This article is part of our DFS NPB series.
Teams kick off their weekend series Friday, and with a couple of pitchers making their first starts of the season, there are some potential windfalls out there for a number of bats. At the same time, we also have some very impressive arms taking the hill, making it a night where a slightly higher number of lineup combinations than usual could lead to some big DFS scores.
I'll also suggest hitters at three fairly different price points across the price scale, along with some alternative considerations. Then, I've tried to hone in on the two stacks that I feel have the best chance to deliver.
Takahiro Norimoto ($13,000) has earned the distinction of the highest-priced player on the night, as he's averaging a slate-high 25.5 DK points per game and comes in with an elite 0.98 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and .152 BAA over his first 27.2 innings of the season. Norimoto has been particularly effective at home, where's he boats a 2-0 mark, 0.66 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and .170 BAA in his first pair of turns. Norimoto has tallied at least 22 DK points in three of his four outings as well, and he draws a matchup that could help facilitate a continuation of his excellent start to the season – the opposing Lions check in with a pedestrian .239 team batting average, and they've also hit a Pacific League-low 19 home runs.
Daichi Ohsera ($10,700) offers the upside of a higher-priced player, as he's averaging an impressive 17.4 DK points and has recorded a 2.48 ERA and 1.07 WHIP across his four starts. Ohsera's numbers would be even better were it not for a hiccup against the Tigers where he allowed five earned runs on eight hits over four innings. Ohsera has yielded just a single earned run apiece in his three other trips to the mound, which includes a pair of complete games. The opposing Swallows could help Ohsera stay on his strong run, as they sport an unremarkable .251 team batting average.
Ayumu Ishikawa ($10,000) is just one earned run too many from having put together four straight quality starts to open the season, as he's gone at least six innings in each of his first four trip to the mound. Ishikawa has admittedly had trouble keeping the ball in the park – he's already surrendered five homers in 25 innings – but that shapes up as a serious outlier, considering he owns an excellent 0.8 HR/9 for his six-plus seasons, even when factoring in this year's totals. The right-hander also boasts a solid 3.96 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and .215 BAA for this season and gets a boost from facing the Fighters, which arrive with an NPB-low .216 team batting average.
Seiya Suzuki ($8,000) makes frequent appearances in this column for good reason, as he now carries a .342/.447/.709 slash with 13 extra-base hits (six doubles, seven home runs) for the season following his fourth double-digit fantasy-point tally in the last five games Thursday. Suzuki has also enjoyed his encounters with Swallows pitching this season, as he carries a .375 average over his first two games against Yakult. Suzuki could be in for more of the same Friday, as opposing starter Daiki Yoshida will be making his first professional start and could well be in for some struggles against an experienced and proficient hitter as Suzuki.
Toshiro Miyazaki ($6,300) shapes up as an excellent mid-price option Friday for a matchup against a vulnerable starter taking his first turn of the season in the Giants' Nobutaka Imamura. Miyazaki is slashing .333/.365/.556 despite a slump over the last week that has seen him go just 3-for-22 in his last six contests. The skid has unsurprisingly led to a price drop of $900 since its onset in relation to Friday's salary, making Miyazaki a likely low-owned but potentially rewarding tournament option versus Imamura. The veteran southpaw has allowed 9.9 hits per nine innings in his career – a bloated figure he's complemented with a 1.2 HR/9 – and he'll be making his first start of 2020.
Eigoro Mogi ($5,200) is swinging a hot bat at the moment, as he'll enter with a four-game hitting streak that features a pair of double-digit fantasy-point tallies. Mogi has also been a completely different hitter at home, where he's now hitting .358 (19-for-53) with both of his homers on the season and 10 RBI. The leadoff hitter is averaging a solid 8.6 DK points per contest, and he'll face a pitcher in Zach Neal that's pitched to a fair amount of contact early this season. Neal has yielded a home run in each of his last two starts, a stint in which he's also yielded 10 earned runs across 12 innings. Neal also surrendered four runs in the start prior to that sample, although two were unearned. Moreover, his worst start of the season, an outing against the Marines where he allowed six earned runs, also came on the road.
Tsuyoshi Sugano ($3,900) doesn't sport a price befitting a player carrying a .391/.500/.565 slash across his first eight games. Three of those contests have come against the same Fighters squad he'll face Friday, a team he's hitting .364 (4-for-11) against. It is worth noting Sugano is very likely to come back down to earth to an extent as some point, as he'd actually hit under .200 in each of his first two NPB seasons. Nevertheless, he carries minimal risk at his cost, and he comes into Friday's game with four two-hit efforts in the last five contests.
Ariel Martinez ($3,200) has maximized his opportunities thus far this season, as he's slashing .444/.483/.630 with two doubles, one home run and eight RBI in 11 games. Martinez has a challenging matchup in the form of Tigers starter Koyo Aoyagi, but at the backstop's current price, he brings minimal risk. Despite the very small sample, it's also worth noting Martinez has gotten off to a good start on the road this season, hitting .500 over his first three away contests.
Stacks to Consider
ALSO CONSIDER: Jose Lopez ($4,500)
As already discussed in Miyazaki's entry, Imamura has consistently been a very hittable target over his career, making a BayStars squad hitting a Central League-high .282 and projected for a slate-high 4.5 runs a good target to hone in on.
Soto is a high-powered option to kick it off with, as the slugger is slashing .361/.465/.778 with five home runs over his last 10 games. The fact Soto has been relatively quiet most of this week – he's tallied six DK points or less in three of his last four games – may keep him a bit lesser-owned than usual, but he undeniably has the bat to wallop a couple of Imamura's offerings and pay off his robust salary in the process.
Sano has been even hotter than his teammate of late, as he's hitting .405 across his last 10 contests, which has helped prop his season line up to an outstanding .364/.424/.443. Sano has yet to go deep this season, but he does have seven doubles and is an above-average contact hitter who profiles well versus a pitcher like Imamura.
The rationale for rostering Miyazaki was already detailed earlier in his entry, and Lopez, who has plenty of long-ball potential in his bat but has underperformed this season, is another slugger to consider adding to the onslaught at a low-risk cost.
ALSO CONSIDER: Ryuhei Matsuyama ($4,400)
As discussed earlier in Suzuki's entry, Yoshida is a rookie that could be overwhelmed by a Carp lineup that's hitting an NPB-high .283 and has slugged 22 homers.
Pirela checks in very affordable out of the leadoff spot, and although he was blanked Thursday, that performance actually snapped a six-game hitting streak. The former Yankee and Padre has gone 4-for-9 in his first two games against Swallows pitching this season, and considering the bullpen might be involved a good bit in this contest, those numbers might carry a bit of extra relevancy.
Nishikawa is hitting .308 (12-for-39) in his last 10 games, and he's coming off a 3-for-5, two-double effort that netted 15 DK points Thursday against the Giants. The talented infielder has three multi-hit efforts over the last four contests overall, and given he hit a career-high 16 homers last season, Nishikawa could be due for at least a modest power breakout after launching just a single home run in his first 83 plate appearances in 2020.
Suzuki's many positive attributes were already discussed earlier, while Dobayashi makes for an excellent way to round out a four-man Carp attack. Dobayashi is now slashing .420/.459/.652 in 18 games, a line partly comprised of eight extra-base hits (four doubles, four homers). Dobayashi is averaging an eye-popping 13.2 DK points in his first six home contests as well, and he's exceeded 20 DK points in three of his last eight contests alone.