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FanDuel MLB Bargains: Thursday

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.


FanDuel has split the day into two slates. Five games are early and five are late. A couple games slipped through the cracks. Kansas City is a 50 percent storm risk. Be careful about committing to Danny Duffy or Jordan Montgomery.


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.


Editor’s Note: Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball: Get in the game and create or join a league today.


Onto the bargain plays...


1 – Hyun-Jin Ryu – SP – Los Angeles (FanDuel $7,100) Evening


After missing basically all of 2015 and 2016, Ryu has pitched reasonably well this season. Of course, his 1-5 record and 4.99 ERA might lead you to think the opposite. Much of the damage came at Coors Field, and I'm always forgiving of meltdowns at elevation. Ryu has a career best 9.68 K/9 supported by an 11.4 percent swinging strike rate. His typically plus command has left him at times – a sign that he needs to build endurance. Ryu is opposed by the lefty mashing Marlins, making this far from an ideal paring. Even with the rough matchup, he has a decent chance to supply six or seven frames, a strikeout per inning, and a quality start.


2 – Willson Contreras – C – Chicago (FanDuel $2,900) Early


The wind is blowing OUT at Wrigley Field today – 20 mph to dead center per early reports. Since Miguel Montero started yesterday, we know Contreras is on tap for today (plus it's a Jon Lester day). There's only red flag. Well... two. Contreras is a ground ball hitter with a swing-and-miss problem. When he does hit the ball in the air, it's usually hammered. Unfortunately, Reds starter Amir Garrett skews towards grounders too. That's a recipe for strikeouts and ground outs. It only takes one Contreras fly ball...


3 – Kendrys Morales – 1B – Toronto (FanDuel $2,900) Evening


Bargain first basemen are few and far between. Whether you're playing the early or late slate, you'll probably be paying over $3,200 for your cold corner. Morales would be an excellent cheap option if the Blue Jays weren't visiting a National League club. Justin Smoak ($3,500) is on a bender, having cut his strikeout rate while maintaining his typically strong batted ball distribution. He may be hitting too well for Morales to sneak a start. They both face Julio Teheran. SunTrust Park is looking like a hitter's venue.


4 – Ian Happ – 2B – Chicago (FanDuel $3,000) (Early)

5 – Javier Baez – 2B – Chicago (FanDuel $2,600) (Early)


After laying waste to Triple-A pitching, Ian Happ has wasted no time fitting in as the Cubs cleanup hitter. Rumor has it he'll return to Triple-A before long. In the interim, he'll do his best to pull a Cody Bellinger. Yesterday was Happ's first hit-less performance in four starts. Given his bargain price, power, and lineup role, Happ is understandably popular.


If you prefer a cheaper contrarian play, Baez is going completely unnoticed. He's purely a GPP pick. Baez usually bats seventh or ninth in the Cubs lineup. He's slashing just .228/.264/.430 with a career worst 19.5 percent swinging strike rate (26 percent strikeout rate). He's continued to hit for power – five of 26 hits have gone over the wall. As with Contreras, it just takes one fly ball when the wind is blowing out at Wrigley.


6 – Maikel Franco – 3B – Philadelphia (FanDuel $3,200) (Early)


The former power prospect has struggled to convert his physical talent into success at the plate. He's slashing just .213/.283/.360 (.216 BABIP). There are positive signs including an above average hard contact rate and improving plate discipline. He remains an aggressive hitter, but the raw ingredients exist for an Edwin Encarnacion-style breakout. Franco has shown better power versus left-handed pitching over his brief career.


7 – Elvis Andrus – SS – Texas (FanDuel $2,900) (Early)


While many hitters have sought to increase their fly ball rate by leaps and bounds, Andrus opted for a subtle adjustment. The result is an optimization of his launch angles without changing his actual batted ball distribution. He's hitting more home runs and doubles without making a large sacrifice in batting average. Andrus could prey upon rookie Nick Pivetta both at the dish and on the bases.


8 – Jared Hoying – OF – Texas (FanDuel $2,000) (Early)


Hoying is the ultimate bargain in the early slate. Rostering him opens the opportunity to combine the big Nationals or Cubs stacks. The lefty hitter has a long track record of decent power and speed at Triple-A. He's received few opportunities to prove his value in the majors. The injury to Carlos Gomez has re-opened the door. He thrived yesterday, going 4-for-4 with a double and a home run. That should be enough to earn him another look opposite Pivetta. He's a fly ball hitter which matches up well with Pivetta's slight ground ball tendencies. The Phillies righty allows a ton of hard contact due to mistakes in the strike zone.


9 – Taylor Motter – OF – Seattle (FanDuel $3,000) (Evening)


Dylan Covey is a terrible ground ball pitcher. Motter is a fly ball hitter with a 40 percent hard contact rate. The matchup couldn't be more ideal for Seattle's utility man. Motter appears to be a low BABIP hitter which explains his .224/.297/.458 triple slash. Everything points to a power outburst tonight. Covey is exceptionally hittable, mitigating Motter's worst trait – a 26 percent strikeout rate.


10 – Khris Davis – OF – Oakland (FanDuel $3,100) (Evening)


Davis flits in and out of the bargain bin. Although he's one of the most powerful hitters in the league, his low average and OBP ensure a volatile experience. Few – if any – hitters are more likely to pop multiple homers on a given day. Just watch out for those golden sombreros. Davis is opposed by Hector Velazquez. The Red Sox plucked the righty out of the Mexican League prior to this season. Near as I can tell, he has a below average fastball and a loopy curve. Scouting reports are nonexistent.



Brad Johnson

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