FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 8/15/21

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.

Pitching Breakdown

It's not a great pitching slate, but the guy who checks the most boxes is Sean Manaea ($9,600 on FanDuel). The matchup is definitely there as he is up against the Texas Rangers. Over the last 30 days, Texas is has the worst wOBA (.241, the second-worst is .285). Manaea has pitched to a 3.61 SIERA, 26.7% strikeout rate and 12.4% swinging-strike rate this year. The Rangers' 3.73 implied total is the lowest clip on the slate, and Manaea sits atop our projections.

The next four guys by our model -- Aaron Nola ($9,500), Lucas Giolito ($9,800), Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,000) and Sonny Gray ($8,800) -- are separated by just 2.3 FanDuel points. Each has some warts, with all four lacking in the matchup department, but once you factor in salaries, Rodriguez is who I side with.

E-Rod has superb season-long metrics, including a 3.48 SIERA and 29.3% strikeout rate. The bugaboos are that the Baltimore Orioles are stout versus lefties, and Rodriguez rarely goes deep into games, completing six frames just once in his past seven starts. But we're going to have to overlook some things if we go with a hurler other than Manaea, and our algorithm ranks Rodriguez as the best point-per-dollar play among pitchers with a salary of at least $8,000.

I don't hate Dillon Peters ($5,500) as a dart throw, although I probably don't have the stomach to roster him. This will be Peters' first MLB start of 2021, but he's been good in the minors, recording a 63 punchouts in 53 1/3 innings. His career-long MLB numbers are ugly (5.22 SIERA), but our projections have him as the top point-per-dollar hurler for his date with the Milwaukee Brewers,

Stacks to Target

Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have scored 8 and 16 runs in the last two matchups with Baltimore. They should roll against today as they carry a slate-high 6.50 implied total into a clash with lefty Keegan Akin.

Akin is surrendering a .389 wOBA to right-handed bats, and I expect Boston righties Xander Bogaerts ($3,900), J.D. Martinez ($4,000), Hunter Renfroe ($3,500) and Enrique Hernandez ($3,700) to be among the slate's most popular bats. It's easy to make a case for any of them, which is excactly why they'll be popular.

A team-high salary and lefty-lefty matchup could push some people away from Rafael Devers ($4,200), but our model slots him as the second-best Boston stick (behind Bogaerts). Devers is definitely worse against southpaws, but he's still got a .361 wOBA in the split.

As far as salary-saving options, Bobby Dalbec ($2,600) and Christian Vazquez ($2,300) will have the platoon advantage.

Atlanta Braves

I'm really into the Atlanta Braves in their matchup with Paolo Espino, who sports a 17.8% strikeout rate overall and is permitting a 56.3% fly-ball rate to righties, which has led to 2.23 dingers per nine in the split. The Braves' 5.43 implied total is going to put them on the stacking radar for most, but that clip is actually just the fourth-highest of the slate, so they probably won't be super chalky.

A four-man stack of Jorge Soler ($3,400), Austin Riley ($3,600), Adam Duvall ($3,400) and Dansby Swanson ($3,200) isn't too hard to get to, and they all offer big-time upside. Riley has a .431 wOBA in the second half

Despite Espino's splits, we can still feel great about Ozzie Albies ($4,200) and Freddie Freeman ($3,800). Our model ranks Albies as the second-best overall bat, and he's got 22 dingers with 14 jacks. He's hot right now with a .361 wOBA in August. Against righties, Freeman boasts a .390 wOBA and 40.5% hard-hit rate.

Oakland Athletics

I plugged the Oakland Athletics for yesterday's slate, and they popped five dongs in an eight-run effort. It's easy to love them again today as they take on Kolby Allard. The Rangers' lefty allowed a 38.1% hard-hit rate in July, and he's giving up a 38.5% clip so far in August. For the year, he's conceded 1.75 homers per nine and a 40.4% fly-ball rate.

Even in a lefty-lefty matchup, Matt Olson ($4,000) is an elite option. He's actually posted a higher wOBA against lefties (.429) than righties (.379) and has a 48.8% fly-ball rate in the split. Olson might end up being the lone Athletics' lefty in the lineup. Mark Canha ($3,500), Starling Marte ($4,400) and Jed Lowrie ($3,200) will likely join Olson in the top four of the starting nine.

Matt Chapman ($3,300) feels point-chasey after his two-jack game on Saturday, but while he's had a rough campaign, he's been decent with the platoon advantage, registering a .335 wOBA and 48.8% fly-ball rate versus left-handers.

If they are in the lineup, Stephen Piscotty ($2,200), Josh Harrison ($3,000) and Sean Murphy ($2,500) could be the only sources of value on the A's.