FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 7/24/20
Between Juan Soto's positive COVID-19 test and Clayton Kershaw abruptly hitting the injured list less than an hour before the first game -- oh, and some rain in Washington -- it was certainly an odd opening night for MLB.
But we've got 11 games on tap for what should be a more "normal" MLB DFS main slate -- you know, until the next COVID-19 curve ball comes our way. At any rate, baseball is back, so let's break things down!
Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered!
And don't forget to take a listen to The Solo Shot podcast with Jim Sannes, who breaks down the MLB daily fantasy slate each morning.
On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel main slate. Below are tonight's projected starters with their 2019 stats. Opposing strikeout rate and wRC+ are last year's numbers against a given pitcher's handedness using active rosters, per FanGraphs.
|Pitcher||Salary||L/R||Opp.||SIERA||K%||BB%||Opp. K%||Opp. wRC+|
Let's check out the top spots on Friday's slate.
Justin Verlander ($11,200) is the clear top choice when it comes to both his pristine 2019 numbers and a cupcake matchup against the Mariners. However, he threw just 74 pitches in his final preseason outing, so it's hard to imagine him reaching triple-digits tonight. Against the Mariners, he may be able to still churn out a big FanDuel score on 90 or so pitches, but we have to consider that his ceiling could be capped. That said, most of tonight's hurlers will be in the same boat, so Verlander still grades out as the best overall option -- it just opens the door for trying other options in tournaments.
Shane Bieber ($10,200) and Jack Flaherty ($10,500) are two such possibilities, with the edge going to Bieber for the slightly better peripherals and opponent. Bieber also sounds likely to be more or less fully unleashed for his opening start, further adding to his appeal. Flaherty should also have around a full workload.
Aaron Nola ($9,900) gets a fantastic draw against the Marlins, but after throwing just 62 pitches in his final tuneup, he could be limited to somewhere in the 80s. Paired with his lower strikeout rate at this price point, and you might be better off going for one of the above trio or paying down.
And speaking of paying down, Lance Lynn ($8,300) is in a plum spot against the Rockies and could be in for a nice night if he maintains most of last year's 28.1% strikeout rate. While German Marquez ($8,200) also has a good matchup on the other side of that game, he may be limited to around 75 pitches, limiting his upside.
If you're really looking to punt, then Ross Stripling ($6,600) should be able to go five or six innings versus the rebuilding Giants, too. Despite going in and out of the Dodgers' rotation the past few years, he's consistently posted above-average numbers and 2019 was no exception.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have the highest implied total at 5.75 runs, so you know they'll be popular versus Tommy Milone. Although Milone's 2019 peripherals aren't terrible, he's averaged a 5.79 ERA over the past four seasons, and projection systems universally predict more of the same.
The southpaw only posted an 18.2% strikeout rate and 35.5% ground-ball rate versus righty sticks last year -- falling in line with career norms -- so feel free to load up on Boston's right-handed bats, including noted lefty masher J.D. Martinez ($3,900), who isn't even that priced up considering the matchup.
Milone may have been more effective at getting strikeouts in same-sided matchups, but it came at the cost of allowing dingers off a 42.2% hard-hit rate and 44.3% fly-ball rate. As one of Boston's top overall bats, Rafael Devers ($3,600) still deserves consideration in the lefty-lefty spot and will also face a lackluster Baltimore bullpen.
The Houston Astros will be another very popular stack against a low-strikeout pitcher in Marco Gonzales. In 2019, the lefty had a pedestrian 18.4% strikeout rate paired with a 38.3% ground-ball rate against right-handed bats. For lefties, it was a 13.0% strikeout rate with a slight bump in ground balls (47.2%) but more hard contact (40.6%). Either way, it's good news for batters on both sides, so load up on any of your favorite Astros.
Carlos Correa ($3,200), Yuli Gurriel ($3,000), and Michael Brantley ($2,900) are all inexpensive bats in the middle of the lineup. Martin Maldonado ($2,100) put up a 52.9% hard-hit rate versus left-handed pitching last year if you need a true punt.
The Cleveland Indians are another squad that stands out against a mediocre left-hander. Danny Duffy has been roughly the same pitcher over the past two seasons, recording a 4.81 SIERA, 20.5% strikeout rate, and 9.3% walk rate over his last 51 starts. Add in a 42.3% fly-ball rate and 38.5% hard-hit rate, and we have to like our chances of a Cleveland stack hitting.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are slated to face Jeff Samardzija, who had about as undeserving a 3.52 ERA as you could possibly find in 2019. A solid innings-eater in his prime, Samardzija's velocity has steadily declined in recent seasons, and Steamer projects his strikeout rate to drop even further to 16.8%.
His underlying numbers don't suggest an advantage for Samardzija against either side of the plate, so all Dodgers are on the table. Particularly if Will Smith ($3,000) is starting, you can conceivably stack anyone from one through nine in this deep lineup.