It’s a glorious time of year for sports fans. The NBA playoffs are right around the corner, the Masters is in full swing, and MLB Opening Day is here. A few teams got their season underway on Thursday, but a host of other teams will make their debut on Friday. That includes a five-game Yahoo MLB DFS main slate, which gets underway on Yahoo at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Friday also features the second round of the MLB Yahoo Cup. If you haven’t heard of the MLB Yahoo Cup, you’re in for a real treat. It’s a free-to-enter MLB DFS contest featuring 27 weekly rounds, where the top 1,075 overall entries and the top 70 entries per round share $10,000. First place at the end of the year takes home $1,000, while the winner of each individual slate grabs $50. Scoring will be cumulative across all rounds, with your seven lowest scores dropped at the end. You may join this multi-round Yahoo MLB DFS contest at any point, but enter today to give yourself the best chance to take home the title. Get started making your MLB DFS picks for this Yahoo Fantasy Baseball contest!
Let’s focus on three players – one pitcher, one infielder, and one outfielder – for Friday’s MLB Yahoo Cup contest.
MLB DFS Yahoo Cup Fantasy Baseball Picks | Round 2
Best MLB DFS Pitcher: Max Scherzer – $50
There are a few strong options to consider on Friday’s five-game slate, but it’s tough to argue against Scherzer. Scherzer picked up a hamstring injury at the end of Spring Training, which allowed Tylor Megill to take the bump in the first game of the year. However, Scherzer reportedly “completed his fielding drills with ease” on Thursday, so it’s all systems go for a road matchup against his former squad.
Scherzer was as dominant as ever over 30 starts last season, pitching to a sparkling 2.46 ERA and 2.97 FIP. He also remains one of the best strikeout pitchers in the league, racking up an average of 11.84 per nine innings. It’s possible he will start to show a bit of decline in his age-37 season, but there’s no reason to be concerned against the Nationals. Their offense figures to be one of the worst in baseball this season. They do have an MVP-caliber player in Juan Soto, but he has minimal protection around him in the lineup. Soto went yard off reliever Trevor May on Thursday, but that was the only offense the Nationals could muster.
Finally, Scherzer is also one of the few pitchers in baseball who can command a sizable workload in his first start of the year. He’s already gone a full six innings in Spring Training, so he could be asked to go at least that deep on Friday. Overall, his combination of safety and upside makes him the clear top choice at pitcher.
Best MLB DFS Infielder: Yuli Gurriel – $11
Paying up for Scherzer at one of the pitcher spots makes it necessary to save some money elsewhere. Luckily, Gurriel checks in at a very affordable $11 in an excellent spot. The Astros will be taking on left-hander Reid Detmers, who got his first taste of major league action last season. He made five starts for the Angels and struggled to a 7.40 ERA and 6.36 FIP over 20 2/3 innings.
Gurriel is a much better hitter than his current salary indicates, particularly against southpaws. He crushed left-handers to the tune of a 152 wRC+ last season, and he displayed far more power in that split. He had eight homers in just 181 at bats against left-handers last year, compared to seven homers over 349 at bats against right-handers. The Astros wore out left-handed pitching in general last year, ranking first in the league in wRC+. That should make them a popular stacking target, but Gurriel is worth considering even as a standalone option.
Best MLB DFS Outfielder: Brandon Nimmo – $11
Nimmo is also priced at $11 on Yahoo, and that price is simply too cheap if he’s in the lineup. Nimmo did miss the Mets’ first game of the year with a neck injury, but he hasn’t been placed on the IL. There’s a chance he will return to the lineup on Friday, and if he does, expect him to occupy his usual leadoff spot in the lineup.
Targeting cheap leadoff hitters is almost always a good strategy in MLB DFS. Not only does their spot in the lineup give them the greatest chance at five or more at-bats, but leadoff hitters are also typically among the team leaders in runs scored. If they can get on base, there’s a good chance one of the big hitters can bring them around.
The Mets offense has the potential for a strong out Friday against right-hander Josiah Gray. Gray was one of the centerpieces of the deal that sent Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers last season, and he’s considered a promising prospect. That said, he did not live up to expectations in his first taste of major league action. He struggled with both walks and homers last year, culminating in a 5.48 ERA and 6.00 FIP. He’ll probably improve in his first full MLB season, but the Mets offense is scary. Owner Steve Cohen spent money like it had an expiration date this offseason, and on paper they should be one of the best offenses in baseball.
If Nimmo is out, then Dominic Smith ($7) is a candidate to draw the start in left field. He only has first base eligibility on Yahoo, but he’d be a steal at that price tag. Smith had a disappointing year in 2021, but he torched right-handers to the tune of a 174 wRC+ in 2020. Whether it’s Nimmo or Smith, there’s value to be had with the Mets left-handed batters.
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