This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
With only one early start time Monday, we are left with nine games to choose from the main slate on Yahoo. There are some excellent starting pitchers set to take the mound and some offenses that seem primed for big nights against back of the rotation starters. Let's break things down and try to project how this one might play out.
Two of the best starting pitching options will be facing each other when Aaron Nola ($53) and the Phillies host Noah Syndergaard ($51) and the Mets. Nola struggled against the Nationals in his last two starts and only has an 8.1 percent swinging strike rate across his first three starts this year compared to his 12.4 percent mark last season. His bloated 6.46 ERA is going to come down, but this is no easy matchup against an improved Mets lineup. Syndergaard has an equally tough task with the Phillies inside the top-10 in the league in both runs scored and OPS. He's pitched better the Nola out of the gate, but he's allowed 10 runs over 19 innings. At these lofty price tags, it might be best to avoid both players.
Speaking of aces facing a tough opponent, Trevor Bauer ($55) will take the mound against the Mariners. Leaders of the AL West, the Mariners offense has been on fire with 126 runs and 39 home runs across 18 games. Bauer carries tremendous upside after recording a 30.8 percent strikeout rate last year, but if there was ever a night to avoid him, this might be it.
Clayton Kershaw ($50) is set to make his first start after being sidelined due to a shoulder injury. He gets an ideal matchup against the anemic Reds' lineup, which would normally make him a top target. However, expect the Dodgers to be cautious with his pitch count, so he might not be able to pitch deep enough into this contest to warrant his price tag.
An interesting option to consider at a more budget-friendly price is Yusei Kikuchi ($39) in his matchup against the Indians. After watching the Indians be shut out by Homer Bailey across seven innings on Saturday, it's hard to have any faith in them moving forward. They enter this contest with the fourth-lowest OPS (.599) in the league, so Kikuchi could provide significant value.
With so many of the top offenses facing excellent starting pitchers, we could be in line for some strange ownership percentages. Two teams that could be highly owned will actually be facing each other when the Royals take on the White Sox. Heath Fillmyer will start for the Royals and he doesn't exactly have an overpowering arsenal. He recorded a 16.6 percent strikeout rate in the majors last year and never posted a strikeout rate higher than 20 percent at any level in the minors about High-A. Jose Abreu ($16) and Tim Anderson ($20) are likely going to be in a lot of entries.
For the Royals, they also have a juicy matchup against Ervin Santana, who was crushed for seven runs and three homers over 3.2 innings in his only other start this season. Injuries limited him to just 24.2 innings last year and although his 3.28 ERA in 2017 looks nice, his 4.77 xFIP suggests he didn't pitch all that well. Look for Whit Merrifield ($24) and Adalberto Mondesi ($25) to be among the highest-owned players.
For those rolling with a White Sox stack, Yoan Moncada ($23) could form a formidable trio with Abreu and Anderson. Left-handed pitchers held Moncada to a .262 wOBA last year, but he was better against righties with a .328 wOBA. If you want to fade Abreu in tournament play, don't sleep on Yonder Alonso ($13). He provides plenty of power at a cheap price and is significantly better against right-handed pitching.
Merrifield and Mondesi should be the focal point of any Royals stack. Along with those two, Alex Gordon ($22) stands out as someone to target. Not only is he off to a hot start with a .450 wOBA, but he had a much better campaign last year against righties (.324 wOBA) than he did lefties (.257 wOBA).
Another stack that might be of intrigue is the Marlins against Yu Darvish. After having major control issues in his first two starts, Darvish didn't walk a batter in his last outing against the Pirates. However, he still allowed five runs (four earned) across 5.1 innings. Even though the Marlins offense has generally been terrible, they have a few intriguing bats. Starlin Castro ($11) is a cheap option with upside at second base and Brian Anderson ($11) is starting to come out of his early slump by going 7-for-15 with two home runs across his last four games.
Finally, the Blue Jays are in a prime spot to be productive against Martin Perez and the Twins. Perez has a bloated 1.49 WHIP for his career and allowed 16 home runs across just 85.1 innings last season. He's also allowed at least a .362 wOBA to right-handed hitters in back-to-back seasons. Randal Grichuk ($18), Teoscar Hernandez ($13), Justin Smoak ($14) and Freddy Galves ($22) are all intriguing options with Galves being the only one who will eat up a significant portion of your budget.