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.
Oh boy. There are aces aplenty tonight starting with one of the tastiest matchups we'll see all year – Noah Syndergaard versus the Padres. Whether you use Syndergaard or go with a less popular alternative, you'll need some bargains. Do watch out for rain in Baltimore, New York, and San Diego. Unfortunately, the Cubs-Nationals game will be played in the afternoon.
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 – Drew Pomeranz – SP – San Diego (FanDuel $6,700)
Let's kick things off with a straight fade. Syndergaard may be the single most popular pick tonight. Between his talent and the matchup, it's hard to imagine him finishing with under 60 points. If, somehow, it goes sideways for Syndergaard, the few Pomeranz owners will be there to reap the spoils. Improbably, the Padres did beat Jacob deGrom last night. Can lightning strike twice?
Pomeranz is a risky DFS play on the best of nights because he only has two pitches – a fastball and curve. He uses them equally along with a rare show-me changeup. The frequent curve ball use has led to a career best 11.17 K/9. As you'd expect, he's had some trouble with walks – 4.03 BB/9. If the Mets manage to jump on early count fastballs, it could be an ugly outing. If the curve is on, 10 strikeouts are possible.
2 – Yasmani Grandal – C – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,900)
Grandal is a rare high floor, high ceiling pick at the catcher position. It's not his matchup against Marcus Stroman that makes him a good play tonight. Rather, his price doesn't reflect his talent or Toronto's hitter friendly stadium. Grandal is batting .292/.414/.458 this season with a strong contact rate and as many walks as strikeouts. He'll put the ball in play this evening, and has enough power to do some damage. At the very least, he'll probably draw a walk.
3 – Chris Carter – 1B – Milwaukee (FanDuel $3,200)
When Carter is hot, he's hot. And he's hot. The slugger is tied for third with Bryce Harper with 10 home runs. He's produced 40 runs plus RBI to date to go with a .274/.339/.695 line. Carter will face Reds starter Tim Adleman. While the untouted righty might very well be a competent major league pitcher, it's more likely he'll be painfully homer prone. The game is at homer friendly Great American Ballpark.
4 – Darin Ruf – 1B – Philadelphia (FanDuel $2,000)
Is this an ideal pick? Far from it. Very far from it. Sometimes it pays to ignore small samples. Ruf has been terrible this season. He only has 52 plate appearances. Over his career, he's a .297/.381/.543 hitter versus left-handed pitchers. He'll face Wei-Yin Chen today. Picking Ruf could give you the flexibility to pair an expensive pitcher with a couple top hitters. Honestly, he probably won't do much at Marlins Stadium. But there's that tantalizing chance he'll tap into his career numbers versus southpaws.
5 – Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati (FanDuel $2,300)
I recommend Phillips yesterday because his price was just too good to pass up. He's a cleanup hitter with decent batters ahead of him. I said he was very unlikely to hit a home run. Instead, I predicted he'd deliver value through lesser hits. Well, he went yard after all. Tonight, he's opposed by Tyler Cravy. The righty isn't stretched out for a start so the Reds should see the soft Milwaukee bullpen by the fifth inning. Once again, picking Phillips is all about circumstance and price. He's still unlikely to go deep.
6 – Chris Coghlan – 3B – Oakland (FanDuel $2,100)
There's no shortage of third base bargains tonight. One of the cheapest is Coghlan at homer friendly Camden Yards. The A's are opposed by the ever-enigmatic Ubaldo Jimenez. The righty is so difficult to project. His numbers just won't sit still. Some years he has reverse platoon splits. In others (including 2016), lefties mash him. Through five starts, he's homer prone and wild.
There's a chance picking Coghlan is a waste of a roster spot. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether his goose is cooked or if he's just snakebit. In 92 plate appearances, he's hitting .155/.228/.321 with a .161 BABIP. His strikeout rate is eight percentage points above his career norm. Bad luck or loss of skill?
7 – Aledmys Diaz – SS – St. Louis (FanDuel $3,000)
Diaz finally got a game atop the Cardinals lineup on Wednesday, but you can be sure it was a one-time assignment. Matt Carpenter was given a day to rest. Diaz will probably be back to batting seventh or eighth tonight even though he's an ideal top-of-the-order hitter. Although his numbers are buoyed by a .380 BABIP, he puts enough balls in play to provide value without luck. He's currently hitting .381/.422/.679. I project something closer to .305/.360/.465 going forward. Diaz doesn't have an easy matchup against Francisco Liriano.
8 – Miguel Sano – OF – Minnesota (FanDuel $3,200)
When it comes to homer friendly parks, few are better than U.S. Cellular Field. It's about time for Mat Latos to turn in a clunker. Despite a shiny 1.84 ERA, his peripherals are rather ugly. He isn't getting any whiffs which prevents him from exploiting Sano's greatest weakness. A home run is a real possibility tonight for the Twins premier power hitter. He has just three long balls on the season. It's only a matter of time until he catches fire.
9 – Josh Reddick – OF – Oakland (FanDuel $2,900)
Coghlan is a hard pill to swallow tonight. Luckily, you can take advantage of the matchup without using ice cold hitters. Reddick is once again mashing righties with a .288/.363/.500 slash. With Jimenez and Camden Yards in play, he's almost a must-pick at this price. Remember, the home run park factor for left-handed hitters is 128 (read 28 percent above average).
10 – Billy Hamilton – OF – Cincinnati (FanDuel $2,400)
The Reds are having trouble settling on a second hitter. Hamilton seems to be in favor due to a modest “hot” streak (.290/.290/.387 last 10 games). Teams are running wild against the Brewers and Jonathan Lucroy. Interestingly, despite allowing a league worst 19 steals, he's still caught nine (32% CS rate). In any event, we can assume that Hamilton will run if he reaches base. It's always a big “if.”