There are just four weekends left in the Major League Baseball regular season, but many races remain undecided for the playoffs, individual awards and the inside track on starting spots next season. All 30 teams are in action on this busy Friday, and 11 games are part of the featured fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings, which gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. It’s an early-heavy slate with over half of the games starting in the first part of the window and just two games from the West Coast. Of the 11 games, four are divisional contests and three are interleague matchups.
As always for DFS fantasy baseball, be sure to keep up with the latest injury, weather, and lineup news leading up to the first pitch. One of the best ways to do that is by installing the DK Live app and following DraftKings Network on X (@DKNetwork). I’m also on X (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the regular season races play out and we get geared up for what should be an outstanding postseason.
Kodai Senga, New York Mets at Minnesota Twins ($10,000) – Senga has been one of the few positive producers this year for the Mets. In his first year in the Majors, Senga has averaged 20.3 DKFP per start while going 10-7 with a 3.08 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.23 WHIP and 11.05 K/9. He produced over 20 DKFP in each of his last five outings with 40 strikeouts in 32 2⁄3 innings with a 2.48 ERA and 2.71 FIP. Senga’s already-high strikeout rate climbed even higher after his two most recent starts, each of which resulted in double-digit strikeouts. He put up 26.2 and 33.6 DKFP in those two outings, which were both against American League opponents.
Senga gets another interleague start Friday as he visits the Twins on Friday. Minnesota’s offense has come around and been better over the last 30 days after a midseason slump, but they still have the fourth-highest K% in the MLB over the last 30 days, so Senga’s strikeout ceiling is still high. With his recent consistency and high ceiling, he’s my top pay-up option at SP on Friday.
Other Options – Blake Snell ($10,800), Kyle Bradish ($9,200)
Paul Blackburn, Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers ($7,600) – While the matchup with the Rangers in Texas isn’t ideal, Blackburn is still the best value SP play given his recent form compared to the other options on this slate. Blackburn has given up two earned runs or fewer in seven of his past eight starts while going 3-2 with a 2.30 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 8.81 K/9 rate and an average of 18.5 DKFP per contest. He produced over 17 DKFP in three of his past four outings, highlighted by a great road start in St. Louis in which he earned a season-high 31.6 DKFP with eight strikeouts in seven shutout innings.
Blackburn has at least six strikeouts in five of his last seven outings and has pitched into the sixth inning in six of those seven starts. His walk rate is still a little high, but he has been able to turn in solid starts for the Athletics, who haven’t been quite as disastrous coming down the stretch as they were earlier in the season. Blackburn can be a nice spot to save salary and grab some leverage Friday night.
Other Option – Bryce Elder ($8,000), MacKenzie Gore ($7,200)
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros vs. San Diego Padres ($6,200) – The Astros made a statement with a three-game sweep of the Rangers in Texas, scoring at least 12 runs in each of their wins. Altuve had five home runs in the three-game set producing 36 and 42 DKFP in the first two games of the series before managing just 2.0 DKFP on Wednesday. Altuve has battled multiple injuries this season but has hit .316 with 15 home runs, 13 stolen bases and a .408 wOBA in the 69 games he has played. He also has a good track record against opposing starter Blake Snell ($10,800), going 5-for-15 with three home runs in their past meetings. His current form overcomes concerns about the matchup, and he’s a great place to start your Friday night lineup given his high ceiling and how well the Astros’ lineup is clicking right now.
Davis Schneider, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals ($5,000) – With multiple injuries in the infield, Schneider has stepped into a critical role for the Blue Jays, and the rookie has thrived with hits in each of his last 11 starts. He went 15-for-38 (.395) in those games and averaged 16.4 DKFP with six doubles, five home runs, a stolen base and a .587 wOBA. He posted double-digit DKFP in each of his last seven starts and can fit into multiple lineup constructions with eligibility at both 2B and 3B. He and the Jays open a home series against the Royals by facing opener Collin Snider ($4,000) and bulk reliever Alec Marsh ($5,800). Marsh has allowed 12 runs in 14 innings over his three most recent appearances, including five home runs allowed. It’s a good spot to play the Blue Jays and Schneider has been one of their top producers lately.
Other Options – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,400), William Contreras ($4,900), Xander Bogaerts ($4,700)
Miguel Rojas, Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals ($2,900) – Rojas has only hit .228 on the season for the Dodgers, but the 34-year-old veteran has been trending up and gets a good matchup against lefty MacKenzie Gore ($7,200) this Friday. This season, Rojas has hit .270 against southpaws but just .205 against righties. After picking up three hits against his former team in Miami on Wednesday, Rojas has hit .314 (11-for-35) over his past 10 games with three doubles, a triple and an average of 6.4 DKFP per contest. If you have to spend under $3K at SS to afford the other options you like, Rojas is a solid option who has been contributing good numbers in a productive lineup.
Mark Vientos, New York Mets at Minnesota Twins ($2,200) – As his season-long numbers and salary indicate, Vientos has had trouble converting his Triple-A success to the MLB. However, he has been turning things around lately and could be finding his stride. In his five most recent contests, he went 7-for-16 (.438) with two home runs and a triple. He has a 63.6% hard-hit rate and 27.3% barrel rate over that short sample size, but if those trends continue, he’ll be a great value option at 3B. He brings good upside in his matchup against veteran lefty Dallas Keuchel ($5,000), who has allowed a .362 wOBA to right-handed hitters this season.
Other Options – Ronny Mauricio ($3,200), Spencer Horwitz ($2,800), Jordan Diaz ($2,500)
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($6,800) – Acuña continues to pile on to his impressive home run and stolen base totals this season and remains a strong pay-up play on almost every slate. Acuña homered twice on Wednesday and had 28 DKFP against St. Louis. On the season, he’s up to 34 home runs to go with 63 stolen bases and a remarkable average of 12.8 DKFP per game. That’s great production over a short span, but the fact that Acuña has maintained that pace for 139 games is truly remarkable. He isn’t slowing down at all either. He has averaged 13.9 DKFP over his past 16 games with six homers, seven stolen bases and eight multi-hit games. Most of his power production has come against right-handed pitchers, so he should be able to stay hot against Mitch Keller ($8,100), who he is 3-for-11 against in the past including a pair of home runs.
Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins ($5,700) – Schwarber always seems to heat up as the weather cools off and games seem more meaningful. The leadoff man has smashed 11 home runs over his past 18 games while going 19-for-63 (.302) with three doubles and a .535 wOBA. He averaged 14.4 DKFP per game over that span and is up to 41 homers on the season. Despite his .195 batting average on the season, Schwarber brings enough power potential to be a building block on Friday’s slate as the Phillies welcome Eury Perez ($8,800) and the Marlins to Philly for an important three-game series.
Other Options – Fernando Tatis Jr. ($5,900), Jazz Chisholm Jr. ($5,200), Anthony Santander ($4,500)
Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals ($3,300) – Taylor is one of the top candidates to hit leadoff for the Dodgers if Mookie Betts ($6,700; foot) is forced to miss time after fouling a ball off his foot and leaving the game on Thursday. Taylor starred in the Dodgers’ win on Thursday, going 3-for-5 with a double, home run, five RBI and 30 DKFP. That big game didn’t come out of nowhere and continues his recent surge. Over his past 18 games, Taylor went 17-for-50 (.340) with four doubles, three homers and five stolen bases. If he moves to the leadoff spot, Taylor will be in too good a spot to overlook, but even if not his recent form makes him worth a look at under $3.5K.
Evan Carter, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics ($2,000) – With Adolis Garcia (knee) headed for the injured list, Carter is expected to be called up for his MLB debut on Friday. Carter is the team’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline. He was a second-round pick in 2020 and has quickly risen through the minor leagues. He hit .284 with a .394 wOBA in 97 games in Double-A this season and was even hotter in his eight games at Triple-A, going 11-for-34 (.353) with a .391 wOBA. In his 105 games between the two stops, he has 12 homers and 25 stolen bases. The exciting rookie has multiple ways he can contribute and makes a great play at the minimum salary against Blackburn on Friday night.
Other Options – Mark Canha ($2,900), Edward Olivares ($2,800), Will Brennan ($2,400)
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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 skills 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.