This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
MLB is back Friday night, but on a reduced slate with a lack of elite pitching options. The good news is that the heat remains and there shouldn't be any worries for weather.
Even in a 13-game slate, Gerrit Cole ($11,400) costs $2,000 more than any other pitcher so your options are limited. You can either spend on Cole or look to a value play on one of the worst pitching slates of the season. As for Cole, this is his fourth meeting with the Rangers and he's had some mixed results. While he could rack up 10 strikeouts, he's given up six walks and 11 runs in his two Arlington starts. He's the safest bet to reach 40 fantasy points, yet also isn't a guarantee after going 4.1 innings in his last start at Texas (April 20).
I'd rather save money against a team that isn't a threat to hit the ball and the first choice is oddly Danny Duffy ($7,900). He has at least 27 fantasy points in his last three outings and went seven innings (40 points) against the Tigers a month ago. He could hit those same numbers since Detroit is last in the league with a .289 wOBA against southpaws since the beginning of June to go with a 25.0 K%. Dylan Bundy ($7,700) is in that same mold after going 7.1 innings against the Rays in their last meeting, albeit on May 4. Tampa has fallen apart with a 26.0 K% and .296 wOBA in the last month against righties.
The better bet may be the save a few more bucks on Yonny Chirinos ($6,800), who could be chalk on the slate as a decent favorite. He's gone at least six innings in his last six starts and the Orioles have been near the bottom of the charts all season with a 25.4 K% and .307 wOBA against righty hurlers over the last month. If you go cheaper than Chirinos, you're playing with fire, though the same could be said about the more expensive Jon Gray ($7,300). He has a decent 25.1 K% and has been serviceable at home, going 6.2 innings against the Dodgers in his last Coors start. Combine that with the Reds, who own a .293 wOBA in the last month against righty arms and another 40 fantasy points is possible.
The easiest and most popular route will be to look at the Coors Field game after opening with an over/under of 12.5 runs, though it dropped to 12 early Friday. However, I'd be tentative to throw too much into that matchup due to the pitchers. Jon Gray has better numbers at home and outside of the Padres, who he's faced four times this year, opposing teams have scored a combined nine runs in his last four home starts. If you want Rockies bats, it's best to use righties against Sonny Gray, though he's also clicked in recent starts.
I'd rather look at cheaper bats versus worse pitchers such as the Brewers against Shaun Anderson, who has allowed multiple runs in all 10 of his starts. Christian Yelich ($4,800) is always reasonable against righty arms with a .500 OBP in his last 96 plate appearances, while you can get decent value with Eric Thames ($3,200) and Ben Gamel ($2,300). It's the same deal with the Dodgers against Eduardo Rodriguez, but the lefty-lefty matchup may be the best bet as he's allowed a .369 wOBA to 97 faced this season. That plays perfectly for Cody Bellinger ($4,600) and Max Muncy ($3,700) as pivots, both with OBPs above .430 in their last 40 PA against southpaws.
If you're banking for home runs in GPP, there are a few pitchers to attack. Mike Leake gave up two homers the last time he faced the Angels and has a 2.19 HR/9 allowed to righty bats. Mike Trout ($4,700) will be plenty popular, but there are other choices like Justin Upton ($3,500) and Andrelton Simmons ($2,800), who both have career OBPs around .400 against Leake in 30-plus at-bats. If you want the lefty route, Shohei Ohtani ($3,900) is 5-for-12 in his career against Leake to go with a .405 ISO in his last 90 PA against righty arms.
Caleb Smith is also having home run issues, allowing almost two per nine innings to both sides of the plate, including seven allowed in his last 16 innings. Pete Alonso ($4,300) leads the list with a .457 ISO in his last 54 PA against lefty arms, while Amed Rosario ($2,900), Todd Frazier ($2,800) and Wilson Ramos ($2,500) provide a bit more value. Those three all have OBPs above .380 in the last month-plus against lefties to go with decent power.
If you don't want to follow the sheep, the Tigers are a gamble, but Duffy has allowed six homers in his last three starts. Detroit's lineup doesn't scream homers, though there are options and Jeimer Candelario ($2,900) has gotten on base in every game (11) since being brought back up to go with four homers in the last six games. Nicholas Castellanos ($3,200) provides great value in this spot with a 7.0 K% and .442 OBP in his last 43 PA against southpaws.
Another good matchup should be the Mariners against Felix Pena, who is set to come in for opener Taylor Cole. Pena has allowed 2.51 HR/9 and a .392 wOBA to lefty bats, and Seattle has plenty of those. I feel same about the Yankees against Aaron Sanchez, who doesn't have good numbers against anyone, allowing a .418 OBP to righty hitters.
Braves vs. Dinelson Lamet (Padres)
Lamet is a big strikeout guy, yet I'm not sure that'll be enough against the Braves with their .242 ISO in the last month against righty pitchers. Either way, I'd ride lefty bats after he allowed a .364 wOBA to them when he was last a regular in 2017. This stack makes a little too much sense with Freeman at the top providing a .442 OBP and .330 ISO in his last 113 PA against righty arms. McCann and Markakis don't have the same numbers, but both have OBPs above .360 against righties in the last month.
Athletics vs. Ivan Nova (White Sox)
Nova has pitched better in recent starts, though he's not someone who will mow down lineups and he struggles against both sides of the plate with a .375 wOBA allowed to lefties and .368 to righties. This stack is not only manageable, but it's also been Oakland's best three bats against righty arms in the last month. Grossman doesn't have much power, but that's where Chapman and Canha come in. The three of them also have a combined OBP near .400. Matt Olson ($3,800) and Marcus Semien ($3,700) are viable, though I'd rather save money on Canha and Grossman.
Rays vs. Dylan Bundy (Orioles)
I suggested Bundy as a pitcher, but the Rays fit the bill as a possible GPP route. Bundy's 2.47 HR/9 and .358 wOBA allowed to righty bats is hard to avoid even with how shaky Tampa has been. This stack is ugly, but sometimes ugly works. Adames and Diaz have been the best for the Rays in terms of righty-righty matchups and Pham is a gamble. If Mike Brosseau ($2,800) gets another start, he's in play and the same goes for Travis d'Arnaud ($2,900), though he's mostly used against lefties.