This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A moderate nine-game slate awaits Saturday evening, as the main slate oddly omits three games starting at 8:40 pm ET or later. Pitching appears to be scarce.
Mike Clevinger ($11,200) couldn't be chalkier and looks to be the safest bet, by far, Saturday evening. The Royals don't strike out much (22.0 percent) but rank 27th with a .303 wOBA against righties. Further, Clevinger has decimated Kansas City this year, fanning 16 across 13.0 innings, allowing just one run. He looks like a cash game must, and GPPers who fade need to do so with bottom tier options and hope that savings leads to great offense.
There are plenty of red flags with Zack Wheeler ($9,700), next up price-wise. He's allowed eight runs and 16 hits over his last 10 innings, and 12 runs and 28 hits against Atlanta this year across 17 frames. Of course, he threw 15 scoreless innings in his two prior starts, showing he still has plenty of potential. No chance he's an option for cash, but a low owned GPP dart throw isn't out of line.
Wade Miley ($9,000) rounds out the perceived top tier against the Angels, a team against whom he posted 28 FanDuel points (FDP) in mid-July. His appeal is largely in win potential, though the Angels don't hit lefties well outside of Mike Trout ($4,600). He's likely the second most popular option for cash after Clevenger, but the GPP upside seems minimal.
All signs point to Kyle Gibson ($7,900) being very trendy against the Tigers. His form isn't ideal, posting 17 FDP or fewer in three straight, and he gave up five runs to Detroit across five innings earlier this year. But he fanned nine in that start in route to 24 FDP, and if that's his floor, it works for this price. The Twins are huge favorites at (-330), and the Tigers fan 26.7 percent of the time, minimizing risk.
Max Fried ($8,500) could be a pivot in the second wave of arms. He's had a 28 FDP floor over his last six starts. While not usually sustainable, Fried also leads the league in run support, and given the Braves' success against Wheeler mentioned above, you'd have to feel confident that continues. He also has six Ks and only six runs allowed against the Mets across 17.0 innings to date. Dakota Hudson ($8,000) has had a similar floor recently and is worth a glance.
Brendan McKay ($7,100) seems an obvious cheaper play against Baltimore. He's in bad form, allowing 19 runs over his last 19.2 innings, but the start prior to that downturn came against the O's, and he earned 36 FDP, striking out seven over five frames. Baltimore fans 25.7 percent of the time, so there should be some stability.
Alex Wood ($6,600) is my preferred cheap choice for GPPers. Yes, he's allowed at least two runs in all five appearances and 12 in his last three. But the Pirates remain woeful in the second half, and that's in addition to their league-worst .281 wOBA, 71 wRC+ and .136 ISO across the full season.
For as obvious as Gibson is on the mound, his supporting cast will be incredibly chalking against Edwin Jackson ($6,500), who is allowing a .493 wOBA and 1.223 OPS to righties. Load up on the likes of Nelson Cruz ($4,000), Miguel Sano ($3,500), Mitch Garver ($3,300) and C.J. Cron ($3,100). This group is surprisingly affordable and stacking is well within reason. Even Jonathan Schoop ($2,700) is in play if you need additional savings.
Houston will likely be the second most popular offense against lefty Dillon Peters ($7,300). It's an ideal spot for Jose Altuve ($4,000), but any Astro righty works well, so take a pick from Alex Bregman ($4,200), George Springer ($4,100) and/or Yuli Gurriel ($3,300), who presents clear savings.
I suggested staking Rays' bats yesterday against leftie Ty Blach successfully, and they get another lefty Saturday in John Means ($6,200), who has a 6.46 xFIP in the second half. He's still infinitely better than Blach, so full stacking here may not be the right play. But a 10.5 run total requires some exposure from the likes of Tommy Pham ($3,700), Austin Meadows ($3,600) and/or Travis d'Arnaud ($3,000).
Indians vs. Glenn Sparkman
Sparkman has labored on the road, allowing a 9.00 ERA, 6.51 xFIP, .439 wOBA and 1.091 OPS to lefties and .432 wOBA and 1.038 OPS to righties. Santana leads the Tribe with a .392 wOBA and 143 wRC+ against righties, with Lindor following with a .371/129 tally. The third piece here is interchangeable, as Yasiel Puig ($3,300) brings GPP power upside, and even Greg Allen ($2,200) has great splits against righties if in the lineup. The chalky play is the Indians top three, and while Ramirez's season-long numbers are down, he has a .488 wOBA, 208 wRC+ and .490 ISO against righties in August.
Braves vs. Zack Wheeler
We touched on Wheeler's struggles against the Braves above, and you have to assume Atlanta comes with a better approach Saturday after whiffing 26 times in 14 innings Friday. The lineup is so top heavy, so there's plenty of value to be found in the bottom tier if you're so inclined, as even Donaldson is cheap. This is largely a BvP stack, with Freeman going 14-of-26 with a 1.560 OPS against Wheeler, Donaldson 8-of-13 with a 1.335 OPS, and Acuna 5-of-12 with a 1.462 OPS. Small sample sizes, but it's a lineup Wheeler has faired poorly against.
White Sox vs. Kolby Allard (Rangers)
Allard has allowed 11 runs across three starts since being acquired from Atlanta, lasting just 5.2 frames of less in every outing. This clearly starts with Abreu, who has a .408 wOBA, 159 wRC+ and .256 ISO. McCann has a .381 wOBA and 141 wRC+ in August, while Anderson has been white hot this month to the tune of a .412 wOBA and 162 wRC+.