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 a Thin Thursday with three games early and five games late. Storms around Kansas City could postpone one of the evening games. The early slate has a few aces while the late group is a pitching free-for-all of mediocrity. I'll split my attention between the two time slots.
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 – Matt Wisler – SP – Atlanta (FanDuel $6,500) Late
There's no need to use a bargain pitcher tonight. Even the expensive guys only cost $8,200. Wisler could prove popular due to a shiny 2.93 ERA. Look deeper. He's limited hits and home runs even though he allows plenty of hard contact. Nor does he induce many infield flies. He's looking mighty lucky to me. A 4.73 xFIP agrees with that assessment. Even so, it's not like the Brewers offense is terrifying. He could do fine tonight. Check out the alternatives. "Could do fine" is the best you're going to get.
2 – Russell Martin – C – Toronto (FanDuel $2,000) Early
Martin is suddenly spry enough to pop two home runs in one game. That's virtually all of his DFS production this season bundled into May 25. With a three game slate, minimum price tag, and a matchup against a lousy lefty, Martin might well be worth the gamble. If he doesn't lay into CC Sabathia, he'll have to contend with the terrifying Yankees bullpen. Make sure he's in the lineup since it's a day game after a night contest.
3 – Freddie Freeman – 1B – Atlanta (FanDuel $3,100) Late
Freeman's season numbers are held down by a slow start. Since late April, he's hitting his usual .298/.360/.544. He has a fantastic matchup tonight against wild righty Wily Peralta. He may very well be the top first base option in the entire slate which includes an expensive David Ortiz and Chris Davis.
4 – Devon Travis – 2B – Toronto (FanDuel $2,200) Early
Every bone in my body says to avoid stacking Blue Jays today – especially in GPPs. Yet here I am recommending two of them. Why avoid the high octane Jays? In part, it's in response to an unassailable bullpen. And because the front end of the matchup looks so tasty, everybody will be in on the right-handed mashers. Sabathia may have to be incredibly terrible for the Jays stack to work.
That said, Travis is painfully inexpensive today. He returned to action yesterday and notched his first hit of the season. He projects to be a better than league average hitter. Even if there's rust, he easily justifies a $2,900 price tag. I'll take a $700 discount any day.
5 – David Freese – 3B – Pittsburgh (FanDuel $2,500) Early
Freese is often a wasted DFS pick. A ground ball hitter with minimal power, the only thing he has going for him is a spot in the heart of the Pirates lineup. He has a decent average and OBP, but they're buoyed by a .376 BABIP. He's more a .325 BABIP guy. He powers up against left-handed pitching – career .297/.368/.464 hitter versus southpaws. Diamondbacks starter Pat Corbin was expected to breakout this season. Instead, he's scuffled from start to start. Freese could be well positioned to drive in some runs.
6 – Aledmys Diaz – SS – St. Louis (FanDuel $2,900) Late
Although I consider Joe Ross one of the top pitching options in the evening slate, I also like Diaz's price point. The high contact shortstop is dealing with a mini-slump. As such, his position as the Cardinals second hitter is endangered. So long as he's batting at the top of the lineup, he's well worth this price. The value proposition is shakier if he's bumped back to the bottom of the order.
7 – Sean Rodriguez – OF – Pittsburgh (FanDuel $2,300) Early
The Pirates utility man has made a career of punishing left-handed pitching. He's off to a fiery start at the plate with five home runs in 72 plate appearances. Although he's dialed in, the flaws are all too easy to find – namely a 31.9 percent strikeout rate. Rodriguez is a career .249/.339/.407 batter versus lefties. That's roughly what we should expect today. Those are solid numbers for the price.
8 – Matt Holliday – OF – St. Louis (FanDuel $2,400) Late
Holliday is bafflingly cheap tonight despite one of the top outfield projections. The matchup isn't a plus nor is the park. However, his role as the Cardinals third hitter promises RBI opportunities. While his .233/.307/.453 line is disappointing, it isn't bad enough to justify a $2,400 price. Holliday is making good contact and hitting for power. A .242 BABIP is nearly 100 points below his career rate. I'm buying in DFS and traditional fantasy.
9 – Carlos Gonzalez – OF – Colorado (FanDuel $3,000) Late
If 2015 taught us anything, it's to never count out CarGo. The Rockies slugger has a drool worthy matchup against the broken version of Clay Buchholz. Fenway is extremely tough on left-handed power – you either wrap it around Pesky's Pole or settle for a double. A few top lefties are still home run threats in Boston. You know the names – David Ortiz, Chris Davis, and Gonzalez.