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MLB daily notes: Fantasy rankings for Friday

Friday offers an intriguing mix of proven top-of-the-rotation pitchers, Francisco Liriano returning to the American League for the first time since 2012, and Tim Lincecum's second career start in his home state of Washington. Friday's Daily Notes is here to provide you with the pitchers and hitters to target -- and the ones to avoid as well.


Pitching

Elite

Noah Syndergaard's projected game score is beginning to reflect a small slide in skills as well as failing to go as deep into games as earlier in the season. Though, to be fair, his skills are still exceptional and part of the reason for a lower projected game score than usual is a challenging road tilt against the Detroit Tigers. There aren't any other elite arms to recommend over Thor, so using him in cash games is understandable but more of a risk than usually incurred.

Solid

Truth be told, Syndergaard's mound foe, Justin Verlander, lines up better for cash play, especially on sites where the win isn't as important. Granted, the New York Mets have added Jay Bruce to their already mostly left-handed lineup and get to use a designated hitter, but overall, Verlander faces a less daunting task than his counterpart. Verlander isn't without risk himself as he has been mixing in the occasional stinker amid a string of solid efforts. Still, Verlander has tossed at least seven innings 13 times, failing to last at least six innings only four times this season, which is what you want from your cash game pitcher.

Jon Lester didn't have a good July, recording a 7.36 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. The veteran southpaw looks to kick off his August on a high note as he returns to a place he called home for a couple of months as the Chicago Cubs take on the Oakland Athletics. There isn't a lot of strikeout upside as the hosts whiff at a stingy 17 percent clip with a lefty on the hill, but Lester should keep run scoring to a minimum so he's in play for cash action.

Jeremy Hellickson was thought to be on the move at the trade deadline, but he remains with the Philadelphia Phillies, at least for now. The resurgent righty will take the hill in Petco Park, facing a San Diego Padres club that whiffs at a bloated 25 percent pace against right-handers. This makes Hellickson one of the top options in all formats on a busy Friday night of DFS action.

Jameson Taillon has tossed four straight six-inning outings without issuing any free passes, fanning 22 over those 24 innings. The 24-year right-hander is in a good spot to keep the roll going as the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds in an NL Central tussle. The visitor's already weak lineup not only lost Jay Bruce but is taking a big park hit in PNC Park. This puts Taillon in play as a DFS cash or GPP option.

Pop quiz, what team leads the league in run scoring over the past month? If you guessed the Minnesota Twins, you've been paying excellent attention. If you knew that, you also are probably aware that Blake Snell enjoyed a stellar July, boasting a 2.76 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP, supported by a dominant 10.1 K/9. Something has to give in Tropicana Field on Friday night as one of the league's hottest offenses squares off with a pitcher on a roll. This makes Snell an intriguing GPP option for those looking to avoid dealing with Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and the white-hot Max Kepler.

Can a 24-year old have a revenge game in his third career start? Braden Shipley made his Arizona Diamondbacks debut against the Milwaukee Brewers and was lit up pretty good in Miller Park, giving up six runs and eight hits, including three homers in 5 1/3 innings. The rookie righty's second start was much better as he tossed six scoreless in Dodger Stadium. Now Shipley gets the Brewers again, this time in Chase Field, putting him in the mix for GPP play, facing a club that fans at a healthy 26 percent pace versus righties.

Streamers

As will be discussed in a bit, there's a litany of arms to avoid, which doesn't leave many streaming options meeting our unofficial criteria of checking in with a game score between 46 and 52 with less than 50 percent ownership in ESPN leagues. If there's someone that isn't discussed that piques your interest, please use the comments below and I'll help you out. Alternatively, shoot me a tweet to @ToddZola if the answer takes fewer than 140 characters.

Francisco Liriano sits exactly at 50 percent ownership so he makes the cut for his first outing with the Toronto Blue Jays. At home, the inconsistent lefty will be a huge risk, but on the road he'll often be in play. Friday presents such an opportunity as the lefty will take on the Kansas City Royals in Kauffman Stadium. It doesn't hurt that Liriano's mound foe is Dillon Gee so run support shouldn't be an issue.

Despite pitching well lately, Ervin Santana has not reaped the benefits of his club's new-found offensive prowess, at least not in terms of wins. Santana's draw isn't easy as he'll face Snell, but the Minnesota Twins' right-hander should rack up some whiffs without too much danger of a ratio blow-up.

Christian Friedrich is only owned in 3 percent of ESPN leagues so he's probably available for his Petco Park outing against the Philadelphia Phillies. Aaron Altherr has injected some life into Philly's lineup but overall, it's still a below-average unit.

Avoid

Our ranking system lands five pitchers as automatic sits as they have a game score 45 or below. It should be noted that one of the quintet is David Phelps, entering the Miami Marlins rotation to take the hill in Coors Field. That must have been an interesting conversation. "Phelps, come into my office, I have some good news and some bad news."

Despite scuffling lately, the Chicago Cubs should be able to get things in gear facing Dillon Overton in O. Co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics southpaw has surrendered nine homers in only 18 1/3 innings.

The Miami Marlins lineup might not be deep, but it's top-heavy enough to sit Jorge De La Rosa in Coors Field.

Hitting

For those of us who really enjoyed watching Tim Lincecum in his prime, it's painful to seeing him get battered with the Los Angeles Angels. The Seattle Mariners have a great chance to pad their hitting numbers with a tilt in Safeco Field. Anyone with a stick in their hands is a threat in the box against the current incarnation of Lincecum so don't get hung up on platoon splits. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager are the high-end options. Adam Lind, Seth Smith and Nori Aoki are down a level with Mike Zunino in play as well.

It's going to be hard to fade Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna as they'll face De La Rosa in Coors Field. Other Miami Marlins in play include Martin Prado, J.T. Realmuto and possibly Chris Johnson, who has been playing first base against southpaws.

Martin Perez has a tall task in store as he'll face the Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park. Righty swingers have been pulverizing Perez, putting George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa front and center among the top tier. This could be the setup Alex Bregman needs to jump-start his early malaise with Carlos Gomez, Evan Gattis and Tyler White in the mix as well.

The St. Louis Cardinals welcome Matt Carpenter back in their home affair with the Atlanta Braves in Busch Stadium. Joining Carpenter as solid choices against righty Joel De La Cruz are Brandon Moss who also has the platoon edge along with Stephen Piscotty and Matt Holliday, despite lacking the advantage. Lefty Greg Garcia has been playing regularly with Carpenter out, but he might be in the lineup, too.

Finally, the Toronto Blue Jays aren't as daunting outside of Rogers Centre. However, facing Dillon Gee and his 1.7 HR/9 are in play, despite a Kauffman Stadium affair. With so many other options, using a Jays mini-stack could be fruitful. Choose a couple from Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Saunders and Troy Tulowitzki, who returned to the lineup Thursday.

Most likely to hit a homer: Giancarlo Stanton

On a slate like this, perhaps we should be looking for the most likely to hit more than one homer. It's going to be fun watching Stanton take hacks in Coors, beginning Friday night against De La Rosa.

Most likely to steal a base: Cameron Maybin

Jon Lester gets a reprieve as there's no one on Oakland lined up to take advantage of his yips throwing to first. Instead, let's pick on another hurler who struggles keeping runners close and call on Maybin to do some running with Syndergaard toeing the Comerica Park rubber.