Monkey Knife Fight Picks: Home Run Derby MLB DFS Picks for Friday

MLB Preview and DFS Picks

Every week, Scott Cullen checks in with MLB Home Run Derby picks on Monkey Knife Fight.

This week, it looks like a relatively strong group of starting pitchers, so it might be even harder than usual to find Friday’s home run hitters. 

  • Texas’ Mike Foltynewicz (2.09 HR/9), Toronto’s Robbie Ray (2.02 HR/9), Philadelphia’s Vince Velasquez (1.85 HR/9), Baltimore’s Bruce Zimmermann (1.81 HR/9), and the Yankees’ Jameson Taillon (1.69 HR/9) are the Friday starting pitchers that have been most susceptible to the home run ball in 2021.

  • Among Friday’s probable starters, Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes (0.28 HR/9), the Cubs’ Zach Davies (0.53 HR/9), St. Louis’ Carlos Martinez (0.55 HR/9), and Detroit’s Jose Urena (0.59 HR/9) are the pitchers with the lowest home run rates allowed this season:

Reminder: For any MKF Home Run Derby contest of $5 or more, if all three of your selections hit home runs, you share in the $5,000 prize pot which has rolled over from last week.

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Here are some Monkey Knife Fight picks to keep in mind when playing Fantasy Baseball on MKF for their Home Run Derby Friday.


Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto

Leading the American League with 22 home runs, Vladdy goes against the Baltimore Orioles, with left-hander Bruce Zimmermann on the bump. Guerrero has six home runs in 15 games this month.


Matt Olson, Oakland

The A’s first baseman is up to 18 home runs on the season and goes against the New York Yankees, with Jameson Taillon on the mound. Taillon has been hittable this season, allowing 10 home runs in 53 1/3 innings.

Nolan Arenado, St. Louis

Apparently, the Cardinals' third baseman can still hit, even though he’s not playing home games in Colorado anymore. Arenado has a dozen home runs and that includes four in 48 plate appearances against left-handed pitching.


Some others to consider in the main games: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland (at Pittsburgh, Chad Kuhl); Bo Bichette, Toronto (at Baltimore, Bruce Zimmermann); Trea Turner, Washington (vs. N.Y. Mets, Joey Lucchesi)



Nelson Cruz, Minnesota

The most prolific home run hitter in the game in the past decade going against the starting pitcher with the highest home run rate among Friday’s starters? That matchup works and Cruz has one home run in three plate appearances against Rangers starter Mike Foltynewicz.

Rafael Devers, Boston

Boston’s third baseman has legit power, with 16 home runs, and may get a shot at Royals rookie Jackson Kowar, who has not allowed a home run in two starts but he has been hit hard, allowing eight earned runs in just two innings.

Avisail Garcia, Milwaukee

The most dangerous home run threat for the Brewers, with 13 home runs, Garcia is worth a look in Colorado, even if the Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela does not typically surrender a lot of home runs.


Some others to consider in the late games: Daniel Vogelbach, Milwaukee (at Colorado, Antonio Senzatela); Josh Donaldson, Minnesota (at Texas, Mike Foltynewicz); Adolis Garcia, Texas (vs. Minnesota, Jose Berrios)



Justin Turner, Los Angeles

The Dodgers' third baseman is up to a dozen home runs and with Max Muncy on the injured list, that leaves Turner as the Dodgers player with the most home runs this season. He gets a crack at the Arizona Diamondbacks, with Caleb Smith on the bump, and Smith led the National League with 33 home runs allowed in 2019.

Brandon Crawford, San Francisco

I’m not even sure I can explain what is going on with Crawford this season, as the Giants’ 34-year-old shortstop has already hit 15 home runs, the second-highest total of his career, and he also gets to face the Philadelphia Phillies and Vince Velasquez, who does tend to give up the long ball.

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego

San Diego’s star shortstop has 21 home runs in 53 games and is facing Cincinnati Reds starter Tony Santillan, a quality prospect who is making his second major league start.


Some others to consider in the night games: Brandon Belt, San Francisco (vs. Philadelphia, Vince Velasquez); Jesse Winker, Cincinnati (at San Diego, Chris Paddack); Mitch Haniger, Seattle (vs. Tampa Bay, Michael Wacha)


*The contests listed in this article are subject to change leading up to the opening pitch of each respective game*


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Scott Cullen

Scott is a sportswriter with a focus on analytics, rankings, fantasy. Even though he’s Canadian, his interests and analysis extend a wee bit beyond hockey and maple syrup. Eh?