This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
With a lot of early start times across the majors on Saturday, only five games will make up the main evening slate on DraftKings. There might be fewer options to choose from than normal, but that doesn't mean you can't finish with a winning entry. Let's examine the matchups and highlight some possible ownership percentages and players who could thrive.
The two big names on this slate are Gerrit Cole ($10,700) and Aaron Nola ($8,100). While both carry tremendous upside, neither is looking at an ideal matchup. Cole will have to face the Rangers in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Arlington for the second time this season. His first start wasn't awful with nine strikeouts across six innings, but the Rangers did get to him for three runs. Nola is off to a terrible start since he's allowed 17 runs - including 16 earned - across his first 19.1 innings. On the plus side, his xFIP is a little better at 4.58 and he has recorded 19 strikeouts. However, he'll have to face the Rockies in Coors Field on Saturday, so this is not a favorable spot for him to get back on track.
One pitcher who stands out as potentially having a high ownership percentage is Luis Castillo ($9,600) for his start against the Padres. After showing promising signs in 2017, his ERA jumped by more than a full run to 4.30 last year while his strikeout rate dropped from 27.3 percent to 23.3 percent. Things have looked encouraging for him so far since he has only allowed four runs to go along with 32 strikeouts across 24.2 innings. Just as promising is the fact he hasn't allowed a home run after giving up 1.5 HR/9 last year. The Padres find themselves in the bottom-third of the league in runs scored, setting Castillo up with an opportunity to continue his excellent start.
For those looking for a pitcher on the lower end of the price scale, Eric Lauer ($7,000) should be a popular choice against the Reds. Lauer had trouble keeping runners off base last year with a 1.55 WHIP. And while he's improved on that through his first four starts, his WHIP is still too high at 1.36. He's also allowed four home runs across 22 innings, which is less than encouraging. However, the Reds don't exactly have the most potent lineup since they enter the day with the sixth-fewest runs scored (65) and the fifth-lowest OPS (.628) in the league.
Attacking the Rangers pitching staff is usually a sound strategy. That should be the case again Saturday with Adrian Sampson set to take the mound. He didn't shine at Triple-A last year with a 4.74 xFIP and a 15.8 percent strikeout rate. After making his first two appearances as a reliever this year, he was shelled in a starting role Sunday against the A's when he gave up seven runs across four innings. Look for Jose Altuve ($5,200), Alex Bregman ($4,900), George Springer ($4,900) and Carlos Correa ($4,800) to all have high ownership percentages.
There was some initial thought the Brewers might go with an opener Saturday, but Chase Anderson looks set to start. Even if they did use an opener, Anderson was expected to log the majority of the innings. For those looking to stack against him, it's important to remember that even though he's a right-handed pitcher, he owns better career numbers against lefties (.299 wOBA allowed) than he does with righties (.343 wOBA). Justin Turner ($4,100), Enrique Hernandez ($4,300) and A.J. Pollock ($4,000) all check in as reasonably priced options to consider.
Whenever the Rockies are playing at Coors Field, either team can end up being popular in DFS. The Phillies could be included in a lot of lineups for their matchup against Antonio Senzatela, who has allowed a .349 wOBA at home for his career compared to his .297 wOBA allowed on the road. Expect to see Bryce Harper ($5,400), Rhys Hoskins ($5,300) and J.T. Realmuto ($5,000) included in a lot of entries.
The only problem with an Astros stack is that their top players all have lofty price tags. While not overly cheap, Michael Brantley ($4,600) and Yuli Gurriel ($4,300) are also worth considering. Even Josh Reddick ($4,000) qualifies a viable option at his cheap price.
While going with the three right-handed hitters previously mentioned for the Dodgers could be the way to go against the Brewers, it's hard to pass up on Cody Bellinger ($5,700) with how well he's swinging the bat. Not only has he crushed 10 home runs, but he's hitting 10-for-22 during his current seven-game hitting streak.
The Phillies still have a very potent lineup with Harper, Hoskins and Realmuto leading the charge. However, injuries have started to impact them with Odubel Herrera (hamstring) on the IL and Jean Segura (hamstring) having not played since Tuesday. To make matters worse, Scott Kingery (hamstring) and Andrew McCutchen (knee) went down Friday. Cesar Hernandez ($4,400) and Maikel Franco ($4,800) are also secondary options to consider. Nick Williams ($4,300) could also make his way into the starting lineup.
An interesting stack that might not have crazy-high ownership percentages is the Rockies against Nola. Based on how well Nola pitched last year, some people might shy away from deploying bats against him despite his early season struggles. Nolan Arenado ($5,100) and Trevor Story ($5,000) have the highest upsides, but don't sleep on David Dahl ($4,700), Ryan McMahon ($4,500) and Garrett Hampson ($3,400).