FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 9/8/21
Although there are some notable names taking the mound tonight, once you consider matchups and recent form, this actually ends up being a pretty tricky pitching slate with no clear standout option. Unsurprisingly, that does lead to a plethora of ways to go with our stacks, though only a handful really stick out above the rest.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Frankie Montas ($9,000): I'm not loving Montas' matchup against the White Sox, but when looking at the alternatives, he's still arguably the closest thing to a top option. Yu Darvish owns the best season-long numbers of the slate, but his poor recent form makes him difficult to trust. Freddy Peralta is coming off a rough outing off the disabled list and only threw 53 pitches. Adam Wainwright is enjoying a fantastic campaign, but he's facing the mighty Dodgers.
So, we circle back to Montas, who's really upped his game this summer. Dating back to the start of July, he's produced a 3.42 SIERA, 30.5% strikeout rate, and 7.8% walk rate, and Montas' workload also checks out, as he routinely comes close to or exceeds 100 pitches. And while the White Sox are a tough offense, they do strike out a fair amount and are only being given a 3.75 implied total, the second-lowest total on the board.
Yu Darvish ($9,000): Under normal circumstances, Darvish would be the no-brainer top overall pitcher, especially at just $9,000. But if we work backwards, here are his FanDuel scores dating back to the beginning of July: 2, 24, 5, 55, 27, 21, 20, -3, and 30 points. Yikes. He's also seen his velocity dip in two starts since coming off the disabled list.
The good news is he's still posted a solid 3.51 SIERA, 26.8% strikeout rate, and 4.6% walk rate over this span, and his matchup against the Angels is a good one. Los Angeles' active roster owns a 25.1% strikeout rate versus righties, and in an NL ballpark, we could once again see Shohei Ohtani out of the lineup. All of this is reflected in the Angels' slate-low 3.19 implied total.
On paper, this is a classic bounce-back spot for Darvish, so he still deserves to be in the mix. But if you get the impression he'll be popular in tournaments, there's enough concern here to consider looking elsewhere.
Nathan Eovaldi ($9,700): It's hard to feel great about rostering a guy going up against a hot Tampa Bay offense -- but when you look all across this slate, it's bad matchup after bad matchup. On the bright side, Eovaldi is right there with Montas when looking at his marks from July onward, boasting a 3.23 SIERA, 28.9% strikeout rate, and 3.3% walk rate.
He also tamed the Rays the last time he faced them for a season-high 58 FanDuel points, showing that a good outing is entirely within the realm of possibilities. Tampa Bay does offer its share of punchouts, too, with a 24.4% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.
Atlanta Braves: In terms of implied team totals, it's the Braves leading the way with a mark of 5.78, easily the tops on the board. That's because they're up against Sean Nolin, who's 31 years old, yet has all of 48 2/3 innings of big league action on his resume. Yeah, not exactly an up-and-coming prospect. Considering the lack of experience despite his age, you probably won't be shocked that his career ERA sits at 6.47.
The left-hander has logged 17 1/3 of those innings across four starts this season, and while that isn't a lot to go on, he's submitted a 20.3% strikeout rate and 30.4% ground-ball rate over that span while allowing 2.08 dingers per nine innings. Although he has a respectable 3.97 xFIP in Triple-A this season, it's hard to give him the benefit of the doubt given his entirely unremarkable career.
It's easy to stack just about anyone on the Braves, including Freddie Freeman ($3,900) in spite of the lefty-lefty spot. Nolin's limited splits actually show worse numbers in same-sided matchups. Obviously, we prefer bats higher in the order, but there's also good value in Atlanta's lower-order sticks like Adam Duvall ($3,200), Travis d'Arnaud ($2,900), and Dansby Swanson ($3,000).
Kansas City Royals: It's a Matt Harvey day, though there's weather to keep an eye on in Baltimore. But if this one is a go, we love attacking Harvey, and the wind will be blowing out at hitter-friendly Camden Yards, too.
We prefer stacking lefties versus Harvey due to his 5.20 xFIP, 18.3% strikeout rate, and 45.7% fly-ball rate in the split, but his 48.3% ground-ball rate against righties is the only thing he has going for him in same-sided matchups, too. That means we should have no problem rolling with Salvador Perez ($3,900) and his 41 bombs, and then lefties/switch-hitters like Adalberto Mondesi ($4,100), Carlos Santana ($2,800), and Andrew Benintendi ($2,600) can get in on the fun.
Oakland Athletics: Once we get past these first two teams, we see high implied totals for teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, but all of them are facing quality pitchers, so while they could certainly come through because they're potent offenses, these aren't exactly gimme spots, either.
On the other hand, the Athletics are facing Dallas Keuchel, who has been anything but quality in 2021. I typically don't like stacking against ground-ball pitchers because they don't give up as many fly balls -- which is naturally what we need for home runs -- but Keuchel is still allowing 1.48 dingers per nine innings and has a lackluster 13.7% strikeout rate and 8.0% walk rate. Dating back to August, his strikeout and walk numbers have gotten even worse, too, with a 10.4% strikeout rate and 11.2% walk rate.
Keuchel is struggling to get anyone out these days, and it doesn't look like his high ground-ball rate is enough to save him anymore. Starling Marte ($3,900), Matt Chapman ($3,600), and Mark Canha ($3,500) are all righties in prime hitting slots, and Josh Harrison ($2,900) is a value batting leadoff. Following a sluggish first half, Chapman is crushing it with a .265 ISO since the All-Star break.
And speaking of crushing it, Matt Olson ($4,100) is also firmly in play despite facing a lefty, as he's put up a hefty .321 ISO in the split this year.