It’s a typical Friday across Major League Baseball, with the Cubs at home, and that means 14 night games and just one day game in Chicago. You can play an all-day game if you want the Cubs and Rockies lineups at your disposal, but for the first time all season it feels like we can take some time to think about our DFS lineups before finalizing them. Hopefully we can aid your thought process with the ultimate lineup for Friday.
Starting Pitcher: Zack Greinke ($10,000) @ San Diego and Joe Ross ($7,700) @ Philadelphia
Greinke’s Arizona tenure is off to a rough start—the veteran righty has surrendered 11 runs on 16 hits in 10 innings. In his defense, Greinke has seen two of the better offenses in the majors, and he won’t be the last pitcher this season to get roughed up by the Rockies and Cubs. Luckily, San Diego is on the opposite end of the spectrum, having already been shut out five times this year. In the seven games they’ve played this season that weren’t at Coors Field, the Padres have scored five total runs. This is a perfect opportunity for Greinke to get back on the right path.
Ross had an excellent 2016 debut, limiting the Marlins to one run on five hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking two. Tyson’s younger brother, the 22-year-old Ross could be one of the breakout players on the mound this season. The Phillies just took three of four from the hapless Padres, but they scored just eight runs in the process. At $7,700, Ross is a great, affordable complement to any of Friday’s big-name pitchers (Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, Madison Bumgarner, Greinke, Dallas Keuchel).
Catcher: Francisco Cervelli ($3,000) vs. Milwaukee, Jimmy Nelson
Cervelli is hitting everything in sight during the season’s first two weeks, going 10-for-27 with seven walks in his first eight games. It’s hard to figure why he’s one of the cheapest catchers on the board, but we don’t need to explain it. We just need to be ready to exploit it. Nelson is off to a fine start this year, but he’s not the sort of pitcher who makes opposing hitters sound the alarm bells. Given the price tag, Cervelli is one of the best dollar-for-dollar plays on Friday.
First base: Paul Goldschmidt ($4,600) @ San Diego, James Shields
Whether it’s the matchup, the location, or a combination of the two, Goldschmidt is at a discounted $4,600 on Friday. No matchup or location should ever make him just the sixth most expensive first baseman. Neither Shields nor Petco Park can slow down one of the best hitters in the league. The fact that we’re getting him at $300 to $500 off his typical price only sweetens the deal. With apologies to David Ortiz and Edwin Encarnacion, Goldschmidt is the obvious choice at first base on Friday.
Second base: Jose Altuve ($4,900) vs. Detroit, Mike Pelfrey
Only under special circumstances do I have a second baseman as a key lineup piece. Today the special circumstance is Mike Pelfrey. The Detroit starter allowed six runs on eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings in his first start of the season, and hasn’t had an ERA better than 4.26 over a full season since 2010. Houston is the best stack on the board Friday, and Altuve should be a big part of it. He’s 13-for-41 with three homers on the year, showing that last year’s boost in power was not a mirage.
Third base: Manny Machado ($4,400) @ Texas, Martin Perez
Friday must be some sort of unofficial “Discount Superstars for Dubious Reasons” Day. First Goldschmidt, and now Machado. The Baltimore third baseman leads the majors with 16 hits, six of which have gone for extra bases. There’s seemingly no reason for him to be priced in the mid-$4,000s, behind the likes of David Wright, Matt Carpenter and Tyler White. Perez, he of the career 4.19 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, has surrendered five runs on nine hits in 12 1/3 innings this year. If that weren’t enough, Machado gets the platoon advantage.
Shortstop: Carlos Correa ($5,000) vs. Detroit, Mike Pelfrey
Here’s the second and final member of our Houston mini-stack. The first two weeks of Correa’s sophomore season have gone exactly as you’d expect if you watched any of his rookie campaign. The 21-year-old is 12-for-39 with three homers, seven RBI, three walks and two steals. The team as a whole has endured a poor start, but Correa cannot be held at fault. Pelfrey has no chance against this lineup, and that’s reflected in the fact that the three big names in it—Altuve, Correa and George Springer—all cost at least $4,900.
Outfield: Randal Grichuk ($3,600) vs. Cincinnati, Tim Melville; Nomar Mazara ($3,300) vs. Baltimore, Vance Worley; David Peralta ($3,300) @ San Diego, James Shields
After getting off to a slow start this year, Grichuk has started to rake, as expected. In his last four games, he’s 5-for-10 with a homer, two doubles, six walks and five RBI. He fanned eight times in his first four games, and has done so just twice since. Mazara remains a fixture in the ultimate lineup at $3,300. After his first hitless game in the majors, he bounced back with a 2-for-4 effort, plating one with a double and scoring a run of his own. Finally, Peralta has already racked up five doubles and a triple in 40 plate appearances this season. It’s only a matter of time before some of those start turning into homers. At $3,300, he’s wildly affordable, and gives us a mini-stack with Goldschmidt.