Friday’s main slate won’t include the day game between NL Central rival Cubs and Cardinals, but these 14 games gives us plenty of options tonight. Let’s dig in. If you have questions about the slate you can find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan. Here we go.
Stephen Strasburg – WSH vs. ATL – $12,400 – Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals are huge favorites in this one, and the Braves have the lowest implied-team total on the slate at just 2.9 runs. This one feels pretty easy, especially in cash games. The Braves are among the league’s worst offensive clubs when facing right-handed pitching, and while they don’t strike out a ton, Strasburg should have no problem putting together a strong line in this one.
Yu Darvish – TEX vs. DET – $11,200 – Yu Darvish is a tournament option every time he takes the ball. His 13.2% swinging-strike rate and 12.3 K/9 so far in 2016 are career high’s for the big right-hander, and the fact that his walks are down only help his DFS upside. He’s keeping his pitch count in check, and that’ll allow him to work deeper into games. The Tigers aren’t a team that we typically target, but Darvish’s upside is undeniable.
Carlos Carrasco – CLE vs. LAA – $6,900 – Carlos Carrasco has spent most of the season above $10,000, so to see him under $7,000 is strange. The Angels have a top-10 offense against right-handed pitching, including the lowest strikeout rate in the league, but the suppressed price is just too difficult to ignore. I expect Carrasco to be very popular in cash games.
Dylan Bundy – BAL vs. SF – $7,400 – The Giants have really struggled since the All-Star break, and we can say the exact opposite of Orioles’ starter Dylan Bundy. The former elite prospect is starting to put it all together for the O’s, and his extreme fly ball tendencies are a perfect pairing for his start on Friday night in the league’s friendliest pitching environment.
Jose Altuve (2B) – HOU vs. TOR – $5,100 – The year-over-year growth that we’ve seen from Jose Altuve since he’s MLB debut has been incredible. Far removed from the speed/average only guy that came up, Altuve’s 196 wRC+ against left-handed pitching is the third best mark in the league and he’s set up for a big night against Toronto’s new addition, Francisco Liriano.
Max Kepler (OF) – MIN vs. KC – $5,200 – Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura is back to getting crushed like he did to open the season, giving up a 45% hard-hit contact rate over his past few starts. That sets up well for Minnesota’s no. 3 hitter Max Kepler, who sees a 166 point spike in isolated power against right-handed pitching.
Joey Votto (1B) – CIN vs. MIN – $5,000 – Brewers’ starter Jimmy Nelson has allowed left-handed bats to compile a wOBA that’s 65 points higher than what he’s allowed against righties, one of the more pronounced splits in all of baseball. After a first half that saw some terrible batted ball fortune, Votto is back to being one of the most consistent fantasy options at first base, and is worth spending up for tonight in my opinion.
Hanley Ramirez (1B) – BOS vs. ARZ – $4,200 – The Red Sox have the highest implied-team total on the slate, at 5.9 runs against Patrick Corbin in Boston, so we’ll want to get a piece of that offense. Hanley is an affordable way to do that, and he’s mashing lefties this season, entering play with a .421 wOBA and 164 wRC+.
Daniel Murphy (2B) – WSH vs. ATL – $5,200 – I think Mike Foltynewicz is a talented young pitcher, but he’s susceptible to homers and getting one of Washington’s left-handed bats is a wise investment. Bryce Harper ($4,200) is quite a bit cheaper, but I’d prefer Murphy in tournaments because his price may drive people away.
Logan Forsythe (2B) – TB vs. NYY – $5,300 – ‘Forsythe against a lefty’ is a DFS staple, but it’s not quite as easy when he’s $5,300. With that said, the matchup is just as good regardless of price, and there’s some batter-vs.-pitcher data here against C.C. Sabathia, so if that’s your thing, fire away.
Nelson Cruz (OF) – SEA vs. OAK – $4,900 – Nelson Cruz is good against righties but great against lefties, so Oakland starter Sean Manaea is a welcomed sight. Cruz has ginormous power against southpaws, with the second highest isolated power mark in the league. He’s viable in both cash games and tournaments.
Marcell Ozuna (OF) – MIA vs. CWS – $4,200 – Ozuna’s teammate Giancarlo Stanton ($4,700) will likely be a popular play tonight against Chicago’s left-hander Carlos Rodon, but I prefer Ozuna especially with the discount. There’s nothing wrong with pairing the two Marlins together either, but as a one-off I give the edge to Ozuna and his 127 point ISO spike when he faces a lefty.
Brandon Guyer (OF) – CLE vs. LAA – $3,800 – Brandon Guyer’s 201 wRC+ against left-handed pitching is the second best mark in all of baseball. Seriously, that isn’t a joke. Hopefully he finds himself in a decent spot in the lineup against Tyler Skaggs on Friday night.
Jake Smolinski (OF) – OAK vs. SEA – $3,600 – Mariners’ left-handed starter Ariel Miranda will have his hands full on Friday night with an A’s team that’s been one of the best in the league against lefties this season. They have numerous plays and make for a strong stack, but I like Jake Smolinski the most based on his price and likely spot in the 2-hole on Friday night.
Josh Reddick (OF) – LAD vs. PIT – $3,400 – Josh Reddick has been off to a bit of a slow start since making the move to Los Angeles but I think things are turning around. He’s in a favorable platoon split against Ivan Nova and his hard-hit rate is up from his season total of 30% to 42% over the past two weeks.
Ian Desmond (OF) – TEX vs. DET – $3,800 – The Rangers have the second highest implied-team total on the slate tonight, so getting perhaps their best bat for under $4,000 is a good idea. A great fastball hitter, Desmond is facing one of the league’s worst fastball’s from Anibal Sanchez, who has also become a fairly large reverse split starter, meaning as a RHP he’s worse against righties than lefties.
Jacoby Ellsbury (OF) – NYY vs. TB – $3,800 – The BvP crowd will like Ellsbury’s career numbers against Chris Archer, but I’m interested in Ellsbury because he’s been playing better of late. He’s in play for cash games with his spike in hard-hit rate and line drive rate over the past few weeks.
Alex Rodriguez (1B/3B) – NYY vs. TB – $2,600 – Into narratives?
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RyanFix) 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.