3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 9/17/21

Just like in other sports, the focal point of your daily fantasy baseball lineups will be your high-salary studs. These guys take up by far the biggest chunk of your cap space, but they also offer the highest ceiling. And in the case of pitchers, the high-salary options typically come with the highest floors, too.

For hitters, we're looking for guys with big numbers, strong matchups, and with players around them that are likely to produce well, too, increasing our chances for runs and RBI. For pitchers, we want big strikeout numbers, while the ability to go deep in a game and pick up a win is also valuable.

With your high-salary picks playing such a big role in your lineup, you need to be right on these guys, so let's take a look at a few top-end options you can count on to anchor your lineup today.

Zack Wheeler, P, Philadelphia Phillies ($10,700)

The main slate is jam-packed with a full set of games. While Chris Sale has some appeal, it's his first start off the COVID list, so Zack Wheeler feels like a better bet for a big score.

Wheeler has been brilliant all season, and he's been just the same over the last two weeks. In two starts (12 2/3 innings) in that span, he's whiffed 17 batters and permitted only one earned run.

The New York Mets have been a pretty average offense as of late. In the last 30 days, they have recorded a .177 ISO and 22.5% strikeout rate -- both of which rank 16th. The last time Wheeler took on the Mets, he torched them for 70 FanDuel points.

We project Wheeler as the top arm, forecasting him for 36.7 FanDuel points.

Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox ($3,700)

It's almost impossible to fathom -- Keegan Akin and the Baltimore Orioles have won one of his 20 starts this season. A single start. It's hard to believe.

But when we dive into the numbers, it may not be so surprising after all. Akin sports a 5.15 FIP with a 19.7% strikeout rate. He's allowed 1.68 dingers per nine this season, and he has to ply his trade in the brutally stout AL East.

Akin should be in trouble tonight versus the Boston Red Sox.

Xander Bogaerts is part of a lineup that sports a slate-best 6.32 implied total. Against lefties this year, he's got a .366 wOBA, and he's making superb contact this month with a 42.9% hard-hit rate and 50.0% fly-ball rate in September.

Load up Bogaerts and the rest of the Red Sox crew if you can fit them in.

Eduardo Escobar, 2B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers ($3,600)

If you are looking for some exposure to a great matchup, Eduardo Escobar fits the bill quite well as the Milwaukee Brewers are up against Zach Davies.

First, let's examine Escobar. He's in the middle of possibly the finest season of his career, rocking a .225 ISO and smacking 27 home runs so far this year. His 9.1% barrel rate currently ranks as the best mark of his career.

As for Davies, he has been pounded for 1.57 homers per nine this season, and the splits aren't overly one-sided in either direction. Davies has never been much of a strikeout artist (17.2%), and he's causing his own damage with an 11.1% walk rate.

All of this adds up to a potentially big day for Escobar and Milwaukee, a team that boasts a 5.33 implied total.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.