MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 9/10/16
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 11 games.
Pitchers to Target
Max Scherzer ($11,500 on FanDuel): After getting a pair of wonderful matchups -- against the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies -- in his last two starts, Scherzer again takes the ball versus a weak offense as he gets the Phillies for a second time in two weeks, this time at Nationals Park. Scherzer torched Philly for 11 strikeouts and an 18.6% swinging-strike rate on August 30th, and our models have him as tonight's top-ranked arm. Scherzer is sporting a career-best 31.6% strikeout rate, and the Phils rank last in wOBA (.292) and have the sixth-highest strikeout rate versus righties (22.6%). The Washington Nationals are massive favorites (-271 moneyline), and Philadelphia's implied total of 2.7 is the slate's only implied total under 3.5. So, yeah, you're going to want some exposure to the Nats' ace.
Rich Hill ($9,200): If you're looking for an intriguing pivot off Scherzer, look no further. Hill has made two starts since coming off the disabled list, and dude is bossing. He's allowed just 6 hits and fanned 11 over 12 scoreless innings. Overall, he owns a 3.48 SIERA and 28.5% strikeout rate. His foe, the Miami Marlins, rank 23rd in wOBA versus lefties (.314). They've also been riding the struggle bus without Giancarlo Stanton, putting up a league-low .121 ISO over the past 30 days.
Jon Gray ($8,200): On the hush hush, the Colorado Rockies may be putting together a pretty good starting rotation for the first time since -- well, ever. Gray, Chris Rusin and Tyler Anderson are all turning in solid campaigns. The staff is anchored by Gray, a rookie who has pitched to a 3.81 SIERA, 25.0% strikeout rate and 8.2% walk rate this season. Gray, predictably, has been slightly better on the road, limiting hitters to a .301 wOBA while his strikeout rate increases slightly to 25.3%. Not only is he away from Coors Field tonight, but he's at pitcher-friendly Petco Park, which checks in 29th in park factor. The San Diego Padres' offense ranks 26th in home wOBA (.304) with the fourth-highest home strikeout rate (24.1%).
Hitters to Target
Matt Carpenter ($4,300): Carpenter's batted-ball stats since coming off the disabled list have been outstanding, but his production hasn't quite matched up. That's starting to change as he has three hits, including a dong and a double, over the past two games. Carpenter's wOBA in the second half is a lowly .303, but he boasts a 36.8% hard-hit rate and 49.4% fly-ball rate in that span. He has annihilated righties this year to the tune of a .393 wOBA, 47.3% hard-hit rate and 47.7% fly-ball rate. That bodes very well for his clash with Chase Anderson -- as does the St. Louis Cardinals' 4.89 implied total.
Mike Napoli ($3,500): Napoli's only black eye this season is his 30.3% strikeout rate. He's cut down on his whiffs in the second half, posting an improved 24.8% strikeout rate, so we have very little reason not to use him against left-handed pitchers. Napoli has racked up a 46.8% hard-hit rate and 42.6% fly-ball rate versus southpaws in 2016. On the flip side, his opposition tonight, Hector Santiago, throws batting practice to righties, surrendering a 37.4% hard-hit rate and 51.7% fly-ball rate. If you needed any more urging -- and you probably shouldn't -- the game is at Target Field, which sits eighth in park factor, and the Cleveland Indians have a 4.93 implied total.
Jose Ramirez ($2,900): Ramirez, a switch hitter, is a cheap way to get access to the Indians' juicy implied total. In the midst of a breakout campaign, Ramirez is sporting a .352 wOBA with 10 jacks and 20 steals. He's been straight flames in the second half, recording a .380 wOBA, and his fly-ball rate spikes to 37.6% against lefties. As we just covered, Santiago puts all of Cleveland's right-handed sticks in play, and the lefty's 10.2% walk rate could lead to some trouble against the Indians' high-powered lineup. Ramirez has been hitting fifth, right behind Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Napoli.
Joe Panik ($2,700): Similar to Ramirez, Panik is a frugal way to get exposure to a lofty implied total. The San Francisco Giants' implied total of 4.96 paces the slate for their road matchup with Arizona Diamondbacks' righty Archie Bradley. Panik has fared much better against right-handed pitchers, posting a 38.8% fly-ball rate versus opposite-handed hurlers while his strikeout rate drops to a meager 7.2%. Panik's fly-ball rate jumps to 40.8% on the road, which should play very well at hitter-friendly Chase Field. Giants' lefties are very attractive tonight as Bradley has given up a .397 wOBA and 38.1% hard-hit rate to southpaws in 2016.