FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 9/22/20

Freddie Freeman and the Atlanta Braves find themselves in a good spot against Jose Urena. Which other teams could have a big night?

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+
Zach Davies $10,100 R LAA 4.27 23.3% 6.8% 20.4% 115
Framber Valdez $10,000 L SEA 3.33 26.1% 6.1% 26.3% 71
Brady Singer $9,600 R STL 4.20 23.3% 8.1% 23.5% 93
Blake Snell $9,200 L NYM 3.57 30.0% 8.3% 19.3% 120
Keegan Akin $8,100 L BOS 3.89 31.3% 11.3% 23.1% 100
Dustin May $8,000 R OAK 4.32 18.0% 5.8% 22.9% 104
Steven Brault $7,800 L CHC 5.07 21.1% 12.5% 25.5% 74
Drew Smyly $7,600 L COL 2.77 39.1% 8.7% 23.4% 92
Tarik Skubal $7,500 L MIN 4.34 25.5% 8.2% 21.1% 82
Jose Quintana $7,500 L PIT 2.62 37.5% 8.3% 21.9% 97
Griffin Canning $7,400 R SDP 4.73 21.4% 8.4% 20.3% 133
Frankie Montas $7,300 R LOS 4.75 22.8% 10.4% 20.0% 126
Kyle Freeland $7,200 L SFG 4.67 16.3% 6.8% 21.7% 130
Seth Lugo $7,000 R TAM 2.94 31.5% 5.6% 26.1% 105
Caleb Smith $6,900 L TEX 6.76 26.3% 23.7% 27.3% 63
Jose Urena $6,800 R ATL 6.02 14.7% 13.2% 23.3% 131
Jordan Lyles $6,600 R ARI 5.79 12.9% 9.4% 21.5% 85
Nick Pivetta $5,900 R BAL 5.23 13.8% 3.4% 22.8% 106
Ljay Newsome $5,600 R HOU 4.50 16.0% 2.0% 20.3% 97
Bryse Wilson $5,600 R MIA 6.11 15.8% 15.8% 24.1% 96
Austin Gomber $5,500 L KAN 4.94 25.3% 15.7% 23.1% 99

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


This is a bit of a tricky pitching slate, but Framber Valdez ($10,000) is probably our best bet to come through with a high floor. His 26.1% strikeout rate doesn't blow us away at this salary, but a matchup against Seattle gives him a sizable boost. Against southpaws, the Mariners' active roster ranks 27th in strikeout rate and 28th in wRC+. To top it all off, Valdez has an elite 59.9% ground-ball rate that leads all qualified starters this season, which has really helped him suppress home runs (0.71 per 9.0 innings).

Blake Snell ($9,200) hasn't made it through six full innings in any of his 10 starts, and it's really hampered his fantasy ceiling. His pitch counts have been wildly inconsistent lately, ranging anywhere from the mid-70s all the way up to triple-digits. Snell's matchup against the Mets isn't ideal, either. Still, he's pitched well on a per-inning basis, and that 30.0% strikeout rate will go a long way if Tampa Bay just gives him some leeway tonight. New York has a modest 3.60 implied total.

If you're willing to take the plunge, we also get a fairly nice group of pay-down options between Keegan Akin ($8,100), Drew Smyly ($7,600), and Seth Lugo ($7,000).

Akin has produced an impressive 31.8% strikeout rate over 18.2 innings, and his 13.8% swinging-strike rate would place him just outside the league's top 10 if he qualified. He's another guy who hasn't logged six innings in a start, but that's come over just four attempts, and he's exceeded 90 pitches in two of the last three. Most recently, he got up to a season-high 48 FanDuel points against Atlanta of all teams. He's probably pitching a little over his head, and walks have been an issue, but we shouldn't underestimate his ceiling against the Red Sox.

With Smyly, it all comes down to pitch count. The veteran lefty hasn't even exceeded 4.0 innings in any of his appearances, but man, that 39.1% strikeout rate sure is tempting. He did move up to 78 pitches in his last outing, so maybe he can pitch deep enough for a big score, but we probably shouldn't go overboard with our exposure.

Lastly, Lugo has some of the best numbers on the entire board at an appealing salary point. Even if we look solely at his numbers as a starter (five starts), he's posted a stellar 33.3% strikeout rate and 6.0% walk rate. Lugo just got rocked by the Phillies, but he reached a season-high 91 pitches in his prior outing and now gets a plus matchup for strikeouts against Tampa Bay. Note, however, that his velocity has come down as a starter and hit a season-low against Philadelphia, which could be a red flag.


Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves pop up here for the second day in a row, sporting a slate-high 5.26 implied total versus Jose Urena.

Urena's three starts haven't exactly gone swimmingly, as his 6.00 ERA is practically identical to his 6.02 SIERA, and his strikeout-minus-walk rate sits at a pitiful 1.5%. He has a decent 48.9% ground-ball rate, but that's hardly enough to make up for such poor strikeout and walk numbers.

He historically struggles versus lefties in particular (5.46 xFIP in the split last season), so Freddie Freeman ($4,000) is especially enticing tonight, and Ozzie Albies ($3,900) and Nick Markakis ($2,700) also get a bump.

Adam Duvall ($3,100) continues to be a fantastic value for tournaments with a 95th percentile barrel rate.

Arizona Diamondbacks

We've been attacking Jordan Lyles all season, and there's little reason to stop down the home stretch.

Lyles has seen his strikeout rate pretty much cut in half this year (12.9%), which ranks second-to-last among all pitchers who have logged at least 40 innings. His 5.7% swinging-strike rate ranks dead last in that same group. Yikes.

He's been terrible against both sides of the plate, but his career track record versus lefties has always been poor (5.54 xFIP in 2019). The Arizona Diamondbacks aren't the most exciting offense to roster, but they're inexpensive and should be able to attack Lyles with a healthy dose of lefty sticks.

Kole Calhoun ($3,400) is a great starting point for a stack (or as a one-off), owning a fantastic .314 ISO this season. Josh Rojas ($2,200) and Josh VanMeter ($2,100) aren't super exciting on their own, but they're practically free and are batting high in the order. David Peralta ($2,800) is another affordable lefty who will benefit.

Christian Walker ($3,000) is the top right-handed bat and has been consistently making loads of hard contact this season.

Baltimore Orioles

Top offenses like the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres all have high implied totals and are pretty much always in play outside of extreme cases. But if you're looking for a more contrarian stack, the Baltimore Orioles may not get as much attention against Nick Pivetta.

Pivetta is pretty much a wild card, as many a fantasy analyst thought a breakout was coming in 2019, but he ultimately ended up flopping with a 5.38 ERA (4.73 SIERA) over 93.2 innings. He's only made three appearances in 2020, and the last time we saw him was in early August when he got obliterated for 6 earned runs over 0.1 innings against Atlanta.

Now with the Red Sox, Pivetta will finally debut for his new team after spending the last few weeks at their alternate training site. Maybe the move to Boston finally untaps Pivetta's potential, but the chance of that beginning tonight is slim.

D.J. Stewart ($2,900) and Ryan Mountcastle ($3,600) are top choices for Baltimore, and the rest of the order comes in on the cheap.