MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 5/21/17
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. We'll be focusing exclusively on the main slate, which begins at 1:10 p.m. EST and includes the day's first 10 games.
Pitchers to Target
Stephen Strasburg ($10,100 on FanDuel): Strasburg and Archer are pretty much equals, and both should see significant ownership. The Atlanta Braves have a 3.77 implied total, the lowest of the slate, but Atlanta's offense isn't the joke it was in 2016. The Braves sit 13th in wOBA (.323) and 20th in strikeout rate (20.3%). Stras isn't getting whiffs like he has in previous seasons -- his 10.3% swinging-strike rate and 22.3% strikeout rate are both career-low marks -- but he has still racked up at least 8 strikeouts in four of his eight starts.
Chris Archer ($10,100): Our models have Archer as the day's top hurler, projecting him for 36.4 FanDuel points (nearly 4 more points than we forecast for Strasburg) despite a tough matchup with the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers own a 3.78 implied total, just a sliver above Atlanta's, but they rank second in wOBA (.350). That wOBA does drop to still-good .330 when the Yanks are on the road, and they own the third-highest strikeout rate over the past 30 days (23.7%). Archer is sporting a 26.9% strikeout rate and 12.1% swinging-strike rate, so he's perfectly capable of taking advantage of New York's swing-and-miss ways. Also, on a slate in which rain could play a big role, it's not a factor for Archer as this one is indoors.
Joe Musgrove ($7,400): Musgrove, Aaron Nola ($7,600), Danny Salazar ($9,200) and Marco Estrada ($8,600) each have some positives if you're wanting to spend down on the bump. Musgrove has quietly flashed some big-time upside of late as he's posted at least a 12.1% swinging-strike rate in three of his past four outings, showing the upside we crave for tournaments. He's at home against a Cleveland Indians team which has struggled to a 25th-ranked .309 wOBA over the last 30 days. In cash games, you want either Archer or Strasburg, but Musgrove has some appeal as a tourney play for those looking to be contrarian.
Hitters to Target
Charlie Blackmon ($4,300): There is rain in the forecast, but if the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds play, we're going to need exposure to this one. Both teams have 4.75 implied totals, tied for a slate-high mark, for their clash at Great American Ball Park, which is fourth in home run factor over the past three seasons. Bronson Arroyo is starting for the Reds, and everything about his stat line says we should be really excited about that. Through 41 1/3 frames this year, he's put up a 14.4% strikeout rate while allowing a 35.9% hard-hit rate and 45.0% fly-ball rate. Blackmon should be atop the Rockies' lineup, and he has punished righties to the tune of a .420 wOBA, 38.6% hard-hit rate and 47.1% fly-ball rate this season.
Adam Duvall ($3,600): On the other side of that matchup, Kyle Freeland squares off against Cincy. Freeland's 65.5% ground-ball rate is heartwarming, but his 14.7% strikeout rate and 11.2% walk rate both rank inside the bottom 10 among qualified starters. Duvall is doing unspeakable things to lefties again this season, mashing his way to a .474 wOBA, 38.2% hard-hit rate and 35.3% fly-ball rate while fanning just 11.6% of the time against southpaws.
Matt Wieters ($2,800): The Washington Nationals also have a 4.75 implied total as they do battle with Jaime Garcia, who has labored his way to a 14.2% strikeout rate and 12.5% walk rate in his first season in Atlanta. Depending on what lineup they roll out, Wieters could be the only Nats' stick priced under $3,000. He finished last season with a 34.6% hard-hit rate and 38.3% fly-ball rate against left-handed pitchers, and that fly-ball rate has jumped to 50.0% versus lefties in a small sample in 2017.
Greg Garcia ($2,200): Kolten Wong exited early last night with an elbow aliment, and Garcia came in and got three hits, including a double, in four plate appearances. It's not a given Garcia plays today, but if he's out there, he's a super cheap way to get access to a St. Louis Cardinals offense which has a 4.64 implied total for their date with Matt Cain. Cain's 10.8% walk rate is a career-worst mark, and lefties have rocked him for a .373 wOBA and 36.1% hard-hit rate this season. Garcia has posted a .342 wOBA against righties over his career, including a .383 wOBA across 51 plate appearances this season.
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