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 Thin Thursday with three games early and eight in the late slate. I'll be focusing solely on the main contest today since that's also where all the aces reside – namely Madison Bumgarner and Carlos Carrasco. After all, rostering aces is usually what necessitates the need for bargains. The weather should cooperate, just keep an eye out for spotty storms in Atlanta and 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.
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Onto the bargain plays...
1 – Mike Foltynewicz – SP – Atlanta (FanDuel $6,400)
By increasing his slider usage, Foltynewicz has kept opposing hitters off his fastball with more frequency. He failed last season because he was one of the most hard-hit pitchers in baseball. This year, he's closer to league average in quality of contact allowed. Overall, he has a 3.51 ERA with 7.56 K/9 and 2.16 BB/9. The hard thrower is fortunate to have allowed his home runs with nobody on base (4.72 FIP, 4.18 xFIP). He'll face a beatable Marlins offense in his return from the disabled list.
A Folty pick has upside of six innings, five strikeouts, a win, and a couple runs – 39 points. And that's the upside. The median projection is around 27 points. You better really like your hitters.
2 – Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis (FanDuel $2,600)
Molina is doing his best to provide some value at the plate, but there just isn't much power left in his bat. He's hitting .261/.329/.337 on the season with excellent plate discipline (8.7 percent walk rate, 11.8 percent strikeout rate). His matchup against fly ball guy Chris Young is more interesting than most. Molina is an extreme ground ball hitter. These sorts of pairings usually favor the hitter. I'm not looking for a home run. A timely double would be enough to return value.
3 – Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati (FanDuel $3,200)
There's a complete lack of must-use first basemen today. Even the expensive guys have warts. One of those warty players is Votto. He's opposed by southpaw Gio Gonzalez. Votto has big splits this season (in a bad way), but he's always hit lefties well in the past. I'm willing to write off his 2016 struggles as small sample confusion. Gonzalez follows the same pattern – he has big splits this year but no split over his lengthy career. Votto is hitting .300/.430/.555 with seven home runs since late May.
4 – Derek Dietrich – 2B – Miami (FanDuel $2,900)
Dietrich has some big ol' honkin' platoon splits – both this season and over his brief career. He's hitting .325/.422/.471 versus righties this season, making him a high floor, high ceiling pick on a daily basis. Pay attention to where he bats. Dietrich bounces between leadoff, sixth, and seventh in the order. He's opposed by Foltynewicz.
5 – Anthony Rendon – 3B – Washington (FanDuel $3,200)
Rendon will face mediocre lefty Brandon Finnegan tonight. While Rendon isn't a typical platoon masher, he does walk more and strikeout less often versus southpaws. That alone makes him a smart pick for 50/50s and cash games. Even if he doesn't deal damage against Finnegan, he'll eventually get an at bat or two against the Reds bullpen.
6 – Marcus Semien – SS – Oakland (FanDuel $2,500)
With the thin slate, it's alright to consider hitters with bad matchups. Such is the case with Semien versus Bumgarner. In contrast to his cheap price, Semien is on fire at the plate. He's also mashing lefties with a .295/.348/.590 line. Bumgarner does allow better numbers to right-handed hitters. Lefties completely disappear (.158/.210/.240) against him while righties merely struggle (.212/.276/.351). He should be relatively unpopular.
7 – Michael Taylor – OF – Washington (FanDuel $2,900)
Taylor is drifting towards a strict platoon with Ben Revere. Since the Nats will face a lefty, it's Taylor's day. While he's hitting much better with the platoon advantage, a .414 BABIP has a lot to do with it. Don't write it off as a pure fluke. His 42 percent hard hit rate against left-handed pitching is comparable to the top power bats in the game. Just beware the high strikeout rate.
8 – Adam Duvall – OF – Cincinnati (FanDuel $2,900)
Duvall walks twice as often against left-handed pitching. Of course, that's not saying much - Duvall almost doesn't walk against righties. More importantly, he has insane hard hit rates versus southpaws. Those haven't translated to big results yet, but it's only a matter of time. While Gonzalez isn't an automatic dud, he does throw his share of stinkers.
9 – Mac Williamson – OF – San Francisco (FanDuel $2,200)
If you're looking to reach deep into the bargain bin, Williamson is your guy. He'll have the platoon advantage versus hittable southpaw Dillon Overton. Williamson is one of the Giants top prospects although there's doubt he's a starting quality outfielder. He was showing good power at Triple-A before getting the call to the majors. Contact issues have plagued him through 83 major league plate appearances.