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FanDuel MLB Bargains: Friday

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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.


It's a typical Friday night with all 15 games in the evening slate. Ready to rumble? Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Jake Arrieta headline a deep pool of pricey pitchers. Keep an eye out for storms in St. Louis.


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.


Editor’s Note: Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball: Get in the game and create or join a league today.


Onto the bargain plays...


1 – Charlie Morton – SP – Houston (FanDuel $6,300)


In many senses, Morton is not a good DFS pick. He's made a habit of dominating the first four innings before falling apart in the fifth and sixth frames. Ideally, we want pitchers who can deal for seven or eight innings. To my eye, Morton is falling prey to two issues. By the third time through the order, hitters are growing comfortable with his fastball-slider combo. His command also sharply declines in the middle innings. One of these days, the command will hold up for a full game, and he'll provide a cheap gem. The Athletics offense is exploitable.


2 – Yasmani Grandal – C – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,900)


No catcher has higher multi-homer potential than Grandal. Not just tonight either. I mean that in general. When not hitting home runs, the switch-hitter is a low average, high OBP bat. He probably won't zero out, although you're not rostering him for walks. Grandal is opposed by Jerad Eickhoff. The Phillies starter was slightly homer prone last season. He's pitched well through four starts in 2017.


3 – Greg Bird – New York (FanDuel $2,600)


Bird was on top of the world during Spring Training. Too bad those games don't count. He's had a rude awakening to the regular season with a ruinous 18.2 percent swinging strike rate (32.8 percent strikeout rate). Dig below the surface and you'll discover he's still hammering the baseball with an over-40 percent hard hit rate combined with a high fly ball rate. He's especially effective against low pitches. The home run barrage will begin before long. He's opposed by Kevin Gausman. Baltimore's nominal ace has struggled with command this year.


4 – Joe Panik – 2B – San Francisco (FanDuel $2,900)


It's not a great day for bargain second basemen. Since Panik lacks the power to predictably escape AT&T Park, his only path to DFS glory is through multiple hits. Thankfully, he's a high contact, patient hitter. Since both Panik and Luis Perdomo are ground ball guys, the matchup favors the pitcher. Since Perdomo is a replacement level arm, I'm not too concerned about a less-than-ideal matchup.


5 – Manny Machado – 3B – Baltimore (FanDuel $3,300)


While technically outside our arbitrary bargain threshold of $3,200, Machado is super cheap tonight for a matchup against CC Sabathia. The two of them have a long enough personal history to peak at batter versus pitcher data. Turns out Machado has hit well against Sabathia, but he hasn't gone nuts. He's currently saddled with a .218 BABIP. He continues to make hard contact with an otherwise typical batted ball profile. He'll explode any day now...


6 – Eduardo Nunez – 3B – San Francisco (FanDuel $2,700)


If you need an actual bargain third baseman, Nunez is probably your guy. Like with Panik, we're ignoring that he's a ground ball hitter against a ground ball pitcher. He'll provide value via a high contact rate and speed. Nunez jumped onto the fantasy radar last year with sneaky power. Thus far, it's abandoned him in 2017.


7 – Xander Bogaerts – SS – Baltimore (FanDuel $3,100)


Bogaerts has a difficult matchup against Arrieta, but there's no arguing against this price tag. The Red Sox star shortstop has just one extra base hit in 68 plate appearances, yet he's still batting .313/.353/.328. Doubles and home runs will soon follow. It's usually advisable to avoid Arrieta and the Chicago bullpen. For GPP participants, Bogaerts might represent a rare combination of star talent and low ownership rate. That's worth taking a chance at winning a bad matchup.


8 – Ender Inciarte – OF – Atlanta (FanDuel $2,900)


Inciarte reportedly attempted to implement some of the popular swing mechanics responsible (at least in part) for the league wide home run surge. They're not for everybody. To this point, he's merely traded line drives for fly balls. Sounds like a bad deal. While it's nice to see him hit four home runs through 91 plate appearances, I'd prefer a high average. Inciarte is opposed by Chase Anderson at tiny Miller Park. He could pop his fifth or provide value on the bases.


9 – Corey Dickerson – OF – Tampa Bay (FanDuel $3,100)


The Rays leadoff man mashes low pitches. He'll see a steady diet of sinkers from Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman. Stroman doesn't have handedness platoon splits so this matchup is purely about targeting Dickerson versus low pitches. While we think of Stroman as a one trick pony, he's actually very adaptable. Don't be surprised to tune in and see him working up in the zone versus Dickerson. Still, it only takes one mistake.


10 – Brandon Guyer – OF – Cleveland (FanDuel $2,300)


Guyer costs nothing because he has a miserable .138/.194/.241 line through 31 plate appearances. He's known for two things – lefty mashing and getting hit by pitches. He's been hit by two pitches already, but we're still waiting on the mashing. Guyer is a career .280/.379/.458 hitter versus southpaws. Seattle starter Ariel Miranda has a below average fastball and a plus changeup. As long as Guyer jumps on the fastball, he should be golden. When you have 31 plate appearances, you're only one good game away from solid numbers.


Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on NBC Sports Edge, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.