Major League Baseball will be busy under the Friday night lights this week with 13 games on the main fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings. There are a few weather situations to keep an eye on, mostly on the East Coast, and several teams from the AL and NL East visiting teams in the Centrals. The New York Yankees are one of those teams as they open their interleague series in St. Louis in a unique and unusual matchup. On the other extreme, seven of the 13 games feature divisional matchups between very familiar foes.
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Robbie Ray, Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels ($8,900) – While there are several great options on the mound Friday night, it’s hard to overlook the reigning AL Cy Young award winner, who is available under $9K. Ray’s first year in Seattle has produced mixed results, and his last two outings have been rough, resulting in negative fantasy points. However, those two outings were each against the Astros, and he gets a much more fantasy-friendly Friday matchup against the Angels. Ray had posted over 19 DKFP in seven straight starts before those two rough outings, averaging 27.9 DKFP per start over that span with a 3-0 record, 1.36 ERA, 2.64 FIP and 11.27 K/9 rate. He faced the Angels during that run and struck out 10 in seven innings on his way to 34.8 DKFP. The Angels have the highest K% in the league at 26.0% and are hitting just .229, which is fifth-worst in the Majors. With his strikeout upside and a non-Astros matchup, Ray should be in a good spot to bounce back and deliver a big number at his small salary.
Other Options – Dylan Cease ($10,400), Framber Valdez ($9,900)
José Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins ($7,700) – Berríos dialed up a season-high 13 strikeouts in his first matchup this season against his former team, producing 38.2 DKFP. Now, he’ll now be returning to Minneapolis, where he played the first five and a half seasons of his career. In his first full year in Toronto, he has gone 8-4 over 21 starts with a 4.96 ERA, 4.63 FIP and 8.3 K/9. He has been better than those numbers recently, going 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA, 3.25 FIP and 10.5 K/9 in his six July starts. Most of his bad outings have come on the road, so there is some reason for concern, but given the matchup, he should be dialed in to take it to his former team and put up another good start against them.
Other Options – Kyle Gibson ($7,000), Ian Anderson ($6,800)
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees ($6,100) – Goldschmidt is having an MVP-caliber season with the Cardinals and has absolutely demolished left-handed pitching. Over the past 10 games, he smashed seven home runs while posting a .524 wOBA and scoring 14.8 DKFP per game. He had double-digit DKFP in seven of those 10 games including each of his three games earlier this week against the Cubs. Against lefties, the 34-year-old righty is 33-for-70 (.471) on the year with 10 doubles and six home runs, boosting him to a jaw-dropping .589 wOBA against southpaws on the season. Nestor Cortes ($10,100) has been impressive overall but has come back to earth a bit lately, making this still a good spot to go with Goldy vs. a lefty.
Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers ($4,900) – Lowe connected on his eighth homer of the season on Thursday night in the Rays’ series-opening win in Detroit. He has stepped right back into a productive role after missing two months on the IL, going 19-for-56 (.339) in his 14 games since returning with three home runs, a .232 ISO and a .410 wOBA. He and the Rays should be in a favorable spot against rookie righty Bryan Garcia ($4,800) Friday.
Other Options – Francisco Lindor ($5,100), DJ LeMahieu ($4,900)
Luis García, Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies ($3,100) – Partly as a result of the trade of Juan Soto ($5,500) and Josh Bell ($4,800), García has hit second for the Nats in each of their past three games, and the 22-year-old lefty SS has started to find a nice groove. He has hit safely in eight of his past nine games with two doubles, a triple and two home runs, boosting him to a .426 wOBA over that span. He’s hitting .322 with a .345 wOBA and 120 wRC+ on the year against righties, so as long as he stays in a premium lineup spot he’ll be a great value at this salary.
Michael Massey, Kansas City Royals vs. Boston Red Sox ($2,000) – Massey is the latest in the Royals parade of prospects to be called up this season, and he should be in line for plenty of playing time after the trade of Whit Merrifield ($4,200) to Toronto. Massey was hitting .325 with seven home runs, four stolen bases and a .422 wOBA over his 33 games at Triple-A after earning the callup from Double-A where he started the season. Massey went 3-for-8 in his first taste of the Majors in Toronto earlier this year and has gone 3-for-7 with a stolen base in his two starts since rejoining the team this week. The 24-year-old lefty brings nice upside at the minimum salary against Josh Winckowski ($5,900) and the Red Sox.
Other Options – Eugenio Suárez ($3,900), Rhys Hoskins ($3,900)
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals ($5,900) – Passing on Judge on just about any slate seems high-risk at this point since he is so productive. He should be rested after sitting out Wednesday afternoon’s contest and Thursday’s scheduled off-day. He has been on a tear since the All-Star break and has crushed 10 home runs in his past 13 games while hitting .396 (19-for-48) and collecting 12 walks to boost him to a crazy .635 wOBA. Judge has over 20 DKFP in four of his past six games and can go off and break any slate on any night. If you’re paying up for an OF, he’s simply the most regularly productive option available.
Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds ($4,800) – Yelich had a rough day Thursday, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and then getting ejected for arguing. He is in a good spot to bounce back, though, in a favorable matchup highlighted below in stacks. Before Thursday’s game, he had a 12-game hitting streak, going 12-for-49 (.367) with five doubles, two stolen bases and a .426 wOBA for an average of 10.8 DKFP per contest. The power is still lacking this season, but he has produced good numbers since moving to the leadoff spot for the Brew Crew.
Other Options – Juan Soto ($5,500), Luis Robert ($5,300), Randy Arozarena ($4,900)
Jake McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies ($2,800) – McCarthy has been a nice sub-$3K play from Arizona when they’re up against a righty like Germán Márquez ($7,300). The 25-year-old has stolen three bases in his past 11 games while going 13-for-37 (.351) with an average of 7.6 DKFP per game over that stretch. He has hit safely in six of his past seven starts and offers a little power potential as well with three homers on the season.
Aristides Aquino, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers ($2,000) – The Punisher is back! Aquino missed six weeks with a calf strain but was activated two games ago. He went 2-for-7 in those two games with two RBI and a total of 10 DKFP. He is still hitting only .181 in his 33 games this year but does have three home runs. He showed a good approach in Triple-A, hitting .312 with a .463 wOBA over 22 games during his rehab and earlier this season. If he can translate that success to a better average, he could be a great play down the stretch for the Reds, who opened up plenty of playing time for their young hitters at the trade deadline. Aquino is packed with power potential and has typically hit lefties well. If you need a flier at the minimum, the 28-year-old all-or-nothing slugger is worth a look.
Other Options – Alek Thomas ($3,400), Jarren Duran ($3,100), Oscar González ($3,100)
TEAMS TO STACK
New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals – Whatever offensive stat is your favorite, the Yankees are probably at the top of the Majors in that category. They have put up huge production all season, but especially over the past 30 days, when they have 52 home runs, a .232 team ISO, a .371 wOBA and 162 runs scored. All of those numbers lead the league over that span by a comfortable margin, and now the Yankees’ offense will take their show on the road to take on Dakota Hudson ($6,100) and the Cardinals. Hudson made four starts in July, going 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA, 5.26 FIP and just 4.29 K/9. He allowed 29 baserunners over 21 innings and two home runs and 12 runs. Righties have actually done the most damage against him this year with a .343 wOBA, so attack the reverse-splits with DJ LeMahieu ($4,900), Aaron Judge (discussed above), Gleyber Torres ($4,900) and Josh Donaldson ($4,100). You can also get some salary relief with Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($3,500) and pay a visit to Narrative St. with Matt Carpenter ($4,900) as he returns to St. Louis, where he played 11 seasons before heading to the Bronx this year.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds – The Brewers rely on key left-handed bats, so whenever they get a matchup against a starter who struggles against lefties, they’re a good stack to target. They make a good play against Robert Dugger ($5,500), who is one of the Reds’ candidates to fill their open spots in the rotation after the trade deadline. Dugger has given up six runs on 15 hits over his 12 innings in the Majors this season and has gone 2-3 with a 4.30 ERA in 15 games at Triple-A, split between the Reds and Rays. In his 82 2⁄3 career innings, he has let lefties hit seven home runs and post a .431 wOBA against him. Look for potential big nights from lefties Christian Yelich (discussed above), Rowdy Tellez ($5,100) and Kolton Wong ($4,200) while Willy Adames ($5,400), Andrew McCutchen ($4,400) and even Tyrone Taylor ($3,200) and Victor Caratini ($2,900) can help round out the stack.
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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 skill 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.
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