This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
We found some success Friday evening, which happens from time to time! I finished 12th in a small GPP, so let's see if we can keep it going. Saturday's main slate goes off at what's becoming tradition at 4:00 p.m. EDT, but this week only includes six games. All 12 teams have listed pitchers, three of which are coming in at 10K or greater, with nothing in the 9k tier. Bats aren't exactly priced down given the smaller player pool, so it's a difficult slate to fit in expensive pitching and top tier offense.
All three of the top arms have plus matchups on paper, but it seems obvious you want to force Justin Verlander ($11,100) into your lineups if at all possible against lowly Oakland and their league worst .261 wOBA against righties. I'll implore caution when thinking Max Fried ($10,700) is a smash option and contrarian to Verlander. Since 2021, he's allowed 22 runs across 39.2 innings against the Nationals, allowing 49 hits in the process.
The middle tier offers plenty of intrigue. Cal Quantrill ($8,500) is a low upside, stable floor option against always targetable Detroit. Max Meyer ($8,100) is a fun unknown, making his Major League debut against Philadelphia, but the upside play for me is his adversary, Ranger Suarez ($8,300). He had gone for 29 or more FanDuel points (FDP) in four of his last five starts before being shut down due to a back issue, but doesn't seem likely to be limited Saturday. He faces a Marlins side that fans a whopping 27.9 percent of the time against lefties while posting a league-low .271 wOBA and 76 wRC+.
The pay down options aren't plentiful, and obviously flawed. Michael Pineda ($6,800) doesn't miss bats, but that seemingly doesn't matter against a Guardians lineup that doesn't strike out much either. He's successfully limited damage, and while he won't likely work more than five frames, he should flirt with a 3x return. Paolo Espino ($5,700) has soft tossed his way into double-digit points in five of his last six. Incredibly low upside here, as four innings may be the max, and we'll surely target Atlanta bats below, but there's something to be said for 15 to 20 FDP here and a stacked offense.
With three more homers Friday, Atlanta now has 29 in 11 games against Washington. Austin Riley ($4,300) has five in his last seven games, is riding an 11-game hitting streak and is 5-for-11 off of Espino with a long ball. Matt Olson ($3,700) saw a three-game homer streak snapped last night, but has posted at least 18.7 FDP in four straight.
The other very obvious spot for bat is Houston against lefty Jared Koenig. The presence of the southpaw puts Jose Altuve ($3,900) at the top of lists, assuming he plays. His splits are simply incredible, posting a .467 wOBA, 215 wRC+ and .418 ISO against opposite-handed pitching.
Corey Seager ($4,100) likely comes with lower usage given the positive spots other bats are in. He remains white hot with double-digit fantasy points in 10 of 11 thanks to seven homers in that stretch.
It can't be more obvious we want shares of Atlanta, but at least for GPP purposes, we need to try and be a little different, so stacking isn't necessary. That said, the bottom part of this lineup is priced favorably, and can help round out lineups. Eddie Rosario ($2,500) has been okay since returning from eye surgery and figures to be in the lineup against a righty pitcher, as does Robinson Cano ($2,500). Michael Harris ($3,300) is scuffling a bit, but it's caused his price to slide, which could create a nice opportunity as well.
Bargain options for the Astros with positive splits against lefties include Jeremy Pena ($3,300) and Chas McCormick ($2,700). Pena has a .371 wOBA, 147 wRC+ and .232 ISO, and McCormick sits a .412/176/.236.
Texas' Spencer Howard hasn't proven capable of getting many big leaguers out and is getting pelted by same-hand bats, allowing a .541 wOBA and 1.287 OPS to righties, surrendering seven homers to 48 batters faced. If we can't afford Julio Rodriguez ($3,800) or Eugenio Suarez ($3,600), we can throw Ty France ($3,000) into lineups, or perhaps even reach deep for Justin Upton ($2,100), who figures to get a chance to play with Carlos Santana out.
Stack to Consider
Orioles vs. Rays (Ryan Yarbrough): Ryan Mountcastle ($3,600), Austin Hays ($3,000), Trey Mancini ($3,000)
Again, we need to think a little outside the box on this smaller slate, and Baltimore's offense seems to fit the bill. They have been hot despite having their 10-game win streak snapped Friday, and are seemingly in a great spot for success against Yarbrough, who has a 7.59 ERA and 6.56 xFIP at home, and is allowing a .388 wOBA to righties. Mancini is the anchor here thanks to an 11-for-27 history against Yarbrough, homering three times and collecting a 1.337 OPS. The Orioles don't have positive splits against lefties overall, so we'll target more right-handed bats atop their order against the Rays' starter as a result. Hays and Mountcastle at least have an above average wRC+ of at least 120 in this spot.