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Jacob deGrom
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Rotogrinders Exclusive

MLB Daily Plays: Friday

by David “headChopper” Kaplen
Updated On: May 17, 2019, 11:14 am ET

Friday night MLB DFS is here, and that means a full slate of games to choose from.

As always, be sure to remember the heavy variance that comes with baseball and to be very aware of your bankroll management. Additionally, the RotoGrinders MLB lineups page and push notifications are the best way to get all team lineups in a timely manner.

Now, let’s dig in to find some top FanDuel and DraftKings daily fantasy baseball picks.    


Jacob deGrom (vs. Miami Marlins)

deGrom has once again been a dominant pitcher this year. His xFIP remains below three and his strikeouts per nine innings are at 12.3. As far as talent is concerned, he may be the best pitcher on the slate. What pushes him over the top as an easy play is the matchup against Miami. I’ve documented many times so far this season that the Marlins have the worst offense in baseball. They are scoring a putrid 2.56 runs per game, nearly a full run less than the next worst team. Factor in a Miami home ballpark that is very spacious and pitcher friendly, and deGrom becomes the easy number one pitcher on the slate and a must play on FanDuel.

Others to Consider: Trevor Richards, Rich Hill


Catcher/First Base         

Freddie Freeman (vs. Milwaukee Brewers)           

Freeman is a great contact hitter against right-handed pitching, having racked up a 77.5% contact rate over the last two seasons. And when he does hit the ball, he hits it hard; his hard-hit rate over that same timeframe is 44.4%. Freeman is at home tonight taking on a right-handed pitcher (Chacin) who has historically struggled against left-handed hitters in his career. Just going back over the last 500 plate appearances against left-handed hitters, Chacin has only struck out 14.9% of the batters while allowing an 11.6% walk rate. He also gives up hard contact at a 39.4% clip.  Freeman is one of the premier players at this position tonight.              

Others to Consider: Jesus Aguilar, Luke Voit


Second Base     

Jonathan Villar (vs. Cleveland Indians)   

Villar is a switch hitter that will take on right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez tonight in Cleveland. Being a switch hitter will allow him to get left-handed at-bats against the starting pitcher, which is the key to this matchup. In roughly 150 plate appearances over the last couple of seasons against left-handed hitters, Rodriguez has surrendered a massive 17.8% walk rate while striking out only 9.9% of the batters. So, left-handed batters typically come up and either make contact, allowing them an opportunity to get on base, or they draw walks. Putting Villar on base could mean a fantastic opportunity to rack up fantasy points via the stolen base. He has nine steals already this year after racking up 35 last season. In fact, Derek Carty’s projection system “The BAT” has Villar targeted as the most likely player tonight to get a stolen base on the slate. It’s an especially good price tag on FanDuel of only $2,900, so I think we’re going to get some solid fantasy production out of this position tonight.

Others to Consider: Rougned Odor, Jason Kipnis


Third Base         

Matt Carpenter (vs. Texas Rangers)         

There’s a lot to like about St. Louis hitters tonight, including the fact that they are traveling on the road to a very hitter-friendly ballpark in Texas, which is a massive upgrade over their pitcher-friendly ballpark in St. Louis.  Vegas seems to think the same thing, as they have applied a 6.3 run total to St. Louis tonight in this matchup. Matt Carpenter is projected to bat leadoff for St. Louis and comes in with a solid $4,000 price tag on DraftKings and a tantalizing $3,200 on FanDuel. The implied run total tells us all we need to know about the matchup with the opposing pitcher, and Carpenter is arguably the best hitter in the lineup, so with a fair price tag across the industry, he makes for a solid option in Texas tonight.              

Others to Consider: Alex Bregman, Anthony Rendon



Corey Seager (vs. Cincinnati Reds)           

We are getting a discount on Seager in this matchup and ballpark, with this price tag sitting at only $2,900 on FanDuel. It’s a reasonable $4,100 on DraftKings also, mainly due to the fact that he struggled for most of the season. However, there are signs that he can turn this around, as he’s racked up five hits in his last 12 at-bats including a home run and a double. This season against right-handed pitching, he’s been solid but not spectacular. The 18.9% strikeout rate is fine, as is the 37.5% hard-hit rate. He’s also racked up a 52.8% flyball rate against righties, and that could come in handy in this homer-friendly ballpark of Cincinnati. When we go to RotoGrinders PlateIQ and pull up this matchup, you see right away that the opposing pitcher is littered with red boxes against left-handed hitting, which means Seager is finding himself in a fantastic matchup tonight on the road.              

Others to Consider: Paul DeJong, Adalberto Mondesi



Khris Davis (vs. Detroit Tigers)   

There was a time several years ago when Khris Davis had massive splits in favor of his matchup against left-handed pitching. Then he moved to Oakland and those numbers balanced out for a while. Now dating back over the last two seasons, he is crushing left-handers once again to the tune of a .319 ISO, 47.2% flyball rate and 48.8% hard-hit rate. He matches up tonight against a left-hander, Daniel Norris, who hasn’t done anything to instill fear in us for choosing opposing hitters against him. Since the beginning of last season, he has a 4.59 xFIP, 37.4% hard-hit rate allowed and a 90 mile-per-hour average exit velocity against him. Davis keeps flying under the radar of elite outfielders in the major leagues, but I think he makes for a fantastic play for our DFS squad tonight.         


Joc Pederson (vs. Cincinnati Reds)           

I’m really impressed at how Joc Pederson has turned himself into a legitimate MLB hitter in his short career. He came into the big leagues as a free swinger with tons of power but quickly found out that he could not make contact with most major league pitches. His steadily improved swing has culminated the season with a fantastic .444 ISO against right-handed pitching, and he's striking out only 19.2% of the time and walking an astounding 11.7% of the time. Tonight, Los Angeles gets out of its massive, pitcher friendly home ballpark and travels to Cincinnati, which has been a hitter-friendly environment for years now. And, this matchup tonight for the Dodgers against Anthony DeSclafani is extremely productive for left-handed hitters. So far this season he’s allowed a 45.1% hard-hit rate to left-handed hitters to go along with a huge .239 ISO. While Pederson’s price tag is more than appropriate on DraftKings at $5,000, he becomes an absolute steal for only $3,100 on FanDuel.      

Others to Consider: Marcell Ozuna, Shohei Ohtani

David “headChopper” Kaplen
David “headChopper” Kaplen is one of the godfathers of Daily Fantasy, having been near the top of the rankings since DFS emerged in 2010. Nearing double-digit live final qualifiers, David’s crowning achievement is winning the 2013 FanDuel Basketball Champion in Las Vegas. HeadChopper can be found on twitter @headChopper.