Most of you, you can just scratch Chicago off your list, unfortunately. As the only day game on Friday, you’ll need to seek out an All-Day contest if you want to use anyone from the Cubs v. White Sox matchup. So, you aren’t going to find any of them here – but you will find players to target at every position and price range. Good luck.
Corey Kluber @ MIN ($10,600) – He’s got two complete games in his last three, in which he gave up only one run each. The most recent one of these was also against the Twins, in which he also had 10 strikeouts. He doesn’t even need to come close that level of production to be worth the price.
Jaime Garcia vs. MIA ($9,800) – He’s 4-4 in ten starts with a 1.77 ERA and 0.91 WHIP and between four and six K’s in every start. He’s averaging just about 20 fantasy points per start, and tonight he draws a Marlins lineup that struggles against left-handed pitching, with only a .235 batting average and a 21.5% strikeout %.
Julio Teheran vs. ARI ($7,000) – Let’s put it this way: the top five pitching options on the board tonight are going to have higher-than-normal ownership percentages, because further down, there are a LOT of bad options. When you look at some of the pitchers going, it makes you want to spend on the top guys for security, but also because there should be so many high=scoring games that hitters are easy to find. But if you’re going to try to save a little, Teheran could be the way to do it – three quality starts in his last four, and 20+ fantasy points in four of seven (with two of the other three still in double-digits).
Derek Norris @ Flande ($4,200) – They are playing in Colorado, and you’re looking at a a catcher with a dozen home runs, with a double in each of the last two games, and at least one hit in five of six. In other words, there is upside here you don’t always find at this position.
A.J. Pierzynski vs. Ray ($3,700) – He is hitting .296 for the year, and sure, that included a .425 figure in April, but it also included a July where he hit .359 – and a .308 clip so far in August. He’s averaging 8 fantasy points a game or so for about the last month and he is doing it by consistently getting you the 5 you need to feel like you didn’t flush your budget down the toilet, and with 20+ point upside. Not bad at this number.
Yan Gomes @ May ($3,300) – With three hits and five RBI in only four at-bats against Trevor May, Gomes clearly feels comfortable at the plate in this matchup. And that means you should feel comfortable with him in your lineup, a good feeling for this price.
Jason Castro vs. Simon ($3,100) – It is hard enough to find expensive catchers to like on most nights, finding a pair of cheap options you’re comfortable with is near impossible at times. Castro could be another one of those white whales for you tonight: in his five career at-bats against Simon, he has had three hits, including a double.
Chris Davis vs. Mills ($5,000) – He’s 2-for-5 against Mills in the past, with a double. But none of those at-bats came at a time where he was this unearthly hot at the plate. He is slashing .350/.480/.850 over the past week, and has six games with 16+ fantasy points in his last ten. Upside for days.
Kendrys Morales vs. Weaver ($4,000) – Talk about “see the ball, hit the ball.” Morales is 8-for-12 against Weaver all time, with a double, a home run and two walks. Need I say more?
Victor Martinez vs. Keuchel ($3,500) – He’s hit safely in five of seven, including two multi-hit games, hopefully a sign that he is coming out of the deep funk he was in for a while coming out of the All-Star break. With this matchup, he probably counts as a contrarian play – not sure how many people will trust him tonight – but he does have three hits, including one long ball, in only six career at-bats against Keuchel.
Pedro Alvarez @ Colon ($3,400) – Alvarez has been hitting well over .300 for the past week or so, making him more consistent on a day-to-day basis than he has been for most of the year. So you’ve got consistency on your side, and you want upside, take a look at his numbers against Colon: 4-for-9 (.444) with two doubles and a home run.
Ian Kinsler @ Keuchel ($4,300) – Kinsler has the most experience on the Tigers against Keuchel and he’s done the most with it, with six hits in 19 at-bats (.316), including a home run. He might be pretty lightly owned in this matchup anyway, since many people won’t know that history – and anytime you can scoop up a guy who won’t be highly owned but who has been hitting .481 for the month of August so far, you have to at least consider it.
Ben Zobrist vs. Weaver ($4,000) – In a fair amount of action against Weaver (24 at-bats), Zobrist is hitting .292 with two doubles, a triple and a home run. Combine that with some of his recent performances (hitting .409 over the past week), and Zobrist all of a sudden looks like a guy chock full of both consistency and upside. Yes, please.
Neil Walker @ Colon ($3,600) – He has been a quiet driver for the Pirates offense for the past six weeks. He had a .294/.316/.495 slash line in July, and he has only picked up the pace so far in August (.316/.381/.632). He has double digit fantasy performances twice in the last four games.
Jose Ramirez @ May ($3,000) – Pressed into service only with Kipnis on the DL, Ramirez has answered the bell so far. Slashing .299/.396/.529 over his past ten games, he’s the rare MLB injury replacement who is just giving up out-of-nowhere cheap fantasy value, and I, for one, will take it. He is also 3-for9 in his career against Ramirez, with a double – anytime you have to start looking for reasons NOT to take a guy, you might want to just stick him in your lineup and forget about it, especially at this price.
Matt Carpenter vs. Koehler ($4,600) – The obvious answer here is Josh Donaldson, but I feel bad recommending a $6,000 player when I also told you to pick the expensive pitchers. And with the way this guy is swinging the bat right now, and the potential this offense as a whole has in this matchup, you could get every bit of Donaldson’s production (or even and then some) for a $1,400 discount. He’s had a dozen or more fantasy points in six of nine.
Evan Longoria @ Perez ($4,100) – Slashing .333/.378/.523 so far in August, Longoria has seen his price tag slowly rise, but it still is not matching his level of production (the assumption being, I suppose, that the production is going to drop again eventually). I wouldn’t necessarily expect that drop tonight, however, given Longoria’s history in this matchup: 3-for-4 with a HR in their only previous meeting.
Cody Asche @ Peralta ($2,900) – He has hit safely in six straight, including two multi-hit games, with five extra base hits mixed in. That counts as real production at this price point, and if you want to know about consistency, keep in mind he is also 2-for-3 against Peralta (including a double), so while that doesn’t prove he’ll score tonight, it certainly makes him easier to trust.
Mark Reynolds vs. Koehler ($2,700) – He’s not out there as a starter every night, with plenty of games where his only appearance is as a pinch-hitter. So check your lineups. However, while I am not a big-league manager, I’d be surprised not to see him out there tonight, given the fact that he has faced off against Koehler four times in his career and has come away with two home runs (with a walk and a fly out in the other two tries).
Troy Tulowitzki vs. Nova ($4,500) – What better time for Tulo to start producing for his new team than in this home series against the Yankees to secure their lead in the AL East? He’s not hitting for average yet, but his power wasn’t left behind in Colorado (two home runs in the past week), so the upside remains. And even against Nova, you’re still getting him at a value – at least for tonight.
Xander Bogaerts @ Montgomery ($3,900) – Hitting .303 for the past ten games, averaging 8.6 fantasy points, he remains one of the only bright spots for this Red Sox team all season long. He’s got nine hits, including three doubles, in his last five. Take advantage while you can.
Asdrubal Cabrera @ Perez ($3,700) – Kind of a no-brainer. At this price, he’ll be a popular pick tonight, so choosing him is you’re way of saying “I don’t want to start off in a hole.” Because if you don’t start him, that’s exactly what could happen. .488/.517/.692 over the past ten days, for under $4K. I’ll take it.
Ian Desmond @ Cain ($3,300) – Matchup aside, he is $3,300, and he his slugging .583 over the past week. If he comes within .100 points of that over the next week, this price is a steal.
Jose Bautista vs. Nova ($5,400) – With Encarnacion dinged up, Bautista has been the rock-solid run producer of this lineup, averaging almost 11 fantasy points per game over the past week or so. He has had a good amount of exposure to Nova in his career, and has collected five hits in fifteen at-bats, including a home run.
Charlie Blackmon vs. Ross ($4,800) – Obviously, everyone loves picking Rockies at home. But with Tyson Ross on the hill opposing them, you might still shy away and go in another direction more often than not. But Blackmon is one of a small number of hitters with an actual good history against Ross (.308 average with a double and a home run in 13 at-bats). That could make him a useful option in this one not only because he could put up a decent number, but also because his ownership percentage should hopefully be suppressed somewhat.
Bryce Harper @ Cain ($4,700) – With two hits last night, we can safely hope that the knee soreness he was experiencing earlier in the week is nothing serious. His power has been somewhat diminished lately, so the two could be related, but that diminished power is reflect in the price here, so you’re actually not taking on any more risk, but you are getting the same upside without having to pay for it. And even with the power outage, he’s hitting .373 over the past ten games, so you can rest assured you’re probably not getting a goose-egg.
Jason Heyward vs. Koehler ($3,800) – With some quality hitters in the Cardinals lineup dinged up right now, they are in a position where they could really use some extra production from Hayward – and they’re getting it. Hitting just a hair under .300 for the past couple of weeks, his fantasy average has seen a small bump, due more to the lack of total duds than to an increase in upside. But you have to love an increase in consistency at this price, too. Throw in the fact that he is hitting .375 in 16 at-bats against Koehler all-time, and it’s an easy choice to feel good about.
Jacoby Ellsbury @ Price ($3,800) – Only 2-for-23 in the past week, and facing a dominating lefty, it’s no surprise that he’s cheap, and you will almost certainly be an outlier if you have him in your lineup. But as longtime AL East rivals, he has faced Price a ton in his career, and has compiled a .340/.386/.547 slash line against him in 56 at-bats.
Marlon Byrd @ Wood ($3,200) – With 19 home runs already this year, he is a legitimate source of upside at this price, which is not always easy to find. The fact that he is also 4-for-12 for his career against Wood only helps you feel even more comfortable that he won’t leave you with nothing to show for your $3,200.