FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 7/25/20
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 starts at 1:05 p.m. EST.
Pitchers to Target
Clevinger has the edge in my eyes. He's hosting the Kansas City Royals, who just fanned 14 times versus Shane Bieber on Friday night. Clevinger ended 2019 with a 33.9% strikeout rate, 15.2% swinging-strike rate and 7.4% walk rate. He's got a better floor than Castillo -- who we'll elaborate on in a minute -- and just as much upside. We project Clevinger for 39.9 FanDuel points while we forecast Castillo for 35.0.
Castillo, meanwhile, has a cushy home date with the Detroit Tigers. With a 28.9% strikeout rate and 15.9% swinging-strike rate a year ago, Castillo can mow through this Tigers lineup if he's on. The negative with Castillo is that he walks too many (10.1% walk rate) and gives up a decent amount of hard contact (37.3% hard-hit rate), which can get him into trouble, especially at Great American Ball Park. But he should generate enough strikeouts today to help his floor, and if he can pound the zone, he could post a massive score. Cincy is a -230 moneyline favorite.
Wheeler hosts the Miami Marlins while McCullers gets the Seattle Mariners, so the matchups are good for both. Wheeler ended last campaign with a 23.5% strikeout rate, 6.0% walk rate and 10.4% swinging-strike rate. Those are solid numbers, and Miami should be one of the league's lesser offenses, though the Marlins' lineup has a little more punch to it than it did a year ago.
McCullers hasn't pitched since 2018, when he posted a 26.9% strikeout rate, 9.5% walk rate and 13.5% swinging-strike rate. Coming off the layoff, his pitch count might be capped, but he hurled 76 pitches in his last exhibition appearance. Seattle struck out at the fourth-highest clip last year (25.5%), so if McCullers is allowed to push up to 90ish pitches, he can do some damage.
Stacks to Target
Boston Red Sox
Similar to last night, the top stack of the slate is the Boston Red Sox. They're hosting Alex Cobb -- who had just a 15.4% strikeout rate back in 2018, his last full season -- and carry a gaudy 6.16 implied total. Boston might wind up being the slate's most popular stack, but they could blow-up here.
After a big opening night, J.D. Martinez ($3,900) can eat again, and it's not that tough to find the cash to pair him with Andrew Benintendi ($2,700), Rafael Devers ($3,700) and Xander Bogaerts ($3,600) for what should be a 1-2-3-4 stack. The likely leadoff man, Benintendi is a smashing play at his price. Don't sleep on Mitch Moreland ($2,700) and Alex Verdugo ($2,300), a pair of lefties who should get in the lineup versus the right-handed Cobb.
My other go-to stack of the day is the Cincinnati Reds, who are at their homer-happy crib versus Ivan Nova. Nova recorded a mere 14.1% strikeout rate across 187 frames last year, and that's probably not going to play well in Cincy. The Reds hold a 5.25 implied total.
Cincinnati is pretty cheap, making them a perfect stack to pair with Clevinger and the Red Sox. Eugenio Suarez ($3,500) in the only Cincy stick above $3,200. Shogo Akiyama ($2,700) and Joey Votto ($3,000) are modestly priced and could hit 1-2 in the order. Mike Moustakas ($3,200) had a dazzling debut last night with three hits, including a tater, and four RBI. And I really like low-cost outfielders Nick Senzel ($2,600) and Jesse Winker ($2,300). Winker mashed his way to a .371 wOBA and 42.7% hard-hit rate against righties last year.
One thing worth noting with the Reds is that they're one of the latest games on the slate (5:10 p.m. EST), so we might not have their lineup when the first games lock at 1:05 p.m. EST.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are another cheap stack that makes it fairly easy to get to a stud pitcher and any other high-priced stack you want. The Rays are taking on Matt Shoemaker, who hasn't thrown more than 31 innings in an MLB season since 2017. Shoemaker isn't a bad pitcher by any means -- 3.85 career SIERA -- but with the injuries he's gone through in recent years, the Rays are a fine dice roll and could fly under the radar. Tampa owns a respectable 4.61 implied total.
Amazingly the Rays have no hitters over $3,000. Ji-Man Choi ($2,500) and Brandon Lowe ($2,800) are two of my favorite plays of the day, and both should be in a good spot in the lineup. Lowe is way underpriced for a dude who mauled righties last year to the tune of a .373 wOBA, 44.8% hard-hit rate and 45.1% fly-ball rate. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo ($2,600) and Kevin Kiermaier ($2,400) will have the platoon advantage, and Jose Martinez ($2,400) could finally be unleashed in 2020.