FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 8/7/21
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 projections and 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.
Before factoring in salaries, Yu Darvish ($9,000 on FanDuel) and Charlie Morton ($8,700) are the top two pitchers in my eyes, and our model agrees, ranking them first and second, respectively. The matchups is there for each, too, and once you add in that Darvish and Morton aren't among the three highest-salaried hurlers on the slate, they become even more appealing. Our projections have them as the best point-per-dollar plays by a wide margin, and I'll load up on them.
Darvish gets the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco. Arizona is 26th in wOBA for the year (.300), and their 3.14 implied total is a slate-low clip. Darvish hasn't been great lately, failing to break 30 FanDuel points in any of his last five starts, but he still has 14 punchouts across his last two starts (11 innings). With a 3.46 SIERA, 29.0% strikeout rate and 5.9% walk rate, Darvish has the ability to post a huge score in this spot.
Morton does, too, as he gets a weakened Washington Nationals lineup. Because baseball is weird, the Nats are doing well offensively since dealing Trea Turner, but their lineup isn't going to keep it up over the long run. Morton has scored at least 34 FanDuel points in four of his last five starts, with a low of 27 in that span. He's had spike outings of 64, 54 and 52 over his last nine, and he could tap into that ceiling today.
After those two, Brandon Woodruff ($11,000), Julio Urias ($10,000), Shane McClanahan ($9,500) and Luis Garcia ($8,300) all interest me. Of the four, Woodruff and Urias are the two I'm most into, and I want to focus on Woodruff, who could be a key dude in tournaments.
Facing the stout offense of the San Francisco Giants and carrying the slate's highest salary by $1,000, Woodruff isn't likely to be popular. He can succeed against the Giants, though, because even though San Fran packs some pop, they sport the third-highest strikeout rate across the last 30 days (24.6%). The owner of a 30.0% strikeout rate and 12.4% swinging-strike rate, Woodruff could rack up strikeouts tonight.
In the value range, Eli Morgan ($6,700) checks some boxes and has a salary that can help you get the high-salary sticks you want. He's pitched to a 3.77 SIERA and 26.1% strikeout rate in his first 37 1/3 innings, and Morgan gets a nice matchup with the Detroit Tigers, Our algorithm slots him as the third-best point-per-dollar play behind Morton and Darvish.
Stacks to Target
Tampa Bay Rays
I just want to get this out of the way at the jump -- I'm not going to break down the Coors game between the Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins. Coors is an obvious place to go to for stacks, and you know that.
The Tampa Bay Rays get a park boost at Camden Yards and boast a slate-high 6.09 implied total versus Spenser Watkins. Watkins had pretty blah minor-league numbers, and he's been getting shelled in the bigs, struggling to the tune of a 5.43 SIERA, 10.1% walk rate and 16.5% strikeout rate. He's due to give up some more long balls, as well, as he's got a 6.5% homer-to-fly-ball ratio.
There are plenty of routes to take when stacking Tampa Bay, and basically anyone in their lineup will be worth a look. They also have just two bats -- Austin Meadows ($3,800) and Nelson Cruz ($3,500) -- over $3,300.
While Cruz and Meadows are superb options, I'm locking in on the foursome of Brandon Lowe ($3,300), Yandy Diaz ($3,100), Joey Wendle ($2,500) and Wander Franco ($3,000). They don't break the bank, and all four should be in a nice spot in the lineup.
Our model projects Lowe as the Rays' top bat, and Franco has a 41.7% hard-hit rate in August. Diaz is squaring up a lot of balls lately, recording a 54.8% hard-hit rate this month. Wendle is a viable low-salary dart who is projected to hit sixth. As an added bonus, Lowe, Diaz and Wendle are eligible at multiple spots.
The Cincinnati Reds (5.90 implied total) went off on the Pittsburgh Pirates last night and could do it again Saturday thanks to a matchup with Mitch Keller. A former highly rated prospect, Keller just hasn't been able to get on track in the bigs. He's got a career SIERA of 4.72 and has allowed 1.25 dingers per nine. He's given up four earned runs in each of his past two starts, a span that covers just 7 2/3 frames.
Cincy carries some high salaries, with Joey Votto ($4,100) and Jesse Winker ($4,100) both over $4,000. You should try to get to them if you can. Keller has surrendered a .387 wOBA to left-handed hitters this season, and Votto and Winker are mauling right-handers.
Jonathan India ($3,700) should be leading off while Nick Castellanos ($3,500) can be had at a reasonable salary since he's fresh off the injured list. Tyler Naquin ($2,900) and Mike Moustakas ($2,500) are two of my favorite salary-saving bats on the slate, and Kyle Farmer ($2,900) is quietly having a really nice campaign, with a .482 wOBA in July and a .360 mark so far this month.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Gosh, I love the Los Angeles Dodgers against Jaime Barria, and I'm surprised their implied total is only 5.30. Maybe the Dodgers will fly under the radar a bit given it's a Coors slate and there are some other good spots for offense. I'm not counting on it, though.
Barria has an ugly 9.8% strikeout rate in 19 2/3 innings this year, and he's put up an 18.6% strikeout rate and 4.87 SIERA in 264 career innings.
The lone issue with the Dodgers is that they're not easy to get to, with just one projected starter -- A.J. Pollock ($2,600) -- at a salary under $3,000. That makes it kind of tough to pair the Dodgers' high-salary studs with an ace, but it can be done.
Trea Turner ($3,500), Max Muncy ($3,800) and Justin Turner ($3,800) are elite plays. Turner offers his usual power/speed combination and could hit leadoff if Mookie Betts ($4,500) is out a day after exiting early. Muncy owns a .394 wOBA and 40.0% hard-hit rate versus righties. Turner has a .382 wOBA in the split.
As for Betts, he is the slate's top-ranked bat, according to our projections, so if he's in the lineup, he's a great play.