Start your Memorial Day weekend with a big fantasy baseball slate this Friday as 28 of the 30 teams in the MLB are scheduled to be in action under the lights in DraftKings’ featured contests. Only the Reds and Cubs, who are in an afternoon game at Wrigley Field, are absent from the player pool, leaving a deep pool of options to search through to find just the right matchups to target.
If you find yourself looking to save some salary at a spot or two to round out your roster and save some salary, check out these affordably priced players who are in good spots to be bargain plays that deliver great value this Friday.
SP PABLO LÓPEZ, MIA at WAS, $7,500
It has been a roller-coaster of a season for López, who has had some great starts and some absolute clunkers this season. He is 3-5 with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP after nine starts this season but has allowed no earned runs in three of his past five outings with more than 23 DKFP in each of those starts. While the ceiling is tantalizing, there have been some rough outings as well, most notably two starts ago, when he was pounded for 10 runs and 10 hits in three innings against the Mets to finish with -15.1 DKFP. He bounced back and shut the same team out on just one hit for seven innings in his most recent start, showing some solid resilience.
López can be excellent when he’s on his game and gets a decent matchup in Washington against the Nationals. The 23-year-old hasn’t faced his division rivals yet this season but still offers a high enough ceiling to be my favorite bargain arm this Friday.
SP JEFF HOFFMAN, COL vs. BAL, $6,800
Another starter with intriguing upside is Hoffman, who will be making his second MLB start of the season as the Rockies host the Orioles. Hoffman struck out six in five innings in his most recent start but gave up four runs and took the loss to go with his 11.7 DKFP. Hoffman had similar results in Triple-A with good strikeout numbers, 44 in 35 2/3 innings, but an elevated ERA of 7.57.
Hoffman’s strikeout rate makes him worth a look especially since he’ll be facing a lineup that ranks near the bottom of almost every offensive category. Even after a four-game set with the Yankees in which it scored 21 runs, Baltimore is hitting just .235 as a team and ranks 23rd in the majors in runs scored. On the road, the O’s average just 3.6 runs per game and are hitting .229 with a .653 OPS. Playing in Coors Field should help those numbers this weekend, but Hoffman should be able to pick up enough strikeouts to be a solid play under $7K. His high ceiling due to strikeouts makes him an option, especially in GPP formats.
2B NICKY LOPEZ, KC vs. NYY, $3,400
Lopez was called up by the Royals last week and immediately has stepped into a regular role at 2B and hitting second in the order. He has the potential to be an elite contact hitter and has adjusted well to major league pitching so far. He is 10-for-33 (.303) in his first eight games in the majors with three doubles, five walks and a .789 OPS. He has a nice lineup slot between Whit Merrifield ($4,700) and Adalberto Mondesi ($4,900) in what could be the top third of Kansas City’s lineup for years to come.
At Triple-A, Lopez played 31 games for the Omaha Storm Chasers, hitting .353 with six doubles, three homers and a .957 OPS. He also was successful in nine of his 12 stolen base attempts. Lopez hasn’t run in the majors yet or hit for power, but I expect those things to come as he settles in. He has hit safely in seven of his eight games with three multi-hit performances already, so give him a look at 2B as the Royals host the Yankees on a bullpen day opened by Chad Green ($5,400).
1B/OF GARRETT COOPER, MIA at WAS, $3,200
The Marlins were about to snap their five-game winning streak until Cooper intervened Thursday with a ninth-inning grand slam that helped Miami arrive in Washington with six straight wins. Cooper’s homer was his second in as many days after he hit his first MLB homer Wednesday night in Detroit.
The former Yankees prospect has battled injury the past two seasons but finally could be ready to fit into the role Miami has envisioned for him. He has been hitting second in the order and has gone 7-for-27 (.259) with four runs scored, seven RBI and two home runs over his past seven games. Cooper and the rest of the Marlins’ lineup could be a nice source of value in a favorable matchup against Nationals starter Kyle McGowin ($7,000) as they go for their seventh win in a row.
1B/OF STEVE PEARCE, BOS at HOU, $3,000
The World Series MVP struggled badly out of the gate this season but has started to pick things up lately and gets a good matchup Friday. Pearce still is hitting only .171 despite going 6-for-13 (.462) with a double, a home run, four RBI and a 1.298 OPS over the past week. He could be playing for his roster spot as the Red Sox start to get healthy and gear up for the summer but has shown he still can produce enough to be a solid option at least against lefties.
Pearce is a .264 career hitter against southpaws with a .840 OPS, compared to just .248 with a .734 OPS against righties. He usually hits in the heart of the Red Sox’ order against lefties and likely will get the start against Wade Miley ($7,700) in Houston. Pearce is 7-for-21 (.333) against Miley in his career with a pair of home runs. He started and hit sixth against Miley last week, going 1-for-3 and starting him on his recent run of solid results, which included his first home run of the season Thursday in Toronto.
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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.