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.
All 10 of the games today will be played at night. The obvious top pitcher of the day is Johnny Cueto, but he's not so talented that he's a must-play at $10,600. Besides, he'll be visiting homer happy Great American Ballpark. You may be better off fitting bargains around some of the top hitters. We finally have some good news on the weather front – everybody should be dry tonight.
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 – Jon Gray – SP – Colorado (FanDuel Price $5,500)
The price makes this pick. Gray's first two outings have come at Coors Field where he has a 9.20 ERA in 29.1 innings. On the road, he has a 2.70 ERA in 20 innings. Even with a couple bad Coors starts, Gray is piling up strikeouts. Tonight he visits pitcher friendly Petco Park and the strikeout prone Padres. Their lineup is heavily right-handed, and they have a 26 percent strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching.
Obviously, there is risk with this pick. However, it's rare for us to have the opportunity to snag a candidate for top pitcher of the day at $5,500.
2 – Evan Gattis – C – Houston (FanDuel Price $2,600)
For just $3,400, you can own a slice of Buster Posey tonight. He's facing a lefty at Great American Ballpark. The only problem with this price and matchup is popularity – it wouldn't shock me if 40 percent of GPP rosters include Posey.
For $800 less, you can try power versus power. Gattis and the Astros are opposed by top prospect Jose Berrios. The righty had an uneven debut. He allowed five runs on six hits and two walks, but he also struck out five. Gattis is one of several strikeout prone Astros. He had a rough start to the season after recovering from injury. Recently, he's hit for power including four extra base hits in his last six games. Berrios or the shaky Twins bullpen could give him another extra base opportunity.
3 – Byung-ho Park – 1B – Minnesota (FanDuel Price $3,200)
There's going to be a lot of talk about Park this season. He was a special kind of terrible through his first seven games. Just about everybody was ready to give up on him. Since then, he's hitting .271/.321/.667 over 53 plate appearances with five home runs and a reasonable 20.8 percent strikeout rate.
Dallas Keuchel isn't the guy who dominated opponents last season. His velocity is down, and he's had serious trouble with right-handed hitters (tiny sample size). Park is a fly ball hitter which usually means he'll get his best results against ground ball pitchers.
4 – Chris Carter – 1B – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price $3,000)
If Park isn't the right high risk, high reward pick for you, perhaps you should try Carter. He's coming off a huge day at the plate (two home runs and a double) which often translates into overuse on DFS platforms. He's running hot at the plate with a career best swinging strike rate. He still has a 29 percent strikeout rate, but that's an improvement over his career mark.
Carter will face soft tosser Jered Weaver. The Angels are also down Huston Street in their otherwise thin bullpen. If there's any problem with the matchup, it's that Carter and Weaver both thrive on fly balls. That usually favors the pitcher.
5 – Brian Dozier – 2B – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price $2,900)
It feels wrong to pick upon Keuchel. Part of the issue is a thin slate of options at second base. However, the matchup does seem to favor Dozier. Minute Maid Park is home run friendly, and Dozier is a fly ball hitter. As we noted earlier, right-handed fly ball hitters like Park and Dozier are the best match against Keuchel. Dozier is an extreme pull hitter. I expect Keuchel to exploit that issue by pounding the zone low-and-away.
Duffy has done very little to draw attention to himself this season. He's been quietly competent with a .263/.308/.384 line while batting third for the Giants. With lefty Brandon Finnegan on the bump today, Duffy is a threat to do it all. He can hit for power, walk, go 4-for-4, produce runs, or even steal a base. If you're very lucky, he'll do it all at a bargain rate.
7 – Jonathan Villar – SS – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price $2,700)
With Scooter Gennett out of the lineup, Villar always bats first or second. He'll get four to five plate appearances versus Weaver and the Angels bullpen. Villar is probably a better hitter against left-handed pitching – the sample is too small and fragmented to tell. Weaver obviously isn't a normal right-hander so I'm inclined to ignore splits data. Villar has shown good discipline this season. If he waits on the right pitches, he should do well today.
8 – Nomar Mazara – OF – Texas (FanDuel Price $3,200)
Call this a gut feeling – I think Mazara will do just fine against the knuckleball. The lefty hitter turned 21 just six days ago. He already controls the strike zone extremely well. Mazara has enough power to go deep and the contact skills to contribute multiple hits. He bats second for the Rangers, meaning he'll have four to five plate appearances versus R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays top heavy bullpen.
9 – Kole Calhoun – OF – Los Angeles (FanDuel Price $3,000)
While the trendy move will be to pick Brewers hitters, the Angels also have a solid matchup against Jimmy Nelson. The righty may be Milwaukee's best starter, but that's no reason to steer clear. He's quietly struggled this year while compiling a lucky 3.16 ERA (5.30 FIP). For a left-handed hitter, Calhoun doesn't have steep platoon splits. He's still best used against right-handed pitching, especially when the pitcher may be homer prone. And especially when the game is at homer friendly Miller Park.
10 – Kirk Nieuwenhuis – OF – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price $2,000)
Today's bargains have all cost $2,600 or more. Here's a viable minimum price play to round out your roster. When he starts – and he doesn't always start – Captain Kirk bats fifth or sixth for the Brewers. Nieuwhenhuis will have the platoon advantage versus Weaver. There are very good reasons why he's so cheap. However, as a ground ball hitter who mostly struggles against velocity, he'll never get a better matchup.