This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A robust 12-game slate gets going Friday evening at 7:10 p.m. EDT. It's a deep pitching slate name-wise, which should lend itself to plenty of lower-used GPP targets.
Zach Plesac, CLE at DET ($10,400): Plesac is the cream of the crop, and well worth this price for cash games. Maybe his last outing against Minnesota scares some off, but he'd gone for between 34 and 61 FDP in each of his previous five starts, and faces a limited Tigers lineup that owns a mere .292 wOBA, 81 wRC+ while fanning 28.0 percent of the time.
Zack Greinke, HOU vs. ARI ($9,500): Revenge isn't a fair angle, but it's fun to target a player against his former squad. The Diamondbacks have a mere 20.3 percent fan rate, so there's limited upside, but they also post just an 88 wRC+ and .158 ISO. Limited upside for the tag, but the floor seems stable, even if Greinke has allowed 3+ runs in five straight starts, as he's flirted with 3x value in four of those outings.
Johnny Cueto, SFG vs. OAK ($7,700): Cueto has gone at least five frames in six of his last seven starts, five times fanning at least five. While far from elite, that sets a floor, as does the fact he's allowed two runs or less four times in that stretch. The A's 24.2 percent K rate against righties doesn't hurt or help, but there's a path to 3.5x return.
Jaime Barria, LAA vs. TEX ($5,800): This looks like the most obvious spot to pay down and return some value. Barria has averaged 20.4 FDP in four appearances, including a 16 FDP outing at Coors Field. Maybe his 5.45 xFIP against his 3.38 ERA and 7.1 K/9 scare some off, but the Rangers rank 29th with a .278 wOBA and 63 wRC+, suggesting limited risk.
Mookie Betts, LAD at COL ($4,700): Chalk city, and the price point can be prohibitive, especially for cash if also paying on the mound. But Betts has hit safely in all but two games since August 23, and Rockies' starter Ryan Castellani is surrendering a .381 wOBA to righties. 2x return here would be a disappointment.
Manny Machado, SDP @ SEA ($4,100): Machado has been in an season-long grove, and this price point should fit GPP and cash lineups alike. He's boasting a.400 wOBA and .245 ISO against lefties, and road and eight-game hitting streak into Thursday, collecting 12 hits total, just twice railing to reach 9.2 FDP.
Marcell Ozuna, ATL at NYM ($3,900): The price point may not stand out amongst top bats, but it's hard to get around Ozuna's success against lefties. The stats speak for themselves; a .533 wOBA, 238 wRC+, .541 ISO, and 51.7 percent hard hit rate. The odds seem favorable for a return.
Will Smith, LAD at COL ($3,500): What's not to like here? He's priced beyond fairly given he ballpark factor, he carries a .416 wOBA, 166wRC+ and .333 ISO against righties, and brings a five-game hitting streak (into Thursday) where he's collected 11 hits. There's always risk as to whether the catcher finds his way into the lineup, but he's swinging too well not to.
Avisail Garcia, MIL vs. KAN ($2,800): Garcia entered Thursday having hit in nine of 10, collecting 13 hits in that span. Only four of those hits went for extra bases however, and while he carries a .466 wOBA overall against lefties, he lacks power upside. The price point and form make him a clear candidate for 2-3x return however against Danny Duffy, whom he's 13-of-38 against in his career.
Stacks to Consider
Fried is making a return from a brief I.L. stint, and there aren't confirmed reports his velocity has returned to its early-season norm. He's allowed a .458 wOBA to lefties on the road, which sets Conforto and Smith up nicely. Neither are cost prohibitive, and the former had a six-game hitting streak entering Friday while the later had a 10-game streak. Mix in Davis, who is finally clicking with 10 hits in his last eight and six in three entering Friday, and there's cost-effective upside.
This couldn't be a lazier pick for me, but the price points don't make this entirely prohibitive if you pay down on the bump. It hasn't been a banner season for any of these options, but the Dodgers are piecing together this game on the mound, and have already clinched their playoff spot. That makes this a spot where some second tier arms absorb innings and reset their rotation.