When looking at “bargains” on FanDuel, we'll typically focus on hitters who are $3,200 or lower. In general, we'll only highlight players at the top end of that scale if they have star potential.
Fourteen of the day's 15 games will be played this evening. Friday is fun like that. Weather shouldn't interrupt this day of aces which includes a Clayton Kershaw-Madison Bumgarner rematch and starts by Chris Sale, Dallas Keuchel, Zack Greinke, and Carlos Martinez (among others). With a wealth of aces and exploitable bums, tonight figures to be a high scoring affair.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
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Onto the bargain plays...
1 – Joe Ross – SP – Washington (FanDuel $7,200)
I have serious concerns about Ross' viability as a starter. His slider performs as a near-elite pitch, but I'm not entirely sold on the results. More to the point, his sinker and changeup are average or worse offerings. It's hard to succeed as a starter in the majors with a plus breaking ball and nothing else. Of course, his brother Tyson does it.
Despite the red flags, a matchup with the Phillies should go smoothly. Half of the Philadelphia lineup is completely useless at the dish. Ross is a decent bet for six to seven innings with five strikeouts. I'd put his odds of earning a win at just under 50 percent – one of the higher rates for the day.
2 – Francisco Cervelli – C – Pittsburgh (FanDuel $2,700)
There are three types of bargains – mispriced studs, high ceiling gambles, and high floor glue. Cervelli is the last type of bargain. The Pirates fifth hitter is a daily multi-hit threat. He's also drawing walks and driving in runs. It's rare you'll get a home run or a massive performance out of him. Despite the lack of high ceiling, he consistently outperforms all the ordinary catchers (i.e. not Buster Posey).
3 – John Jaso – 1B – Pittsburgh (FanDuel $2,900)
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson isn't one of the most obvious exploits tonight. He's a solid pitcher and the game is at PNC Park. For players like Cervelli and Jaso, you don't need to worry about the homer suppressing park. As the Pirates leadoff man, Jaso has reached base in every game. He's an excellent high average, high OBP hitter versus right-handed pitching.
You usually want your first baseman to provide power. If you're trying to fill in a lineup around Kershaw or Sale, you can use a “safe” play like Jaso or roll the dice with...
4 – C.J. Cron – 1B – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,100)
This is a deep bargain for a reason. Cron has yet to heat up, and there's reason to believe he's a streaky hitter. It's probably smart to wait for him to show life before selecting him. However, if you want an extremely cheap first baseman with power potential, Cron's your guy.
He's opposed by hittable, fly ball pitcher Tommy Milone. Target Field is a pitcher's park, but it only penalizes left-handed hitters. If the Angels touch up Milone, they'll get into the soft underbelly of the Twins bullpen. With Glen Perkins on the shelf, they're down to one good reliever (Trevor May).
5 – Neil Walker – 2B – New York (FanDuel $2,600)
Whenever Walker is cheap, he's going to be a useful bargain target. He's running cold through his first 31 plate appearances. That could signal injury, early season rust, or absolutely nothing at all. Historically, Walker has shown good power against right-handed pitching. He'll face Cody Anderson at Progressive Field – a park that stealthily rewards left-handed power hitters. Anderson doesn't allow many home runs, but he's not impervious to damage.
6 – Jake Lamb – 3B – Arizona (FanDuel $2,500)
Speaking of stealthily good power parks, Petco Park actually has a 106 home run park factor for left-handed hitters (read six percent above average). It's death to righties. Unlike some of today's bargains, Lamb is actually hitting well - .258/.351/.452 in 37 plate appearances. We know San Diego starter James Shields will work around the plate. He's also been very homer prone in recent seasons. His fastball is sitting at just 90.5 mph. He'll be a regular target their year.
7 – Aledmys Diaz – SS – St. Louis (FanDuel $2,800)
I recommended Diaz yesterday, and I'm sticking with him today. There's something to be said for high floor hitters at skills-based positions like catcher and shortstop. If you can't afford a Posey or Carlos Correa, somebody like Diaz promises to give you something. He has just enough power to punish Tim Melville and the Reds bullpen, but he's far more likely to contribute with multiple hits and runs scored.
If you're going with Diaz in a GPP, you may want to pick up a few of the guys who could drive him in. Like...
8 – Stephen Piscotty – OF – St. Louis (FanDuel $3,200)
Piscotty is still on the cusp of a breakout. He's showing off plus plate discipline and improved contact rates. He hasn't yet trimmed his strikeout rate. It's just a matter of time. Piscotty regularly barrels the ball with a well above average hard hit rate. He's not a base running threat, but that's his only fantasy weakness. He can fuel your roster with multiple hits, power, runs, RBI, or plain ol' walks.
9 – Nomar Mazara – OF – Texas (FanDuel $2,700)
As with Diaz, I have to highlight Mazara again. He's easily a $3,500 player as the Rangers second hitter – if not more. Yesterday was just a ho-hum day for him. He went 2-for-4 with a double, a run, and an RBI. He's going to do this a lot. The Rangers are opposed by swingman Vance Worley at power friendly Globe Life Park. With this matchup, Mazara is nearly a must-play.
10 – Brett Gardner – OF New York (FanDuel $2,900)
Gardner is still looking for his first extra base hit. Perhaps he can send one deep against homer prone righty Nate Karns. You're doing yourself a favor anytime you can sneak a couple cheap lefties at Yankees Stadium into your lineup. Gardner's still batting second against right-handed pitching, and he doesn't get subbed.