MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Papi, Thor may open weekend on strong note

Cano, Votto, Greinke could join pair as Friday's best performers

Papi, Thor may open weekend on strong note

Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.

The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Friday.

Jay Bruce: With notable career splits that include an .810 OPS against right-handers and a .714 mark vs. lefties, the outfielder could display his power when he bats at his hitter-friendly home park against Tyler Cravy (career 5.40 ERA, 1.59 WHIP). Bruce could also excel late in the game against a Brewers bullpen that ranks 26th in the Majors with a 4.91 ERA.

Joey Votto: With a .227/.330/.340 slash line this season, the first baseman -- who owns a lifetime .315/.432/.544 line against right-handers -- could have a reduced cost in DraftKings contests when he faces the inexperienced righty Cravy (career 48 1/3 innings) and a shaky Brewers bullpen. In his career, Peralta has allowed left-handed batters such as Votto to post an .814 OPS (.696 OPS allowed to righty batters). Also of note: Milwaukee ranks last in the Majors with a .658 defensive efficiency ratio.

Zinkie on waiver-wire pickups

Denard Span: Hitting leadoff, Span may maximize his chances to reach base and score runs against righty Chad Bettis (career 5.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) and a Rockies relief corps that ranks 29th in the Majors with a 4.99 ERA. The outfielder owns a lifetime .762 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .704 mark vs. lefties.

Matt Duffy: The third-year third baseman has logged a lifetime .752 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .677 mark vs. lefties. Duffy could drive in multiple runs when he tangles with the right-handed Bettis (career 4.33 FIP) and a shaky Rockies relief corps.

Adam Eaton: From his perch atop the lineup, the outfielder will be poised to reach base often and score multiple runs when he brings his lifetime .776 OPS against right-handers (.717 vs. lefties) into a matchup at his hitter-friendly home park with Twins righty Ricky Nolasco (career 4.53 ERA, 1.32 WHIP). As a big leaguer, Nolasco has allowed left-handed hitters such as Eaton to post a .790 OPS (.722 OPS allowed to righty batters).

Buy-low candidates

Mookie Betts: With four homers and six steals across 128 plate appearances this season, the leadoff hitter could help in multiple categories when he tangles with righty Michael Pineda (6.33 ERA, 1.59 WHIP in 2016) at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.

David Ortiz: Much of the slugger's prolific career numbers can be traced to his impressive lifetime .293/.397/.580 slash line against right-handers. Ortiz -- who has six homers and 22 RBIs across 90 at-bats this season -- could go deep when he faces the righty Pineda (career 1.1 HR/9 rate) at New York's homer-happy ballpark.

Seth Smith: Likely to hit out of a premium lineup spot, Smith could provide cost-effective production in DraftKings contests when he takes his lifetime .835 OPS against right-handers (.597 vs. lefties) into a matchup with Astros righty Doug Fister (4.28 ERA, 1.41 WHIP since the outset of 2015). Smith could also produce late in the game against a Houston bullpen that ranks 21st in baseball with a 4.09 ERA.

Robinson Cano: In his illustrious career, the second baseman has posted a difference-making .317/.365/.526 slash line against right-handers. Cano could provide great production from his hard-to-fill position when he faces the righty Fister (4.60 ERA, 1.43 WHIP in 2016) and a shaky Astros relief corps.

Zinkie on A-Rod's injury

Kyle Seager: Hitting .192 this season, the third baseman could have a reduced price tag in DraftKings contests when he bats against the righty Fister (5.28 FIP in 2016). As a big leaguer, Seager has posted a .794 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .699 mark vs. lefties. Also of note: Houston ranks 26th in baseball with a .668 defensive efficiency ratio.

Chris Carter: With balanced righty-lefty splits and 99 homers since the outset of 2013, the first baseman is a prime candidate to go deep when he bats at homer-happy Great American Ball Park against Tim Adleman (one career start) and a Reds relief corps that ranks last in baseball with a 6.44 ERA.

Ryan Braun: Hitting .374 with five homers and two steals across 102 plate appearances, Braun has been a notable contributor for many 2016 DraftKings squads. The outfielder could stuff the stat sheet when he brings his lifetime .296/.357/.520 slash line against right-handers into a matchup with the inexperienced Adleman, a righty, and a shaky Reds relief corps.

Chris Archer: With a 1.42 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP and a 10.0 K/9 rate across his past two starts, Archer -- who posted a 3.23 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and a 10.7 K/9 rate in 2015 -- has rebounded from a slow start to the season. The ace right-hander could spin a gem when he faces an Angels lineup that ranks 26th in the Majors with a .665 OPS against righties.

Taijuan Walker: Walker has taken a step forward this season, with a 1.80 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and a 29-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 30 innings. The right-hander could compile six-plus effective innings and a handful of whiffs when he faces an Astros lineup that leads the Majors with 272 strikeouts.

Noah Syndergaard: With a lifetime 3.11 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and a 10.4 K/9 rate, the right-hander has the skills to spin a gem when he works at pitcher-friendly Petco Park against a Padres lineup that ranks 29th in the Majors with a .618 OPS against righties. Having produced a 2.51 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a 12.2 K/9 rate in 2016, Syndergaard has made a major impact in recent DraftKings contests.

Syndergaard strikes out six

Zack Greinke: Having posted a 5.50 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP this season, the ace right-hander could have a reduced price tag in DraftKings contests when he works at pitcher-friendly Turner Field against a Braves lineup that ranks last in baseball in both OPS against righties (.615) and total home runs (six). Also of note: Atlanta ranks last in the Majors with a 7-20 record.

Wei-Yin Chen: Despite spending most of his career facing deep American League lineups and calling home to offense-inducing Camden Yards, Chen owns a solid lifetime 3.74 ERA. The left-hander could serve as a solid second starter in DraftKings contests when he works at his pitcher-friendly home venue against a Phillies lineup that ranks 29th in the Majors with a .569 OPS against southpaws.

All statistics are accurate through the completion of Wednesday's games.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.