This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
The Saturday main slate features only five games. Finding the right hitter mix in that limited slate is the ticket to winning, while the smaller pitching pool means both cash and GPP players can shoot to not miss moreso than they have to hit big.
It's Gerrit Cole ($11,100) and everyone else. Cole has four quality starts in as many chances to open the year, striking out nine or more in three of those. He's allowed three runs or fewer in all outings, but only has one win to show for his efforts. He has already faced the Rangers in Arlington, allowing three runs in six frames. You'll be hard-pressed to fade him in cash lineups, but the price is so great he's not a preferred GPP option, where saving for bats seems prudent.
Luis Castillo ($9,800) is a preferred and obvious pivot. He's fanned at least seven in four straight starts, limiting the Brewers and Dodgers to three runs across 12.0 innings. Petco Park is pitcher friendly, and the Padres have only a .296 wOBA and 82 wRC+ while fanning 25.6 percent of the time. They also only walk 7.9 percent of the time, helping offset Castillo's 4.7 BB/9 rate.
Hyun-Jin Ryu ($9,400) is a hard pass for cash against a Brewers lineup that boasts a .350 wOBA against lefties. He could be an intriguing low-owned GPP target, but it's his first game back from injury and limited pitches are likely. Seattle's Yusei Kikuchi ($7,800) is the next priced option, and has a plus matchup against an Angels lineup that ranks last in the league with a .241 wOBA against lefties, pairing that with a .098 ISO and 52 wRC+. But Kikuchi hasn't thrown more than six innings in five starts, and hasn't fanned more than five in any outing.
Aaron Nola ($7,400) is Saturday's wildcard. He's allowed 15 runs over his last 13.1 innings, and a start in Coors Field is not going to suggest a better outing. But he's far better than this price, and he fanned seven in seven innings in his only previous start in Denver, allowing two runs and six hits. There's ample upside at this tag, but the locality makes him a clear GPP gamble.
With so few games, stacking some less than obvious offenses below is going to be key for GPPs. But all lineups are going to center around the Astros, Phillies and Rockies.
Jose Altuve ($4,600), George Springer ($4,400), Alex Bregman ($4,100) and Carlos Correa ($3,700) all enjoyed successful Fridays, and set up well against Adrian Sampson ($6,100). Yuli Gurriel ($3,100) isn't as nice of a play against a righty but he has hit safely in three straight and seven of eight. This game has a total of 10, and with Cole likely shutting down the Rangers, anyone in the Astros lineup is worth considering.
Colorado/Philadelphia has a slate-high total of 10.5. It's worth waiting on lineup announcements here, with the Phillies banged up a bit. Jean Segura ($4,300), Andrew McCutchen ($4,600) and Scott Kingery ($3,600) are all dealing with minor injuries, which could open opportunities for Phil Gosselin ($2,600) and Aaron Altherr ($2,500). The usual suspects are in play for Colorado, with David Dahl ($4,100) looking particularly appealing. Charlie Blackmon ($3,600) hit his first homer of the season Friday, and his current form has his price discounted. He had a .413 wOBA, 147 wRC+ and .251 ISO at home against righties last year.
Dodger bats figure to be popular as well against spot starter Chase Anderson, who's filling in for the listed Freddy Peralta ($7,500). Cody Bellinger ($5,100) and Joc Pederson ($4,400) are the chalky mashers against righties, while Alex Verdugo ($3,400) offers a cheaper buy in.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is worth a solo mention, as he's riding an eight-game hitting streak, homering in three of those and he stole three bases Friday.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Eric Lauer ($7,300); Eugenio Suarez ($3,300), Matt Kemp ($2,400), Yasiel Puig ($3,100): Lauer has allowed 12 runs over his last 16.0 innings, and while the Reds aren't firing on all cylinders, their offense provides some salary relief in an exploitable matchup. Kemp posted a .350 wOBA and .235 ISO last season against lefties, while Suarez is a fixture against lefties, sporting a .431 wOBA, 171 wRC+ and .294 ISO against them since the start of last year. You'll have to get a little creative to find a third bat to stack here, but I've landed on Puig. He traditionally hits righties better, but in limited exposure during 2019, he's been brilliant against southpaws, posting a .417 wOBA, 157 wRC+ and .333 ISO.
Seattle Mariners vs. Trevor Cahill ($7,500); Daniel Vogelbach ($3,800), Tim Beckham ($3,100), Omar Narvaez ($3,000): The Mariners lineup is incredibly deep, and stacking some secondary options here can offer some savings for the bigger names mentioned above, while others target more traditional options like Domingo Santana ($3,500), Edwin Encarnacion ($3,700), and Mitch Haniger ($3,900). Vogelbach is the anchor, owning a .435 wOBA, 186 wRC+ and .318 ISO against righties since the start of 2018. Beckham has three double-digit point games in his last four and owns a .350 wOBA and .227 ISO across 74 plate appearances vs. right-handers. Narvaez is playing way above his statistical history and is worth riding while hot. He's gone deep in three of his last four, driving in six in that stretch, and has a .378 wOBA and 148 wRC+ against righties this year.