Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington Nationals

We have an 11-game MLB Tiers fantasy baseball slate for Friday. Something to always remember when playing Tiers is with a player pool so limited, it is likely a large portion of the field is aware of who the “best plays” are. But in a sport such as baseball, where variance reigns supreme, you will need to avoid the chalk in a few spots in order to take down a GPP. Stacking in Tiers where you can is another thing to take advantage of.

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Tier 1

1B Josh Bell, PIT at MIL
OF George Springer, HOU vs. SEA
OF Christian Yelich, MIL vs. PIT
C Mitch Garver, MIN at CHW

Fading Yelich is a potential mistake every night, but his Brewers have a 5.8 implied run total, and he is one of only two recognizable players in this tier to the average fan. He should be very popular on this slate. When it comes to Tiers, I typically recommend fading clear chalk plays. This is a risk worth taking tonight. I would expect Springer to be the second most popular hitter here. He is 5-for-12 since returning from the IL and is hitting a homer in 8.1% of his plate appearances.

Garver has had a fantastic season, hitting .292 with 12 home runs in 137 at-bats. He has dealt with some injuries and might not be in the lineup tonight after playing an 18-inning game yesterday against the Rays. That’s a hefty load for a catcher, though he could make the lineup as the DH this evening. If he makes the lineup, he will be an excellent play. The White Sox have yet to announce a starter, but I would expect it to be Ross Detwiler, a 33 year-old lefty in Triple-A. For his MLB career, Detwiler has allowed a .355 wOBA and 1.02 HR/9 to opposing righties. Garver has smashed lefties in 2019 to the tune of a .364 ISO and .515 wOBA.

Editor’s Note: Garver is not in the lineup for tonight’s game.

Bell will find himself opposite Yelich tonight and continues to be underrated to the public despite having a monster season. He is hitting .311 with 22 home runs and 70 RBI. Jhoulys Chacin has had a bad season so far, with a 5.14 xFIP. He has allowed 21 earned runs and six homers over his past 22 innings. Bell is, unsurprisingly, crushing righties this year, with a .340 ISO and .451 wOBA against them.

Tier 3

OF/SS Chris Taylor, LAD at COL
SS Trea Turner, WAS at DET
3B Anthony Rendon, WAS at DET
1B/2B Howie Kendrick, WAS at DET
SS Francisco Lindor, CLE at BAL
OF Bryan Reynolds, PIT at MIL

Tonight’s Coors game is interesting because we have a talented pitcher going for the Dodgers in Hyun-jin Ryu. That actually could make the Rockies a team to target. The Dodgers, however, should be full-blown chalk. They have an implied run total of 6.9, a full run higher than the next-closest team. I’m very comfortable with recommending a Taylor fade here.

Once again, the tier-makers have provided us with three Nationals players in the same grouping. The Nats have the second-highest run total of the night, so there is potential for the team to be popular in Slassic Mode. However, since three of them share the same tier, it is likely at least one of them is still underowned. Rendon is the obvious choice to be most popular of the trio given the year he is having.

This is a rare spot where I really like Turner in Tiers. The Tigers have allowed the third-most stolen bases this year, a specialty of Turner’s, and this is a spot where he should have increased power. Daniel Norris throws his fastball 44% of the time, and Turner has an ISO of .247 against fastballs since the start of 2016. This is a matchup that provides great power/speed potential, making Turner an excellent play.

If you want to stack some Pirates tonight, don’t shy away from Reynolds. He obviously hasn’t enjoyed the same kind of success as Bell, but he still has a .428 wOBA this year against righties. Since he is a switch-hitter, you won’t have to worry about him losing the platoon if Chacin is chased early. Reynolds is hitting .354 on the year in 192 at-bats.

Tier 4

2B/OF Lourdes Gurriel, TOR vs. KC
OF Oscar Mercado, CLE at BAL
1B Pete Alonso, NYM vs. ATL
OF Starling Marte, PIT at MIL
OF Juan Soto, WAS at DET
2B/3B Mike Moustakas, MIL vs. PIT

If I was to make a guess as to who would be most popular in this tier, I likely would say Moustakas given the aforementioned team total and easy correlation with the Tier 1 chalk in Yelich. With that said, I’m not sure ownership will be super concentrated on any one hitter in this group. I think there are other plays to go with outside of Moustakas, regardless.

The Mets have been an absolute joke of a franchise this season, but the star that shines bright in the darkness is Alonso, who absolutely deserves to win NL Rookie of the Year. He has 27 home runs and 61 RBI despite playing for a train-wreck franchise, and he should come at low ownership given his matchup tonight with Mike Soroka, who has a 2.07 ERA this season. Soroka induces a ton of ground balls by throwing his sinker 50% of the time to righties (70% ground ball rate), and his slider 27% (51% ground ball rate). Alonso has not seen a ton of either pitch but has hit them well. He has a .278 ISO and .411 wOBA versus sinkers, and .289 ISO and .415 wOBA against sliders.

A mini-stack pairing Soto with Turner has some merit as well. Soto has a .253 ISO and .408 wOBA this year when facing lefties, proving that he does not need the platoon to be a scary hitter. He also crushes fastballs, which I mentioned Norris throws frequently. Soto has a .414 ISO and .505 wOBA against lefty fastballs for his career.

Marte would make for the final piece to a Pirates stack, but he probably should not be used as a solo play tonight. Chacin has given up a a .216 ISO and .370 wOBA to opposing righties, which is really all we need for a stack, but Marte has sizable platoon splits and is not particularly strong against Chacin’s pitch combination. Chacin throws his slider more than 50% of the time to righties, and Marte has just a .301 wOBA and .127 ISO against that pitch. I like him if we are looking to just beat up on Chacin, but I would prefer Alonso or Soto straight up.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is amicsta) 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.