With only one day game today, your only way to use anyone from the CLE-CWS matchup is to take part in an “All-Day” contest, which you might want to do if you’re desperate to roll out Corey Kluber – and who can blame you? Otherwise, here are some players to consider from the late game action, at every position and price range.
Clayton Kershaw @ SF ($12,500) – Yeah, so it’s an obvious choice. The best pitcher in the league against a bottom-five offense. But that doesn’t make it wrong, and even if you can’t quite seem to afford him, rest assured someone you’re facing off against will.
Johnny Cueto @ MIL ($9,500) – A solid second choice behind Kershaw tonight, he’s another elite talent facing off against a bottom-five offense, giving him potential for the win, double-digit strikeouts, and plenty of innings.
Jimmy Nelson vs. CIN ($7,000) – He’s only had the two starts against Pittsburgh, but what is encouraging is his strikeout potential. He’ll never lead the league or anything, but he has the ability to go out for a night and get you 6-9 K’s, which is useful if he also manages to corral you a win.
Joe Kelly @ TB ($6,400) – He’s gone 7 and then 5.2 innings in his two outings, and against this Rays lineup, he should be able to keep his pitch count down enough to get to the high end of that range in this one.
Salvador Perez vs. Mike Pelfrey ($4,200) – He is hitting .370, with power. For someone who is actually catching and not just holding onto the last remnants of “catcher eligibility,” that’s elite. You know the Royals love not having to deal with the dead spot in their lineup, and so should you.
Joe Mauer @ Jeremy Guthrie ($4,000) – You’ve probably heard of him. He’s the catcher who has been raking for what seems like the past couple decades. He just doesn’t hit for power anymore, but it’s better than a lot of the landscape at this position, where people just don’t hit. Period.
Stephen Vogt @ Jered Weaver ($3,600) – Vogt has been playing well – well enough that he got a start against a lefty this week, and looks like he might be at least trying to earn his way into a real every day job on this team, and hitting third in this offense every day is enough to create fantasy value for anyone, especially a guy who has demonstrated both plate discipline and pop so far on the young season.
Miguel Montero @ Vance Worley ($3,400) – Well, there’s this: Vance Worley. Coming off a day off yesterday, hopefully he can take part in what could be a good offensive day for the Cubs.
Miguel Cabrera vs. Adam Warren ($5,600) – Warren has yet to make it through more than 5 and a third, and now he’s got the Tigers. Cabrera will be just the first of many you see featured on this list, but he is first for lots of good reasons, like his OPS over 1, for example.
Chris Davis @ Aaron Sanchez ($4,700) – I am happy to start anyone against Sanchez, the way he is throwing right now, but especially an anyone like Chris Davis, who’s big problem is an inability at times to even make contact, which hopefully won’t be a problem in this matchup.
Freddie Freeman @ Dillon Gee ($4,000) – All three of these picks would be the beginning of a trend, if Atlanta had more hitters you could trust, because the matchup with Gee is not scaring anyone off. But Freeman is showing that the 18 home runs he hit last year were not a fluke, at least so far, so he could be the one Brave you want to get in your lineup, at least.
Adrian Gonzalez @ Madison Bumgarner ($3,800) – Gonzalez has seen his price drop after two outings without a hit, and now a tough matchup. But Bumgarner hasn’t been dominant, and while Gonzalez’ splits show a drop against lefties, it’s not pronounced enough for you to be scared away, so this could just be a good chance to get a hitter you like at a reasonable cost.
Ian Kinsler vs. Adam Warren ($4,600) – Warren against the Tigers. Here is another Tiger. There will be more. I don’t know if I like Kinsler MORE than Cabrera in this one, but it’s close. Even with an OBP under .350, hitting second in this lineup is just going to create a ton of opportunities to produce fantasy value.
Brian Dozier @ Jeremy Guthrie ($4,300) – The most recent news on Dozier is a move to the cleanup spot for tonight’s matchup, down from the 2-hole. It’s never a great sign when your manager thinks you need a change to get on track, but anything could help, and you only need the boost for one day.
Dustin Pedrioia @ Nathan Karns ($3,800) – Here is another guy to see his price drop just enough to make him suddenly seem very affordable, and Karns is the kind of pitcher the Red Sox could score a bunch of runs against, without the stuff to make them swing and miss in the strike zone. When that happens, Pedrioia is usually involved.
Ryan Flaherty @ Aaron Sanchez ($3,500) – He will be getting a consistent chance to play with Schoop’s injury, and so far anyway, he has looked like a competent replacement, slugging over .600 and pushing nine fantasy points per game over the past couple of weeks.
Matt Carpenter @ Doug Fister ($4,500) – Carpenter has hit safely in eight straight, with multiple hits in seven of those, and Fister is not the kind of pitcher to halt a streak like that in it’s tracks.
Will Middlebrooks @ Kyle Kendricks ($4,300) – The first in a long line of Padres featured in this space. That’s surprising, because it’s the Padres, but not surprising because it’s Kyle Kendricks, and it’s in Colorado. It’s going to feel like I am picking on Kendricks by the end.
Nick Castellanos vs. Adam Warren ($3,800) – The Tigers vs. Adam Warren.
Cody Asche vs. Jarred Cosart ($3,600) – Cosart doesn’t strike out a lot of people or walk them, or get out of all that many innings in a typical outing. He throws strikes and gives up contact. That helps these kinds of hitters, who might get one clean hit, one dribbler, and look like the best fantasy choice you made all night.
Troy Tulowitski vs. James Shields ($4,800) – He’s just really good. Shields isn’t a pushover, but good matchups and bad matchups go both ways, and today, it seems like Tulo is a bad matchup for Shields in the middle of that order, not the other way around.
Starlin Castro @ Vance Worley ($3,900) – Castro isn’t even the youngest, brightest future star on the Cubs roster today, but he is still playing short stop, and flashing that speed-power combo in an excellent matchup with Worley.
Addison Russell @ Vance Worley ($3,600) – Called up today, and it is hard to trust someone with a long string of zeroes next to his major league stats. But this could provide a burst to the whole Cubs lineup, and even if it’s just for a day, that could lead to more offense than you’re used to seeing here. He’ll be playing second in the bigs, so he and Castro will be playing together in one of the most talented young middle infields in the game.
Andrelton Simmons @ Dillon Gee ($3,500) – He’s batting second, he’s facing off against Gee (he of the ERA over 7.5), and he has hit safely in five straight. For $2,500, I’ll take it.
Matt Kemp @ Kyle Kendricks ($5,800) – Yup, a Padre, in Colorado. With his .OPS over .900, even though he only has one HR, it’s clear that the ability to drive the ball isn’t gone, and if you’re ever going to start trusting him, this series is as good a time as any.
Justin Upton @ Kyle Kendricks ($5,500) – I told you it would feel like I was picking on Kendricks. I’m not, really – I don’t have anything in particular against him. But Upton has been hitting well everywhere, and it would be great to see a Padres team currently third in runs scored actually flirt with staying that high for a while.
Will Myers @ Kyle Kendricks ($5,000) – Now it even feels to me like piling on, but Myers actually might be the best call, since you can get someone in there against Kendricks, in Coors Field, and still save a little bit of your salary cap. And with a 3-4 last night and multiple hits in four of his last six, he could really reward you.
J.D. Martinez vs. Adam Warren ($4,800) – Picking hitters sometimes is as easy as picking pitchers (and picking against them). The Yankees better hope their bats come alive in this one.
Matt Holliday @ Doug Fister ($4,200) – There were some concerns about a potential back injury for Holliday recently, but – even though they were all singles – a 4-4 night last night certainly helped allay those fears.
Chris Coghlan @ Vance Worley ($3,500) – He hasn’t had a really big fantasy performance in a week, but against Worley, there is a chance you could see him return to the form from ten days ago, when he was in the midst of a short hot streak. If the Cubs really do have an up game with their shiny new additions in a good matchup, the chance to knock in or score a few runs will be on the table, good news for someone so inexpensive to own.
Jonny Gomes @ Dillon Gee ($3,400) – Another case for just picking against pitchers. Gee has some good stuff, but he has yet to shown any kind of ability to go deep into a game or to keep guys off the basepaths, which is a good sign for a player like Gomes and his almost .400 OBP.
Odubel Herrera vs. Jarred Cosart ($3,400) – He is batting leadoff, so he is getting plenty of opportunities to produce – sometimes bad teams are good like that, giving up great chances to players who otherwise wouldn’t be fantasy relevant. Thanks, Phillies!
Whether you go with these guys, or go with your gut tonight, good luck!