This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Monday is a slow day for baseball. With most teams traveling, we have no early action and only seven games on tap. As always, there are some matchups to exploit, and oddly all of the elite starting pitching options have some fleas attached to them.
Normally one of the higher-priced pitching options is used for cash and can be expected to be highly owned. Tonight's a little different as there is a strong case to use Colorado's Jon Gray ($8,500) in cash games. His affordable price opens up cap space for 3-to-4 stud hitters, and he has a great matchup in San Francisco. It's a huge park upgrade, and San Francisco has a team .260 wOBA against right-handed pitching at home, the worst stat for that split. The Giants also strike out 26 percent of the time in that split, the third-highest rate among teams. Gray has been pretty consistent this season, scoring at least 29 fantasy points in 11 of his 15 starts.
As already stated, all the stud pitchers seem to have a red flag or two. Clayton Kershaw is at Arizona, a team that hits southpaws well (.360 wOBA), and Zack Greinke gets the dangerous Dodgers' bats in that game. Lucas Giolito is pitching in Boston, putting all three elite pitchers in GPP-only status. Looking further down the list is Cleveland's Adam Plutko ($8,200). He'll face the Royals, who have the 10th-highest strikeout rate on the road against right-handed pitching (24.6 percent) and have a .310 wOBA (19th). Through five starts, Plutko has had only one really bad outing, scoring 22, 34, 37 and 40 fantasy points in the other four contests.
The dart throw of the night and perfect GPP play is the Mets' Steven Matz ($7,700). He's faced the Phillies twice this season with results completely at the opposite ends of the spectrum. The first was an effort of minus-18 fantasy points, while the second saw him go off for 43. Matz has been incredibly inconsistent this season, but when he's been on, he's been on. He's scored at least 37 fantasy points in seven of his 14 starts this season. Matz id coming off a rough outing against the Braves (six fantasy points), which should keep his ownership at a low level.
The Yankees are going to be a popular choice for bats, but don't forget about the Blue Jays. In particular, Lourdes Gurriel ($3,000) is a great pick going up against lefty CC Sabathia. Gurriel has been raking since returning to the big leagues and has always hit lefties well. After a .351 wOBA against that handedness last season, he's doing even better this season with a .404 mark. Yes, use as many Yankee outfielders if they fit the budget, but don't forget about Gurriel.
Shortstop is always an interesting position to navigate, but the Braves' Dansby Swanson ($3,600) is a good choice. He's up to a .365 wOBA against lefties this season, and hopefully the wind will be blowing out at Wrigley Field versus the Cubs. Swanson overhauled his approach at the plate in the offseason, resulting in more power and fewer strikeouts, which is why he's in a breakout season.
Sticking with Atlanta, Josh Donaldson ($3,000) is putting together a solid season and is in play against lefty Jon Lester. Donaldson has a 1.356 OPS over the last week and has a .351 wOBA this season against southpaws. While it's not the worst stat, Lester's .336 wOBA against right-handed hitters isn't necessarily good.
Second base is a great spot to look for value, and the Indians' Jason Kipnis ($3,000) has heated up and has a solid matchup. Kipnis has a 1.437 OPS over the last week and will face Kansas City starter Brad Keller, who has struggled more on the road than at home. The run total here for the Indians is around six, and Kipnis should be hitting cleanup in this one.
There's a route to use the Yankees' Gary Sanchez ($4,500) here without killing the salary for a lineup if using Gray. He's been that good, and Aaron Sanchez will likely give up multiple home runs to this lineup. Sanchez has a .432 wOBA at home against right-handed pitching so he makes sense for any lineup.
Yankees vs. Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez)
The Yankees will be a popular stack as they have the highest expected run total, and it might be finding the right combination to win a big GPP. LeMahieu is a bit of contrarian play in this lineup considering the power throughout the rest of the lineup. Don't forget about the batters farther down the lineup; those could be the guys that return big on a small investment.
Braves at Cubs (Jon Lester)
The Braves might be overlooked tonight being on the road and against the decent Lester. However, Lester has allowed 6.44 ERA along with a 1.40 WHIP over the last month, showing signs he might be slowing down on the wrong side of 35 years old. The Braves have the eighth-best wOBA against left-handed pitching (.341) and don't strike out a lot against that handedness (20.8 percent). Joyce is the wild card here as he's been solid both this season (.915 OPS) and against Lester (5-for-15, two home runs, 1.175 OPS). Just check to see if he's in the lineup.