Every MLB team is in action Friday night, giving you plenty of options for your DFS roster. Here are some of the players I will thinking about targeting, at every position and price range. I hope this helps you start to make some decisions about your own lineups. Good luck.
Johnny Cueto @ TOR ($10,000) – He certainly drew a tough matchup for his debut with the Royals, but Cueto has a decent history against several of the hitters on this Blue Jays roster, and, in fact, the only two Jays with any real success against him in the past, Bautista and Encarnacion, have both been banged up this week. He might give up a few runs anyway, but with his new offense facing off against Hutchison, he still as a chance at all the run support he’ll need to earn a W.
Michael Wacha vs. COL ($9,000) – He’s got the strikeout potential to get you fantasy points in the high-20’s on any given night. You have to prefer facing the Rockies outside of Colorado, of course, and you also have to keep in mind – they no longer have Tulo. Whatever feelings you had about their offense and how a pitcher might fare against them earlier in the year need to be adjusted downward.
Rubby De La Rosa ($7,400) – He is trying to build on a streak that’s seen him go 15 innings with only nine hits and one earned run in his last two starts. He’s earned the win in each start and, last time out, he added six K’s to get up to just over 30 fantasy points. He’s facing a Houston team that has a way of making pitchers look good, as even their quality games usually include a fair share of strikeouts.
Erasmo Ramirez @ BOS ($5,500) – The Red Sox have been streaky this year – they’ve had bad streaks and terrible streaks, and right now, they are playing terribly on top of also dealing with some new and some old injury concerns. And as much as Eduardo Rodriguez has been a bright spot for them this year, the Rays do a great job hitting lefties, so Ramirez can reasonably expect at least some run support from his teammates.
Buster Posey @ Martinez ($5,400) – Posey has been on fire, but you have to wonder if this price reflects his comparison to other catchers, and not to other top options at different positions. In other words, you draft him because you are trying to get the best catcher, but you still might, in the end, be sacrificing fantasy points because he just doesn’t have the upside of top options at other positions. But with McCann facing a lefty, and d’Arnaud and Martin both drawing matchups they’ve had little success against historically, Posey definitely remains the stud to consider. All that just might mean you use catcher as a position to save some money tonight, instead of a place to spend it.
Francisco Cervelli @ Lorenzen ($3,700) – Before last night, Cervelli had been working on a five game multi-hit streak (he only had two at-bats last night – 0-for-1 with a walk). With a couple of extra base-hits mixed in over that stretch, he has been a consistent double-digit scorer for basically a week now.
Jonathan Lucroy vs. Hammel ($3,400) – Not only is Lucroy 3-for-9 in this particular matchup, but he is also hitting almost .350 over the past two weeks, and averaging almost 7.5 fantasy points. He obviously won’t keep that up all season – if he did, he’d cost a lot more than $3,400 – but this isn’t a year-long league. Take advantage while you can.
Joey Votto vs. Locke ($5,000) – Votto has six hits in seventeen at-bats against Locke, for an average over .350, including a couple of doubles. He has been on base a completely ridiculous 41 times in his last 60 at-bats. 41-for-60? That seems like a made-up stat. It isn’t.
Prince Fielder vs. Bumgarner ($4,200) – You might not immediately go towards the lefty-lefty matchup, but Fielder is the only guy in this lineup with a history of success against Bumgarner (.429 average and .600 OBP).
Albert Pujols vs. Kershaw ($3,600) – You don’t start Kershaw because he’s expensive and it’s not the best matchup. Then you don’t start any Angels because Kershaw is such a bad matchup. Well, which is it? Let’s put it this way: Pujols has seen his price dropped by several hundred dollars because he is facing a pitcher against whom he is 9-for-20 (.450) lifetime, with four doubles.
Joe Mauer vs. Walker ($3,300) – The veteran with the historically consistent hitting stroke has slashed .308/.344/.440 over the entire month of July. That’s 91 very effective at-bats, at a value you can use to your advantage while building a DFS lineup if you have players you want to spend on at other positions.
Jason Kipnis @ Graveman ($5,000) – In one game against Graven earlier in the year, Kipnis went 0-for-2 with a walk, but you know he’ll be looking to do more damage than that tonight. Hitting .400 over the last ten games, he is starting to look more like the hitter he was in May and June than earlier in July. Which is a good thing.
Kolten Wong vs. Kendrick ($4,100) – Wong has hit safely in seven of eight, including a couple of multi-hit games – he might never be entirely consistent, but we’ve seen that he can ride a hot streak for a good long while. In his only appearance against Kendrick this season, he was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
Jimmy Paredes vs. Farmer ($3,800) – Only a couple of Orioles have ever faced Farmer before, but when a pitcher has an ERA over 9.00 and a WHIP approaching 2.00 through three starts, you don’t need specific historical success to recommend hitters against him. Paredes has hit safely in three straight now.
Neil Walker @ Lorenzen ($3,700) – For the first 30 days of July, Walker has slashed .305/.327/.514 with five home runs. He has one hit in two career at-bats against Lorenzen. He has four hits and a walk in his last three starts for a total of 33 fantasy points. His price doesn’t quite reflect those realities.
Todd Frazier vs. Locke ($5,000) – Frazier and Votto weren’t both recommended here just because they are the two best power hitters in this lineup, they were chosen because they both have had specific success against Locke (Frazier is hitting .450 in twenty at-bats with a couple of home runs). But here is something to consider: if the two best power hitters on your team are having a lot of success in a game, what does hthat do for the upside of all the less-expensive options in the same lineup? It certainly increases the probability of securing some of those counting stats you want, so don’t be shy about getting some Reds in your lineup.
Chase Headley @ Rodon ($4,000) – If you take just a quick look at Rodon’s game log, you can see that not only are his numbers mediocre at best, they are propped up significantly by some great performances against bad offenses, but he is consistently giving up multiple hits and runs when faced with anything even resembling a formidable lineup. On top of that, the Yankees destroy left handed pitching, so in sum total, let’s just say I expect there to be plenty of opportunities to both drive in and score runs in this one, and Headley is just the guy to take advantage (along with that other 3B they have).
Aramis Ramirez @ Lorenzen ($3,800) – Coming off back-to-back two hit performances with a double in each game, you hope he is just starting to thrive now that he’s back in Pittsburgh and it’s a trend that lasts. He can be a very valuable addition to this lineup, giving you a new option to count on and giving the rest of the guys around him more chances to pile up those vital counting stats.
Pedro Alvarez @ Lorenzen ($3,400) – With three home runs in his last six games, Alvarez is definitely giving you just about as much upside as you can find at this price. There is also some risk involved, of course – but six double-digit fantasy performances in his last nine against only one blank is enough to make me (sort of) trust him.
Brandon Crawford @ Martinez ($4,600) – Martinez is averaging about 5 innings and 5.5 earned runs through his last four starts, but he’ll be trotting out there again tonight. Crawford is one of the Giants hitters who has been consistently doing work since the All-Star break, and he will look to head into August on a high note with this matchup.
Xander Bogaerts vs. Ramirez ($4,000) – It was easier to write about him as a value than a stud, but this price is still manageable as long as he can slide into this SS slot. He has only seen Ramirez once, earlier this season, and he managed a single and a fly out in two at-bats. But at this point, he has become one of the only hitters on this team you can trust to bring some level of competency to the plate every night, as he will be looking to cap off a July in which he hit .386 and slugged .436.
J.J. Hardy vs. Farmer ($3,200) – As if the matchup with Farmer wasn’t enough of a reason to get all your Orioles active, Hardy remains at $3,200 despite hitting safely in fourteen straight games, a stretch in which he also has seven RBI and nine runs scored. He’s a good flier if you’re looking for someone who isn’t likely to leave you with a goose-egg.
Asdrubal Cabrera @ Rodriguez ($3,100) – He has historically hit better from the right side of the plate, and while Rodriguez isn’t a great matchup, Cabrera came back from his most recent stint on the DL with a vengeance, going 4-for-7 with two doubles and a home run in the two games since his return.
Nelson Cruz @ Milone ($5,100) – The numbers recently are absurd. 12.7 fantasy points per game over his last ten – you get to that number with five home runs, four multi-hit games, a couple of doubles, a smattering of sac flies – you get the idea. He is producing almost every time he steps to the plate.
Starling Marte @ Lorenzen ($4,800) – 1-for-2 with a home run the only other time he’s seen Lorenzen, and slashing .383/.412/.486 since the break, we are looking at the player who was the best outfielder on the Pirates for the first month or so of the season.
J.D. Martinez @ Chen ($4,600) – The Tigers survived without Cabrera for a while there because Martinez, J.D. and Martinez, Victor picked up the slack. J.D. has kept it up. .302/.352/.552 – those numbers aren’t some trick of sample size, those are his numbers since joining the Tigers at the beginning of last year.
Randal Grichuk vs. Kendrick ($4,300) – He left a game earlier in the week with an apparent groin injury, but has played each of the last two nights, recording a hit in each game. Cardinals fans (and DFS players) can breathe a collective sigh of relief – the guy hitting .300/.404/.650 since the All-Star break seems to be fine and picking up right where he left off.
Mark Trumbo @ Milone ($3,400) – Trumbo continues to impress since the break, with seven hits in his last four games, including three doubles. In this matchup, he could definitely see continued production far exceeding this price point.
Juan Lagares vs. Gonzalez ($2,700) – You’ll have to check the lineup, but he has consistently been starting against lefties, and it’s hard to imagine him sitting in this one: he is 10-for-22 (.455) against Gio for his career with three doubles, a triple and a home run.
Franklin Gutierrez @ Milone ($2,600) – Gutierrez has faced Milone eleven times in his career, and he has five hits (that’s a .455 average, in case you don’t feel like doing the math). Those five hits include two doubles and a home run. That’s about a good a history as you can find for a guy at this price.