FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 5/6/21

It's an afternoon-heavy Thursday MLB schedule, so we're getting one of those rare early main slates today. We have eight afternoon games on the docket, with the first ones starting at 1:05 pm ET.

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!

Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.


Gerrit Cole ($12,300): The Yankees' ace is putting up filthy numbers as usual, but they're truly otherwordly right now between a 1.53 SIERA, 44.3% strikeout rate, and 2.1% walk rate. While Houston is a poor matchup for strikeouts (20.2% strikeout rate versus righties from 2020-21), that shouldn't be as much of a concern when Gerrit Cole is dealing like this. The Astros are looking at a paltry 3.15 implied total today.

Brandon Woodruff ($10,100): He might not be on Cole's level, but we're seeing some strong marks from Brandon Woodruff, as well. Woodruff is sporting a 3.18 SIERA, 30.1% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate, which is eerily close to how he's performed in each of the last two campaigns. He's also getting a little more leeway in his pitch counts these days, exceeding 90 pitches in three straight. This is more of a neutral matchup against Philadelphia, but the Phillies are displaying only a 3.30 implied total and could be without Bryce Harper (wrist) yet again.

Zack Wheeler ($9,100): We've got some interesting names hanging around this salary range, with Zack Wheeler, Michael Pineda, and Nathan Eovaldi all drawing teams that whiff a whole bunch. But of the group, Wheeler arguably has the slight edge due to his solid 26.6% strikeout rate -- the best of the three -- and the fact that he's the rare hurler who's actually allowed to pitch deep into games, as he's thrown 105 or more pitches three times already this season. Wheeler's up against the Brewers, a team with a 26.6% strikeout rate against righties from 2020-21. They're a pretty weak lineup overall without Christian Yelich.

Others to Consider: Michael Pineda ($8,700), Nathan Eovaldi ($8,600)


Minnesota Twins: Jordan Lyles has been getting absolutely rocked by right-handed batters going back to last season, allowing a whopping 2.9 dingers per nine innings over that span with a poor 14.6% strikeout rate. And it's not like he's been any good versus lefties, either, with a 15.4% strikeout rate and 5.74 xFIP in that split.

Needless to say, we're going to want to stack up these Twins, whether it's doling out top dollar for Byron Buxton ($4,400) or Nelson Cruz ($3,900) or grabbing all the value we find throughout this lineup. Josh Donaldson ($3,100) and potentially Max Kepler ($2,900) should bat high in the order, while high-strikeout power bats like Mitch Garver ($2,700) and Miguel Sano ($2,500) should benefit greatly from the matchup.

Atlanta Braves: Veteran southpaw Jon Lester is well past his prime, and his 2021 debut sure didn't say otherwise. Although he managed to hold the Miami Marlins scoreless over five innings, he induced just one strikeout with a 6.8% swinging-strike rate. Seeing as Lester struggled with punchouts last season (15.8% strikeout rate), and the Braves are objectively a far stronger lineup than the Marlins, this could get ugly fast.

On top of all this, everyone in today's projected Atlanta lineup will have the platoon advantage, with the lone exception -- Freddie Freeman ($3,600) -- being far too good a hitter to exclude, so you can mix and match pretty much everyone here. Marcell Ozuna ($2,900), Ozzie Albies ($3,200), Austin Riley ($2,400), and Dansby Swanson ($2,400) can give us three through six in the order for an average salary under $3,000 per player, which almost seems too easy.

Toronto Blue Jays: Mike Fiers has just one start under his belt this year, but he still looks like the same guy we've seen the past couple of seasons. Dating back to 2019, Fiers has produced a middling 16.0% strikeout rate with a SIERA over 5.00, and he's never held a high ground-ball rate.

All this should mean plenty of opportunities for this loaded Blue Jays lineup to mash a few out of the park, and beyond the assumed first three in the order -- Marcus Semien, ($3,200), Bo Bichette ($3,500), and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($3,900) -- we can get everyone else at salaries under $3,000. In particular, Teoscar Hernandez ($2,800), Randal Grichuk ($2,800), and Lourdes Gurriel ($2,400) are enticing low-salary sources of pop.

Others to Consider: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals