FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 5/27/21
Thursday's main slate checks in at five games with a slightly later start time of 8:10 pm ET. We're light on pitching options, but a handful of guys offer up the required upside we're looking for. Note that the Orioles-White Sox contest has rain in the forecast, so keep tabs on that one.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Dylan Cease ($7,500): It says something about our pitching options when a sub-$8,000 player is listed first, but here we are. This is the lone game with potential weather issues (groan), but at least it's the earliest one on the slate if we ultimately have to bail. At any rate, Cease seems to be finally putting it all together, producing a 4.08 SIERA and 29.0% strikeout rate through nine starts. The only negative has been a 12.4% walk rate, as he's issued at least 3 walks in all but two starts. Still, the ceiling is there, and tonight's matchup is ideal against an Orioles team with an 85 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Baltimore's 3.49 implied total is one of the night's lowest.
Shohei Ohtani ($10,300): Ohtani is the ultimate risk-reward player on the board, as his 34.9% strikeout rate blows everyone else out of the water, but he comes with all sorts of red flags. Not only does he still carry an alarming 17.1% walk rate and typically throws fewer than 90 pitches, but his velocity was around five mph lower than usual in his last start. Yikes. There hasn't been any news of an injury, so maybe that was a flukey outing, but that probably doesn't have you super excited to roster the slate's highest-salaried arm. And it's not like the Athletics are a bunch of pushovers, either, carrying a 105 wRC+ versus righties this year. Yet, despite all that, Ohtani did pile up 10 strikeouts against the Astros two starts ago, and few pitchers on this slate have that type of ceiling, so you still have to at least consider him in tournaments.
Chris Bassitt ($9,100): Bassitt's posted a solid 3.55 SIERA, 25.7% strikeout rate, and 5.9% walk rate this season, and it's the strikeout rate that's particularly notable, as it's a sizable improvement over last year's mark (21.1%) and is backed by an improved 11.6% swinging-strike rate. The Angels have been an above-average offense against right-handed pitching this season, but we're still not talking about a particularly deep lineup, and their strikeout rate is up to 24.8% in the split. Los Angeles' implied total sits at just 3.45, and Bassitt appears to be the closest thing to a "safe" floor tonight.
Others to Consider: Alex Wood ($9,800)
Chicago White Sox: Once again, naturally one of the top stacks of the night comes from our inclement weather game. But if it plays, the White Sox should be in for a delightful time versus Bruce Zimmermann.
Chicago is lighting up opposing southpaws this year with a team 133 wRC+ in the split, which spells all sorts of bad news for Zimmermann. The young southpaw hasn't had any answers against righties, putting up a 5.24 xFIP and 16.4% strikeout rate while allowing a 42.4% fly-ball rate. He's already given up seven home runs to right-handed bats.
All the usual names stand out for the Sox. Jose Abreu ($3,900) and Tim Anderson ($3,600) are the high-salaried targets, while Yasmani Grandal ($3,000), Yermin Mercedes ($2,600), and Andrew Vaughn ($2,600) give us plenty of value. Switch-hitter Yoan Moncada ($3,400) has typically demonstrated less power versus lefties over his career but still possesses upside as the regular number-three hitter.
Arizona Diamondbacks: I don't love attacking ground-ball pitchers because they generally suppress home runs as a result, but Carlos Martinez really doesn't have much else going for him. The veteran right-hander has a respectable 50.3% ground-ball rate, but it comes with a poor 5.21 SIERA and 12.1% strikeout rate. That strikeout rate is practically half the league average this year, and with that many balls in play, it's likely only a matter of time before his 4.18 ERA balloons.
Carson Kelly ($3,600) has an absurdly high salary, but he and Eduardo Escobar ($3,000) are probably your best bets in terms of power, while Ketel Marte ($3,200) and David Peralta ($2,700) are solid all-around bats who will enjoy the platoon advantage. The rest of the lineup will feature sub-$3,000 values depending on how the batting order shakes out.
Texas Rangers: The Cardinals have a high implied total on the other side of that Arizona matchup in a virtually identical situation against Matt Peacock (low strikeout rate and high ground-ball rate), and you could also take a chance on the Athletics in case Ohtani's drop in velocity and/or control issues emerge again. But the Rangers are in a potential upside spot versus Chris Flexen, who comes in with a lackluster 4.84 SIERA.
While Texas is hardly an amazing offense, they have decent power potential in guys like Adolis Garcia ($3,800), Joey Gallo ($3,000), Willie Calhoun ($2,800), Nick Solak ($2,800), and Nate Lowe ($2,600), and Flexen is another hurler struggling to get punchouts with a mere 13.5% strikeout rate. While Flexen is inducing more grounders against left-handed batters, he's otherwise attackable from both sides of the plate.
Others to Consider: St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics