FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 9/9/21
With just four games on the main slate, the pitching options are predictably lacking. On the bright side, no hurler has a salary over $9,100, so we'll have plenty of flexibility for our bats. The Atlanta Braves once again lead the slate with the highest implied total.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Huascar Ynoa ($8,800): When factoring in matchups, it's Ynoa who arguably emerges as our top option by default, as he's up against a Nationals team that sorely lacks depth beyond Juan Soto. Washington has a modest 3.90 implied total, and their active roster is submitting a lackluster 89 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching.
Ynoa's season-long marks can hang with anyone on the slate, too, with a 3.63 SIERA, 26.4% strikeout rate, and 6.3% walk rate. Since returning from the injured list in August, he's submitted a less imposing 23.3% strikeout rate over four starts, though he does have a nine-strikeout performance versus the Yankees in there, and his workload has been in the 90s (in pitches) over his last three. On a slate with no elite choices, he should be your first guy to consider.
Jose Berrios ($9,100): Berrios has the best overall track record of anyone tonight, but his bout against the Yankees is what keeps him from being the shoo-in top guy. He's posted a rock-solid 3.72 SIERA, 25.8% strikeout rate, and 6.1% walk rate over 27 starts this year, and he's stayed right around those marks since coming over to the Blue Jays. New York clearly has some thump in their lineup, but they also carry a 24.5% strikeout rate versus righties, so there's upside to be had despite their potent bats.
Ultimately, Ynoa is probably the "safer" guy due to his matchup, but in terms of ceiling, Berrios may be the one you want more of in tournaments.
Ranger Suarez ($8,600): I would feel a little better about Suarez if we were getting a larger discount from Ynoa and Berrios, but beggars can't be choosers tonight. Between the bullpen and rotation, Suarez has put up a 3.66 SIERA and 25.0% strikeout rate, but that strikeout rate drops to 23.1% when narrowed down to just his seven starts. He's also produced a double-digit walk rate as both a reliever and starter, which inhibits his ability to pitch deep into games -- he's reached six or more innings only once in those seven starts.
Suarez also left his last start after 71 pitches due to "triceps tightness," which is obviously something we never want to see. While they claim it was "precautionary," there's obviously some added concern.
All of this potentially limits Suarez's upside and adds risk to rostering him, but it's the matchup that keeps us intrigued. The Rockies' active roster owns a league-worst 70 wRC+ on the road, which is likely why we see them getting the lowest implied total on the board tonight (3.78).
Atlanta Braves: No one comes close to Atlanta's 5.60 implied total, and that's because they're up against Erick Fedde, a pitcher they've already knocked around three times this season. While FanDuel points can't tell the full story, Fedde's scores opposite the Braves this year have been -7, 9, and 11 points. Yeah, I'd say they have Fedde's number.
Fedde did recently debut a different breaking ball grip, which initially showed promise in a 10-strikeout performance against the Marlins, but following back-to-back poor results versus the Mets, this probably isn't a development we need to be overly concerned about yet.
That being said, Fedde's season splits aren't as bad as you might expect. Against lefties, he has a middling 18.6% strikeout rate and 9.9% walk rate but also draws grounders at an annoying 56.9% clip. On the other hand, in same-sided matchups, he actually holds a 3.86 xFIP and 24.0% strikeout rate despite giving up his share of dingers from that side of the plate.
This isn't to suggest we should fade a team that's rocked Fedde multiple times this year -- especially on this slate -- but this does imply that Fedde may not be as brutal as his results, and a 4.44 SIERA backs that up. It's just something to keep in mind if you're looking for reasons to be lower than the public on Atlanta stacks in tournaments.
As I've said all week, you don't really have to get too picky when stacking the Braves' lineup, which boasts power throughout. In terms of value, the bottom of the lineup is still where it's at, as Travis d'Arnaud ($2,900), Dansby Swanson ($3,000), and Joc Pederson ($2,500) all check in with modest salaries.
Philadelphia Phillies: Part of the reason it's hard to fade Atlanta is the fact that there are no obvious alternatives. The Phillies have the next best implied total (4.52) against Antonio Senzatela, who allows a lot of balls in play due to a poor 16.0% strikeout rate. The trouble is that 51.9% of the time, those turn into ground balls, and he's allowed only 0.68 home runs per nine innings.
So that isn't great, but the lack of punchouts at least means we can hope for Senzatela to have a poor BABIP night, leading to a big inning or two for Philadelphia. Bryce Harper ($3,900) is easily the top guy, and there's decent power behind him in J.T. Realmuto ($3,400), Andrew McCutchen ($3,300), Didi Gregorius ($2,700), and Brad Miller ($2,500).
Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles: After those teams, it mostly comes down to betting on the offenses of the Yankees or Blue Jays coming through against quality pitching or taking a shot at the Royals-Orioles matchup between Carlos Hernandez and John Means.
Means isn't a bad pitcher but has been susceptible to the home-run ball, as the southpaw has given up 2.11 per nine innings to right-handed batters off a 49.6% fly-ball rate. Salvador Perez ($3,900) and Adalberto Mondesi ($4,100) are the top guys to take advantage of the split, while Whit Merrifield ($3,200) and Carlos Santana ($2,800) will also have the platoon advantage.
Meanwhile, Hernandez has been pretty good this season as a reliever and starter, but since he joined the rotation on July 18, he's put up some worrying marks against lefties with a 5.15 xFIP, 18.5% strikeout rate, 12.0% walk rate, and 42.9% ground-ball rate in the split. It may still be a small sample, but he also has weaker numbers against lefties on the season. It might be worth taking a shot at the Orioles, starting with the lefties/switch-hitters Cedric Mullins ($3,400), Anthony Santander ($3,300), and D.J. Stewart ($2,700).