After a couple of early games, the 13-game main slate on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET this Friday. There is the potential for plenty of wet weather on the East Coast, so be sure to keep an eye on the forecast and adjust your lineup as needed. Of the 13 games on the main slate, five are divisional contests while only two are interleague matchups.
As always for DFS fantasy baseball, it’s critical to keep a close eye on pregame lineups and the latest player news leading up to game time. You can do that 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.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners ($10,400) – You know it’s a stacked pitching slate when Ohtani is the third-most expensive option. There are a few high-end options to consider, but Ohtani’s strikeout potential and favorable matchup make him my favorite pay-up play of the night. He has gone 5-2 in his 12 starts this season with a 3.30 ERA, 3.98 FIP and 12.17 K/9 rate. He was knocked around a little bit in Houston in his most recent start but should be set up for a bounce-back outing at home vs. Seattle.
In his six starts at home, he has a 2.31 ERA and 3.36 FIP while holding opponents to just a .249 wOBA and piling up 51 strikeouts in just 39 innings. He produced over 25 DKFP in each of his two most recent starts at Angel Stadium even without the four-point bonus for a win in either start. He did get a win in his first start of the year against Seattle, with eight strikeouts and just three hits allowed over six strong innings for 26.1 DKFP. Over the past 30 days, the Mariners have ranked in the bottom 10 in the Majors in wOBA and the top five in K%. They have dropped six of their last eight and should provide a favorable spot for a Shohei showcase in one of the late games Friday.
Other Options – Cristian Javier ($10,800), Eury Pérez ($8,900)
Tyler Wells, Baltimore Orioles vs. Kansas City Royals ($8,300) – Wells is also in a great spot to excel as he and the Orioles open their series against the Royals, who rank in the bottom five in runs scored, team wOBA and wRC+ both for the season and over the last 30 days. Kansas City is also in the top five in K% over the last 30 days, ranking just one spot ahead of Seattle.
Wells has 70 strikeouts in his 68 1⁄3 innings this season with a 3.29 ERA and 4.56 FIP. He has at least seven strikeouts in each of his five most recent starts, totaling 39 in 28 1⁄3 innings over that span. Wells has allowed two runs or fewer in three of those starts, resulting in at least 23 DKFP in each of those outings. His home splits are very favorable, and the one bad outing he has had over the past month came against the Yankees in the Bronx. He’ll be in a much better spot at home against the Royals, so as long as the weather doesn’t get in the way, he should be a good play on Friday, especially since the cheaper arms on this slate come with major risk factors and less strikeout upside.
Other Options – AJ Smith-Shawver ($6,500), Adrian Houser ($6,000)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies ($6,200) – Especially on a slate with so many high-powered options in the outfield, Betts usually brings more value in his 2B spot depending on your roster construction. While his numbers for the season are still down by his lofty standards, he has been heating up lately. He has hit safely in seven of his past nine games, going 12-for-38 (.316) with five of those 12 hits being home runs for a .395 ISO and .467 wOBA. He has also been much better this season against lefties than righties and has a .419 wOBA against southpaws like Ranger Suárez ($5,300) who he’ll face Friday.
Francisco Lindor, New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates ($4,600) – Lindor is affordably priced since he’s had a rough season for the reeling Mets, but he has also shown signs of heating up lately and can be a dynamic multi-category producer like Betts when at his best. Lindor had at least nine DKFP in each of the three games the Mets dropped in Atlanta to start the week. He homered in the loss Tuesday and stole a base while going 2-for-4 on Thursday. He has at least nine DKFP in six of his past 12 games, averaging 7.7 DKFP over that span mostly due to four home runs and a .315 wOBA. Like Betts, Lindor will face a lefty, playing to the strong side of his splits. He has a .352 wOBA and 127 wRC+ against lefties compared to just a .294 wOBA and 88 wRC+ against righties. The Mets need Lindor to step up and carry the offense, especially with Pete Alonso ($5,400; wrist) recently placed on the injured list after being hit by a pitch on Wednesday.
Other Options – Matt Olson ($5,800), Ryan McMahon ($5,100)
Nolan Jones, Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres ($3,900) – Jones is still available for under $4K and can move to the OF if you want to go with another big bat at 1B. He has been excellent since joining the Colorado lineup at the end of May and brings both power and speed potential. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games with an at-bat while collecting multiple hits in three of his last four games. He is 15-for-38 (.395) in those games with four doubles, two homers and three stolen bases. He hadn’t attempted a stolen base prior to this homestand but had a theft in each of the three games against the Giants. He finished with 22 DKFP in each of his two most recent games and is averaging 11.0 DKFP per game over his 10 most recent starts.
Tucupita Marcano, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Mets ($2,400) – Marcano has been leading off for the Pirates against right-handed pitchers like Tyler Megill ($6,700), which is easy to overlook since Pittsburgh has faced so many lefties lately. If he’s hitting leadoff on Friday, as expected, he’ll be a great cheap option since he has been making the most of his opportunities lately. In his last 14 games, the 23-year-old is hitting .302 (.13-for-43) with six doubles, two home runs, three stolen bases and a .380 wOBA. In four of those games, he entered late and only had one at-bat, and in his 10 most recent starts, he is averaging 9.7 DKFP per contest.
Other Options – Royce Lewis ($3,800), Elly De La Cruz ($3,700), Kody Clemens ($2,600)
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies ($6,400) – Tatis and the Padres head to Coors Field for the weekend, so they definitely demand attention. On Friday, they’ll face lefty Austin Gomber ($5,000), who has a 6.99 ERA and 6.25 FIP in his 12 starts this season. Gomber has given up nine home runs and a .421 wOBA at Coors Field this year, so the Padres are an obvious but probably productive stack to consider. Tatis is the top option to lead the way against lefties, who he has hit .300 against this season with five homers and a .458 wOBA. Tatis has 11 homers on the season, and six have come in his past 18 games while he has also added four stolen bases over that span. Tatis always brings one of the highest ceilings on any slate, but in this matchup at Coors Field, he’s especially attractive Friday.
Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Oakland Athletics ($4,800) – Since lefty Sam Moll ($4,000) is expected to be the opener and Luis Medina ($5,500) the bulk reliever, we can look past the lefty-on-lefty matchup and still get good value in Yelich. He has definitely been part of the Brewers’ offensive struggles this season but has started to be more productive lately. He hasn’t provided much power but has picked up the slack with six stolen bases over his past 11 games, bringing his total to 16 thefts on the season. Even though he hasn’t hit a home run since May 14, he has been hitting the ball hard with a 54.2% hard-hit rate and 93.0 average exit velocity over his past nine games. He has also hit .294 (10-for-34) over his past nine games, averaging 9.9 DKFP per contest.
Other Options – Bryan Reynolds ($5,300), Luis Robert Jr. ($4,900)
Jesús Sánchez, Miami Marlins at Chicago White Sox ($3,300) – Sánchez continues to be underpriced given his home run upside. He smashed long balls in each of his past two games and has gone 10-for-29 (.345) with three homers, a .310 ISO and a .450 wOBA in his nine games since returning from injury. In his 16 most recent games dating back to before his IL stint, he is hitting 20-for-51 (.392) with five homers, a .412 ISO and a .514 wOBA. The power-hitting lefty usually hits in the middle of the Marlins’ order and offers good upside against Dylan Cease ($9,200).
T.J. Hopkins, Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals ($2,000) – Hopkins is no Elly De La Cruz ($3,700), but he is an interesting part of the Reds’ youth infusion and comes at the minimum salary if you need to go ultra-cheap as part of your roster on Friday. Hopkins hit .341 in his 50 games at Triple-A with seven homers and a .433 wOBA before being called up at the beginning of the month. He has hit safely in two of his three most recent starts, going 3-for-11 with a 33.0% hard-hit rate. He hit lefties well at Triple-A, especially for power, so a matchup with lefty Jordan Montgomery ($7,300) makes him a good sleeper option Friday.
Other Options – Taylor Ward ($3,300), Tommy Pham ($2,900), Willie Calhoun ($2,000)
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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.