After just three games on the schedule Thursday, the MLB is back in a big way to start off the weekend with a massive Friday night fantasy baseball slate. The Padres and Reds get an early start in Cincinnati, but the other 28 teams are all available in the player pool. There are some interesting series headlined by the Astros in Boston to face the Red Sox and the Rockies hosting the Dodgers at Coors Field. That NL West matchup highlights the five divisional matchups, and the only interleague series takes place in Detroit, where the Cardinals take on the Tigers.
As you check out each of the 28 teams’ matchups, make sure to take a look at the following players, who seem to be set up for success at their position and price point.
StudBlake Snell, TB vs. BAL, $12,400 — The slate is packed with nice pitching options at the top, including five good players over $10K. Snell has been the best of the bunch lately and also has a great matchup at home against the Orioles. Snell has allowed one or zero earned runs in each of his six starts since coming off the DL. He is 5-0 with a 1.10 ERA, a .173 batting average against and 43 strikeouts in his 32 2/3 innings in those outings. He has at least 25 DKFP in each of his past five starts, including wins against the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians. After beating those teams, he should dominate the Orioles, especially at Tropicana Field, where he is 8-1 this season with a sparkling 1.06 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings. Other Options — Aaron Nola ($11,800), David Price ($9,100)
ValueFelix Peña, LAA at CWS, $6,300 — The Angels have gotten several good starts from Peña, and the 28-year-old righty has a high ceiling due to his matchup with the strikeout-prone White Sox. Despite an 0-2 record, Peña has a 3.25 ERA with a .211 batting average against, 32 strikeouts in 36 innings and 18.3 FPPG in his past six starts. He has at least 16 DKFP in three of his past four starts, which each have come on the road, where he has been much better than at home this season. Peña’s 2.14 road ERA, solid recent form, and the White Sox’ strikeout rate make him my favorite value play at just over $6K.
Other Options — Kevin Gausman ($7,900), Austin Gomber ($7,100)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ramos is not in the starting lineup for tonight’s game.
Other Options —
Yadier Molina ($4,000), Francisco Cervelli ($3,800)
ValueTyler Flowers, ATL at ARI, $3,500 — Another backstop that crushes left-handed pitching and is facing a lefty is the Braves’ Flowers. Flowers continues to share duties behind the plate with Kurt Suzuki ($4,100), but it should be Flowers’ turn after Suzuki started the Braves’ series opener in Arizona. Flowers will face lefty Patrick Corbin ($11,000), which should be a good matchup for him since he is hitting .400 (20-for-50) with a double, four home runs and a 1.243 OPS against southpaws this season.
Other Options — Yan Gomes ($3,400), Nick Hundley ($3,200)
StudEdwin Encarnacion, CLE at TOR, $4,700 — After spending seven-and-a-half seasons with the Blue Jays, Encarnacion returned to the Rogers Centre and picked up three hits and 11 DKFP on Thursday. Since leaving Toronto, Encarnacion is 14-for-33 (.424) with a double, home run and eight RBI against the Blue Jays. He comes into this series in Toronto swinging a hot bat, going 12-for-44 (.272) with a double, four homers, 13 RBI, a .921 OPS and 9.5 FPPG in his 13 games since returning from a brief DL stint.
Other Options — Anthony Rizzo ($5,300), Carlos Santana ($4,100)
ValueHunter Dozier, KC at MIN, $3,700 — The Twins-Royals series isn’t going to be one of the most compelling games on the slate, but there is some fantasy value to target. Dozier has been heating up lately and had a seven-game hitting streak end Wednesday. He had collected multiple hits in six of those seven games, including five doubles, two triples and two home runs. During that run he hit .464 and averaged 14.1 FPPG, and he’ll look to get back on track in Minnesota, where he’ll face lefty Stephen Gonsalves ($4,200), who has given up 14 runs in 10 innings in three major league starts.
Other Options — Ji-Man Choi ($3,900), Victor Martinez ($3,300)
StudJoey Wendle, TB vs. BAL, $4,100 — While the rest of the infield is stacked with high-priced options, 2B offers a chance to save some salary with more affordable options. Wendle has been tearing things up for the Rays lately but remains just over $4K. He is 16-for-44 (.381) with four doubles, four RBI and four stolen bases in his past 10 games to average 10.4 FPPG. Wendle gets a good matchup against Orioles starter Dylan Bundy ($6,500), who is letting lefties hit .318 this season with a .933 OPS. Wendle and the Rays’ other left-handed bats are a good option to check out.
Other Options — DJ LeMahieu ($4,700), Jason Kipnis ($4,500)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lowe is not in the starting lineup for tonight’s game.
Other Options — Ian Kinsler ($3,800), David Fletcher ($3,700)
StudNolan Arenado, COL vs. LAD, $5,000 — Arenado has been playing through a shoulder issue, but he still has helped Colorado to the top of the NL West. The Rockies will try to increase their lead against Clayton Kershaw ($8,800) and the Dodgers at Coors Field in this matchup. Arenado has had success against Kershaw in the past, going 16-for-49 (.327) with three doubles and three home runs. He continues to crush lefties, batting .383 with 14 homers, 35 RBI a 1.246 OPS against southpaws this season. Not surprisingly, he also has great home splits at Coors Field, where he is a .345 hitter with 17 homers and a 1.076 OPS. He has been slumping a bit lately, but the matchup sets him up for a bounce-back performance.
Other Options — Justin Turner ($5,700), Matt Chapman ($4,500)
ValueColin Moran, PIT vs MIA, $3,600 — Moran has had a solid season, and the 25-year old should get heavy playing time down the stretch to see how he figures into the Pirates’ future plans. Moran has been good against right-handed pitching, hitting .296 with eight homers and a .767 OPS against righties like Dan Straily ($6,100), who has allowed lefties an .822 OPS. He also has done most of his damage at home, where he is hitting .295 with a .763 OPS. Moran has averaged 6.1 FPPG over his past 10 games by going 13-for-33 with three doubles.
Other Options — Johan Camargo ($4,000), Adrián Beltré ($3,800)
StudTrea Turner, WAS vs. CHC, $4,800 — While there are some great options over $5K, don’t forget Turner, who is slightly cheaper and has been heating up for the Nationals. Turner has hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games, going 16-for-50 (.320) with two doubles, two homers, three stolen bases and 10.4 FPPG. Turner is hitting .271 on the season but .291 with an .800 OPS against lefties, so he’s a strong play against Jon Lester ($7,800) and the Cubs.
Other Options — Trevor Story ($5,900), Francisco Lindor ($5,400)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rosario is not in the starting lineup for tonight’s game.
Other Options — Xander Bogaerts ($3,900), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ($3,200)
StudGeorge Springer, HOU at BOS, $4,700 — Springer has started to find his groove after dealing with injuries in the middle of August. He is 14-for-38 (.368) with three doubles, a home run, four RBI and 9.3 FPPG in his past 10 games. Springer had multiple hits in three of his past four games with three extra-base hits and seems to be getting his power back as well. He usually hits lefties well, so a matchup with David Price ($9,100) at Fenway isn’t one you have to avoid.
Other Options — Gregory Polanco ($4,900), Mitch Haniger ($4,200)
ValueGreg Allen, CLE at TOR, $3,300 — Allen struggled a bit at the tail end of August, but he still is locked in as the Tribe’s everyday CF and has proven he can produce. He is 27-for-92 (.293) with three doubles, a home run and eight stolen bases since the All-Star break. He has averaged 7.4 FPPG in his 27 games since the break, and he’s a very affordable way to get in on a good lineup in a favorable matchup with Marco Estrada ($4,100).
Other Options — Nick Markakis ($3,800), Billy McKinney ($3,400)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.