FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 8/22/20
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 7:05 p.m. EST.
Pitchers to Target
Zac Gallen ($10,000) is priced a full $900 more than any other probable starter on the main slate, but he does rate out best in my model for today. Gallen's matchup with the San Francisco Giants is far from flawless, but he is a -154 moneyline favorite. The Giants are flirting with the top-12 in barrels per plate appearance and wRC+. Gallen, though, leads all main-slate pitchers in strikeout rate and SIERA among those with more than 60 batters faced.
After Gallen, pretty much every other pitcher is affordable. Zack Wheeler ($9,100), Kyle Hendricks ($8,700), and Zach Davies ($8,000) are three more righties who rate out well enough to consider in their matchups, but my preference is Hendricks, who is tops on the main slate in swinging strike rate (13.7%) over Gallen (13.0%). The problem is that the Chicago White Sox are ninth in hard-hit rate but strike out at the eighth-highest rate.
numberFire's top value pick is Dustin May ($7,000) against the Colorado Rockies away from Coors Field. May is a -220 moneyline favorite and is the second-most likely pitcher to earn a win, based on our projections, and he's clamped down righties since 2019 with a 20.7% strikeout rate and a .243 wOBA. With no guarantees at pitcher, we can be okay spending down so that we can load up on bats. May fits the bill, but the lack of strikeout upside (18.8% strikeout rate on an 8.2% swinging strike rate) does imply low upside, and he has just one outing with more than 22 FanDuel points thus far.
Stacks to Target
The Minnesota Twins are my favorite stack of the day and have some of the best individual bats on the board. Similar to a few of the other preferable stacks, the Twins are affordable. They can also throw out a lot of left-handed hitters against Brady Singer. Singer has a 22.2% strikeout rate on a 9.6% swinging strike rate -- not bad -- but he's letting up hard contact like it's his job (48.6%) and has a SIERA of 4.79.
Nelson Cruz ($4,100) is top-dollar in this stack, but you don't even have to use him (though you should have the salary to do so, given the pitcher situation). Rating out better overall are Max Kepler ($3,100), Jorge Polanco ($2,800), Eddie Rosario ($3,300). Switch-hitting Marwin Gonzalez ($2,600) offers flexibility as well.
Part of the reason Hendricks stands out among the uncertain pitchers is his win equity, which stems plenty from the Chicago Cubs' hitting matchup against Reynaldo Lopez, who is returning from injury. Lopez has faced just seven batters this year, but past results aren't exactly promising.
His career-best SIERA is just 4.55, back in 2016, and he allowed a career-worst 35.1% hard-hit rate last season (en route to a 4.88 SIERA). The most expensive Cubs bat is Anthony Rizzo ($3,400). Even paired with Gallen, this is an affordable stack. Ian Happ ($3,300) and Kyle Schwarber ($2,700) have stellar platoon split implications against the righty.
Boston Red Sox
The Cleveland Indians are primed for some runs today, but their implied run total of 5.30 is bigger than Boston's 5.06, so Boston could be a little less popular. Boston faces Alex Cobb, who does have an insane 60.5% ground ball rate through 113 batters faced but is also getting tagged for a 42.7% hard hit rate. The ERA (3.76) is fine, but the xFIP (3.77) and SIERA (4.20) suggest that's inflated (or deflated?).
The top of the order -- Alex Verdugo ($2,900), Rafael Devers ($2,800), J.D. Martinez ($3,400), and Xander Bogaerts ($3,500) -- are the preferred four to stack and are some of the best platoon-adjusted hitters in my model for Saturday.