This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
With Opening Day in our rearview mirror, things quiet down a bit with eight games on the schedule Friday. They are all night games, as well, with four of them being on the West Coast. There's still plenty of options to discuss on Yahoo despite the limited schedule, so let's try to see where advantages can be gained.
The starting pitcher who immediately stands out is German Marquez ($46). He was dominant for the Rockies down the stretch last year, finishing with a 3.10 xFIP and a 28.2 percent strikeout rate. As if that wasn't appealing enough, he'll be facing the lowly Marlins in this matchup. They finished with the lowest OPS (.659) in baseball last year and didn't improve their lineup any this season. Marquez should be the chalk starter for this slate.
Another highly owned starter will likely be Gerrit Cole ($51), who actually checks in as the highest priced option. His first season with the Astros couldn't have gone any better last year, posting a 3.04 xFIP, 1.03 WHIP and a 34.5 percent strikeout rate. The Rays have some promising young hitters, but this is still a prime opportunity for Cole to thrive.
As far as the most popular cheaper options go, Ross Stripling ($35) checks in as probably the best second-tier option. His strikeout rate has increased each season of his career, topping out at 27 percent last year. Combined with his 4.4 percent walk rate, Stripling was able to record an excellent 1.19 WHIP. The Diamondbacks don't have a very imposing lineup and were held in check Thursday when Hyun-Jin Ryu struck out eight batters and allowed one run across six innings. For those who decide to go with a really cheap starting pitcher, the most commonly rostered player will likely be Joey Lucchesi ($28). The Giants lineup projects to be one of the worst in the league and they were shut out in the first game of this series. In fact, they managed just five singles and a walk. Factor in Lucchesi's 26.5 percent strikeout last year and he could provide significant value.
After the onslaught of ace pitchers taking the mound Thursday, this should be a less daunting slate for hitters. The Angels couldn't get much going offensively in their opener, but they have a favorable opportunity to bounce back in this matchup against Marco Estrada. Look for Mike Trout ($26) to once again be one of the highest owned hitters. Kole Calhoun ($10) figures to be highly owned again based on his cheap price and prime position batting leadoff.
The home run machine that is Khris Davis ($20) came through with another long ball Thursday in a 4-0 win over the Angels. He already has two home runs across three games and has slugged at least 42 home runs in three straight seasons. He should be highly owned facing Matt Harvey, who allowed 1.6 HR/9 last year. His teammate Matt Chapman ($21) will also likely be a popular pick based on his power upside.
The Padres couldn't get much going against Madison Burmgarner on Thursday, but Friday brings a much easier foe in Derek Holland. Holland's 3.57 ERA last year looks great, but he was a little lucky considering his 4.07 xFIP and .288 opponents BABIP. He's largely struggled to keep runners off base, posting a 1.36 WHIP for his career. With that in mind, Manny Machado ($22) figures to be one of the most highly owned players at third base. Wil Myers ($15) had a strong spring with three home runs and four doubles and carried that into the opener by slugging another homer. Given his reasonable price tag, he should be a popular choice, as well.
There could be plenty of stacking going on for both sides of Friday's game between the Angels and A's. Most Angels stacks will be centered on Trout and should also include Calhoun. Since Estrada has allowed 1.4 HR/9 for his career, Justin Bour ($11) is also someone to strongly consider. Deploying Trout, Calhoun and Bour together will only cost a combined $47, which still leaves a significant amount of money to work with. For those stacking the A's, Davis, Chapman and Stephen Piscotty ($19) will likely be the most popular options. Despite all of them being right-handed hitters, they had higher wOBA's against right-handed pitchers than they did lefties last season.
Going with a Padres stack could also be productive without killing your budget. The powerful trio of Machado, Myers and Franmil Reyes ($18) is a little pricier at $55, but some of that could be offset by adding their cheap leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler ($10), who has a career .367 wOBA against lefties.
If you're looking for a contrarian stack in tournament play, rolling with the Blue Jays against Matthew Boyd might not be a crazy idea. Boyd has had trouble keeping hitters inside the ballpark, allowing 1.5 HR/9 for his career. He allowed three home runs across 18 innings in spring training and while he showed some strikeout upside, he also had an unsightly 1.67 WHIP. After being held scoreless on opening day, people might be shying away from the Blue Jays in DFS. You could stack Brandon Drury ($7), Randal Grichuk ($15), Teoscar Hernandez ($10) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ($16) for a combined $48, which would really free you up to spend elsewhere. Gurriel is especially appealing based on his .351 wOBA against lefties last year.