This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Despite the majority of the league returning to action Saturday after a light Friday schedule, FanDuel's main slate features only five games, with first pitch coming at 7:10 p.m. ET. With some teams playing their third game and others their second, we'd expect to find some pitching disparities. Lets see if that plays out!
The limited slate will also have me highlighting diverse options. Please don't fade players omitted, as that can be done intentionally.
Corbin Burnes, MIL vs. MIN ($9,200)
Jose Berrios, MIN at MIL ($8,800)
These two square off against each other, and we'll lump them together as such. This game has the lowest total on the slate at 7.5, and for good reason. There isn't great familiarity from either side against either arm, and with it being early in the year where pitchers are ahead of hitters, a duel is expected before the bullpens enter. Minnesota hit righties well last year (.330 wOBA) but fanned 25.5 percent of the time. Milwaukee profiles more favorably based on 2020, posting just a .298 wOBA while whiffing at a 27.2 percent clip. But I find Burnes to be the higher upside target. He posted a 13.3 K/9 ratio last year after 12.9 the year before. Berrios is coming off of a career-best 9.7 K/9 and makes for a decent cash play given the modest discount, but seemingly doesn't offer the upside Burnes does, as we're expecting the Brewers offense (namely Christian Yelich) to rebound a bit.
Joe Musgrove, SDP vs. ARI ($8,600): I'm not sure I'm buying Musgrove's improved strikeout rate, as he posted 12.5 K/9 last year after a previous career mark of 8.3. But the Padres are big-time favorites (-205), and he should see ample run support if I'm correct in targeting Padre bats against Caleb Smith below. The D'Backs fanned only 20.4 percent of the time against righties last year, so the upside is minimal. But 3x is a fair expectation.
Chris Flexen, SEA vs. SFG ($6,500): I'm far from endorsing Flexen, but if you're intent on paying down, here's the argument in favor. He's unfamiliar, having not thrown stateside in a year. Yes, his limited MLB stats are horrific, but we've seen guys come back from Asia and find new success. The Giants are far better offensively against lefties, hence me suggesting them as a cheap stack Friday. There's an obvious low floor, but Flexen managed 10.2 K/9 in the KBO last year and could catch lightening in a bottle for GPPs Saturday.
Cody Bellinger, LAD at COL ($4,700): As has been the case over the past two days, offensive builds start around the Dodgers' elite options in Coors Field. We don't want to rely on BvP numbers, but how can we ignore Bellinger's 11-of-17 history against Jon Gray? He hasn't homered, yet still has a 1.759 OPS in this matchup. A 40.9 percent fly ball rate paired with 20 percent of those flies going over the fence against righties a year ago, and we're paying for Bellinger to go yard Saturday.
Jose Abreu, CWS at LAA ($4,000): Truthfully, I don't love paying up for bats in this slate outside of Coors. But Abreu led White Sox regulars with a .424 wOBA against righties last year, and that seems to pair well with the .382 wOBA Alex Cobb allowed last season. The 8.5 run total is the second highest on the docket, and we have to assume Abreu factors.
Charlie Blackmon, COL vs. LAD ($3,800): The price here is similar to Alex Bregman Friday, where he's not quite a value or a top option. But Blackmon needs to be considered. Dodgers' starter Walker Buehler didn't throw in Coors last season, but allowed 16 hits and eight runs across 10.2 frames in 2019. Mix in that Blackmon is 14-of-26 (.389) with two homers and eight RBI against Buehler, and there appears to be a stable floor with upside potential.
Jared Walsh, LAA vs. CWS ($2,200): Walsh will be making his starting debut after not slotting into the Angels first two lineups in LvL spots. He raked last year, posting a .430 wOBA and .462 ISO against opposite-handed arms. He's likely to be a pseudo-regular against righties, but hasn't been afforded such opportunity yet and is priced down as such.
Nick Madrigal, CWS at LAA ($2,200): Madrigal has zero upside, unlike Walsh above, as he posted a measly .038 ISO last season against righties. But that limited pop still led to a .821 OPS, .365 wOBA and 8.0 strikeout percentage. He'll get three chances to reach base and score, and if he's successful, that can yield 10 FDP (FanDuel points), making for great value.
Stacks to Consider
Smith was pelted during the preseason, allowing five homers across 21 innings. We can't go strictly on last year's numbers, but this could be a differentiating stack where the team stack seems obvious. Hitting 1-3-5 in the lineup (likely), Machado is the anchor after posting a .400 wOBA and .250 ISO. But Pham checked in at .410/.267 last year, and Myers at .433/.328 in what was a down year. Myers in particular enjoyed a hot spring and carried it into Friday.
The value stack for this slate, or, one that can bottom out. Giant's starter Logan Webb allowed a .363 wOBA to righties last year and a .380 wOBA the year prior. As such, we can target same-handed bats in this spot, led by France's team-leading .417 wOBA from 2020. While he had limited power potential, Moore can supplement, going for a .389 wOBA and .244 ISO. Haniger is the wildcard, as he hasn't been healthy in two years but showed elite potential prior.