FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 9/19/22
Monday's main slate gets going a little earlier than usual at 6:40 pm ET. Which pitchers and stacks stand out tonight?
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Corbin Burnes ($10,800): Burnes hasn't been nearly as reliable as we would like down the stretch, logging over six strikeouts just twice in nine starts since the beginning of August.
However, that does include a 14-strikeout outburst a couple of starts ago versus the Giants that led to 73 FanDuel points, so at least the ceiling is theoretically still intact. Despite the inconsistency, Burnes has still put up a 3.38 xFIP, 26.2% strikeout rate, and 7.1% walk rate over this span, too.
Unfortunately, the Mets aren't exactly the ideal opponent to generate that kind of fantasy output. New York's active roster has the fourth-lowest strikeout rate (20.1%) against right-handed pitching.
The good news for Burnes is that he'll have a workload advantage compared to most on the slate, as he's hit 100 pitches in five of his last six outings. That's a particularly important distinction tonight with alternatives like Max Scherzer ($10,700) and Clayton Kershaw ($9,700) more than likely hovering around closer to 80 or so pitches.
Given his recent play and the matchup, it's admittedly hard to get super excited about Burnes. But on a slate where you can poke holes in just about anyone's outlook, there's still a case for making Burnes the top play.
Edward Cabrera ($9,600): When we saw Scherzer return from the injured list in July, he went off for 11 strikeouts and 55 FanDuel points despite throwing just 79 pitches, so I wouldn't rule him out completely in tournaments tonight.
Kershaw's maxed out at 86 pitches in his three September starts and lacks that kind of elite firepower (26.6% strikeout rate), but he can still get there through precise efficiency. He went seven shutout innings in his last start to reach 46 FanDuel points.
All that being said, the best play of this group could very well be Cabrera, who has none of these workload concerns. The 24-year-old may not be a household name yet, but he's shown promise with a 25.8% strikeout rate and 13.1% swinging-strike rate over 11 starts.
But what helps him stand out is a matchup against the Cubs; their active roster has a fantasy-friendly 25.8% strikeout rate versus righties.
The main drawback for Cabrera is an ugly 12.3% walk rate, and he's issued multiple walks in all of his starts this season. Despite that, he has two 55-point games, and that's the type of ceiling we're hoping for tonight.
Luis Garcia ($9,100): Given that there are more paths to failure in the upper tier than usual, hopping down to Garcia could be another option if you want to lean in on high-salaried bats.
Garcia doesn't have eye-popping numbers, but he's put together a solid 3.81 xFIP, 24.7% strikeout rate, and 7.3% walk rate over 25 starts this year.
The trouble is that he doesn't always pitch deep into games, which has limited the number of times he's earned the quality start bonus. That's often limited his ceiling, and this is a middle-of-the-pack matchup against the Rays.
Still, his 44.0% fly-ball rate should play well at Tropicana Field, which is one of the league's worst venues for home runs. That's especially encouraging for a guy who's struggled a bit with dingers in 2022 (1.41 allowed per nine innings).
The park factor shift gives Garcia a better shot at pitching six-plus innings, and if that's the case, he could produce a tournament-worthy performance.
San Francisco Giants
With tonight's Coors Field matchup sitting at an 11.5 over/under, the Giants and Rockies unsurprisingly have the top implied totals on the board. Both sides are clearly in play, but San Francisco has the edge against Chad Kuhl.
Kuhl has struggled across the board this season, posting a 4.81 xFIP, 17.7% strikeout rate, 9.5% walk rate, and 36.3% ground-ball rate. Both righties and lefties have teed off on him, and the home runs have really piled up in the summer months. Kuhl has given up at least one home run in each of his last 10 starts.
The only issue with stacking the Giants is that they love to platoon, so if a left-handed reliever enters the game, we could see some of the lineup's lefties make an early exit.
Luckily, Austin Gomber is literally the only lefty in the Rockies' bullpen, which at least reduces the pinch-hitting risk. Additionally, if the Giants drive Kuhl out of the game early, there's always the chance that some of these lefties will already have hefty fantasy point totals attached to them.
None of San Francisco's bats have salaries above $3,200, either, so it's an easy one to stack. Assuming LaMonte Wade Jr ($3,000) is back, he, Mike Yastrzemski ($3,100), Wilmer Flores ($3,100), and Joc Pederson ($2,800) all give us solid pop in the top half of the lineup.
Let's hope Coors Field drives away some attention from the Atlanta Braves, who easily have the best non-Coors implied total on the night (5.41).
They're up against Cory Abbott, who's bounced between the bullpen and rotation for the Nationals. If we look at just his six starts, Abbott has an ugly 5.99 xFIP, 19.2% strikeout rate, 11.7% walk rate, and 29.1% ground-ball rate.
The underlying numbers are poor versus both sides of the plate, so all Atlanta bats should benefit from this spot.
Matt Olson ($2,900) and Michael Harris II ($3,700) will enjoy the platoon advantage, but you really can't go wrong with most of this deep lineup. In addition to Olson, Travis d'Arnaud ($2,800) and William Contreras ($3,000) also come in at value salaries tonight.
Los Angeles Dodgers
After those first three teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles are the only other teams with implied totals above 4.50. The Dodgers are always dangerous, so they could be especially appealing to stack on a slate where they shouldn't be overwhelmingly popular.
Merrill Kelly is about as average as they come with a 22.0% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate, and while he isn't allowing as much hard contact this year, there really isn't anything to scare us off from using an elite offense like the Dodgers.
Kelly actually just faced these same Dodgers last week, and back-to-back starts against the same team is never a good thing. While the right-hander didn't get totally lit up his last start, he coughed up two home runs and doled out a season-high five walks.
Stack all the usual Dodgers, but Kelly has a 4.60 xFIP, 19.1% strikeout rate, and 10.0% walk rate versus lefties, so Freddie Freeman ($4,100), Max Muncy ($3,000), Joey Gallo ($2,100), and Cody Bellinger ($2,300) get an extra bump.