FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 4/18/21

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

This is an awesome pitching slate, and there are four top-notch options for us to choose from.

Our model has Shane Bieber ($11,500 on FanDuel) projected for 45.1 FanDuel points -- 6.5 more than any other pitcher. He's got a difficult draw against a Cincinnati Reds offense that has been superb in 2021, and the game is at hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. But Bieber is just so dang good. He boasts a 41.7% strikeout rate and 20.3% swinging-strike rate in 21 1/3 innings this season. Cincy's 3.15 implied total is a slate-low clip. With three other stellar pitching choices on this slate, Bieber likely won't be as overwhelmingly popular as he usually is.

Those three fantastic alternatives are Aaron Nola ($8,500), Gerrit Cole ($11,000) and Freddy Peralta ($8,500). Peralta and Nola are particularly enticing at their salaries. We have Nola scoring 38.6 FanDuel points while we project Cole and Peralta to each post 36.3 FanDuel points. We don't have anyone else projected for more than 26.0 FanDuel points, so you're pushing it if you use someone other than these four in your pitching slot.

Nola is taking on the St. Louis Cardinals and is carrying a 25.0% strikeout rate through 15 2/3 frames this year, a season after recording a 33.2% strikeout rate. In terms of bang for your buck, Nola is the best point-per-dollar option on this slate, according to our algorithm. The Cards sport a measly 3.23 implied total.

Peralta has been ballin' out, and he has a cozy matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who hold a 3.23 implied total. Peralta owns a startling 47.1% strikeout rate with an 18.1% swinging-strike rate in 13 innings in 2021. And this isn't some small-sample fluke. Since the start of 2019, Peralta has a 3.47 SIERA, 33.3% strikeout rate and 14.1% swinging-strike rate over 127 1/3 innings -- although that span includes 46 relief appearance and only 11 starts.

Cole is at home versus the Tampa Bay Rays, who are implied for 3.21 runs. Cole has been doing Cole things through his first 18 1/3 innings, dominating to the tune of a 41.4% strikeout rate and 16.8% swinging-strike rate. As we said with Bieber, Cole might see a lower draft percentage than usual on this slate due to the quality of the other options.

Lastly, I want to briefly mention John Means ($8,000). The Baltimore Orioles' southpaw has a 23.2% strikeout rate and 12.6% swinging-strike rate in 60 1/3 innings since the start of 2020. On a normal slate, he'd be worth a look. But he doesn't have the floor/ceiling combination of the slate's four studs, and he doesn't offer enough of a salary discount to be worth a dart throw -- at least in my eyes.

Stacks to Target

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals tote the slate's highest implied total for their matchup with Madison Bumgarner. MadBum is only 31, but he's a shell of what he used to be, struggling to a 5.18 SIERA and 17.1% strikeout rate since the start of last season. He's also surrendering a 43.1% hard-hit rate and 40.6% fly-ball rate, so he's exactly the type of guy we want to stack against.

Ideally we'd target Bumgarner with right-handed hitters, because he allowed a .404 wOBA, 46.7% hard-hit rate and 44.9% fly-ball rate in the split in 2020. Unfortunately, that doesn't mesh super well with the Nationals.

The last time Washington saw a lefty, Victor Robles ($2,400) and Trea Turner ($3,800) hit atop the lineup while Ryan Zimmerman ($2,300), Jordy Mercer ($2,000) and Starlin Castro ($2,500) were slotted 4-5-6. If he's healthy after missing Saturday's game, Josh Harrison ($2,900) will probably get in the lineup, and he's worth a look. Turner is the slate's top bat, per our model, and he might wind up being the slate's most popular stick. Other than Turner, the salaries of the right-handed Nats make them easy to pair with Cole or Bieber.

Juan Soto ($4,200) won't have the platoon advantage, but because he's Juan Soto, he's put up a .375 wOBA in lefty-lefty matchup in his career.

New York Yankees

It feels like the New York Yankees are going to have a massive day at some point. Maybe it's today against the combo of Andrew Kittredge (opener) and Ryan Yarbrough (bulk guy). Yarbrough isn't a bad hurler, but he's a lefty going up against a lineup with some guys who mash southpaws. The Yanks have a 4.79 implied total.

The Yankees will probably pack their lineup with right-handed hitters, and the foursome of Aaron Judge ($4,000), Giancarlo Stanton ($3,500), DJ LeMahieu ($3,300) and Gleyber Torres ($2,700) are the top options. Due to their struggles, the Bronx Bombers are fairly modestly salaried across the board other than Judge.

Clint Frazier ($2,100), Gio Urshela ($2,500) and Aaron Hicks ($2,600) are low-salary ways to get a piece of the Yankees, and they'll all hit from the right side.

Miami Marlins

I wanted to go off the radar a bit with one stack, which led me to the Miami Marlins, who are hosting lefty Alex Wood.

While stacking Miami could definitely backfire, I don't think it's that crazy, especially if you target them for just two- or three-man stacks. Back in 2019, Wood's last full season, he permitted a 47.3% hard-hit rate to right-handed hitters. Miami has some quality righty bats, and their salaries can help you get to the stud pitcher of your choice.

Jesus Aguilar ($2,700) and Adam Duvall ($3,100) are the guys I'll focus on. Aguilar had a .405 wOBA against left-handers in 2020, and Duvall has a long track record of success in the split, including a .373 wOBA last season. I love the idea of pairing these two in a two-man stack.

We can also look to Brian Anderson ($2,600), Miguel Rojas ($2,700), Garrett Cooper ($2,600) and Starling Marte ($3,200) -- all of whom are right-handed hitters. Marte will probably lead off, and Rojas put up a 45.7% hard-hit rate with the platoon advantage last season.