MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 8/21/16
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 1:10 p.m. EST and features the first 11 games.
Pitchers to Target
Danny Duffy ($10,000 on FanDuel): Duffy has been on fire lately. Over his last 10 starts, he has just one outing of less than 34 FanDuel points, including eight games of at least 40 points. For the year, Duffy is sporting a 3.30 SIERA with a 27.6% strikeout rate and 5.2% walk rate. In 31 1/3 frames in August, he's posting a 29.2% strikeout rate and 4.4% walk rate. He is one of the best pitchers in baseball -- the best in the American League, per SIERA -- and he's our top-ranked pitcher for his home matchup with the Minnesota Twins, whose 3.31 implied total is the lowest of the slate. Minnesota has a solid offense, but the Twins do boast the seventh-highest strikeout rate (22.1%).
Corey Kluber ($10,800): Despite a tough home matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays, our models rank Kluber as the day's third-best pitcher while the Jays implied total of 3.37 runs is the second-lowest of the main slate. Toronto checks in seventh with a .327 wOBA, but that number drops to .316 when they're on the road. The Blue Jays also rank sixth in strikeout rate (22.3%), so the upside is there for Kluber, even in a less-than-ideal matchup. Kluber boasts a 25.3% strikeout rate with a 5.9% walk rate. He's surpassed the 30-point mark (on FanDuel) in each of his past seven starts, including five games of at least 45 points.
Drew Smyly ($8,600): Usually economically priced, Smyly's ability to get swings and misses makes him fairly attractive each time he gets the ball. He has racked up a 23.3% strikeout rate with a nice 10.8% swinging-strike rate. Today's opposition, the Texas Rangers, are one of baseball's better offenses, but Smyly is lights out at home. When he's at Tropicana Field, which ranks 21st in park factor, his strikeout rate jumps to 27.3% while he holds hitters to a .273 wOBA. The Rangers have a .322 wOBA, which ranks 11th, but when they're on the road, that wOBA dips to .309. Texas' implied total of 4.11 runs is the fourth-worst clip of the slate.
Hitters to Target
Justin Turner ($3,700): Turner has been really good for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he's taking a blowtorch to right-handed pitchers. For the year, Turner has roughed up righties to the tune of a .387 wOBA, 39.4% hard-hit rate and 40.5% fly-ball rate. He'll see a right-hander this afternoon in Cincinnati Reds' starter Anthony DeSclafani, who surrenders a 33.3% hard-hit rate to right-handed sticks. The game will be played at Great American Ball Park, which checks in fifth in home run factor. DeSclafani's strikeout rate drops to 18.2% in home games, and Turner's wOBA on the road versus righties is an eye-popping .416. The Dodgers' implied total of 4.74 runs is the second-highest of the afternoon.
Jose Altuve ($4,000): Altuve and the Houston Astros have the slate's highest implied total (4.88) for their road clash with Yovani Gallardo. Altuve's strikeout rate versus right-handers is a minuscule 8.6% while he boasts a .476 wOBA away from home. Gallardo has been downright terrible this season with a 5.52 SIERA, 16.0% strikeout rate and 12.4% walk rate. He is allowing a 42.9% fly-ball rate in his home starts, a nightmare number for Camden Yards, which sits third in park factor and sixth in home run factor.
A.J. Reed ($2,600): Speaking of Houston, Reed is a cheap way to get exposure to the Astros' gaudy implied total. Reed, who hit sixth versus a righty on Saturday, owns a 35.4% hard-hit rate with a 45.8% fly-ball rate against right-handed pitchers. His biggest negative -- a 34.6% strikeout rate -- is somewhat negated by Gallardo's lowly 16.0% strikeout rate. Reed has been tattooing balls in August, putting up a 44.4% hard-hit rate.
Odubel Herrera ($2,700): Herrera has been good versus right-handed pitchers this season, mashing to the tune of a .361 wOBA with a 31.6% hard-hit rate and 37.9% fly-ball rate. He gets a home matchup with righty Mike Leake, who can't strike out anyone lately. After posting a 24.6% strikeout rate in July, Leake is fanning just 7.8% of hitters in August. Herrera will hit in the meat of the lineup, and the Philadelphia Phillies have a solid implied total of 4.45 runs.