MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 8/14/16
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. This article is for the main slate, which starts at 1:05 PM EST and features the first 10 games of the day.
Pitchers to Target
Steven Matz ($9,600 on FanDuel): Matz is following up his outstanding debut a year ago with an even better second season. His SIERA (3.53), strikeout rate (23.1%), walk rate (5.5%) and ground-ball rate (50.6%) are all career-best numbers. He's our second-ranked hurler for today's game against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field, which ranks last in park factor. The Padres check in 27th in wOBA (.304), 23rd in walk rate (7.5%) and 29th in strikeout rate (24.4%). The only black eye for Matz is the fact San Diego has hit lefties really well this year, racking up a .344 wOBA, which ranks fourth. Still, the Padres have a 24.2% strikeout rate against southpaws, so the upside is present nonetheless.
Tanner Roark ($8,900): Roark is turning in a very nice campaign for the Washington Nationals, even if he's not throwing as well as his 2.88 ERA suggests. Roark is posting a 4.10 SIERA with a 20.3% strikeout rate and 7.5% walk rate, both of which are right around the league average. What Roark has going for him today is a stellar home matchup against the Atlanta Braves, who rank last in wOBA (.292), last in ISO (.120) and last in homers (79). Roark is holding hitters to a .273 wOBA at Nationals Park, and his strikeout rate inches up to 21.8%. Roark's 50.5% ground-ball rate also helps him limit damage, although the Braves' offense does a good job of that on their own. Atlanta's implied total of 3.52 is the second-lowest of the slate, and Roark is our top-ranked pitcher.
Marcus Stroman ($7,500): Unlike yesterday, there aren't any slam dunk options on the mound, even though both Roark and Matz have a lot of things going for them. Stroman slots in as our third-ranked arm, and he provides a nice chunk of savings compared to the top two options. Owner of an elite 60.4% ground-ball rate, Stroman has always been a pitcher who could become one of the game's best if he could improve on his career strikeout rate of 19.7%. Well, he's doing it, folks. Stroman put up a 22.1% strikeout rate in July, and it has spiked to 35.4% through a pair of August starts. He'll have a chance to keep the trend going today in a matchup with the Houston Astros, who have the fourth-highest strikeout rate in baseball.
Hitters to Target
Nolan Arenado ($4,000): Arenado gets a sweet matchup with Philadelphia Phillies' left-hander Adam Morgan, who is surrendering a .342 wOBA to right-handed hitters. For the year, Arenado owns a .394 wOBA against southpaws with a 38.0% hard-hit rate and 53.3% fly-ball rate. Those numbers will play, especially at Citizens Bank Park, which ranks first in home run factor. The Colorado Rockies boast an implied total of 4.74 runs. Miraculously, that's just the sixth-highest total on the slate -- runs for days today -- so the Rox shouldn't be as chalk as they have been the past two nights.
Ryan Braun ($4,000): Braun is always worth checking out when the Milwaukee Brewers are facing a left-hander. When the lefty is bad and the game is in a hitter-friendly park, you just about have to roster him. That's the situation today as Braun and the Brew Crew face off with southpaw Cody Reed at Miller Park, which checks in fourth in park factor and third in home run factor. Braun has crushed lefties this year to the tune of a .425 wOBA, and the wOBA jumps to .459 -- with a 44.1% hard-hit rate with a 38.2% fly-ball rate -- when he's at home against left-handers. Reed isn't having a bad debut season for the Cincinnati Reds, posting a 4.11 SIERA, but he has struggled to a 4.13 xFIP versus lefties while his strikeout rate drops to 16.3%. Milwaukee's implied total of 4.86 runs is just the cherry on top.
Tyler Naquin ($2,600): Every five days, the baseball gods give us the gift of Jered Weaver, and today is one of those days. You're going to want to get exposure to the Cleveland Indians -- and their slate-best 5.13 implied total -- and Naquin is a cheap way to do just that. Naquin, a lefty, has some pretty big upside, too, as he's destroyed righties this year to the tune of .411 wOBA and 42.5% hard-hit rate. Weaver has been getting pummeled by hitters from both sides of the plate with left-handed sticks roughing him up for a .357 wOBA. He's allowing a .376 wOBA with a 51.0% fly-ball rate away from home, and his strikeout rate against lefties drops to a meager 10.9%. While most of Cleveland's bats are very expensive, Naquin is a nice alternative.
Wilmer Flores ($2,700): Flores appears here regularly whenever the New York Mets are squaring off with a left-handed starter. Flores and the Mets do battle this afternoon with San Diego Padres' southpaw Clayton Richard. Flores owns a massive .437 wOBA against lefties with a 54.9% fly-ball rate. Richard is making his first start of the year after spending most of the campaign in the Chicago Cubs' bullpen, so he may not work deep into this one. Fortunately, the Padres' bullpen is giving up a 34.3% hard-hit rate, the second-highest mark in baseball. The Mets -- like just about everyone else on the slate -- have a solid implied total (4.79), and Flores is a cheap way to get a piece of that.