Our experts are here to provide the best hitters and pitchers for you to build your daily fantasy baseball lineups around on Friday.
Today's panel includes ESPN Fantasy's Tristan H. Cockcroft, Eric Karabell, Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe.
Hitters to build around
He's got big-time power and an entirely reasonable price tag, he'll hit in the middle of the order and he'll play at one of the most homer-friendly parks in the game, facing one of the more hittable pitchers out there in Derek Holland. Even better: He can slide in at either third base or the outfield on DraftKings.
Only two hurlers permitted more home runs than Cleveland's Josh Tomlin last season, and there's little reason to believe the right-hander will be able to keep baseballs from flying all around hitter-friendly Chase Field. Peralta bats second against right-handers, and should get two or perhaps three chances to face the fly-ball hurler, who doesn't get his fastball into the 90 mph range, and doesn't miss many bats. Numerous Diamondbacks are decent options, including the right-handed bats, but Peralta doesn't cost what A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt do.
Lindor is feeling good at the plate after a series against Texas when he connected on a pair of home runs and reached base six times in 13 plate appearances. That bodes well entering tonight's game against Arizona right-hander Shelby Miller, whose struggles last season were well documented: Of the 262 left-handed batters Miller faced last season, he allowed them to bat .329 with a .949 OPS. Meanwhile, the switch-hitting Lindor batted .306 with 10 home runs, 15 stolen bases and an .816 OPS against righties last season, and he's priced to buy, as the Indians play at the hitter's paradise known as Chase Field.
It is rare that I will feature a hitter who doesn't boast a platoon advantage, but Kiermaier should be fine in this spot. Kiermarier greatly improved his chase rate while his BB/K rate more than doubled from 2016 to 2015, a skill set that projects as very favorable against the erratic Francisco Liriano. How much so? Since 2012, no pitcher who has thrown as many innings as Liriano possesses a higher walk rate than the Jays southpaw. Yikes. Kiermaier bats in the top third of this lineup and considering that his slugging percentage was actually 55 points higher against lefties than righties last season, he looks like a nice high-floor, high-ceiling play today.
Pitchers to build around
You'll have to pay to get him, but his price isn't all that high if you consider what a typical, more pitching-rich slate might cost. Liriano also gets a huge ballpark bump with a Tropicana Field assignment rather than one back home at Rogers Centre, and the Rays so far look like they have the same problems hitting left-handed pitching that they did a year ago. He was whiffing batters with his nasty slider like in his best days during spring training, so this is a day I'll pay up for one of the top names on a weak slate.
If you're looking to save a bit of money and ignore sure things like Max Scherzer, Nova in a home game against an ordinary offense should suffice. Like other pitchers before him, Nova improved upon joining the Pirates last season, producing a 3.06 ERA in 11 starts, and with 52 strikeouts versus three walks. Love that command! At PNC Park, his ERA was 2.45 and he completed half his six starts. Look for the underrated Nova to thrive again Friday.
Fiers has more experience than most fifth starters around the game, having made 30 starts in each of the last two seasons, and relies on an excellent curveball and an average fastball. On a slate with few good arms to choose from in the evening games, Fiers is the best bet in a matchup against a struggling Kansas City Royals offense that managed only five runs in three games at Minnesota.
Well, this should be fun. Rostering Jimenez is never stress free, but look at this night slate and let me know when you find a safe option. Go ahead, I'll wait.
That's what I thought. With a lack of safety, I'm chasing the high ceiling and taking my chances. In September, Jimenez had a lower ERA than Scherzer and a lower WHIP than Madison Bumgarner. No, he's not on that level, but his best is that sort of good. The Yankees' offense has the potential to be potent, but with them relying heavily on a pair of young stars in Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez, there is strikeout upside to be had, and that's enough for me tonight.