FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 7/22/21
Similar to yesterday, tonight's pitching selection has some notable names but is lacking in truly elite arms. Only one hurler cracks the $10,000 mark. Some usual suspects headline the top offenses of the night, with the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox leading the way with the slate's highest implied totals.
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 tonight's main slate.
Sean Manaea ($9,100): Manaea's 25.3% strikeout rate is a solid if unspectacular mark, but it's good enough work on tonight's slate, particularly when factoring in his matchup. Seattle checks in with a paltry 3.50 implied total, which looks well-deserved considering their active roster owns a 92 wRC+ and 26.7% strikeout rate versus lefties.
Manaea isn't a guy who posts upper-echelon FanDuel scores very often, but he doesn't issue many free passes (5.5% walk rate) and tends to avoid any outright rotten starts, allowing more than 3 earned runs just 4 times in 19 starts. That said, for what it's worth, he produced a season-high 61 points in a complete-game shutout against these same Mariners back in June.
Walker Buehler ($10,200): Although Buehler's 2021 underlying numbers aren't all that different from Manaea's, when factoring in his overall track record, he's clearly the top talent on the board. Buehler's produced a 3.71 SIERA, 26.0% strikeout rate, and 6.0% walk rate this season, and he's maintained those levels since the foreign substance ban.
The only issue is that he draws a far tougher opponent in the Giants, who have a top-five wRC+ against right-handed pitching this year (109). That being said, this lineup is missing a lot of key pieces these days, so it isn't quite as dangerous as that number would suggest, and that's also supported by their middling 3.31 implied total. Manaea gets the edge due to his matchup and lower salary, but Buehler definitely deserves to be in the mix for tournaments.
Charlie Morton ($8,800): Morton actually has one of the slate's top strikeout rates (27.7%), and we have to like his potential tonight against a Phillies team that's managed just a 90 wRC+ against righties this year. The veteran hurler has been on a pretty good stretch lately, too, tallying at least seven strikeouts in six straight games while earning quality starts in five of them. Although Citizens Bank Park is a good park for home runs, Morton should help negate that with a mere 26.9% fly-ball rate allowed, and he's never had long ball issues throughout his career.
Others to Consider: Kenta Maeda ($8,100)
Boston Red Sox: Jordan Montgomery is by no means a terrible pitcher, but this is just a tough draw for him against Boston. The Red Sox dispatched southpaw Robbie Ray last night, a pitcher with far better numbers than Montgomery this season. Boston's 5.07 implied total is one of the best on the slate.
Against righties, Montgomery has a pedestrian 22.9% strikeout rate and 8.2% walk rate, and he's also allowing a 41.3% fly-ball rate, which should help the Sox in the home run department.
J.D. Martinez ($4,000), Xander Bogaerts ($3,900), and Hunter Renfroe ($3,300) give us a trio of appealing right-handed power options, and Enrique Hernandez ($3,200) continues to see time batting leadoff. Bobby Dalbec ($2,300) is always at risk of giving you a goose egg off his horrible 37.4% strikeout rate, but his 16.9% barrel rate does wonders when he connects.
And while Montgomery is tough on lefties (3.16 xFIP and 28.3% strikeout rate), Rafael Devers ($3,700) can never be ruled out of stacks, too. He's 96th percentile in both xwOBA and xSLG in 2021.
Minnesota Twins: Andrew Heaney is one of those odd cases where his peripheral numbers tend to look good -- sometimes even great -- but rarely do they line up with his real-life results. That's especially the case this season, where his 5.56 ERA is a far cry from his 3.71 SIERA. Despite his poor results, Heaney will still post the occasional gem off his excellent 28.1% strikeout rate, which is the risk that comes with stacking against him.
However, the reason his ERA remains bloated is a consistent inability to prevent home runs to right-handed batters. He's allowing 1.99 dingers per nine innings in the split this year, and over the course of his career, he's given up 1.84 to them.
Nelson Cruz ($3,700) and Josh Donaldson ($3,100) are top right-handed options, with Jorge Polanco ($2,800), Miguel Sano ($2,500), and Mitch Garver ($2,400) offering up plenty of value choices with some power. This is also a prime spot to hunt for one-off home runs even if you aren't stacking.
Atlanta Braves: Yet another left-hander makes this list in Matt Moore. The veteran hurler owns a horrible 5.63 xFIP against righties alongside a 20.5% strikeout rate and 11.1% walk rate. He's also allowing a 48.1% fly-ball rate in the split, leading to 2.22 home runs allowed per nine innings.
Ozzie Albies ($3,600), Dansby Swanson ($3,300), and Austin Riley ($3,000) form a trio of sticks to build around in the upper half of the order. But Moore has never held particularly strong numbers versus lefties, either, and only has an 18.4% strikeout rate against them in a small sample this year. That should keep us on Freddie Freeman ($4,100) and Joc Pederson ($3,100), as well.