The San Francisco Giants’ Madison Bumgarner is the highest-priced pitcher available on the DraftKings market for Friday, and he’s worth the selection at $11,100. It’s no secret that you need at least 25 points from your pitchers if you hope to win your contest.

With Bumgarner facing the Philadelphia Phillies, he seems to be the surest bet to reach the 25-point plateau of any starting pitcher in action.

The Phillies are 28th in runs scored and 23rd in team batting average on the season. Bumgarner is coming off a dreadful performance in his last start, but this is an opponent he can bounce back against. In his previous start against Philadelphia, Bumgarner wasn’t at his best, allowing five earned runs over eight innings, but he compiled 29.8 fantasy points thanks to 11 strikeouts.

Look for him to be even better this time around.


Collin McHugh ($8,700) at Tampa Bay Rays

A host of aces are on the mound Friday: The Phillies’ Cole Hamels opposes Bumgarner, and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Gerrit Cole goes against Lance Lynn and the St. Louis Cardinals. Those guys are decent options, but you should be a little gun-shy because each clearly has a tough counterpart to tangle with.

Preferably, you’d like to tab a pitcher who has a good chance to earn the winning decision in his game.

That leads me to the Houston Astros’ Collin McHugh. Houston visits the Tampa Bay Rays, and the home team will send Erasmo Ramirez to the mound. He’s been decent this season (7-3, 3.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP), but he’s a pitcher the Astros figure to have some success against.

On the season, Houston is sixth in the majors in home runs and slugging percentage against right-handed pitching. 

As far as McHugh goes, he too is coming off a bad start, but he managed at least 22 fantasy points in each of his three starts in 2015. He’s struggled to find consistency this season, but he has pitched well against the Rays in his career.

In two starts since 2012, McHugh has 12 strikeouts in just 11 innings pitched and has allowed just three earned runs. His DK salary will still leave room for position players, and he’s in line for a solid fantasy performance.


Alternative Picks

Mike Montgomery ($7,500) vs. Los Angeles Angels

After two straight herculean efforts, Seattle Mariners left-hander Mike Montgomery produced just 14.6 fantasy points against the Oakland A’s on July 5. Montgomery will need to hold down the Angels’ dynamic duo of Mike Trout and the resurgent Albert Pujols in this one.

Even with Trout and Pujols, the Angels are only 19th in the majors in hitting against lefties, and Pujols is hitting just .197 against southpaws. 

Montgomery would be a legit pick and a potentially huge bargain.


Gerrit Cole ($10,000) vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Having slowed down a bit since his hot start, Cole isn’t as automatic of a choice to land in the two pitching spots as he was early in the season. It also doesn’t help that he’s facing St. Louis. 

The Cards can be a scary bunch—especially with Kolten Wong back in the lineup. However, this is a big game, and guys like Cole get up for these contests. The Cards have yet to face Cole this season, a scenario that usually favors the pitcher.

Cole could have a huge game, but his salary investment almost mandates a 30-point performance to be worth the draft slot.


Danny Salazar ($8,900) vs. Oakland A’s

Having been a huge strikeout pitcher all season, Cleveland Indians starter Danny Salazar is always a tempting option when he starts. He has 108 strikeouts this season in just 90 innings pitched.

That said, he’s seen his ERA rise to 4.10, and just three of his last 10 starts have produced games with 20 or more fantasy points. Is he due for a big performance?

It’s possible. He’s been better at home than on the road. At Progressive Field, Salazar is averaging 20.6 fantasy points. On the road, he’s produced 19.4. 

You’ll have to choose between Salazar and McHugh for the second pitcher spot in your DK lineup.

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