FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 4/14/21
Unlike the past few slates where we've had some of the best of the best aces to roster, tonight's a hodgepodge of solid mid-range arms. On the hitting side, the Houston Astros have the highest implied total on the board with the Atlanta Braves not too far behind them. Also, tonight's Mariners-Orioles contest could get wiped out by rain tonight.
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Let's check out the top options on Wednesday's main slate.
Lance McCullers ($9,500): Lance McCullers has consistently put up plus numbers when healthy, and he has a lot going for him through two starts, sporting a 31.7% strikeout rate, 34.4% called-strike-plus-whiff rate (CWS rate), and 66.7% ground-ball rate. The only problem? It's all come with a 14.6% walk rate. The increase in free passes coincides with the introduction of a new slider, and it remains to be seen whether this issue persists over the long haul. That said, the matchup checks out. The Detroit Tigers have been better than expected on offense thus far, but dating back last year, their active roster owns league-worsts in both strikeout rate (26.6%) and walk rate (7.2%) versus righties.
Dustin May ($9,000): If you're just looking for the slate's easiest matchup, the road-tripping Colorado Rockies are the team to attack for the second straight night. Dustin May might not be on Trevor Bauer's level, but he gave us a promising 2021 debut last week against Oakland, going six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. May hasn't been much of a strikeout pitcher over his young career, but he backed up that outing with a 17.6% swinging-strike rate and 32.9% CWS rate. Against such a weak opponent on a night with no true aces taking the hill, I'm willing to take the leap of faith and buy into May taking things to another level. Colorado has a slate-low 2.99 implied total.
Carlos Rodon ($8,300): And speaking of leaps of faith, we really need one to consider Carlos Rodon tonight. After making just nine starts over the past two seasons, Rodon shined in his debut against Seattle, piling up nine strikeouts over five innings with a 15.8% swinging-strike rate. Not only was his velocity way up, but the southpaw was allowed to go 95 pitches, meaning the White Sox must feel pretty comfortable with his health. That said, he also recorded three walks, and his performance came against a whiff-happy Mariners squad. The Cleveland Indians don't rate as an easy matchup for strikeouts, and they figure to load their lineup with righty sticks. Even so, the implied total is modest (3.68), and this isn't a bad salary to take a shot on Rodon in tournaments.
Others to Consider: Charlie Morton ($8,500)
Atlanta Braves: The Atlanta Braves are one of two teams with an implied total over five runs, and that's because they're up against Nick Neidert, who has all of 12.2 innings of big league experience. That's not a lot to go on, but he hasn't done much with those innings, and in his 2021 debut, he walked five batters in just 4.1 innings. Our largest sample of note for Neidert comes from 2019 in Triple-A, and the results were lacking, as he produced a 7.00 xFIP, 19.8% strikeout rate, and 11.8% walk rate over nine starts.
All of it boils down to stacking up the Braves, a lineup that has plenty to like. Ronald Acuna ($4,600) and Freddie Freeman ($4,100) might be hard to get up to in some builds, but after them, we get a goldmine of value through Marcell Ozuna ($2,800), Travis d'Arnaud ($2,600), Ozzie Albies ($2,900), Dansby Swanson ($2,500), and Austin Riley ($2,200). In terms of power, it's hard to go wrong with Ozuna at this salary, but you can otherwise mix and match all sorts of combinations tonight.
Houston Astros: The Houston Astros are the other team exceeding five implied runs, drawing a plus matchup against Michael Fulmer. Now, it's worth noting Fulmer has actually performed well over his first seven innings of action this season (three appearances), but that's not enough to erase all sort of bad from 2020 when he got rocked for a 5.58 SIERA, 14.7% strikeout rate, and 8.8% walk rate.
The Astros are a pretty straightforward lineup to stack, with any of the projected top seven in the order being fair game. We can take advantage of a slight dip in salary for Yordan Alvarez ($3,500), and Carlos Correa ($3,300) remains easy to roster despite a positive start to the season.
The Rays flopped last night, but perhaps they find redemption against Kohei Arihara. Through nine innings (two starts), Arihara has a 5.71 SIERA with all of two strikeouts off a 4.1% swinging-strike rate.
That's not going to cut it against most teams, and we can look to Austin Meadows ($3,700), Randy Arozarena ($4,000), and Brandon Lowe ($2,900) in particular to take advantage. Most of the other bats in the Rays' lineup come in at $3,000 and below, too, giving us plenty of ways to build our stacks.
Others to Consider: Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies