This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Friday brings a packed slate on DraftKings consisting of 14 games. With so many options to wade through, let's get right down to business and highlight some of the top players to consider at various salary points.
The Mets were rained out Thursday, pushing Jacob deGrom's ($11,000) start back a day. It's rare to recommend someone who will take the mound at Coors Field, but deGrom isn't exactly your ordinary pitcher. He recorded a whopping 21 strikeouts across 14 innings in his first two starts and should be able to take advantage of a Rockies' lineup that's been weakened after they traded away Nolan Arenado.
The Astros' lineup has been completely decimated with Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve all on the COVID-19 list. That means this could be an opportune time to deploy Yusei Kikuchi ($7,200) in DFS. He's also started off the season on the right foot, recording 16 strikeouts over 12 innings in his first two starts, holding the Giants and Twins to a combined five runs.
If you want to take a chance on a pitcher with a cheap salary in tournament play, then JT Brubaker ($7,500) could be the man for you. He has an appealing matchup against the Brewers, who have the third-worst OPS (.638) in baseball entering play Thursday. They struggled in that category last season, as well, posting the seventh-worst OPS (.702). Brubaker made it through his first two starts of the season mostly unscathed, allowing two runs across 9.1 innings.
We haven't seen much of Carlos Martinez ($7,700) in recent years. In fact, he hasn't thrown more than 50 innings since 2018. His five starts in 2020 were a disaster with him posting a 2.10 WHIP and allowing six home runs across 20 innings. He's already allowed two long balls over 10 innings this season, which makes Bryce Harper ($5,200) someone to target in his matchup against the Nationals.
Whenever the Twins face a left-handed pitcher, Nelson Cruz ($5,400) has to be considered among the top options on the slate. He has a .278 ISO and a .402 wOBA versus southpaws for his career. Friday brings a matchup against Andrew Heaney ($6,800), who has allowed 1.5 HR/9 for his career.
Not much of an argument needs to be made to deploy Mike Trout ($5,900) on any given night. However, he really stands out amongst the crowd for his upcoming matchup with lefty Lewis Thorpe ($6,100). Thorpe has had significant problems keeping hitters off base in his young career, posting a 1.68 WHIP across 44 innings.
Nate Lowe ($4,500) had a hard time finding his way into the lineup on a regular basis with the Rays, so a trade to the Rangers was a welcome sight for his fantasy value. He's done his best to make a good first impression with his new team, entering play Wednesday with four home runs and 15 RBI across 12 games. His power upside makes him an intriguing play against Jorge Lopez ($6,000), who has allowed 1.6 HR/9 for his career.
If you want to take a chance on a catcher with a cheap salary, Kurt Suzuki ($3,600) could be a viable option. Max Stassi (thumb) was recently placed on the IL, which should open up more playing time for Suzuki. Facing the lefty Thorpe is noteworthy given that Suzuki has recorded a wRC+ of at least 143 against left-handed pitchers in three of the last four seasons.
Stacks to Consider
Cease was lucky to finish last season with a 4.01 ERA when you consider that he had a 6.36 FIP. He struggled in 2019, as well, with a 5.79 ERA and a 5.19 FIP. Not only does he have a career 1.51 WHIP, but he's also allowed 1.8 HR/9. That could be a recipe for disaster against a Red Sox lineup that has plenty of potent hitters. Martinez looks to have put his struggles from last season firmly in his rearview mirror, slugging five home runs and seven doubles on his way to a 1.307 OPS.
Weathers has made three appearances out of the bullpen for the Padres, allowing one run across six innings. He didn't log more than three innings in any of those outings, so don't expect him to pitch deep into this contest. He's also extremely inexperienced given that he had never pitched above Single-A heading into this season. That could leave the Dodgers to feast against him and the underbelly of the Padres' bullpen.
The fact that Gonzales is starting again says all that you need to know about the Rockies' starting rotation. He's struggled throughout his career, posting a 5.27 FIP and a 1.47 WHIP with the Rangers and Rockies. Add in this game being played at Coors Field, and the Mets should be one of the most popular teams to stack. Alonso and Smith are the bigger sluggers here, but don't sleep on Nimmo. With Gonzalez' problems keeping hitters off base, Nimmo could be a particularly tough out given his career .369 wOBA.