MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Rizzo, J-Hey, Arrieta may open weekend hot

Kipnis, Granderson, Nola could join trio as Friday's top stars

Rizzo, J-Hey, Arrieta may open weekend hot

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.

Jason Kipnis: Hitting out of a premium lineup spot, the second baseman could reach base often or score multiple runs when he brings his lifetime .814 OPS against right-handers (.655 vs. lefties) into a matchup with Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz (6.11 ERA, 1.47 WHIP in 2016).

Odubel Herrera: Herrera has logged a lifetime .820 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .725 mark vs. lefties. The second-year outfielder could reach base often when he faces Braves righty Matt Wisler, who in his career has allowed left-handed hitters such as Herrera to post an .870 OPS (.646 OPS allowed to righty batters). He could also swipe a base against A.J. Pierzynski, who has allowed more steals than all but four catchers in 2016.

Herrera's four-hit game

Ryan Howard: With eight homers across 113 at-bats this season, the left-handed-hitting first baseman is a candidate to rip a round-tripper when he bats at his hitter-friendly home park against the right-handed Wisler (career 4.22 ERA, 1.2 HR/9 rate). In his career, Howard has posted a .932 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .713 mark vs. lefties.

Gregory Polanco: The outfielder has produced notable career splits, with a .773 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .538 mark vs. lefties. Polanco could have an outstanding game when he faces righty Eddie Butler (career 5.83 ERA, 1.71 WHIP) and a Rockies relief corps that ranks 25th in the Majors with a 4.37 ERA.

John Jaso: Hitting leadoff, the first baseman may maximize his opportunities to reach base and score runs at the expense of the righty Butler and an unreliable Rockies bullpen. In his career, Butler has allowed left-handed hitters such as Jaso to post a 1.068 OPS (.797 OPS allowed to righty batters).

Curtis Granderson: As a big leaguer, Granderson has produced an .858 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .695 mark vs. lefties. The outfielder could reach base often or score multiple runs when he faces Brewers righty Wily Peralta, who has a 7.30 ERA and a 1.99 WHIP this season.

Granderson's leadoff homer

Michael Conforto: Since debuting on July 24, 2015, the outfielder has posted a .930 OPS against right-handers that greatly exceeds his .380 mark vs. lefties. Conforto could thrive against the righty Peralta (career 4.26 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) and a Brewers bullpen that ranks 23rd in the Majors with a 4.03 ERA.

Neil Walker: With 10 homers across 134 at-bats, the second baseman has been among the most powerful players at his premium position this season. Walker could have a great game when he brings his lifetime .799 OPS against right-handers (.667 vs. lefties) into a matchup with the struggling righty Peralta (5.64 FIP in 2016) and an unreliable Brewers relief corps.

Jason Heyward: The outfielder has long fared best vs. right-handers, against whom he owns a lifetime .828 OPS (.659 vs. lefties). Hitting out of the No. 2 spot in a talent-laden Cubs lineup, Heyward could excel in a matchup with righty Jake Peavy, who has a 7.43 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP this season.

Addison Russell: The second-year shortstop has registered pronounced career splits, with a .759 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .565 mark vs. lefties. Russell could provide production at a premium position when he faces the slumping righty Peavy (4.84 FIP in 2016).

Zinkie on waiver-wire options

Anthony Rizzo: With 42 homers, 135 RBIs and 19 steals since the outset of 2015, the first baseman has emerged as arguably the most versatile offensive player at his position. Rizzo could contribute in multiple ways when he brings his lifetime .862 OPS against right-handers (.756 vs. lefties) into a matchup with the right-handed Peavy and a Giants squad that ranks 28th in the Majors with a .671 defensive efficiency ratio.

Danny Valencia: With six homers across 23 at-bats since May 13, the third baseman is one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Valencia could continue to rake when he brings his lifetime .882 OPS against left-handers (.672 vs. righties) into a matchup with Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia (4.75 ERA, 1.41 WHIP since the outset of 2013).

Marcus Semien: Having ripped 10 round-trippers across 130 at-bats, the shortstop has been one of the most powerful players at his premium position this season. With a lifetime .839 OPS against left-handers that exceeds his .661 mark vs. righties, Semien could have an excellent game when he tangles with the southpaw Sabathia (1.55 WHIP in 2016).

Jason Castro: Hitting .223 this season, the catcher could provide cost-effective production at a premium position when he faces Rangers righty Colby Lewis (career 4.73 ERA, 1.36 WHIP). As a big leaguer, Castro has produced a .761 OPS against right-handers in comparison to a .537 mark vs. lefties.

Hisashi Iwakuma: With strong overall career stats (3.25 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) but less-than-ideal numbers of late (4.38 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in '16), the right-hander could have a reduced DraftKings price tag for his matchup with the Reds. Of note: Cincinnati ranks 27th in baseball with a .677 OPS against righties.

Jake Arrieta: With a 0.75 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP across 20 starts since Aug. 4, 2015, the right-hander is arguably the most effective pitcher in baseball. Arrieta could post a game-changing total in DraftKings contests when he plies his trade at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park in a seemingly advantageous matchup against Peavy and the Giants.

Zinkie on Dyson becoming closer

Aaron Nola: With a 2.89 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP this season, the right-hander is emerging as one of the most effective starters in the National League. Nola could compile six-plus effective innings against a Braves lineup that ranks 29th in the Majors in OPS against righties (.649) and last in total home runs (14). Also of note: Atlanta ranks last in the Senior Circuit with a 10-29 record.

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.