This column will focus on players that are good “Values” in FanDuel’s salary cap contests. Typically, I’ll try to cover a player or two at each position every week throughout the season. Remember a value here could be a minimum-priced player ($2200) or a higher-priced option that is still undervalued based on expected production.
Jason Castro, $2700 – I wrote about Castro earlier this season and I still haven’t lost faith in him. While his numbers are down across the board, Castro has a proven track record. Specifically, he has thrived against right-handed pitching and/or playing at home. He also has a potent, young group of hitters in front of him, which wasn’t the case in recent seasons. Unless there’s an unknown injury here, I’d expect him to make some adjustments and start becoming fantasy relevant.
Steve Pearce, $3300 – Is he a great value at this price? No. Is he a young prospect with a great pedigree, ready to take over baseball in a Mike Trout-like way? No. However, you have to sit back and respect what the 31-year-old has done recently. Before a 0-for-5 showing at the plate Wednesday, the big righty had three or more hits/runs/walks in seven consecutive games. He hits in a great ballpark and usually towards the top of the lineup with some big bats behind him. Take a look at Pearce; he’s likely to be owned in less than 10 percent of any contest you enter given the other options at first base.
DJ LeMahieu, $2700 – This recommendation comes with a big caveat - only use DJ in Coors Field. He has consistently posted an OPS in the mid-700s over the last three seasons and has heated up as of late. He’s hit safely in six of his last seven games and has three stolen bases over that time frame. Again, only think of deploying him when he’s in Colorado.
Manny Machado, $2200 – The price can’t get any cheaper, and if you could get him at said price last season you would plug him into your daily lineup without thinking twice. Machado has hit safely in his last four games, and as long as his knee still isn’t bothering him, he should heat up soon. He’s in a plus-hitter’s ballpark and in one of the best lineups in baseball.
Brad Miller, $2800 – I drafted Miller in my 18-team, hometown league and until a few weeks ago, was pretty disappointed with his production. He’s been on fire over the last week – like teammates Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino – posting a 1.114 OPS, while also notching a run or hit in each of his last 10 games. Miller has always hit righties better than lefties, so make sure to look at the matchup when considering him.
Alex Rios, $3100 – Jason Lane, Leonys Martin, Jarrod Dyson, Aaron Altherr and Brad Glenn are either the same price as Rios or within $100 of him. The price here has dropped due to Rios posting a measly .438 OPS over the last two weeks, but his track record suggests he should turn things around sooner than later. He’s still a great power/speed combo play, although his steal percentage is a little alarming, as he’s dropped from an 85 percent success rate last year to 72 percent this season. Even with the dip, he’ll still have the green light on the base paths. Rios should be given even more consideration against southpaws, as he has posted an 1.140 OPS against lefties this season.
Travis d’Arnaud, $2400 – D’Arnaud has found himself listed as a “Newbie” since he just rejoined the Mets after spending some time in the minors. While it was in the hitter-friendly confines of Triple-A Las Vegas, d’Arnaud’s power surge can’t be ignored. He cracked six homers en route to a 1.384 OPS over 59 plate appearances with Las Vegas. He has hit safely in each of his three games since returning to the Mets, which includes a game-breaking three-run homer against Oakland. If he can keep up the power surge, d’Arnaud’s price won’t stay this low for long.
Joe Panik, $3000 – A few weeks back, I dismissed Brock Holt as a daily option despite being in the same price range Panik is currently listed. Holt has done nothing since but prove me wrong. Maybe Panik could be the National League’s version of Holt? The Giants young second baseman is hitting just .125, but he had an .829 OPS at Triple-A Fresno prior to his call-up. Given the Giants options at the position, the leash will likely be pretty long here. That said, I’d only consider Panik in GPP formats until he proves himself.