Picking the right pitcher can either save your daily fantasy team or put it over the top in search of big money.

While there is a lot of uncertainty at this early part of the season, these players should exceed their value with big games Friday.


Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals ($9,100)

It’s always difficult to trust a pitcher like Gio Gonzalez, who has put together some outstanding seasons in his career but is always capable of exploding on the mound. Last year, he had four starts where he allowed five earned runs or more.

On the plus side, he can make up for it with a high strikeout rate. If he had pitched enough innings to qualify, Gonzalez would have ranked 12th in the majors last year with 9.19 strikeouts per nine innings.

Against an inferior Philadelphia Phillies lineup, the Nationals star should put together a solid outing with plenty of strikeouts. If things go well, he should also come through with a win.


Jonathon Niese, New York Mets ($7,500)

The Atlanta Braves are off to a better start than many anticipated thanks to a series sweep against the Miami Marlins. However, they are going to come back down to earth eventually, and that could happen Friday against Jonathon Niese. 

Niese finished last season with a 3.40 ERA, which matched his career best. Most importantly, the southpaw should have plenty of success against a lineup which relies heavily on left-handed hitters.

Between Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, Jace Peterson and others, the Braves will have to either adjust the lineup or end up with tough matchups as Niese gets the advantage.


Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners ($7,300)

Spring training doesn’t necessarily mean much, and the statistics that come out of it count for literally nothing. However, it’s hard to ignore what Taijuan Walker did during the exhibition season, as noted by Baseball Tonight

The 22-year-old pitcher is extremely talented and possesses the pure stuff that will allow him to shut down opposing lineups at this level. Although he has just eight starts in his career, the upside is too great to ignore.

In reality, there might not be too many chances to get Walker into your lineup for so cheap.


Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants ($7,600)

Although Tim Lincecum is not quite the pitcher he was earlier in his career, the 30-year-old starter is still a quality pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. He can also be extremely valuable when he faces the San Diego Padres.

Throughout his career, the former Cy Young winner has dominated the division rival, posting an 18-6 record with a 2.27 ERA. Last season, he finished with a 5-0 mark and a 1.40 ERA in six appearances against the Padres.

Petco Park is one of the most pitcher-friendly stadiums in the majors, and Lincecum should take advantage of it once again on Friday.


Jeff Locke, Pittsburgh Pirates ($5,700)

The Milwaukee Brewers have a solid lineup on paper, but it has struggled to start the season, producing just six runs in three games. This is a major reason why the club is 0-3 after the first series.

Although Jeff Locke isn’t going to blow people away with his pitches, he knows how to take advantage of matchups and keep opponents off base. Fantasy players should expect six or seven solid innings and a good chance of bringing home a win, which will be just fine for this price.


Note: All prices courtesy of DraftKings. Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of Baseball Reference. 

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