FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 6/8/23
Tonight's main slate is tacking on the 6:05 pm ET game for an early start, giving us five in total. Our pitching options are actually pretty good for a small slate, whereas hitting could be tougher to piece together.
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
For a five-game slate, we actually have a fair bit of talent at pitcher, but Spencer Strider ($11,400) still leads the way despite facing a less-than-ideal matchup.
This season, Strider leads all qualified starters in both SIERA (2.63) and strikeout rate (40.6%), and he's logged at least nine Ks in 9 of his 12 starts. Like always, the only thing that tends to hold him back is a 9.4% walk rate, often limiting how far he pitches into games, but he's now logged six or more innings in four of his last five starts.
The Mets are an annoying offense because they tend to suppress punchouts, as their active roster owns the fourth-lowest strikeout rate (19.8%) against right-handed pitching. But when we're starting at a 40% clip like Strider, we have far more wiggle room to work with, making this far less of a concern for upside.
Note that high temperatures and hitter-friendly winds could also be a negative factor for Strider, particularly because he allows a 50.0% fly-ball rate. But given the lack of home runs he's allowed so far in his young career -- in addition to the Mets' modest power outside of Pete Alonso, who could be out with a wrist injury -- this shouldn't be enough to deter us from sticking with Strider as a top option.
The one guy who you might consider over Strider is Zack Wheeler ($10,800), and that's because Wheeler has a cupcake matchup versus Detroit. Against righties, the Tigers' active roster has a league-low 70 wRC+ and the sixth-worst strikeout rate (24.3%). As you might expect from numbers like that, Detroit's implied team total is the night's lowest mark (3.05).
Wheeler doesn't have the pure firepower of Strider, but he's humming along with a 3.51 SIERA, 26.9% strikeout rate, and 5.4% walk rate. Given Wheeler's pristine walk rate and a workload consistently hitting 100-plus pitches, he's a good bet to go well over six innings in a matchup like this, which should help him compete with Strider for the best score on the board.
If those two weren't enough, we also have Framber Valdez ($11,100), but he's less of a must against Toronto. The Blue Jays' active roster has a silly low 16.4% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitching, and they're likely to have just two lefty sticks in their lineup. Valdez has been fantastic in 2023 and could rack up the innings behind his 59.5% ground-ball rate, but he could have a difficult time getting enough Ks to keep pace with Strider and Wheeler.
Jose Berrios ($8,800) and Reid Detmers ($7,100) round things out as value plays. Berrios' matchup against Houston is neutral at best, but he's putting up solid numbers across the board, and the Astros have a pedestrian 4.06 implied team total. Detmers struggles to pitch deep into games due to a poor walk rate (9.3%), but he has a 26.4% strikeout rate and a plus matchup for punchouts versus the Cubs.
Considering the quality pitching on this short slate, it isn't surprising that there aren't a ton of obvious matchups to stack. Every implied team total is below five runs tonight.
The Los Angeles Angels are one of the teams that come close (4.75), though, in a matchup against lefty Drew Smyly. Smyly is hardly a scrub, but he's someone we can comfortably attack with right-handed batters. In that split, he's posted a 4.69 xFIP, 20.5% strikeout rate, and 30.8% ground-ball rate.
Mike Trout ($3,600) is the obvious guy to start with, and then every other righty stick will have a salary of $3,000 or below. Of that group, Brandon Drury ($3,000) is our next-best bet for power (.234 ISO). Note that Jo Adell ($2,500) has been called up from Triple-A, and while it's difficult to have much confidence in him, he was doing work in the minors (.958 OPS).
Of course, even against a lefty, Shohei Ohtani ($3,900) always deserves inclusion. Smyly hardly has dominant numbers in same-sided matchups, with his strikeout rate bumping up to just 23.8%.
The Philadelphia Phillies have a bullpen game against the Tigers. Tyler Holton will take the ball first, but he'll probably be out there for just a couple of innings, and then it will be a guessing game after that. While that makes it hard to analyze any specific matchups, taking our chances against a parade of Detroit relievers is better than most other spots tonight.
Similar to the Angels, the salaries are appealing in this stack, too. Beyond Bryce Harper ($3,600) and Nick Castellanos ($3,400), we're getting everyone else at value salaries, including all of Kyle Schwarber ($3,000), Trea Turner ($3,000), and J.T. Realmuto ($2,800).
It says something about the slate when attacking Justin Verlander might be one of our best choices. The Atlanta Braves boast a 4.78 implied team total, and as noted earlier, the weather should be a nice boost for hitting.
Verlander hasn't been outright bad by any means, but his strikeout rate has declined significantly (20.5%), and his swinging-strike rate (8.7%) doesn't inspire much confidence, either. Add in that he still allows a ton of fly balls (43.0%), and Atlanta's power could be on full display tonight.
Ronald Acuna Jr. ($4,600), Matt Olson ($4,000), and Sean Murphy ($3,700) have all been crushing it, and Austin Riley ($3,100) continues to have a modest salary out of the three-hole. It's all value after that, with Ozzie Albies ($3,000), Marcell Ozuna ($2,900), and Eddie Rosario ($2,700) coming in at low cap hits.
Lastly, the Cleveland Guardians are also in play against Matt Dermody. Dermody is getting called up from Triple-A by the Red Sox, and despite being 32 years old, he's pitched just 27 1/3 MLB innings over his entire career. Since the start of 2020, he's made only two big league appearances. The left-hander has done a decent job in the minors this season, but it's pretty clear that the Guardians ought to have the upper hand tonight.