FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 5/2/21
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
The salary is up there, but Max Scherzer ($12,000 on FanDuel) is a priority for me in a home clash with the Miami Marlins. Miami sports the sixth-worst wOBA (.296) and the ninth-highest strikeout rate (26.1%). While Scherzer is giving up a 40.8% hard-hit rate, he's still getting whiffs, holding a 32.8% strikeout rate and 15.1% swinging-strike rate. Miami has the slate's lowest implied total (3.15), and Scherzer hs thrown at least 106 pitches in two of his last three starts. Max is the slate's top arm, per our projections.
We have plenty of other appealing options. Lucas Giolito ($10,600) is my pick of the rest. Giolito is facing a Cleveland Indians offense that has the third-worst wOBA (.291) and has been given a measly 3.54 implied total. Giolito's 5.68 ERA is very misleading as he's got a 3.43 SIERA, 30.3% strikeout rate and 14.6% swinging-strike rate. He's a great alternative if you can't find the coin for Scherzer.
After those two, Jose Berrios ($8,800), Corey Kluber ($7,300) and Julio Urias ($9,900) are worth checking out. Kluber has a great chance to get a win against a bad Detroit Tigers team. Berrios has a nice matchup, too, taking on the Kansas City Royals. Urias gets the whiffy-happy Milwaukee Brewers, and he will likely fly under the radar at his salary. Of the trio, I prefer Kluber and then Urias.
Stacks to Target
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are heating up, and they now sit 10th in wOBA (.313). They have another good matchup today, going to battle against right-hander Jose Urena, who owns a 15.9% strikeout rate and 5.37 SIERA since the start of 2020. Playing in the Bronx, New York totes a 5.48 implied total.
I'm not going to list off every projected starter for the Yankees, but anyone in their lineup is in play. And outside of Aaron Judge ($3,900) and Giancarlo Stanton ($3,800), the Pinstripes have a lot of modest salaries, so it's possible to stack them and use Scherzer or Giolito. As such, they'll likely be very popular.
Our model projects Gio Urshela ($2,900) as the top Yankees hitter and one of the best point-per-dollar plays on the slate. Aaron Hicks ($2,500) is another superb point-per-dollar play, as is Brett Gardner ($2,100) if he gets in the lineup.
Nelson Cruz ($4,000) and Byron Buxton ($4,500) are the top-projected Minnesota sticks, according to our numbers. But they're also the only Twins above $3,000, and it's tough to get to them if you're rostering Scherzer.
Max Kepler ($3,000), Luis Arraez ($2,800), Josh Donaldson ($3,000) and Jake Cave ($2,200) are much easier to fit in. Kepler and Cave, in particular, stand out for me. In 2020, Kepler posted a .383 wOBA and 47.5% fly-ball rate versus righties. Cave is a low-salary dart throw who offers decent pop if he's in the lineup.
St. Louis Cardinals
I wanted to get a little weird with one stack recommendation, so here we are.
The St. Louis Cardinals haven't been good offensively so far in 2021, sitting with a blah .297 wOBA (eighth-worst). They do, however, get a pretty nice matchup today as they're up against right-hander Wil Crowe, who has just 13 MLB innings to his name and doesn't have a very impressive minor-league track record, including a mere 16.4% strikeout rate in 54 Triple-A frames in 2019. St. Louis' 4.57 implied total is decent, but it's not so good that they'll be chalky, especially given that they have four hitters at or above $3,500.
Switch-hitters Tommy Edman ($3,500) and Dylan Carlson ($3,600) should be atop the lineup. Edman offers a nice power-speed combo while Carlson is a top-shelf prospect who has a .364 wOBA this season. Nolan Arenado ($4,000) and Paul Goldschmidt ($3,800) will likely hit fourth and third, respectively. Lefty Matt Carpenter ($2,500) is an enticing way to save salary if he gets in the lineup as he has recorded a 42.3% hard-hit rate and 48.0% fly-ball rate in a small sample this season against righties.