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.
Twelve games will be played today, but only eight are in the main slate. There's a three game early contest for those in search of a small challenge. Today's column will focus entirely on the evening crew. Pittsburgh has a small risk of mid-game rain. That could affect pitcher values.
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 – Ben Lively – SP – Philadelphia (FanDuel $5,900)
The Phillies reached deep into their relief corps on Wednesday night, turning to utility fielder Andres Blanco to get through an inning. They can ill afford another long bullpen night. The pressure is on for Lively to provide a long outing. He was solid in his major league debut last week. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Giants. Lively failed to record a strikeout in that outing, although it's safe to assume he'll settle around 7.00 K/9. Scouts say he lives on deception, a profile that can sometimes work for a few starts before the league adjusts. See Dinelson Lamet. Lively lacks Lamet's stuff.
If you pick Lively, you're hoping for your offense to do the heavy lifting. He's very unlikely to exceed 30 points.
2 – Cameron Rupp – C – Philadelphia (FanDuel $2,200)
Starting the column with a pair of Phillies is a rather ominous note. The Braves are calling upon R.A. Dickey tonight. The volatile knuckleballer has struggled to induce whiffs this season – a sharp departure from his career-long tendencies. The obvious conclusion is that his knuckler has less knuckle. With SunTrust Park gaining a reputation as a bandbox, cheap Phillies like Rupp will be hard to pass up tonight.
3 – Matt Adams – 1B – Atlanta (FanDuel $2,700)
Sliding across the aisle in Atlanta, Adams has a lovely matchup versus Lively. While the Phillies starter might work out as a bargain gamble, he's also a big meltdown risk. And with the Phillies bullpen offering few reinforcements, the game could quickly devolve into a slugfest. Since joining the Braves, Adams has shown considerable power, popping six home runs in 71 plate appearances. Undoubtedly, part of his success can be tied to his new park.
4 – Dee Gordon – 2B – Miami (FanDuel $2,900)
And finally, we leave Atlanta for a pick. Gordon isn't a popular DFS asset in this age of power, power, and more power. His path to relevance involves multiple hits, runs, and stolen bases. The latter could be on full display tonight versus Gerrit Cole – assuming Gordon can reach base. Cole is among the worst pitchers at holding runners. Incidentally, Francisco Cervelli's concussion hurts Gordon's chances at a steal.
5 – Maikel Franco – 3B – Philadelphia (FanDuel $2,500)
You should probably spend on a quality third baseman today. I tried to construct a narrative in favor of Alex Bregman or Mike Moustakas, but they simply didn't come out ahead of Franco. The aggressive righty is having a miserable season – largely due to a .218 BABIP. However, he still puts a charge into his fly balls. Playing at a homer friendly stadium against a poorly performing pitcher gives him an obvious path to one or even multiple home runs.
6 – Taylor Motter – SS – Seattle (FanDuel $2,900)
Motter adjusts his approach to match his role. The simple truth is that he's a more powerful hitter when used as a regular starter. He lowers his hands and produces around a 40 percent hard contact rate with plenty of fly balls. Safeco Field isn't the ideal venue to bet on a home run, but Kyle Gibson sure is a soft target. This has the makings of a high scoring game.
7 – Odubel Herrera – OF – Philadelphia (FanDuel $3,100)
8 – Aaron Altherr – OF – Philadelphia (FanDuel $3,200)
More Phillies. Sigh. In the cases of Herrera and Altherr, I'm actually pretty thrilled about the matchup. Since getting benched for three games last week, Herrera is 11-for-21 with nine doubles and a pair of home runs. Yep, that's all extra base hits. Perhaps all he needed was to refresh and wake up. His comfort hitting to the opposite field should help him to handle the knuckleball.
Altherr has emerged as the Phillies best hitter. He's still hitting a few too many ground balls for my liking, but it's hard to argue with a .294/.379/.538 batting line. Altherr is in a bit of a power drought, having hit just one home run since mid-May.
9 – Matt Kemp – OF – Atlanta (FanDuel $3,300)
Technically speaking, Kemp costs $100 more than our bargain price cutoff. However, he's easily a top five dollar-for-dollar value in the outfield. Lively is a soft-tossing righty, the kind of pitcher upon whom Kemp feasts. Two home runs would surprise precisely nobody.
10 – Kyle Schwarber – OF – Chicago (FanDuel $2,600)
Schwarber is slumping. Like Franco, a .204 BABIP appears to be the main culprit. His 12.3 percent line drive rate stands out as a problem. Combined with a high infield fly rate, his low BABIP has been earned. However, that doesn't mean we should expect those issue to carry forward. Schwarber is a fly ball hitter, making him a good target versus Tyler Chatwood and his worm burning sinker. Reports say the wind will be blowing out at Wrigley.