This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Friday brings a ton of action across baseball with 15 games on the schedule. One game that jumps off the page is a matchup between the Padres and Cardinals, two teams that are battling it out for the second NL Wild Card spot. It could be the beginning of a tough series for the Padres on the road considering all of the injuries to their starting rotation. The Reds will also be trying to improve their playoff chances, but they are dealing with a tough opponent with Walker Buehler expected to start for the Dodgers. Let's get down to business and highlight some players to target for your lineups on DraftKings.
The Mets probably aren't happy that they have to face Zack Wheeler ($10,600) again. The last two times he's faced them, he's recorded 19 strikeouts over 16 scoreless innings. He's been locked in for most of the season, posting a 2.66 FIP and a 28.9 percent strikeout rate that would be by far the highest mark of his career. Expect Wheeler to be a popular option for this slate, as he should be.
It's usually not flashy with Chris Flexen ($7,800), who only has a 16.5 percent strikeout rate. However, he has very good control and has only allowed 0.9 HR/9, which has helped propel him to a 3.73 ERA and a 3.86 FIP. His lack of strikeouts does limit his upside, but he could still provide value against a Royals team that has the sixth-lowest OPS in baseball.
Targeting the Pirates is usually a good idea for pitchers in DFS considering they have the worst OPS in baseball. Making things even more difficult for them to score runs Friday will be having to play at the Marlins' pitcher-friendly home park. This could be an opportune time to deploy Elieser Hernandez ($6,800), despite his 5.14 FIP and the fact that he's allowed nine home runs over 37 innings this season.
At this point, fading Bryce Harper ($6,100) might be hazardous for your health. He hit another home run Thursday, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. He's not just slapping singles during that stretch, either, hitting 17-for-39 (.436) with seven home runs, four doubles, 14 RBI and 12 runs scored. He has a favorable matchup to continue hit hot streak against Zach Davies ($6,000), who has a 5.42 FIP and a 1.55 WHIP.
Talk about a wild stat: Josiah Gray ($8,200) has logged 48 innings in the majors this season and has already allowed 17 home runs. He hasn't had a single outing in which he didn't allow a home run and he has been taken deep at least twice in four of his last six starts. That could set up nicely for a big game for C.J. Cron ($4,300), who has brought plenty of power to the Rockies' lineup with his .257 ISO.
The Blue Jays are making a push for a playoff spot and their lineup has been one of the main reasons for their success. One player who might not grab a lot of headlines, but has still hit really well, is Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ($3,400). Since the calendar flipped to September, he is 20-for-52 (.385) with five home runs, three doubles and a whopping 26 RBI over 15 games. At his cheap salary, he's someone to at least consider for his matchup against Michael Pineda ($5,600) and the Twins.
Jesus Sanchez ($2,800) has been one of the few power threats within the Marlins' lineup lately. He hit two more home runs Wednesday, giving him five over the last six games. Up next is a matchup against the homer-prone Wil Crowe ($6,200), who has been taken deep 23 times over 101 innings.
Stacks to Consider
The Orioles' starting rotation is embarrassing. Outside of John Means, they have basically no other respectable options. That includes Akin, who has a 5.15 FIP and a 1.58 WHIP across 22 appearances, 15 of which were starts. Don't expect things to get any better for him against a Red Sox team that has the third-highest OPS in baseball. The lefty on the mound could be a great spot to roll with Renfroe, who has a 145 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers this season.
It appears that the Tigers might be aiming to limit Mize's workload down the stretch. He hasn't pitched more than three innings in either of his last two starts, one of which came against these same Rays. He gave up three runs over two innings in that outing, then the bullpen followed up by allowing five more runs. A bullpen game against the Rays' potent lineup could result in plenty of runs being scored. While his average has been a disappointment, Lowe has still provided plenty of power with 34 home runs and a .265 ISO.
The Padres are desperate for starting pitchers because of a laundry list of injuries. First, they added Jake Arrieta, who has a 6.15 FIP. Now, they picked up Velasquez, who was just designated for assignment by the Phillies after posting a 5.95 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Across his final five outings with the team, he gave up 24 runs over 17.2 innings. Look for the Cardinals to hang a crooked number in this matchup with O'Neill possibly playing a prominent role in that given his .245 ISO and .372 wOBA.