This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Saturday's main slate is a reduced seven-game contest. That obviously reduces our choices and can lead to some parity in tournament lineups. Let's see what we can find to differentiate and win some more money.
The top arms are priced there for a reason, but they aren't too terribly expensive as they all face quality offenses. If paying up, Cristian Javier ($10,100) is my preferred choice. He simply seems as stable as any, and probably has the softest matchup against Tampa. But I don't find any of the top arms to be must used.
Jordan Montgomery ($8,700) seems like he's in a great spot against a Pittsburgh lineup that fans at a big 26.7 percent rate while posting just a .285 wOBA and 81 wRC+. He needs 34.8 FanDuel points (FDP) to return 4x, a number he's given managers six times in his last nine outings.
Two other southpaws appear to be in favorable spots, though with uncertain innings potential. Aaron Ashby ($6,900) gets a Marlins lineup that is woeful against lefties, posting a league-worse .263 wOBA and 70 wRC+ while striking out at a massive 27.9 percent clip. But he's pitched in relief twice since August 19, the last time he threw five innings. Further down the pricing tier, Cole Ragans ($6,100) has a shot at a 3 to 4x return, needing just 24 FDP to get to that upper tier against the Angels. Los Angeles is nearly as bad against lefties, fanning 24.2 percent of the time while posting a .294 wOBA and 89 wRC+.
I'm expecting Kyle Wright to show up and pitch well Saturday evening in a playoff-like atmosphere. But there's no getting around the fact that the Mets have had his number, getting him for nine runs and 16 hits (including five homers) across 13.0 innings. Pete Alonso ($4,200) has been hot, and is 4-for-11 (.364) with two homers and a 1.326 OPS off Wright.
On these reduced slates, taking a sure thing as your anchor is usually advantageous. Mike Trout ($4,300) seems to qualify as such. He's gone for at least 9.5 FDP in seven of his last eight and has a team-leading .443 wOBA, 194 wRC+ and .330 ISO against lefties.
Eloy Jimenez ($3,300) went 0-for-8 across three games, and we'll thankfully pounce on the price reduction as a result. He homered last night and had hit safely in 15 of 17 prior to that minor skid.
If Alonso doesn't fit into your budget, Jeff McNeil ($2,600) makes plenty of sense as your share of the Mets lineup. He's a low upside, high floor contact guy but has 12 hits across his last six games and is 7-for-15 (.467) with a 1.067 OPS against Wright.
I want to stack the Dodgers here, and BvP isn't a tell all by any means, but the big bats have struggled against Kyle Freeland, despite the fact that he's allowed 15 runs and 23 hits across 23.1 innings against him. See how they line up and adjust accordingly, but Justin Turner ($2,800) has had success against Freeland. Freeland has also struggled against lefties, allowing a .399 wOBA, so don't be afraid to throw in Cody Bellinger ($2,500), Joey Gallo ($2,200) or Gavin Lux ($2,100) for some upside on the cheap.
Stack to Consider
These small slates aren't easy to stack, and it's made even harder by the fact I'm loosely targeting the slate's two cheapest arms. But for GPPs, we probably need to stack against a top tier arm and hope for the best. McClanahan is laboring in September, posting a season-low 6.4 Ks per nine, walking a season-high 4.5 per nine and posting a 5.79 ERA and 6.90 FIP. Getting the top two Astro bats and Trout above could be challenging, but not impossible. Altuve is a near must play against lefties, posting a .446 wOBA, 198 wRC+ and .314 ISO. Alvarez isn't a slouch against same-handed arms, sporting a .419 wOBA, 179 wRC+ and .266 ISO. McCormick helps balance the budget, though not giving a traditional stack based on lineup position. He's got nine hits in his last seven games, and boasts a .404 wOBA, 168 wRC+ and .222 ISO against lefties.