Friday brings us a full slate of games, starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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The biggest name on the mound tonight is Gerrit Cole. He is the favorite in the Bales Model for DraftKings.
Cole gets to pitch in spacious RingCentral Coliseum against the Oakland Athletics. Cole has helped spur the New York Yankees’ 12-game winning streak, with wins in both of his last two starts. He only allowed one run combined in those two outings.
With the consistency that Cole brings, he will be a near must for any cash game lineup. Even if he gives up a few earned runs, he can more than make up for it with his strikeout total. It’s not crazy to fade him in cash games — there have been enough outings where he gives up four-plus earned runs that will cause him to not hit for value, and you’d be gaining massive leverage on the field. The Athletics have an implied run total of 3.5, which is tied for second-lowest on the slate.
The other ace on this slate is Aaron Nola, facing the Arizona Diamondbacks. Nola needs to turn the tide for the Philadelphia Phillies, who seem to be watching their season slip through their fingers the past few nights.
Nola has not been as dominant as recent seasons, as he sits with a 4.33 ERA. He does however, still strikeout a lot of hitters – a key for DFS. He has 174 strikeouts in 143 1/3 innings this season.
The big key for Nola is limiting home runs. He has allowed 21 so far this season, which is tied for 14th-worst among qualified pitchers. The names near him on that list are very un-Nola-esque.
Getting the Diamondbacks should help, although the Phillies could not handle them last night. Arizona has the sixth-lowest runs per game on the road.
The Phillies are much bigger favorites at -243 in this game than the Yankees are against the Athletics. I would still lean pretty heavily to using Cole over Nola, as Nola has been much more inconsistent this year.
The favorite on the Bales Model for FanDuel is a bit of a shocker — Rich Hill. Hill is a tough candidate for DFS, with his general inability to strikeout opposing hitters. He has 107 strikeouts in 122 innings this year.
He faces the Washington Nationals tonight. The Nationals’ lineup has seen better days, as the bottom-half is a brutal collection of names.
Hill is a huge boom or bust play who should be reserved for GPPs only. He has faced Washington twice this year for a combined nine innings, seven earned runs, and six strikeouts.
With the New York Mets being -217 favorites, if Hill can last around for five innings, he has a good chance at getting the win. Hill getting at least 15 outs is a big if though.
If you want to pivot off of Cole/Nola, the next best option is Joe Musgrove. After a big start to the season, it has felt like Musgrove has gone quietly into the night a bit. In reality, he has been pitching pretty well for the San Diego Padres. He has allowed more than two earned runs in just one of his last six outings.
Musgrove has maintained his high strikeout rates and has only allowed 14 home runs on the season. Facing the Los Angeles Angels, there are not many hitters to avoid outside of Shohei Ohtani in that matchup.
San Diego will probably want some depth out of Musgrove (which he usually provides) following their 16-inning marathon two nights ago. The Padres are also in “win now” territory as they are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture.
The Angels have not listed a starting pitcher yet, and the Padres are current -199 favorites. To save some money for hitters, I could see using Musgrove tonight.
Steven Matz is in his best stretch of the season, posting a 1.25 ERA in the month of August. He just faced these Detroit Tigers last time out and threw six innings, giving up one earned run, but with only one strikeout. He’s averaged fewer than a strikeout an inning for the season.
I do not particularly love Matz as a pitcher, but it could be a decent time to use him. The Tigers are not as hot offensively as they were a month ago. I just think there are a few better options tonight.
The top stack of the night belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays:
- 3. Nelson Cruz (R – 9-12%)
- 4. Austin Meadows (L – 9-12%)
- 5. Randy Arozarena (R – 9-12%)
- 1. Brandon Lowe (L – 31-35%)
This group is projected for 55.8 FanDuel points on a salary of $14,700. A forewarning with this game — we have it listed as a “yellow caution” with the weather that will be around Baltimore. The Rays get to face Matt Harvey in Camden Yards. After an impressive July, Harvey has returned to his home run-prone ways. He has a 6.63 ERA in August, with six home runs given up. He just faced these Rays two starts ago – he gave up five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. In May, he gave up six earned in 1 2/3 against them (and that was without Cruz). If the game happens, there is no reason not to have some Rays in your lineup.
One of the top bargains of the night is Bryce Harper. Harper has three extra-base hits in his last two games and has an impressive 1.152 OPS for the month of August, with eight home runs. He is facing Taylor Widener, which puts him in his positive split and although he lost the protection of Rhys Hoskins yesterday, the Phillies can still provide it with J.T. Realmuto. The Phillies have an implied 5.3 runs for tonight.
The Lineup Optimizer features a lot of Pete Alonso. The Polar Bear is on a tear, with an 11-game hitting streak. He has homered four times during that stretch, including last night. The Mets are not playing great baseball overall during this stretch, but should be able to put up some runs on Paolo Espino.
Tommy Edman is coming in too cheap, as he hits atop the St. Louis Cardinals lineup. He has back-to-back games with two hits and will be hitting from the right-side tonight. His averages are similar right-handed vs. left-handed, but his OPS is much higher as a right-handed hitter (.808 vs. .659). He is always a threat to swipe a bag, which is a nice bonus within DFS, as he is 21-for-26 in stolen bases on the season.