Friday is a more extensive slate than we have seen in a while. Coming in at 13 games, we should see plenty of value-based options and trickier leverage plays. So instead, I am offering up our SPs in tiers, so you can decide which style of DFS game you’re playing.
Additionally, there are few value bats to toss in your cash lineups or even GPP if you need to save some salary for SPs. Finally, the juiciest part, which is the stacks to target. Please keep your eyes on the lineup cards with so many games when they come out because today might be one full of surprises. Good luck!
Implied Run Totals
- SF @ WAS – The game is slated to begin at 7:00 PM EST, and there is a high chance of precipitation that could lead to a likely rainout.
- COL @ CIN – Rain could form early, before the game. A possible chance of a delayed start with the match set to begin at 6:10 PM EST.
- HOU @ MIN – Slight chance of rain but nothing too major. They should be able to start the game without issues at 7:10 PM EST.
Pitching on today’s slate is stacked more than usual. In fact, five of Nick Pollacks’s top 15 SPs will take the mound today. So, I broke down the SPs into three tiers: Tier 1 is meant to showcase the SPs for cash games, Tier 2 is the SPs at a discounted salary with upside to perform like the studs, and Tier 3 is heavily discounted SPs that should only be considered as wild card GPP plays.
- Tier 1 “The Cash Game Studs”
This tier is made up of some of the elite talents from around the MLB. My top arm is Max Scherzer ($11,500 DK, $11,000 FD). Thanks to the weather, Scherzer’s start is pushed back a day and gives him an extra day of rest. His 33.6% CSW and matchup against a Giants’ squad who carries the second-highest K%(26.8%) vs. RHP firmly puts him a notch ahead of Jacob deGrom ($11,300 DK, $12,000 FD).
Nothing makes me feel more uneasy than putting deGrom as the number two pitcher at anything. However, his matchup against the Padres is a troubling one. While the Padres have been somewhat middling, as shown by their 97 wRC+ and .308 wOBA. Fernando Tatis Jr. and company walk over 10% of the time and strike out only 21.4%(second-lowest in the MLB) of the time vs. RHP.
The most favorable matchup in the elite tier belongs to Brandon Woodruff ($10,400 DK, $11,800 FD). The Pirates have the lowest ISO vs. RHP in the MLB and the fourth-lowest wRC+ in the MLB. Yet, oddly, the ballclub has one of the best K% in the league at 22.7%. This means Woodruff’s strikeouts could be lower than the other tier-one options, and we might need to rely on him going deeper into the game. Heed this warning; the field might see the matchup and put Woody in most of their lineups.
Lucas Giolito ($10,100 DK, $10,700 FD) has burned people this year. That should drive his roster% down a bit and make him an outstanding option. The SwStr% and ground ball rate are a touch on the scary side, but he still touts a CSW rate over 30%. Additionally, Giolito looked spectacular in May, and we should expect a big game. This is another stud with an enticing matchup against the Tigers and their league-leading 27.2 K% vs. RHP.
Rounding out the tier-one studs is Clayton Kershaw ($9,800 DK, $9,800 FD). Outside of an early-season blip in May, Kershaw looks automatic by going at least six innings pitched in his last five starts. Additionally, his pitch count teeters over 100 at times, and his 32.6% CSW should help bolster plenty of strikeouts via the curveball.
- Tier 2 “The GPP Potentials”
Blake Snell ($9,400 DK, $9,200 FD) falls just outside of tier one for a few reasons. First, at times Snell’s changeup vanishes, and the walks pile up. Even worse, the HRs will rear their ugly heads at the worst possible times, and then we get a real dud of a game. On the flip side, his 31% CSW and massive K% will always allow him to a ten K gem like he did in his last outing. This is why he is a better GPP play, rather than for cash games-we don’t know which Snell we will get.
I wanted to group these four pitchers because they all have poor matchups and high strikeout upside. Shohei Ohtani ($8,100 DK, $9,500 FD), Tyler Mahle ($7,900 DK, $8.500 FD), Aaron Civale ($8,400 DK, $8.000 FD) and Charlie Morton ($7,500 DK, $8,3000 FD) are the four names that could leap over the tier one arms. The roster% should be spread pretty thin because of the tier one studs, so this might be a perfect quartet to save a little salary capital and get elite-level production. Any DraftKings players should consider one of these for their SP2.
If you’re looking to play with fire, Sandy Alcantara ($9,000 DK, $9,000 FD) and José Urquidy ($8,600 DK, $6,900 FD) are pitchers for you. Both SPs square off against a top ten team in wRC+ and carry an ISO of .160 or better. I do love their massive strikeout upsides, but you’re going to have to pay up heavily for them on DraftKings. FanDuel gave Urquidy a meager salary, making him a chalkier GPP play for that sportsbook only.
- Tier 3 “The Dart Throws”
Tarik Skubal ($6,900 DK, $8,700 FD) stands atop the tier of dart throws. He should be elevated if we base his game on the previous four starts(three wins, 26 IP, 37 Ks). However, if you look at his season as a whole, there were struggles with his command, followed by giving up too much hard contact. The matchup is a challenging one because the White Sox hit LHP exceptionally well.
Last is this glob of Cole Irvin ($6,600 DK, $6,700 FD), Anthony DeSclafani ($6,400 DK, $7,000 FD), and Ryan Yarbrough ($7,700 DK, $7,900 FD). Yarbrough shoved in his last outing and ran the pitch count to 113. While he seems like the safest option of the trio, I have a tough time thinking the Rays will allow him to go that deep again. Irvin and Tony Disco need several parts of their game to align for a groovy outing. Would I be surprised if they threw gems? No, and luckily the salary is low enough to take that shot if you’re loading up on expensive bats.
Cash Game Value Bats
- Bryan Reynolds OF ($3,000 DK, $2,600 FD) One of the lone bright spots on the Pirates is Reynolds. His 17% barrel rate and 13.5% walk rate make him an eye-opening play as your cash games outfielder. The trickier part of his day is the matchup against Brandon Woodruff. He should be a perfect salary-saving play that will allow you to pay up for one of the stud SPs.
- Anthony Santander OF ($2,900 DK, $2,800 FD) This thunderous bat could be quieted by Yarbrough’s astonishing ability to limit hard contact. A feat that has served him well for several years now. However, when Santander makes contact with a pitch, his .402 xwOBAcon and 44.4% hard-hit rate suggest good things can happen. The lack of walks gives him a slight down-tick in cash games, but he makes up for it by tacking putting a ton of balls in play.
- Manuel Margot OF ($3,200 DK, $3,200 FD) The best matchup of the day belongs to Margot, as he squares off against Keegan Akin and the Orioles’ bullpen. Akin is lucky if he strikes out five batters in a game while going past five innings pitched. The significant aspect of Margot is he is a switch hitter with speed, who also has some pop against southpaws. How can anyone dislike a toolsy outfielder facing a subpar pitcher on the mound?
- Houston Astros square off against one of the weaker options at starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker. The implied run total of 5.78 is the second-highest on the slate. Furthermore, Shoemaker has been extremely favorable to stack against. The walks have been a problem, and the earned runs flow whenever Shoemaker is left out there too long. Any Houston stack needs to include Kyle Tucker ($3,700 DK, $3,200 FD)and Yordan Alvarez ($4,200 DK, $3,700 FD). This stack could be chalkier, so pairing them with expensive pitching will be very difficult.
- Speaking of high implied run totals, the Cincinnati Reds carry the highest at 5.85 total projected runs. You will have to pay the heavy price, but Jesse Winker ($5,500 DK, $4,500 FD) and Nick Castellanos ($4,800 DK, $4,200) are worth it. Both outfielders are mashing baseballs with high barrel%. Additionally, Winker continues to smash, even against southpaws, like his matchup against Freeland tonight. Stick with those two and build around from there. Much like the Astros, they could be chalky, so find SPs you think won’t get rostered heavily by the field.
- Looking for an under-owned stack that is packed with stardom? My suggestion would be the Los Angeles Dodgers. It sounds crazy for them to go under-owned due to all the names but keep in mind all the expensive SPs. There is no way anyone can fit everything they want in today’s slate. What likely happens is the field loads up on pitching and fades the high-prices bats. This is where things can get very sneaky for you, and targeting a squad going up against Mike Foltynewicz could lead to lots of HRs.
- My last stack to be considered is the Oakland Athletics. In the previous two weeks, they have struggled against RHP and carry a measly .117 ISO. However, when you zoom out to the entire season, Oakland is a top-10 squad (.168 ISO vs. RHP). Matt Olson ($5,400 DK, $3,800 FD) is a higher-priced bat that can break any slate wide open. Therefore, you have to consider him an anchor in your Oakland stack. I would also suggest sticking to more of the left-handed batters because Brady Singer struggles against them. In 33 IP vs. LHP, Singer shows a 7.64 ERA with a 1.55 WHIP. This stack could be an excellent spot for Oakland to wake up!
Featured image by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)