FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 5/17/21
Monday's eight-game main slate is highlighted by a handful of aces who top the pitching ranks. And while there aren't any implied totals that truly pop tonight, there are still some mediocre hurlers we can attack with confidence.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Gerrit Cole ($12,300): Cole has produced 60-plus FanDuel points in four of eight starts, and three of those performances have come over his last four outings. He has a sparkling 40.8% strikeout rate paired with a 1.6% walk rate and now draws an exploitable matchup against the Rangers. Among active rosters, Texas has the third-worst strikeout versus right-handed pitching this season (27.1%). The salary is getting up there, but it all lines up for another stellar fantasy score for Cole.
Yu Darvish ($11,100): Although Darvish can't hang with Cole, his 3.23 SIERA, 31.2% strikeout rate, and 6.9% walk are nothing to scoff at, and he also has a fantastic matchup ahead of him. The Rockies are away from Coors Field, and while they haven't necessarily been a plus matchup for punchouts thus far, their active roster carries a league-worst 74 wRC+ versus righties. Really, outside of Trevor Story and Ryan McMahon, is there anyone scaring us in this lineup? Colorado has a slate-low 2.75 implied total.
Yusei Kikuchi ($9,000): The Tigers are the gift that keeps on giving to opposing pitchers, as they own a league-worst 29.0% strikeout rate, and that mark has been even worse versus lefties. Following poor results over his first two MLB campaigns, Kikuchi seems to be finding his way this year, posting a solid 3.56 SIERA, 25.6% strikeout rate, 7.4% walk rate, and 51.7% ground-ball rate. The southpaw is coming off an 11-strikeout game against the Dodgers, so we should be confident in his potential ceiling facing a far easier opponent tonight.
Others to Consider: Walker Buehler ($9,900)
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox are terrorizing left-handed pitching yet again this season, and dating back to 2020, their active roster owns a league-best 131 wRC+ in the split. That's bad news for J.A. Happ, who just got lit up by these same Sox last week, allowing nine earned runs over 3.1 innings.
Happ hadn't allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts prior to that disaster, but his underlying numbers were already pointing to a course correction, and that downward trend ought to continue. Much of his success has revolved around an unsustainable .229 BABIP and 6.4% homer-to-fly-ball rate. He's now at a 5.24 SIERA and 14.7% strikeout rate for the season, and a 47.5% fly-ball rate should lead to more dingers -- an issue he's had prior years.
New York Yankees: The Yankees boast the highest implied total on the board (4.92) against a homer-prone hurler in Jordan Lyles. The Rangers righty is giving up 2.13 dingers per nine innings off a 40.8% hard-hit rate and 46.2% fly-ball rate, and that's hardly a new development. Throw in a pedestrian 20.9% strikeout rate, and it's easy to see why we want to stack up the Bronx Bombers.
Lyles struggles against all comers, but seven of the nine round-trippers he's coughed up have come off righty sticks, so New York is well-equipped to add to that tally. Aaron Judge ($3,600) is the headliner, of course, and every other right-handed bat we could see in the lineup tonight is at a salary of $3,000 or below.
This will be the young lefty's second MLB start, and over 13.2 innings this season, he's produced a lukewarm 22.2% strikeout rate and 9.5% walk rate. More importantly, his minor league numbers aren't particularly noteworthy, either, as when he last pitched in 2019, he put up a 5.11 ERA across 128.2 in Double-A with a similarly uninspiring 21.4% strikeout rate and 10.9% walk rate.
Mike Trout ($4,300) and Anthony Rendon ($3,700) are first on the list, but we can hop down to Justin Upton ($2,500) and Taylor Ward ($2,100) for some value righties. Hentges probably won't pitch especially deep into this game after going 4.2 innings in his first start, so lefties Shohei Ohtani ($4,000) and Jared Walsh ($3,200) should get opportunities against the right-handers in Cleveland's bullpen, making them wise additions to stacks, as well.