FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 8/24/20

The Diamondbacks will look to take advantage of a matchup against an inexperienced Ryan Castellani on Monday. Which other teams are in good spots?

Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered!

And don't forget to take a listen to The Solo Shot podcast with Jim Sannes, who breaks down the MLB daily fantasy slate each morning.

On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel main slate. Below are tonight's projected starters with their 2020 stats. Opposing team strikeout rate and wRC+ date now show this year's splits against a given pitcher's handedness using up-to-date active rosters, per FanGraphs.

Pitcher Salary L/R Opp. SIERA K% BB% Opp. K% Opp. wRC+
Trevor Bauer $12,000 R @MIL 2.34 43.6% 7.5% 27.6% 69
Jack Flaherty $10,000 R KAN 3.70 25.0% 5.6% 25.0% 90
Lance Lynn $9,800 R OAK 3.89 28.0% 8.0% 25.3% 105
Kenta Maeda $9,400 R @CLE 3.26 28.7% 5.2% 24.4% 86
Aaron Civale $9,300 R MIN 3.58 24.2% 2.3% 24.7% 106
Framber Valdez $9,000 L LAA 3.41 23.4% 5.7% 23.3% 66
Brad Keller $8,900 R @STL 4.80 22.7% 12.1% 24.1% 96
Merrill Kelly $8,600 R COL 3.88 23.2% 4.0% 21.3% 82
Jesus Luzardo $7,700 L @TEX 4.24 23.9% 9.7% 25.9% 66
Alec Mills $7,500 R @DET 5.06 16.3% 8.7% 30.4% 79
Casey Mize $6,800 R CHC 2.21 35.0% 0.0% 28.6% 107
Brett Anderson $6,600 L CIN 3.64 18.4% 5.3% 21.5% 100
Patrick Sandoval $6,400 L @HOU 4.80 16.3% 7.0% 18.1% 124
Ryan Castellani $6,000 R @ARI 4.69 19.6% 7.1% 20.8% 93

Let's check out the top spots on tonight's slate.


Trevor Bauer ($12,000) has been completely dialed in through five starts, and an underachieving Brewers team isn't likely to slow him down. Bauer faced Milwaukee a couple starts back and steamrolled them for a dozen strikeouts. Some regression should be expected for Bauer, but improved movement on his fastball suggests his fantastic numbers aren't entirely a fluke. His high salary shouldn't deter us in tournaments, either.

Jack Flaherty ($10,000) only threw 41 pitches in his last start, so Lance Lynn ($9,800) and Kenta Maeda ($9,400) are the most likely candidates to keep up with Bauer.

Lynn has a difficult opponent in the Athletics, but Oakland is also a plus matchup for strikeouts, as their active roster has the sixth-highest rate against right-handers. Lynn has eerily similar peripherals as last year, so he should continue to find success.

Maeda is coming off a season-high 115 pitches after flirting with a no-hitter. The no-hit bid is great and all, but the willingness to let Maeda throw that many pitches is a great sign for his upside after being capped in the 80s the first four starts. Perhaps the Twins go back to babying him, but his excellent results speak for themselves, and Cleveland has been mediocre at the plate.

Lastly, Jesus Luzardo ($7,700) gives us a value option against a woeful Rangers lineup. This year's team platoon splits versus lefties are still fairly small samples, but if we include the Rangers' 2019 numbers, they have the league's second-highest strikeout rate (26.6%).

Among pitchers with at least 20 innings, Luzardo's 13.4% swinging-strike rate is tied for 17th overall. He's coming off his best start of the year, logging 6.1 scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks with a season-high seven strikeouts.


Houston Astros

The Houston Astros haven't been the offensive juggernaut of past seasons, but they're still performing well against southpaws, and Patrick Sandoval has struggled over four starts.

Sandoval has induced a high ground-ball rate (53.0%), but a problematic 57.6% hard-hit rate has led to him already serving up 5 home runs in just 20.0 innings. He's having a difficult time getting right-handed batters out in particular, with just a 7.0% strikeout rate in the split thus far.

George Springer ($3,900), Jose Altuve ($3,700), and Carlos Correa ($3,100) have strong histories with the platoon advantage and have been batting one through three in the order. Following a poor start to the season, Altuve might be coming around after recording multi-hit games in four of the last five.

Yuli Gurriel ($3,400) has a low strikeout rate as usual (13.6%) and has maintained some pop off a 46.2% hard-hit rate and 41.8% fly-ball rate.

Kyle Tucker ($3,100) is holding his own in lefty-lefty spots over his young career, so his power/speed upside remains intriguing at a modest salary.

Arizona Diamondbacks

After finding success in his first two MLB starts, Ryan Castellani finally ran into trouble last week against the Astros at Coors Field, giving up 5 earned runs and 2 home runs in 5.2 innings while notching only 1 strikeout. He'll avoid Coors this time around, but we should see his 3.77 ERA continue to rise tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Castellani has skated by off a .189 BABIP and 83.3% strand rate, which is especially hard to believe when he's also been coughing up a 62.5% hard-hit rate. Due to a middling minor league track record, projection models are universally bearish on the 24-year-old, with most rest-of-season projections on FanGraphs predicting an ERA exceeding 6.00.

The usual first six batters in the lineup should be the focus, with David Peralta ($2,900), Christian Walker ($3,000), and Eduardo Escobar ($2,900) offering appealing salaries if you're paying up for Bauer. Leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun ($3,200) has produced a .230 ISO against right-handed pitching dating back to 2018.

Chicago Cubs

The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals draw plus matchups against Brett Anderson and Brad Keller, respectively, but both hurlers limit home runs with high ground-ball rates, potentially lowering the stacking upside in tournaments.

The Chicago Cubs also have an imperfect matchup against Tigers top prospect Casey Mize, who racked up 7 strikeouts over just 4.1 innings in his MLB debut, but the Cubbies are still showing one of the slate's highest implied totals and are an above-average overall offense despite mixed results lately.

Although Mize turned heads in his debut, he did ultimately allow three earned runs and a home run in a short outing. It's also the only time the right-hander has pitched above Double-A, and he had an unspectacular 23.5% strikeout rate at that level in 2019. Even if Mize impresses again, he should have a limited pitch count after throwing just 73 last time.

The Cubs have solid yet affordable power in the top half of the lineup between Ian Happ ($3,300), Anthony Rizzo ($3,300), Kyle Schwarber ($2,700), and Willson Contreras ($2,800). Javier Baez ($3,000) is having a brutal year at the dish, but it's also rare that we see him at such a low salary if you're willing to take the plunge.