This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Friday brings a wild evening slate in DraftKings that will consist of 13 games. With so many options to wade through, let's get right down to business and highlight some players with favorable matchups to consider when adding to your entries.
You can almost set your watch by Clayton Kershaw ($10,000). He's been a model of consistency with his only real blemish being that he hasn't started at least 30 games in a season since 2015. However, since then, he's never had an ERA above 3.03 or a WHIP above 1.04. He's off to a similar start this season with a 2.62 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. There's a chance he dominates a Marlins lineup that entered Thursday with the eighth-worst OPS in baseball.
Another pitcher who is off to a great start is Aaron Civale ($9,300), who has already racked up five wins. He's done so on the strength of a 2.91 ERA, although his 4.11 FIP indicates some regression could be coming. He has been aided by two of his starts coming against the Tigers, who have the worst OPS in baseball. In those two outings, he allowed four runs and recorded 12 strikeouts across 14.2 innings. Another favorable matchup is ahead of him Friday, with the Mariners recording the second-worst OPS in baseball.
The Cubs are expected to receive some reinforcements for their starting rotation with Jake Arrieta ($6,400) set to be activated from the IL. He missed just two weeks with his thumb injury, so he likely won't be on a pitch limit. Surprisingly, he had allowed two runs or fewer in four of his six starts prior to the injury. That will likely be a difficult feat for him to continue given that he's had a WHIP of at least 1.47 in back-to-back seasons, but a matchup against the aforementioned offensively challenged Tigers still makes him someone to consider.
Has it all clicked for Vladimir Guerrero ($5,700)? After two less-than-stellar seasons to begin his career, the former top prospect has stormed out of the gate with a .427 wOBA and a .246 ISO entering Thursday. He's shown an incredible eye at the plate, drawing 25 walks compared to 25 strikeouts. Expect him to be a tough out for Vince Velasquez ($6,800), who has followed up his 1.56 WHIP last season with a 1.48 WHIP through his first seven appearances.
With injuries hitting their starting rotation, the Diamondbacks are expected to turn to Riley Smith ($6,200) to start against the Nationals. He has a 1.50 WHIP through his first seven appearances, four of which were starts. He also has just 12 strikeouts across 26 innings. That could spell trouble against Juan Soto ($5,400).
Alex Verdugo ($3,900) played well during his first season in Boston, posting a .169 ISO and a .362 wOBA. He's doing much of the same this season, entering Thursday with a .157 ISO and a .347 wOBA. At this reasonable salary, he's someone to consider against Griffin Canning ($5,900), who has a 4.48 ERA and a 4.44 FIP for his career.
Going back to the Nationals matchup with Smith, Kyle Schwarber ($3,700) is someone to have on your radar if you don't want to pay the hefty salary that comes with Soto. After getting off to a slow start, he's started to heat up in the power department, hitting two home runs and two doubles over his last seven games.
Stacks to Consider
Talk about a lack of control. Marquez has a bloated 13.3 percent walk rate, which has left him with a 1.65 WHIP. That's an even more troublesome stat for a pitcher who plays his home games at Coors Field. His 5.49 ERA will likely improve given his 4.22 FIP, but this is still an excellent opportunity to stack the Reds. Marquez's lack of control could be a problem against Winker, who entered Thursday with a .431 OBP and a mere 20.3 percent strikeout rate.
The Orioles continue to search for viable starting pitching options, but are struggling to piece together their rotation. Kremer has been a disaster, posting a 6.23 ERA and a 5.21 FIP. He has a 1.54 WHIP and has allowed 2.1 HR/9, which is a recipe for disaster against the Yankees. He's already faced them twice this season, allowing nine runs and three home runs across 7.1 innings. Stanton could be the key to any Yankees stack with how hot he's been and Urshela is someone to consider at a cheaper salary given his 128 wRC+ entering Thursday.
Benjamin is expected to be recalled from the minors to make this start, which will be his first of the season. He did make three appearances earlier out of the bullpen, allowing three runs across 5.2 innings. He struggled in limiting innings with the Rangers last season, which came on the heels of him recording a 5.52 ERA and 5.64 FIP at Triple-A in 2019. Bregman stands out as someone to build an Astros stack around given his career 171 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.