This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
An eight-game main slate awaits Saturday night, going off at 7:05 p.m. ET, where pitching choices seem paramount to success with a glaring lack of depth. Weather looks calm in the early stages of planning.
Clayton Kershaw ($10,600) leads the way Saturday. He not only impressed in his debut (six Ks, three hits and a win over 5.2 innings), he's a huge favorite against an always targeted Giants offense. That he went as long as he did in his debut bodes well for the floor here. Cash game players shouldn't bat an eye at this price, and it's manageable enough he can be considered for GPPs, especially given the other choices.
Chris Paddack ($9,100) was a late addition to the pitching mix, and gives the slate a second high-end option. He faces a Diamondbacks squad that he put up 40 FDP against in his first start. He hasn't been dominant, allowing five runs in his last 11.2 frames while striking out 15 across 17 innings, but he's worked at least five frames in all starts, earning two quality starts and the Padres are stable (-166) betting favorites. The floor appears stable.
I'm passing on Merrill Kelly ($8,500) as his ceiling looks to be a repeat of his last start (25 FDP vs. LAD), just under 3x value, in a difficult matchup against San Diego. Jake Odorizzi ($8,100) has a plus matchup against the Royals, but it's fair to question how long he'll be allowed to work in his first start of the season. Maybe that makes him a fair GPP target with low usage, but it's hard to see the upside. As such, the popular buy-down is going to be the Mets' David Peterson ($8,300) against the Marlins, an offense that has been far better than expected. He's fanned 11 in 11.2 innings, allowing 15 base runners. The appeal is obvious given the matchup name, and while I worry he may be too popular, the other options aren't ideal.
The third-to-bottom tier of arms doesn't appear too worthy of risking it for GPPers. If intent on paying down, Danny Duffy ($6,700) has strikeout upside (20.4 percent or better in four straight years), albeit against a Twins offense that's capable of going off at any point. Zack Godley ($7,200) feels overpriced even on this slate, but merits some eyes as he too has strikeout upside (over nine per nine innings in two of the last three seasons) in a seemingly better matchup with the Blue Jays. Finally, Anthony DeSclafani ($7,100) doesn't have the swing and miss upside, but a struggling Brewers offense suggests a stable floor.
Dodger bats against Johnny Cueto ($6,800) are clearly low-hanging fruit. But Cueto, somewhat surprisingly, held the Dodgers to one run across four innings in his season debut. I'm not suggesting staying away from the Dodgers, far from it honestly. But simply grabbing multiples of a struggling Cody Bellinger ($4,300), Mookie Betts ($4,000), Max Muncy ($3,700) and/or Corey Seager ($3,700) isn't automatic.
Fernando Tatis ($4,200) is approaching matchup proof status and comes at a decent discount amongst the top bats here. He's also two-for-five in his career against Kelly, with both of his hits clearing the fence.
Finally, the Rockies appear in a good spot despite a road contest in Seattle, facing Nick Margevicius ($6,500). Trevor Story ($4,000) and Nolan Arenado ($3,900) are priced nicely in this LvR matchup, and there isn't a clear third option for the Rockies in that setting, making a stack somewhat challenging.
Pete Alonso ($3,600) sits atop the price list for both his squad and the Marlins, but shockingly four Miami bats check in before the next Met, who continue to befuddle offensively. Michael Conforto ($2,900), Brandon Nimmo ($2,900) and Jeff McNeil ($2,600) are all in play if the Marlins settle on a right-handed starter.
Chase Anderson ($5,900) is making his season debut for the Jays, seemingly putting Red Sox lefties in a favorable spot at favorable prices; Rafael Devers ($3,400), Mitch Moreland ($3,00) and Andrew Benintendi ($2,500) are all underperforming their name recognition and could (finally) outperform their price.
Stacks to Consider
Castellani appears set to start in place of Chi Chi Gonzalez, who was equally as targetable, and still listed as starter at time of submission. It's unfortunate, as it won't lead to any less usage, but the Mariners appear poised to tee off regardless of the Rockies' starter. Castellani allowed an astonishing 2.91 HR/9 and 30.4 HR/FB rate last season...in Triple-A. There's no cost concerns with this Mariners stack, and the upside should be great even if it involves multiple at bats against the Rockies bullpen.
Castellanos is simply raking, and should be a popular stand alone target in a plus matchup against a lefty. Suarez presents in the exact opposite vein, as he's not swinging well but posted a .400 wOBA, 146 wRC+ and .293 ISO against lefties a year ago. Votto gets the third nod despite a LvL matchup, as he's flashed some resurgent power that appeared to evaporate over the previous few seasons. Truthfully, the Reds outfield presents a few options in Nick Senzel ($2,800), Phillip Ervin ($2,400) or Shogo Akiyama ($2,300), all of which are potential third options depending on the lineup card.