FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 8/24/21
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.
We have a 14-gamer tonight, and there are several pitchers for whom you can make a strong case. But our model is pretty clear in who the top dog is, and it's Corbin Burnes ($11,500 on FanDuel), who we project for 41.1 FanDuel points -- 6.8 clear of the field.
Burnes certainly has a difficult matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, the team with the top wOBA over the last 30 days, but oddsmakers aren't too worried, giving Cincy a measly 3.13 implied total. Burnes blowtorched the Reds for 12 punchouts in 8 1/3 frames back on July 18th.
For the season, Burnes has a 35.1% strikeout rate and 2.57 SIERA. While he hasn't been as otherworldly in the second half, Burnes still boasts a 30.7% strikeout rate in the split. We've seen the Milwaukee Brewers yank their stud pitchers early in preparation for the postseason, but that may be less of a worry tonight with the second-place team in the NL Central in the other dugout. All in all, Burnes deserves to be the top arm of the slate.
Flaherty is a clear number-two for me, and I'll have a lot of him tonight. He's made two starts since coming off the injured list, getting up to 92 pitches last time out, so he's likely close to fully stretched out. The swings and misses haven't been there -- or at least at the level we've come to expect from Flaherty -- but he gets a boost in that department versus the Detroit Tigers, an offense that is 23rd in wOBA (.295) over the last 14 days with the 7th-highest strikeout rate (25.2%). The Tigers' 3.05 implied total is a slate-low clip, and we could see Flaherty produce a ceiling game.
Real quick -- I want to touch on Marquez and why I'm not super into him despite a delightful matchup with the Chicago Cubs. It's pretty simple: the out-of-contention Colorado Rockies have been limiting Marquez's workload. He's tossed only 83, 81, and 76 pitches in his last three starts, and he went six shutout in one of those, so the early removals aren't based entirely on performance. If Marquez is unleashed, he could post a slate-high number, but I'm not going to roll the dice on that with so many other good pitchers available.
If you wait to go the value route, Eli Morgan ($6,800) is a fine dart. The matchup is 100% there as he gets the Texas Rangers, a team that ranks next to last in wOBA (.267) over the last month. Morgan has been throwing well, limiting hitters to a .278 wOBA in the second half while spinning a 23.5% strikeout rate. For the $6,800 salary, you can't ask for much more.
Stacks to Target
Boston Red Sox
The chalk stack of the night will likely be the Boston Red Sox, who hold a slate-leading 6.12 implied total in a clash with Griffin Jax. In 44 MLB innings this season, Jax has pitched to a 4.86 SIERA and 18.7% strikeout rate. While it may be small-sample noise, right-handed hitters sport a .362 wOBA against him, compared to a .275 wOBA for lefties.
That's not to say I'm off Rafael Devers ($4,000) and Kyle Schwarber ($3,700). Far from it. They're fantastic core pieces to Boston stacks. Devers is our model's number-three bat and has tattooed righties for a .391 wOBA, 46.8% hard-hit rate, and 45.8% fly-ball rate. Yes, please. Schwarber owns a .411 wOBA, 41.1% hard-hit rate, and 40.4% fly-ball rate in the split.
To get cap relief, you can move down to Alex Verdugo ($3,000) and Travis Shaw ($2,300). Enrique Hernandez ($3,600) and Hunter Renfroe ($3,600) don't offer much in the way of savings, but they also need to be on our radar.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels are in a money spot against Spenser Watkins, and they're getting a park boost in Baltimore. Watkins has struggled to a 5.53 SIERA and 14.0% strikeout rate across his initial 40 innings in the bigs. The Halos' 5.50 implied total is the second-highest on the slate.
LA is a perfect stack for tonight, because they have only one bat with a salary above $3,000, making them an ideal pairing with a high-salary arm.
Of course, the Angels' lone high-salary stick is Shohei Ohtani ($4,500). The two-way superstar may wind up as the hitter with the slate's highest draft percentage, and he's easy to love as he has mauled righties to the tune of a .422 wOBA, 46.7% hard-hit rate and 42.5% fly-ball rate. We have him as the night's second-ranked hitter.
Jared Walsh ($3,000) will have the platoon advantage, and while he's cooled considerably since his hot start to the campaign, Walsh still has quality season-long marks against righties, including a .396 wOBA and 41.4% hard-hit rate. Justin Upton ($2,900) and David Fletcher ($2,700) are projected to hit first and third, respectively. Upton has donged twice in his past five games.
Brandon Marsh ($2,500) is a fun low-salary inclusion to Angels' stacks. The rookie can run, swiping three bags in just 123 plate appearances, and he has been decent (.322 wOBA) against righties.
Tampa Bay Rays
I always like to go off the radar a bit with one stack, so while the Atlanta Braves (versus Andrew Heaney) and Baltimore Orioles (facing Dylan Bundy) are appealing, I want to write up the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa is taking on reliever-turned-starter Ranger Suarez, and they get a park boost in Philly. The lefty has made only four starts and hasn't completed five innings in any of them. Over the past three, Suarez has registered a 17.5% strikeout rate and 15.9% walk rate. For the year -- counting his time out of the 'pen -- Suarez has struck out just 21.5% of righties. After Suarez, Tampa Bay will take their hacks against a Philadelphia Phillies bullpen that has the seventh-worst reliever SIERA (4.17) in the second half.
I'm not sure I'll full-on stack the Rays, whose 4.62 implied total is only sixth-best, but I like going to them for one-off plays and two-man stacks.
Randy Arozarena ($3,700) and Wander Franco ($3,700) are the main attractions. Arozarena has a massive .436 wOBA in the second half, and for the campaign, he's tagged southpaws for a .386 wOBA. The switch-hitting Franco has been much better against lefties, punishing them for a .419 wOBA, and he's rolling right now with a .387 wOBA in August.
Yandy Diaz ($3,000) is projected to hit fourth, and he'll swing from the right side. Mike Brosseau ($2,000) is worth a look if he's in the lineup. He gets most of his playing time versus left-handers and has a 42.4% fly-ball rate and four dingers this season in 109 plate appearances in the split.