This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A full 15-game slate awaits Friday evening. Surprisingly, it only has two five-digit priced arms, so we're really going to have to pick and choose amongst the starting pitchers based on matchups and form.
Zack Wheeler, PHI at NYM ($10,700): An easy target who isn't priced at or above 11k, Wheeler is in good form and alway has extra juice when facing his old team. He's allowed four runs across 23 innings against the Mets in three starts, all of which came in April, striking out 25. He's topped 50 FDP in consecutive starts after scuffling in August, and with his offense surging and facing a vulnerable adversary on the bump, a win, paired with a quality start, seems likely.
Logan Webb, SF vs. ATL ($9,500): With bigger names in this price tier, I'm expecting Webb to be ignored in GPPs, and he can provide similar to better return. Yes, he's allowed seven runs in his last 13 innings, but averaged 33.5 FDP in those down outings. Prior, he had gone for 40-52 FDP in six straight, including 49 FDP against Friday's opponent in Atlanta. The Brave are always capable of exploding, but are in a rut right now, scoring four or less in four straight. They're also often homer dependent, something Webb doesn't cough up, at only 0.65 per nine innings. Mix in their propensity to strike out (24.2 percent) and a quality start seems like the floor.
Adrian Houser, MIL vs. CHC ($8,400): Houser hasn't allowed a run in his last two starts, striking out 12 across 15.0 innings. He's been a bit volatile otherwise, so maybe he's not the best cash game play, but the thought is the strikeouts play up against the Cubs, who whiff freely, while the damage is limited and run support is secured, leading to at least 4x, if not better.
Wil Crowe, PIT at MIA ($5,900): Yes, he's the cheapest option Friday, so there's clear volatility. But it's the Marlins, who rank 28th with a .295 wOBA against righties, fanning 25.5 percent of the time in the process. Crowe needs just 18 points for 3x to open up things in your lineup, something he's returned six times in his last eight. We normally go to the bottom of the arms to target a bat or a stack; the Marlins don't offer that. There's still risk, but it's calculated.
Bryce Harper, PHI vs. NYM ($4,400): Harper garnered MVP hype post All-Star break, but is now actually playing like that. He's homered in seven of his last 11, driving in 14 while walking 11 times to boot. Pair that with Mets' starter Taijuan Walker, who is allowing 3.1 HR/9 and a 7.11 FIP in the season's second half, including 11 runs in his last 10.1 frames, and there's stacking Philly bat appeal. Instead, Friday feels like a night to take the surging star, and use different options around him.
Fernando Tatis, SD at STL ($4,300): Tatis has a .422 wOBA, 168 wRC+ and .355 ISO against righties and is 6-for-8 in his last two games. We know we want at least a piece of this offense against Miles Mikolas and his 5.47 ERA/5.10 xFIP, but no other Padre has a wOBA north of .354 (Jake Croneworth, who's injured). Tatis is an anchor bat and we can differentiate elsewhere.
Xander Bogaerts, BOS vs. BAL ($3,700): O's starter Keegan Akin is routinely picked on in this column, and Friday should be no different. He's allowing a .397 wOBA to righties on the road, adding a 7.60 ERA and 6.08 FIP. After months of silence post All-Star break, Bogaerts is showing signs of life, collecting five hits in his last three while hitting safely in eight of 11. Despite an extended slump, he still carries a respectable .377 wOBA against lefties into Friday
Brandon Lowe, TB vs. DET ($3,500): Casey Mize has been pretty solid overall, but with peaks and valleys. He's also had one glaring weakness; lefties on the road, where he's allowing a .387 wOBA and .923 OPS, surrendering 11 homers in 140 plate appearances. Enter Lowe and his .388 wOBA, 153 wRC+ and .304 OPS against righties. He's also collected 12 hits in his last eight games.
Ryan McMahon, COL at WSH ($3,300): McMahon is hitless in his last six ABs but still managed 15.2 FDP in his last start thanks to walks, stolen bases and runs scored. He's second on the Rockies with a decent .357 wOBA and had hit safely in five straight prior to this mini-drought. We know the Rockies road splits aren't ideal, but they've enjoyed this east coast trip, winning series in Philly in Atlanta. This matchups sets up well against Josiah Gray, who is allowing a .400 wOBA and .978 OPS at home to lefties, where he has a rising 6.75 ERA and 7.76 FIP.
J.P. Crawford, SEA at KC ($2,700): Royals' starter Brady Singer was decent in August, but allowed six runs in his last start, including five homers, in just 4.2 innings. Crawford doesn't have elite power, but he's got a stable floor and allows us a piece against Singer without chasing a homer or a zero (Kyle Seager). Crawford is closing strong as well, with at least nine FDP in 12 of his last 15 outings.
Stacks to Consider
This matchup features two teams heading in different directions in what is now a huge series, with the Cardinals surging and currently in a Wild Card spot. There's no convincing me that Velasquez is a Major League arm at this juncture, so I'll happily take a stack here with fiscal balance. Goldy has homered in two of three, scoring seven times in that stretch. That's because the top of this order is alive, and there's at least some hope Edman and Carlson feature around Goldschmidt. Velasquez has been incredibly vulnerable to lefties, allowing a .391 wOBA, a number that rises to .489 on the road, adding a 1.192 OPS allowed.
We're going to largely ignore the Brewers splits, as this team has simply done it all year with less than stellar names. The target is Davies, who since August 1 has allowed an 8.73 ERA, 7.90 FIP, 1.075OPS, .440 wOBA and a 36.8 HR/FB rate. Wong and Escobar give us the top two in the Brewers' order, while the third piece is up to your lineup build. I sided with Narvaez for some additional power potential, middle order bat and deep discount, but it's entirely flexible based on your construction.