FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 7/19/19
Friday's main slate is easily the most top-heavy pitching group we've seen all week, and you can really go in any number of directions in tournaments. But don't worry, hitting is still in abundance, with the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians among the teams standing out.
Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered! And don't forget to take a listen to The Solo Shot podcast with Jim Sannes, who breaks down the MLB daily fantasy slate each day.
On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel main slate.
Pitchers to Target
Justin Verlander ($10,700 on FanDuel): Between Patrick Corbin ($11,000), Shane Bieber ($10,800), Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom ($10,600), and Hyun-jin Ryu ($10,500), we've got quite the crew of excellent hurlers priced above $10k tonight. Corbin draws a difficult matchup against the Braves, but you can otherwise make a case for Bieber (vs. Royals), deGrom (at Giants), and Ryu (vs. Marlins) all performing well. However, both the Royals and Giants aren't particularly lucrative strikeout matchups, and Ryu owns far and away the lowest strikeout rate of the bunch (23.5%), leaving Verlander as the cream of the crop in his spot against the Rangers. Verlander is at home -- so we don't need to fear Globe Life Park -- and the Rangers' active roster is an otherwise average offense that provides a generous 25.5% strikeout rate to opposing right-handers. As for Verlander himself, he ranks second on the slate in strikeout rate (31.5%) -- just a hair behind Bieber (31.6%) -- and his 3.39 SIERA is top two as well. He obviously has some tough competition on the mound tonight, but no one has an easier path to a ceiling game than Verlander.
David Price ($9,500): Following those five, David Price is lurking at a discount of $1,000 or more, but you could argue his upside is just as high as the aforementioned bunch in his cushy matchup versus Baltimore. Against southpaws, those lowly Orioles have an active roster wallowing near the bottom in wRC+ (88) paired with the second-highest strikeout rate (26.1%). Those are some tempting figures to exploit with a guy sporting a 3.75 SIERA, 28.1% strikeout rate, and 6.6% walk rate -- numbers that are practically identical to the evening's most-expensive hurler in Corbin. Furthermore, the Red Sox (6.00 implied total) are expected to roll against John Means and a shoddy Orioles bullpen, giving Price a fantastic shot as nabbing the win, too.
J.A. Happ ($7,300): The Rockies may be one of our favorite stacks when they're at home, but the reverse is true in road games, where we often want to attack them. Away from Coors, their active roster owns a downright pitiful 70 wRC+ and 26.9% strikeout rate, and even the inconsistent J.A. Happ might be able to get things going here. Following a rock-solid 2018 campaign, Happ has stumbled his way to a 4.71 SIERA and 19.1% strikeout rate this year, and Yankee Stadium has been especially problematic for him, as 13 of his 20 bombs allowed have come at home. That obviously ups the risk factor, but if ever there was a matchup for him to toss a gem, it's this one, and you know the Bronx Bombers ought to provide plenty of run support. If you can't stomach trusting Happ, Brendan McKay ($8,000) is also worth a look at home against a strikeout-prone White Sox squad.
Hitters to Target
Aaron Judge ($4,500): And speaking of those Bronx Bombers, the Yankees boast a slate-high 6.72 implied total against left-hander Kyle Freeland. That's to be expected at home against a struggling pitcher with a 5.18 SIERA and 17.3% strikeout rate, along with a dicey 43.0% hard-hit rate and 37.7% fly-ball rate. That's just not going to fly at Yankee Stadium -- just look at Happ's issues -- unless we're referring to balls flying out of the ball park on another warm summer night. Aaron Judge demolishes lefties and righties alike and is up near the top of the barrel rate leaderboard like always.
Xander Bogaerts ($4,500) and J.D. Martinez ($4,000): John Means has been far and away the top pitcher in the Orioles' rotation with a 2.94 ERA, but a .253 BABIP and 79.8% are both marks that could regress in the second half, and a 4.69 SIERA may tell the real story. The lefty's 46.9% fly-ball rate could really get him in trouble in Camden Yards on an evening expected to reach 96 degrees, and he could especially struggle with Boston's right-handed bats, as his strikeout rate drops to just 17.4% in the split. Xander Bogaerts is showing nice power again this season, and he's really taken off against southpaws, putting up a 50.0% hard-hit rate and 36.8% fly-ball rate and turning that into an eye-popping .309 ISO. Meanwhile, J.D. Martinez crushing lefties is nothing new -- even if we extend all the way back to 2014, he's produced a ridiculous .424 wOBA and .314 ISO over 740 plate appearances in the split.
Francisco Lindor ($4,100): Mike Montgomery is making his first start for the Royals, and while he shouldn't go particularly deep into the game after pitching out of the bullpen for the Cubs this season, it should be more than enough time for Cleveland to pounce and help fulfill their alluring 6.23 implied total. Over 27.0 innings this year, Montgomery has stumbled his way to a 5.25 SIERA, 14.6% strikeout rate, and 10.6% walk rate -- all career worsts for the 29-year-old lefty. Even his normally solid batted-ball numbers have evaporated, allowing a 41.8% hard-hit rate and 43.3% ground-ball rate, which are both also career-worst marks. There's still time for him to dig himself out of this hole, of course, but it's not like he's ever been a particularly intimidating presence on the mound anyway, given his career 4.33 SIERA and 18.0% strikeout rate. Francisco Lindor hasn't been as effective versus southpaws so far, but we can probably just chalk that up to small sample size noise considering his .231 ISO and .397 wOBA in the split over the last couple campaigns.
Jordan Luplow ($2,600): This will be the fourth lefty Cleveland has seen this week, and Jordon Luplow continues to be a mainstay in this piece as a result. Luplow may only start against southpaws, but he tends to make the most of those matchups, producing a 42.2% hard-hit rate and 43.8% fly-ball rate in the split this season. And while we ought to expect his ISO to regress over the long haul, a career .325 ISO over 176 plate appearances versus left-handers is mighty tantalizing indeed.
Christian Vazquez ($2,800): Entering the season, even in Boston stacks you would've been hesitant to use Christian Vazquez on FanDuel where you won't need to roster a catcher. But here we are in late July, and Vazquez is sitting on a surprising career-high 15 home runs -- he hit 10 in the prior four seasons combined -- along with a solid .217 ISO. It's hard to trust such a dramatic change, but he's supported the rise in power with career bests in hard-hit rate (34.8%) and fly-ball rate (37.2%), and his average exit velocity is way up, too. If nothing else, he could bat as high as fifth in a lineup that's expected to pile up the runs tonight. For a straight punt, Sam Travis ($2,100) should also crack the lineup at barely above minimum pricing.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($2,900): The Blue Jays come in with the slate's fifth-highest implied total (5.48), arguably drawing the best overall pitching matchups on the board against Jordan Zimmermann. We've been stacking against Zimmermann for years, and there's little reason to stop now when he's submitted a poor 5.35 SIERA and 14.6% strikeout rate across 11 starts. Home runs are why we really like attacking Zimmermann, though, and considering his 38.5% hard-hit rate and 37.2% fly-ball rate aren't all that different from what we've seen the last couple seasons, we ought to see his 1.2 dingers per nine innings rise closer to the 1.8 per nine he gave up from 2017-18. We're still waiting for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to really get going after his absurd display of power in the Home Run Derby, but this is sure the right opponent to help him knock a few out. Only Giancarlo Stanton has recorded a higher maximum exit velocity in 2019 than Guerrero (118.9 mph).
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