FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 9/18/21
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.
Burnes is taking on the Chicago Cubs, and the Cubbies sport the highest strikeout rate over the last month (27.8%). Burnes doesn't need any help getting punchouts as he's got a 35.4% strikeout rate and 16.4% swinging-strike rate for the season. Burnes logged 115 pitches in his last start, so his workload isn't much of a concern. We project him for 43.2 FanDuel points, the most on the slate, and the Cubs' 2.82 implied total is a slate-low clip.
Our model really likes Lance McCullers ($9,900) in a home date with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona owns the fourth-highest strikeout rate over the last 30 days (24.7%), and their .294 wOBA in that span is the fifth-worst. McCullers has a 27.5% strikeout rate and is fully capable of torching the Diamondbacks. Our algorithm pegs him to score 40.3 FanDuel points as the clear number-two arm behind Burnes.
I'm more into Lance Lynn ($10,300) than our projections are. He's in a nice spot against the Texas Rangers, an offense that is last in wOBA since the break (.279). Lynn brings a 28.0% strikeout rate into this one. The lone concern is his pitch count as Lynn hasn't hit the 100-pitch mark in any of his last four starts after doing so in three straight outings before that. The Chicago White Sox may be reining him in a bit as they cruise to the playoffs.
Aaron Nola ($8,300) gets you exposure to outstanding season-long numbers -- including a 3.25 SIERA and 29.9% strikeout rate -- at a modest salary. But Nola just hasn't delivered the goods of late as he doesn't have a quality start in four consecutive appearances, permitting 14 earned runs in that span. The New York Mets aren't a scary matchup, though, and Nola punched out 12 in 5 1/3 frames the last time he tangled with them.
Similar to Nola, Yu Darvish ($9,100) has pitched well overall this season, boasting a 3.48 SIERA and 28.8% strikeout rate. He hasn't, however, been good of late, failing to surpass 24 FanDuel points in four of his past five starts, with three of those outings resulting in -3, 5 and 2 FanDuel points. Yuck. He's tough to back at his salary. With that said, Darvish has a decent matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals, and if he has a spike game, it'll likely come at a low draft percentage.
Stacks to Target
The Seattle Mariners are showing a 4.75 implied total, the third-highest, as they square off with Kris Bubic. I'm writing them up first because the M's have only one player listed above $3,200, making them the perfect stack to jam in alongside Burnes.
Bubic has allowed a .352 wOBA to right-handers, and while the sample is small, lefties have gotten to him for a .373 wOBA and 1.93 homers per nine.
Mitch Haniger ($3,700) is the lone high-salary bat on Seattle. He's put up .360 wOBA, 40.3% hard-hit rate and 41.0% fly-ball rate with the platoon advantage.
Fellow righties Ty France ($2,700) and Abraham Toro ($2,600) are solid pieces. France has slugged his way to a .373 wOBA in the second half while Toro has a 42.6% fly-ball rate against left-handed hurlers. Catcher Luis Torrens ($2,400) has posted a .356 wOBA against southpaws with eight jacks in 128 plate appearances with the platoon advantage. We slot Dylan Moore ($2,200) as the best point-per-dollar stick as of early Saturday.
Lefties Kyle Seager ($3,200) and J.P. Crawford ($2,600) are worth a look. Seager hasn't been good this year in lefty-lefty matchups, but he does have a 48.1% fly-ball rate in the split. Crawford should be leading off.
The Houston Astros are going up against Humberto Castellanos, and their 5.32 implied total tops the slate. Castellanos has struggled to a 4.97 SIERA and 16.7% strikeout rate in 30 MLB innings in 2021. Lefties are smoking him for a .341 wOBA and 48.0% fly-ball rate, although the sample is small.
The hurdle with stacking Houston is that they have five guys listed at a salary of at least $3,800, making it hard to use them alongside Burnes.
Kyle Tucker ($3,900) and Yordan Alvarez ($4,000) are elite plays if you can get to them. Alvarez has a .361 wOBA and 42.8% fly-ball rate versus righties this year while Tucker holds a .392 wOBA and 43.7% fly-ball rate in the split.
Yuli Gurriel ($3,300), Chas McCormick ($2,400) and Jake Meyers ($2,400) are lower-salary pieces who are very handy. Marwin Gonzalez ($2,200) and Aledmys Diaz ($2,000) would be welcomed value options if they are in the lineup.
Chicago White Sox
The second-biggest implied total (5.01) belongs to the White Sox, who will see Spencer Howard. Howard has recorded a 24.0% strikeout rate this year, so he's not a scrub by any means. This is just a tough matchup for him. The Pale Hose sit fifth in wOBA for the year (.328) and sixth in wOBA over the last 30 days (.334).