This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A 13-game main slate awaits Friday evening. Two of the top three pitchers square off against each other, while lots of divisional match ups mean we have some familiarity amongst opponents. Paying up on the bump doesn't appear imperative, but the mid tier is again set with a plethora of middling names at prices I don't find easy to justify. Shane Bieber ($10,700) returns from injury but will be on a pitch count, so I can't consider him.
Jose Berrios, TOR at MIN ($9,700): I don't think I'd fade Gerrit Cole ($11,000) for cash, as the Ks give him a stable floor, but he's also allowed nine runs and four homers in 16.0 innings against Boston. As such, I'll roll with Berrios in his return home as my top option. He's reeled off five straight quality starts, presenting a 34 FDP floor and 64 FDP ceiling in that stretch. He allowed three runs against his old mates last time out, but I'm banking on a little extra juice in his return to Minnesota, but a repeat performance gets us 4x.
Sonny Gray, CIN vs. WAS ($8,800): Matchups like this and the next one are further reasons I don't think we need to go all the way up in paying for pitching. The Nats' haven't been push overs since their sell off, but outside of Juan Soto (more on him later), they really aren't to be feared. Gray hasn't allowed more than three runs in eight straight starts, but he's only gone six or more in half of those, so there's a clearly low ceiling. But we don't need 40 FDP from him at this number. The Reds need this series to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, and I expect we'll see Gray's near best.
Kyle Gibson, PHI at PIT ($8,600): Gibson isn't in great form, but we'll include him here as I expect he'll be heavily targeted. The matchup should limit damage, as the Pirates' have just a .294 wOBA against righties. They don't strike out much however at just 22.4 percent. This feels like chasing a win, something the Phillies need as they hope to run down the Braves, and the thought is Gibson gets ample run support in what looks like a bullpen game for the Bucs. And he might need it, as he's allowed 18 runs in his last four starts, spanning 21.2 innings.
Tony Gonsolin, LAD at ARI ($7,100): I love this pay down option, even when we assume Gonsolin doesn't work a plethora of innings. Arizona is last in the league against righties with a .292 wOBA, adding a meager 79 wRC+ and .139 ISO. Gonsolin is posting a 10.4 K/9, and is highly likely to be in position for a win if he can last five innings. He managed to do so last start against the Diamondbacks on September 14, where he was worth 39 FDP. That's a cool 5.5x return.
Bryce Harper, PHI at PIT ($4,400): Harper has been a regular in this spot of the column during the second half. He's got an incredibly stable floor thanks to his ability to walk, and/or the fact he's getting a lot of intentional passes of late. With Pittsburgh turning to their bullpen to eat innings behind opener Sam Howard, Harper should get some favorable hacks at righties later in the contest
Juan Soto, WAS at CIN ($4,200): Soto is arguably the hottest hitter in baseball, and is in a hitters ballpark to boot. He's hitting an obscene .473 this month, riding a nine-game hitting streak where he's collected 17 hits while also walking 12 times. Yes, he's been on base 29 times in nine games. He's also homered four times in those nine contests, scoring nine times and driving in nine. Fade at your own peril.
C.J. Cron, COL vs. SF ($3,700): The price and potential make Cron a bargain. He's got a robust .529 wOBA, 219 wRC+, .469 ISO and 1.296 OPS against lefties at home. Pair that with nine hits in his last 15 ABs and there's a lot to like. He also hasn't homered since September 10, making him overdue for a big fly.
Will Smith, LAD at ARI ($3,500): D'Backs' starter Humberto Castellanos has allowed 11 runs across his last 14.0 innings, so we know we want at least some piece of the deep Dodger lineup. Smith didn't start Thursday, so he should be behind the dish here, and has a team-leading .401 wOBA against righties, adding a .274 ISO and 155 wRC+.
Austin Meadows, TB vs. MIA ($3,100): Meadows is a feast or famine option, but arguably most Ray bats are. It's a small sample size, but Marlins' starter Edward Cabrera is allowing a .485 wOBA to lefties, a number that climbs to .615 away from cavernous Marlins Park. Meadows .367 wOBA in this spot should play up, his .292 ISO is appealing, and his 20.0 percent K rate isn't huge, while Cabrera whiffs only 7.1 per nine. Failing to produce a run would be disappointing.
Nicky Lopez, KC at DET ($2,900): The Royals as a team have horrendous splits against righties, and Lopez isn't excluded, carrying a .333 wOBA and minute .072 ISO into Tuesday, the former shockingly being second amongst team regulars. But they've gotten Tigers starter Casey Mize for 16 runs and three long balls in 28.1 innings (5.08 ERA) and Lopez gives us a top-of-the-order bat at a nice discount. BvP guys can grip onto his 5-of-10 showing against Mize as well.
Stacks to Consider
I'm not sure how long Lambert will go, be it either a pitch/innings limit or getting shelled, but we can fall back on the Rockies' bullpen as well. Giant bats are oddly not priced up in Coors Field, so it's a clear opportunity to load up. Crawford and Belt both have a .402 wOBA against righties, sporting a .156 and 155 wRC+, respectively, and Belt bringing a nice .327 ISO to the table. Bryant saw a 10-game hitting streak snapped yesterday, but his .394 wOBA is nothing to scoff at and a .257 ISO figures to play up at altitude.
Mets' starter Tylor Megill has a 6.55 ERA and 5.11 FIP since August, and has struggled with lefties all year, allowing a .413 wOBA against a .255 to righties, which rises to .457 wOBA in the last two months, to go with a 43.5 percent hard hit rate. The Brewers don't have great splits against righties, but they do have a plethora of lefty bats we can load up on for a cheap GPP stack. Narvaez's .354 wOBA leads the way, but he has next to no power against righties. Yelich is a fading name in meh form and Wong a streaky option not in great form. Again, tournaments only, and the target is more Megill than Brewers, but there's with low usage, there's a chance this pops nicely.