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.
Mike Zunino, $3000 – Zunino has gone from being the rock bottom price to a moderately priced salary. His jump in price is due to the .957 OPS he has posted over the last two weeks, but with a total of 12 home runs on the season, Zunino remains at a relative discount. The Mariners backstop has faired better against southpaws (.852 OPS) and also makes for a better play on the road. That should tell you when to use him.
Ryan Howard, $3000 – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Paul Goldschmidt is $5100. While there’s no denying Goldschmidt is a productive option at first base, there’s plenty of cheaper options at the position that should be considered, including Howard. The Phillies veteran first baseman has quietly put together a nice season, smacking 14 home runs with 51 RBI and 39 runs. Howard has already matched or surpassed his home run total from the last two seasons and you shouldn’t blame him for the bad contract Ruben Amaro Jr. gave him when it wasn’t needed. Howard is a clever play going forward in GPPs.
Brian Dozier, $3200 – At this price, he was the eighth highest-priced player at his position for the early slate of Saturday games. Over the last week, Dozier is going through a little bit of a dry spell (.276 OPS) but dating back to last season the overall numbers suggest he’s due for a rebound. He cracked a home run on Independence Day and remains on pace for a 30/30 season. His plate discipline has improved this season, posting a 70:51 K:BB rate over 375 plate appearances after a 120:51 K:BB ratio over 622 plate appearances over all of last season. Dozier will be fine and should be considered a top-3 second baseman going forward.
Pedro Alvarez, $3100 – While there’s always a risk of Alvarez going 0-for-4, I also feel like he could hit multiple home runs on any given night. Alvarez has a 1.078 OPS over the last week yet he inexplicably hits towards the bottom of the Pirates’ lineup. Most "experts" will tell you he’s a great GPP play but I’d use him at this moderate price in almost any format. As an added note – use him against right-handed pitching only.
Andrelton Simmons, $2400 – I’ve written about Simmons before in this spot and I still think he’s too cheap to pass up at a thin position. While he only has five homers this year, Simmons proved he has one of the more powerful bats at the shortstop position with his 17 bombs last year – A number I fully expect him to approach again by season’s end. He’s a slick infielder and he’s crushed left-handed pitching to the tune of an .891 OPS.
Alfonso Soriano, $2300 – Soriano has been a big disappointment this season, leading to the Yankees deploying him on the short side of a platoon. He entered this season with at least 24 home runs in each of the previous four campaigns. Historically, he’s always hit lefties better (.904 OPS vs .723 OPS vs righties last season), and with the summer upon us, I’d still use him in Yankee Stadium against a southpaw.
Zelous Wheeler, $3000 – He’s a career minor leaguer but got off to a big start with a home run on his debut Thursday for the Yankees. Besides having a fantastic name, Wheeler had an .834 OPS at Triple-A Scranton in the pitcher-friendly International League before his call-up, showing some upside. At 27, he’s not a blue chip prospect and is probably best suited for GPP use for now.
Oscar Taveras, $2300 – Taveras is back up with the Cardinals after continuing to rake at the Triple-A level. He has reached base safely in each of his first four games back with the big club and could see himself move up in the lineup some time soon. While he hasn’t made the splash like Pittsburgh’s Gregory Polanco, Taveras was held in the same regard as one of the best minor league prospects before the season started.