MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 9/5/16
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. Because FanDuel's main slate only includes games starting between 4:05 pm Eastern and 4:40 pm Eastern, we will exclude all other games from these recommendations.
Pitchers to Target
Max Scherzer ($11,400 on FanDuel): Whenever a guy is this expensive, you want them to have double-digit strikeout upside. You could say that Max Scherzer has that, given that he has hit that total in 12 of his past 21 starts. Scherzer's lowest single-game swinging-strike rate since the All-Star break is 10.3%, and he has exceeded 18.0% in four of those starts. The Atlanta Braves' offense has been stout in the second half, but it's hard to find a legit reason to fade Scherzer right now.
Justin Verlander ($9,500): Chris Sale is the more expensive pitcher in this matchup, but Justin Verlander is the one who's pitching like an ace. In 10 starts since the All-Star break, Verlander has a 3.24 SIERA with an 11.9% swinging-strike rate, 29.2% strikeout rate, and 4.9% walk rate. Every single one of those marks exceeds those of Sale in the same span. Against the Chicago White Sox's 21st-ranked offense in second-half wRC+, Verlander's primed to continue his resurgence.
Drew Pomeranz ($9,200): Strictly in terms of matchups, nobody has it better than Drew Pomeranz today. Not only does he get to rep the revenge-game narrative against his former teammates, but he faces a high-strikeout offense that is over-flowing with lefties. Pomeranz has shaken off his rusty first few starts with the Boston Red Sox and now has a 3.86 SIERA in the second half, and he adds the benefit of facing a lineup without a designated hitter once again. Pomeranz could very well return to his dominant days of old.
Hitters to Target
Buster Posey ($4,000): Buster Posey will always make us foam at the mouth when he's at Coors, but a matchup against a reverse-splits righty like Chad Bettis pushes that thirst through the roof. Bettis' strikeout rate dips to 15.8% against righties, and they pound him for a 33.9% hard-hit rate. Even though Posey's power has been down in the second half, his hard-hit rate is still 34.6%, and his fly-ball rate has actually gone up to 33.8%, so he's worthy of a look in this matchup.
DJ LeMahieu ($4,200): If you didn't know better, you could easily confuse DJ LeMahieu's peripheral stats this year for those of the aforementioned Posey. LeMahieu has a walk rate above 10.0% and just a 12.9% strikeout rate, and his 36.0% hard-hit rate towers over his 12.2% soft-hit rate. LeMahieu hasn't slowed down from his hot start, either, posting a 37.5% hard-hit rate in the second half. Matt Moore has fared well with the San Francisco Giants, but he has only held righties to soft contact 12.5% of the time in the second half, so feel free to peep some Colorado Rockies sticks here.
Hanley Ramirez ($3,600): With the Red Sox in San Diego, they likely won't be able to use David Ortiz due to the loss of the designated hitter. Don't fret, though, because Hanley Ramirez is an oh-so-tasty substitute. Ramirez is rocking a 38.1% hard-hit rate and 36.4% fly-ball rate in the second half, and he swings from the side of the plate we prefer out of batters at Petco Park. If you can afford Mookie Betts, he's the more desirable option of the two, but Ramirez needs to be on our radar, as well.
Marcus Semien ($3,000): Jered Weaver is on the road, so every Oakland Athletics batter is in play. Marcus Semien leads the charge, and his 23 home runs this year should explain his inclusion here. Most of Semien's power numbers have come against left-handed pitchers, but he does possess a higher hard-hit and fly-ball rate against righties. With how much Weaver has struggled -- especially since the All-Star break -- we have to have exposure to these A's.
Sandy Leon ($2,800): Ramirez and Betts got the nod above, but truthfully, you probably want a boatload of Red Sox batters tonight against Edwin Jackson. His 5.75 SIERA puts the whole team in play, and Sandy Leon's new spot in the order puts him high on that list. Now that he has hit in the top two thirds of the lineup three of the past four games, we can look at Leon's 36.1% hard-hit rate this year in 208 plate appearances. The Red Sox have rewarded Leon for his hot start, and we can now give him more DFS consideration, as well.
Jefry Marte ($3,000): We don't know a lot about Athletics starter Raul Alcantara as he gets set to make his debut, but we do know that strikeouts aren't quite his forte. His strikeout rate in eight starts at Triple-A was 18.6%, mirroring his 18.7% mark at Double-A, meaning the Los Angeles Angels should be able to get base runners against him. That's where Jefry Marte comes in. He's now up to 100 second-half plate appearances, and he has a 40.3% hard-hit rate with a 42.9% fly-ball rate. He'll be able to get balls in play against Alcantara, and Marte excels when he can do just that.
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