FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 9/10/20

The Rays draw one of the top hitting matchups on the board tonight. Who else could be poised for a big night at the plate?

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+
Gerrit Cole $11,200 R BAL 3.27 32.9% 6.6% 22.3% 108
Sonny Gray $10,100 R @CHC 3.70 31.6% 10.2% 25.5% 100
Sandy Alcantara $9,200 R PHI 4.43 24.3% 10.0% 21.2% 100
Chris Paddack $9,000 R SFG 3.85 24.2% 4.6% 21.5% 115
Jake Arrieta $8,300 R @MIA 4.65 18.1% 8.0% 24.1% 96
Keegan Akin $8,000 L @NYY 4.46 27.8% 13.0% 23.9% 91
Josh Fleming $7,700 L BOS 4.17 18.3% 3.3% 21.9% 106
Dustin May $7,600 R @ARI 4.49 17.1% 6.1% 21.8% 81
Madison Bumgarner $7,400 L LOS 6.02 15.0% 9.0% 21.5% 93
Trevor Cahill $6,200 R @SDP 4.90 27.8% 15.3% 20.7% 136
Adbert Alzolay $5,700 R CIN 4.83 31.6% 18.4% 24.8% 99
Mike Kickham $5,600 L @TAM 4.90 16.0% 8.0% 26.4% 119

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


Gerrit Cole ($11,200) and Sonny Gray ($10,100) lead the slate's pitching ranks, but poor weather in New York could make the decision for us tonight. If the game plays, Cole deserves top honors as the most talented hurler on the board, even with the Orioles being surprisingly above average at the dish this season.

But Gray is easy to like, too, and is anything but a consolation prize. Unlike Cole, the weather is in his favor, with Wrigley showing strong winds blowing in yet again this evening. Gray was lit up in his last start, leading the Reds to give him extra rest before this start despite clarifying that he's healthy. That does give us some pause, but assuming he's right, this all lines up for him to bounce back, and the Cubs are an excellent matchup for strikeouts.

We get a decent drop-off following Gray, with Sandy Alcantara ($9,200) and Chris Paddack ($9,000) offering solid strikeout upside but facing less-than-ideal opponents.

Alcantara has a worrisome walk rate, but he's popped in two of his three starts, one of which came against these same Phillies. He also threw a season-high 101 pitches in his last start, so the workload will be there.

The Giants have a modest 3.89 implied total, which is a good sign for Paddack. He has solid numbers across the board, although he's exceeded 90 pitches just three times in nine starts, which does hinder some of his upside.

Finally, Adbert Alzolay ($5.700) offers a low-salaried dice roll against Cincinnati. Although Alzolay hasn't thrown many innings over three appearances, he was allowed 78 pitches in his last start, so he could be given enough leeway to log five or six innings if he avoids free passes. He posted a 32.3% strikeout rate over 15 Triple-A starts in 2019, so the punchouts could have legs. He'll also get a boost from Wrigley's pitcher-friendly conditions.


Los Angeles Dodgers

Many assumed the writing was on the wall for Madison Bumgarner after showing signs of decline in recent seasons, but 2020 has truly been nothing short of a disaster, and the Los Angeles Dodgers figure to only add to the misery.

It's hard to find anything positive in Bumgarner's five starts, including an astounding 19.4% barrel rate allowed, one of the worst marks in the league. He's showing lower velocity, not getting strikeouts, issuing more walks, and allowing loads of home runs. In a not-so-shocking development, the Dodgers have a slate-high 5.60 implied total.

Los Angeles will be chalky, but it's hard to see this going well for the veteran southpaw. Everyone is fair game, but focus on the Dodgers' right-handed bats like Mookie Betts ($4,700), A.J. Pollock ($3,000), Chris Taylor ($2,700), Will Smith ($3,000), and Enrique Hernandez ($2,400).

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays also appear to have a can't-miss spot against Mike Kickham.

For anyone who may have forgotten, Kickham last pitched in the Majors six years ago before the Red Sox brought him into the fold at the beginning of the month. He actually threw two scoreless innings in relief against the Blue Jays his last time out, but the overall numbers remain underwhelming as one would expect. Last season, the 31-year-old left-hander produced a 5.25 xFIP, 21.9% strikeout rate, and 9.4% walk rate in Triple-A.

The Rays have low salaries from top to bottom, with most of the lineup coming in at under $3k. Tampa Bay loves to play platoon matchups, with Manuel Margot ($2,500) and Randy Arozarena ($2,800) batting first and second against lefties lately, and Michael Brosseau ($2,600) and Willy Adames ($2,800) occupying prime RBI slots. Hunter Renfroe ($2,700) boasts massive power potential versus lefties (career .307 ISO).

Austin Meadows ($2,800) has historically performed well in lefty-lefty spots and shouldn't be ignored if he's batting high in the order, too.

San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres have been one of the top offenses all season, so a matchup against Trevor Cahill certainly won't deter us from checking them out.

Cahill has actually gotten good results over 17.0 innings, but it's mostly been luck-based (.184 BABIP), and we've seen enough of him over the years to know he's an average hurler at best. A high ground-ball rate used to be his calling card, but that hasn't been the case dating back to last season, so there's a greater potential for home runs than in years past.

Furthermore, Cahill doesn't pitch deep into games, so the Padres will also face an active roster with a league-worst 5.34 xFIP in the bullpen.

Load up on those Padres, and frankly, everyone batting one through seven in the usual order are strong plays.