With only seven games on the schedule for Monday night, your options are more limited than usual, but there are still plenty of decisions to be made. Here are some players to target – at every position and price range, to help you finalize those rosters. Good luck!
Matt Shoemaker @ CWS ($8,400) – Yes, on a night when Cueto, Chris Sale, and Gio are all active, Matt Shoemaker is my only “stud.” And the reason for that is very simple: maybe tonight is a good night to save some money on your pitchers. Not one of those top three guys has a good matchup, all facing an offense solidly in the top half of MLB teams, with good run totals and low strikeout numbers. Sure, one or more of them might still have a great game, but that’s a lot of money for “might.” Shoemaker, on the other hand, might be facing Sale, but he is also facing Sale’s teammates, and for the most part, they can’t hit. And with 27 K’s in his last three appearances, Shoemaker has been on fire, averaging just over 30 fantasy points per start over that stretch.
Rubby De La Rosa vs. PHI ($7,500) – Yeah, I know, when in doubt, go with the facing the Phillies. Not exactly rocket science. But De La Rosa has managed to string together some decent performances of late, and he’s gotten his average to right around 7.5 K’s per nine, which means the upside is there for a 20+ point fantasy game (something you don’t always see at this price range).
David Holmberg @ SD ($4,700) – This is the kind of pick that says “I want ALL the hitters.” So cheap, and for good reason – he’s making only his third major league start this year, but in those two starts he has gone a total of eleven innings and given up only two runs in each game. After earning a win and a ND against the Pirates and the Cardinals, respectively, this will definitely be the easiest matchup he’s faced so far. Oh, and so cheap.
Travis d’Arnaud vs. Gray ($4,100) – Most of the best hitting catchers in the league just aren’t playing tonight. d’Arnaud is a top-hitting catcher, but he hasn’t been living up to that praise over the past couple of weeks. Good thing tonight he is facing off against a pitcher working on his second-ever start, who gave up seven base runners in four innings in start #1.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia vs. Harang ($2,800) – Salty is a career .239 hitter, who is not even hitting that well this year. But against Harang? He is hitting .429 through 14 at-bats, with three doubles. So he is not only hitting, he is hitting with a little more extra-base power that usual too. I’ll take a chance on that for this price.
Brayan Pena @ Kennedy ($2,000) – He’s been playing sporadically lately, but he is still getting semi-regular appearances. Just check the final lineups before you hit submit for that final time. But I’d expect him out there against a guy he has faced eight times, and against whom he has four hits (including a double). With enough guys on this Reds team with some success in this matchup, just a couple of singles could be enough to have a valuable fantasy performance – it certainly doesn’t hurt your chances to pile up those counting stats.
Chris Davis @ Nuno ($4,600) – Nuno has faced off against the Orioles once before, and it didn’t go well. Davis was a big part of the reason, with a pair of hits, including a double. He’s been in double digit fantasy points five times in his last seven games, a stretch that has included four home runs and a pair of doubles.
Joey Votto @ Kennedy ($4,600) – Votto’s #1 asset – in terms of real baseball, if not DFS – is his OBP consistently well over .400. He is leading the majors with a ridiculous 87 walks. A while walks are valuable, they’re still not hits. But if the Reds can push some runs across, just being on the bases is certainly valuable. And, as a little added bonus, you’ve got Votto’s own 5-for-12 (with 2 doubles) lifetime against Kennedy.
Ryan Zimmerman @ Anderson ($3,400) – Zimmerman slugs .230 points higher against lefties. He’s been hitting .350 for the past two weeks, and drilling doubles and home runs all over the place. He had two home runs last night, but it’s not like that was out of nowhere – he has at least one extra base hit in each of his last four and is averaging 12.5 fantasy points per game over his last seven.
*Ben Zonbrist vs. Boyd ($4,400) – There aren’t a lot of studs to choose from at this position tonight, so if you do go with the higher end of the salary-spectrum at 2B, you’re going to want to be right. Hope this helps.
Jonathan Schoop @ Nuno ($3,900) – A .423/.415/.602 slash line over the last ten days, and averaging more than eight fantasy points per game over that stretch – and Nuno doesn’t strike me as the type you should count on to put a stop to that kind of stretch.
Alberto Callaspo vs. Gio Gonzalez ($2,000) – A nice contrarian play, you are getting a guy who, randomly, seems to see the ball well coming out of Gio’s hand. He is 9-for-26 (.346) over his career in this matchup with a couple of extra base hits. Strange when a guy like this hits a decent pitcher better than all other hitters combined, but it happens. Sweet science and all that – it’s not always easy to figure.
Manny Machado @ Nuno ($5,000) – I don’t know about you, but I just get seriously impressed anytime I see someone averaging double-digit fantasy points for any kind of prolonged stretch at all. I mean, no one hits every day – if they did, they’d be DiMaggio, or Teddy Ballgame or something. So there have got to be those low scoring games mixed in. So with an average like that, either those slow games are so few and far between they’re almost shocking or the big games are so big they prop up an average for weeks. In other words, either consistency or upside. Either one works for me.
Mike Moustakas vs. Boyd ($3,700) – Just five short days ago, Moutakas was exposed to this very same pitcher. And he went 1-for-3 with a double.
Daniel Murphy vs. Gray ($3,400) – You know you’re a DFS player when you see an inexperienced or just plain terrible pitcher you don’t know anything about matched up with the Mets, and you immediately think, “man I hope he’s a righty.” Murphy slugs .200 points higher against right-handed pitchers, so he should be out there, and he should be hitting. So good luck.
Yunel Escobar @ Anderson ($3,600) – With the most expensive SS on the board coming in at $3,800 – and with a terrible matchup – there really are no “studs” at this position to spend your money on. So save some, and still try to be right. Just don’t expect too much.
J.J. Hardy @ Nuno ($2,900) – Hardy was an easy recommendation a few weeks back, because he was hitting – but he has always been streaky and right now he is on the wrong side of one. But that being said, this guy is a professional hitter, and he could easily outduel Nuno in this one.
Wilmer Flores vs. Gray ($2,900) – Flores is hitting over .300 for the last two weeks, which makes me question this price tag, at least somewhat. He is very often good for something like 5-9 fantasy points, without a lot of upside. But you get what you pay for.
Bryce Harper @ Anderson ($5,300) – Of all the REALLY expensive outfielders, Harper is the one least likely to disappoint, in my opinion, in this matchup with Anderson. Looking to push his most recent hitting streak to ten games, and four of those last nine involved more than just one hit. He’s like a machine.
Yoenis Cespedes vs. Gray ($4,400) – He’s got four multi-hit games in his last six, and his price has stayed right in this same range – clearly not an option when you’re looking to save money, but doesn’t break the bank either. If you want to bad enough, you can usually fit him in your lineup. Against Gray, with limited options around him, tonight might be a night to make that happen.
David Peralta vs. Harang ($4,100) – Peralta is 10-for-22 in the past week, with two doubles and a home run. His fantasy scoring average over that period has gone up by almost 40%, and on top of all of that, he is facing a guy who should allow him to stay very comfortable at the plate (3-for-7 with a home run against Harang in the past).
Adam Jones @ Nuno ($4,100) – If anyone can claim to have a good history against a pitcher despite a small sample size, it’s this guy. Four at-bats don’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. They matter a little more when you’re talking about a specific hitter-pitcher matchup. They matter even more when the hitter in question has two hits in those four at-bats, and those two hits are a double and a home run.
Marlon Byrd @ Kennedy ($3,800) – Byrd has five hits in 18 career at-bats against Kennedy, which is good for a .278 average, but more importantly, two of those were home runs. He’s got three home runs in the past week and a half, and is up to 19 on the year, so the power is legit. This is just one reason to think (hope?) it comes into play tonight.
Odubel Herrera @ De La Rosa ($3,600) – It’s so easy to ignore the Phillies. In most sports, bad teams can lead to perfect fantasy situations, but in baseball, not so much. Being on a bad team usually just hurts your overall production, so no matter how good you are, you probably would be better on a better team. And maybe that’s true with Herrera too, which makes the idea of him on a better team a little scary. .367/.417/.522 over the past two weeks, and maintaining those numbers over any reasonable stretch of time always means you should at least be considered as a DFS option. Always.