The final Friday of the Major League Baseball regular season has arrived. The playoffs get underway in just one week, but there are still matchups and seedings to decide in the final two series of the season for most teams. After an unorthodox Thursday schedule, Friday is a much more typical 14-game slate on DraftKings, which gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET and includes every team but the Reds and Cubs, who are playing a Wrigley matinee.
Leading up to the first pitch, make sure to keep up with all the latest news and monitor starting lineups by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with my picks for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Miami Marlins ($10,500) – With 28 starting pitchers in play, there are plenty of great options to choose from, including five SP who check in with a salary over $10,000. Of many strong plays, Burnes is my favorite ace of the day due to his matchup and his sky-high ceiling due to his strikeout rate. He’ll be going head-to-head with Sandy Alcantara ($10,900) in what should be a great pitchers’ duel, but Burnes has the advantage of facing the light-hitting Marlins.
Burnes has followed up his Cy Young season with another strong campaign, going 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA and 2.94 FIP. He had a rough outing vs. the Mets in his latest home start but bounced back with 26.1 DKFP in his most recent outing vs. Cincinnati. Burnes has been a little inconsistent over the past few months, but he still brings an elite ceiling, as he showed with a dominant 14-strikeout, 45.6-DKFP home start vs. the Giants earlier this month. This matchup with Miami is even better since the Marlins have an MLB-worst .278 wOBA since the All-Star break with only an 80 wRC+. The Brewers need a strong outing from their ace since they start the day just half a game game behind the Phillies for the final NL Wild Card spot.
Other Options – Jacob deGrom ($11,700) Alek Manoah ($9,100)
Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers ($8,600) – Like the Marlins, the Tigers are a great lineup to target when picking an SP, and Ryan has shown a very high ceiling in his first full year in the Majors. He has gone 12-8 in 26 starts with a 3.70 ERA, 4.12 FIP and 9.13 K/9. His strikeout rate has been trending up over his past 10 starts, with a 10.25 K/9 due to 63 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings over that span. He began that run with a nine-strikeout start vs. the Tigers, earning 28.3 DKFP.
Ryan posted strong outings earlier this month against the Guardians and Royals but struggled a little bit vs. the Angels in his most recent outing. He should be able to bounce back, though, since the Tigers have the second-lowest home wOBA in the Majors this season at just .281 and have been even further depleted by injuries over the past few days.
Other Option – Logan Gilbert ($8,400), Merrill Kelly ($8,000), Jack Flaherty ($7,400)
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox ($5,300) – The Blue Jays clinched a playoff berth on an off day Thursday, but they still have work to do for seeding. Bichette has been behind their recent surge, carrying the offense with a huge September.
He has 16 multi-hit games in his 27 games this month and is hitting .400 with 11 doubles, seven homers, a .483 wOBA and an average of 12.5 DKFP per contest over that span. Add on top of that the fact that he is 9-for-22 (.409) with a pair of homers in his career against opposing starter Nick Pivetta ($7,000), and Bichette becomes the top cornerstone to consider in your Friday night lineup.
Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles ($4,100) – In a great matchup highlighted below in stacks, Torres and the Yankees come home to face Jordan Lyles ($6,600) and the Orioles. Torres had three hits and three RBIs Tuesday in Toronto, bringing him to .400 with five doubles, five home runs, a .485 wOBA and three stolen bases over his past 16 games. While his average is slightly higher on the road, 17 of his 24 homers have come at Yankee Stadium, where he’s a good power option Friday.
Other Options – José Ramírez ($6,100), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,500)
Jose Miranda, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers ($3,500) – Miranda had multiple hits in four straight games before going 0-for-5 on Thursday, but he should be in a good spot to get back in the groove against lefty Tyler Alexander ($5,100). On the season, Miranda is hitting .278 vs. LHP with nine of his 15 homers, a .353 wOBA and a 133 wRC+. The rookie is hitting .278 in September with a .329 wOBA.
Mark Vientos, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves ($2,300) – The Mets and Braves meet in one of the biggest series of the weekend, and New York will begin the series by facing lefty Max Fried ($8,800). Vientos has been starting against southpaws and posted double-digit DKFP in two of his past three starts. The 22-year-old prospect is only hitting .143 in his 12 games in the Majors, but he had great numbers in Triple-A, where he hit .280 with 24 homers and a .379 wOBA. He especially hammered lefties with an elite 1.140 OPS against southpaws at that level.
Other Options – Brendan Donovan ($3,600), Whit Merrifield ($3,000)
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles ($6,500) – Judge can hit No. 62 and pass Roger Maris at home this weekend, and he gets a matchup he loves vs. the Orioles. Judge has more home runs against Baltimore than any other team this season, with nine in 15 games while hitting .397 with 19 RBIs. Judge is 5-for-14 with a pair of homers in his career against Lyles and should be set up to make history on Friday night.
Steven Kwan, Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals ($5,300) – Kwan has hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games while helping the Guardians surge to the top of the AL Central and punch their postseason ticket. Kwan is 25-for-56 (.446) with eight multi-hit games, two doubles, two triples, two homers and a .491 wOBA over that 12-game span. He’s locked himself in atop the productive Cleveland lineup and might’ve had a chance at the AL Rookie of the Year if it wasn’t for Julio Rodríguez’s massive year in Seattle.
Other Options – Cedric Mullins ($4,900), Teoscar Hernández ($4,200)
Oswaldo Cabrera, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles ($3,100) – Cabrera has a hit in 13 of his latest 16 games with five doubles, four home runs, three stolen bases and an average of 11.3 DKFP per contest. With his salary barely over $3K, Cabrera brings a lot of upside to this favorable matchup and has a high ceiling as part of the Yankees stack detailed below.
Will Brennan, Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals ($2,300) – Brennan has been starting vs. right-handed pitchers for Cleveland, and the 24-year-old is showing he can be part of the plan for the future outfield along with Kwan. He hit .314 with 13 homers and 20 stolen bases in his 129 games at Double-A and Triple-A before being called up and has hit .333 with two stolen bases in his seven games in the Majors. He’s in a favorable spot to be a good punt play against Brady Singer ($8,200) and the Royals.
Other Options – Jurickson Profar ($3,700), Harrison Bader ($2,800), Akil Baddoo ($2,500)
TEAMS TO STACK
New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles – The Yankees have already beat up on Lyles five times this season, scoring 17 runs on 31 hits — six of which were home runs — in 28 2/3 innings. Lyles has allowed 15 runs and five home runs in 19 2/3 innings over his past four starts and has been especially generous to lefties, who have a .362 wOBA against him on the season.
Judge, Torres and Oswaldo are good places to start the New York state of mind, but you can also mix in Anthony Rizzo ($5,100), DJ LeMahieu ($4,300) and Josh Donaldson ($4,400) as power bats and Harrison Bader ($2,800) as a value play.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies – The Dodgers finish the season with six games at home vs. the Rockies, and they’ll start their extended series with a matchup against the struggling Chad Kuhl ($5,600). Kuhl’s season numbers aren’t awful, but he has stumbled down the stretch, giving up three runs or more in 12 straight starts while going 1-5 with an 8.15 ERA, 6.88 FIP and 17 homers allowed. His splits are even worse on the road than at Coors Field, so the Dodgers should be set for a big game.
Mookie Betts ($5,800) and Trea Turner ($5,800) are almost always the right place to start a Dodgers stack. Left-handed batters Freddie Freeman ($5,400) and Will Smith ($5,200) bring plenty of power to the middle of the order, as well, and there are some great affordable options getting playing time further down in the lineup. Gavin Lux ($3,500) and Cody Bellinger ($3,300) are established options while Trayce Thompson ($2,400), Hanser Alberto ($2,000) and Miguel Vargas ($2,000) have all been getting work from an even lower price point.
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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.