MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 8/20/16
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 7:05 p.m. EST and features 13 games.
Pitchers to Target
Max Scherzer ($11,000 on FanDuel): With a projected point total of 38.2 points for his clash with the Atlanta Braves, Scherzer is our top-ranked arm by nearly 6 points. The most expensive hurler by just $500, Scherzer is going to see some huge ownership tonight, and he's hard to pass up in cash games. For the year, he boasts some mind-boggling numbers -- a 2.98 SIERA, 32.2% strikeout rate and 6.3% walk rate. The Braves, on the other hand, have one of the worst offenses in baseball. Atlanta ranks last in wOBA (.291), last in ISO (.120) and last in homers (83). The Braves' implied total of 2.93 runs is the lowest of the slate by a significant margin. He'll be chalk, but it's not hard to see why our algorithms love Scherzer tonight.
Chris Sale ($10,500): Sale has turned into a different pitcher this season, getting less whiffs in an effort to go deeper into the game. After putting up a strikeout rate above 30% in each of the past two years, that number is down to 24.5%. While the shift in philosophy has made him worse, he's still a really great pitcher, and very few guys possess his ceiling when it comes to DFS. Sale is actually in the midst of his best strikeout stretch of the season. In his three August starts, he owns a sparkling 27.3% strikeout rate with an insane 3.4% walk rate. His home matchup with the Oakland Athletics, who have a lowly 18.5% strikeout rate, caps his upside a little, but Sale is an attractive tourney pivot off Scherzer.
Robbie Ray ($8,300): Ray has turned himself into one of the best pitchers in baseball, but his traditional stats -- 4.47 ERA with a 6-11 record -- are keeping his salary in check. Ray has a superb matchup tonight against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, which ranks 29th in park factor. Ray has pitched to a 3.56 SIERA and 27.2% strikeout rate, both of which are career-best clips. The punchouts are backed by a solid 10.9% swinging-strike rate, but he's been stung by a career-high .359 BABIP. Away from home, Ray is limiting hitters to a .312 wOBA while his strikeout rate jumps to 29.8%. Even though the Padres have swung the bats better of late, Ray makes for a great tournament play.
Hitters to Target
Anthony Rizzo ($4,800): With a mouth-watering 6.55 implied total for their game at Coors Field, you're going to want all the Chicago Cubs. Right-hander Jeff Hoffman, one of the Colorado Rockies' top prospects and the ninth overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, will make his first MLB start, and it couldn't be a tougher spot as he'll see one of the best offenses in baseball in the friendliest run-scoring environment in the game. The pricing of the Cubs' top sticks makes a stack hard to come by, but Rizzo -- our top-ranked bat -- is a guy to target. The dude has mauled right-handed pitchers this year, sporting a .411 wOBA against righties with a 38.8% hard-hit rate and 45.6% fly-ball rate. Putting that batted-ball profile in Coors isn't fair.
Robinson Cano ($3,700): With a .397 wOBA, 39.0% hard-hit rate and 38.6% fly-ball rate against right-handed pitchers, Cano is always worth a look whenever the Seattle Mariners see a righty. That's the case in this one as Seattle squares off with Wily Peralta in a game where the Mariners have an implied total of 5.01 runs, the second-highest non-Coors clip of the night. Peralta has really struggled this season, posting a 4.83 SIERA with a 15.0% strikeout rate. Lefties have got to him for a .393 wOBA and 36.9% hard-hit rate. If you're looking to pivot off the Rockies-Cubs game, a Seattle stack is worth investigating.
Kike Hernandez ($2,600): Hernandez hasn't started in a week, so check the Los Angeles Dodgers' lineup. If he's in there, he profiles as a great value play for the Dodgers' road game against Cincinnati Reds' lefty Brandon Finnegan. Great American Ball Park ranks fifth in home run factor, and the Dodgers boast an implied total of 5.24 runs, the biggest total of any non-Coors tilt. Hernandez is cheap exposure to that, and he has fared very well against southpaws, racking up a .335 wOBA with a 34.6% hard-hit rate and 40.0% fly-ball rate.
Paulo Orlando ($2,900): Orlando has been hitting leadoff against left-handers, giving him a huge boost in value. The reason he's atop the order is he's doing work versus southpaws. Orlando owns a .399 wOBA against lefties, and overall, he has a .360 wOBA with three steals in August. With just 11 jacks over 598 career plate appearances, the ceiling isn't huge, but hitting leadoff for a lineup with an implied total of 4.83 runs helps compensate.