FanDuel MLB: Friday Targets

FanDuel MLB: Friday Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

The schedule is starting to become more normal, which is giving us larger evening slates during the week. Friday's main contest features 11 contests, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. EDT. Pitching pricing seems very competitive, with $700 separating the top four, $800 separating the next five, and $800 separating the next seven. There aren't any clear tiers or drop-offs, and no slam-dunk options as a result. It should make for very diverse lineups throughout contests.

Pitching

Carlos Rodon ($10,100) is our headliner, and I think I'd make every effort to build a competitive offense around him if possible. He was dominant in his Giants debut, fanning 12 Marlins, and enjoyed success last year against the Guardians, fanning 23 in 20.0 innings while allowing only 12 hits. Cleveland is off to a decent start against lefties, posting a .443 wOBA against them in the early going, fanning only 20.4 percent, which doesn't make Rodon a must use, just a preferred option.

I'm expecting Jordan Montgomery ($8,400) to be a popular choice against light-hitting Baltimore (.104 ISO, .270 wOBA, 35.2 percent K rate), and he was solid against the O's last year, allowing nine runs across 24.1 innings while fanning 29, but he did allow 28 hits. I'm fading him simply due to likely high usage. The mid-tier that I'm surprisingly intrigued by is a Coors' Field matchup between German Marquez ($8,200) and Marcus Stroman ($7,500). Marquez shut down the Dodgers at home last time out and is the rare Rockie arm to seemingly have solved Coors Field, and gets a Cubs' side that is fanning 25.4 percent of the time. Colorado offensively is hitting grounders at a 50 percent clip thus far, which plays right into Stroman's ground ball tendencies, with last year's 50.8 percent being the worst of his career. Inherent risk for sure, but both options should be different and come with potential.

The bottom tier of arms is a bunch of yuck, as most are on bad teams facing good ones. But former top prospect MacKenzie Gore ($6,400) is set to make his MLB debut in a matchup against a Braves lineup that has sputtered out of the gates, particularly in their bottom half, which have been very strikeout prone. Gore was once the top pitching prospect in baseball before completely losing his control, seemingly having the yips last year. As a Braves' homer, I've seen too many times where they've been overly aggressive and fooled by pitchers they haven't faced before. That gives Gore immense upside at this number.

Top Targets

Athletics' starter Daulton Jefferies ($6,600) seems to be more lucky than good. The 4.32 road ERA and .330 wOBA allowed to righties isn't fully supported by a 5.32 xFIP and .154 BABIP, respectively. As such, I'm building around Vladimir Guerrero ($4,600) if I can afford him, and pivoting or mini-stacking with George Springer ($4,100) as I can.

The bats priced between $3,600 and $4,000 include a plethora of interesting option, with some being slumping big names and others being surging options we may not trust long term. Freddie Freeman ($3,600) fits the mold of the former. He's hitting just okay, with six hits in five games, but only two extra-base hits and no RBI. He'll have a chance to buck that against Vladimir Gutierrez, who allowed a 6.88 xFIP and 2.15 HR/9 to lefties on the road a year ago.

Salvador Perez ($3,600) checks a lot of boxes. He owns a .412 wOBA, 163 wRC+ and .349 ISO against lefties since the start of 2021, and is 5-of-13 (.385) with three homers, eight RBI and a 1.538 OPS against Tigers' starter Tarik Skubal.

Value Bats

If we're seeking upside over stability, punt Freeman above and give Cody Bellinger ($3,100) a look, as he'll have at worst similar upside at a discount. He's quietly got five hits in his last four while continuing to walk and score runs, and we noted Reds' starter Gutierrez' struggles against left-handed bats above.

Raise your hand if you had the Oakland A's being the second-highest scoring team in the league through one week. Elvis Andrus ($3,000) has been that spark plug, going for at least 3x in every game since the opener. He's putting the ball in play, fanning only 9.5 percent of the time, which gives him ample fantasy point production chances. Seth Brown ($2,900) or Chad Pinder ($2,800) would have more feast or famine nature.

I really like stacking the Astros here, as they have numerous known lefty mashers, and a build around Jose Altuve ($3,600) and Alex Bregman ($3,700) makes a ton of sense, both who have had success against Marco Gonzales. But as you'll see below, I went a different way in this game and am by no means suggesting a game stack. Houston has been pretty variable in their lineups daily, so you'll need to adjust once those come out, but one of Jose Siri ($2,300) or Chas McCormick ($2,500) will play, and offer a seemingly stable floor.

Stacks to Consider

Yankees vs. Orioles (Jordan Lyles): Aaron Judge ($3,900), Giancarlo Stanton ($3,700), Anthony Rizzo ($3,600)

For as often as we'll want to pick on the Orioles offense, finding a balance between that and picking on their pour pitching is also required. Lyles doesn't miss bats, just 3.6/9 in his debut and only above nine once in his career. Rizzo seems to have his power stroke early in the year, leading the team with three, while Judge and Stanton are both over due some pop. These three hit 2-3-4, making for a traditional stack, and led Yankee regulars with a .376, .364 and .349 wOBAs against righties since the start of 2021. For good measure, Stanton is 4-of-9 against Lyles with a homer and two doubles. If this stack is too rich for your budget, pivoting to Josh Donaldson ($3,100) as a leadoff option offers some relief, and while Gleyber Torres ($2,600) is a former Oriole killer, homering 13 times against them in 2019.

Mariners vs. Astros (Jake Odorizzi): Mitch Haniger ($3,200), Ty France ($3,000), Jesse Winker ($3,000)

None of these options are in great form, but the appeal is going against a soft-tossing Odorizzi, and all three come with nice low price tags. Haniger has been feast-or-famine, with three games of 20+ FDP and four with zero. Winker appears to be still adjusting to his new surroundings with only one double-digit FDP outing thus far. France has been a blend of both with five games of 9+ FDP. None of that seems terrific, so they'll come with greatly low usage for GPPs. Odorizzi induced only a 13.3 percent ground ball rate in his opener, and fanned 4.5 per nine, on the heels of sub 8 per nine over the last two years. And at best, there's power potential in this trio, hitting 2-3-4, that could pop off.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Chris Bennett plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: k30kittles, DraftKings: k30kittles.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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