FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 9/5/20
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.
Pitchers to Target
It's a tough choice at the top end of pitching as we have Gerrit Cole ($10,600 on FanDuel), Lucas Giolito ($10,400) and Kenta Maeda ($9,900) to choose from. All three are in nice matchups -- Cole against the Baltimore Orioles, Giolito versus the Kansas City Royals and Maeda against the Detroit Tigers -- and offer great floor/ceiling combinations.
I like each one and will have some of each in my lineups. If the salaries were the same, I'd lean Giolito, but given the costs, I prefer Maeda, though I won't fight you if you favor Giolito or Cole.
The Tigers' 3.45 implied total is the slate's lowest, and Detroit has a league-worst 26.7% strikeout rate. Maeda can take advantage. The Minnesota Twins' righty has been outstanding in 2020, bringing a 30.0% strikeout rate, 15.8% swinging-strike rate, 4.4% walk rate and 3.09 SIERA into today's start. The only issue with Maeda is workload as he's been held to 85 or fewer pitches in five of his seven starts, but he went 91 pitches last time out.
Again, I like Maeda of this trio, but all three are quality plays.
Elsewhere, Aaron Civale ($9,100) checks some boxes. The matchup is definitely there as the Milwaukee Brewers are striking out 26.4% of the time, the second-highest rate in baseball. Civale holds a 23.5% strikeout rate and 11.2% swinging-strike rate in 2020 -- numbers that are a nice improvement over his 2019 output. He is, however, surrendering a 44.5% hard-hit rate, which is scary. Our model has Civale as the slate's top-projected pitcher. I can't fully get on board with that given the elite strikeout upside Giolito, Maeda and Cole possess, but Civale is worth considering.
I'm not sure I can stomach any of the value arms on the slate, but with that said, Tony Gonsolin ($7,600) isn't a bad choice in a home date with the Colorado Rockies. In 57 2/3 career frames, Gonsolin has posted a 23.7% strikeout rate and 12.1% swinging-strike rate. He hasn't thrown more than 84 pitches in an outing this season, including just 62 last time out, when he allowed only one run. There's a great deal of risk in spending down at pitcher on this slate, but Gonsolin is capable of putting up a good score versus this Rockies' lineup if he can be efficient.
Stacks to Target
As of Saturday morning, we have eight offenses with implied totals of at least 4.70 runs. There are some good places to target tonight. The top implied total belongs to the Atlanta Braves, who bring a 5.78 clip into their clash with Erick Fedde.
Since the start of last season, which is a span of 106 2/3 innings, Fedde has a horrific 11.1% strikeout rate and 5.67 SIERA. Lefties mauled him for a .383 wOBA and 39.3% hard-hit rate in 2019, though we don't need to limit our Braves stacks to only lefty bats.
Freddie Freeman ($3,900) and Ronald Acuña ($4,100) are going to be popular, and they could feast in this spot. Freeman has mashed his way to a monster .447 wOBA and 43.4% hard-hit rate with the platoon advantage this year. Acuña has even better numbers in the split -- a .474 wOBA and 46.8% hard-hit rate.
Johan Camargo ($2,300) and Nick Markakis ($2,800) are low-salary ways to get lefty exposure to this lineup, and they may be the only lefties other than Freeman. Marcell Ozuna ($3,800) is hot right now and will likely be in the meat of the lineup with Dansby Swanson ($3,300). Adam Duvall ($2,700) and Austin Riley ($2,800) offer power at a modest salary.
Tarik Skubal has some really dope minor league numbers, including a 48.2% strikeout rate in Triple-A last season across 42 1/3 frames. He's a fun prospect. But this is a rough matchup for him as the Twins are loaded -- with some lefty killers -- and Minny may sneak under the radar a tad as they have just the fifth-best implied total (5.05).
Nelson Cruz ($4,00) is always a top option against lefties. He had a .464 wOBA, 56.8% hard-hit rate and 45.5% fly-ball rate in the split in 2019. Miguel Sanó ($3,500) and Josh Donaldson ($2,800) pummel southpaws, as well. Sanó had a .408 wOBA and 54.4% hard-hit rate in the split last campaign, and Donaldson registered a .364 wOBA and 51.9% hard-hit rate with the platoon advantage in 2019. Donaldson is a smashing point-per-dollar option.
Jorge Polanco ($2,900) is pretty cheap for a guy who will likely be in the leadoff spot for a great offense, and Byron Buxton ($2,600), who will likely be slotted ninth, is an intriguing piece for a wraparound stack as he finished last year with a .384 wOBA against southpaws.
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are the best offense in the league against lefties, boasting a silly-good .401 wOBA in the split. Tonight they'll see left-hander Kris Bubic, and the Pale Hose have a gaudy 5.57 implied total as a result.
Stacking Chicago's righties is so much fun because we have so many great options. It makes it super easy to make the puzzle pieces fit position-wise alongside the other hitters you plug in. Depending on what the White Sox do, they could roll out a lineup of nine guys who will swing from the right side.
All of Chicago's normal studs are in play, but I want to highlight Yasmani Grandal ($2,800) and Edwin Encarnación ($2,900), two of their cheapest expected starters. While rostering these two will mean one has to be in your utility spot and you won't be able to use -- José Abreu ($3,800) or Sanó -- both guys do work in this split. Grandal had a .386 wOBA against left-handers last season while Encarnación recorded a .396 wOBA in the split.
Luis Robert ($3,600) has an elite power-speed combo (11 jacks, four steals), while Eloy Jiménez ($3,400), Yoán Moncada ($3,200) and Tim Anderson ($3,600) will also have the platoon advantage. If James McCann ($2,900) gets in the starting nine, he's worth a look, as well, as he put up a .366 wOBA versus lefties last year.