FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 6/24/21
Thursday's main slate checks in at eight games, and it's safe to say it's not a deep one at pitcher. Only a couple of starters exceed a 26% strikeout rate, and just three hurlers in total have a salary of $9,000 or higher. The lack of top-of-the-line starters does lend itself to a variety of enticing stacks, though, with the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros among the teams sporting high implied totals.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Walker Buehler ($11,000): In terms of overall track record, Buehler easily has a leg up on everyone else tonight, and that's reflected in his salary, as no other starter cracks even $10,000. His 25.2% strikeout rate doesn't pop like the other aces we normally see in this tier, but with no other elite options on the board, that should be enough to get the job done, particularly due to how efficient he is on the mound. Buehler rarely issues walks (5.4%), and he's yet to throw fewer than 6.0 innings in any of his 14 starts, resulting in 12 of them going for quality starts. That means we can feel pretty good about getting that extra four-point quality start bonus, in addition to a healthy number of punchouts against a Cubs active roster that strikes out 26.1% of the time versus right-handed pitching. Chicago also has the lowest implied total by a wide margin (3.39).
Luis Garcia ($9,600): The highest strikeout rate of the night actually belongs to Garcia (28.1%), and he also draws one of our favorite teams to attack in the Tigers, who are striking out at a 26.3% clip versus righties. Garcia's been in good form of late, too, earning quality starts in four of his last five outings, helping him to scores of 46 points or better in those appearances. And it's not like those results came in cupcake matchups, either, as he held his own against the Dodgers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and White Sox. The stage is set for Garcia to post one of his best scores this season.
Jose Berrios ($9,000): Berrios isn't someone I often look to on FanDuel due to his lack of an elite strikeout rate, but he's a solid real-life pitcher, and the reality is that his underlying numbers aren't all that different from Buehler, who's a full $2,000 above him. The Minnesota right-hander owns a 3.65 SIERA, 25.7% strikeout rate, and 6.2% walk rate this year, and Cleveland carries a middling 90 wRC+ versus righties. However, Berrios hasn't demonstrated the same consistency as Buehler, and Cleveland isn't a great matchup for strikeouts, potentially limiting his upside. Still, on this slate, a pitching score in the 40s could very well be enough, and that isn't an unrealistic expectation for Berrios tonight.
Toronto Blue Jays: It doesn't get much better than this for Blue Jays, who have a well-deserved 5.88 implied total at home against an overmatched Dean Kremer. The young righty has been knocked around across 11 starts, which includes allowing a hefty 2.37 home runs per nine innings.
But what should really have us excited are his reverse splits versus right-handed bats. While Kremer is getting mashed by both sides of the plate, in same-sided matchups, his strikeout rate plummets to just 16.8% while allowing a high rate of fly balls (42.2%).
This sets up perfectly for a lineup loaded with all sorts of righty power between Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,300), Bo Bichette ($3,700), Marcus Semien ($3,400), Teoscar Hernandez ($3,000), and Randal Grichuk ($2,600). Oh, and George Springer ($3,600) returned from the injured list earlier this week, too. Stack away.
Houston Astros: The Astros might need to start paying rent for this space at this point, as this marks the fourth day in a row that they crack the list. But it's for good reason against Jose Urena, which is yet another plus matchup for one of the league's best lineups.
This spot isn't quite as perfect as Toronto's because the one thing Urena does well is get grounders (51.8% rate), helping him keep the ball in the park. But he comes in with a poor 13.9% strikeout rate and 10.2% walk rate, and as we've seen from back-to-back shellackings at the hands of the White Sox and Angels -- the latter of which slugged three dingers -- we can absolutely cash in against Urena with the right lineups.
Lefties, in particular, have a leg up tonight, as Urena owns an glaring 9.3% strikeout rate and 5.42 xFIP in the split. That gives Yordan Alvarez ($3,800), Michael Brantley ($3,700), Kyle Tucker ($3,000), and Abraham Toro ($2,100) the advantage, followed by your favorite righty sticks.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are another exceptional offense in a plus matchup, taking on Zach Davies and his 5.63 SIERA, 13.9% strikeout rate, and 11.1% walk rate. Although Davies hasn't allowed many home runs, his 45.2% ground-ball rate is only slightly above average, so this could be more due to luck than skill, which is also backed up by a rather low 8.3% homer-to-fly-ball rate. It also isn't like the quality of contact he's allowing is anything special, either, as his Statcast metrics are poor across the board.
Davies has been consistently weaker versus left-handed sticks over his career, so the recently activated Max Muncy ($3,500) and Cody Bellinger ($3,500) are strong starting points, but with an xFIP above five against both sides of the plate, don't hesitate to roster the obvious righties like Mookie Betts ($4,000), Justin Turner ($3,300), Chris Taylor ($3,100), and Will Smith ($2,700).