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, Joe Kaiser, Eric Karabell and Kyle Soppe.
Hitters to build around
He certainly seems to love SunTrust Park, doesn't he? Inciarte is the table setter for an underrated Braves lineup, and his price points are low enough that any stack against pitch-to-contact fly-baller Jered Weaver should begin with him. I wouldn't expect another home run from Inciarte, but the potential for multiple hits and runs as well as perhaps a stolen base -- the Padres aren't especially good at reining in the running game -- is great in this matchup.
The new Mariners right fielder swung the hottest bat on the team throughout spring training and that has carried into the regular season. He's coming off his best game as a Mariner and remains under-priced in tonight's matchup against Miami's Tom Koehler. Spacious Safeco Field hasn't been a problem for Haniger, either. So far at home this season, Haniger is batting .391 (9-23) with two doubles, a home run and five walks.
It took a while for this former Diamondbacks slugging prospect to make the majors and stick, which is what he seems to have achieved finally. Davidson boasts power against left-handed pitching and figures to be in the lineup to face Yankees rookie lefty Jordan Montgomery. There are holes in Davidson's swing and he's striking out half the time, so in a season-long league, be wary, especially if he earns regular at-bats, but for one night against a lefty, and slugging .815, save some money by using him instead of higher-priced options at third.
Moving forward, I will be offering up tournament picks on Monday's and Friday's in an effort to help you uncover some unique plays. The other three days of the week I will be selecting the top buys, regardless of how popular he may be. Holliday figures to be low-owned today due to back spasms, but if he can give it a go, he's worth the risk in this spot. Not only does he hold a significant platoon advantage against Derek Holland, but I'm buying into his aggressive approach paying dividends tonight. Consider this: During the past three seasons, Holliday owns a .322/.347/.572 slash on the first pitch of an at-bat, with 17.6 percent of his at-bats ending after one pitch. In that stretch, opponents have crushed Holland's first pitch to the tune of a .330/.330/.526 slash.
Pitchers to build around
If I'm looking to go cheaper on the pitching side, Cotton's $8,200 DraftKings and $7,000 FanDuel price points stand out. He's coming off a strong, seven shutout-inning performance on the road, and now returns to a pitching-friendly home environment in O.co Coliseum. Though the Rangers' offense is one of the scarier ones in a traditional sense, let's not forget that this team averaged more than a run per game fewer on the road than at home last season, so this would be the time to exploit the matchup.
Lackey always has a good chance to pick up the bonus points that come from earning a win, benefiting from a terrific Cubs offense and a stellar defense behind him, and tonight he faces a Milwaukee team that continues to lead the majors in strikeouts. Lackey has fanned 17 batters in 12 innings so far this season, and this home game against the Brew Crew is an excellent opportunity to build on that K total. Also, in 16 starts at home last season, the veteran finished with a 2.62 ERA and held opponents to a stingy .206 batting average.
Here is a strikeout-oriented lefty facing a Dodgers lineup among the worst in the game against lefties. Ray might not pitch deep enough into the proceedings to win the game, but you know he'll accrue strikeouts. He's made four starts at Dodger Stadium and boasts a 2.52 ERA, which is obviously a small sample, but the current Dodgers are hitting .225 against left-handers.
Kyle Soppe: Jered Weaver, San Diego Padres
We aren't looking at a loaded pitching slate tonight, so I expect ownership to be all over the board ... and yet I expect that you can still make up ground on a GPP field by rostering Weaver. First of all, a pitcher at this price point against the Braves is worth consideration. Yes, Weaver has been bad in his past 10 starts (4.39 ERA), but look closer. In that same stretch, 77.8 percent of his runs allowed have been scored via the home run, a flaw that I'm not confident Atlanta can exploit, as they rank in the bottom quarter of the league in both ISO and wOBA against RHP since the beginning of last season. Earning a victory is important in DFS, and Weaver has a shot here against Jaime Garcia, a pitcher who figures to struggle against the Padres' right-handed trio of Manuel Margot, Yangervis Solarte, and Wil Myers.