This article is part of our PrizePicks MLB series.
The playoff race continues to heat up with a full slate of games across baseball Friday. With it brings plenty of options to consider on PrizePicks. For those unfamiliar with the platform, it provides a unique spin on DFS in which you pick two, three or four players and predict if each will go over or under their projected fantasy score.
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Here are some players to target and avoid while creating your entry.
Players to Target
Eugenio Suarez vs. Mitch Keller (Pirates): Over 8 FP: Despite a significant drop in his batting average, Suarez is having the best power season of his career with a .268 ISO. He's already tied his career high with 34 home runs, although he only has 68 RBI to show for it. Keller has an unsightly 8.86 ERA through his first five starts, but his 4.34 FIP is a bit more appealing. Batters have an insane .448 BABIP against him, so that likely won't last. The last time he faced the Reds, Keller was torched for six runs over four innings. At this reasonable number, I like Suarez to hit the over.
Josh Bell vs. Anthony DeSclafani (Reds): Over 8 FP: Bell has been an extremely streaky hitter in the second half of the season. After hitting four home runs across three games earlier this month, he's 3-for-26 (.115) with no home runs over his last eight contests. That's likely the reason for this low projection. However, if there was ever a matchup for him to turn things around, this is it. He has a .404 wOBA against right-handed pitchers and DeSclafani has allowed a .386 wOBA to left-handed hitters. DeSclafani has also had problems preventing the long ball, allowing 1.8 HR/9 for the season.
Rhys Hoskins vs. Hector Noesi (Marlins): Over 9.5 FP: The rebuilding Marlins have some very promising young pitchers, but Noesi isn't one of them. He had been out of the league since 2015 until the Marlins brought him up earlier this month. To say his return hasn't gone well would be an understatement, as he has allowed 16 runs and six home runs across 15.1 innings. The Phillies could be in for an excellent offensive showing across the board, with Hoskins likely being right in the middle of all the action. This is a high projection, but Hoskins' upside is off the charts.
Players to Avoid
Freddie Freeman vs. Jacob deGrom (Mets): 6 FP: Normally a projection this low for Freeman would be a slam dunk for the over. However, deGrom is no ordinary pitcher. He's been as dominant as any hurler in baseball, allowing two runs or fewer in 15 of his last 16 starts. He also has a sparkling 1.05 WHIP to go along with a 31.3 percent strikeout rate. Both of these players have a ton of talent, so this should be a fun matchup to watch. With that being said, I want no part of it.
Whit Merrifield vs. Zach Plesac (Indians): 8 FP: Merrifield is having yet another valuable season for a bad Royals squad, recording a .346 wOBA. However, he doesn't provide much in the power department, recording just a .388 slugging percentage over his last 31 games. Still, Merrifield has the potential to string together a couple of hits against Plesac and his 5.32 FIP, which indicates he hasn't pitched nearly as well as his 3.53 ERA would lead you to believe. The problem is Merrifield might not be able to provide much value in terms of runs scored or RBI considering Plesac has limited the Royals to three runs (two earned) over 13 innings during their last two meetings. There are plenty of other viable options, so avoiding this one might be the best route to take.
Brian Anderson vs. Vince Velasquez (Phillies): 6.5 FP: Anderson is one of the most dangerous hitters on the Marlins, but that's not saying much these days. He has 20 home runs and his power could prove dangerous in this matchup considering Velasquez has allowed 2.0 HR/9. But with limited talent around Anderson, he has few opportunities to provide much in the way of runs scored or RBI, dealing a significant blow to his upside. A home run would easily get him the over, though, making it tough to feel confident about this projection either way.