FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 4/16/21
Following a shaky pitching slate on Thursday, it looked like we were going to get back to some normalcy with a Jacob deGrom slate, but his game at Coors Field has already been postponed due to snow. Welp. Luckily, there's one arm in particular we can turn to tonight.
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Let's check out the top options on Friday's main slate.
Max Scherzer ($10,400): With Jacob deGrom off the table, the obvious choice tonight is Max Scherzer. Through two starts, Scherzer has produced a 31.8% strikeout rate, which is right around how he performed in 2020, and his 17.7% swinging-strike rate is also a promising early sign. He did give up four solo shots to the Braves in his first start, which will be something to keep an eye on -- Scherzer isn't getting any younger -- but as long as the punchouts are three, he should still capitalize on plus matchups. The Diamondbacks aren't a high-strikeout team, but they also don't pack a ton of punch, sporting a 90 wRC+ versus righties dating back to 2020.
Jose Urquidy ($7,100): It's hard to find too many guys who have a shot at keeping pace with Scherzer, but Jose Urquidy's salary is just so low that he might be worth rolling the dice on to roster high-salaried stacks. Urquidy's strikeout rate fell off the map in 2020, but it was just five starts, and this year's version looks more like what we saw out of him in 2019 when he posted a promising 24.0% strikeout rate and 12.0% swinging-strike rate over nine appearances (seven starts). Early returns show a 27.9% strikeout rate and 10.8% swinging-strike rate over two outings, and tonight's spot against the Mariners could give him a boost. Seattle has a 25.4% strikeout rate versus right-handers from 2020-21 and is displaying a modest 3.96 implied total.
Washington Nationals: The New York Mets were the go-to spot at Coors tonight, so their absence could lead to more spread out draft percentages across the slate. That said, the Nationals are one team that could get some attention against Taylor Widener, who will be making just his third career start.
While Widener demonstrated some strikeout upside as a reliever in 2020, that hasn't carried over as a starter thus far. In his two 2021 starts, the right-hander has only managed a 17.0% strikeout rate and 8.3% swinging-strike rate. He also doesn't get many ground balls (35.7% career rate) and served up five home runs in 20.0 innings last season, which may be a sign of things to come.
The Nats are also a straightforward stack, as Juan Soto ($4,300), Josh Bell ($3,200), and Kyle Schwarber ($3,000) give us three power bats high in the order with the platoon advantage (Widener has performed worse versus lefties over a small sample), and Trea Turner ($4,000) needs no explanation out of the leadoff spot. Everyone else in the lineup comes in at below $3,000 if you need to swap someone out to slash salary.
Historically, Urena's primary struggles have consistently come against left-handed batters (career 5.49 xFIP in the split), and that's where Oakland comes up a bit short, as Matt Olson ($3,100) and switch-hitter Jed Lowrie ($3,500) are likely to be the only prominent lefties Urena will see tonight.
But Urena struggled all around in 2020, owning a 6.01 SIERA, 14.4% strikeout rate, and 12.5% walk rate across five starts, and that lack of control seems to have carried over to this season. He's already issued nine walks over 7.2 innings, and as one might expect, poor results have followed. Stack away.
Many of Oakland's salaries have seen a slight bump since yesterday, but Mark Canha ($3,300) and Matt Chapman ($3,400) are still in the mid-range, and Sean Murphy ($2,200) remains a viable punt despite his slow start. Ramon Laureano ($4,000) ought to see a lower draft percentage due to his high salary.
New York Yankees: Despite the size of the slate, you could argue that there aren't that many truly obvious stacking spots tonight, so you can't go wrong with just stacking up an elite lineup like the Yankees. They have one of the better implied totals on the board against Michael Wacha at 5.18 runs.
Wacha has actually produced a sub-4.00 SIERA dating back to last season, but the results sure haven't matched it, with a bloated 6.70 ERA over that span. Home runs were the issue in 2020, while control has escaped him so far in 2021. In either case, that could get him into loads of trouble against the Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium.
You know the drill with the Yankees -- just about everyone is legitimately in play. Aaron Judge ($4,200) tops the wish list, of course, but Giancarlo Stanton ($3,400) and DJ LeMahieu ($3,500) come at reasonable salaries, and the rest of the order is filled with value.