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Happy Friday everybody! We’ve got a massive slate on FantasyDraft starting at 7pm tonight with all 30 teams playing! This gives us tons of lineups to play around with, so here are some of my favorite picks.
Must Play SP: Justin Verlander, HOU ($23,300) at CHW
While others are grabbing Kershaw and Scherzer for their lineups, I’m going with Verlander. He’s a tad bit cheaper, and I think he can actually give you the best start out of the three on Friday. Verlander has been untouchable this season, with a monster 33.7% K-rate and a 1.35 ERA through four starts. We all know that Verlander is a beast – what really differentiates tonight is his cakewalk of a matchup against the White Sox. Most of the top-tier pitchers have are facing tough lineups, while Verlander is facing off against James Shields, so the Astros will have no trouble netting him an extra four points for a win.
Honorable Mention: Clayton Kershaw, LAD ($23,700) vs WAS
Value SP: Lance Lynn, MIN ($13,000) at TB
Lynn’s overall numbers on the season look awful because of his first start of the year, but he showed off what he can really do in his most recent start, striking out nine batters in five innings and allowing no earned runs to a tough Astros lineup. If he can do that against one of the best lineups in the league, he should have no problem against the measly Rays lineup. The Rays rank just 24th in baseball with their .292 wOBA against right-handed pitching and play in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks.
Honorable Mention: Michael Wacha, STL ($14,600) vs CIN
The Padres don’t have many usable hitters, so it’s hard to reccommend an entire stack against DBacks starter Matt Koch. However, Hosmer is a fantastic hitter who I’m jumping all over on Friday. He’s at a surprisingly low price for a guy with a 123 wRC+ this season – that number gets even better against righties, going up to 133. He would be a good play against just about any pitcher at this price, so facing Koch makes him arguably the most valuable play on tonight’s slate. Koch had an 8.40 ERA in 10 starts last year… and those starts came at triple-A. This will be just the third start in the majors for the 27-year-old Koch, and it probably won’t end well (unless you’ve got Hosmer in your lineups, then it will be a fun start to watch).
Honorable Mention: IF Miguel Cabrera, DET ($7,200) vs KC (Hammel)
On the flip side of the Padres-Diamondbacks lineup, David Peralta should have a big day out of the Arizona leadoff spot. He will get plenty of plate appearances against Ross, who is somehow actually pitching decently this season. I’ll take my odds on him regressing, though, as Ross had a 7.71 ERA last season. Peralta is destroying the ball this season, batting .356 with a .975 OPS. He should have multiple run-scoring opportunities batting atop the DBacks lineup.
Honorable Mention: OF Starling Marte, PIT ($8,900) at PHI (Lively)
Value: IF Justin Bour, MIA ($5,500) at MIL (RHP Jhoulys Chacin)
Yeah, I have no idea why Bour is so cheap either. He’s got a .928 OPS with four homers over the last 15 days. Bour is in an outstanding spot on Friday as he travels to Miller Park, which is one of the best hitting environments in the league. He’s also facing Jhoulys Chacin, who has a 5.60 ERA with a 1.53 HR/9. Bour is licking his chops looking at those numbers and I am too. And so are you, I can see. Yeah that’s right, I see you. Put some pants on, would you?
Honorable Mention: OF Bradley Zimmer, CLE ($5,900) at BAL (Bundy)
Top Stack: Red Sox at Athletics (RHP Kendall Graveman)
Kendall Graveman might be the worst regular starting pitcher in the majors right now, as he’s got a hilarious 9.87 ERA through four starts. And that’s not just from one blow-up start, he’s been awful every time out. His pathetic 11.8% K-rate means that Red Sox hitters are going to be spraying the ball all over the place on Friday. Mookie Betts ($10,600) and J.D. Martinez ($10,300) are elite plays to try to fit in your lineup. You should have no problem fitting Andrew Benintendi ($8,000) and Eduardo Nunez ($7,600) on your squads with their prices.
Honorable Mention: Brewers vs Marlins (Richards)