badly at the start of the season but is turning things around. He exploded for 38 DKFP in the series opener against the Orioles on Thursday, highlighted by his first two home runs of the season. Kipnis has five multi-hit games in his past 10 and is hitting .262 with a .864 OPS in those 10 contests to raise his season totals to .216 and .640, respectively.
He has been hitting second in the lineup regularly, which is a great run-production spot and should set up well for him as he takes on Dylan Bundy ($7,300). Kipnis is 4-for-9 with a home run off Bundy in the past, and Bundy has allowed 11 homers in 40 2/3 innings this season, making him a good option to stack against.
OF BRYAN REYNOLDS, PIT at SD, $3,300
Reynolds continues to find playing time in the Pirates’ outfield even though many of the regulars have returned from their injuries. He is hitting .297 through his first 21 games in the Majors with six doubles, a home run and a solid .766 OPS. He has proven he can be a solid source of batting average and offers a little bit of pop as well.
The reason I like Reynolds in Friday’s matchup against Joey Lucchesi ($8,200) is that the switch-hitting 24-year-old is 8-for-17 (.471) with three doubles and a 1.147 OPS against lefties since being called up. In Triple-A, he went 9-for-18 (.500) with three home runs against southpaws. Based on the favorable splits, Reynolds should be a good mid-lineup bargain play in the late game this Friday.
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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.