This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A nearly-full 13 game slate awaits Friday evening with first pitch at 7:05 pm ET. Only the Orioles, Nationals, Yankees and Rays are omitted from the deepest card we've seen in a while. Keep an eye on weather close to the lock, with D.C., Philly and New York posing potential threats.
Trevor Bauer ($11,400) is the clear top option, but is close to pricing himself out of even cash lineups. He's been fantastic, fanning 20 over 13.1 innings, but they've all come against the Tigers. Friday's matchup is with a slow starting, bigger named, statistically worse Brewers lineup. Certainly not a spot to fade Bauer, but maybe not one we fully endorse either.
The mid-tier presents a couple of seemingly obvious options. Julio Urias ($8,100) will be very popular against a Giants side with the Dodgers coming in as huge (-250) favorites. He's turned in one quality start in two tries, but the Ks haven't been huge (eight in 11 frames), and the Giants haven't been as awful as expected, ranking 14th with a .316 wOBA over 132 plate appearances. There appears a stable cash floor, but it could also be a lazy play to chase a win. Matthew Boyd ($7,900) presents eerily similarly. The Pirates are usually an offense DFS managers don't fear, but the Bucs rank seventh against lefties with a .357 wOBA, and fan only 16.4 percent of the time. A less obvious GPP pivot could be Jon Lester ($8,300), who has allowed only one run over 11 innings in his first two starts. The Cardinals did hit Lester well in 2019, but they had a league-worst .217 wOBA against lefties before being quarantined for over a week. Timing should be an issue in their first game back.
The sub-7k arms largely appear worth attacking with offenses, so if paying down for arms is the goal, Anthony Senzatella ($7,500), Sandy Alcantara (unlisted) or Griffin Canning ($7,200) can work. Senzatella has allowed only three runs in 11 innings, including one run in six innings at home against a sound Padres offense. Alcantara wasn't listed in the player pool at time of submission, and certainly will be overlooked, assuming confirmed, against a moderate Mets lineup that fans 23.1 percent of the time against righties while posting a middling .315 wOBA. Canning may be my preferred cheap GPP arm. He brings a 26.7 percent K rate into Friday, and is coming off of a start where he held a better Astros offense to one run over six frames.
Mike Trout ($4,500) didn't homer Thursday, but still launched three in three games in his return from the paternity list, suggesting he's worth the price as a cash anchor.
Jeff Samardjiza ($6,000) has allowed 10 runs over 9.2 frames, so it's all system's go with Dodger bats. It's been same-handed sticks that have plagued Samardjiza in the early going, allowing a .409 wOBA in that spot, making Mookie Betts ($4,200, finger) and/or Justin Turner ($3,200) perhaps less obvious choices behind Cody Bellinger ($4,300), Max Muncy ($3,900) or the surging Corey Seager ($3,700).
Arizona's Luke Weaver ($6,600) has allowed 12 runs, 14 hits and five runs over just 7.1 inning, with half of that coming at the hands of the Padres in his first start. Fernando Tatis ($4,200) makes a lot of sense as an anchor, and had a triple and three RBI in this earlier meeting, while a surging Wil Myers ($3,100) offers value and allows for a GPP stack with Tatis and power-dependent Manny Machado ($3,200).
Minnesota bats against Jakob Junis ($6,500) appear to be another low hanging fruit. Nelson Cruz ($4,100) has cooled in the power department since a torrid first three games, but he's still hit safely in eight straight. Junis allowed a 44.4 percent hard hit rate to lefties, and assuming he works deeper into the contest in his second start, Max Kepler ($3,700), Eddie Rosario ($3,100) and Jorge Polanco ($3,000) all figure to get at least two cracks at him.
This slate has is deep with better offensives facing bad pitching, so it's an imperfect science of which section each of those offenses should be featured. What we want to emphasize here are cheaper options that can be lineup fill ins, or secondary stacks on the cheap.
Eyes can start with the Marlins-Mets matchup, where while I like Alcantara on the bump, the most expensive bats is Pete Alonso at a mere ($3,300). Even more overlooked figures to be Marlins top bats against Michael Wacha ($7,600), who has a skewed price based on his opening outing. He had a 5.61 FIP last season, and has been vulnerable to same-handed bats, surrendering a .419 wOBA in the early going after a .371 wOBA last year. Enter Brian Anderson ($3,100) and Jesus Aguilar ($3,100).
Arizona bats are another spot to look for value against Zach Davies ($6,000), who doesn't miss many bats. We can look at hot bats like David Peralta ($3,000, five hits in 10 at bats), Starling Marte ($3,300, 7-for-15 in his last five), or Christian Walker ($2,900), who has hit safely in 10 of 12, failing to reach 9.2 FDP just three times, all of which can safely round out lineups.
Ryan Weber ($5,500) has allowed nine runs and 10 hits in seven innings to date, but it hasn't been easy to trust the Jays' offense yet. Bo Bichette ($3,200) seemed to come alive in Atlanta this week however, hits atop the order and checks in 10th amongst shortstops in pricing.
Stacks to Consider
We want to target left-handed bats against Cease, who allowed a .380 wOBA and 2.3 HR/9 against them last year, and the Indians lineup has no shortage of opposite-handed options. Adding Zimmer not only saves funds, but he took Cease deep in the pitcher's first start of the season, and sets up a potential back-end stack, likely hitting out of the nine-hole with Ramirez second and Lindor third, with the latter having also homered against Cease earlier this year.
Acuna and Freeman appear to be waking up, but both also seem a bit overpriced compared to season long production, so while the cost isn't ideal, maybe it leads to lower usage. Velasquez was pelted out of the gates before a team shutdown, allowing two homers in three innings to the Marlins, on the heels of a 4.75 xFIP 2019 year. He allowed a .349 wOBA to righties and .340 to lefties last year, so we'll take our chances with the top third of a Braves' order that's proven capable of double-digit run production.