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.
There are two distinct contests today with six games early and nine late. This column will focus on the night group. The matinee, includes a handful of aces – Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, Madison Bumgarner, Gerrit Cole, and Raisel Iglesias. Kershaw is opposite Bumgarner with Cole against Iglesias. The rest of the pool is...thinner.
It's a cold day for baseball. Cincinnati, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C., New York, and Detroit are particularly chilly. Baltimore may see some snow while the New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco could get wet. I do think all the games will happen, but be aware of the potential for short starts.
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.
Onto the bargain plays...
1 – Bartolo Colon – SP – New York (FanDuel Price: $7,200)
The Mets team mascot is set to exploit a flat Phillies offense. Colon doesn't do anything flashy, and he's very much a known quantity. You're looking for six innings, four strikeouts, and a win. On FanDuel, that's 42 points less three per run allowed. It won't be the top point total for the contest, but it should keep you competitive at a cheap price.
By the way, if you're thrown off by their new point system, just mentally divide everything by three. I'm projecting Colon for 12 to 14 old FanDuel points.
2 – Derek Norris – C – San Diego (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Aside from Nick Hundley, every catcher falls into the bargain category. And there are some good ones too. The obvious prince of the patch is Norris. While he wasn't a platoon hitter in 2015, he's made a career of preying on lefties. He's up against Jorge de la Rosa tonight. More importantly, he's at Coors Field against a beatable pitcher.
3 – Travis d'Arnaud – C – New York (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
If you'd rather fade the Coors game, d'Arnaud makes for an excellent plan B. It's not that opposing pitcher Vincent Velasquez is easily beaten – he's a tough young righty with plus stuff. He can be effectively wild too. Velasquez can still be expected to have his share of off days. And even if he's on, d'Arnaud gets to swing against the Phillies bullpen. They have a 12.66 ERA through 10.2 innings. That bullpen is going to reward a lot of DFS owners this season.
4 – Tyler White – 1B – Houston (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
White made the Astros roster because he was swinging a hot bat all spring. It's carried into the regular season. White and the Astros are visiting Wily Peralta at Miller Park. I mostly like this matchup because the roof will be closed. The ball flies in Milwaukee and Peralta tends to fall apart around the fifth inning. He throws a good fastball but can't control it or his offspeed stuff. The Brewers bullpen is pretty lousy too. White should have his share of opportunities.
5- Scooter Gennett – 2B – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
I like the Astros offense against Peralta, but I'm also bullish about the Brewers versus Doug Fister. It seems to me that too many analysts remember what Fister used to be. His stuff visibly declined last year in a way that's not easy to recover. He's still a major league pitcher, but we're looking at a clear fifth starter.
Milwaukee's announcers have been gushing about Gennett in the early going. He bulked up over the offseason, and it's showed. He'll probably bat second with the potential to offer multiple hits and/or a home run.
Alternatively, stick with a Mets stack. Neil Walker runs just $2,700.
6 – Luis Valbuena – 3B – Houston (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
There are relatively few bargain choices at third base so we'll hang with the Astros here. Valbuena usually bats sixth for Houston although he hit cleanup yesterday. At this price, either role is a steal.
Valbuena is a classic righty masher. He hit .247/.327/.481 versus northpaws last season with 20 home runs in 361 plate appearances. That's about a home run every four games against righties. As mentioned, Peralta and the Brewers bullpen are always on the edge of disaster.
7 – Wilmer Flores – SS – New York (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
I've picked Trevor Story for my personal lineups every day this season. It's time to shift gears. I'm going back to New York to pluck Flores from the scrap pile. Asdrubal Cabrera ($2,700) is also perfectly viable.
Flores will be filling in for David Wright. The Mets' former star has a scheduled day off to avoid the soggy weather. Flores should be exceedingly unpopular in the big GPPs despite a decent projection for the day. He's a contact hitter with non-trivial power. He should put the ball in play four or five times against the Phillies.
8 – Stephen Piscotty – OF – St. Louis (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
The Cardinals will face the Braves only real major league pitcher tonight – Julio Teheran. The Atlanta “ace” lost another tic on the radar gun in his 2016 debut. It's too early to read into that – pitchers often take most of April to regain their velocity. He was also shaky from a command perspective and coughed up a pair of home runs. While the matchup for Piscotty isn't exactly drool worthy, I love his price and place in the lineup between Matts Carpenter and Holliday.
9 – Kevin Kiermaier – OF – Tampa Bay (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
The top bargain in the Rays lineup is cleanup hitter Corey Dickerson for $3,000. With the potential for snow and otherwise freezing conditions, I opted to write up Kiermaier instead. The ball hawk center fielder is solid against right-handed pitching with a 108 wRC+ last season. He's also a decent bet to continue improving at the plate. Mike Wright is a short outing, extremely inconsistent starter. He can get into trouble. Despite the cold, Kiermaier has enough power to escape Camden Yards too.
10 – Michael Conforto – OF – New York (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
Sometimes a bargain is just too good. That may be the case with Conforto. Assuming he's in the lineup – that Mets outfield is crowded – he'll benefit from all the same matchup advantages of his teammates. Except, unlike the others, Conforto will have the platoon advantage. With the possible exception of d'Arnaud, he's clearly the most talented hitter of the Mets' bargain bunch.