Monday is a slow day every week, and this one is no exception, with only eight games on the schedule. But at least it’s not like a slow day in another sport, when you have basically no options – here you have sixteen at every position. Or you would if not for a day game – call it fourteen options. If you really want to use the Angels or Blue Jays you’ll have to look at an “All-Day” contest, but this column will include options from the late games only. Good luck.
Corey Kluber @ CWS ($10,100) – The White Sox are a little bit better a bit better against right handed pitchers than lefties – a very little. So, against righties they are closer to “not terrible,” without quite making it. And Kluber is fresh off maybe the best start of the season for anyone this year (8 innings, one hit, no runs, 18 K’s).
John Lackey @ NYM ($8,200) – As badly as the Mets have played on offense this season, generally speaking, they actually play even worse when they are facing a right handed pitcher specifically. Lackey should be able to power through plenty of innings and give himself a shot at the W, at least, facing a lineup with an on-base percentage under .300 against righties.
Rubby De La Rosa @ MIA ($6,900) – He’s got the matchup, obviously, and De La Rosa has thrown seven innings in three of his last four, averaging just over six strikeouts over that time frame. If he gets the support he needs for a win, he could be a real value at this price.
Lance McCullers vs. OAK ($5,700) – Maybe you don’t have the nerve to start him – but hey, Houston does. He does have a 0.62 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 29 innings so far this year in the minors. At least it’s clear why he’s getting the nod.
Stephen Vogt @ Lance McCullers ($4,100) – Tough to find a “stud” to throw out there when Vogt is the most expensive guy on the board at $4,100. But it does give you a moment to sit back and reflect on how good Vogt has been this year, a bright spot in the otherwise desolate landscape of fantasy-relevant catchers.
Evan Gattis vs. Drew Pomerantz ($3,700) – It’s sort of amazing that a guy with a .188 average is slugging almost .400. Here’s how that happens: for the year, half of his hits have gone for extra bases.
Jason Castro vs. Drew Pomeranz ($3,500) – This is for when you just have to pick someone. Use him before he loses his job, because his replacement is worse.
Nick Hundley vs. Cole Hamels ($3,200) – He doesn’t have a lot of upside. But that being said, he seems like a value at this price, especially the considering the other available options all around him. He has five fantasy points exactly in three of his last five games, and zero in the other two. That’s about what you should expect.
Miguel Cabrera vs. Mike Fiers ($5,100) – I like this game for a lot of runs, which is a really nice feeling to have on a night with this few options. And when there are a lot of runs in a Tigers game, Miggy is usually involved.
Adam Lind @ Kyle Lobstein ($4,400) – With a .290 average and 17 extra-base hits, to go along with a solid matchup tonight, he’s the kind of guy you can get really excited about without having to grab the most expensive guy at his position, which is always nice.
Michael Cuddyer vs. John Lackey ($3,500) – He’s got at least one hit in eight of ten games. And even though that hasn’t translated into a whole lot of fantasy points, it hasn’t been zero, which makes him a useful play, especially in a 50-50 or similar contest, if you are planning on spending your money elsewhere.
Wilin Rosario vs. Cole Hamels ($3,300) – Rosario is on the list because with Nick Swisher also at $3,300, and the next choice being Jeff Baker in Miami, I feel like there is a definitive drop-off at this point in your choices. I know Hamels isn’t the best matchup, but he does surrender
Jose Altuve vs. Drew Pomeranz ($4,800) – Altuve is almost always a good choice, and I feel comfortable saying that despite the fact that he has been relatively cold over the past week and a half or so. Even during a “slump” he had back to back games with over 20 fantasy points only a couple of days ago. He’s an upside play whenever he is in your lineup, but especially when he has a manageable matchup to deal with, like tonight.
Ian Kinsler vs. Mike Fiers ($4,300) – I just keep coming back to this game, on both sides. As a fantasy option, you might shy away from Kinsler when you see the big “zero home runs” staring at you on his player page, but remember that, despite that, he is keeping his slugging % over .400 due to the ten doubles and two triples he has managed to card.
Chris Owings @ Dan Haren ($3,700) – He’s hit safely in six straight, and not by the skin of his teeth – he’s got 13 hits over that span, with a couple of big fantasy games and a whole bunch of useable ones, solid value at this price.
Martin Prado vs. Rubby De La Rosa ($3,500) – Prado is, very simply, not a high upside play. He is the sort of player you rely on when you really, really don’t want zero points from a cheap option. So, in that sense, you are definitely not comparing him to other second basemen – of course there are better options at the position. What you are wondering is if there are better options at the price at other positions – that’s the decision you need to make.
Marcus Semien @ Lance McCullers ($4,700) – With Semien, you just hope he improves his defense enough to stay in the lineup, because right now, he is playing short stop like a third baseman. But at least he’s still doing work at the plate, slugging well over .500 and drawing enough walks to complement his hitting to the tune of a .356 OBP. He’s one of the main cogs that is keeping this offense humming right now.
Freddy Galvis @ Jordan Lyles ($4,100) – With only four extra base hits, his slugging % is barely .050 points higher than his batting average, but he has swiped four bases in four tries, and scored sixteen runs, so the added value is still there on occasion, just enough to boost him from “consistent .300+ hitter with limited upside” to someone who gets at least looked at every day to see who he is facing that night and whether you think he will match or exceed his averages, because if he does, he’s a value.
Aaron Hill @ Dan Haren ($3,600) – He’s $3,600, he’s hitting .290 and slugging .453. Haren had a real solid start to the season, but has surrendered 19 hits in his last two outings, so there are definitely some question marks about which guy we will see tonight.
Adieny Hechavarria vs. Rubby De La Rosa ($3,500) – He has maintained a slugging % over .426 now through 36 games, which is longer than I thought it would stay this high. But he is making solid contact, as evidenced by his eight doubles already, and that kind of ability means there is a good enough chance that his price is only going up from here, which always makes someone an interesting play.
Marcus Semien & Freddy Galvis – This is what you get when there are so few options, and so many injuries. These are the only two even potential options at shortstop who could be considered in the conversation to be studs, and they were both covered in the third baseman section – see above. Let’s just take this as a lesson in position scarcity – there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that virtually 100% of the DFS players who roster either of these guys for tonight’s action do so with them filling the shortstop role. Why would you do otherwise?
Wilmer Flores vs. John Lackey ($3,600) – Like I said, if you’re going to pay up, this is a good place to do it, and find your value down the in the depths of the third base options, instead of here. But if you’re determined, Flores isn’t a half bad place to start. I prefer to start him against a lefty, but he is a guy who hits the ball hard, so against a ground ball pitcher like Lackey, you could see him punching one or two past the infielders and get on base.
Alexei Ramirez vs. Chris Sale ($3,400) – A better pick if you’re looking to save here, in my opinion. He’s only hitting .250, so it’s hard to imagine how much lower that was before two weeks ago, when he turned it around and decided to embark on an eleven game hitting streak, which he extended last night with two singles and two RBI against Oakland.
Giancarlo Stanton vs. Rubby De La Rosa ($5,200) – I actually think De La Rosa has a chance at a good outing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he contains Stanton. Stanton has six hits and three home runs in his last five games.
Michael Brantley @ Chris Sale ($4,900) – Brantley is a good play most nights, but especially when he is facing left-handed pitching, with eight extra-base hits in 40 at-bats so far this year. He is also, against righties and lefties, slugging over .700 for the past couple of weeks, with six hits (including four doubles and a home run) in his last four games.
Ryan Braun @ Kyle Lobstein ($4,900) – Braun has been showing signs of improvement on his consistency lately, with his total hits finally seeming to line up with his power numbers. Over the last ten days, he has been slugging .627 with an OPS of 1.022 , and it’s showing up in his fantasy average, which has been over 12 PPG over that span.
J.D. Martinez vs. Mike Fiers ($4,400) – Martinez has pop, and Fiers gives up the long ball. It’s a pretty simple equation sometimes.
Anthony Gose vs. Mike Fiers ($3,500) – Even without getting on base in either of his last two outings, he has 15 hits in his last ten games, with five multi-hit games over that span. With a pair of steals and five extra-base hits as well,
Gerardo Parra @ Kyle Lobstein ($3,400) – You have to check to make sure he’s in the lineup, because he has been splitting time with Khris Davis, but there is no doubt that Parra has been the more productive of the two, going 11-for-25 in his last 25 at-bats, with four extra base hits, 13 runs scored and 14 RBI. That’s taking advantage of an opportunity.
Nick Castellanos vs. Mike Fiers ($3,300) – He’s hit safely in eight of ten games, with multiple hits in three of those. He’s only slugging .381 on the year, but that figure is almost .500 over the past couple of weeks, so if you can take advantage of a hot streak, you should.
Grady Sizemore @ Jordan Lyles ($3,100) – Look at Grady Sizemore. Played every day for the last week, had 4 hits on Saturday, has been playing some solid defense. He doesn’t hit for power, or steal bases, or play in that great of an offense, all of which dramatically lowers his ceiling. But on the plus side, all of that is represented in his price.