When looking at “bargains” on FanDuel, we'll typically focus on hitters who are $3,200 or lower. For DraftKings, the threshold is around $3,800. In general, we'll only highlight players at the top end of that scale if they have star potential.
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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The action is split into strange shapes today. Four games are early, ten are in a special 6:35 ET start time, and seven are available at the normal 7:05 time slot. We’re going to focus on the normal evening contest. The Jays-Twins game looks like a wash.
FANDUEL & DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS
1 – Cole Hamels – SP – Chicago Cubs (FanDuel $9,000 / DraftKings $9,400)
Although technically not bargain-priced, Hamels carries the most value per dollar on DraftKings. He’s also in the top five on FanDuel. The former fringe ace is now more accurately described as a core performer. He typically lasts about six innings, giving him a “safe” feel in a slate stuffed with inexperienced and inconsistent hurlers. A visit to spacious Marlins Stadium certainly helps the outlook.
2 – Brandon Belt – C/1B – San Francisco (FanDuel $2,700 / DraftKings $3,900)
Don’t be fooled by Jeremy Hellickson’s 2.25 ERA through eight innings. The current iteration of Hellickson is the worst to appear in the majors. He’s due for a drubbing tonight – even against a bad Giants lineup. Belt bats cleanup. His propensity for hard hit fly balls is lost at his home venue, but the Giants are on the road at neutral Nationals Stadium tonight. Hellickson is a ground ball pitcher – a perfect matchup for a fly ball hitter.
3 – Brian Anderson – 3B – Miami Marlins (FanDuel $2,900 / DraftKings $3,600)
Hamels makes occasional mistakes out over the heart of the plate. Anderson is perhaps the best-suited Marlin to take advantage. At first glance, his .215/.311/.323 batting line through 74 plate appearances offers scant hope. A 28.4 percent strikeout rate backed by an increase to his swinging strike rate further sours the outlook. However, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find a stout 45 percent hard contact rate coupled with an improved batted ball profile. Anderson hit only 11 home runs last season, leading many to believe he’s an unimportant contact hitter. His physical tools are actually that of a 20 to 30 home run bat. He has a solid matchup to deliver one tonight.
4 – Andrelton Simmons – SS – Los Angeles Angels (FanDuel $2,800 / DraftKings $3,600)
Simmons bats cleanup in a lineup that includes Mike Trout reaching base at a 50 percent clip. It’s a good spot for run production. A brutal .215/.227/.292 batting line has him priced like a bargain. There’s no changes to his profile – he’s still a high contact hitter with some pop and speed. A .228 BABIP explains nearly all of his early woes.
5 – Mark Canha – OF – Oakland Athletics (FanDuel $2,200 / DraftKings $3,900)
You can count on the Athletics to spin up some kooky lineups. Recently Canha has batted second against left-handed pitchers. Or he might hit fifth. In any case, he’ll probably have a valuable lineup role against a merely decent southpaw, Wade Miley. Canha is an extreme pull hitter with a balanced launch angle. Opposite a cutter specialist like Miley, it makes for a decent matchup.
If you’re not feeling Hamels, his opponent Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA) costs practically nothing on FanDuel. Through three starts, we’ve gotten three very different looks at Alcantara. He tossed an eight-inning gem against the Rockies on opening weekend. He then wilted before the imposing offenses of the Braves and Phillies. While the Cubs also possess a frightening lineup, it’s not quite on the same level as Atlanta or Philly. There’s potential for a strikeout per inning with solid run prevention. Just beware, while the projection makes Alcantara look like a bargain play, he should be viewed as extremely volatile.
Unlike his teammate, Zack Cozart (3B – LAA) is struggling because he’s making exceptionally limp contact. He bats last. Even if he’s lost some punch, a .108 BABIP is bound to improve at some point. Lance Lynn’s predictable fastballs make for a decent matchup. Of course, leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun (OF – LAA) is a much better choice if you need to save cash.