There are four afternoon games on Wednesday, so you can get yourself into an early contest (2:10), or even track down an All-Day game that will let you choose from among every team in the league. But most of the action is for the evening slate. Look at that, you have to start making decisions even before you start building your lineup. Here are some names – from every position and price range – to hopefully make that part a bit easier. Assume the players here are available for the evening contests, unless otherwise noted. Good luck!
Madison Bumgarner @ ATL ($10,600) – Bumgarner didn’t have the best outing last time, giving up a bunch of runs early and then settling down, but he still ended up going seven innings and securing eight K’s. All that tells me is that even in his bad games, he’s doing exactly what he needs to be doing to secure you fantasy points. Thank you for that, Mr. Bumgarner.
Carlos Martinez @ CIN ($8,700) – He’s been averaging a strikeout an inning all season long, and he is facing a Reds lineup that has a K% pushing 20. The 20+ fantasy points you’ve seen from him most of the year is well within reach. He had a rough outing last time out, but that has been much more the exception than the rule, so look for him to bounce back in this one.
Taylor Jungman vs. SD ($8,300) – It’s so rare that you are willing to trust and even rely on a rookie pitcher. But Jungman has not only shown an ability to stay poised after hitting a rough spot and work through trouble, which could potentially mean he is a rock in the Brewers lineup for years. He also has the stuff to be a rock in DFS lineups as well – which he has showcases thus far through the six K/start average he’s kept going through his last five starts.
Luis Severino vs. BOS ($4,600) – Yes, it’s a risky play, but frankly – so are any of the Red Sox. They do not hit pitchers they’ve never faced well at all, which gives the rookie a leg up in his first major league start. You know he’s grateful for that, but he probably didn’t need it – the 21-year-old is coming up to the majors for a reason, and that reason is the 1.91 ERA and 0.93 WHIP he’s had through 60+ innings in Triple-A (to go along with 50 Ks).
Russell Martin vs. Duffey ($4,600) – Tyler Duffey is getting the first big league start of his life, on the road, in Toronto. It’s almost not fair. He’s been great in Double-A and Triple-A both this season, but that does not equal great against the Blue Jays on the road. Martin has seen his slugging % and OPS both rise over the past few weeks as he has started to exhibit some power with a little more frequency, progress he will be looking to build on in this one.
Brian McCann vs. Wright ($4,300) – No one on the Yankees has much experience against Wright, but the experience that is there is all positive. McCann has faced him twice, and he has a fly out and a double. That knuckleball just seems to sit there on a tee sometimes, and the Yankees are just the team to take full advantage.
Hank Conger @ Martinez ($3,700) – Conger and Castro have been splitting the catching duties, but lately, Conger has been getting the nod against righties more often than not. Combine that with his 3-for-5 with two doubles history against Martinez and I not only expect to see him out there tonight, but am hopeful he will provide some fantasy value as well.
Caleb Joseph @ Graveman ($3,600) – EARLY – He has been playing every other day, and if the pattern continues that means we should see him today. He has two hits in each of his last two starts, including a home run in each game and another double mixed in for good measure. If I am in a contest featuring these early games, this is a name I will want to try to take advantage of and get into my lineup.
Paul Goldschmidt @ Gonzalez ($5,000) – With so many top options at 1B, maybe you let Gio Gonzalez dissuade you – you shouldn’t. Goldschmidt is 4-for-6 lifetime in this matchup, with a double and a triple to show for it. I like those odds.
Edwin Encarnacion vs. Duffey ($4,500) – He is one of the anchors of this offense, and with six hits in his last four games, he is primed to take advantage of this matchup with a first-time starter. With a lineup this deep, it gives guys in the middle a chance to both drive in runs and set the table, and either way can lead to great counting stats padding those fantasy point totals.
Adrian Gonzalez @ Harang ($3,900) – The big question with Gonzalez right now is whether the reported stiffness in his neck is going to slow down the blistering start he’s had to the second half of the season. But he had two hits last night, and that’s enough to restore confidence for me, especially when you consider his career numbers against Harang: 10-for-23 (.435) with two doubles and three home runs (good for a .913 slugging %).
Joe Mauer @ Hutchison ($3,300) – He’s never had power, and that has not suddenly changed. In other words, not a lot of upside here. I can’t recommend him for tournament play, but he can still hit for average, and there is nothing he or Hutchison has done recently to think he will be completely shut out in this one, making him a possibility in your cash games if you’re looking for a cheap option.
Brian Dozier @ Hutchison ($4,700) – 4-for-6 against Hutchison for his career, and three of those four hits were doubles. See the ball, hit the ball.
Matt Duffy @ Perez ($4,000) – He is averaging almost ten fantasy points a game for the past two weeks, slashing .330/.355/.450 over that stretch. His batting average for the year is still over .300 and at some point, we’re just going to have to start trusting him, even if he is only in his second year.\
Daniel Murphy @ Phelps ($3,800) – With a 4-for-9 (.444) history against Phelps, I would expect to, at least, see Murphy in the lineup tonight. You’d love it if his teammates also stepped up to give him a chance at some of those counting stats, but at the very worst, he should be an inexpensive option who doesn’t kill your chances.
Neil Walker vs. Haren ($3,400) – July was by far his best month of the year, and so far, his August has been better. If he can maintain the .294/.316/.495 slash line he had in July, never mind improve on it, then obviously $3,400 equates to a tremendous value.
Alex Rodriguez vs. Wright ($5,100) – He’s back in Yankee Stadium, where he went 2-for-3 last night with a couple of walks. He is also back to something like 2009 form, apparently. And with a knuckleballer on the mound, potentially spinning that ball up to to the plate so it sits there like it’s on a tee, he is almost a no-brainer in this one for me.
Trevor Plouffe @ Hutchison ($4,000) – With a walk and two hits – including a three-run home run – Plouffe has made good use his six career at-bats against Hutchison. With Plouffe hitting slightly better lately than he has all year, and with Hutchison sitting on a 1.50 WHIP (2.09 over his last ten starts), I’d say there is a good chance that efficient use of opportunities continues tonight.
Mike Moustakas @ Boyd ($3,900) – No one on the Royals have ever faced this guy before, and Moustakas hasn’t been hitting that well lately, but this is the kind of pitcher than gets hitters back on track, the way he is going right now. He is making his debut for the Tigers, so you know he’ll want to pitch well, but he has pitched two games (although he got no outs in the second one) and he has given up fifteen hits, five home runs, and eleven runs. The Royals might be in good shape.
Yunel Escobar vs. De La Rosa ($3,600) – With six hits in his last four games, including two home runs, it’s easy to trust this guy in your middle infield. He’s built like a linebacker – a linebacker who can hit, as the .315 average he’s maintained all season can attest.
Carlos Correa @ Martinez ($5,600) – Martinez has had two starts since the All-Star break, and he’s pitched 15 innings and given up 13 runs on 20 hits. He’s never faced the Correa-led Astros, but Correa is not the kind of guy who makes pitchers suddenly look more effective.
Troy Tulowitzki vs. Duffey ($4,400) – He is hitting .350 in almost 20 at-bats since joining Toronto and now he has the same great matchup as the rest of his teammates. He actually also had his first steal of the season a couple of days ago, and if that is something that is going to get added back to his arsenal – even if he only has 5-8 between now and the end of the year – it’s just another reason to trust both his consistency AND his upside.
Jung Ho Kang vs. Haren ($3,600) – He’s not an upside play. He is someone you should consider basically if you only left yourself $3,600 to spend on 2B (which is not a great way to build a lineup, but I am aware it happens). There is a good chance he gets on base with a walk or a single or two, maybe drives in a run with a sac fly if he gets lucky, maybe scores a run if his teammates are hitting. For $3,600, you are getting a decent shot at better than zero.
Marwin Gonzalez @ Martinez ($3,000) – Gonzalez randomly started making more consistent contact lately, hitting over .300 for more than two weeks. He’s not hitting for a ton of power, so his fantasy average is only 6 points-per-game over that stretch, but that’s useful for this price, especially when it’s coming consistently. And if the very recent success doesn’t convince you, he has faced Nick Martinez five times in his life and has three hits, including two doubles.
Bryce Harper vs. De La Rosa ($5,400) – Yes, the highest priced player on the list is a solid choice. Shocking, I know. But honestly, just for that shock value, I almost put him on the “values” list here because $5,400 seems cheap for the production you are potentially going to get in return. In three at-bats against De La Rosa this season, he has two hits – a double and a home run.
Yoenis Cespedes @ Phelps ($4,900) – There was a stretch there last week where he had four home runs in fewer than 20 at-bats. He’s slashing .293/.324/.505 for the whole year, and those numbers are even better since the break. Numbers are hard to argue with.
Carlos Gomez @ Martinez ($4,500) – Hitting .348 and slugging .565 since joining the Astros, he now has eight hits in his last four games. On the road in Texas last night he had a double and a home run, so enjoy this hot streak now, and hope it continues or even gets better once he returns to the friendly confines in Houston, a park that definitely gives an assist to right-handed batters.
Eddie Rosario @ Hutchison ($3,700) – With twelve hits in his last 36 at-bats, including five doubles, three triples and a home run, you can really ask for more of a heat-check. And Hutchison is not exactly a cooler. All that gets you a double-digit fantasy scoring average for under $4K, which is value in anyone’s book.
Josh Hamilton vs. Kazmir ($3,600) – Hamilton has been producing for fantasy purposes sine his return despite his batting average hovering around .230. But what that means is that he’s doing it with some big games mixed in with duds. The matchup with Kazmir has been a favorable one for him for years (hitting .368 with a couple of home runs), so here’s hoping tonight is one of the big games, not the duds.
Yasiel Puig @ Harang ($3,400) – In six career at-bats against Harang, Puig has five hits. That’s good for a .833 batting average, if you’re still doing the math in your head. The five hits included a double and a triple – so let’s do some more complicated math, and yup, that’s a 2.167 OPS.