It looks like Masahiro Tanaka will be back on Sunday for his first start in forever. Love the pitcher, love the skills, but I’m not crazy about throwing him out there right away in my lineup after a long lay off unless the salary represents a fine value.

Let’s get to Wednesday’s player suggestions, keeping in mind that stats are through Tuesday’s games.

Stud Pitchers

Cole Hamels, Phillies ($11,000) – Hamels hasn’t had a bad DFS game in quite some time. Sure, he’s had some double-digit teen FPPG performances but I really like Hamels in San Diego on Wednesday. Hamels has held Padres’ hitters in check with a lifetime .234 BAA and he’s always good to go late into games and net strikeouts. Plus, it’s hard to not like the park factor in this one.

Alex Cobb, Rays ($10,800) – Cobb has been quite masterful over his career against the Yankees with a .154 BAA, .208 OBPA and .242 SLGA in 149 at-bats. You should expect positive points out of Cobb, with only one FPPG total below double-digits in his last 10 starts.

 

Value Pitchers

Henderson Alvarez, Marlins ($7,000) – Like most pitchers, Alvarez has better success when he keeps the ball on the ground. And, Alvarez is certainly a groundball pitcher. He wasn’t too sharp over his last few starts before his outing against the Phillies last time out and Alvarez isn’t the best on the road, but I like him to give DFS owners a shot at 15 points for a reasonable salary.

C.J. Wilson, Angels ($6,800) – It looks like Wilson may have found his strikeout pitch again, with a six-strikeout average over his last two starts. The Angels haven’t officially won the division yet, so the game does mean something even at the minimum of a wildcard spot locked up. I trust Wilson a bit more than Alvarez if choosing between the two.

 

Stud Hitters

Russell Martin, C, Pirates ($4,600) – It looks like I’m plugging in Martin again with his continued success and crazy OBP. Martin averages 7.5 FPPG with only having nine home runs on the season, compared to Carlos Santana who averages 7.6 FPPG with 27 homers on the season. Now, who do you want? The boom-or-bust player or the guy that consistently puts up points? I guess that depends on your strategy, but I’ll take Martin on Wednesday …and for a $100 less, too! Oh, let’s not forget that Martin has four homers and seven RBI in 12 at-bats against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays ($5,100) – With 13 career home runs in 183 at-bats against Orioles’ pitching, Encarnacion gives you a huge bat with a legitimate chance of getting you 20 points or more. I feel good about Encarnacion in this game, with his recent home run push.

Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, Rays ($4,100) – Zobrist has averaged a little over 10 FPPG over his last three played, while also notching five hits in his last 13 at-bats. Overall, Zobrist has practically matched his pre All-Star numbers in about 100 less at-bats.

Neil Walker, 2B/3B, Pirates ($4,500) – Walker is 7-for-15 over his last four games with four runs scored, a home run and five RBI. He hits almost 30 points higher at home than he does on the road, while bringing similar power numbers to his home/road splits.

Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals ($4,400) – Desmond is listed here for one reason only – his two homers  against Cubs starter Travis Wood. Wood, who by the way, has been awful in 2014.

Justin Upton, OF, Braves ($4,600) – Having three career homers off Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez is enough of a reason for me to slot Upton in, but take into account that Upton has five hits in 16 at-bats (.313 AVG) – not bad. Upton hasn’t had a hot streak since the middle of August, so he’s certainly due.

Danny Santana, OF/SS ($4,700) – Santana should get close to 400 at-bats this season. He’s put up 8.6 FPPG on average to this point, and is starting to heat up again with 17 and 10 points over his last two games. You have to love the flexibility for your lineup being able to slot him at OF or SS.

 

Value Hitters

Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays ($3,600) – Three of Rasmus’ six hits against Astros pitcher Bud Norris have gone out of the park. The batting average (.207 in 26 at-bats) against Norris isn’t anything to get excited about, but if you’re looking for a chance at a boom night from a value hitter then Rasmus is your guy.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves ($4,700) – Just because a player is at a higher salary that doesn’t mean he can’t be at a solid value. Freeman is a perfect example of that if you’re looking for steady point production without the bust factor. The Braves first baseman is currently in the middle of an 11-game hitting streak.

Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Brewers ($3,700) – Did you know that Ramirez has a lifetime batting average of .411 (56 at-bats) against Cardinals’ pitcher Adam Wainwright? Go ahead and count 11 extra-base hits including three homers and eight RBI as well.

Billy Butler, 1B, Royals ($3,200) – I know Butler has been struggling like crazy and he’s not playing every day anymore but if there’s a day where you should expect him to start it’s against White Sox’ pitcher Chris Sale. Butler has hit Sale well in the past (.359/.409/.641) with three homers and 10 RBI in 39 lifetime at-bats.

Good luck on Wednesday!