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FanDuel MLB Bargains: Saturday

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.

 

We have a weird three time slot split today with three games early, seven in the mid-afternoon, and five at night. For today's column, we'll split our attention between the mid-afternoon and evening slates. The Rockies-Pirates game is a postponement risk this afternoon. You probably weren't planning to use Tyler Chatwood or Jon Niese, but you'll want to be careful with hitters at Pittsburgh too. Check the weather reports closer to game time.

 

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 – Michael Fulmer – SP – Detroit (FanDuel $6,300) Afternoon

 

Selecting Fulmer today requires a leap of faith. Fulmer has a robust 10.24 K/9 with 4.19 BB/9 and a 6.52 ERA. He's yet to throw more than five innings in a start. So why even consider him? It's possible he's been unlucky – a .431 BABIP and elevated home run rate certainly looked primed for regression. ERA estimators think he'll be much better going forward (3.52 xFIP).

 

If you don't want to put your money on the line for regression, consider his matchup. The Rays lineup has the third highest strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching. They only have a few threats versus righties. Most of the lineup disappears.

 

2 – Chris Iannetta – C – Seattle (FanDuel $2,500) Afternoon

 

Iannetta is a classic lefty masher. He has a career .258/.388/.482 slash with even better numbers this season. Today's game is at homer friendly Great American Ballpark versus southpaw John Lamb. Ignore the starting pitcher for a moment. At this point, any visiting lineup with the possible exception of the Braves is worth targeting in Cincinnati. Between the park and the bullpen, runs are all but assured. As for Lamb, his velocity is down from last season, and it's showing in his strikeout rate. He's primed to toss a disasterpiece.

 

3 – Wil Myers – 1B – San Diego (FanDuel $2,800) Late

 

We don't see many Padres cycling through the bargain column. Make no mistake, Padres hitters are dirt cheap. They just rarely project to do well. Myers is the exception to the rule – he's actually a decent play some days. The righty is hitting a modest .262/.288/.435 on the season. He's not a platoon bat either so there's no advantage to his matchup against Alex Wood. The main reason to use Myers is his cheap price and Wood's mediocrity. The Dodgers bullpen is quite bad – at least until you get to Kenley Jansen.

 

4 – Neil Walker – 2B – New York (FanDuel $2,700) Afternoon

 

It's never good to make decisions based on pace. I'm going to present a “pace” stat anyway. Walker is on pace to hit 40 home runs. He's opposed by Zach Davies. The Brewers fodderman allows plenty of hard contact. Even if Walker won't actually come close to 40 bombs, he's a plus power bat versus an exploitable pitcher. And this price? Yes please.

 

5 – Chase Utley – 2B – Los Angeles (FanDuel $3,200) Late

 

Nobody picks Utley even though the borderline Hall of Famer is having a vintage season at the plate. The Dodgers leadoff man is hitting .290/.384/.427 in 151 plate appearances. There's some luck involved – nobody expects him to keep up a .343 BABIP. His home run power has dwindled too. Batting first against Cesar Vargas offers multiple opportunities for hits, walks, and runs. Vargas' 3.55 ERA looks fine on the surface. Look a little deeper and you'll find a guy who allows way too many base runners.

 

6 – Justin Turner – 3B – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,300) Late

 

Turner isn't playing well, but he's an easy pick at this price. Vargas only has five career starts. So while we can't draw conclusions from his splits data, we can note that he's allowed a .347/.439/.604 slash with more walks than strikeouts to fellow righties. Turner, who I also recommended last night, popped a solo home run yesterday. He usually bats second. The price is just too good.

 

7 – Brad Miller – SS – Tampa Bay (FanDuel $2,900) Afternoon

 

When profiling Fulmer, I mentioned the Rays do have a couple guys who can hit right-handed pitchers. Miller is one of them, and he'll probably bat second. An early season slump makes it look like he's having a bad year. Since the start of his hot streak on April 24, Miller is hitting .282/.346/.535 with four home runs. Even if Fulmer can keep Miller off the board, he usually only lasts five innings. The Tigers bullpen isn't exactly scary.

 

8 – Adam Jones – OF – Baltimore (FanDuel $3,100) Late

 

Jones went nuts last week. Now he's mired in an 0-for-15 slump. So much for getting hot. Jones might have trouble escaping spacious Angels Stadium tonight, but his matchup is juicy enough to look past the mini-slump and big ballpark. The Angels have tabbed Matt Shoemaker to start tonight. You may recall Shoemaker from his excellent 2014 breakout season. The current iteration is not the same pitcher. This version is a fly ball guy with a serious home run and hittability problem. Jones could rake.

 

9 – Matt Holliday – OF – St. Louis (FanDuel $2,700) Afternoon

 

Holliday may be on the back end of a great career, but he still has value in the right matchups. Holliday is a steal at this price. The Cardinals offensive centerpiece bats third behind two high OBP guys and ahead of another. He should continue to produce plenty of runs even if his power doesn't bounce back to 20 home run levels. He'll have the platoon advantage against inconsistent lefty Robbie Ray.

 

10 – Franklin Gutierrez – OF – Seattle (FanDuel $2,000) Afternoon

 

Speaking of steals, Gutierrez is an attractive pick today. The season numbers are ugly - .176/.295/.275 in 61 plate appearances. He's been better against southpaws (.237/.362/.368), and features a punishing 50 percent hard hit rate. He should retain some value against the Reds bullpen too. The best case scenario is for the Mariners to build an early lead. Otherwise, Gutierrez could be swapped out for a pinch hitter later in the game.

Brad Johnson

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