MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 9/17/16
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 is for the main slate, which starts at 7:05 p.m. and features 10 games.
Pitchers to Target
Yu Darvish ($10,800 on FanDuel): A lot of the day's top arms aren't toeing the rubber on the main slate. Darvish is an exception. Since coming off the disabled list on May 28th, Darvish has been nothing short of spectacular. Through 82 1/3 frames, he owns a 3.23 SIERA, 30.1% strikeout rate and 7.3% walk rate. He has just one start in which he posted less than a 9.2% swinging-strike rate, and Darvish is allowing a meager 26.2% hard-hit rate in the second half. Tonight's foe, the Oakland Athletics, have the fourth-lowest strikeout rate (18.8%), but they rank 27th in wOBA (.303) and 28th in walk rate (7.2%). The A's implied total of 3.62 is the lowest of the slate, and Texas is a massive favorite (-235 moneyline).
James Paxton ($7,200): The Houston Astros have a powerful lineup, but they do like to swing and miss as Houston boasts the fourth-highest strikeout rate (23.6%). The new and improved version of Paxton we've seen in 2016 can get 'dem strikeouts. His 11.6% swinging-strike rate is a top-20 mark among pitchers with at least 100 innings this year, and it tells us his 21.2% strikeout rate should be a touch higher. Paxton's walk rate is down to 3.6% in the second half, and he's allowing hard contact just 30.9% of the time in that span.
Seth Lugo ($7,500): Vegas is a big fan of Lugo for his home matchup with the Minnesota Twins, giving the Twins a lowly 3.69 implied total, the second-lowest of the slate. Citi Field ranks last in park factor, and Lugo is limiting hitters to a .243 wOBA in his home starts. Lugo isn't a big swing-and-miss guy, but his strikeout rate is a not-terrible 19.3% in the second half. He posted an 11.6% swinging-strike rate in his last start, and Minnesota has the seventh-highest strikeout rate (23.7%) over the past 30 days.
Hitters to Target
Nolan Arenado ($4,300): You're going to want all of the Colorado Rockies for their home clash with Edwin Jackson, although today's pricing is going to make a stack hard to come by. The San Diego Padres' righty owns a 15.8% strikeout rate, 10.8% walk rate and 5.26 SIERA. Away from home, Jackson is allowing a 38.7% hard-hit rate and 35.1% fly-ball rate, and Coors isn't your run-of-the-mill roadtrip. Arenado is posting reverse splits this season, racking up a .396 wOBA against righties with a 36.6% hard-hit rate and 46.8% fly-ball rate. For the year, his overall fly-ball rate at Coors is an even 50%, and the Rockies have an ungodly implied total of 6.82. Leggo.
Jose Bautista ($3,700): If you want to pivot off Coors, the Toronto Blue Jays and their 4.85 implied total are a solid option. Bautista, owner of reverse splits this season, is in a good spot against Ricky Nolasco. The Toronto slugger is tattooing right-handers to the tune of a .352 wOBA, 39.9% hard-hit rate and 41.3% fly-ball rate. Bautista's hard-hit rate jumps to 45.5% in September. Nolasco's strikeout rate has plummeted to 15.5% in the second half, and his splits don't remove any Jays' sticks from consideration.
Corey Seager ($4,000): Shelby Miller has been pummeled by left-handed hitters this year. Putting him up against the Los Angeles Dodgers at hitter-friendly Chase Field is just asking for disaster. Vegas agrees, giving Los Angeles a mouth-watering 5.65 implied total and making the Dodgers another very attractive pivot off Coors. Against lefties, Miller is surrendering a .416 wOBA with a 39.5% hard-hit rate, and his wOBA at home against southpaws spikes to .466. The Dodgers have a bunch of good left-handed hitters, and they're all in play, with Seager at the top of the list. The young shortstop boasts a .405 wOBA and 39.8% hard-hit rate against right-handers, and he is making hard contact 43.9% of the time in September.
Joc Pederson ($2,600): Let's stick with the Dodgers for a hot minute. Pederson is one of their enticing left-handed mashers, and his price tag is to die for. Pederson has mauled righties to the tune of a .377 wOBA this season, amassing a 41.0% hard-hit rate and 40.8% fly-ball rate. He's been on some kind of tear in September, posting an out-of-this-world 56.5% hard-hit rate. His likely low spot in the batting order is a negative, but he's a great low-cost inclusion into a stack or a nice, cheap standalone play.
Yasmani Grandal ($2,700): I lied -- we're going to marinate on this Dodgers' lineup for just a bit more. There is no reason for Grandal to be priced this cheaply. On top of the superb match against Miller, this is a catcher with 25 jacks, a 13.5% walk rate and a second-half wOBA of .363. Against right-handed pitching this season, he's putting up a .343 wOBA with a 40.6% hard-hit rate and 42.7% fly-ball rate. Typically occupying the No. 5 slot in the Dodgers' lineup, Grandal would be a worthwhile investment at a significantly more expensive salary, so he approaches must-roster status at this price.
Carlos Gomez ($3,000): Oakland is sending Raul Alcantara to the bump, and that's a great thing for the Texas Rangers' bats. Alcantara has spent a majority of the season in the minors, and he didn't put up a quality strikeout rate at either Double-A (18.7%) nor Triple-A (18.6%). When the chances of a strikeout are reduced, then Gomez becomes a very enticing option. Hitting atop the Rangers' lineup lately, Gomez is swinging the bat very well. In September, he owns a .396 wOBA with a 35.7% hard-hit rate and 45.1% fly-ball rate. A 31.7% strikeout rate is Gomez's big bugaboo this season, but if that's off the table by way of the matchup with Alcantara, then Gomez is cleared for takeoff.