FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 8/25/20
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+|
Let's check out the top spots on tonight's slate.
This is a pretty wild pitching slate, with Shane Bieber ($12,000), Gerrit Cole ($11,000), Lucas Giolito ($10,400) and Luis Castillo ($9,100) all coming in with elite strikeout rates against opponents that are striking out at a high clip this season.
Bieber has arguably been the league's top performer to this point, tallying at least eight strikeouts in all six starts and failing to exceed 50 FanDuel points just once. He draws a tough matchup against the Twins, but Minnesota hasn't been as imposing an offense in 2020, striking out more often against right-handers and showing a 105 wRC+ that's several pegs lower than 2019.
I typically wouldn't bet against one of last season's most dangerous lineups, but Bieber has been that good, and oddsmakers seem to agree, with the Twins getting a modest 3.30 implied total. Bieber racked up 13 punchouts when he faced the Twins at the end of July.
Cole also draws a difficult opponent in the Braves, whose active roster has the fourth-best wRC+ versus righties this season. Not surprisingly, Cole's putting up stellar numbers again, but his strikeout rate has dropped from last year's otherworldly 39.9% to "just" 31.6%. There's no doubt he could still come away with the night's top score, but he falls behind Bieber on this slate.
Giolito and Castillo aren't quite on the level of those two, but they get juicy matchups against the Pirates and Brewers -- two of the absolute worst offenses against right-handers. They're definitely worth getting exposure to in tournaments.
In the bargain ranks, Tyler Chatwood ($8,200) was putting up some mighty intriguing numbers before hitting the injured list, but we probably can't expect a full workload in his first start back against the Tigers.
That leaves Brandon Woodruff ($7,800) as our best value option, who hasn't popped in the box score lately but still owns strong underlying numbers. The Reds are a below-average opponent, and Woodruff's 26.2% strikeout rate is excellent for this salary range. He's also seen a bump in ground balls (53.6%) and has done a good job of avoiding home runs over his career.
Chicago White Sox
With the caveat that team platoon splits against lefties are still a little wonky over a limited sample size, the Chicago White Sox have a ridiculous 169 wRC+ in the split this season. Obviously that will come down, but even expanding out to last season gives them the second-best mark in the league (127 wRC+), so we can feel pretty good about their chances against any lefty.
That's especially the case when that lefty is Steven Brault. Brault has only logged 12.0 innings this season, but his underlying numbers are pretty consistent with his 2019 marks, when he posted a 5.10 SIERA, 19.8% strikeout rate, and 10.5% walk rate. It's worth noting that he's boosted his ground-ball rate to 60.0% through a rise in changeup usage, but I'm not buying a 14 percentage point increase over his career average just yet.
As one would expect from their overall team results, you can stack this lineup up and down, with Jose Abreu ($4,000) in particular having a fantastic history against southpaws. Edwin Encarnacion ($2,800) has a modest salary if you're looking for cheap exposure, and James McCann ($2,800) is another possibility if he cracks the lineup.
St. Louis Cardinals
Despite still being just 31 years old, it seems like a lifetime ago since Matt Harvey was a stud pitcher for the Mets. He was a disaster with the Angels last year, recording a 5.81 SIERA, 14.7% strikeout rate, and 10.9% walk rate over 12 starts. His debut with the Royals went about as expected, giving up two bombs and three earned runs over just three innings.
Harvey struggles against all comers at this point, but left-handed batters have particularly had his number in recent years, as he's given up 2.1 home runs per 9 innings in the split dating back to 2017 -- the product of a 43.0% hard-hit rate and 39.0% fly-ball rate allowed. That gives you more incentive to use top-of-the-order bats like Kolten Wong ($2,700) and Tommy Edman ($2,800), and perhaps Matt Carpenter ($2,900) can bust out of his season-long funk.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Johnny Cueto has outdone his 4.80 SIERA thus far -- something that isn't entirely new for him -- but his 21.1% strikeout rate and 9.4% walk rate aren't a good sign he'll keep it up. This will be his third time facing the Los Angeles Dodgers, too, and one would think the league's top offense against righties could have him figured out at this point.
Oracle Park also doesn't seem to be playing as pitcher-friendly in 2020 after bringing in the outfield fences, so we don't have to be as resistant to stacking teams there (although temperatures will once again be cool)