Friday brings us a full 15-game slate and the pricing is allowing us to get creative with lineup construction. There are viable options that are priced well at each position, especially offensively, so it’s a good day for tournaments. We do have a game at Coors Field between the Rockies and Marlins, but weather could be an issue there so proceed with caution. If you want to pick my brain about the slate you can find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan. Let’s dig in.
Justin Verlander – DET vs. NYM – $13,600 – Justin Verlander has been one of the more consistent pitchers this season, but is that worth 27% of your $50,000 DraftKings budget? His upside is strong with his 9.5 K/9 against the Mets and their bottom third offense against right-handed pitching (92 wRC+) and while his performance this season makes him cash game viable, his price will make it hard to do. The Mets lineup definitely takes a hit without Yoenis Cespedes in it too.
Noah Syndergaard – NYM vs. DET – $11,200 – In the battle between Verlander and Syndergaard I think there’s no doubt Thor is the more popular play on Friday. The $2,400 savings is difficult to avoid when the statistical upside isn’t that much different despite the Tigers being a much better offense than the Mets. The problem with Syndergaard is that he’s not been as sharp as he was to open the season, and he’s only pitched into the seventh inning twice in the last two months.
Jameson Taillon – PIT vs. CIN – $7,800 – You have to consider Jameson Taillon an elite cash game play tonight. He’s facing the Reds and their dead-last offense against right-handed pitching, and the game’s taking place in Pittsburgh, one of the best pitching environments in the game. Taillon’s ability to come in and pound the zone right away has been impressive. His command is leading to very few walks and a ton of ground ball outs, and he has more strikeout upside than what we’ve seen thus far.
Ervin Santana – MIN vs. TB – $8,200 – A look at Ervin Santana’s game logs surprisingly shows you a pitcher who’s been extremely solid for the past 6 weeks. His upside is capped a bit because he’s not a big swing-and-miss guy, but the Rays strike out 24.1% of the time against right-handed pitching which helps raise Santana’s expected K floor. I don’t think he’s going to be on many people’s radar today, so he’s very much in play in tournaments.
Marcell Ozuna (OF) – MIA vs. COL – $5,400 – My favorite Coors Field bat today is Marcell Ozuna. His teammate, Giancarlo Stanton, will likely be very popular as well, but the fact that Ozuna is a bit more expensive may drive his ownership down slightly. Ozuna has been one of the best hitters in the league this season, especially against left-handed pitching which he’ll face on Friday night.
Brian Dozier (2B) – MIN vs. TB – $4,800 – My favorite play at any position today is Brian Dozier. He’s had double digit DraftKings points in seven of his last eight games, he’s facing Rays’ lefty Blake Snell, and by every means of measuring Dozier has been the best hitter in the game against lefties this season (203 wRC+). His hard-hit rate and average fly ball distance is up dramatically over the past two weeks, so he enters play as hot as anyone.
Bryce Harper (OF) – WSH vs. SF – $4,800 – Bryce Harper has had a disappointing season if you consider how well he started in April. I really like him in tournaments today against homer-friendly Giants’ starter Jeff Samardzija. He’ll likely go under-owned due to Coors and some of the other strong high priced options.
Dustin Pedroia (2B) – BOS vs. LAD – $4,400 – Second base is loaded on Friday. I already made the case for Brian Dozier, but I think an equally strong case can be made for Dustin Pedroia. His exit velocity is up nearly 5% over the past two weeks, which has lead to a spike in his average fly ball distance, so he’s seeing it well at the moment. There’s also a relatively large sample of success against Dodgers’ starter Scott Kazmir so the BvP crowd will be all over him tonight.
Dexter Fowler (OF) – CHC vs. OAK – $4,400 – Dexter Fowler is a switch-hitter, but one I much prefer to roster when he’s hitting from the right side against a left-hander like he will be on Friday. The Cubs leadoff man is in a good spot with an implied team total of 5.1 runs today against A’s starter Dillon Overton.
Mike Trout (OF) – ANA vs. SEA – $5,200 – In 72 career at-bats versus Mariners’ starter Felix Hernandez, Mike Trout has a .457 wOBA and a .657 slugging rate. Even more elite BvP! I don’t think I’ve referenced BvP twice in an article in my entire life, but here we are. Knock yourself out.
Lorenzo Cain (OF) – KC vs. TOR – $4,200 – Lorenzo Cain is typically up near $5,000 when he’s facing a lefty like he will on Friday night, so he feels a tad depressed at $4,200 against Francisco Liriano who’s making his Blue Jays debut. Cain’s .383 wOBA against left-handed pitching over the past two season is one of the league’s best.
David Dahl (OF) – COL vs. MIA – $4,100 – I think David Dahl is the chalk play of the night. He’s been excellent since getting the call up to the Bigs and despite his strong current form, he’s not getting the typical Coors Field bump in pricing. He could very well be $4,700+ tonight and no one would think twice about it.
Chris Davis (1B) – BAL vs. CWS – $4,000 – The entire Orioles offense feels a bit under-priced today but Chris Davis stands out. His massive home run upside is just too valuable to ignore against White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez in tournaments, and while the game isn’t in Baltimore he’s not losing much in terms of park factor in Chicago.
Carlos Santana (1B) – CLE vs. NYY – $3,800 – The top of the Indians order will likely have three left-handed bats who are all a bit under-priced and will be licking their chops at the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium. Michael Pineda is a bit of an enigma with his high strikeout totals and massive hard-hit contact rates, but you have to like Santana and his teammates in cash games at this price.
Mike Zunino (CATCH) – SEA vs. LAA – $2,900 – The current version of Tim Lincecum is one that we need to target. His first 35 innings for the Angels have been rough, unless you’re using bats against him. The Mariners are very much in play as a tournament stack tonight, and Mike Zunino and his power upside against right-handed pitching makes him my favorite affordable catcher of the night.
Jake Smolinski (OF) – OAK vs. CHC – $3,200 – The A’s could be a sneaky stack against Chicago’s Jon Lester. Khris Davis, Marcus Semien, and Danny Valencia all have huge power upside against lefties, but I love the price of Jake Smolinski and will be all over him if he’s in the 2-hole. Both is wOBA and isolated power marks are 200 points higher against lefties than righties.
Adam Frazier (SS/OF) – PIT vs. CIN – $2,900 – If you’re spending up at pitching or on Coors Field bats then you’ll need some sub-$3,500 bats in your lineup and Adam Frazier is a good way to go. If he’s leading off for the Pirates he’s very much in play in both cash games and tournaments. He’s flashed some decent power against right-handed pitching since making his debut, so the upside is there.
Kennys Vargas (1B) – MIN vs. TB – $3,200 – Brian Dozier isn’t the only Twins’ regular who hits left-handed pitching well. Miguel Sano, Robbie Grossman and Kennys Vargas have all shown well against lefties this season and are all very much in play. I like Vargas the most because he’s the cheapest and gives you the upside of a $4,000+ first baseman for a fraction of the price.
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.