FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 8/6/20
Better load up on great hitters on Thursday, because this pitching slate is terrifying. With Zack Greinke's next start pushed back to Friday, Thursday's main slate is left without anything even close to resembling an ace. On the bright side, the majority of the available pitchers are appropriately cheap, which will give you the freedom to target many of the top hitters in action.
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
Nate Pearson ($7,500), Toronto Blue Jays
Despite having just one start under his belt in the big leagues, Pearson, the Toronto Blue Jays' top prospect, might be the most talented pitcher on this slate. In his first start, Pearson generated an impressive 40 percent whiff rate against the Washington Nationals. He has a chance for another dominant outing against the Atlanta Braves, who have the worst whiff rate in the majors at 32.9 percent.
Pearson was yanked after just 75 pitches in his first start, so there may be a pitch count limiting his ceiling, but he still put up a strong 30 fantasy points against Washington.
Brandon Bielak ($5,500), Houston Astros
Bielak is a 24-year-old rookie making his first career start, so you're right to be skeptical about his usefulness as a fantasy option. However, on a slate filled with fourth and fifth starters, perhaps it makes sense to take the cheapest guy available who also draws the best matchup.
Prior to Wednesday's surprising 14-run outburst, the Diamondbacks offense had been putrid, scoring just 2.6 runs per game and hitting just two homers. Bielak averaged 9.6 strikeouts per nine during his minor league career while giving up 0.6 homers per nine -- so while we don't know much about him yet, he appears to be the type of pitcher who could put up solid numbers against one of the weakest lineups in the league.
Hitters to Target
Alex Bregman ($3,900), Houston Astros
While Bregman has never faced Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen, this looks like an ideal matchup based on how he's fared against similar pitchers. Against the 20 pitchers with the most similar repertoire to Gallen, according to Statcast, Bregman has generated a .508 on-base percentage and 1.210 OPS in 63 plate appearances over the last three seasons.
Against the same group of pitchers, Michael Brantley ($3,300) has posted a .834 OPS in 91 plate appearances and is also worth considering for your lineups if he takes the field (he's been dealing with a minor quadriceps injury this week).
Jorge Soler ($3,100), Kansas City Royals
Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood is a sinkerballer who relies on the pitch to keep the ball in the ballpark -- he has yet to give up a homer through two starts -- but Soler is a unique hitter who maintains his power against the sinker.
Since the start of 2019, Soler boasts an .875 xSLG against sinkers, the seventh-best rate in the majors, and has belted five home runs off the pitch.
Jesus Aguilar ($3,000), Miami Marlins
It's been tough to justify adding any Marlins to your roster the past couple years but go ahead and slide Aguilar into some lineups against Baltimore Orioles starter Wade LeBlanc. Over the last two years, LeBlanc is giving up 2.1 home runs per nine innings, which gives Aguilar a nice ceiling in this matchup. Through five games, Aguilar has already left the yard three times.
Teoscar Hernandez ($2,800), Toronto Blue Jays
42 percent of Hernandez's at-bats have ended with him putting the ball in play at an exit-velocity of 95+ mph. He's locked in right now, and Touki Toussaint -- who has already allowed 12 base runners and six runs in just over six innings of work this season -- probably isn't the guy who's going to slow Hernandez down.
The Cubs draw a friendly matchup against Royals starter Brad Keller in his first outing of the year. Keller was among the most hittable pitchers in the league last season, generating a whiff rate of just 19.9 percent. A 93 mph fastball without much movement is largely to blame for Keller's mediocre numbers
Most of the Cubs lineup is in play against a pitcher like Keller, but here's a closer look at a few key hitters and how they fare against right-handed pitcher fastballs between 92-95 mph.
Players to Avoid
Willson Contreras ($3,100), Chicago Cubs
Contreras was purposely excluded from the list of Cubs hitters previously referenced because he surprisingly struggles against righties with softer fastballs. Against right-handers' fastballs in the 92-95 mph range, Contreras has generated a weak .389 xSLG over the last two seasons.
Edwin Encarnacion ($2,700), Chicago White Sox
The 37-year-old Encarnacion has been dealing with a shoulder injury, and it appears to have made a significant impact on his power. Not only does he have a 39 percent strikeout rate, but only three balls have left his bat with an exit velocity of 95 mph or faster. Even if Encarnacion is back in the lineup on Thursday, those two stats combined should be enough to scare you away until he proves he's back to form.