FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 8/3/20
Monday's baseball action brings about the return of the Philadelphia Phillies after a long layoff. Unfortunately for Philly's sluggers, they'll be greeted by New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole in their return to the field. Cole highlights a slate stacked with great pitching options, including Jacob deGrom, Walker Buehler, and others.
Our daily helper is available every day to help you sort through your best options on FanDuel's main slate. In addition to this helper, be sure to check out our daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to help fill out your lineups.
Since it's still early in the season, all stats referenced are from the 2019 and 2020 seasons combined unless otherwise noted.
Pitchers to Target
Gerrit Cole ($11,000) -- It's never a bad idea to target Cole, but this is a particularly enticing matchup against a Phillies team that hasn't taken the field since July 26. Pitchers often have an advantage early in the season as hitters are still getting their timing down, and the start-and-stop of the Phillies' season could potentially lead to a slow start for their hitters.
Through two starts, Cole is averaging 37.5 fantasy points per game, and he's done that despite failing to complete a full seven innings in either game (his first start was shortened by rain). Against a potentially rusty Phillies lineup, he's a safe bet for another strong fantasy output.
Cole hit 102 pitches in his last start, so there's no reason to think he isn't capable of pitching deep into this game and putting up a big number.
Jacob deGrom ($10,700) -- deGrom is another option on the high end of the market against the Atlanta Braves. This is one of the tougher lineups deGrom faces this season, as Atlanta is plating 5.7 runs per game, third-best in the majors. However, Atlanta also has the highest strikeout rate in the National League at 29.8 percent. If deGrom is on his A-game, a dominating double-digit strikeout performance is easily attainable.
Chi Chi Gonzalez ($5,600) -- If you're looking for a contrarian play at pitcher, Gonzalez looks like an ideal choice -- one which will also allow you to stack your lineup with stud hitters. Obviously, pitchers in Coors Field are always a risk, but entering this game, the San Francisco Giants have belted just 9 homers in 10 games and are averaging a home run once every 36.9 at-bats.
Gonzalez is making his first start of the year, but he's hoping to pick up where he left off last season. In September, Gonzalez posted a 1.65 ERA while averaging 33.8 fantasy points per start. And he didn't just beat up on bottom-feeders either -- four of the five starts came against playoff teams (St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and two versus the Los Angeles Dodgers). That stretch included three starts in Coors, during which he allowed just one home run.
With his dirt-cheap price tag and high upside, Gonzalez looks like the perfect tournament play if you're looking to avoid the big names on this slate -- names that are certain to have high ownership.
Stacks to Target
Journeyman Derek Holland draws the start for the Pittsburgh Pirates, creating an ideal matchup for the homer-happy Minnesota Twins. Holland has given up 2.1 home runs per nine innings over the last two seasons.
Nelson Cruz ($4,200) looks like one of the best options in this game. Since joining the Minnesota Twins, Cruz has posted a 1.216 OPS against lefties. Holland relies heavily on his sinker, a pitch that can sometimes limit power, but that shouldn't be an issue for Cruz. Over the last five years, he's generating a .669 expected slugging percentage (xSLG) -- including 17 home runs -- against sinkers, according to Statcast.
Despite early-season struggles, Mitch Garver ($2,500) also looks like a great matchup against Holland, given his 1.168 OPS versus lefties. A .469 expected batting average (xBA) against sinkers should also boost your confidence in Garver.
New York Yankees
This appears to be a great matchup for the Yankees lineup against Jake Arrieta and the Phillies. Arrieta relies on a sinker, which bodes well for Gio Urshela ($3,000), who leads the team with a .405 xBA and .439 xSLG, including three home runs, against the pitch.
As the highest-priced hitter on the slate, Aaron Judge ($4,500) may be hard to squeeze into your lineup but is still worth considering. Arrieta used to excel at limiting homers, but his home run rate climbed to 1.4 per nine innings last season, his highest since 2011. Judge is absolutely locked in right now, with six home runs in his last five games, and Arrieta's recent track record indicates he could serve up another bomb to Judge on Monday night.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Entering this game with a 1.62 ERA, San Diego Padres starter Chris Paddack may look like an intimidating matchup for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Paddack will need to prove he can beat someone other than the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants before we can trust that production.
Paddack is essentially a two-pitch pitcher -- almost 90 percent of his pitches coming as fastballs or changeups -- which makes it easier for hitters to guess what's coming, and that's bad news against a stacked lineup like the Dodgers. Against fastballs and changeups from righties, Cody Bellinger ($4,100) has posted a .621 xSLG, which includes a home run off a Paddack changeup last season.
While it's a small sample size, catcher Will Smith ($2,400) has also excelled on those two pitches from righties, generating a .577 xSLG. Smith is off to a slow start, but given his cheap price tag and track record against Paddack's repertoire, he may be worth a dart throw if you're going with a Dodgers stack.
Players to Avoid
Jorge Polanco, Twins ($3,400) -- The Twins will be a popular stack given their matchup, and Polanco will likely be included in a lot of lineups given his spot near to the top of the order. However, despite his switch-hitting ability, he struggles against lefties, posting a .298 OBP. Given his likely elevated ownership rate and his issues with lefties, it's probably best to stay away.
Gleyber Torres, Yankees ($3,000) -- Torres always has a high ceiling, but his production has been brutal against sinkerball pitchers. Since the start of last season, he's generated a .182 xBA and .251 xSLG versus sinkers. So while a Yankees stack against Arrieta is a good idea, Torres is probably one to avoid.