Welcome to MLB DFS Bargains. We’ll split the analysis into three groups: very cheap, mid-tier, and expensive. A greater emphasis will be placed on the lower end of the price scale.
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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With the possible exception of spotty storms in the Atlanta area, the weather should cooperate for our eight-game evening slate. Let’s dig in.
DIRT CHEAP BARGAINS
Daniel Norris – SP – Detroit Tigers (at Royals)
Norris is priced close to the minimum. Although he’s had his ups and downs this season, all 10 of his starts have lasted at least five innings. He frequently reaches five strikeouts too. Norris shouldn’t be expected to deliver a compelling performance. Instead, you’re hoping to get those big point totals out of the studs you roster with the savings on Norris. On a dollars per point basis, Norris might be the top arm available.
Mitch Keller – SP – Pittsburgh Pirates (at Braves)
Keller is priced more expensively than Norris. He also has top-of-the-slate upside. The downside looks something like his debut which lasted a mere four innings. Keller induces over a strikeout per inning with his four-pitch repertoire. A match up against the Braves is far from ideal. Personally, I think a bad outing is more likely than a good one. However, if he manages something like six innings and eight strikeouts – which is something like his 75th percentile outcome – he’ll carry a few rosters to DFS gold.
There are several extremely attractive – and affordable! - stacking options tonight. The best of these will play at Camden Yards. The Blue Jays should rip through Hess and the squishy Orioles bullpen. Tellez is the best of the ultra-cheap crowd. Many of the others have mid-tier and higher prices. Tellez is an all-or-nothing power bat who frequently hits cleanup. Strikeouts tend to be an issue, making him a high risk, high reward pick.
Santander isn’t guaranteed to start tonight. If he happens to be sidelined, there’s no shortage of comparably inexpensive Orioles. They face Edwin Jackson who has coughed up an 11.90 ERA through five starts. He’s throwing fat pitches over the plate and getting punished. Santander is a slightly below average hitter without a carrying trait. He’s attractive only because he’s extremely cheap and has this juicy matchup.
MID-TIER MUST PLAYS
Many of the best values today are compressed into this mid-tier. The list goes well beyond Harper and those below. Harper’s matchup against Kelly happens to tick many of the boxes we look for in a mid-range play. The game is at tiny Citizen’s Bank Park – the site of a 13-home run game on Monday. Kelly, a right-hander, allows frequent hard contact and doesn’t induce many strikeouts. Harper features extreme hard contact rates with a balanced grounder/fly ball distribution.
HIGH PRICED VALUES
Justin Verlander – SP – Houston Astros (vs Brewers)
It might be tempting to avoid Verlander given that he’s the most expensive player AND he has a fairly challenging matchup against the Brewers. It’s true that Milwaukee has an above average offense versus right-handed pitching, but they’ve also posted a 25 percent strikeout rate. While Verlander’s expected runs allowed may be higher than normal, his strikeout rate should approach double-digits. He’s by far the easiest bet to lead the slate in points.