There is a full slate of MLB action Friday night, with lots of great matchups across the league, so DFS is just one way to enjoy some baseball. But it is a really great way. So here are a few players to consider for your lineups at every position, and at every price range. Watch out for a chance of rain across the Midwest, with games being played in Milwaukee, Chicago and Colorado. Hope for sun in that one.
Matt Harvey @ PHI ($11,000) – It’s a no-brainer. He’s won every start, coming off seven shutout innings, and playing possibly the worst team in baseball. The only question is whether you can find enough cheap hitters to afford him.
Sonny Gray @ SEA ($9,800) – Gray has been lights-out with an ERA under 2 and a WHIP under 1. And perhaps even more importantly, at least from a fantasy angle, he’s gone at least six innings in every start. His strikeouts have been increasing pretty steadily, capped off with a 10 K outing last time out against Texas. He might not hit double-digits again tonight, but anyone who can give you 6+ innings, 6+ Ks and a chance at a win is a really solid buy.
Michael Wacha @ PIT ($8,300) – I know this isn’t cheap, but with so many stellar pitching options tonight, you have to be pretty confident in the hitters you’ve chosen to try to make do with a bargain-basement pitcher. Wacha finds himself in the middle – definitely a savings over the top guys, but not quite as much of a risk as those coming a little further down the list. He’s gone at least 6 innings in all but one start this year, has yet to get charged with a loss, and just really doesn’t let many people on base at all. You don’t have the strikeout upside of the most expensive options, but he probably isn’t going to torpedo your chances entirely.
Trevor Bauer vs. MIN ($7,000) – Bauer is more of a risk, with perhaps a little more upside. With double-digit strikeout performances twice at the beginning of the season, the mere chance that could happen again for this price is enough to make you consider him. He’s coming off his worst outing of the year, which dropped his price tag, and he will be looking to rebound against a light-hitting Twins lineup.
Russell Martin vs. Wade Miley ($4,800) – I like this game for a lot of runs, and that is not rocket science. Miley and Sanchez are both struggling to hold onto rotation spots right now, and these two offenses could end up spewing runs tonight. Martin will be right in the middle of it for the Jays if it does happen.
Carlos Santana vs. Mike Pelfrey ($4,400) – He is slugging almost .400, with four home runs, against a pitcher who has already given up two, in five starts. Pelfrey is coming off a three-inning outing last time out, and if he gets into trouble like that again, it could be an abnormally high-scoring day for Cleveland.
Evan Gattis @ Jered Weaver ($4,000) – Jered Weaver just hasn’t had the same movement and pop on his pitches as you used to see, and Evan Gattis is just the kind of hitter you don’t feel like seeing at the plate if you feel like your fastball might be a little too flat. He still might not be hitting .200, but where he sits now is actually, believe it or not, an improvement, and the power potential is still obvious, shown by his six home runs despite the low batting totals.
Stephen Vogt @ Taijuan Walker ($3,800) – Walker is a wildcard, and personally, I am surprised Vogt’s price hasn’t been climbing faster this season. Coming off a day of rest yesterday (0-1 as a pinch hitter), he’ll be looking to get back on track in this one.
Adrian Gonzalez @ Eddie Butler ($5,000) – There isn’t a lot more to say about Gonzalez so far this season. This is the Adrian Gonzalez the Red Sox thought they were getting however many years ago. Slugging over .700 with nine home runs, and now batting tonight in Coors Field against a guy who is giving up almost two base-runners for every inning he’s out there? This is the reason you don’t spend up on Matt Harvey (and why you hope for sunny skies in Colorado tonight).
David Ortiz @ Aaron Sanchez ($4,500) – Ortiz, another beneficiary of the idea that this game could just see a lot of scoring, could see himself racking up a solitary RBI here or there with a lazy fly ball, or clearing the bases with a slap hit past the third baseman – you know, exactly the kind of stuff you just love to see as a fantasy owner.
Lucas Duda @ Cole Hamels ($3,800) – Duda has been a bit of a disappointment, but only because he didn’t live up to expectations. This is a clear example of trying hard not to let the biases you’ve formed by playing year-long fantasy baseball leagues influence your decision-making in daily. The disappointment you feel about Duda might not have been reflected in his draft position or auction value, but it certainly is reflected in this price, today. He only has two HRs, but he is getting on base and playing a central role in this offense, good value for this money.
James Loney vs. Yovani Gallardo ($3,500) – This is a bottom-of-the-barrel type pick, but you need a few of these super-cheap options peppered through your lineup sometimes, and Loney fits the bill, primarily just because this is going to be a game that helps decide which is worse: the way these teams hit or the way they pitch. With a couple of struggling pitchers on the mound, these offenses may appear more competent than they should, at least for one night.
Howie Kendrick @ Eddie Butler ($4,900) – Howie Kendrick used to be that little quick guy on the Angels. But now, he is a man, with as much pop as you can rightfully hope to expect from a second baseman, and playing in the right park to show it off a little.
Dustin Pedroia @ Aaron Sanchez ($4,400) – This game could easily feature 15 runs scored. Just saying.
D.J. LeMahieu vs. Brett Anderson ($3,800) – The great thing about the Rockies rolling out a favorable pitcher in a home game is when their opponent does too! Now all of a sudden it’s not just the visitors we are looking at for increased value, but the home team as well. He’s already given up a couple of long balls this season, and that was, well, elsewhere.
Alex Guerrero @ Eddie Butler ($3,600) – Unfortunately, this is a pick where you will need to wait and check the lineup to even be sure he’s going. But it would be surprising if they didn’t want him active in their lineup as much as you do, considering the power he’s flashed so far this season (five HRs) and now potentially facing a good matchup in Coors Field.
Chris Davis @ Adam Warren ($5,100) – Yes, please. Four home runs and a slugging % over .600 over the past ten days, he is quickly living up to the hopes and expectations fantasy (and Orioles) fans had for Davis coming out of last season. Expect him to be in consideration for your lineup on the regular from here on out.
Josh Donaldson vs. Wade Miley ($4,400) – Well, if Toronto is going to score runs, Donaldson is probably going to have a little something to do with it, right? Just so you’re clear exactly what you’re dealing with, Miley has a 7.15 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP; he’s 1-3 and coming off his best game of the season, which was seven hits and three runs in seven innings.
Yunel Escobar vs. Eric Stults ($3,400) – Escobar went 5-5 the other day and still only managed 21 fantasy points, so we are – really – not talking about a lot of upside here. But Stults is someone who gives up hits, and runs, and at least they’re not playing in San Diego.
Brock Holt @ Aaron Sanchez ($3,200) – Holt is actually playing right field for the Sox, but whatever – take advantage of that infield eligibility. In 19 games this seaosn, his on-base % is almost .400, which will come in handy when the Sox inevitably starting piling on Sanchez at some point in this one.
Troy Tulowitzki vs. Brett Anderson ($4,900) – Another one of the guys you are thinking about when you decide to save on pitching, he is about as no-brain as a no-brainer can get. He’s slowed down some in the past week or so, but with a hitter this good, that usually means “he’s due” more than it means anything bad for the long term.
Jimmy Rollins @ Eddie Butler ($4,300) – Jimmy Rollins. Yeah, I am serious. Definitely a risky pick, and I get it if you think “for this much risk, I might as well save another $1,000.” But if there is one thing he still has, it’s the ability to drive the ball when he does make contact, useful in this park.
Addison Russell @ Jimmy Nelson ($3,900) – I just wanted to write about him again because soon enough, you won’t be able to consider him a value. He plays stellar defense, he’s not disciplined – but oh man, that bat speed. He hits pitches he shouldn’t swing at and he hits them hard. I am kind of jealous of Cubs fans for getting to root for this guy.
Alexi Amarista @ Jeremy Hellickson ($3,400) – Hellickson has been a train wreck for most of the season, and Amarista is the kind of player you pull out of the woodwork to take advantage of those kinds of situations only. And only when you’re desperate. A big GPP where you need that cheap stud-for-a-day and won’t be afraid of the bitter disappointment you’ll feel if Amarista isn’t him.
Mike Trout vs. Roberto Hernandez ($5,600) – Yup, Mike Trout. Really going out on a limb here, I know. But listen, it is what it is, and the power surge that’s appeared over the last two days has to give you increased confidence. You’ve seen him do it before, and here he is facing a guy who has already surrendered four home runs this year – of course he can do it again.
Joc Pederson @ Eddie Butler ($5,400) – I know, I know, I know. Another guy playing in Colorado. Not very original. But in all honesty, if I had to pick only one guy from this game, it would probably be Pederson. A lefty who eats righties alive (SLG .707 against them this year), who already has NINE home runs on the year? In Colorado? Yes.
Justin Upton @ Jeremy Hellickson ($5,000) – It’s fun writing about Upton as a top-tier option again. And when you slug .550 with a .900 OPS and seven home runs in a month, that’s exactly what you are.
Mookie Betts @ Aaron Sanchez ($4,800) – Mookie! The Red Sox will definitely look to have Sanchez running scared in this one, and Betts could do a lot to contribute to that effort. He’s gotten his average back up over the past week or so, and he’s done it with at least one hit every night. He could definitely keep that trend going in this one.
Kevin Pillar vs. Wade Miley ($4,000) – Wade Miley. And Pillar has been a doubles machine over the past couple of weeks. And hitting doubles when thre are already guys on base, in case you haven’t noticed, is really very useful.
Kevin Kiermaier vs. Yovani Gallardo ($3,700) – Another game with a high projected run total, in this case, it’s all about the pitching, or lack thereof. It’s certainly not the fear struck into your heart by these offenses. But Kiermaier has, undoubtedly, been a bright spot. A .267 average isn’t great, but with twelve extra base hits, he is slugging .500, which is the sort of thing that earns you a roster spot.
Steven Souza, Jr. vs. Yovani Gallardo ($3,700) – His best attribute in a lot of ways is his patience. He hits when he has a good pitch to target, and he walks when the opportunity presents itself. That’s maybe not the most glowing recommendation of a fantasy option, but when you are looking at a game with the potential for a lot of scoring, those attributes can translate into a nice roster move.
Carlos Peguero @ Nathan Karns ($3,000) – He’s playing every day, he’s had three home runs in the past three days, and he’s slugging over .500 over the past ten days. And, he’s got a favorable matchup. For $3,000, you can’t ask for a lot more.