Get the long weekend started off with a bang. With every team in action, not too much of a threat of rain, and some great pitchers going, Friday night is a great night for baseball. And therefore, a great night for DFS action as well. Here are some players to target, at every position and price range. Good luck.
Max Scherzer vs. PHI ($12,700) – I mean, obviously, right? Averaging seven innings and eight K’s every time out, and he’s at home against the Phillies. Let’s put it this way: if you don’t use him, you are hoping that the guy(s) who did didn’t hit on those cheap batters they were forced to draft.
Gerrit Cole vs. NYM ($9,200) – He’s got 53 K’s and only 13 walks in eight starts, and he hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of them. And since the Mets don’t score much, either, you know – it’s a good fit.
Ubaldo Jiminez @ MIA ($7,000) – I mean, obviously, right? OK, maybe not so much. The obvious answer to the part of you that says “YOU HAVE TO START SCHERZER!” Jiminez is also facing one of the worst hitting teams in the league, and in his last two starts, he has gone seven innings in each, given up only two runs, and piled up 15 K’s.
Alfredo Simon @ HOU ($5,500) – So you want to start Scherzer. Maybe you pair him with someone like Simon, and make back most of the premium price in one fell swoop. He’s had double digit fantasy points in six of his eight starts, and four of those were over eighteen – and if he’s going to duplicate those numbers at least sometimes, this is as good a matchup as any.
Buster Posey @ Kyle Kendricks ($5,000) – Posey has been killing it, slugging .550 with three home runs in his last ten games, and Kendricks, well, has NOT been killing it. Plus, Colorado. Add it up and you get a $900 gap between the most expensive catcher and the second most.
Yasmani Grandal vs. Andrew Cashner ($3,900) – I can in good conscience advocate for picking any of the guys between him and Posey, so there you go, #2 at $3,900. Grandal, at least, has also been hot, hitting .325 with 2 HR and 13 RBI in the last ten games, and has scored at least some fantasy points in nine of those ten games (including, of course, the 52-point explosion a couple weeks back).
Wilson Ramos vs. Sean O’Sullivan ($3,800) – O’Sullivan doesn’t scare anyone, and Ramos is another relatively consistent bat at a very weak position, with at least one hit in seven of his last eight.
Yadier Molina @ Chris Young ($3,700) – I continue to think he is underpriced. He’s got no power, sure, but look at the dredges around him – this is a guy who is hitting almost .300 and getting on base at close to a .350 clip – at least he is giving himself a chance to produce.
Anthony Rizzo @ Josh Collmenter ($5,300) – I mean, is this guy serious? Right now, you have to assume so, I guess. And assuming this is for real is elevating a guy who no one had this high on their ranks to potentially being the best fantasy option at first base in all of baseball. Let’s recap: in 40 games, he is hitting .324/.449/.502, with an OPS of .950. He has eight home runs and nine doubles, capped off with nine STEALS, of all things. In his last ten games, he has scored fewer than seven fantasy points only three times, with either multiple hits or an extra base hit, or both, in five of those. And tonight’s matchup only makes him more appealing – sorry, Josh Collmenter.
Paul Goldschmidt vs. Jon Lester ($4,800) – Lester is good and all, but Goldschmidt is slugging .718 against lefties right now, and has a slugging % well over .600 against lefties over the past three seasons combined. He didn’t do a whole lot in their last two series’ against Philadelphia and Miami, but back home and facing a lefty might be just what he needs to turn it around.
Freddie Freeman vs. Wily Peralta ($4,000) – There are eight options at first base who cost either $4,100 or $4,000, right in the wheelhouse for most budgets, and Freeman is my favorite of the lot. He has hit safely in eight of ten games, scoring at least five fantasy points in six of those, and he has a great matchup with Peralta, who not only has struggled all year, but is also coming off one of his worst performances so far, giving up five runs on nine hits and three walks over just five innings against the Mets.
Adam Lind @ Alex Wood ($3,800) – Why not? Wood gives up baserunners, and all it takes is a single at the right time to produce some fantasy value in this price range.
Jason Kipnis @ Mike Leake ($4,900) – Kipnis is hitting .449 in May, including 14 extra base hits, and ten walks. He has nine RBI and 21 runs scored, and this is on the heels of a pretty damn good April too. If he keeps this up, he will be the most valuable fantasy second baseman of the year, and it won’t be close.
Robinson Cano @ Marco Estrada ($4,500) – Cano has had hits in each of his last three games, and he’s got a consistency that is valuable. But don’t draft him looking for the upside he used to have, because right now the pop just isn’t there.
Matt Duffy @ Kyle Kendricks ($3,800) – At this point, you have to make sure he is in the lineup, but I bring him up because this whole lineup is starting to look a little bit better – a little bit – and he is both part of the reason and a potential beneficiary. I, for one, would like to see him getting very regular reps at third, and if that happens in conjunction with some improvements throughout the order, he could be in line for some increased run production.
Dustin Pedroia @ Garret Richards ($3,700) – Pedroia looks like Pedroia. He makes solid contact, consistently driving the ball and hitting well situationally – he’s as good a bet as anyone to get an RBI if he is up with a man on third and fewer than two outs, and that’s worth something.
Kris Bryant @ Josh Collmenter ($5,000) – He has safely in eleven straight and sixteen of his last eighteen, and four of his five home runs have come in the last ten games. He’s 23-years old. Sometimes, the development happens at the big-league level, right in front of our eyes. Amazingly enough, that $5K price tag has room to go up.
Jimmy Paredes @ Henderson Alvarez ($4,500) – I don’t know, I keep recommending him and I keep not feeling bad about it after. So I’m doing it again.
Mike Moustakas @ Lance Lynn ($4,000) – He has had three or more hits in three of his last five games. He had no hits in the other two, but he still managed to get you some fantasy points, with an RBI fly ball, or walk and a run. He’s playing a solid all-around brand of baseball right now, and it is actually reflecting in his fantasy value. Refreshing.
Xander Bogaerts vs. Garrett Richards ($3,300) – He has hit safely in six out of seven games, and he has notched a double, a triple and a home run over that stretch, as well as a couple of walks. If the Red Sox in general were hitting better than they are, his numbers would be up and he would probably cost a bit more than he does right now. That could happen at any time as they start to get some guys back and hopefully getting healthier.
Troy Tulowitzki vs. Ryan Vogelsong ($4,600) – Yeah, Tulowitzki. What’s he, on a home stand? Well, Vogelsong has managed to give up nine home runs in eight starts in parks not named Coors Field so far this year, and even though he has pitched better lately, if someone is going to take advantage of a grooved pitch, it’s the Rockies star short stop.
Marcus Semien @ Chris Archer ($4,000) – Archer has not pitched as well in his last three outings as he did earlier in the season, so don’t let his raw numbers make you shy away from using quality options on the A’s. Semien has keep up a slash line of .302/.344/.485 through 169 at-bats, so there is no real reason to think he’s going to slow down anytime soon. Certainly he could, and he might finish the year with all those numbers depressed somewhat, but all that tells me is that you should get while the gettin’s good or whatever that saying is. Make hay while the sun shines. Something about a dog’s ass? Not sure.
Yunel Escobar vs. Sean O’Sullivan ($3,700) – The Nationals, I don’t think, ever expected to have Escobar get 144 at-bats through 37 games, but he has stepped up in a big way with Rendon missing so much time. He’s hitting .326 on the season, and has only stepped it up of late, managing to reach .377/.445.402 over his last ten outings.
Addison Russell @ Josh Collmenter ($3,700) – He has hit safely in seven of ten, with a couple of multi-hit games mixed in, and he does particularly well against right-handed pitching.
Bryce Harper vs. Sean O’Sullivan ($5,500) – Harper is the best of a top-heavy lineup of available outfielders, in my opinion. O’Sullivan has given up at least five hits and and awalk-and-a-half in his four starts this season, and Harper is just the guy to take advantage of a pitcher not on his A-game. Let’s put it this way – he is slugging .732 on the season, and over the last ten games, he is besting that by more than .150 points. In those ten games, he has 15 hits, including three doubles, a triple, and four home runs, two steals, 11 RBI and 12 runs scored. You really just can’t ask for more production than that out of any one guy.
Starling Marte vs. Noah Syndergaard ($4,700) – Marte has been the best-hitting outfielder on the Pirates so far this season, by a mile, and I actually think most people did not expect that coming into the year. It’s not often the consensus best fantasy option on a team is outshined by a teammate this early in the year, but so far, Marte is the definition of what I always say you want in a fantasy player: consistent with upside.
Ryan Braun @ Alex Wood ($4,500) – Braun is hitting for power! Whatever do we think about that? Well, I for one don’t care – I just like another viable option. And four home runs in two weeks certainly makes you that.
Jason Heyward @ Chris Young ($4,500) – Only hitting .245 on the year, but he has been dragging that number north recently, with at least one multi-hit game in each of the last few series for St. Louis, and that has been good for both fantasy owners and the Cardinals offense as a whole.
Khris Davis @ Alex Wood ($3,500) – Maybe this is more of a hopeful pick than anything else, because it would be great to see him doing what he was doing a few weeks ago, and Wood is the kind of pitcher that he could have success against. But this choice also speaks to a big collection of injuries and bad matchups when you get lower down the list of available outfielders, so you might want to save some room in your budget.
Scott Van Slyke vs. Andrew Cashner ($3,400) – He’s cheap, and he hits .302. You have a chance with him, which is more than you can say with a lot of the other guys around him in the lineup.
Justin Ruggiano @ Marco Estrada ($3,200) – This is where the fact that you drafted Scherzer gets painful, so look at the upside – he’s hitting .222 on the year, but well over .300 for the past two weeks – hot streak! A good hot streak is as valuable as an MVP candidate if you hit it right.
David Murphy vs. Mike Leake $(3,000) – He kills righties. He has one at-bat and zero hits against lefties all season, so you get the idea Cleveland has picked up on this. Leake is right-handed.
Good luck and Happy Memorial Day weekend!