FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 9/17/20

Mookie Betts and the Dodgers ought to be quite popular at Coors Field on Thursday. Which other spots should you consider?

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+
Shane Bieber $11,900 R @DET 2.43 41.3% 6.5% 27.9% 82
Aaron Nola $10,900 R NYM 2.80 35.5% 6.0% 21.6% 121
Framber Valdez $9,100 L TEX 3.58 24.1% 6.3% 25.9% 62
Dakota Hudson $8,700 R @PIT 4.43 21.7% 9.1% 25.6% 63
Masahiro Tanaka $8,300 R TOR 4.01 23.1% 3.4% 22.1% 106
Seth Lugo $7,200 R @PHI 2.81 32.7% 6.4% 20.8% 99
Kyle Freeland $6,500 L LOS 4.68 16.1% 6.8% 21.8% 101
Julio Urias $6,400 L @COL 4.83 21.0% 8.8% 24.2% 97
Casey Mize $6,200 R CLE 4.52 22.8% 8.7% 23.7% 85
Chase Anderson $6,100 R @NYY 4.47 21.2% 6.8% 21.4% 124
Steven Brault $6,000 L STL 5.49 19.7% 13.9% 18.5% 126
Jordan Lyles $5,800 R @HOU 5.78 13.6% 10.1% 20.8% 99

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


Shane Bieber ($11,900) has been the top pitcher in baseball this season and now gets the best right-handed matchup for strikeouts in Detroit. He put up 64 FanDuel points with 11 strikeouts against the Tigers in August. He's an easy top choice despite the lofty salary.

Aaron Nola ($10.900) draws a far more difficult Mets lineup, but only Bieber exceeds him in strikeout rate among this slate's pitchers. Nola is certainly capable of getting the job done, racking up 18 strikeouts over 12.1 innings in two starts against the Mets, and one of those outings resulted in 55 FanDuel points.

Framber Valdez ($9,100) will be the latest Astros starter licking his chops for a juicy matchup against the Rangers. Texas has allowed 49 FanDuel points to both Lance McCullers and Jose Urquidy the past two nights. Unlike those two, Valdez is a left-hander, but the Rangers are just as bad in the split.

Seth Lugo ($7,200) has maintained his impressive numbers since joining the rotation. Even if we filter out his relief appearances, he's posted a 35.7% strikeout rate and 7.1% walk rate over four starts. Now up to 91 pitches in his last outing, he has tantalizing potential despite a neutral matchup versus Philadelphia. In fact, his best FanDuel score came against the Phillies a couple starts back (42 points)


Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are at Coors Field, and with a huge 6.61 implied total, you know where the masses will be headed.

This season Kyle Freeland has nearly halved his 2019 ERA, but his underlying numbers are only marginally better, so I'm not sure we're really dealing with a guy who's all that different from the one who got lit up last year.

Freeland does have strong lefty-lefty splits, which has historically been the case, too, but he's managed only a 13.8% strikeout rate versus righties in 2020.

Mookie Betts ($4,900) is arguably the slate's top overall bat, and guys like Justin Turner ($3,600), Will Smith ($3,400), Chris Taylor ($3,300), and Enrique Hernandez ($3,300) are other righties we can expect to see in the lineup. Smith has moved up into the middle of the order lately, which is great news considering the fantastic power he's shown dating back to last year (.311 ISO).

Julio Urias' peripherals are down this year, so the Colorado Rockies should be able to live up to their 5.39 implied total, too.

Houston Astros

Jordan Lyles has been an easy mark all season. He ranks last among tonight's starters in both SIERA and strikeout rate and is second-to-last in walk rate. He also sits in the lower percentiles of just about every Statcast category.

Lyles has been equally bad against both sides of the plate, so you don't have to be very choosy when stacking the Houston Astros. The Astros haven't been as dominant at the plate this year, but George Springer ($3,700) and Kyle Tucker ($3,300) are still posting strong power numbers, and Alex Bregman ($3,500) and Michael Brantley ($3,200) remain tough outs due to their strong plate skills. Most of this lineup has salaries in the mid-to-low range, as well.

New York Yankees

Chase Anderson is pretty much league average when it comes to his SIERA and strikeout rate, but the real reason to like this spot for the New York Yankees is the home run potential.

Anderson isn't actually giving up a high rate of hard contact, but when he does, they're flying out of the park, as shown by a rate of 2.05 homers per 9.0 innings and 10.7% barrel rate.

It's going to be tough sledding against a Yankees lineup that's been piling it on this series, with 13 and 20 runs the last two games. The top bats are getting up there in salary -- including Giancarlo Stanton ($3,800), who should be starting -- but there's middle-of-the-order value in Aaron Hicks ($3,100) and Gio Urshela ($3,100).

For other stacks that might not get as much attention, the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals are also in plus matchups.