A ton of aces will be on the mound on Friday, thus your DraftKings contests may be won and lost on the mound. You obviously get to pick two hurlers, but in case you need options, here’s a list of the top five who figure to score big.


Matt Harvey ($11,000) at Philadelphia Phillies

The New York Mets’ Matt Harvey has returned from injury this season and looked like a true Cy Young candidate. On Friday he will face a Philadelphia Phillies team that is last in the major leagues in runs scored, 27th in batting average and 29th in on-base percentage. Just about any pitcher would be a smart play against them.

Harvey is 5-0 with a 2.41 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched, so he becomes even more of a no-brainer selection.

His season has Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez singing his praises. In an interview promoting his new book Pedro, (h/t Ricky Doyle of NESN.com) the three-time Cy Young Award winner talked about Harvey’s high ceiling: “I think that he has more talent than I do, and he has better chances to do better than I did.” 

Harvey’s salary is $11,000, but it’s hard to imagine it not being worth it on Friday.


Sonny Gray ($9,800) at Seattle Mariners

Oakland Athletics hurler Sonny Gray has easily been one of the most dominant pitchers in the game this season. He’s 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA and an 0.95 WHIP with 35 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched.

He’s allowed more than two runs in just one of his six starts.

On Friday, he faces a struggling Seattle Mariners offense that ranks 25th in runs scored and 23rd in hitting. Oddly enough, the Mariners are also 25th in runs scored and 26th in batting average against right-handed pitchers. The only thing that makes Harvey a better play than Gray is the former’s higher percentage of strikeouts.

However, if you want to save some virtual cash, Gray could have more value at $1,200 less than the Mets’ ace.


James Shields ($8,800) at Arizona Diamondbacks

Coming into Friday’s start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, James Shields is fourth in the majors with 48 strikeouts in just 36.1 innings pitched. While he’s 3-0 with a 3.72 ERA, his strikeout total and average of six innings pitched per start makes him a solid fantasy performer even in defeat.

Shields’ counterpart Jeremy Hellickson has struggled mightily this season to the tune of a 5.21 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. This just seems like a game that Shields and the San Diego Padres can win even if he doesn’t have his best stuff.


Michael Wacha ($8,300) at Pittsburgh Pirates

You’re not going to get a ton of strikeouts from Michael Wacha (18 in 32 innings pitched), but he has still eaten up innings and kept opponents off the scoreboard for the most part. He’s 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.

He’s drawing a favorable matchup as well with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs are 26th in runs scored and hitting, and 28th in on-base percentage. Against a red-hot St. Louis Cardinals team that has won nine of its last 10—and with Wacha on the mound—the Pirates are good marks for a studly fantasy performance.


David Price ($10,400) vs. Kansas City Royals

If recent outings against an opponent matter at all, David Price has had a noticeable edge over the Kansas City Royals. In his last start he threw a complete game and allowed just one run on five hits against Kansas City.

Price’s success hasn’t been confined to games against the Royals. On the season he’s 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA. He has struck out 32 batters in 34 innings pitched. The only reason he isn’t ranked higher on this list is because of his high salary and the Royals’ offensive prowess.

K.C. is the top-hitting team in MLB with an average of .290. Take that into consideration before you pick Price. 

Stats per ESPN.com.

DraftKings salaries per DraftKings.com.

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