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

3B Anthony Rendon, WAS vs. MIA
C Gary Sanchez, NYY at KC
1B/OF Cody Bellinger, LAD at PIT

This is a star-studded tier, with three of the absolute best hitters in baseball right now. Bellinger has been the likely MVP through the first two months of the season, but if the other two batters are out of the race right now, it’s because they each missed some time with injury. Sanchez still has 15 homers, while Rendon is hitting .321 with nine dingers and 17 doubles.

So who to select? One has to think Bellinger will command the most ownership in this three-player tier, but I’m not positive it will be by a significant amount. In a tier this small, you likely don’t need to take any major ownership stands unless you expect one player to command around half of the field. Feel free to play Bellinger in this spot, as he brings his .394 batting average and 17 home runs into Pittsburgh.

Rendon has a fiery .232 ISO and .397 wOBA against righties since the start of 2018. Pablo Lopez has been a reverse-splits pitcher in that timeframe, allowing 72 more points of ISO and 29 more points of wOBA to righties than lefties. He is my favorite overall play of this tier.

Sanchez has been fantastic this season, and the matchup with Jake Junis is a good one. However, at the time of this writing, there is a heavy amount of rain in the forecast at Kauffman Stadium. Be sure to track the weather as best you can, because if people expect this game to wash out, Sanchez could end up being quite low owned.

Tier 3

1B Freddie Freeman, ATL at STL
1B Josh Bell, PIT vs. LAD
2B/SS Gleyber Torres, NYY at KC
1B/OF Trey Mancini, BAL at COL
SS Jorge Polanco, MIN vs. CHW
SS Jean Segura, PHI at MIL

This is a wild tier that could end up being tricky to navigate. As has been the case just about every time there is Coors Field action, I happily will fade Mancini, who I expect to be heavily owned in this tier. Mancini has 10 home runs and 15 doubles and will play in one of the most hitter-friendly environments in baseball (and against a pitcher with a 5.92 career ERA). Given the potential weather issues in Kansas City and the quality of a couple of the other hitters, I expect a lot of ownership to funnel to Mancini.

Part of what makes this tier so tough is there aren’t a ton of other options to consider. For instance, the two shortstops of this group might appear to be in good situations on the surface. Polanco is part of a dynamic offense with a run total over five against Reynaldo Lopez. Segura, meanwhile, goes up against Chase Anderson and his .223 ISO against righties since the start of 2018. Unfortunately, neither player has great power numbers. There is just one career season between the two with more than 13 home runs. I usually recommend going after players with some more upside to their name.

That brings us to Bell and Freeman, who are the two best hitters in this tier but are unlikely to carry a significant amount of ownership. Bell has the tougher matchup against Walker Buehler, so I likely would defer to Freeman. The Braves do not have a terribly high team total, but Miles Mikolas has not pitched very well this season. His ERA is 4.88, and he has given up a .289 ISO and .403 wOBA to opposing lefties. Freeman will have the platoon advantage and has a .316 average with 12 home runs on the year. I would much rather roster a great hitter in a bad matchup at expected low ownership than play someone with no real power equity in a good matchup.

Tier 5

1B Luke Voit, NYY at KC
2B/3B Mike Moustakas, MIL vs. PHI
C J.T. Realmuto, PHI at MIL
2B/SS Jonathan Villar, BAL at COL
SS Adalberto Mondesi, KC vs. NYY

This is a fun tier that has some options for whatever it is you’re looking for. If you are going against my usual approach of fading Coors, you can get a little stack going by pairing Villar with Mancini. Should the Yankee game play, or you just decide to YOLO it, Voit/Sanchez/Torres makes for an excellent stack as well.

However, if I am going to make a play from the Yankees and Royals game, I’m going to go with the rising star Kansas City has at SS. Mondesi already has 17 steals this season, including six two-steal games. He also has five home runs, 10 doubles and seven triples. Mondesi is always a threat to put up a high DraftKings total. This is an especially good matchup, as the Yankees will open with Chad Green as part of a bullpen game. Though the Yankees entered the season with one of the best bullpens in baseball, due to injuries and other struggles, they are just 13th in bullpen ERA. They stand to give up quite a few runs here, especially if someone like Nestor Cortes is asked to pitch a few innings in relief of Green. Mondesi could do some damage.

My favorite play of the tier is Moustakas, who should be in consideration anytime he has the platoon advantage. Moose has 71 more points of ISO and 43 more points of wOBA against righties versus lefties since the start of 2018. This game also will be played at Miller Park, a top-10 stadium for home run hitting. Jerad Eickhoff has pitched well overall this season but has been roughed up in his past two starts, allowing nine total earned runs and five dingers. He also has massive platoon splits for his career, giving up 92 more points of wOBA to lefties than righties, along with almost twice as many home runs per nine innings. This is an ideal matchup for Moustakas.

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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.