Happy Friday! We stare into Friday’s slate with wide eyes as 30 teams take the field. The pitching is a full assortment of top-end studs, mid-range safe plays, and cheaper upside plays. On top of a robust pitching field, quite a few offenses have great matchups against suspect pitching. It would appear there is plenty of ways for success, so I’ll do my best to navigate us through. Good luck!
Implied Run Totals (IRT)
There are no surprises for the teams with IRTs over five (HOU, MIL, NYY, and TOR). After a long season of showcasing explosive offenses, the pathways for those teams to get there are apparent. Everyone and their plus one know to play those teams. However, right behind them in the 4.5-5.0 IRT tier gets a bit more interesting. CWS (4.97 IRT) isn’t much of a shocker, nor is LAD (4.78 IRT) and TB (4.96 IRT). The team that creeps up there is STL with a 4.76 IRT. If a team like STL is projecting to put up nearly the same IRT as the big boppers and gets far less roster% with it, then consider rostering more Cardinals today.
At the moment, BAL/BOS and OAK/LAA don’t have a line out. Those two matchups could play pivotal roles in the slate. So, keep an eye out on the lines as they get closer to lock times.
The slate is loaded with 30 SPs and several terrific options. My best advice is to find the two cheapest SPs that can outproduce the higher ended $10K SP, or grab one super-premium SP and go bargain hunting.
This tier could include Chris Sale, but since he’s returning from TJ and hasn’t pitched due to COVID, he gets the night off from my DFS lineups. The matchup is juicy against a team without Trey Mancini but a bit too risky given the number of options.
Point blank, Wheeler is a stud and should be played in all cash games. Additionally, given his track record makes him a must play in GPPs as well. While the Mets are looking better as of late, this is a matchup against his former squad, and I’m sure he will be ready.
Buehler and Webb easily have the most challenging matchup. That could keep some people off of them today; however, you can’t look past the production and K-upside. One aspect of note, Atlanta has plenty of swing-and-miss in the profile, and Webb could be a sneaky great play if he shoves. There is the slightest of risk here, but they will be worth it.
Cease and McCullers Jr. draw very favorable matchups that will attract a ton of attention. Depending on the rest of your lineup, I would almost even consider them ahead of Webb and Buehler. If you’re playing in FanDuel only, this is the SP1 spot I would target.
Germán Márquez is easily the best of the trio, especially when you consider he is away from Coors Field. The Nats have been a much better offense as of late, but Márquez is a bonafide stud on the road. Also, the field knows this, but if you’re looking for a cheaper option to pair with Buehler and Webb, this is the play for you.
Hyun Jin Ryu looks impressive at times while faltering the next. His arsenal relies on a terrific changeup that generates a ton of whiffs. If it’s working, he smashes; if he can’t command it-ouch! There is some risk in Ryu, but the Twins have quite a few players with big K%. This has me completely off of them in FanDuel but intrigued in DraftKings (due to the K potential).
This is the YOLO (You Only Live Once) tier made up of two very different pitchers. Grabbing from here saves you so much salary but comes with a bounty of risk. These are only GPP plays that allow you to pay up at stacks or grab that elite SP1.
Hernandez gets the Pirates, which is not a good offense. They won’t strike out a ton but also don’t generate many runs. He went 93 pitches his last time out and should be plenty stretched out for tonight. The biggest question is, can he strike out enough batters or go deep enough to pay off his salary? Absolutely, just how risk-averse is the rest of your build.
Adrian Houser has thrown over 100 pitches in the last two outings and over 90 in three of his previous five. We could see the Brewers letting him work deep into this game as well, and it’s against a favorable matchup. The Cubs strike out a ton. While Houser isn’t a strikeout machine, there should be plenty of meat on the bone to make things interesting.
Bigger slates with more teams mean a stack has to be at least four batters deep, and I would try to make it five in any GPP. The White Sox and Rays are the easy stacks to pick, but can you handle the Cardinals?
- I know people don’t like the term lefty-mashers, but that’s what this Chicago offense is. For the better part of two years, they’ve laid waste to the majority of southpaws opposing them. Today they draw Taylor Hearn, who’s been quite productive in a limited sample size. However, he struggles with walks at times and strikes out right-handed batters 8% less than lefties. Core stack targets: Luis Robert, Yasmani Grandal, José Abreu, and Eloy Jimenez. Now, I realize Eloy’s struggles could scare some away, so consider Gavin Sheets as a replacement option.
- Much like the White Sox, Tampa is without their shortstop. But there is still so much firepower in this lineup that fits nicely against the pitching matchup. Casey Mize takes the bump for the Tigers, and it’s not been a pleasant go as of late. Tropicana might be a terrific place to pitch, but yeesh, Mize has been bad-specifically to left-handed bats (.270 ISO and .450 xwOBA). That’s where we need to pull stackable bats from. Consider your core stack targets to be Austin Meadows, Brandon Lowe, Nelson Cruz, and Ji-Man Choi. Also, never forget that Mike Zunino and his massive HR potential are always there at catcher.
St Louis Cardinals (vs. Vincent Velasquez)
- I prefaced the Cards in the Implied Run Total section, and this is why. When a slate is this extensive, finding the stack that goes off is crucial. The field will see the robust IRT for the well-known offenses and try to jam as much of them as possible in their lineups. It leads to a team like the Cardinals having less roster%, even though the IRT suggests they could smash today. We know Velasquez is on the mound, and he is an utter gas can. He’s shown some strikeout potential, but it comes with a uber inflated walk rate and HR issues to batters from either side of the dish. Core stack targets are Tyler O’Neill, Nolan Arenado, and Paul Goldschmidt because they have plenty of thump vs. RHP. There are a few smash-in cheap candidates in the Value Section.
Here are some of the best value hitters not mentioned above. Also, the value hitters are players under $3500 on DK and under $3300 on FD—just a step below my cash players. Use these players to smash into your lineup when you need to save some salary.
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)