FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 8/23/20
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 12:35 p.m. EST.
Pitchers to Target
Today's pitching slate offers four fairly high-salaried arms, starting at the top with Zack Greinke ($10,500) at the San Diego Padres and Yu Darvish ($10,200) hosting the Chicago White Sox. Those opponents are the only two teams with double-digit barrels per batted ball event and are each top-eight in hard-hit rate. Neither pitcher, then, rates out as particularly strong per-dollar values, based on numberFire's projections.
That said, Darvish does sit with the top raw FanDuel point projection for pitchers, per numberFire, and outperforms Greinke in SIERA (3.25 to 3.98), swinging strike rate (15.2% to 10.3%), and strikeout rate (29.6% to 22.3%). He's preferable, and pitching options drop off quickly.
Carlos Carrasco ($9,300) and Dylan Bundy ($9,100) are next in pricing before we drop all the way down to $8,400 for Dylan Cease. In fact, 17 of the 26 probable starters cost less than $7,000 on FanDuel.
Carrasco is the most interesting arm of the day and sits third in raw FanDuel point projections based on numberFire's algorithm. He's a -260 moneyline favorite despite some flaws. Carrasco's SIERA of 4.09 and hard-hit rate of 48.4% are concerning, yet he boasts the third-best swinging strike rate (13.6%) among probable starters with 100-plus batters faced and is tops in that sample in strikeout rate (30.7%). His matchup with the Detroit Tigers could lead to plenty of strikeout opportunities, as Detroit leads the MLB in strikeout rate (28.5%) and are 23rd in hard-hit rate (40.3%).
A lot of pitchers, then, are available at low salaries. My model's favorite punt option is Anibal Sanchez ($6,000). Sanchez faces a Miami Marlins squad that owns a wRC+ of 95 and a top-seven strikeout rate. Sanchez does have a lowly 15.1% strikeout rate but a viable 10.6% swinging strike rate that can churn out a few punchouts in the matchup.
Stacks to Target
Los Angeles Dodgers
A matchup with Antonio Senzatela puts the Los Angeles Dodgers at the top of the stacking list. As a team, they are second in expected wOBA and sixth in actual wOBA, so they should have some positive regression coming their way eventually, which is weird to think about. Senzatela rates as one of the weakest pitchers on the slate against either handedness and has a mere 19.2% strikeout rate on the season over a decent sample of 125 batters. The Dodgers' bats are fairly high-salaried at the top of the projected order. Mookie Betts ($4,200), Corey Seager ($3,700), Justin Turner ($3,000), and Cody Bellinger ($4,000) will stack best with a cheaper pitcher. Joc Pederson (projected to hit seventh) is $2,700 for some savings, and Max Muncy ($3,400) is also affordable. They pair well with a lower-salaried pitcher.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox sit just 21st in hard hit rate and 14th in barrels per batted ball event, ultimately to pit them 24th in expected wOBA. Their actual wOBA isn't far off and ranks them 13th, however. Wade LeBlanc has struck out just 13.1% of his 99 batters faced but does have a solid 10.8% strikeout rate. His career-best strikeout rate is just 20.2%, however, and Boston has a pretty affordable start to their stack with Kevin Pillar ($2,700) projected to hit lead off. He's a 71st-percentile hitter against lefties, per my model. Behind Pillar is Rafael Devers ($3,000) without a platoon advantage but then should be J.D. Martinez ($3,600), Xander Bogaerts ($3,600), and Christian Vazquez ($2,500).
The Arizona Diamondbacks are a value stack to help get to the higher-salaried pitchers. They face Trevor Cahill, who has faced only 25 batters in 2020 but who allowed hard contact 45.3% of the time on batted balls last year along with a lowly 17.8% strikeout rate. Arizona should be able to throw out three lefties in the top four (Kole Calhoun ($3,100), Stephen Vogt ($2,100) or Ketel Marte ($3,200), and David Peralta ($2,800) with Starling Marte ($3,500) hitting third and owning strong righty-versus-righty data.