MLB DFS Bargains: Thursday 5/16

Brad Johnson

The new MLB DFS Bargains is back! 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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Tonight’s slate is a tiny five-game contest starting at the unusual time of 6:40pm ET.


Eric Lauer – SP – San Diego Padres (vs Pirates)

The owner of the best pickoff move in the league, Lauer has a tame matchup against the Pirates this evening. The Pittsburgh offense is in a three-way tie for last place against left-handed pitching. While they’ll certainly improve upon their current 64 wRC+, none of their personnel can be described as a lefty masher. Lauer is a fairly vanilla pitcher – kind of a left-handed Jake Arrieta. He features a roughly mid-tier projection coupled with a bargain basement price tag.

Austin Riley – 3B – Atlanta Braves (vs Adam Wainwright)

After homering in his debut, Riley is sure to be extra popular tonight. The right-handed hitter should be considered a typical strikeout prone slugger. Wainwright doesn’t exactly rack up punchouts which may make it easier for Riley to put the ball in play. He’s a pull hitter with more fly balls than grounders. His plate discipline is considered adequate to slightly above average. Expect a low batting average. You’re looking for home runs and run production rather than a multi-hit game.

Danny Jansen – C – Toronto Blue Jays (at Dylan Covey)

While a small part of me wants to make Covey work as a bargain play, he recently struggled against these same Blue Jays. Command was an issue – he allowed five walks in 4.2 innings. Two of the three hits allowed were home runs. Jansen is ice cold and shows no signs of thawing. Still, if you’re looking to use Luis Castillo with a sure-to-be-popular Blue Jays stack, Jansen is a sneaky way to add a little differentiation. And extra cash.

Kyle Schwarber – OF – Chicago Cubs (at Luis Castillo)

Nobody considers Castillo to be easy prey. However, he has at times in the past struggled with both home runs and left-handed hitters. The current iteration looks like an impregnable ace, but it only takes one mistake to create value. Great American Ballpark is massively homer friendly which will aid in Schwarber’s quest to kick off a hot streak. He’s one of the five most likely hit a home run.

Also Consider: Dylan Covey


Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 3B – Toronto Blue Jays (at Covey)

The rest of the Blue Jays stack has a mid-tier price. Guerrero deserves attention because he’s both the top bargain and the best overall hitter in the slate. The chosen one has largely disappointed through 15 games with the exception of one recent two-homer game. The underlying stats look impressive – plenty of hard contact with superb plate discipline. Things are going to click into place for Vladito at any moment.

Also Consider: Trevor Williams, Justin Smoak, Randal Grichuk


Luis Castillo – SP – Cincinnati Reds (vs Cubs)

That dry, dusty taste in your mouth is chalk. While Guerrero’s status as the top hitter today is somewhat debatable, there’s no question Castillo carries the top overall projection. He’s in a tier of his own. And it’s floating at least two tiers above the next guy. Although the Cubs offense is a difficult matchup, Castillo figures to supply upwards of double-digit strikeouts. The only reason not to use him is because everybody else is using him.

Also Consider: Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman

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