This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Friday may not be a great slate for pitching, but if you look hard enough, there are a couple arms to back. That's also seen in the odds with the Boston-Arizona game the only one with an over/under above 8.5 runs. Make sure to keep an eye on the weather in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as there is some rain going across the state throughout the day.
It's an ugly pitching slate when anyone can get shelled. Shane Bieber ($8,900) is the second most expensive and will likely be a chalky option in his first start of the season. He sported a solid 24.3 K% in 19 starts last year and should have success against a Toronto lineup that's struggled early with a brutal .204 BABIP against righties.
Kevin Gausman ($7,200) may be one of the more popular value arms since he's one of the bigger favorites and faces the Marlins. He can go deep into games, but this is his first start and his 19.1 K% from last year won't help GPP lineups. The hope in cash games is that he makes it six innings and gets the win.
From the other bigger favorites, Collin McHugh ($8,600) makes a little more sense than the more expensive Nick Pivetta ($9,100). McHugh has the slightly better matchup in terms of odds, but Oakland has a solid 18.5 K% against righty arms in the first week. McHugh also only threw 81 pitches in his first start and while he had nine strikeouts, he's still not a guarantee to make it six innings. Pivetta struggled in his first outing, but his 27.1 K% from last season is still enticing.
If you think the Indians will continue to struggle at the plate, Trent Thornton ($7,400) is worth a look in GPP, but his numbers are kind of juiced after facing the Tigers in his first start. That said, Cleveland's bats have been as bad as Detroit's in the first week, both at the bottom of the charts in terms of K% and wOBA against righties.
Frankie Montas ($8,000) and Lance Lynn ($6,700) are road underdogs, but are going against lineups that have struggled to hit in the early season. Montas is more likely to rack up Ks and that's why he's more expensive. Lynn can go deep into games, though as seen in his first start, that's not always a good thing.
With a lack of elite pitching, a lot of the big names will be considered at the plate. That starts with the Red Sox against Zack Godley, who gave up eight runs in his first start. J.D. Martinez ($4,900) has a hit in every game, while it's been somewhat of a slow week for Mookie Betts ($4,800). For almost the same price, Martinez is the better play with more power, seen in last year's .315 ISO against righty hurlers.
Christian Yelich ($5,100) faces a southpaw (Jose Quintana) so his ownership will probably be lower than it has been. Bryce Harper ($4,900) gets the nod over Mike Trout ($5,000) with a slightly better matchup, as well as a much better start to the campaign.
If you want to save money, Kole Calhoun ($2,900) will be a popular route in GPP. He's only useful against righty arms and Lynn is coming off a terrible 2018 against lefty bats with a .366 wOBA allowed and 5.10 xFIP. The Angels don't have much more power, but Justin Bour ($2,800) and Brian Goodwin ($2,100) are at least fellow lefties.
Felix Pena is the favorite in that game, but he's just as difficult to trust and was roasted by lefty bats for a 4.59 xFIP last season. That could mean a lot of love for Joey Gallo ($4,000), as well as a few others since the Rangers are loaded with lefties from Shin-Soo Choo ($3,200) leading off to Rougned Odor ($3,300) and Asdrubal Cabrera ($3,600) later in the lineup. If you want to test your luck, Ronald Guzman's ($2,400) first three hits went for extra bases.
You could also throw some Pirates together against Sonny Gray, who didn't even make it three innings in his first start. Josh Bell ($3,400) comes at a decent price after last season's .341 wOBA against righty arms, while Francisco Cervelli ($3,200) was slightly better (.355 wOBA) and can fill your catcher spot. Melky Cabrera ($2,500) isn't a flashy play, but he's coming off a three-hit night in the six spot and doesn't cost much.
My preference would be to go back to the Rangers-Angels game and focus on the lefty bats. That could mean mixing in a struggling Zack Cozart ($2,200) with Goodwin and Calhoun, or just throwing money at Trout and hoping it works with Bour and Calhoun at the top of the order. It's a little easier for the Rangers as they have a few more lefties, though the Gallo, Cabrera, Guzman stack is likely the best bet.
The Brewers have yet to face a lefty starter and they had a top-10 wOBA and ISO against them last season. If you have the money, this may be the best stack with Lorenzo Cain ($4,000), Yelich, Ryan Braun ($3,200) and Jesus Aguilar ($3,800). The price is steep, but those guys rocked southpaws in 2018 with Cain and Yelich both having a wOBA above .400 and Cain the only one with an ISO below .250. That's pretty good.