FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 7/19/21
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.
While tonight's slate does have a number of aces, a couple of them are in bad spots. Yu Darvish ($11,200) has an okay matchup against the Ronald Acuna-less Atlanta Braves, but the weather in that game makes rostering him a scary proposition. Meanwhile, Kevin Gausman ($10,600) faces one of the league's toughest offenses in the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Shohei Ohtani ($10,200) - While that's not the case most days, the face of baseball is not an easy player to roster when he's on the mound. Just to give you an idea of the volatility we're dealing with -- over his last three starts, Ohtani has amassed 46, -16, and 37 FanDuel points. So yeah...not for the faint of heart. After starting the season with four straight efforts of 36 fantasy points or fewer, Shohei has eclipsed that number in five of his last nine starts, and that includes outputs of 40, 46, 52, and 52. The 27-year-old superstar sports an impressive 30.7% strikeout rate on the season, and his 3.49 ERA is backed up by a 3.65 xFIP and 3.70 xERA. Now, the Oakland Athletics are no cakewalk matchup, but they have had their struggles recently. Over the last month, Oakland's 87 wRC+ is tied for the fourth-worst mark in the majors, according to FanGraphs.
Kyle Gibson ($9,100) - Another player who is not an easy call, but is worthy of consideration tonight, especially in tournaments. Gibson has surpassed 37 fantasy points just once in his last 10 contests, though he has managed at least 30 in 12 of his last 16 starts. The veteran's pitched a bit out of his league so far, as his 2.29 ERA doesn't come close to matching up with his 3.89 xFIP and 4.16 SIERA. His 21.7% punch-out rate isn't much reason to be encouraged, either. That said, a date with the Detroit Tigers does await him tonight, and they're always susceptible to a big pitching performance. Gibson toed the rubber against the Tigers in his final start before the All-Star break, and he gave up 5 earned runs through 6 1/3 innings while striking out 7 -- not great. That said, Detroit does have the second-highest K rate (26.7%) versus right-handed pitching in 2021, and their 89 wRC+ in that split is tied for eighth-worst.
Ryan Yarbrough ($7,400) - Yarbrough's last five starts have come against the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, and Toronto Blue Jays (twice), so he hasn't exactly been in a position to put up viable fantasy numbers. However, in the two starts prior to this hellish stretch, the southpaw racked up 46 and 49 FanDuel points, with the former coming against tonight's opponent, the Baltimore Orioles. Yarbrough's numbers won't jump off any pages, but he has pitched to a respectable 3.86 xERA this season. While Baltimore has been extremely formidable against lefties all season, their offense as a whole has struggled in recent weeks. The Orioles' 89 wRC+ and 24.4% strikeout rate over the last month are both bottom-10 marks in baseball.
New York Mets: According to numberFire's Matchup Heat Map, the highest run total on tonight's slate belongs to the matchup between the Mets and Cincinnati Reds, which is currently sitting at 11.0. While Cincy tops the slate with a 5.61 implied run total, New York isn't far behind with their 5.39 mark.
The Mets will be squaring off against Reds rookie hurler Vladimir Gutierrez, and that's one good reason to look to stack this red-hot offense. While Gutierrez's 4.29 ERA isn't terrible, his peripherals paint a much uglier picture. On the season, the right-hander sports a 5.44 SIERA, 5.63 xFIP, 16.5% strikeout rate, and 10.6% walk rate. Yikes.
Interestingly enough, same-sided hitters have had a grander time against Guttierrez, posting a .341 wOBA and 1.63 homers per nine innings against him (compared to .312 and 1.19 for lefties).
Fortunately, the Mets have a number of hitters who can absolutely take advantage of this matchup. Pete Alonso ($3,800) has thrived in same-sided matchups in his career, accruing a .889 OPS, .278 ISO, .370 wOBA, and 135 wRC+ in that split. The Home Run Derby champ has been a monster away from Citi Field this season, putting up a .925 OPS, .299 ISO, .391 wOBA, and 146 wRC+ on the road. Hitting in the friendliest park for home runs this season certainly boosts Pete's outlook.
My favorite play in this stack might just be J.D. Davis ($2,800). In a sample of just 50 plate appearances against righties this season, Davis has raked for a 1.154 OPS, .279 ISO, .491 wOBA, and 216 wRC+. Those numbers are insane even for a small sample size.
Of course, we can't forget about the lefties in New York's lineup. Brandon Nimmo ($3,200) has a .404 on-base percentage and 140 wRC+ with the platoon advantage in 2021. Michael Conforto ($2,800) has gone deep twice in his last four games and possesses a career .876 OPS, .237 ISO, .370 wOBA, and 136 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching. Finally, Jeff McNeil ($2,600) is hitting .327 with a .417 on-base average over his last 17 games and is also worth considering.
Cincinnati Reds: I mentioned that the highest implied total of the slate currently belongs to the Reds, and there's a good reason for that.
Cincy will take their swings against 31-year-old right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, and their hitters should be salivating at this opportunity. In 71 innings since 2019, Eickhoff has garnered a 5.58 ERA, 7.01 FIP, and 5.32 xFIP. During that stretch, the opposition has slammed him for a .924 OPS, .380 wOBA, and a delicious 3.0 dingers per nine.
Over the last two seasons, left-handed hitters have treated Eickhoff like he's Dave Jauss serving it up to Pete Alonso in the Derby. The numbers -- a 9.49 ERA, 10.87 FIP, 1.239 OPS, .496 wOBA, and 5.5 (!!) HR/9. That's with a not-so-insignificant sample of 117 batters faced. Holy moly!
Cincinnati has plenty of lefties we can target tonight, including Jesse Winker ($3,300), Joey Votto ($2,900), Tyler Naquin ($2,200), and Jonathan India ($2,700). Winker's 1.020 OPS, .287 ISO, .431 wOBA, and 170 wRC+ versus righties all lead the way. Votto's been solid in his own right, with a .876 OPS, .221 ISO, .378 wOBA, and 135 wRC+. Naquin has 12 homers and a .211 ISO with the platoon advantage this season. Meanwhile, India has gotten on base at an unreal .448 clip over his last 48 games and has the power/speed combination to thrive in a spot like this.
We also shouldn't sleep on Nick Castellanos ($3,600). The 29-year-old has assembled elite numbers against righties, including a .989 OPS, .257 ISO, .418 wOBA, and 161 wRC+. That'll play.
Tampa Bay Rays: With some really potent offenses available on tonight's slate, the Rays could fly under the radar despite their 5.20 implied run total, which is certainly something we want to exploit in tournaments. Tampa is an especially savvy stack if you want to pay up for one of the top-shelf pitchers, as none of their bats will cost you more than $3,200.
Taking the mound against the Rays will be Orioles rookie Spenser Watkins. Watkins has just 10 1/3 major league innings to his name, and his 5.47 xFIP and 6.25 SIERA are right on par with what he did in the minors. In 119 career Triple-A innings, Watkins accumulated a 6.50 ERA, an xFIP well north of 5.00, and he ceded 2.3 dongs per nine frames. Sheesh.
The top-three righty-smashers in the Rays' lineup are Brandon Lowe ($3,200), Austin Meadows ($3,100), and Joey Wendle ($2,300). Lowe's amassed a .910 OPS, .287 ISO, .386 wOBA, and 151 wRC+ versus opposite-handed pitching this campaign. Meadows is not far behind with a .905 OPS, .302 ISO, .379 wOBA, and 146 wRC+. And, despite a much lower salary, Wendle has gone toe-to-toe with those two, posting a .902 OPS, .216 ISO, .382 wOBA, and 148 wRC+ in that split.
For some additional savings, we can also look to Ji-Man Choi ($2,400) and/or Wander Franco ($2,500). Choi has a .860 OPS, .220 ISO, and 133 wRC+ versus righties since 2017, and Franco definitely has the pedigree to take advantage of a matchup like this.