FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 9/1/21
We have quite the star-studded cast at pitcher on Wednesday, but workloads and weather narrow things down for us by default. Blue Jays and White Sox stacks underwhelmed on Tuesday, but they have the right matchups to bounce back tonight.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Gerrit Cole ($11,200): All five hurlers at $10,000 and higher are bonafide aces in 2021, but Aaron Nola's game has already been postponed, and both Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon may have limited pitch counts in their starts. Working backwards, Sale has logged just 80, 71, and 89 pitches, while Rodon tallied just 67 in his first start off the injured list.
That leaves us with Cole and Max Scherzer, and you can make a strong case for either one as the top overall option. But the matchup leads me towards Cole first, as he's up against an Angels lineup that lacks star power past Shohei Ohtani and offers up plenty of high-strikeout bats.
Despite a dip in punchouts earlier this summer, Cole is having another brilliant season, posting a 2.82 SIERA, 34.3% strikeout rate, and 5.5% walk rate. He put up a 33.8% rate over three August starts following a stint on the Covid-19 injured list, too, so we should feel pretty good about trusting those season-long marks.
Max Scherzer ($11,500): Scherzer's 2021 figures closely mirror Cole's, and he hasn't missed a beat in a Dodgers uniform, notching a 2.60 SIERA, 35.7% strikeout rate, and 4.3% walk rate across five outings. He draws a tougher matchup against the Braves, though Atlanta doesn't suppress strikeouts with a 24.2% rate versus righties.
There's no doubt Scherzer has every bit as much upside as Cole, and the Braves are only being credited with a 3.13 implied total at Dodger Stadium.
Kevin Gausman ($9,500): For the year, Gausman isn't far off the above group when we consider his 3.58 SIERA, 28.8% strikeout rate, and 7.5% walk rate. That being said, he's posted mostly modest FanDuel scores over his last eight starts due to a less imposing 24.6% strikeout rate, and he's also logged lower pitch counts in that time frame, exceeding 91 pitches only once.
Given Gausman's recent results and workload, I might be more inclined to get up to Sale if possible at $1,000 more (despite his own pitch count limitations), but Gausman's still in play as a mid-range choice with the hopes that he can show more of that first-half form.
While the Brewers are probably closer to a neutral matchup, they're only sporting a 3.31 implied total on Wednesday.
Others to Consider: Chris Sale ($10,500), James Kaprielian ($8,800)
The tricky thing with rostering Toronto against Harvey is that their righty-heavy lineup can't take as much advantage of his terrible splits versus lefties (5.22 xFIP), and Harvey is a bit harder to hit dingers off of in same-sided matchups, allowing just a 27.3% fly-ball rate. But this is Toronto we're talking about, and Harvey's 15.9% strikeout rate versus righties can still be exploited.
Once again, it's the usual top five studs in the order to build around when possible, while Corey Dickerson ($2,600) is the top lefty who gets the big boost against Harvey. Kevin Smith ($2,000) hasn't done much yet, but you might need his salary to fit in the high-salaried bats, and he slashed .286/.371/.576 in Triple-A before getting the call.
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox also get the nod again today, and there's an argument for prioritizing them over Toronto in their spot against Max Kranick. Chicago's 5.69 implied total isn't far behind Toronto's total, and Kranick is definitely looking like someone we can attack after just five MLB starts.
Across 20 innings, the 23-year-old right-hander has produced a 5.52 xFIP, 18.9% strikeout rate, and 31.3% ground-ball rate. These marks aren't all that different from his 10 Triple-A starts, where he managed a similar 5.18 xFIP, 18.8% strikeout rate, and 33.8% ground-ball rate.
Rostering Luis Robert ($4,300), Jose Abreu ($4,200), and Eloy Jimenez ($3,600) is great and all, but on a night where we want to spend up at pitcher, we can also get good value out of Yasmani Grandal ($2,800), Andrew Vaughn ($2,600), and Brian Goodwin ($2,400). Grandal boasts a .297 ISO this season, and he's already slugged four dingers in four games since returning from the injured list.
New York Yankees: Left-hander Packy Naughton threw only 58 pitches in his last start, so this is probably another night with a low-innings starter followed by an Angels bullpen that's been forced into a ton of pitches the last couple of days, and their closer has also pitched in three of the last four days. We don't have much data on Naughton, but his 4.41 xFIP and 21.7% strikeout rate in Triple-A this year are nothing to run away from, and the Bronx Bombers should get plenty of opportunities against middle relief pitching.
Given that we aren't too worried about specific matchups here, Aaron Judge ($4,100), Giancarlo Stanton ($3,800), Joey Gallo ($3,700), and Anthony Rizzo ($3,500) are all good plays, and depending on who cracks the lineup, we should be able to scrounge up some value in the bottom half of the order.