This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
After a quiet Thursday evening, we're back Friday with a solid eight-game main set Friday night. What's not back is a plethora of ace pitchers, as the slate features none priced in five-figure territory, and only four at 9k or above. There's a lot of different paths lineups can take here.
There's a glaring lack of stability for cash games. Houston's Collin McHugh ($9,500) leads the way against an always dangerous A's lineup that hasn't fired on all cylinders against righties, sporting only a .284 wOBA and .140 ISO, but it's in large part due to a .222 BABIP, and I wouldn't suggest taking the risk. The Astros (-160) do come with the day's best winning odds.
The lowest total comes via Cleveland-Toronto (7), which figures to make Shane Bieber ($9,300) the chalky pick Friday. He posted a sound 3.42 xFIP and 22.0 percent strikeout rate at home, and the Jays have gone under the total six times in their first seven games. The low number puts his adversary very much in play. Trent Thornton ($6,200) is the cheapest on the docket. He struck out eight in five innings in his debut, and the Indians have been woeful out of the gate, striking out 31.3 percent of the time against righties while maintaining a .210 wOBA, .087 ISO and 34 wRC+.
Kevin Gausman ($9,000, -155) has a great matchup against the always targetable Marlins, but making his season debut, he'll lack innings upside. Rick Porcello ($9,100) rounds out the 9k club, and faces a Diamondbacks squad that is swinging better than they should be, while Boston isn't. He's a solid bounce back candidate in this spot, but we've seen his combustibility already with just one start under his belt.
Jake Odorizzi ($7,100) fanned 11 over six innings in his debut, and quietly had a 22.8 percent strikeout rate last year. The Phillies offense is raking but does have a 23.8 percent whiff rate, putting him on GPP radars. His counterpart Nick Pivetta ($7,700) is interesting if only for his price break, as he's the highest-priced arm on FanDuel, but seventh here. Minnesota is fanning 24.0 percent of the time against righties already.
Finally, I'm not sure what to do with Sonny Gray ($6,700). He had a fine spring before failing to make it out of the third inning against Pittsburgh in his regular season debut. He's away from Great American Ballpark here, which can't hurt. And the Pirates continue to be a popular stacking option because their offense is cheap. But they are cheap because they aren't doing much, posting a .312 wOBA and 89 wRC+. They are also fanning only 17.9 percent, which seems to suggest the upside isn't worth the risk with Gray.
Bryce Harper ($5,500), Christian Yelich ($5,300) and Javier Baez ($4,900) lead the top-priced bats that are hot and are most likely to be center pieces for cash lineups. Jose Ramirez ($5,200), Kris Bryant ($4,800) and Alex Bregman ($4,800) headline a list of stars off to cold starts to consider for GPPs.
Only one southpaw is on the mound Friday in Chicago's Jose Quintana ($8,400). Lefty masher Jesus Aguilar ($4,400), who boasted a .389 wOBA, 144 wRC+ and .267 ISO against southpaws in 2018 gets a boost as a result, as does Lorenzo Cain ($4,000). Cain had a .422 wOBA, 166 wRC+ and only a 9.9 percent strikeout rate against lefties a year ago.
Boston figures to be a popular offense against Zack Godley ($6,900), but they're struggling to the tune of a 23.7 percent fan rate, .273 wOBA and .117 ISO against righties thus far. Godley was much better at home in 2018, posting a 3.60 xFIP and 10.13 K/9, against a 4.27/8.66 number on the road. Andrew Benintendi ($4,600), Xander Bogaerts ($4,300) and Rafael Devers ($4,400) are the next teir of Red Sox, who have seven bats priced at 4k or more. Bats and arms both look like feast or famine here, and going the opposite direction in GPPs will be equally boom or swoon.
Atlanta scored 23 runs at home in a three-game set against Chicago and now welcome the Marlins. They've done it from the lower half of their order, too, and since that goes against stacking beliefs, they'll be value plays! Nick Markakis ($3,800) is somehow priced less than reserve Matt Joyce ($3,900), and minor-leaguers Austin Riley ($3,900) and Adam Duvall ($3,900), went 5-for-5 with five RBI and three doubles Thursday and have hit safely in three straight. Dansby Swanson ($3,900) has six RBI already and is showing new-found discipline, patience and a willingness to go opposite field. Marlins' starter Pablo Lopez ($6,600) is an unknown to this lineup, but after allowing three runs in 5.1 frames in his opener.
We're trying to go against the grain here for GPPers. Less obvious, lower ownership, great risk, fair/great rewards.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Lance Lynn ($7,000): Kole Calhoun ($3,900), Mike Trout ($5,600), Andrelton Simmons ($3,800): We'll skip over an ice cold Justin Bour ($4,100) who's a little more cost prohibitive. Trout lends this stack some stability, while Calhoun sets the table. Keep an eye on Simmons' status after he left Thursday with a back injury. He absence would likely allow David Fletcher ($3,400) to enter the lineup, and some salary relief. The Angels are one of many teams in this slate facing a plus matchup, but they haven't shown well through the first week of 2019. Lynn was pounded by the Cubs for seven runs and 10 hits in 5.2 innings, and Chicago has scored only eight runs in three games since.
Texas Rangers vs. Felix Pena ($7,400): Shin-Soo Choo ($3,900), Elvis Andrus ($4,000), Joey Gallo ($4,000): Why not look at both sides of this game, with the evenings second-highest total at 8.5? Choo led the Rangers with a .385 wOBA and 138 wRC+ against righties last year, and Gallo posted a .274 ISO against them. Andrus has logged three straight double-digit point games and has five in his first seven. Nomar Mazara ($4,000) is also worth a look if he returns to the lineup, as is Asdrubal Cabrera ($4,000), who posted a .351 wOBA against righties last year.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Rick Porcello: Adam Jones ($3,700), David Peralta ($4,200), Christian Walker ($4,100): Arizona has quietly hit well out of the gates, averaging a tick under six runs, going for seven or more in three of their last four. Jones continues to lead off and has familiarity with Porcelo. Peralta is one of my favorite plays with or without a stack, as he had a .438 wOBA, 177 wRC+ and .269 ISO at home against righties in 2018. Walker is just a hot play, as his three homers in 10 at bats against righties is obviously not sustainable, but he's not cost prohibitive and has hit in all but one game to date.