This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Steven Matz ($8,600)
Hisashi Iwakuma figures to be widely owned at $9,400, and obviously Chris Archer, David Price and Dallas Keuchel will have their supporters, but Matz offers similar upside and will free up at least $800 for his owners to spend on hitting. The Mets are -178 favorites against the lowly Braves, trailing only the Mariners (-195) and Cubs (-193) as the most heavily favored teams on Friday's slate. Matz has the stuff of a No. 2 starter, and while he may be a year away from actualizing that consistently against big league lineups, he won't be facing a big league lineup Friday. The Braves rank 28th in wRC+ and 29th in wOBA over the past 30 days, so the matchup couldn't be more appetizing for Matz. He threw 81 pitches in his last start before leaving with a blister, but he should be able to get to 100 pitches Friday, so qualifying for the win should not be a concern.
Miguel Montero ($2,700)
Matz won't be facing a big league lineup, and Montero, along with his Cubs teammates, won't be facing a big league pitcher Friday when Alec Asher brings his 10.61 ERA to the rubber for the Phillies. Montero sat out the last two games as he does not catch Jon Lester and the Cubs went with a righty-heavy lineup Thursday, so he will be fresh for Friday's contest and is a borderline lock to be in the lineup. The Cubs should pour it on, and Montero has a good chance of being involved in some big innings.
Prince Fielder ($2,700)
This one is pretty easy: the Rangers are at home facing righty Jesse Chavez, against whom Fielder has reached base eight times in 12 career plate appearances while blasting a homer and a double in that small sample. In batter vs. pitcher analysis it would be ideal if there was a bigger sample size, but not only are Fielder's numbers against Chavez pretty insane, they also make sense. Fielder has the platoon advantage and because Chavez sits in the low-90s with middling off-speed stuff, Fielder can wait back, knowing he has the bat speed to punish fastballs over the plate.
Javier Baez ($2,600)
Baez will be widely owned Friday, and for good reason. His price still lags well behind his production/upside, and as with Montero, he should be licking his chops at the opportunity to face a Triple-A-quality starter in Asher. Baez has five hits, including two doubles, over his last 13 at-bats, and since he has plus-plus power to all fields, he can be deployed with confidence against low-end starters like Asher regardless of pitcher handedness.
Richie Shaffer ($2,300)
At this price, Shaffer is worth the flier. The Rays have said the right-handed rookie slugger will typically start against lefties, and naturally he is in the lineup hitting seventh with southpaw Wade Miley on the mound Friday for Boston. Miley has allowed a .273/.338/.422 slash line against righties this season, and Shaffer has the plus raw power to take Miley deep, even in the unfriendly home confines of Tropicana Field.
Addison Russell ($2,800)
The advantage the Cubs hitters have Friday against Asher has been covered already, and just like with Baez, Russell's price tag does not yet line up with his talent. He has reverse platoon splits, boasting a .764 OPS against righties compared to a .523 OPS against lefties, so Friday's game is the perfect time to deploy the slick-fielding shortstop. He has also really taken off in the second half, which is why it's surprising his price is still below $3,000. Russell has a .790 OPS in the second half after getting off to a predictably slow start to his big league career (.650 OPS in the first half).
Trayce Thompson ($3,000)
While he possesses elite bloodlines and is a freak athletically, Thompson is not as good as he has been so far in his brief taste of the big leagues. That said, his price tag does not do him justice Friday. He faces replacement-level starter Ervin Santana (4.93 ERA) in The Cell (where he has a 1.493 OPS), and he crushes righties regardless of the environment (1.329 OPS). Typically it would be time to sit back and watch Thompson's numbers regress to his true talent level, but he has a good shot at keeping his irresponsibly hot start going Friday.
Melky Cabrera ($2,900)
The theme of today's post is quite clearly: Pick On Bad Pitchers. Like with Thompson, Friday represents the perfect opportunity to use Cabrera, who has otherwise made a season out of burning DFS players. Things are starting to turn, however. The veteran outfielder is slashing .281/.323/.452 in the second half after posting a .643 OPS in the first half, and his price hasn't quite caught up to how he has been playing lately. He also has the platoon advantage (and the talent advantage) against Santana, as even in a down season he is slashing .283/.330/.404 against righties.
Kyle Schwarber ($4,000)
This price may not seem like a value, but Schwarber is a top-three outfield option Friday and his price places him outside the top-12 on FanDuel. Assuming he is stacked alongside his lower-priced teammates, the $4,000 price tag should fit easily in a lineup. Schwarber got the day game off Friday against a southpaw, and naturally he will find himself in the middle of the Cubs' lineup in the nightcap as he has a 1.022 OPS and 11 homers in 120 at-bats against righties.