Welcome back to DFS plays of the day, Friday edition. We have a 13-game slate tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET in DC where Austin Gomber will look to repeat his 42-point FanDuel effort from May 4 as the Rockies visit the Nationals. We have five games out west that include three of our top pitching options.
Boston is coming into tonight as the hottest hitting team in baseball behind Trevor Story’s recent outburst and JD Martinez who leads the majors with a .380 batting average. The Sox get a juicy matchup with the Orioles pitching staff in Fenway Park. They are pricey but definitely a team I’m looking to stack against Kyle Bradish who’s given up nine earned runs in his last two starts. On the mound we have some great options tonight in each tier and you can’t go wrong with Verlander or Manoah but my favorite top tier play is Sean Manaea vs. Pittsburgh.
It’s important to have a process when playing DFS so I’ll share a few things I do every time I build a lineup.
Selecting a Pitcher
- To get a lot of fantasy points a pitcher needs to rack up the Ks. I look at a pitcher’s K% and the team K% of their opponent.
- Take a look at the lineup for the opposing team. Are all the regulars starting? How many L vs. R are there?
- Where is the game? Coors Field, Fenway Park, and Great American Ballpark are places to try and avoid.
- Look at the implied run totals for teams. Selecting hitters from teams with high IRTs is a good start.
- Look at the opposing pitcher’s stats. What is their weakness? LHH or RHH?
- Where in the lineup are they hitting? Finding cheap pieces batting near the top of the order is idea.
- Provides the best chance to win GPP tournaments
- 5-3 for DraftKings and 4-4 or 4-3-1 for FanDuel
- Diversify your stacks. Don’t always go for 1-4 in the batting order. Mix it up with the bottom of the lineup.
Ok, now that you know where to start, let’s get to my favorite plays and stacks so YOU can finish in the green with ME.
Timmy’s Top 3 SP
I’m totally cool if you want to spend up for Justin Verlander against the Mariners but Ty France and Julio Rodríguez have been hitting well and they just got Kyle Lewis back in the lineup. I think Verlander will do fine tonight but for his price tag to go along with high ownership, he’ll have to get us a ceiling game and I’d much rather save some money for pricey bats.
Sean Manaea, SP, SD
Manaea is my favorite top tier arm tonight vs. the Pirates. He faced them on April 30 and had an ok start with a line of 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 3BB, and 6K on 110 pitches. Manaea has 27.6% K rate and a 15.1% SwSt rate, both elite numbers. Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes hit Lefties pretty well but have struggled over the past two weeks both hitting below .200. Overall the Pirates have a wRC+ of 88 and a .294 wOBA on the season, bottom-ten in the majors. I think this is a great spot for Sean and he should get enough run support from Manny Machado and others to get those extra points for the win.
Shane Bieber, SP, CLE
What’s that saying? Lion, bears, and Tigers oh no! Detroit continues to be one of the worst hitting teams in the league even with Javier Báez back in the lineup. A 79 wRC+ and 25 homers are both worst in the majors. For perspective, league leader Aaron Judge has 17 homers. The only bright spot on Detroit right now is Miguel Cabrera’s .300 batting average at age 39. I don’t normally like playing pitchers who face the same opponent in back-t0-back starts but the Tigers are so bad I have no problem going back to Bieber who threw seven commanding innings with 10 strikeouts just five days ago. Biebs had a 40.1% CSW in that start and has racked up 17 strikeouts in his last two starts. Depending on your build, Bieber should demand one of your SP slots on DraftKings. His ownership will be high on FanDuel but nothing compared to the 50% of last week’s slate.
Jon Gray, SP, TEX
If you’re looking for value on DraftKings, Jon Gray is it. His price of $5,500 is too cheap for most matchups, especially the weak lineup of the Oakland A’s. His 5.14 ERA isn’t great but he’s pitched better than that as his 3.57 xERA tells us. He’s already faced Toronto, Philadelphia, New York, and Houston all away games so he’s due to have an easier matchup and tonight he finally gets one. Oakland’s OPS (.603) and batting average (.211) are worst in the majors while Gray has quietly recorded 12 or more DraftKings points in his last three starts against tough opponents. We could see a ceiling game tonight and for this price tag I’ll take those points.
Rookie Kyle Bradish surprised most of us a few starts ago with an 11-strikeout game vs the Cardinals but since then he’s come back to rookie level with 5 BB and 9 ER over his last two starts. Tonight he gets to visit Fenway Park and the hottest hitting team in baseball. I’m a Boston guy and didn’t realize that J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers are all in the top-15 in hitting this season. I guess the slow start distracted me but Boston is 8-2 over their last 10 and has hit 24 homers with a .310 average in the last two weeks, both tops in the majors.
The Astros are once again one of the top hitting teams in the league and have been a great team to stack this season with cheap pieces playing pretty often. Jose Siri, Chas McCormick, and Aledmys Díaz when they are in the lineup allows you get three other top bats. Flexen has already faced the Astros twice this season and did well for himself giving up 4 ER in 11 innings of work but his overall numbers are bad. His 8% BB rate and 34.9% hard contact rate will not bode well vs the Astros a third time around. Houston’s price tags are not cheap so If you want to stack them on FanDuel may have to rule out using Manaea.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Ryan Pepiot
Ok, so we need some value and the Snakes are the team to give it to us tonight. Lots of players will be on the other side of this game as the Dodgers are smashing the ball now, almost as well as the Red Sox, and get to face Bumgarner who has not impressed this season. This is the perfect spot to get some leverage tonight behind the sneaky hitting snakes. Ryan Pepiot has made two starts and although his 31.7% CSW is elite level, his eight walks in five innings are the opposite. Josh Rojas is back after a lengthy start to the season on the IL and this team his hitting quite well lately. Five of their starters have a wRC+ above 141 while Christian Walker has hit 6 HR in his last 14 games. This team is cheap and will help us build the roster we want.
Here are some of the best value bats for tonight. If you see a guy on this list, it’s safe to play other players from their team. We will see some value pop up once lineups are announced so use this as a reference and pay attention to the news, as there are always one or two guys batting at the top of a lineup that are not there on the regular.
Good luck tonight and I hope you win some beer money for the weekend!
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