FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 4/17/21
The beauty of daily fantasy baseball is that the top targets are different each and every day. Whether it's the right-handed catcher who destroys left-handed pitching or the mid-range hurler facing a depleted lineup, you're not going to find yourself using the same assets time after time.
While this breaks up the monotony, it can make it hard to decide which players are primed to succeed on a given day. We can help bridge that gap.
In addition to our custom optimal lineups, you can check out our batting and pitching heat maps, which show the pieces in the best spot to succeed on that slate. Put on the finishing touches with our games and lineups page to see who's hitting where and what the weather looks like, and you'll have yourself a snazzy-looking team to put up some big point totals.
If you need help getting started on that trek, here are some of the top options on the board today. We'll be focusing exclusively on the main slate.
Pitchers to Target
There is a trio a hurlers who stand out from the pack -- Clayton Kershaw ($10,700 on FanDuel), Yu Darvish ($9,900) and Zack Greinke ($8,700). They're the only pitchers on the slate who we project for more than 28.0 FanDuel points. I rank them Darvish, Kershaw and Greinke, although I think you can make a case for -- and against -- any of them.
Normally, the strikeout ability of Kershaw and Darvish would put them a notch above Greinke, but those two have brutal matchups today as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres square off at Petco. The Dodgers' lineup is a meat-grinder, and Padres' offense is very good, as well, especially against lefties.
Greinke, meanwhile, is in a pretty nice spot at T-Mobile Park versus the Seattle Mariners. The issue with Greinke is he hasn't been good at all this year (5.08 SIERA and 13.9% strikeout rate), but we're talking about just 17 2/3 innings.
I think you're pushing it to use anyone outside of said trio.
Dane Dunning ($8,000) has the matchup (Baltimore Orioles) and swing-and-miss stuff (11 strikeouts in nine innings this year), but he's been allowed to go only 71 and 70 pitches in his two starts despite giving up a total of one earned run. I just don't see a legit path to upside for him. Matt Shoemaker ($7,600) has been good so far in 11 frames this season, striking out 12 while walking one. But the Los Angeles Angels carry the slate's highest implied total (4.52) against him.
Stacks to Target
The Minnesota Twins get to face lefty Jose Quintana, who has pretty blah numbers since the start of 2019, including a 4.44 SIERA and 8.7% swinging-strike rate. In 2019, his last season with a large sample size, Quintana allowed a .336 wOBA and 39.0% hard-hit rate to right-handed hitters. The Twins' 4.48 implied total is the second-best clip of the slate.
Whenever we're stacking Minnesota versus a southpaw, Nelson Cruz ($3,800) and Josh Donaldson ($3,000) are the core building blocks, although both figure to be extremely chalky. The duo has a lengthy track record of doing big-time damage against lefties. You can build unique Twins stacks by fading them and getting your Minnesota exposure elsewhere. However, per our algorithm, Cruz is the slate's top bat and has the best tater projection.
Fellow righties Miguel Sano ($2,800), Byron Buxton ($4,200) and Mitch Garver ($2,400) offer plenty of appeal. Buxton has missed the last four games, but if he's in there today, he might go a bit overlooked if the masses are hesitant to buy in at his lofty salary after the injury layoff. Sano tagged left-handers for a 47.6% hard-hit rate last year while Garver put up a .360 wOBA and 43.8% hard-hit rate in the split.
Switch-hitter Jorge Polanco ($2,500) would be real easy to like if he's atop the lineup. He had a .344 wOBA and 41.2% fly-ball rate last year when hitting right-handed. Righty Kyle Garlick ($2,200) is another way to get a low-salary piece of this lineup if he starts.
After the Twins, no stacks really jump out on this slate. It's a weird slate overall as there aren't any top-shelf aces in great matchups who we can plug in, but there also aren't any truly smash hitting spots. When that's the case, I like getting a little weird with my stacks. Last night's slate was somewhat similar to this one, and the Philadelphia Phillies ended up being an off-the-radar stack that blew up.
With that in mind, I am attracted to the Texas Rangers, who are at home tonight versus Orioles righty Dean Kremer. Kremer has shown decently well in his brief (24 2/3 innings) MLB career, and he displayed the ability to miss bats in the minors. But the Rangers have a 4.45 implied total, which checks in third-highest on this slate, and they have some lefty bats I'm intrigued by. I don't know if I'll go with a full-on four-man Rangers stack, but I want a piece of them. And their salaries allow you a ton of flexibility with the rest of your lineup.
Joey Gallo ($3,100), Nate Lowe ($3,200) and David Dahl ($2,600) are the guys we should flock to. All three offer dinger upside and will have the platoon advantage. While the sample size is almost nothing (50 batters faced in the split), lefties have a .353 wOBA, 48.3% hard-hit rate and 58.6% fly-ball rate versus Kremer. Gallo was popular last night and likely will be again on a small slate at his modest salary.
Righties Nick Solak ($2,800) and Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($3,000) should be in good spots in the lineup. Solak has three jacks and a .363 wOBA so far in 2021. IKF -- not sure if that's something people use for him, but I'm going with it -- is usually atop the order and already has two steals with two dongs this campaign.
Los Angeles Dodgers
While I could write up the Angles, the owners of the slate's top implied total, I don't love them today against Shoemaker. That doesn't mean I won't have some of the Halos -- particularly with how easy it is to find cap space for Mike Trout ($4,500) -- I just view the Angels tonight as being better for one-off plays than I do stacks.
The Dodgers are clearly a team with enough depth for four-man stacks, and I'm into the idea of getting them at a lower draft percentage, which might be the case today even on a six-game slate. The reason for that is their difficult matchup against Darvish, the same guy who I said was my top pitcher on the slate.
But stacking the Dodgers tonight is more about embracing volatility and the chance to get super-talented hitters at a lower draft percentage than it is anything negative about Darvish, who is a stud. But with that said, there's a chance the Dodgers aren't as contrarian as I think they could be given the lack of quality offensive spots on this slate. We'll see.
Darvish was absolute death versus righties in 2020, pitching to a 2.04 xFIP and 39.8% strikeout rate in the split while permitting just a .230 wOBA. We should focus primarily on the Dodgers' left-handed hitters.
Lefties Max Muncy ($3,500), Corey Seager ($3,700), Zach McKinstry ($2,800) and Gavin Lux ($2,200) are listed as probable starters, though LA chops and changes their lineup as much as anyone does. Muncy recorded a 44.2% hard-hit rate and 43.2% fly-ball rate last year with the platoon advantage. Seager mauled righties last season, putting up a .416 wOBA and 53.3% hard-hit rate in the split. It wouldn't be surprising to see lefty Edwin Rios ($2,100) in the lineup, and he'd be a decent low-salary dart throw.