After an early-focused lighter slate on Thursday, the MLB is back in action in full force on Friday night with 11 games on the main slate on DraftKings, which gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. There are a few games with a little bit of potential for weather issues, so keep an eye on Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta leading up to the first pitch. There are also some great divisional series getting underway on this slate with four divisional contests including two from the American League West.
Especially with a few weather situations to keep tabs on, make sure to keep a close eye on pregame lineups and the latest player news by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the season continues.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres ($10,800) – Kershaw continues to defy the regular aging process and dominate in the regular season. With some of the other top options on this slate staggering a little bit after bad outings or in tough matchups, it’s worth paying up to get Kershaw, even though he’s the most expensive pitcher taking the mound Friday.
In his six starts, Kershaw has compiled a 1.89 ERA and 3.07 FIP while striking out 41 in 38 innings and allowing only eight earned runs total over his six starts. The 35-year-old lefty has started his 16th season with five wins in those six starts and is up to 202 regular-season victories in his legendary career. His spot in my picks here isn’t a lifetime achievement award, though, since he has been dominant and sharp lately with over 25 DKFP in three straight starts, highlighted by a dominant 36.6 DKFP in seven shutout innings over the Cardinals at home in his most recent outing. While he’s at his best at home, Petco Park has also been a good spot for Kershaw. He has gone 11-4 with a 1.87 ERA and 135 strikeouts in 125 innings at Petco during his time in the NL West.
Other Options – Kodai Senga ($10,200), Jordan Montgomery ($8,600)
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves vs. Baltimore Orioles ($8,200) – The Braves’ Opening Day starter has looked very solid since his return from the IL, and he’ll be fresh and ready as the Braves return home after a 5-1 road trip to host the Orioles. Fried won one of those games in a rain-shortened contest in New York against the Mets. He threw just five innings but still dominated with seven strikeouts and three hits allowed in a complete game shutout that resulted in 31.9 DKFP. He walked only one in that truncated contest, which is a good sign after he handed out an uncharacteristic three free passes against Houston in his previous outing.
In his 20 innings, the lefty has allowed just one earned run while striking out 18. He has over 20 DKFP in all three of his starts since returning from the IL with his only exception on the season his Opening Day outing that lasted just 3 1⁄3 innings due to injury. Fried is in a bit of a rough matchup against the Orioles, but he still brings a high enough ceiling and enough consistency to be a strong play to consider just over $8K.
Other Options – Chris Sale ($7,500), Josiah Gray ($6,400)
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Detroit Tigers ($5,300) – The Cardinals have struggled to a 10-22 start to the season and dropped six straight and nine of their last 10 games. They’ll home a visit from the Tigers this weekend is a get-right spot for them, and it will definitely help that Goldschmidt is starting to catch fire coming into this favorable matchup. Over his last 11 games, Goldschmidt is hitting .333 (15-for-45) with six doubles, two home runs, a .421 wOBA and a 63.2% hard-hit rate, per Statcast. He has averaged 10.4 DKFP per game over his past nine contests, highlighted by a two-homer performance that resulted in 36 DKFP against the Giants. Goldschmidt typically hammers lefties, hitting .333 in the split this season with a .363 wOBA. In his career, he has a .435 wOBA against Southpaws, so he should be in a favorable spot against Matthew Boyd ($6,100) Friday night.
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves vs. Baltimore Orioles ($4,600) – Albies had three straight multi-hit games in the Braves series in Miami and has six multi-hit games over his past 12 contests, going 17-for-46 (.370) with five doubles, a triple, five home runs and a .519 wOBA. Almost all his success this season has come against right-handed pitching, where he has hit .426 with a .525 wOBA. The switch-hitter will look to stay hot in a favorable matchup against righty Dean Kremer ($6,300) in the series opener. Albies comes at a very nice price given his high ceiling and over his past 10 games has produced 12.2 DKFP per contest.
Other Options – Max Muncy ($5,300), Jorge Mateo ($5,300), Bobby Witt Jr. ($5,100)
Josh Jung, Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels ($3,800) – The promising prospect whose career was detoured by injury has gotten off to a great start to the season and has helped fuel the Rangers’ rise to the top of the AL West even in the absence of Corey Seager (hamstring). Jung has a career-high eight homers already this season and is hitting .275 with a .369 wOBA. Half of his homers have come against lefties, and he is thriving in the split with a .423 (11-for-26) average and .579 wOBA. He should be set up for success against southpaw Tyler Anderson ($6,000) on Friday and comes in with five home runs, a .498 wOBA and .607 ISO over his eight most recent contests.
Ezequiel Duran, Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels ($2,700) – While Jung has been providing power in Seager’s absence, Duran has stepped in at shortstop and also put up strong numbers. The 23-year-old has made a strong case for remaining involved after Seager’s return, hitting .324 (27-for-71) with four doubles, three home runs and a pair of stolen bases in his 23 games. Over his past 14 games, Duran has gone a scorching 20-for-51 (.392) with three home runs and a .460 wOBA to help him produce 10.5 DKFP per contest. He and Jung are an affordable stack on the left side of the infield against Anderson and the Angels in Anaheim.
Other Options – Brett Baty ($2,600), Enmanuel Valdez ($2,600), CJ Abrams ($2,200)
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians ($5,300) – Buxton has bashed five bombs in his past eight games and has tacked on two stolen bases to produce at least 12 DKFP in seven of those eight contests. He had gone 10-for-29 (.345) with four doubles and seven walks to go with those five home runs, giving him a .581 wOBA and .655 ISO over that short span. When Buxton gets hot, he turns into an extra-base machine, so ride this heater for as long as it lasts. He and the Twins are in a good matchup detailed below in stacks.
Starling Marte, New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies ($4,800) – Marte leads my other top stack of the night detailed below, and he should be thrilled to see Antonio Senzetela ($5,000). Marte has gone 7-for-11 (.636) in their past matchups with a home run. Marte has hit safely in eight of his past 10 games with a pair of stolen bases. He’s locked into the second spot in the order and is worth a look in this matchup even though he hasn’t caught fire yet this season.
Other Options – Ronald Acuña Jr. ($6,600), Mike Trout ($6,200), Masataka Yoshida ($4,900)
Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies ($3,600) – The Red Sox are rolling, and Duran has been one of the key reasons why since taking over for Adam Duvall (wrist). After a disastrous tenure in Boston last season, Duran’s new approach and retooled swing have helped him hit a scorching .417 (25-for-60) with 10 doubles, two homers and a .477 wOBA in his 17 games. He has averaged 11.1 DKFP per game over that stretch and has at least 17 DKFP in each of his three most recent starts.
Maikel Garcia ($2,400) – Garcia got the call when Nicky Lopez (appendicitis) landed on the injured list earlier this week, and the 23-year-old has looked solid in his three games so far. He has two multi-hit games while going 5-for-12 (.417) with a double and a stolen base. Before being called up, he hit .242 in his 24 games in Triple-A with the Omaha Storm Chasers with one home run and four stolen bases. He went 9-for-29 with five doubles against lefties, and he should be in a good spot to deliver bargain value as the Royals face Kyle Muller ($5,200) and the Athletics.
Other Options – Max Kepler ($3,700), Edward Olivares ($2,700), Taylor Trammell ($2,400)
New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies – The Mets face the Rockies, and they’re a good stack even though they aren’t at Coors Field. They’ll take on Senzatela in his return from the IL after he went 3-7 in 92 1⁄3 innings last season with a 5.07 ERA and 4.05 FIP. He was hammered in his two rehab starts, allowing 10 runs in 6 1⁄3 innings while posting an ugly 2.53 WHIP. The Mets will look to tee off on him in their series opener and get into Colorado’s shaky bullpen. You can add Brandon Nimmo ($4,400), Pete Alonso ($5,800) and Francisco Lindor ($4,900) to Marte for a top-four stack, or you can mix in some cheaper options like Brett Baty ($2,600) or even deploy Tomas Nido ($2,000) as a punt play backstop to help balance your spending.
Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians – The Guardians opted to skip a struggling Zach Plesac in their rotation (unfortunately for the Twins), but they’ll give the ball to Peyton Battenfield ($5,800) instead who hasn’t fared much better. Battenfield has given up 16 hits and 10 runs in 17 1⁄3 innings. he has given up three home runs as well, all to left-handed batters. Max Kepler ($3,700), Jorge Polanco ($4,700), Trevor Larnach ($3,400) and Joey Gallo ($4,400) all make sense on that side of the split in addition to the scorching Byron Buxton as highlighted above. There are even some value plays available in the matchup with Christian Vázquez ($3,100) and Michael A. Taylor ($2,500).
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.