This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
This is my first time covering a Monday slate and I look forward to giving you guys some nice value picks to get your week started off right. There's one clear ace tonight and because of that, he'll likely be 25-percent owned or higher in all FanDuel formats. Using deGrom against the Phillies is essentially a can't miss and while I'd love to recommend that, I just can't logically do it with how highly-owned he'll be and how obvious of a play it is. I'll try to give you guys some other pitchers to separate yourselves from the field or possibly some cheap bats that you can pair up with deGrom to build a formidable lineup.
Hisashi Iwakuma $9,000
Iwakuma looks like the clear second choice for this slate and for some reason, he is priced behind the struggling Jeff Samardzija. After missing the first couple of months with a shoulder issue, Iwakuma struggled out of the gate, but has been fantastic as of late. Obviously, he had a no-hitter two starts ago, but his last four starts have been fantastic as well. Over that span, he has gone 31.2 innings while allowing just six runs. He has also struck out at least six batters in all those games and has not allowed more than six hits in any of those games. Those are amazing numbers and it's clear he's back to the elite form he had in previous seasons. The icing on the cake is that he gets to host the Athletics on Monday and he has owned them throughout his career, to the tune of a .262 OBP and .401 SLG. Not only are the Athletics one of the worst lineups in baseball, Iwakuma gets to pitch at home in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. In addition, Iwakuma will be a huge favorite in this game and we'll be looking at a total in the seven range. Saving $2,700 by using Iwakuma instead of deGrom is a fantastic value and we have to keep using Iwakuma until he's inevitably in the $10,000 range.
Jorge De La Rosa $6,600
I live in Denver so this may be a biased view, but De La Rosa is a very underrated pitcher. The ballpark and poor organization have been unfair to De La Rosa in his career, but he's still a formidable arm with some nice strikeout potential. What I really like here is the matchup. Not only does he get to face a terrible Braves lineup, he gets to pitch in pitcher-friendly Turner Field. The price is another reason he looks like a good value, as he has the potential for a double-digit strikeout game. De La Rosa has an 8.22 K/9 rate this season and he has destroyed left-handed hitters throughout his career. The splits are a bit backwards this season, but he has allowed a .223 average and a .332 SLG in his career against lefties. The most dangerous bats in the Braves lineups are lefties like Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, and A.J. Pierzynski. I believe a quality start is a strong possibility here and it shouldn't be difficult for De La Rosa to exceed his $6,600 price tag with that possibility.
Victor Martinez $2,800
I was initially going to choose Brian McCann, but seeing as how he is the highest priced catcher, it's hard to see him as much of a value. We'll go with the reliable V-Mart instead. It hasn't been the best season for Martinez, but he provides value out of the catcher position that most can't. He hits for average and power and is in the heart of one of the best lineups in baseball. The Tigers get to square off against Keyvius Sampson on Monday and they should have some success in this matchup. Sampson is the second lowest valued pitcher for this slate and he's struggled in his brief stint in the majors thus far, allowing 30 base runners in just 20.1 innings. Martinez should have no problem using his elite vision to put some balls in-play and capitalize on some RBI opportunities in that cleanup spot.
Michael Cuddyer $2,500
There are some great options at first base today, but I saw an underrated hitter who really stood out. I desperately wanted to get a couple of Mets righties against Adam Morgan and Cuddyer looks like one of the best options at a cheap price. The numbers are far from spectacular this season for Cuddyer, but he's yet another veteran who has been dealing with some injuries this season. I love this matchup against lefty Adam Morgan though, as Cuddyer has owned southpaws throughout his career, accumulating a .377 OBP and .872 OPS. In a hitter-friendly ballpark like Citizen's Bank, he should be able to find some open grass or maybe even go deep. There are five first basemen who cost $1,900 or more than Cuddyer and he makes for a nice pair with deGrom to save some dough for other positions.
Stephen Drew $2,200
This will be our small sample size play of the day as Drew has owned starter Scott Feldman. While it's only 13 at-bats, Drew has six hits and four walks, including four extra-base hits with two dingers. That's an on-base percentage well over .500 and a SLG well over 1.200. I don't typically like using sample sizes this small, but it's clear the ball looks like a balloon coming out of Feldman's hand for Drew. I think the Yankees could be in for a big night against Feldman as well as he has really struggled against the Yankee hitters in his career, allowing an .882 OPS in 120 at-bats. Getting a minimum priced player in there with the upside of Drew is a fantastic play and it can be the key to winning a big tournament.
Todd Frazier $2,900
Frazier has had a dreadful second half of the season so far, but he seems to be playing better over the last couple of weeks. Since August 11, Frazier has six doubles and two home runs to go along with a .333 average. This is the Frazier we all know and love and he's a good bet to finish the season strong. I particularly like him in this matchup against one of the worst pitchers on the Monday slate. In fact, FanDuel has pitcher Buck Farmer as the least valuable pitcher and that should bode well for Frazier. Not only does Frazier provide elite power, he has the ability to steal some bases against a right-hander like Farmer. The best part of the play is that he costs below $3,000. With the numbers Frazier has accumulated this season, he should draw more respect and shouldn't have his price dropped so drastically. Pricing him outside the top-10 at the position is a crime and we'll take advantage of it here in a great matchup.
Jhonny Peralta $2,300
Peralta seems to be in my article every week and he never lets me down. I truly don't understand what's wrong with the pricing here with Peralta but it makes no sense to me at all. There are shortstops priced higher than him who can't even sniff the numbers Peralta has put up and they likely won't even accumulate the power numbers in their careers that Peralta has put up this season. Now that I'm done with my little rant, let's talk about this particular matchup. Peralta gets to face a lefty in a hitter-friendly park giving him a nice platoon advantage in a good environment. He'll be right in the heart of the order like he usually is and will be a great bet at an RBI against a pitcher who has given up most of his production to right-handed batters this season. You'd think with a price like this that Peralta would be ice-cold, but he has 14 hits in his last 42 at-bats. With the lack of quality shortstops, Peralta is a must-use at this ridiculous price.
Jacoby Ellsbury $3,300
Let's continue our Yankees stack with leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury. If the Pinstripes are to put up a crooked number on Monday, Ellsbury will have to be the catalyst atop the lineup. Using a guy like Ellsbury can be beneficial in a multitude of ways. He can hit for power, he can swipe a few bags, and he's the most likely Yankee to score. Putting him in against a weak right-hander like Scott Feldman is always a good idea, as he hits better against righties and is much more likely to steal. The final thing I like about Ellsbury is the affordable price tag. When he's right, he's a $4,000 player and he doesn't have to do much to exceed his value at this low of a price. There's just too much ability and too much upside here to pass on Ellsbury in this particular matchup.
Gregory Polanco $2,900
Polanco is a youngster who didn't live up to expectations at the beginning of the season, but he's starting to turn it around and live up to those lofty expectations. I like Polanco for all the same reasons I like Ellsbury. He's an extremely versatile player who can provide through his bat and through his legs, hitting seven homers to go along with 20 steals this season. I also like using Polanco against right-handers as all but one of his steals have come off righties. In addition, all his numbers across the board are drastically better against right-handers. Polanco will be in his typical leadoff spot for the Pirates and they get a relatively easy matchup against righty Tom Koehler. This is a matchup that doesn't scare me one bit and it makes Polanco a great value at under $3,000.
Marcell Ozuna $2,600
Ozuna was a breakout player last season with his impressive power and I believe he's in line for a big final two months of the season. After some struggles to start the year, Ozuna was sent down to the minors to find his swing and he did just that, absolutely raking at Triple-A. He posted a .317 average with a .937 OPS in his brief stint in the minors. Since his call-up on August 15, Ozuna has two homers and two doubles in just eight starts. On Monday, he gets to face lefty J.A. Happ and that could prove to be beneficial for Ozuna. While I generally like Happ, it scares me how good Ozuna is against lefties. Ozuna is batting over .300 with an .814 OPS against southpaws this season and he looks to be swinging a hot bat right now. The only reason Ozuna is so cheap is because of his stint in the minors. This is the perfect time to use a guy like this before he continues to swing a hot bat and raise his price tag. Ozuna's my best bet of the day to homer for a player below $3,000.