After a disastrous evening last night, the MLB has scheduled a great set of games for Friday. There are 14 games on the main slate with plenty of interesting options for GPP lineup construction. Below, I will break down three different pitchers who are among my favorites for tonight. Each will be representing the high, mid, and low pricing tier. With 28 teams playing tonight and no Coors Field, ownership should be spread out for hitters.
Jacob deGrom (NYM): $12,400 @ SD
The one thing I have learned in 2018 is to not overthink the SP 1 on DraftKings. Yes, deGrom will likely see the highest ownership tonight. But with Corey Kluber and Stephen Strasburg also taking the mound, deGrom will not get to the point where we need to fade him. Off to an incredible start, the Mets starter is owning a 31.5% strikeout rate and a 2.79 SIERA. He is traveling to a historically great pitchers ballpark, facing a very strikeout prone Padres team. San Diego has surpassed the Orioles as the highest strikeout team in the MLB, posting a ridiculous 28% K rate. New York should provide enough offense to support deGrom for the win, giving him the highest projected floor on the slate, with GPP winning upside.
Zack Godley (ARI): $8,600 @ WAS
Something is in the water in Arizona for the starting pitchers. Hopefully not PED’s… This rotation is off to an incredible start. Ranked first in the MLB in xFIP and GB%, they are also ranked second overall in team SIERA and K-BB%. In every team pitching statistic, the Diamondbacks are ranked in the top 10. Part of the reason for the team’s success comes from starter Zack Godley. He has increased his GB rate to 58.1% which has helped him get batters out in tough situations. He has kept his K rate over 25%, giving him an incredible floor for fantasy production. Godley has limited the power from left-handed hitters which should keep Bryce Harper quiet this evening. Otherwise, the Nationals are not a too intimidating and can be targeted. Godley may not have massive upside, but he is at a reasonable price to provide 20-25 DK points.
Marcus Stroman (TOR): $6,700 vs. TEX
DraftKings has drastically overreacted to the start of 2018 for Marcus Stroman. He is not a $6,700 pitcher. He is off to a very poor start, but take a look at the matchups. He has faced the Yankees twice, the Indians, and the Rangers at Globe Life. Stroman is a very emotional athlete who will be fired up to play at home in front of a huge crowd in Toronto. The Rangers are a bitter rival, going back to the Jose Bautista bat-flip and Rougned Odor sucker punch incidences. In Toronto, Stroshow is a much more confident pitcher and has the ability to shut down any team. Known as a groundball pitcher, Stroman has increased his strikeout rate 2% from last year which is encouraging going into this matchup. The Rangers are a bottom 10 team striking out and are now without Adrian Beltre. There are no analytics to support Stroman having a great game tonight, which will leave other fantasy sports sites leaving him off their radar as a recommendation. Therefore he will be extremely low-owned. I will roster Marcus Stroman in 100% of the lineups I build tonight #hottake.
*I don’t foresee any high-owned stacks tonight. The ownership should be spread out leaving the highest owned hitters between 15-20%. I will rank my favorite team stacks based on situation and exposure below.
1.) New York Yankees
Coming as advertised, the Brox Bombers are hitting homeruns and winning games. Tonight, they travel across the country to take on the LA Angels. Andrew Heaney will take the mound, which bodes well for the Yankees. Heaney is coming off a start against the San Francisco Giants where he gave up three homeruns. The Giants have a fraction of the power the Yankees possess. I will mention, Didi Gregorius has been a product of his environment. Right field in Yankees Stadium is very generous for left-handed hitters. At $5,200, temper expectations on the power from the Yankees shortstop in a much tougher hitters park. That being said, Giancarlo Stanton is locked in right now and is my number one pick to double-dong tonight.
2.) Detroit Tigers
Although the Tigers are not a very sexy team to roster, I have a personal rule; Always stack against Chris Tillman. He should not be an MLB starting pitcher with how bad he has been. In 2017, Tillman recorded a 5.76 SIERA, 4.94 BB/9, 2.32 HR/9, and 5.87 xFIP. So far, in 2018, he is worse. The Detroit hitters are not expensive and are in line for a big game.
3.) Cleveland Indians
I am a firm believer in the Cleveland Indians being one of the best hitting teams in the MLB. This may cloud my judgment, but I will continue to recommend them in great situations. In 2017, Erasmo Ramirez had a .346 wOBA to left-handed hitters. To start 2018, he has allowed two homeruns in just one start, both to lefties. The Cleveland Indians lineup is unique with how balanced the handedness is. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are both switch hitters which should leave the first four hitters Erasmo faces, left-handed (also the first 5 of 6). I have mentioned before, Edwin Encarnacion will breakout in a big way soon. The weather is starting to warm up and it won’t be long before he starts smashing the baseball.
4.) Toronto Blue Jays
On paper, this is simply not an attractive team to consider stacking. However, each night, they continue to produce. Sure, they lost last night to the Red Sox and managed only three runs. However, they were able to limit Chris Sale to just four strikeouts over six innings. They hit two homeruns off him. I cannot remember the last time Sale gave up two homeruns in a game. This is a team of misfits who have banded together and are getting the job done in an extremely competitive division. Tonight, they will see Mike Minor for the second time this season. He got the better of the Jays last outing, but I think this Toronto team will take advantage, seeing the second lefty in back-to-back nights. Devon Travis hit one of the homeruns off Sale, along with a triple last night and is one of the streakiest hitters I have ever witnessed. Last night could be the starting point of a breakout for the second baseman.
Miguel Cabrera $4,500 @ BAL
Hanley Ramirez $4,400 vs. TB
Joey Votto $4,100 @ MIN
Tyler Austin $4,100 @ LAA
Edwin Encarnacion $3,900 vs. SEA
Justin Smoak $3,700 vs. TEX
Victor Martinez $3,300 @ BAL
Aaron Judge $5,400 @ LAA
Giancarlo Stanton $5,100 @ LAA
Tommy Pham $4,700 @ PIT
Nicholas Castellanos $4,600 @ BAL
Leonys Martin $4,000 @ BAL
Dexter Fowler $4,000 @ PIT
Michael Brantley $3,900 vs. SEA
Marcell Ozuna $3,900 @ PIT
Teoscar Hernandez $3,700 vs. TEX
Aaron Hicks $3,700 @ LAA
Brett Gardner $3,500 @ LAA
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. $3,000 vs. TEX
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