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We’re back for day two of FantasyDraft coverage here at PitcherList! This Friday is an unusual one, as many teams have a scheduled off day. However, we’ve still got plenty of games to pick from, and endless combinations of lineups to create.
FantasyDraft’s lone slate on Friday starts with the 7 p.m. ET games and includes games starting through the rest of the night, which means that Pirates-Tigers and Nationals-Reds won’t be available to draft from.
Must Play SP: Robbie Ray, ARI ($18,900) vs COL
If you’re gonna spend big on one of your pitching slots, Robbie Ray is the guy to invest in. He’s got insane upside in daily formats thanks to his ridiculous 32.8% K-rate, which ranked fourth among all qualified starters in 2017, only behind Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, and Corey Kluber. That’s some elite company. He faces a Rockies team that might seem scary on the surface, until you realize that they posted an extremely low .302 wOBA on the road in 2017. That’s a lineup that will perform even worse at Chase Field, as the DBacks have installed a humidor this season. Ray has immense strikeout upside in a pitcher-friendly park against a feeble lineup, so he should have a terrific night.
Honorable Mention: David Price, BOS ($19,800) at TB
Value SP: Joey Lucchesi, SD ($11,100) vs MIL
Nobody has ever heard of Joey Lucchesi. His Fangraphs page doesn’t even know who he is, as they have him listed as a member of the Seattle Mariners. That’s what makes him a savvy contrarian play on Friday – hardly anybody is gonna be starting him, so if he has a productive start, you’re way ahead of the competition. Ok, now here’s the part where I convince you that Lucchesi can actually have a good start in the majors. To start things off, Petco Park is one of the best pitcher’s parks in the league, so lots of any potential damage can be neutralized. Against lefties, the Brewers aren’t the high-powered lineup that you might be imagining, as they had just a .314 wOBA against southpaws last season. The Brew Crew had the highest strikeout rate against left-handed pitching in all of baseball in 2017, at 25.9%. While Lucchesi’s stuff isn’t going to blow anybody away, he’s got very funky mechanics, so he could rack up some strikeouts from deception alone. This play isn’t for the faint of heart, but it could pay off big time. Lucchesi is the third-cheapest starter, so you can pair him with a strong pitcher and some big bats.
Honorable Mention: Blake Snell, TB ($13,700) vs BOS
IF Ozzie Albies, ATL ($7,600) vs PHI (RHP Nick Pivetta)
Ozzie Albies is already off to a hot start, hitting a home run on Opening Day. He can keep his season going against Phillies righty Nick Pivetta, who posted an awful 6.02 ERA in 133 innings last season, along with a 5.01 Deserved Run Average. Pivetta’s got serious home run issues, as he had a 1.69 HR/9 in 2017. Batting out of the two-hole, Albies will have lots of chances for both runs and RBI if the Braves are able to get on Pivetta. Albies can also get you some points with his speed, as he put up a combined 29 steals between the majors and minors last year. His 14.8% k-rate gives him a very low floor, because you know he’ll be at least putting the ball in play. Albies is a strong investment.
Honorable Mention: IF Rhys Hoskins, PHI ($8,800) at ATL (Foltynewicz)
OF Justin Upton, LAA ($8,500) at OAK (LHP Sean Manaea)
Justin Upton absolutely obliterates lefties. He had a 201 wRC+ against southpaws last season, which is Stanton-territory good. His opposition, Sean Manaea, was significantly worse against righties in 2017, with a 4.29 FIP and a 1.16 HR/9. This is a recipe for a huge fantasy night for Upton, who will probably find himself among league-leaders in RBI by the end of the season if he keeps batting third behind Trout. Upton has huge HR and RBI potential with a decent bit of speed as well, and I couldn’t recommend him more on Friday.
Honorable Mention: OF Andrew McCutchen, SF ($7,700) at LAD (Wood)
Value: OF Josh Reddick, HOU ($6,500) at TEX (RHP Doug Fister)
In traditional roto formats, Josh Reddick has limited value. However, in daily fantasy, he can put up a ton of points. Reddick had a 131 wRC+, which makes his cheap price absolutely insane. This is a near-elite hitter against righties getting treated like he’s nothing. Furthermore, he gets to hit in arguably the best lineup in baseball, which gives him the opportunity for a boatload of RBIs. The Rangers are rolling out Doug Fister, who hasn’t posted an ERA under four in four years. Fister still sucks, and Reddick still rakes.
Honorable Mention: IF Marcus Semien, OAK ($7,300) vs LAA (Tyler Skaggs)
Top Stack: Yankees at Toronto (RHP Aaron Sanchez)
The absolutely loaded Yankees lineup showed their potential on Opening Day, as Giancarlo Stanton ($10,900) flexed for two home runs in his pinstripe debut. If you can afford Stanton, play him. But even if you can’t, there are still plenty of Yankees bats to turn to. Gary Sanchez ($8,900) and Aaron Judge ($9,600) are your other elite options, but there are cheap bats here as well. Brett Gardner ($7,300) and Neil Walker ($6,500) should get in to the fun as well. Aaron Sanchez isn’t a bad pitcher, but Toronto is a launching pad and the Yanks have one of the most potent lineups in baseball.
Honorable Mentions: Dodgers vs Giants (Johnny Cueto); Astros at Texas (Doug Fister)