Friday wraps up the workweek with a tantalizing 13-game slate, beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. Before you build lineups, several Stokastic tools can help identify daily MLB DFS Top Stacks, key pitchers and MLB DFS picks. Let’s dig into the player projections and popularity for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups, including RHP Zack Wheeler and the Rockies offense.
MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks
MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers
Main Slate Pitching Target: RHP Zack Wheeler at Washington Nationals — 3.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
- DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,200 | FanDuel $10,900 | Yahoo $45
Tonight there are quite a few top-tier pitchers in play, though most have tricky matchups. That leads us to RHP Zack Wheeler, who celebrated his 33rd trip around the sun on Tuesday. While Wheeler has not been as good this season as compared to the previous five, there is room for positive regression. Thus far his 40.7% ground ball rate is down from a five-year average of 46.8%, and his 68.1% left-on-base rate is down from 74.4%. His 3.60 ERA is still solid, and with a 3.33 xERA as well as a 2.68 FIP, 3.47 xFIP and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings in line with recent campaigns, improving fantasy production is right around the corner.
Washington has produced some anemic offensive numbers against right-handed pitching over the last two seasons, with their current collection of hitters managing only a 93 wRC+ during this timeframe. They do a solid job of limiting strikeouts (20.0%), but the Nationals have a .136 ISO, which is the fourth lowest in the league, as well as a 6.1% walk rate, which is last. This team lives for ground balls, and its 47.1% rate during this period leads the league. This all comes together in Wheeler’s favor, making him the core building block for this slate.
Evening Slate Pitching Target: RHP Jon Gray vs. Seattle Mariners — 4.2 implied runs
First Pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET
- DFS Salary: DraftKings $7,600 | FanDuel $9,000 | Yahoo $43
Veteran RHP Jon Gray is in the midst of an excellent season, with a 5-1 record, a 2.81 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. The only real knock against him is 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings, which is well below his career average of 9.1. Fortunately, it does seem that he is back on track, and over his last four starts, he has compiled a 1.00 ERA and 2.92 FIP, along with 27 strikeouts and just two home runs allowed in 27 innings.
Seattle is an above-average offense, though aside from second-year phenom Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners lack any terrifying hitters. They do not have many easy outs, but Gray took care of business four starts ago in Seattle, holding the M’s to one solo home run over seven innings while striking out eight. The savings on DraftKings makes Gray one of the best SP2 options on the main slate, and he is a neutral option on Yahoo. Over on FanDuel, Gray is best suited for the evening sub-slate, as his 40%-ish probability of a quality start at a $9,000 salary has him just outside the top-10 starting pitchers on the full slate.
Late Slate Pitching Target: RHP Michael Wacha vs. Chicago Cubs — 3.8 implied runs
First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET
- DFS Salary: DraftKings $7,400 | FanDuel $9,300 | Yahoo $45
The salary relief provided by RHP Michael Wacha has him as a comparable alternative to Gray on DraftKings for the featured slate, though on Yahoo it makes more sense to find the $3 to pay up for RHP Logan Webb. Webb projects for more late-slate popularity than Wacha on FanDuel, so that makes Wacha more appealing in tournaments.
Wacha has always been a solid pitcher throughout his career, and over his 11 MLB campaigns, he has a 4.02 ERA while limiting home runs to just 1.1 per nine innings. The main issue that DFS gamers hold against him is his wildly inconsistent strikeout production. For his career, the 31-year-old has a respectable 8.0 per nine innings, but there are major droughts that are followed by bonanzas and an ever-repeating cycle. For example, this month in five starts, Wacha has 15 total strikeouts in four appearances, while the other outing was a whopping 11 against Kansas City. In his second start of the season, Wacha rolled up 10 strikeouts in Atlanta for his only other game with more than five whiffs.
Aside from the salary, there are two other factors working in Wacha’s favor. First, the Cubs have a 25.0% strikeout rate against right-handed hurlers over the last season-plus, courtesy of their current collection of batsmen. Second, the Padres offense should be able to tee off against RHP Jameson Taillon, which has the bonus points for a victory squarely within reach for Wacha.
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MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks
Main Slate Target: Tampa Bay Rays at RHP Garrett Whitlock — 4.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
This has been a tough season for RHP Garrett Whitlock, as he has had both a hip injury as well as an elbow issue, with each landing him on the injured list. On Saturday, the 26-year-old held his own in Arizona, allowing the Diamondback one run on a solo shot by Ketel Marte in the first inning. However, things are not totally rosy, as that was the fifth longball allowed by Whitlock in just 21.0 innings, and on the season, he is allowing 4.7 extra-base hits per nine innings.
Tampa Bay leads the league in home runs and total bases, as well as on base and slugging percentages. Four different players already have double-digit home runs, and every lineup regular has at least seven. Yandy Diaz, Brandon Lowe and Randy Arozarena are strong options in DFS and in the home run market.
This stack can be augmented with Wander Franco and Josh Lowe, who are both likely to be in the top 5 of the order, along with the aforementioned power trio of teammates. For those looking to be a little daring, former Houston Astro Jose Siri is a steal on DraftKings ($3,100), and he is an excellent differentiation option from the bottom of the order. He already has 10 home runs in just 106 at-bats, along with 22 runs scored and 22 RBIs. While there is weather risk for this game, that should keep most gamers looking elsewhere.
For those gamers that do not want to deal with that uncertainty, the Stokastic Top Stacks Tool has identified the Phillies in Washington against RHP Josiah Gray and the Cardinals in Pittsburgh against RHP Roansy Contreras as the next-best options on the board.
Evening Slate Target: Colorado Rockies at RHP Jordan Lyles — 5.0 implied runs
First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
Tonight the Rockies have been assigned salaries by DraftKings and Yahoo that make it seem like they are playing in Coors Field. Of course, they are not, but it goes to show how horrible RHP Jordan Lyles has been this season. There is a chance for showers tonight, but nothing that is likely to cause more than a delay — so the added humidity, along with game-time temperatures around 80 degrees, will be favorable hitting conditions.
Lyles led the league with 38 home runs allowed in the 2021 season while he was plying his trade for the Texas Rangers. Last year with Baltimore he had things sort of under control, allowing 26 in 179 innings. This season he is back on top of the leaderboard, with 16 home runs allowed in 11 starts, a 7.30 ERA and an 0-9 record.
Anyone with power and wearing a Colorado uniform is in play tonight. Ryan McMahon, Jurickson Profar and veteran Charlie Blackmon should be at the top of the order and all but assured of five plate appearances. Catcher Elias Diaz is a nice, albeit spendy way to take care of the backstop requirement on DraftKings ($5,000) and Yahoo ($20), but he is likely to be on fewer than 5% of all tournament rosters.
Rolling the dice with youngsters Nolan Jones and Brenton Doyle should provide differentiation on the evening sub-slate. Finally, grizzled veteran Randal Grichuk can be dusted off and utilized as well if he has a premium slot in the batting order.
Late Slate Target: San Diego Padres vs. RHP Jameson Taillon — 4.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET
It almost seems impossible that a steady veteran pitcher like RHP Jameson Taillon can be this bad. Heading into this season, the 31-year-old had made 143 starts, tabulating a 3.84 ERA, 3.80 FIP and 3.89 xFIP across 787.2 innings. This year he has been so bad that his career ERA has risen to 4.02 as a result of the disastrously horrific eight starts that have resulted in an 8.04 ERA and no appearances in the sixth inning. Heck, in his last five outings, Taillon has not even closed the book on the fourth inning. It would appear that the groin injury he suffered in mid-April is still bothering him, or there is some other hidden injury or tipping of pitches going on right now.
Load up on the San Diego hitters swinging the stick from the left side of the plate, as Taillon has allowed a .456 wOBA and .316 ISO this season in 67 opposite-handed matchups. Jake Cronenworth, Juan Soto and Rougned Odor are the best power bats, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is worthy of our consideration at his discounted salary, even though it means sacrificing the first base slot.
Fernando Tatis Jr., Xander Bogaerts and reclamation project Gary Sanchez all have merit in this matchup as well.
Final Thoughts for Friday, June 2 | MLB DFS Picks
After a gorgeous week, there are several weather spots to keep tabs on for the Friday night action. The East Coast looks to be the most impacted, with Boston bearing the brunt of the bad news, along with the chance of a postponement. New York is next up, though it looks like the downside ends with delays. Moving on to the Midwest, keep an eye on Kansas City and Minnesota, as both locations will have evening showers.
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