With four games on Friday, you have DFS contests starting at 12:45, 3:45 and 6:45. Your options are more limited the longer you wait, but here are some players from every game and why you might want to target them, or why not. Remember to note, Rangers and Blue Jays are available in 12:45 contests only, Astros and Royals in 3:45 contests or earlier, and National League teams available in all contests. Good luck.
Clayton Kershaw vs. NYM ($15,000) – How do you think the people who paid up for Arrieta feel about the decision? Against left-handed pitching, the Mets are in the bottom 7 in the majors in OBP, OPS, batting average, home runs per at bat and strikeouts rate. They faced Kershaw twice this year and he gave up one run and eight hits in 16 innings, with 18 total strikeouts.
John Lackey vs. ChC ($9,700) – The game is in St. Louis, where he has been significantly better this season (1.93 ERA at home). The most dangerous hitters on the Cubs have had some really bad history against Lackey All that, and his offense hits lefties really well, which should give him at least a passable shot at the victory.
Marcus Stroman vs. TEX ($8,600) – Big spot for the kid to find himself in here, with his team down 1-0. You’d like to think his offense is going to back him up in a big way, and, for his part, Stroman has looked up to the task. He might only have four starts, but in his last three, he went at least seven innings each time, with a total of two earned runs and sixteen K’s. He has won every game he has started, and the Blue Jays are banking on that continuing this afternoon.
Kyle Schwarber @ Lackey ($3,900) – He has never faced Lackey, and with his kind of raw power, I am not sure who that favors in the matchup. But I am sure that Schwarber slugs about 300 points higher against right handed pitching, and that Schwarber went 2-for-3 with a home run while getting his first taste of postseason action on Wednesday.
Russell Martin vs. Hamels ($3,800) – I know this isn’t exactly the normal price tag you see on your studs, but the lack of options changes the calculation about how prices are determined – I mean, you do have to roster a catcher. Martin is a catcher. He average has declined over the second half of the season, but his power numbers have picked up and that gives him the kind of upside that makes him a consideration every single night.
Robinson Chirinos @ Stroman ($3,300) – Chirinos hit .232 in 79 games this year, so yes, there is risk. But after saying his was past his biceps injury, he then proceeded to go yard in last night’s game, so, apparently, there is also upside. I like Stroman in this game, but it is possible that the young pitcher makes a mistake or two, leaving a ball up in the zone when he shouldn’t? Of course it’s possible.
Edwin Encarnacion vs. Hamels ($5,100) – On paper, he is one of the hitters you will feel the most comfortable with getting into your lineup. For starters, he’s awesome, has been producing all year, and has been keeping it up lately. Then there’s the fact that you just expect the whole Blue Jays offense to show up in a way that didn’t happen in game 1, and that’s good news for all their hitters. And lastly, he is hitting .357 in 16 at-bats against Hamels and went yard against him once.
Anthony Rizzo @ Lackey ($4,300) – He has got as much upside as anyone, and he is only the fourth most expensive at the position, which might make you think “value.” But he is 1-for-12 with just a single and a walk in thirteen tries against Lackey, which could mean he’ll be hard pressed to return value even if the price seems right.
Adrian Gonzalez vs. deGrom ($3,500) – Gonzalez has scuffled a little down the stretch, reducing his price point for contests like this one because he is just that much harder to trust. But he is 3-for-8 against deGrom all-time, including a 1-for-3 effort the only time they faced each other this year.
Jose Altuve @ Cuteo ($5,000) – I know you have to spend your money somewhere, but even if that wasn’t on pitching, I don’t know if it is on 2B either. Altuve might be hitting .315 on the year and even better than that recently, but he is 1-for-6 all-time with two K’s, a single and no walks against Cueto. I know it’s a small sample size, but when you’re taking a hitter for $5,000, you can’t be wrong.
Howie Kendrick vs. deGrom ($3,700) – Kendrick has been a pleasant surprise all season, certainly returning plenty of value for year-long owners and helping out DFS owners along the way as well. But tonight is not, in my opinion, the night to keep trusting him. Not only is he hitless in his limited exposure to deGrom, it wasn’t until very recently that he finally seems to get over the hamstring injury that landed him on the DL six weeks ago or so – and anything that could potentially limit his opportunities obviously isn’t helping out DFS owners.
Chris Coghlan @ Lackey ($3,000) – He is getting at-bats just about every night, and with 16 home runs on the year, there is at least a little bit of upside. And you should have some confidence in getting at least something out of him – and every little bit counts at $3,000 – based on his history against Lackey, hitting .471 in 17 at-bats.
Josh Donaldson vs. Hamels ($4,700) – Donaldson has the “DTD” tag next to his name, but you shouldn’t be scared off. The injury was a concussion he suffered a few days back, but news out of Toronto is that he has passed the concussion protocol at this point. They have not guaranteed he will be in the lineup today, but there is, at least, a chance. And if he is active, he is one of the expensive hitters I’d like to stretch my budget for in his return to action. You know he wants to help this team even the series in a bad way.
Kris Bryant @ Lackey ($4,200) – Another one of the more dangerous hitters on the Cubs with a tough history against Lackey, Bryant is only 2-for-9 with a walk and FIVE strikeouts in his ten attempts in this particular matchup, and both of his hits were singles. That sounds like more downside than up.
Mike Moustakas vs. Kazmir ($4,200) – When there are only four games to choose from, and all the pitchers are good, this gets tough. Moustakas is one of the most expensive 3B without a nagging injury he’s dealing with, and he is facing one of the least intimidating pitchers of the bunch, but he is 2-for-13 all-time against Kazmir, with just a pair of singles.
Daniel Murphy @ Kershaw ($3,400) – I mean, you’re basically avoiding all your Mets in this one. But Murphy is inexpensive, and the guy hits .281 – more often than not, he’s giving you something. He had been in double digits six times in ten games to close the season, and as much as you hate the matchup with any lefty (and especially this one), he does have three hits in ten tries against the perennial Cy Young candidate.
Troy Tulowitzki vs. Hamels ($3,500) – Tulowitzki’s upside stayed in Colorado when he left, and his price has therefore been dropping ever since. And now, this is where we’re at. But he had a decent amount of exposure to Hamels with both of them spending years in the NL, and over that time he managed a .333 average in their matchup. You can throw out all the power numbers from back then for Tulo, so don’t think the two home runs he’s hit against Hamels represent upside – not anymore they don’t. But the average does seem to suggest there is a good chance he won’t leave you with a goose-egg if you decide to trust him in your cash games.
Jhonny Peralta vs. Lester ($3,200) – Peralta has 10 hits in 40 at-bats against Lester, but three of them were home runs. For $3,200, getting a guy with that history who also hit .275 for the year counts as some level of both consistency and upside.
Christian Colon vs. Kazmir ($2,100) – Well, you have to do something to afford Kershaw, right? With no home runs and six RBI on the year, there is virtually no upside. However, he did hit .290 in just over 100 at-bats this year, and you only get there with at least a few multi-hit efforts. He is also hitting .444 against Kazmir in limited exposure (9 at-bats),
Jose Bautista vs. Hamels ($4,900) – If you believe that there is just no chance the Blue Jays go down 0-2 at home, and that their offense is going to redeem itself in a big way, then the fact that Bautista is expected to play in game 2 certainly bolsters your argument. On a team with, literally, three players who could be the centerpiece of a top-ten offense, Bautista is the heart of this one and seeing him come through in the clutch for his team now would not, I think, surprise anyone.
Dexter Fowler @ Lackey ($4,300) – Fowler went 3-for-4 Wednesday with a home run and three runs scored, which just goes to show you how valuable he can as a catalyst for the Cubs offense. Lackey will keep the Cardinals in this one and give them a shot at the victory, in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean I am predicting a shutout. Fowler could still return value at this price in a losing effort.
Jason Heyward vs. Lester ($3,800) – Heyward put his nagging injuries concerns behind him and ran off a successful September, keeping his average for the year up over .290. He hasn’t hit a bunch of home runs like you might have hoped, but he has been productive in a lot of other ways – the kind of DFS option who, if you just avoid the very worst matchups, will usually get you at least a handful of points. And there is no reason for you to shy away because of Lester, as Heyward has shown a nice comfort level at the plate with the big lefty on the hill, going 10-for-24 (.417) with four doubles and a home run.
Colby Rasmus @ Cueto ($3,100) – Rasmus has seen Cueto a bunch of times in the past, and it has been mostly good. At 9-for-27 he is hitting .333, definitely showing he should have some more consistency in this matchup than he does on most other days. But on top of that, four of his hits went for extra bases (3 doubles and a HR), showing that this matchup is improving both his consistency and his upside.
Matt Holliday vs. Lester ($3,100) – He hit .279 for the year, so it’s not as if he never produces, and in the ten plate appearances he has had against Lester, he is 5-for-9 with a walk, so if the Cardinals manage to throw a few runs on the board, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he were involved.