This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A 13-game slate awaits Friday evening, with only Chicago-Kansas City and San Francisco-Pittsburgh omitted. We've got three five-digit pitchers atop the slate, all three of which have good to great matchups, but come in in various levels of form. It's a wild slate where some struggling big name bats are priced at extreme lows, while the day's most-expensive hitter is a white-hot Jesse Winker ($4,600). His LvR splits, paired with Coors Field, make him hard to fade, but the tag makes him hard to build around. By and large, I see minimal value in the Reds-Rockies game. That doesn't make it wrong to target, as there should be runs scored, but for this column's purpose, they won't be featured.
Max Scherzer, WAS at ARI ($12,500): I don't want to spend too much time atop the pitching targets Friday, but Scherzer is surging. He's gone for 55+ FDP in four of his last five, fanning at least nine in each of those successes. Arizona isn't awful against righties (12th with a .314 wOBA while striking out just 23.1 percent of the time), but I don't think it matters. If I'm paying up, I'm going all the way up.
Aaron Civale, CLE at SEA ($8,100): This is far too obvious of a pay down spot, so I expect Civale will be heavily, heavily used. He's got five wins and four quality starts to date, failing to work six innings just twice with a shortest outing of 5.1 frames. Mix in the Mariners' 25.8 percent K rate and just a .293 wOBA against righties, and it's easy to see why Civale will be popular. I'd probably look elsewhere for GPPs just to differentiate, but there's 5x potential there with a very stable floor for cash lineups.
Jake Arrieta, CHC at DET ($7,700): Arrieta had a reasonable 28 Ks across 31.1 innings before going down with a thumb issue that's cost him a little under two weeks. That should give him a very reasonable chance at 4x here, something he returned at this tag in four of his first five starts. Detroit never scares, owning a .157 ISO against righties to go with a 27.6 percent K rate. Mix in likely solid run support with the Cubs' teeing off on Tarik Skubal, and there's a lot to like.
Adrian Houser, MIL vs. ATL ($7,300): Maybe I'm going for a reverse jinx as a Braves fan, but their offense is just bad right now, praying for homers and striking out multiple times in between. And we don't even know if they'll have Ronald Acuna here. Houser has limited damage, never allowing more than three runs, and he's fanned seven or more in two of his last three, though both of those outings came against the Marlins. He's likely to have better support than usual with the Brewers offense facing getable Drew Smyly, giving him a path to 4x.
Yordan Alvarez, HOU vs. TEX ($4,200): The thought here is a lazy lineup build will see the Rangers starting a lefty, and fade the LvL matchup. But Wes Benjamin isn't going to throw more than two innings. The Rangers have a pretty even split of lefties and righties in their pen, but Alvarez has by far the best splits regardless of handedness, posting a .420 wOBA against righties and .431 wOBA against righties. He won't be as directly altered by how the Rangers piece together eight or nine innings.
Juan Soto, WAS at ARI ($4,100): Soto is still clearing feeling his way back into a rhythm/timing, but he's hit safely in three straight and has five knocks in his last six, including a long ball. He's got a .437 wOBA, 175 wRC+ and 1.060 OPS against righties since the start of 2020, and of all the low-priced arms, D'Backs Riley Smith seems the most likely to work 4+ frames barring implosion, both of which help Soto. As this column evolved, the slate for me personally didn't set up to anchor with one-off top bats. But if that's your philosophy, Soto seems to offer differentiation in a plus spot.
Willson Contreras, CHC at DET ($3,500): If we get word Kris Bryant ($4,200), I'm at least mini-stacking this duo if not grabbing a third piece. But given what I know as of submission, Contreras makes for a nice stand alone value. He's boasting a .439 wOBA, 179 wRC+, .382 ISO and just a 4.0 percent soft contact rate against lefties. Skubal is allowing a .441 wOBA and 1.063 OPS to righties.
Xander Bogaerts, BOS vs. LAA ($3,300): Someone smarter than I, please justify this number. Bogaerts is hitting .348 with eight homers and 23 RBI, resulting in a .418 wOBA, 170 wRC+ and .250 ISO against righties. Angels' starter Griffin Canning is on a two-game heater where he's allowed one run while fanning 13 in 11.0 innings, but still has a 5.19 ERA and 4.94 FIP. The other options in this section are in a good spot, Bogaerts however just seems to be continually undervalued.
Avisail Garcia, MIL vs. ATL ($2,900): The Brewers' offense is pretty awful, and I was hoping for a bit more of a discount, but I also want something in my lineup against Drew Smyly, who's allowing a .430 wOBA to lefties and a .372 wOBA to righties. Garcia's recent game logs are incredibly feast or famine, with three games of 25.5 FDP or better, three goose eggs and two games of three FDP in his last eight. But he has a stable .378 wOBA against lefties since last season, and really only needs to drive in a run to provide some return.
Tyler O'Neill, STL at SD ($2,500): GPP's only here, as O'Neill is homer or bust. But he leads Cardinals' regulars with a .359 wOBA and .311 ISO. Padres' starter Joe Musgrove hasn't been great since his no hitter earlier in the year, recently allowing 10 runs across his last 13 innings (three starts). Five of the six long balls he's surrendered have come to opposite-handed bats.
Stacks to Consider
The shine is coming off of Matz after early-season success, allowing at least three runs in four straight (17 total) while not lasting more than five innings after going 6+ in his first three starts, allowing three total runs. This stack offers a nice mix of BvP from Matz' days with the Mets, and current LvR matchup success. Harper is 10-29 (.345) against Matz with a two homers and a 1.062 OPS, and has this stack's lowest wOBA against lefties currently, at .375. Hoskins is mashing southpaws to a .459 wOBA, 190 wRC+ and .341 ISO and has a 1.080 OPS against Matz as three of his four hits off of him have left the yard. McCutchen hasn't enjoyed success against Matz, but has a very usable .436 wOBA, .300 ISO and 177 wRC+ from the leadoff spot to date against lefties.
I didn't set out to stack this game, but here we are, and apparently Vegas agrees with a run total of 10.5, tying Coors Field for the highest Friday. Guerrero is a bit cold, but leads the team with a .423 wOBA against righties. If actually game stacking, I think I'm taking Harper and his pieces and omitting Guerrero in favor of some cheaper surging Jays bats however. Hernandez is warming, with multi-hit games in four straight and at least one knock in 13 of 16. He also owns a solid 43.2 hard hit rate against righties. Semien sets the table atop the lineup, has a solid .361 wOBA against righties, and is riding a 12-game hitting streak, collecting 19 hits in that span.