FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 8/16/21
Coors Field is the clear headliner of Monday's slate, but with 10 games on the menu, it's hardly your only choice for offense, with 14 different teams at implied totals of 4.50 or higher. That does leave us lighter at pitching, where there arguably isn't anyone without some clear question marks.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Kevin Gausman ($10,300): Gausman's been more up and down of late, with walks being his biggest issue, as he's now held a 12.8% walk rate over his last eight starts. Still, he's maintained a 27.9% strikeout rate over that span, too, so his ceiling has remained intact. The New York Mets' active roster carries an 88 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching and is only showing a 3.55 implied total. It's hard to consider Gausman "safe," but he's one of the best options on this slate.
Gerrit Cole ($11,300): Under normal circumstances, Cole would be an easy top choice tonight, but he's coming off the COVID-19 injured list and last pitched on July 29th, so it wouldn't be shocking to see his pitch count lower than usual. And while we can now confidently say that Cole hasn't lost his lofty ceiling post-sticky stuff, there's also no denying that he's been wildly inconsistent since the beginning of June, too. That all makes it less than thrilling to dole out his slate-high salary.
That being said, he still has the best numbers in this field from June onward, posting a 3.34 SIERA, 31.7% strikeout rate, and 7.6% walk rate. It's not like anyone else on the slate is a sure thing, either, so barring an announcement of a low pitch count, he's still worth keeping in your player pool tonight. The Angels have the lowest implied total on the board (3.30).
Touki Toussaint ($7,900): Toussaint seems like the clear value play tonight on the road against the light-hitting Marlins. Walks are always the concern when it comes to Toussaint, but he's actually managed a solid 4.08 SIERA, 24.1% strikeout rate, and 7.8% walk rate over his five starts. Those numbers are heavily influenced by one brilliant start against the Phillies (52 FanDuel points, 10 strikeouts, and zero walks), but at least it demonstrates that he's got plenty of upside. Miami only has an 84 wRC+ versus righties, so this will definitely be one of the easiest opponents that he's seen so far.
Others to Consider: Frankie Montas ($9,400)
San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies: Today's pitching selection may be a bit murky, but that isn't the case for our bats. That's because the Padres are at Coors Field, and with two less-than-stellar pitchers taking the mound, we see the over/under at a whopping 12.5 runs.
The Rockies' Antonio Senzatela suppresses home runs through a high ground-ball rate, but he also lets a ton of balls in play due to a poor 16.0% strikeout rate. His ground-ball rate also dips to 47.9% versus righties, which should make us feel even better about Fernando Tatis Jr. ($4,500) and Manny Machado ($4,600). Unfortunately, there's virtually no value to be found in this lineup with nearly all the Padres' salaries jacked up, so you might be almost required to roster someone like Toussaint to make this stack work.
Perhaps that leads to some extra popularity for the Colorado side, with most of their pieces settling into mid-range salaries. Their matchup is also outstanding versus left-hander Ryan Weathers. Against right-handed pitching, Weathers has put up a 4.97 xFIP, 18.8% strikeout rate, and 10.3% walk rate, and he's given up 2.05 home runs per nine innings. You'll still have to dole out plenty of cap space for Trevor Story ($4,000) and C.J. Cron ($4,000) but can otherwise grab righties like Connor Joe ($2,900), Brendan Rodgers ($3,300), Garrett Hampson ($2,700), and Elias Diaz ($3,100).
Tampa Bay Rays: Matt Harvey is starting, so you know what that means. Sure, he's had some good-to-okay results his past five starts, but a 5.04 xFIP and 15.7% strikeout rate doesn't inspire much confidence, particularly when those outings have benefited from a low .232 BABIP.
As always, the preference is to attack Harvey with left-handed hitters (5.41 xFIP in the split), so Brandon Lowe ($3,600) and Austin Meadows ($3,200) are clear winners here, and Wander Franco ($3,400) and Ji-Man Choi ($2,500) will also benefit. Of course, the right-handed bat of Nelson Cruz ($3,600) is still a welcome addition, as he enters the night with an 88th percentile barrel rate and 97th percentile xSLG.
Cincinnati Reds: We have little to go on when it comes to left-hander Justin Steele, but he posted an 11.8% walk rate in Triple-A and has a 10.4% clip across 18 1/3 innings the Majors this season, so we can get on board with that.
Steele has shown the ability to get grounders at both levels, which isn't great for home runs, but we did see him allow two dingers to the Brewers in his first big league start last week, so perhaps this isn't something to be overly worried about. Additionally, he only recorded one punchout over five innings in that start, along with a 5.7% swinging-strike rate, so it's possible he'll struggle to get strikeouts as a starter.
Nick Castellanos ($4,400) is are our best bet for right-handed power, and Jonathan India ($3,800) has really taken off of late, but we can also take the value route through other righties like Kyle Farmer ($3,100), Tyler Stephenson ($2,900), Eugenio Suarez ($3,100), and Aristides Aquino ($2,700). While Joey Votto ($4,200) is less appealing in the lefty-lefty spot, anyone sporting a .294 ISO deserves to be in the mix.