This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
A nearly full 14-game slate awaits Friday night, where pitching doesn't appear as prevalent as usual, with some lesser names priced up as a result.
Walker Buehler ($11,700) highlights against San Francisco, a team he's 2-0 against this year, posting a 2.19 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 12.1 innings. He has allowed six runs in his last two starts (11.0 innings), and it's fair to question his workload with the postseason looming.
A white-hot James Paxton ($11,200) follows at Texas. He's won an incredible 10 straight starts, only three times going for less than 21.3 DraftKings points (DKP). He fanned 12 across seven shutout innings against the Rangers earlier in the year. Ballpark factors work against him here on the road, as does a potential pitch-count limit to rest for October. But the Rangers' lineup isn't fully healthy, and less scary as a result.
Jose Berrios ($10,800) and Marcus Stroman ($10,200) round out the five-figure options. Berrios gets a familiar Royals side against whom he's surprisingly struggled to date, allowing 10 runs and 20 hits across 20 innings, fanning just 12, which includes the last time he took the hill, allowing eight hits and five runs over five innings to Kansas City. He's been worth 22.1 DKP or better in three of five, but single-digits in the other two. There's obvious volatility. Stroman is in the same mold, with two games of seven or fewer DKP and two of 22.1 or better over his last four. The Braves are likely to welcome back Freddie Freeman to their lineup, and even without Ronald Acuna, it's not a side we'd normally target arms against.
Anthony DeSclafani ($9,900) looks like, at least on screen, a great GPP pivot to save some coin. But the Pirates are coming off a sweep of the Cubs (which was preceded by a nine-game losing streak) and have hit DeSclafani hard this year, posting 10 runs and 20 hits over 16.0 innings. Dallas Keuchel ($9,600) has eight double-digit outings in his last 10 but has a 29.0 DKP ceiling in that stretch, and the Mets have success against lefties. Johnny Cueto ($9,300) isn't certain to start after laboring through his last outing, and Austin Voth ($9,000) looks very overpriced despite a decent game log with an Indians offense needing to win to make the playoffs.
With the Cubs' losing nine straight, Dakota Hudson ($8,100) will certainly draw eyes. But he allowed three runs to the Cubs in his last start, the only time he's seen them to date. Almost the exact same can be said for Oakland's Mike Fiers ($7,900). The A's need a win, he faces a soft Mariners lineup with little to play for, but he's allowed nine runs and 11 hits in 14.0 innings against them, and has allowed 16 runs in his last 15.2 innings overall.
So where might we turn for cheap arms? For me, Tyler Glasnow ($6,900) and Houston's Jose Urquidy ($7,500) work. Glasnow brings strikeout upside and gets an already light hitting Blue Jays' side that's without Bo Bichette. That upside pairs well with Urquidy's win likelihood (Astros are -200 favorites). The Angels are undermanned, and Urquidy may be auditioning for a postseason roster spot.
As always, we start in Colorado, where Milwaukee visits in a must-win situation. There's some ambiguity on the Rockies' starter, with Chi Chi Gonzalez listed, though there could be a move to Antonio Senzatela. That said, it's largely irrelevant. Milwaukee is 18-2 in their last 20, scoring seven or more runs eight times. A resurgent Ryan Braun ($5,800) may have priced himself out of ownership, and Keston Hiura ($5,600) isn't far behind. There appears to be more value in Yasmani Grandal ($5,100), who has a .409 wOBA and .299 ISO in September. We obviously can't ignore the Rockies' bats against Zach Davies, though he did shut them out over 5.1 innings previously. It's his first start in Coors' Field, and I'd happily take my chances on Charlie Blackmon ($5,600), while Garrett Hampson ($4,300) offers a cheaper buy in and Josh Fuentes ($4,000) presents well if in the lineup.
Baltimore at Boston figures to be another popular game to attack from both sides with Asher Wojciechowski facing Nathan Eovaldi. The Orioles scored 23 runs in their recent three-game series at Toronto, and Boston put up 27 in a three-game stretch at Texas, so both sides are clicking. Eovaldi is allowing a .416 wOBA to lefties, making Jonathan Villar ($5,300) and Anthony Santander ($4,300), with Dominic Smith Jr. ($4,200) and Stevie Wilkerson ($3,700) also in play. Wojciechowski has surprisingly yielded only two runs and six hits across 11.2 innings against Boston, fanning 14. Still, the .382 wOBA allowed to lefties makes Rafael Devers ($5,500) a cash anchor, while GPPers could gamble on power from Mitch Moreland ($4,600) or a rare multihit showing from Andrew Benintendi ($4,200).
Yankee bats will be heavily targeted in Globe Life Park against lefty Joe Palumbo. Aaron Judge ($5,300) and/or DJ LeMahieu ($5,400) are safe options to build around, and there's clear upside in taking a chance on Giancarlo Stanton ($4,500) at the reduced price. Palumbo is allowing a 40 percent home run to fly ball rate at home, resulting in 3.7 HR/9 in limited exposure.
Astro bats profile similarly to the Yankees against lefty Patrick Sandoval. A southpaw on the hill usually makes Jose Altuve ($4,600) a great option, and this price is certainly appealing. Alex Bregman ($5,200) works where affordable, as does Yordan Alvarez ($5,400) who has great splits against same-handed arms, and Sandoval has been very vulnerable to lefties, allowing a .480 wOBA.
Twins vs. Eric Skoglund (Royals)
Skoglund doesn't have a ton of innings under his belt (eight at home, 18.0 total) but has allowed a 10.13 ERA at Kauffman Stadium, backed up by an 8.82 xFIP, with lefties owning a .437 wOBA and 1.067 OPS, while righties go .453/1.107. Cruz and Garver have been so good against southpaws they almost force your hand, with Cruz owning a .454 wOBA, 188 wRC+ and .473 ISO, and Garver following at .462/192/.410. Cron has been nearly as good, sitting at .412/159/.315, and allows this to be somewhat affordable.
Rays vs. T.J. Zeuch (Blue Jays)
Stacking the Rays isn't easy, as they seemingly get contributions from different spots nightly without much singularly standing out. Meadows is the clear exception and has enjoyed an incredible September, posting a .511 wOBA, 231 wRC+ and 1.263 OPS. We can build around him with the Rays' other top hitters against righties in Lowe and Choi, who have a .378 wOBA and .358 wOBA, respectively. Should Choi be unable to go after fouling a ball off his foot, Willy Adames ($3,600) makes for a cheap pivot.
Reds vs. Steven Brault
Brault has labored through the season's final month, allowing seven homers and 24 runs across 19.2 innings. Suarez brings a .414 wOBA and .308 ISO against lefties to the table, but it's Ervin who leads the team with a .425 wOBA and 162 WRC+ against southpaws, albeit in far fewer at bats. His extremely low cost allows us to shoot high with Aquino, whose .357 wOBA isn't perfect, but the .298 ISO offers some power potential.