FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 8/4/21
Some notable names headline tonight's pitching selection, and there's arguably a narrow group of top options. There's no shortage of appealing stacking spots, though, with Coors Field joined by the usual suspects like the Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, and White Sox.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Lucas Giolito ($9,200): I'm never counting out Max Scherzer on any given slate, but he draws perhaps the toughest matchup you can get in the Astros, which lowers his chances of a ceiling game. Meanwhile, Giolito faces a less formidable Royals lineup -- their active roster owns a 88 wRC+ versus righties -- and he also comes in at just the fourth-highest salary on the board. Kansas City has one of the slate's lowest implied totals (3.49). While Giolito's 28.4% strikeout rate does trail the three guys above him, he's someone we can usually count on to crack 100 pitches, helping him boost his fantasy upside.
Shohei Ohtani ($10,700): Ohtani had this start delayed a few days due to a sore thumb, so there's some added risk here, but we have to like his potential against the Rangers and their poor 80 wRC+ versus right-handers. Ohtani's 30.1% strikeout rate is one of the best of the slate, and assuming the Angels aren't too worried about the thumb, we also have to like that Ohtani has thrown 99 and 96 pitches in his two starts since the All-Star break. He's dramatically reduced his walk rate since the beginning of June, too, recording a mark of 5.6% over his last eight starts.
Eduardo Rodriguez ($7,600): If you're looking at tonight's pitchers from just June onward, it might surprise you that it's actually Rodriguez who stands out with some of the best underlying numbers. Over his last 10 outings, he's posted a 3.35 SIERA, 30.6% strikeout rate, and 7.3% walk rate. Admittedly, that's hasn't exactly led to consistent results, but this is arguably one of the better matchups he's seen in quite some time. Sure, the Tigers' bats have really upped their game lately, so this isn't a cakewalk, but they still carry a 25.1% strikeout rate against southpaws. There's a path to a plethora of punchouts for Rodriguez, and we should happily take our chances at this minuscule salary.
Others to Consider: Max Scherzer ($10,500), Kevin Gausman ($10,000)
New York Yankees: Matt Harvey has actually gone three straight starts without allowing a run, but it didn't exactly come against the league's best in the Royals, Nationals, and Tigers. Oddsmakers aren't buying it, with the Yankees boasting a 5.46 implied total at home.
However, despite what has been an otherwise terrible 2021 campaign, Harvey's actually had respectable numbers against righties, allowing just a 26.5% fly-ball rate with a 4.18 xFIP.
That would normally leave us less enthused with stacking the Yankees, but now that lefties Anthony Rizzo ($4,000) and Joey Gallo ($3,500) have been added to the mix, we can take advantage of Harvey's rotten splits versus lefties, where we see a much more inviting 44.6% fly-ball rate and 5.36 xFIP. That pushes up Rizzo and Gallo as priorities, and Rougned Odor ($3,200) can also be considered at his mid-range salary.
Of course, despite the aforementioned numbers, Harvey still has a poor strikeout rate against both sides of the plate, so we should feel good about rostering the Yankees' right-handed power bats like Aaron Judge ($3,800), Giancarlo Stanton ($3,400), and Gary Sanchez ($2,800), who will all get opportunities to put the ball in play, and DJ LeMahieu ($3,000) is an automatic value play out of the leadoff spot.
Colorado Rockies: The Rockies enjoy the slate's top implied total at a whopping 6.16 against right-hander Alec Mills. Although Mills has an exploitable 16.8% strikeout rate, he also owns a 55.4% ground-ball rate, so he isn't the best target for home runs. That should at least give us some pause if it looks like Colorado's bats will be overwhelmingly popular.
Still, that low strikeout rate means plenty of balls in play, so the Rockies will have the opportunity to string together some big innings. Mills' ground-ball rate dips to 49.5% versus lefties compared to 60.4% against righties -- along with a sizable difference in xFIP (5.21 vs. 3.49) -- so that should push us towards Ryan McMahon ($3,900), Charlie Blackmon ($3,400), and whichever low-salaried lefty sticks crack the batting order.
Otherwise, similar to the Yankees, we can hope for the Rockies' power righties to come through against Mills' poor strikeout rate, with Trevor Story ($4,200) and C.J. Cron ($3,800) being the clear standouts.
Atlanta Braves: I'll be curious if Atlanta's 4.59 implied total increases later in the day because it seems too low against the likes of J.A. Happ. The veteran lefty has been knocked around for a 6.77 ERA this season, and a move to the NL isn't likely to matter much. Against right-handed batters, Happ has produced a 5.49 xFIP, 17.1% strikeout rate, and 32.1% ground-ball rate while giving up 2.22 home runs per nine innings.
There's no shortage of appealing righty sticks to roster on the Braves, too. Switch-hitter Ozzie Albies ($3,600) will likely bat leadoff, and then guys like Austin Riley ($3,500), Jorge Soler ($3,300), Dansby Swanson ($3,200), and Adam Duvall ($3,200) are all capable of knocking it out of the park. Don't hesitate to include Freddie Freeman ($3,700) despite the lefty-lefty matchup, too, as it's not like Happ has been anything special in that split, either.