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 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.
Whoo boy — this is a loaded pitching slate. We have five hurlers listed at or above $9,800, and each of them has plenty of appeal. Those five are Jacob deGrom ($12,000 on FanDuel), Brandon Woodruff ($11,800), Max Scherzer ($11,000), Lucas Giolito ($10,700) and Clayton Kershaw ($9,800). Man, this is going to be a fun slate.
I think deGrom, Woodruff and Scherzer need to be the priority — and deGrom, even on a slate with this many great options, stands out on his own.
Despite a tough matchup with the San Diego Padres, deGrom is our model’s top arm, and the Padres carry a slate-low 2.42 implied total. DeGrom has a 1.66 SIERA, 45.4% strikeout rate and 21.2% swinging-strike rate. He rocked the Padres for 64 FanDuel points in his last start, and deGrom has more games with at least 64 FanDuel points (three) than he does with fewer than 43 FanDuel points (two). His worst output this season is a 36.0-point effort. His strikeout ability gives him an unrivaled floor/ceiling combination.
Woodruff has great numbers, as well, pitching to a 2.90 SIERA, 32.5% strikeout rate and 12.8% swinging-strike rate. He hasn’t gone for fewer than 34 FanDuel points since his 2021 opener, and he has a sublime matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who sit dead last in wOBA (.286). While Woodruff gets the edge over Scherzer as the slate’s number-two arm, he just doesn’t have the ceiling deGrom does (because no one does), going for more than 55 FanDuel points just once. With deGrom just $200 more, it’s hard to justify going with Woodruff over deGrom, but Woodruff could be a great pivot for tournaments.
As for Scherzer, we can repeat everything we said about him yesterday since that start was washed out. The matchup with the San Francisco Giants isn’t easy, but it enhances Scherzer’s already juicy strikeout outlook as San Fran owns the second-highest strikeout rate against righties (26.8%). Scherzer doesn’t need help getting punchouts, producing a 36.1% strikeout rate and 16.7% swinging-strike rate. A word of warning: we need to watch for rain here once again.
Giolito and Kershaw are in quality matchups — Giolito against the Detroit Tigers and Kershaw versus the Texas Rangers — and would be smash plays on most slates. For me on this slate, they’re a notch below the three aforementioned hurlers as their floors and ceilings are just a touch worse, although that is factored into Kershaw’s salary, making him the top point-per-dollar arm, per our algorithm, among the five with a salary of at least $9,800.
Kershaw has recorded just 21 and 30 FanDuel points in his past two starts. That’s the negative. The positives are that Texas is fourth-worst in wOBA versus southpaws (.291) while Kershaw has a 3.17 SIERA, 28.3% strikeout rate and 15.8% swinging-strike rate.
Giolito has a pair of 64-point outputs across his past four starts, but he posted just 36 points versus the Tigers in his last game. Detroit is a fantastic matchup as they have the highest strikeout rate (27.7%) with the fourth-worst wOBA (.295). Giolito checks a lot of boxes.
I’m not going to be venturing outside of the five guys we’ve touched on, but if you must, Tyler Mahle ($8,500) has a dope home matchup with the Colorado Rockies. Colorado has the worst road wOBA by 21 points (.253), and they strike out at the fourth-highest rate in the split (27.1%). Mahle just doesn’t have the high floor of this slate’s top guys, going for more than 31 FanDuel points only three times in his past eight outings, including -9 FanDuel points four starts ago.
Stacks to Target
The Cincinnati Reds are at homer-happy Great American Ball Park versus Kyle Freeland. Since the start of 2020, Freeland has struggled his way to a 5.14 SIERA and 14.4% strikeout rate. The Reds’ 5.28 implied total is the second-highest clip on the slate.
Jesse Winker ($4,500) and Nick Castellanos ($4,200) are the only Cincinnati bats above $3,200. While Winker is tough to stomach at this salary in a lefty-lefty matchup, Castellanos is much easier to get behind. He has mashed lefties this season to the tune of a gaudy .492 wOBA and 57.1% hard-hit rate. He’s one of the slate’s best bats.
Eugenio Suarez ($3,200), Jonathan India ($3,000), Tucker Barnhart ($2,700), Tyler Stephenson ($2,500) and Kyle Farmer ($2,000) will all hit from the right side. I’ll likely mix and match guys from this group alongside Castellanos. Suarez hasn’t been good this season, but he registered a .406 wOBA with the platoon advantage back in his 49-jack campaign in 2019. India may be in the leadoff slot while Stephenson carries a .391 wOBA and 46.2% hard-hit rate this year versus lefties.
Joey Votto ($2,900) donged on Thursday and will likely be in a meaty spot in the order. He had a 43.8% hard-hit rate in lefty-lefty spots in 2020.
On a slate where we’re going to be dropping a lot of salary at pitcher, we need to find economical stacks. The Cleveland Indians are here for us. Outside of Jose Ramirez ($3,900), no Cleveland bat is more than $2,800, so they’re pretty easy to jam in alongside the ace of your choosing.
And this isn’t all about Cleveland’s low salaries — they’re in a stellar spot against Justin Dunn, boasting a 4.97 implied total. For his career, Dunn is sporting a 5.79 SIERA and 16.0% walk rate. Lefties have a .343 wOBA, 21.7% walk rate, 41.5% hard-hit rate and 46.6% fly-ball rate against him in his career.
If you have the salary for Ramirez, plug him in. He is mashing this season, putting up a .371 wOBA and .403 expected wOBA (xwOBA) on his way to 14 taters and six steals. He’s better versus righties, too, with a .393 wOBA in the split, compared to a .333 clip against southpaws.
Cesar Hernandez ($2,600) and Eddie Rosario ($2,800) will bat from the left side and are projected to hit first and fourth, respectively. Hernandez has a .344 xwOBA and nine homers while Rosario finished 2020 with a .365 wOBA against righties.
Factoring in the salary, Josh Naylor ($2,100) is one of my favorite plays on this slate. He should be in a nice spot in the order and has a .335 wOBA with the platoon advantage. Bobby Bradley ($2,500) and Bradley Zimmer ($2,100) are two other low-salary bats who will hit left-handed.
Sticking with the theme of needing to find modestly priced stacks, the Milwaukee Brewers are on my radar, and with an implied total of 4.64 that is solid but not amazing, they should be somewhat contrarian tonight.
The Brew Crew are up against Chase De Jong, a righty who has a 5.61 SIERA and 15.6% strikeout rate in 64 1/3 career innings. He’s been battered by hitters on both sides of the plate, so we have flexibility with Brewers stacks.
The standout bat in Milwaukee’s lineup is Christian Yelich ($3,900), who has a .357 wOBA and 40.4% hard-hit rate against righties this season. After Yelich, the rest of the Brewers’ offense is salaried at $3,000 or below, and they have some intriguing sticks.
Dan Vogelbach ($2,500) is projected to hit second, and he’s got a .337 wOBA and five homers with the platoon advantage this season. Avisail Garcia ($3,000) is hot with a .354 wOBA and 45.0% hard-hit rate this month. Willy Adames ($2,400) has swung it really well since coming over to Milwaukee, posting a .386 wOBA and 46.8% hard-hit rate in 73 plate appearances. Luis Urias ($2,600) is a low-salary leadoff man who has a 40.5% hard-hit rate, and Jackie Bradley ($2,100) has hit four of his five dingers off right-handed pitchers.
The post FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 6/11/21 first appeared on SportsGrid.