DraftKings MLB: Friday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Friday Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

No day games Friday, so we're looking at an evening slate that includes all 30 teams. The Northeast looks like the area to watch for weather, with rain possible in Philadelphia and New York, but less likely in Washington.

Pitching

Arms shoot right out of the gate Friday, with both Max Scherzer ($10,400) and Jacob deGrom ($10,000) slated to start. Both come with plenty of questions here as well, starting with health. DeGrom is returning from an IL stint, while Scherzer has dealt with a rib cage issue. It's fair to question how deep they will work. Scherzer gets a lighter-hitting Padres team that has only a .286 wOBA and 26.5 percent strikeout rate against righties, while deGrom gets a more dangerous Brewers lineup that goes .324/26.3 percent. Both remain stable thanks to their strikeout rates, and both have been a bit hampered by bad luck, allowing at least a .376 BABIP, which figures to normalize. Normally cash game anchors, these aces may be better suited for GPPs Friday with the questions surrounding their form possibly pushing down ownership. 

The immediately obvious pivot is James Paxton ($9,600) at San Francisco. Paxton has racked up 24 strikeouts in his last two starts, and the Giants rank 28th with a .270 wOBA against lefties, adding a weak .128 ISO and 25.2 percent strikeout rate. The only real reason to avoid Paxton would be the likely high ownership. His adversary, Madison Bumgarner ($8,700) looks like a solid option against the mash unit that is the Yankees' lineup who are striking out at a 29.4 percent rate against lefties.

Priced between Paxton and Bumgarner are Robbie Ray ($9,100), Corey Kluber ($8,900) and Chris Archer ($8,700). All can make for solid low-owned GPP targets thanks to the upside their names carry, but they have difficult matchups against the Cubs, Astros and Dodgers, respectively.

Down a tier, names that stand out include Carlos Rodon ($8,100), Max Fried ($8,000) and Jerad Eickhoff ($7,900). Rodon carries a 3.90 xFIP and 11.25 K/9 rate into a matchup with a Tigers offense that strikes out 29.3 percent of the time against lefties, has just a .279 wOBA against them, and Rodon limited them to three hits and one run in his last outing. Fried doesn't have the strikeout upside (6.23 per nine), but he's worked at least six innings in all four starts, induces ground balls at a 55.3 percent rate and faces a Rockies offense he limited to two runs in Coors Field two starts ago. Colorado also fans 27.8 percent of the time against southpaws, sporting only a .276 wOBA against them (25th). Finally, Eickhoff looks like more than just a win-chasing option against Miami. He's averaging 12.6 K/9 and has only a 3.03 xFIP in two starts, while the Marlins fan 29.8 percent of the time and rank 29th with a .266 wOBA against righties.

The bottom tier doesn't present much, but Daniel Norris ($6,900) may be worth a look as a budget saver. He threw five shutout innings against the White Sox in his last outing, fanning six and allowing only two hits. Chicago doesn't hit lefties well, so a repeat of the 25.5 DraftKings points, maybe less in a win, isn't out of the question. Justus Sheffield ($4,000) is also worth a look, as he could throw a handful of innings in relief of Yusei Kikuchi ($7,000) who isn't expected to go more than two frames against the Rangers.

Key Value/Chalk

It's easy to scroll to the bottom of the pitching pricing, see Shelby Miller ($5,000) and assume you need to stack Mariners. And since everyone will do that, I'll avoid them in the stacks section. Miller has an 8.11 xFIP and Seattle bats will undoubtedly be chalky. First baseman Daniel Vogelbach ($4,900, .493 wOBA, 222 wRC+, .455 ISO) and OF Domingo Santana ($4,800, .378/144/.200) lead the charge.

The Twins fall into the same category as the Mariners, as they're an obvious offense to target against Cobb, who has allowed 11 runs and five homers over just 8.0 innings, including being tattooed by Minnesota for nine runs in 2.2 innings in his last start. OFs Nelson Cruz ($4,700) and Eddie Rosario ($5,300), SS Jorge Polanco ($5,100), C Mitch Garver ($4,600) and 2B Jonathan Schoop ($4,400) are all in play, but the ball won't be flying out of Target Field the way it does at Camden Yards. Getting some shares of the Twins is smart, but a huge stack may not be as profitable as it appears.

Philadelphia also figures to be popular against an always combustible Jose Urena ($5,900). Urena has settled down, allowing only three runs in his last two starts (13.0 innings), but has struggled at Citizens Bank Park, allowing 19 runs and nine homers in 23.2 innings over the last three seasons. First baseman Rhys Hoskins ($5,300) is hot, while BvP folks may want to look at 2B Cesar Hernandez ($4,000), who is 8-of-29 with three homers against Urena.

St. Louis is another place I expect many to look against Anthony DeSclafani ($7,100), who has allowed five homers over 19.1 innings. A stack here is difficult, with 1B Paul Goldschmidt ($5,100), OF Marcel Ozuna ($5,100) and SS Paul DeJong ($5,000) all pricey. And DeSclafani is notoriously tougher on righties. He's allowed lefties to post a .389 wOBA, 43.3 percent fly ball rate, with 22.1 percent of those flies leaving the yard since the start of 2018. Righties own only a .288 wOBA, 32.5 percent fly rate and 17.6 percent homer rate in that span. The Cardinals have very few left-handed bats, but maybe this is the spot to look at 3B Matt Carpenter ($4,100) and/or 2B Kolton Wong ($4,200)

Finally, I'm not doing my job if I don't mention Blue Jays' 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,300), who debuts against Mike Fiers and his 5.53 xFIP. Guerrero may never be priced this low again. He has hit at every level, and there's no reason to think he'll need an adjustment period. He'll be a popular play, but a fun one to own Friday.

Stacks

Orioles vs. Martin Perez (Twins)

Trey Mancini (1B/OF - $4,800), Renato Nunez (1B - $4,700), Hanser Alberto (2B/3B - $3,400)

I don't love the pricing on the first two options, but their current form suggests they're worth every bit of it. Mancini has hit safely in nine of 10, and boasts a .487 wOBA, 212 wRC+ and .355 ISO against lefties. Alberto (.424/170/.182) is second on the team in wOBA, while Nunez checks in third at .400/153/.194. There's some position flexibility here. Alberto offers great cost savings, and they'll face a pitcher in Martin Perez ($6,800) who allowed a .410 wOBA to righties in 2018. 

Reds vs. Miles Mikolas (Cardinals)

Joey Votto (1B - $3,800), Derek Dietrich (2B/OF - $4,000), Jesse Winker (OF - $3,800)

This has the potential to be a nice value stack Friday, as Mikolas has really struggled against lefties to date, allowing a .391 wOBA and 7.05 xFIP. Votto's power is down, and his .338 wOBA and .180 ISO against righties don't leap off the page, but he did post a .385 wOBA and 141 wRC+ against them last year. Winker has an equally unimpressive .326 wOBA but an enticing .290 ISO. Dietrich is the surprising high-priced option here but is still modest. He's crushing righties to the tune of a .420 wOBA, 161 wRC+ and .439 ISO. The play is more against Mikolas' struggles against lefties, but if we're buying the Cardinals above and this game is to be high scoring, this trio will have to do their part to keep the game competitive.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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