This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
The 4th is over and baseball edges closer to the All-Star break. It's a weird Friday slate because even though Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw are on the mound, they may not be the best routes to fantasy success. At the least, weather shouldn't be a problem, though it's been a hard thing to predict this week.
Justin Verlander ($11,000) is usually a good bet, but you're paying a lot against the Angels, who rarely strike out and sport a 19.9 K% against righties in the last month. Jacob deGrom ($10,700) is a little easier to stomach with a nice 30.3 K%, but also a better matchup against the Phillies and their .316 wOBA against righty arms in the past month. Both are a little easier to trust than Clayton Kershaw ($10,200), who doesn't have as high of K% (22.7) and has allowed four runs in each of his last two starts.
It's probably easier to back Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,100), who should hit at least 30 fantasy points against the Tigers, as they struggle against everyone and have a 23.5 K% and .293 wOBA against southpaws since the beginning of June. Masahiro Tanaka ($8,000) is in that same boat and should get plenty of love since he racked up 67 fantasy points against the Rays a few weeks ago, allowing two hits in nine innings. Tampa is struggling and has a 25.5 K% and .296 wOBA in the last month against righty arms.
The best value route could be Austin Voth ($6,400), who has had highs and lows in his first two starts, going six innings against the Braves, yet only 4.1 against the Tigers. There's room for more success against the Royals, who own a 24.6 K% and .284 wOBA in the last month against righties. If you're looking for other options, Drew Pomeranz ($7,300) and Aaron Sanchez ($5,700) deserve some consideration. Sanchez is a bit of a stretch, but Pomeranz has at least 36 fantasy points in four of his last five outings and the Cardinals have a .294 wOBA against lefties since the beginning of June.
While pitching is suspect, there are a lot of ways to go in hitting, especially with five games opening with an over/under of 10 runs or more. That being the case, there may not be a chalk route with numerous pitchers to target. My favorite value game is Orioles-Blue Jays, mostly because both Dylan Bundy and Sanchez could get shelled. Both pitchers have ugly numbers against each side of the plate, though Bundy's 2.38 HR/9 allowed and Sanchez's .423 OBP allowed, both to righties, stands out. There are plenty of viable lefties, though Lourdes Gurriel ($3,800), Trey Mancini ($3,600) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($3,200) may be better plays as righty hitters.
I'd also look at Royals-Nationals because Brad Keller and Voth are similarly shaky pitchers. Juan Soto ($4,200), Adam Eaton ($3,000) and Whit Merrifield ($3,900) lead the way, all with OBPs above .390 against righty hurlers in the last month, though the power options are a bit different. Jorge Soler ($3,200), Matt Adams ($2,900) and Kurt Suzuki ($2,800) provide high variance with power, sporting ISOs above .300 against righty pitchers in the last month.
If you're looking for more value, Julio Teheran has allowed 15 runs in his last three starts, failing to go more than four innings in each outing. The Marlins maybe aren't the best cash route, but Garrett Cooper ($3,100) and Brian Anderson ($3,000), if healthy, have both gotten on base and provided nice power against righties. Even Miguel Rojas ($2,900) is a viable shortstop with a .457 OBP in his last 94 plate appearances against righty hurlers.
Minnesota's numbers haven't been as good in the last few weeks, though I'd try them against Adrian Sampson and his .366 wOBA allowed to righty bats. I like the Twins run of lefties, but Nelson Cruz ($4,200), Miguel Sano ($3,800) and C.J. Cron ($3,200) are all viable as righties.
I also have my eye on the A's as long as Yusei Kikuchi makes the mound. The southpaw has allowed at least three runs in six of his last seven starts to go with a .360 wOBA allowed to righties (and .338 to lefties). You could spend on Matt Chapman ($3,800) and Marcus Semien ($3,400) or save a bit with Ramon Laureano ($3,100) and Mark Canha ($2,900).
Red Sox vs. Gregory Soto (Tigers)
Soto is getting another start despite an 8.66 ERA in his first six starts, allowing a .398 OBP to righty batters. This stack takes up your outfield, but it's hard to beat and all three players have an OBP above .400 in the last month against southpaws. If you don't have room in the outfield, Michael Chavis ($3,500) and Christian Vazquez ($3,000) are also in play.
Pena isn't the worst pitcher on the slate, but he gives up multiple runs every start and has allowed 2.30 HR/9 and .379 wOBA to lefty batters. That doesn't highlight Houston's righty-heavy lineup, but it's still not an easy team to pitch around. If starting, I'd throw Yordan Alvarez ($4,100) into the squad over Bregman for the lefty-righty matchup. Of course, Bregman is still a top option with a .410 OBP in his last 100 PA against righties.
Orioles vs. Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays)
You need a piece of Baltimore given Sanchez's struggles, allowing at least five runs in each of his last five starts. He's fallen apart and is allowing a .423 OBP to righties, though a .365 mark against lefties isn't much better. If you need to save money, Alberto is a decent route, yet Mancini and Nunez are must-haves if you consider this stack. I'd also put Pedro Severino ($3,000) in the mix if he starts with a .343 OBP in his last 35 PA against righty arms.