Alex Rodriguez (NYY) - Alex Rodriguez's career came to an end (for now) on Friday as the Yankees celebrated his storied career at Yankee Stadium. After hitting an RBI double in his first at-bat, Alex didn't do much the rest of the night and finished 1-for-4. One of the greatest fantasy players of all time, Rodriguez's success will forever be clouded with questions regarding how much of his hall-of-fame caliber production came with the aid of PED's. As we've seen with Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, baseball seems to be turning over a new leaf when it comes to the steroid era and have accepted the aforementioned back into clubhouses as hitting coach advisors. A similar job would most certainly be available to Rodriguez if and when he is ready to return to the game after his obligations to the Yankees end. During A-Rod's rise to baseball infamy, he was part of one of the strongest groups of offensive shortstops that the game has ever seen. It only seems fitting that as he leaves the game, we're seeing a similar renaissance at the position this year, with Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager and Xander Bogaerts leading the charge into the spotlight this season. Whether you're a fan of Alex Rodriguez or not, and no matter your stance on steroids in the game, it's difficult to argue about the amount of excitement and joy he brought to millions of fans throughout his career. Congratulations, Alex.
Chris Archer (TB) - Let's talk about Chris Archer. Heading into Archer's road date with the Yankees on Friday night, Archer had been spectacular in his four previous starts. Since July 20th, Archer posted a 2.39 ERA, 0.87 WHIP with a 31% strikeout rate and 6% walk rate. What does that look like to you? Besides the fact that it was enough to increase Archer's price above what any contender was willing to pay at the trade deadline, it also looks pretty darn close to what Archer rolled off in time periods last season. While it shouldn't be under-emphasized that those starts came against the Twins, Royals, Dodgers and Rockies, the fact that the best start of the bunch came in Coors Field can't be over-stated. Archer seemed to be putting everything together and that he was (again) finally coming around. And then Friday happened. Archer finished with a line of 6IP, 7H, 5ER, 0BB and 9K, but he definitely pitched better than that statistics showed. But first, I haven't even told you the most promising thing about his 4 previous starts. Archer's strand rate was just 69%, 2% lower than his season average and an indication that he didn't limit the success by hit sequencing (see Zack Greinke's second half in 2015). That makes me buy into the streak of success even more, especially after watching him pitch on Friday night and realizing that his final statistics weren't an indication of his pitching. I'm a believer is Archer and I believe there's a good chance he turns in one of 2017's best draft day values. Side bar, I'd still like to see him increase the speed differential between his fastball and off-speed pitches back closer to the 10 MPH mark he was at last season.
Devon Travis (TOR) - Severely under-priced on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Devon Travis looks like a core play in cash games on Saturday. Since the second baseman moved into the leadoff spot for the Blue Jays, he has hit .339 with 4 HR, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored, capturing the interest of DFS and season-long players alike. Travis has substantial reverse splits, meaning he hits right-handed pitcher (as a right-handed batter) better than he hits left-handed pitching. On Saturday, he faces a right-handed Colin McHugh, who has shown slight reverse splits in his career, but more importantly, has struggled against batters from both sides of the plate this season. For Travis, he has a 150 wRC+, .397 wOBA and .235 ISO against righties, while McHugh has allowed right-handed batters to put up a .347 wOBA and a 35% hard hit rate against him this year. Travis is only $3,100 on FanDuel and and $4,600 on DraftKings.
Teoscar Hernadnez (HOU) - With the departure of Carlos Gomez, the Astros have a bit of a competition going for centerfield at-bats. That competition is getting a little more crowded as the team called up propsect Teoscar Hernandez. Hernandez could be an intriguing prospect for the fantasy game thanks to his plus speed. Between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Hernandez has managed to steal 34 bases while slashing .307/.377/.459. Jake Marisnick and Tony Kemp have been platooning the position recently, so it shouldn't be out of the question for Hernandez to see a decent opportunity for at-bats. It would certainly make the DFA of Carlos Gomez make a lot more sense. In his first game with the Astros, he batted 8th and went 2-for-4 with a 2-run home run.
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) - Starting pitcher is a really difficult position to attack in DFS on Saturday. Jacob DeGrom looks like the chalk play as he takes on the Padres at home, but he's really expensive on DraftKings and he's only available in the evening main slate. If you're playing the early slate of games, Masahiro Tanaka stands out as an interesting value option in cash games and my main target in tournaments. At $9,100 on FanDuel and just $9,100 on DraftKings, Tanaka matches up pretty nicely against the Rays offense. Tampa has the 4th highest team strikeout rate against right-handed pitching (23.9%) and while their .182 ISO is actually pretty strong, their team wOBA is just .310. For the most part, Tanaka has been an even-splits pitcher throughout his career and the Rays lack lefties in their lineup to take advantage of the short porch in right field.