FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 9/2/20

The Braves are poised to beat up on Red Sox pitching yet again tonight. Which other spots should we consider?

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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+
Max Scherzer $11,200 R @PHI 3.23 34.4% 8.1% 19.4% 110
Walker Buehler $10,300 R ARI 4.03 27.5% 8.8% 21.9% 82
Zac Gallen $10,000 R @LOS 3.81 27.7% 7.7% 20.1% 130
Dinelson Lamet $9,300 R @LAA 3.55 32.9% 9.0% 21.0% 111
Zack Wheeler $9,100 R WAS 4.35 15.3% 4.7% 20.4% 92
Jose Berrios $8,800 R CWS 4.60 24.8% 11.5% 25.6% 105
Kyle Hendricks $8,300 R @PIT 4.06 19.1% 2.3% 26.3% 59
Spencer Turnbull $8,100 R @MIL 5.39 20.0% 13.9% 27.8% 73
Triston McKenzie $8,000 R @KAN 3.57 34.2% 10.5% 24.9% 86
Charlie Morton $7,800 R @NYY 4.27 22.1% 5.2% 23.2% 120
Cristian Javier $7,600 R TEX 4.40 25.6% 9.1% 21.6% 69
Jordan Montgomery $7,100 L TAM 4.04 20.0% 3.0% 25.4% 112
Joe Musgrove $6,700 R CHC 5.31 25.0% 16.2% 27.1% 108
Reynaldo Lopez $6,500 R @MIN 5.78 20.0% 15.0% 25.6% 99
Jakob Junis $6,400 R CLE 4.97 17.5% 8.8% 22.9% 91
Kolby Allard $6,300 L @HOU 5.12 22.9% 12.1% 17.3% 135
Adrian Houser $6,000 R DET 4.09 17.5% 8.0% 28.0% 97
Robbie Erlin $5,800 L @BOS 4.30 26.0% 6.5% 21.4% 102
Julio Teheran $5,600 R SDP 5.69 13.4% 8.5% 21.3% 136
Mike Kickham $5,500 L ATL -- -- -- 28.4% 72

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


We have an appealing selection of top-notch hurlers on Wednesday's slate, except there's one problem -- most of them face difficult matchups.

Max Scherzer ($11,200) is one such example, taking on a Phillies team that doesn't whiff often. In fact, Philadelphia's active roster has the league's lowest strikeout rate versus righties.

That certainly isn't ideal, but Scherzer is top-five overall in strikeout rate (34.4%) and swinging-strike rate (15.8%) this season, so he's one of the better candidates to still come away with punchouts.

Another important thing to consider is that Scherzer is one of those rare pitchers who isn't hampered by any pitch count limitations, exceeding 100 pitches in four of his six healthy starts with a season-high of 112.

Put it all together and Scherzer still arguably deserves top billing on tonight's slate. This game does have rain in the forecast, so be sure to double-check how the weather is looking later on.

Dinelson Lamet ($9,300) is essentially a Scherzer-lite on this slate and gets a similarly tough matchup against the Angels. His underlying numbers are all a smidge worse than Scherzer, but that strikeout rate remains elite at 32.9%.

The real difference between the two is workload, as Lamet hasn't thrown triple-digit pitches in any start, reaching the 90s in just three of seven outings. He did log a season-high 97 pitches a couple starts ago, so there's occasionally some wiggle room, but chances are Lamet will get a quicker hook compared to Scherzer.

That being said, Lamet does have an 11-strikeout game on the ledger, so he's still capable of a big score and gives you a sizable discount from Mad Max.

Walker Buehler ($10,300) gets the easiest opponent among tonight's high-salaried arms, but he's coming off the injured list after missing a turn with a blister issue. Given that he hasn't hit 100 pitches yet this year as is, one has to wonder how long a leash he'll have against the Diamondbacks. He's reached six innings just once this season, leading to just one quality start in five attempts.

And while the D-backs are a weaker offense, they don't offer as much strikeout upside as we would like, and Buehler's strikeout rate hasn't been as high as last year, too. Overall, he still deserves consideration, but I do worry about his ceiling being capped.

If you're seeking a lower-salary option, a quick scan of the above chart will almost certainly lead you to Triston McKenzie ($8,000) and his tantalizing 34.2% strikeout rate. Of course, before you get too excited, it's worth remembering that he's only made two starts, and most of those strikeouts came in his first outing against a poor Tigers lineup. McKenzie's also had a fairly limited workload in both appearances at just 80 and 84 pitches.

Even so, he gets a soft matchup in the Royals, and we would happily take anything remotely close to his stellar MLB debut (55 FanDuel points).

Lastly, Cristian Javier ($7,600) deserves a mention for his cupcake matchup versus the Rangers. Texas has been brutal at the plate this season, and considering what a high-strikeout team they were in 2019, we shouldn't worry much about their lower strikeout rate against righties this year (they have one of the league's smallest samples). Javier is another guy who's had limited pitch counts, but he reached a season-high 89 in his last start.


Atlanta Braves

(UPDATE: the Red Sox are switching to right-hander Robinson Leyer as their starter tonight. This will be just his second big league appearance. Leyer will likely just serve as an opener, and this remains a plus matchup for Atlanta.)

The Atlanta Braves make yet another appearance here this week, as the Boston Red Sox continue to roll out their assembly line of Triple-A level arms.

This time we see left-hander Mike Kickham, who may very well be the worst starter we've seen yet in this series.

His career MLB ERA? 10.98. Yikes.

Kickham hasn't made a big league appearance since 2014, wallowing in the minors ever since for a variety of organizations before finally ending up with Boston. As a member of the Marlins' Triple-A team last season, he produced a 5.24 xFIP, 21.9% strikeout rate, and 9.4% walk rate.

Even if the southpaw doesn't pitch deep into this game, Boston has been churning through relievers the past couple days, so the Braves should also get to take hacks against lackluster middle-relief pitching.

As noted previously, most of this lineup has tournament-worthy power, and Marcell Ozuna ($3,400) was the big winner yesterday with three bombs. Freddie Freeman ($3,900) will likely be one of the only lefties, but he typically performs just fine in same-sided matchups (career 115 wRC+) and will also get opportunities against that beleaguered bullpen.

Atlanta continues to have plenty of value lower in the order, too, between Austin Riley ($2,500), Adam Duvall ($2,400), and Johan Camargo ($2,200). Camargo has typically shown better splits against left-handers with a career .222 ISO.

San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres are all-in this year, and they've turned into one of the league's fiercest lineups, leading all active rosters with a 136 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching.

Julio Teheran doesn't look like the best candidate to slow them down, with nothing going right for him in 2020. His strikeout rate (13.4%) and swinging-strike rate (5.7%) are both way down, and a high rate of barrels has led to him coughing up 6 dingers in just 17.2 innings.

Teheran is struggling against all comers, but he's historically far worse versus left-handed batters, giving Trent Grisham ($3,200), Eric Hosmer ($3,700), Mitch Moreland ($3,500), and Jake Cronenworth ($3,200) an extra leg up.

Minnesota Twins

The Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and Cleveland Indians are among the other teams in intriguing spots, but the Minnesota Twins' matchup against Reynaldo Lopez is especially enticing.

Lopez was a home run machine in 2019, allowing 1.71 per 9.0 innings, and early indications suggest more of the same this year, with the right-hander showing a 52.0% hard-hit rate and 47.8% fly-ball rate through 8.0 innings. Walks have been a problem, too, as he's already issuing six compared to just eight strikeouts.

Miguel Sano ($3,300) leads the league in barrel rate (26.8%), while Nelson Cruz ($4,000) continues to be one of the best overall hitters in the game, ranking 14th in xwOBA and 9th in xSLG. The rest of the lineup comes in at $3k and below, further adding appeal to the stack.