Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Friday's MLB games

Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades daily to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.

Note: This file has been updated with overnight pitching changes and weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.

What you need to know for Friday's MLB Games

By Todd Zola

  • The Chicago Cubs are home for the week, so you know what that means; the Friday slate gets underway at 2:20 p.m. ET at Wrigley Field. The Colorado Rockies are the opposition with German Marquez opposing Marcus Stroman in the series opener. Both hurlers have been off their game this season, Marquez moreso than Stroman. If you're looking for some action on the day's sole matinee, the Cubs hitters are the best options. That said, they're more speculative than solid plays, but head-to-head fantasy playoffs often require taking some chances. Zach McKinstry (less than 1% rostered in ESPN leagues) has been leading off against right-handers and will enjoy the platoon bump. Neither Franmil Reyes (55% rostered) nor Patrick Wisdom (34%) have gone deep in September, but both can leave the yard.

  • The news is bad for those needing a late week pitching boost. Looking ahead, there are a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday's docket, so you don't have to force a spot starter into your Friday fantasy lineup. That said, Jesus Luzardo (34%) is a strong option when the Miami Marlins visit the Washington Nationals. The southpaw will deal with a park downgrade, but the Nationals rank in the bottom third of the league in wOBA facing lefthanders.

  • Dustin May's rostership is a tick over the usual cutoff of 50% to be recommended as a streamer, but let's bend the rules to point out an important consideration when evaluating matchups down the stretch. May is the 10th-highest ranked pitcher on the slate for his road date with the San Francisco Giants. The question with May isn't about his ability to handle the Giants, but rather how long Dave Roberts will keep May in the game, especially since the Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched a playoff and appear to be a cinch to secure the top record in MLB. Chances are Roberts will use the remainder of the season to line up his rotation, along with giving position players a breather or two. However, May has only started four games, with only one outing extending more than five frames. At least for now, May isn't apt to have any restrictions, so he should be started with confidence.

  • With a paucity of starting pitching to add, pivoting to hitting could be the play. Streaming hitting at this point of the season is extra important since the free agent pool has options that would not be available earlier in the season. Depending on league rules, those eliminated from the playoff are restricted from making moves. Plus, unfortunately, the attention of many league managers has been shifted elsewhere. Your job is to take advantage. Here is a six-pack of batters with favorable matchups: Joey Wendle (10%) and Lewin Diaz (less than 1%) facing Josiah Gray, Wil Myers (6%) against Madison Bumgarner, Vaughn Grissom (56%) at home versus Ranger Suarez, Triston Casas (4%) facing Jonathan Heasley and Harold Ramirez (23%) against Martin Perez.

  • The other approach when starting pitching is lacking is being proactive and getting a jump on the players participating in Saturday's doubleheaders, especially closers. The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians get together for a pair, as do the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. Getting a jump on their available hitters can prove beneficial as well as trawling for saves. The Guardians' James Karinchak, Minnesota's Jorge Lopez and Jhoan Duran, plus the Reds' Alexis Diaz are the main targets, with Lopez and Diaz the best candidates to notch a save on Friday as well.

Starting pitcher rankings for Friday

Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday

Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing and lots more.

Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday

THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today

Prop of the Day

Taijuan Walker Pitching Outs: Over/Under 15.5 (+105/-150)


THE BAT sees Walker putting up 19.8 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 77.5% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $58.81.

Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.


  • THE BAT X projects Taijuan Walker to throw 105 pitches in this game (most of all pitchers on the slate), considering both his underlying tendencies and the matchup.

  • Cory Blaser grades out as a "pitchers umpire" and is expected to be in charge of the strike zone in this game.

  • This game projects for the fourth-best pitching weather of all games on the slate, as it relates to temperature and humidity.

  • Walker has a large reverse platoon split and should be aided by facing seven opposite-handed hitters today.


  • Citi Field grades out as the No. 6 stadium in Major League Baseball for walks, according to THE BAT projection system.