This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
We've got a pretty limited five-game slate for Saturday's main, which makes for slim pickings at some positions and also sets up for some rather chalky plays. Lets dive in and see where we can be different and potentially find an edge.
Starting at the top, I see minimal reason to fade Justin Verlander ($10,800), especially in cash situations. He's had a 33 FanDuel points (FDP) floor to date, which is right at 3x return, and struck out eight in an earlier meeting with the Rangers, something they don't do a lot of throughout their lineup. He feels incredibly safe. Chris Bennett likes Justin Verlander tonight against the Rangers as he's had a 33-FDP floor to date.
In comparing the other three 9k pitchers, I have no interest in Frankie Montas ($9,000) despite him recently fanning 12 Angels, which probably makes him the contrarian GPP play. And I want to like Joe Ryan ($9,100) more than Brandon Woodruff ($9,500), but I can't get there. They both seem to have soft matchups against lineups that don't strike out a ton, but I find the former to be a bit more lucky than good, and the latter the opposite. Woodruff is still striking out 11.5 per nine, and his 5.35 ERA isn't backed up by a 3.71 FIP. He's been BABIP'ed to death, sitting at .337, which surely slides down. He's had tremendous success against the Nationals lineup too.
I'd expect a lot of players to immediately gravitate toward paying down for Michael Lorenzen ($7,900), thanks to the plus matchup against always targetable Oakland and their league-low .260 wOBA against righties. There's nothing wrong with this though, other than likely high usage. He's making his second straight start against the A's, and put up 37 FDP despite just three strikeouts, thanks to seven innings of one-run ball. If you really want to pay down and roll the dice, I don't hate giving Jeffrey Springs ($6,200) a shot. He comes in with a 1.66 ERA and 2.25 FIP and gets an Orioles lineup that whiffs 27.1 percent of the time against lefties. It's certainly a risk that the Rays take him out after just a few innings, but he appears appears to be getting stretched out, working longer in each of his last six outings than the previous appearance. Maybe he gets through five frames and qualifies for a win.
I'm not going to be quite as bullish on the Astros lineup as many will be, but I certainly want some exposure. My hesitancy is that Jon Gray at least has a pulse on the bump, he has swing and miss stuff and his 5.73 ERA comes with a 3.41 FIP. He's had success against this lineup too. Did I just talk myself into using him on the mound? No! Houston's lineup has five bats with at least a .372 wOBA and 152 wRC+, so take your pick. Kyle Tucker ($3,800) is probably in the best form, Yordan Alvarez ($4,000) most definitely isn't, and Jose Altuve ($4,200) fits in the middle after last night's 0-for.
Shohei Ohtani ($3,900) isn't locked in like last year, which gives us a bit of a discount. He's a bit of a BvP play more than anything else, but and 8-of-20 line with three homers and six walks against Montas, including a big fly in their last meeting, moves the needle.
Multiple shares of the Rays' lineup makes sense given the matchup and decreased salaries, but it's also hard to predict where their production will come from. O's starter Kyle Bradish is allowing a .492 wOBA and 1.159 OPS to righties at home, so Yandy Diaz ($2,800) looks nice as the team's table setter.
MJ Melendez ($2,300) is probably going to own space in this column when I pen it on a daily basis. Between catching and DH duties, he seems to have an everyday role for now, and you aren't going to find more power potential at this price range. Remember, he hit 41 bombs in the minors last year. He's riding a five-game hit streak as well.
Staying in Kansas City, Royals' starter Brad Keller is due some regression, sporting a 2.89 ERA against a 4.05 FIP. But he's been pretty darn good at home, allowing a .218 wOBA to lefties and a .243 wOBA to righties, so I don't want too much exposure to the Twins either. Max Kepler ($2,900) is a BvP target, but at this price, I'll roll with his power potential. He's 5-for-14 with two homers and four walks against Keller, a nearly identical success rate to Ohtani above.
Stack to Consider
I strive to find differentiation, but I don't see how we avoid multiple Brewer bats Saturday. The two obvious stacks are Houston and this, and Milwaukee's lineup comes with far more value. Hunter Renfroe is probably my favorite play on the slate. He's locked in right now, with 13 hits in his last eight games, five going for extra bases, owns a .459 wOBA and ISO against lefties and has taken Corbin deep twice in 16 at bats. The other two we're just going to have to trust to do damage against an aging pitcher that's allowing a .394 wOBA to lefties and somewhat less desirable .351 wOBA to righties.