With only one game in the afternoon, most of the DFS contests today just ignore those two teams entirely. Since those contests won’t have any Pirates or Cubs, neither will this column – but it will have some options at every position and price range. And if you just can’t do without some of those guys on your team, check out our “All-Day Contests” that start at 2:10 and include every game. Good luck!
Michael Pineda @ KC ($8,800) – How could he nit be on the list, right? I know, the Royals can hit a little, but for under $9,000, to get a guy who had 16 K’s last time out, who has gone seven or more innings in three of his last four, a stretch over which he has also allowed only 4 runs and has averaged just over 8 K’s an outing, is a steal. Plain and simple. When pitchers perform like he did last time out, the problem is that is you went a different way just to be contrarian, because “everyone else” was using him, and now “everyone else” just got a 7 inning, 10K shutout, you’ve already lost. WEATHER: be sure to look out for any potential delays in this one before rolling out your roster.
Dallas Keuchel vs. TOR ($7,700) – Another pitcher facing a pretty decent offense, Keuchel is nonetheless the prototype of what you look for in a fantasy starter – seven or more innings in five of seven starts (including one complete game), and no starts with fewer than six. Just over 5 strikeouts a game, next to no baserunners to get your nervous or drive up his pitch count. It’s perfect. And tonight, facing off against R.A. Dickey, who has scuffled a bit in the early going this season (sitting at 1-4), Keuchel has a halfway decent shot at the the win, too.
J.A. Happ vs. BOS ($7,300) – Boston’s lineup has been hit or miss at best over the past several weeks, sliding a bunch of spots in the team batting stats across the board. Happy, on the other hand, has been trending well, striking out batters and keeping them off the base paths to great effect. The one issue he will face is the Red Sox patience – he has a tendency to nibble and work outside the strike zone to get K’s, and if the Sox manage to drive up his pitch count, he could be gone early.
Wandy Rodriguez vs. CLE ($5,900) – His last two starts have been a marked improvement over his first two: in his first two games he threw a total of nine innings and had nine walks, in his last two those numbers improved to 14 innings and two walks. And his last two, an average of 27 fantasy points.
Buster Posey @ Jason Marquis ($4,900) – You’re often faced with a dilemma when it comes to catchers: pay up, or expect nothing. Posey hits for some power, which drives up his price, but at least he is also maintaining that .289 average, allowing him to give you something for the money, even on many of his off nights.
Yasmani Grandal vs. Eddie Butler ($4,200) – A much better hitter against right-handed pitchers, this is a matchup the Dodgers would like to see Grandal exploit.
Mike Zunino vs. Clay Buchholtz ($3,700) – There aren’t a lot of options to trot out there in Seattle, and Buchholtz is a very unpredictable guy, and no one likes unpredictability (not a word) in DFS. But that being said, Zunino’s terrible batting average has actually been increasing over the past couple of weeks as he has strung together some hits, and he can, at least, be a cheap source of power if he manages to connect with one.
Wilson Ramos @ Odrisamer Despaigne ($3,500) – This guy is a catcher on a 16-game hit streak, during which he has gone 24-for-62 (.387), and he’s cheap. Do you need to hear any more than that?
Paul Goldschmidt @ Chad Billingsley ($5,300) – Yes, please. Billingsley gives up hits, and baserunners to be driven in by those hits, and more hits to drive in the guys on base from the first hits. Confused yet? Well, Goldschmidt is not: hit, drive in runs, run the bases, score more runs. Very simple.
Adrian Gonzalez vs. Eddie Butler ($4,600) – Eddie Butler gets to pitch outside of Colorado, which is nice. But he has made it out of the sixth inning only once all season, which is not. The Dodgers are capable of hitting outside of Coors Field. Expect them to do so.
Lucas Duda vs. Kyle Lohse ($3,900) – OK, so he is not on pace for 30 home runs, but the guy is still slugging over .450 – he’s not living up to expectations, maybe, but he is playing a solid brand of ball for the Mets. As the lineup gets healthy and improves as the season goes on (one would hope), his numbers should improve as well.
Mitch Moreland vs. Bruce Chen ($3,600) – Moreland has two games under his belt now after his return from injury, and he showed his recovery with two hits in the first. Tonight, facing off against a Bruce Chen who gave up ten hits and three walks in four innings in his first start this season. If Moreland can go up against something like that, you’d like to think he’d reach base at least once or twice. The only problem with pitchers who perform that badly is that there in the clubhouse so early, you now have your DFS options facing off against relative unknowns in the bullpen (oh, that uncertainty).
Dee Gordon vs. Julio Teheran ($4,800) – Dee Gordon is fast. He’s got 12 steals and 20 runs, so speed helps his team and your (DFS) team, clearly. But it helps a lot more when it is paired with a .426 average and a .981 OPS. The fact that he has maintained this production through 32 games is almost astonishing. But there is no reason to believe it doesn’t continue tonight.
Jose Altuve vs. R.A. Dickey ($4,500) -Altuve: also fast. Thirteen steals help his cause quite a bit, and his recent move up the order to #2 was both very well deserved and also good news for his owners. Nothing beats more opportunities to be at the plate and to get on base. Thank you.
Robinson Cano vs. Clay Buchholtz ($3,900) – Well, if there is offense coming from Seattle, there is a good chance it is coming from Cano. More than the physical freak he seemed like earlier in his career, now he just seems big when he’s out there – a force. He hammers the ball, even when it stays in the park, and he has the discipline to lay off of Buchholtz’s breaking stuff off the plate.
Delino Deshields vs. Bruce Chen ($3,700) – Bruce Chen is going to have to show me something before I stop picking on him.
Adrian Beltre vs. Bruce Chen ($5,300) – Sorry Bruce Chen. But Beltre has had seven hits already this week, and if Chen throws I’m anything over the plate, I am confident you’ll see him add to that total.
Jimmy Paredes vs. Jered Weaver ($4,400) – He’s been up and down, with hot streaks and very cold streaks, but through 21 games all of those streaks have amounted to a .659 slugging %. And right now, he is on the good kind of streak, with four multi-hit games in his last five, including four hits for extra bases.
Aaron Hill @ Chad Billingsley ($3,700) – I suppose I have to apologize to Chad Billingsley too. Sorry, Chad Billingsley. Hill has been playing third lately, but not every single night, so check the lineups before going active. But in his last five games, he has six hits (including a home run and a double) – and now he has a decent matchup to go along with his recent success.
Yunel Escobar @ Odrisamer Despaigne ($3,500) – He had that 5-for-5 game on Monday, but he has eight total hits this week. And I know San Diego is the opposite of a hitter’s park, but you don’t rely on Escobar’s power for whatever value there is, and you don’t draft him expecting fireworks. A solid buy for $3,500 requires a couple of trips to first base, on singles or walks, to be perfectly frank. He can deliver that in this matchup.
Marcus Semien vs. Shane Green ($4,300) – Green pitched really well his last time out, following up a string of outings where he didn’t manage to get through four innings. So you don’t know which guy Semien is facing, but even if it is the good Green, Semien is the guy to cut through that in this lineup, hitting for power and average in a way that makes him the bad matchup in this one, not the other way around.
Andrelton Simmons @ David Phelps ($4,100) – I keep writing about him, but for good reason, in my opinion. He has hit safely in every game but two since being moved up in the order, and is producing for the Braves both at the plate (16 RBI) and on the basepaths (25 run scored).
Troy Tulowitzki @ Clayton Kershaw ($3,600) – I know, he’s facing Kershaw, but it is still shocking to come across his name when you are this far down the short stop lists for any given day. And about the matchup – it could return at any time, but Kershaw has not been himself so far this season. And even when he was himself, Tulo managed a slugging % of .459 off of him for his career, so you don’t need to be completely scared off if you are looking for an inexpensive option here.
Matt Duffy @ Jason Marquis ($3,400) – You get the feeling Duffy might get a lot more recognition if he were in a better offense. He has the average, but not a ton of pop, but he gets the ball in the air often enough that he would have much better run production numbers somewhere else. But they could get a few runs across in this one, and he would likely be part of it.
Nelson Cruz vs. Clay Buchholtz ($5,200) – Cruz is 5-12 against Buchholtz in his career, and while that is a small sample size, much of it was against good Buchholtz, which means we have zero sample size to tell us what he might do if bad Buchholtz shows up.
Jacoby Ellsbury @ Chris Young ($5,000) – How Ellsbury has managed to hit .348 with only 6 RBI on the year is sort of beyond me (he does have 27 runs from the top of the order), but what that single stat says to me is that even if his average dips over the course of the season, he might very well gradually get more valuable, not less, as the rest of his numbers balance out.
Giancarlo Stanton vs. Julio Teheran ($4,600) – He hits the ball a mile, and Teheran has already allowed eight home runs on the season. That is all.
Shin-soo Choo vs. Bruce Chen ($4,500) – He has twelve hits in his last five games, and is facing a pitcher who simple would not have been able to handle that kind of hot bat with the stuff he brought to the mound last time out – he better hope he’s turned that around in the last five days.
Yoenis Cespedes @ Carlos Martinez ($4,000) – He’s slugging over .450 for the season, and benefits from being surrounded by other good hitters. I would surprise me if no one in this lineup managed to do some damage against Martinez, and it could be Cespedes, or he could at the very least benefit from it.
David Peralta @ Chad Billingsley ($3,900) – Billingsley, oh Billingsley. Prelate did not start Wednesday and failed in a pinch hit attempt, but he is coming off a three-hit performance in his last full outing. The slugging % getting up to .531 reflects his ability to get on base, but also the gap power he seems to have, recording six doubles and a triple already, to go along with his four home runs.
Angel Pagan @ Jason Marquis ($3,700) – Three Giants in one column might be more than enough, but with six hits in the last three games following his return to action after suffering a finger laceration, at least you know he’s healthy and up to speed – which should mean he at least comes close to keeping up his season averages, which are more than useful at this price.
Colby Rasmus vs. R.A. Dickey ($3,400) – You’re drafting Rasmus because you don’t trust Dickey and you hope he gets ahold of one. Six home runs is certainly alluring. But if you don’t see that potential, you leave him and his .220 batting average on the bench, because even six home runs and five doubles only has him slugging around .450, which tells me he is just not all that efficient at taking advantages of all his opportunities (otherwise known as at-bats), and that efficiency is what you need in a good DFS option.