With six afternoon games, you will need to jump into an early contest if you want to take advantage of any of those matchups. And I wouldn’t blame you – there is plenty of DFS action either early or late. Here are some players – from both sets of games – at every position and price range to help you decide where to start as you develop those rosters. Since the majority of the games are at night, though, so are most of these players – assume they are available in the late contests unless otherwise noted. Good luck!
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Chris Archer vs. DET ($11,300) – EARLY – On a day where a bunch of elite pitchers have – on paper anyway – some tough matchups (Kershaw vs. OAK, Tanaka @ TEX, King Felix vs. ARI, Kluber vs. KC), it’s tough to know exactly what to do. Do you avoid the pitchers and the hitters in that situation? Good rule to live by: “if an elite pitcher has a bad matchup, don’t nobody have a good matchup.” Or something like that. Archer would have been just another of those guys had he not drawn the Tigers in the midst of a bit of a midsummer slump without Cabrera in there anchoring their lineup (they’ve lost seven of ten with more than five runs only twice over that stretch).
Tyson Ross @ NYM ($10,800) – The good thing about Ross, other than the matchup, is that through everything, he continues to pile up strikeouts at a better than one-per-inning rate, so win or lose there is always 20+ fantasy point potential.
John Lackey vs. CIN ($8,600) – In his last eight starts, he has gone at least six innings in each (and seven in seven of those eight), and has not given up more than two earned runs a single time. And he is doing all that while also averaging almost five K’s per game, making him a virtual lock for 18-24 fantasy points just based on innings and strikeouts, with potential for more with a little bit of run support.
R.A. Dickey vs. PHI ($6,500) – Whether you are trying to balance off an expensive ace or just deciding you can save on pitchers today, Dickey could be a good choice. First, the obvious: Philly. But second, this is a guy who has had good performances, good stretches, and even good seasons in the past – and it looks like there is a chance he is tapping into that ability again right now: he has 21+ innings in his last three starts, and has given up only 13 hits and five earned runs over that stretch. He’ll look to extend that to four straight quality starts this evening.
Russell Martin vs. Williams ($4,500) – Martin has been raking lately, going 13 for his last 39, with six extra base hits mixed in. Throw in a 2-for-6 career with a home run against Williams, and I like your chances of getting something for your money with this selection.
Buster Posey vs. Fiers ($4,000) – EARLY – Yeah, I always have to mention Posey. He actually doesn’t have the best numbers for his career against Fiers (1-for-7), but that’s a tiny sample size, and maven if you do take it to heart and think Fiers has his number to an extent, 1-for-7 is about the best you hope for at this position anyway.
A.J. Pierzynski @ Tillman ($3,300) – With plenty of experience against Tillman, A.J. should be comfortable at the plate tonight. He is hitting .286 over 21 career at-bats, with a few extra base hits mixed in, and he’s been hitting well lately, so it’s easy to trust this as a good value for your lineup tonight.
Yadier Molina vs. DeSclafani ($3,000) – He left Monday’s game with an apparent illness of some kind, but played the entire game last night, so there is no reason to expect any lingering effects. He is hitting well over .300 and slugging over .450 for the past couple of weeks, and for my money, that’s value at this price.
Albert Pujols @ McCullers ($4,700) – Pujols has had five extra base hits since the All-Star break, but he’s been doing that while also hitting well over .300, giving him the consistency and the upside you are looking for in a hitter at this price point.
Jose Abreu @ Porcello ($4,600) – When you see a guy like Porcello on the mound, don’t you just immediately look at the opposing team and try to find their hottest bat? Well, you found him. Abreu is eight for his last sixteen and looking to keep it rolling tonight at Fenway.
Carlos Santana vs. Guthrie ($3,900) – EARLY – You have to love a guy who consistently has an OBP 60 or 70 points higher than his batting average, especially when he is playing in a good offense – it gives him opportunities to provide some fantasy value even when he is not swinging the bat particularly well. Luckily, right now, Santana is doing both.
Evan Gattis vs. Richards ($3,400) – Gattis’ value is hamstrung somewhat by the lack of opportunities provided by his offense, to either score or drive in too many runs. You probably shouldn’t expect this string of triples to continue much longer (three in his last ten games), but all that tells me is that he is making solid contact and driving the ball to all fields, never a bad sign for a hitter.
Jose Altuve vs. Richards ($4,400) – Altuve owns a .320 BA against Richards in 25 career at-bats, and the way they are both going right now – Altuve over-performing and Richards under-performing – there is no reason to expect the lifetime numbers to start to swing back towards Richards in this one.
Rougned Odor vs. Tanaka ($4,100) – Is Tanaka a bad matchup for Odor or the other way around? It’s tough to say, since they’ve never faced each other before. So, take this recommendation as a statement only that I am excited to watch.
Jonathan Schoop vs. Foltynewicz ($3,700) – He is coming off his first off-day since the All-Star break, which seemed to come at a good time. His average had been slowly dipping over the previous week, but he will look to rebound in this one and get back to providing one more quality DFS option at 2B. Thank you, Mr. Schoop.
Anthony Rendon @ Koehler ($3,400) – He’s been back three days from his hamstring injury, and only had a single pinch-hit appearance in one of those three, and yet he’s got two hits and has been on base four times. He’s not an instant fix for an offense, but he can certainly be a valuable piece, helping the Nats drive across some runs (which isn’t going to hurt your fantasy team, either).
Alex Rodriguez @ Lewis ($5,000) – So the Yankees aren’t going to score 20 runs every night, but clearly this is an offense feeling good about itself. And A-Rod looks like, well, A-Rod. In other words, one of the best hitters of the past 20 years, whether or not you want to admit it. 2-for-4 last night with three walks, he is finding any way he can to contribute to this team’s winning ways right now.
Manny Machado vs. Foltynewicz ($4,700) – He does not look like a 23-year-old kid out there – he looks like a full-grown man-beast, hammering the ball whenever he sees fit. He’s never seen Foltynewicz before, but I can say with relative confidence that he’s not intimidated.
Chase Headley @ Lewis ($3,800) – Yup, another Yankee third baseman. You have to love the AL, huh? Well, no, ok you don’t HAVE to. But I like Headley just because he makes it possible for A-Rod to do what he’s doing at 40 years old. Oh, and because he is averaging ten fantasy points per game for the past two weeks. That too.
Xander Bogaerts vs. Quintana ($3,400) – Really the only bright spot for the Red Sox this season, with the possible exception of Brock Holt (and how excited do you get about finding your utility man of the future, really), Bogaerts is hitting .398 since the break, bringing his average for the year up to .311, and proving to the fans and the organization that he is actually capable of being a future cornerstone of a winning team.
Carlos Correa vs. Richards ($4,400) – Yup, he’s still awesome. He went 3-for-4 last night, with a home run.
Troy Tulowitzki vs. Williams ($4,100) – He is scheduled to make his Toronto debut tonight, and you know he will want to come through in front of his new home fans. The first opportunity he’s had to start proving his value outside of Colorado, and you’re the beneficiary – who knew he would end up being this cheap?
Erick Aybar @ McCullers ($3,400) – 2-for-3 against McCullers in his career, Aybar has seen his average drop somewhat since the All-Star break, but will be looking to get back on track in this one.
J.J. Hardy vs. Foltynewicz ($3,000) – It’s about as cheap as you ever need to go, and you’re getting a guy who is hitting well over .300 and slugging over .450 for the past couple of weeks. This season has not gone well for him as a whole so far, so hopefully this is a sign the second half will be a big improvement. He is currently riding an eleven game hitting streak, and will look to keep it going tonight.
Bryce Harper @ Koehler ($5,500) – He is only 5-for-18 against Koehler, so his average here is much lower than his average against everyone else, but four of those five hits were home runs. So yes, he is hitting .278 but slugging .944 in this matchup.
Nelson Cruz vs. Corbin ($4,800) – EARLY – Going 15-for-45 is impressive no matter when you do it, and to mix in five home runs over that stretch as well, it’s no wonder he’s the most expensive option of the bunch in the early games.
Jason Heyward vs. DeSclafani ($4,000) – Heyward hits righties very well, and DeSclafani is not the type of dominating right-handed pitcher to buck that trend. With two doubles in his last three games, Hayward is starting to look more like the guy who was averaging double-digits in fantasy for a month or so earlier in the season than the singles hitter he’s been for the past few weeks.
Matt Kemp @ Colon ($3,800) – With three hits in seven at-bats total against Colon, Kemp should be comfortable at the plate tonight, which will hopefully be enough to enable him to keep up his recent hot streak – three home runs, four doubles, and an average over .340 since the All-Star break.
Jason Werth @ Koehler ($3,600) – He’s been picking it up in a big way lately, all of a sudden averaging almost double-digits in fantasy points since the break. .323/.485/.483 will do that for you.
Melvin Upton, Jr. @ Colon ($2,400) – Guys only get to be this price because they don’t play every night, but with his history against Colon, I’d expect to see him if at all possible, and I would probably use him too: 10-for-33 with a double, a triple and a home run against Colon for his career, Upton clearly sees the ball well coming out of that hand. Take advantage.