This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Note: Player prices are based on Thursday's games.
Here are some of the top plays on DraftKings for Friday night and the upcoming weekend….
Carlos Carrasco, CLE (Fri. at DET), $8800 – Though the matchup is tricky, Carrasco should prove to be more than up to the task, having allowed just three runs in six starts since rejoining the rotation Aug. 10. Also effective as a reliever this season, the 27-year-old righty has shockingly put together one of the 2014 campaign's most dominant stretches of starts. Not only has he yielded just three runs, but Carrasco has posted an incredible 42:4 K:BB over 38.2 innings. Adding to the impressive nature of his streak, he hasn't just been picking on bottom-feeders, with those six starts coming against the White Sox (twice), Tigers, Astros, Orioles and Yankees.
Tyson Ross, SD, (Sat. at AZ) – On what looks to be a rough day for pitching unless you want to spend big, Ross should stick out as one of the better values. He priced at a reasonable $10,000 for his last outing, and while he won't get to pitch at Petco Park on Saturday, he will get to face the hapless Diamondbacks. Ross more than survived a tough run of matchups over the past few weeks, with the help of a Sept. 1 start against these same Diamondbacks that saw him strikeout eight over six innings of one-run ball. Looking at the lineups the Diamondbacks send out on a nightly basis, it's not exactly surprising that they posted a 71 wRC+ and .631 OPS in August. Things aren't going any better in September, with Arizona owning a 35 wRC+ and .503 OPS through nine games.
Marcus Stroman, TOR (Sun. vs. TB) – Stroman, who was fantastic in June and July, seems to be back on track while still coming at a low price. His last three outings have yielded three wins, with the young right-hander posting a 1.59 ERA and 18:2 K:BB over 22.2 innings. Last time out, Stroman recorded the first complete game of his career, holding the Cubs to just three hits over nine scoreless innings, which required only 93 pitches. So long as his price stays south of $8000, Stroman should make for a good option in nearly any matchup. Further helping Stroman's cause for Sunday, the Rays' bats have come back down to earth and then some, following a surprisingly strong run in June and July.
Other intriguing options:Jose Quintana, CHW (Fri. vs. MIN), $7500; Gerrit Cole, PIT (Fri. vs. CHC), $9400; Zack Greinke, LAD (Sat. at SF); Jered Weaver, LAA (Sat. vs. HOU); Jordan Zimmerman, WAS (Sun. vs. NYM)
Salvador Perez, C, KC, $3500 – Salvy went 0-for-17 with an uncharacteristic six strikeouts during a recent four-game stretch, but he then snapped out of it Wednesday with a two-hit performance. Though he's been a bit disappointing on the whole this season, Perez now carries a more than reasonable price, just as the lousy Boston rotation is headed to Kansas City for a four-game series. Even with Perez struggling mightily since the All-Star break, this combination of price and matchup is hard to pass up.
Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL, $4500 – Freeman's been one of the more consistent batters this season, as he hasn't suffered through an extended cold streak, but also hasn't had a barrage of home runs. With his price and performance fairly steady, the slugging first baseman has been one of my favorite options all year, as he always seems to carry a palatable price into strong matchups. Lefty Derek Holland may be tricky on Friday, but after that, Freeman gets to face right-handers Scott Baker and Colby Lewis in Arlington. Matchups don't get much better outside of Coors Field, so Freeman should offer good value, even if he inches his way toward $5000.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B, SD, $3400 – Though suffering through what essentially amounts to a lost season, Gyorko gets the tremendous honor of joining Kole Calhoun as one of the two players to appear in this space in consecutive weeks, or at least I think that's true. In any case, Gyorko fared well at Coors Field this past weekend, continuing his bounce-back second half. After posting a hideous .162/.213/.270 slash line in the first half, Gyorko owns a much more reasonable .264/.335/.435 line over 155 plate appearances since the break. Backing up the improvement, his second-half strikeout (21.9) and walk (8.4) rates are much improved from the ugly marks of 25.3 percent and 5.4 percent he recorded before the break. Gyroko has consistently been batting third or fourth in the lineup, and he'll get a respite from Petco Park this weekend, playing a three-game set at hitter-friendly Chase Field.
Andy Wilkins, 1B/3B, CHW, $2000 – Wilkins hasn't done much since being called up, which explains why his price still sits at $2000. In fact, to say he hasn't done much is quite an understatement, as the corner infielder is 2-for-23 with a dozen strikeouts since being recalled at the end of August. Wilkins still makes for a strong option at this price, after posting a .293/.338/.558 slash line and 30 home runs over 529 plate appearances for Triple-A Charlotte this season. He's been batting sixth in the White Sox lineup against right-handed pitchers, and while he may lose that job if he doesn't turn things on soon, the young slugger still offers a high nightly ceiling at a dirt-cheap price.
Chris Owings, SS, AZ, $2700 – The Diamondbacks want both Owings and Didi Gregorius to get plenty of playing time, which means Owings will spend more time at the keystone. Where he plays is of little importance, as we're far more interested in the fact that he's been batting second or third. Given his shortstop eligibility and solid .266/.301/.430 slash line, Owings is an absolute steal at anything below $3200-3300, so long as he continues to have prime positioning in what's admittedly an awful lineup.
Alejandro De Aza OF, BAL, $3400 – De Aza's price has risen from $2800 to $3000 to $3400 in fairly short order, as he's surprisingly one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Previously suffering through the worst offensive season of his career, the 30-year-old outfielder has enjoyed his new digs in Baltimore, going 9-for-24 with two homers and two steals in six games. He hit either first or second in the strong Orioles lineup each of the last four games, and will likely continue to do so against right-handed pitching. Luckily for De Aza, the O's are scheduled to face righties on Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday, with the Yankees' Friday evening starter still undetermined as of Thursday afternoon.
Other intriguing options:
Mike Trout, OF, LAA, $5800 Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT, $5300; Carlos Gomez, OF, MIL, $4300; Justin Upton, OF, ATL, $4600; Avisail Garcia, OF, CHW, $3900; Oswaldo Arcia, OF, MIN, $3800; Josh Hamilton, OF, LAA, $3600; David Peralta, OF, AZ, $3600; Oscar Taveras, OF, STL, $2600