FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 4/22/21
We've got a five-gamer on our hands tonight, and pitching is once again a bit suspect. At least the weather looks good? As for our bats, the Boston Red Sox are the leaders in the clubhouse when it comes to this evening's implied totals.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Walker Buehler ($9,800): In past seasons, Walker Buehler would be the no-brainer top option on a slate like this, but his numbers have left a lot to be desired in the early going. He's only showing a 17.1% strikeout rate and 9.9% swinging-strike rate, which would both be career lows if the season ended today, and his velocity is also down a smidge. Add in a matchup against the San Diego Padres, and there isn't much to get excited about here. And yet, when you glance at the other names available, you kind of have to talk yourself into Buehler. He's consistently put up strong numbers in his young career, including last year's 3.80 SIERA, 28.6% strikeout rate, and 7.5% walk rate. This is really a case of betting on Buehler's talent over his recent results on an otherwise barren pitching selection. The Padres also have a tiny 3.49 implied total.
Cristian Javier ($7,300): Once we get past Buehler, the names don't really jump off the page, but Cristian Javier has at least shown some punchout upside dating back to last season. He's posted a 31.4% strikeout rate through two starts in 2021 and produced a 25.2% rate in 2020. His draw against the Los Angeles Angels isn't anything special, but he's got more strikeout potential than our other options. Javier got up to 88 pitches in his last start, so he ought to have a decent workload, too.
Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox easily have the highest implied total on the board (5.26) and are the only team cracking five runs. That's due to opposing pitcher Justin Dunn, who holds a career 6.46 SIERA across 16 career starts.
Dunn's results have turned out okay through his first two 2021 outings, but a 21.4% strikeout rate and 23.8% walk rate don't exactly inspire confidence. Dunn also doesn't get ground balls (career 33.9% rate), which didn't help him in the home run department last season (1.97 allowed per 9 innings).
Throw in 15 mph winds blowing out to right-center and it all lines up as a potentially big night for Boston. J.D. Martinez ($4,500) comes in at a hefty salary, but we can roster Xander Bogaerts ($3,000) and Rafael Devers ($3,400) pretty easily, and the majority of the lineup beyond them are below $3,000.
New York Mets: After Boston, the Mets check in with a 4.84 implied total against Trevor Williams. The wind is blowing out at Wrigley, which is always a plus, and Williams has endured home run issues in back-to-back campaigns. The righty has also put up a below-average strikeout rate throughout his career, and that hasn't changed so far in 2021 with a 19.7% rate.
Pete Alonso ($3,400) is an easy add at his salary, but outside of him, we can easily load up on guys with the platoon advantage, including Francisco Lindor ($3,100), Dominic Smith ($2,700), Michael Conforto ($2,700), and Brandon Nimmo ($3,000) if he's healthy.
San Francisco Giants: No one in San Francisco's lineup has a high salary, and their matchup against Daniel Castano puts them at a fairly appealing 4.60 implied total. Castano has displayed zero ability to get strikeouts at the big league level, with no strikeouts in his lone 2021 start and just a 9.5% strikeout rate in 2020.
Unfortunately, Castano is a lefty, which doesn't help a Giants lineup that has stronger lefty sticks, but Evan Longoria ($3,100) is off to a strong start, and fellow righty sticks like Austin Slater ($2,700) and Wilmer Flores ($2,100) could bat high in the order. Darin Ruf ($2,000) could also crack the lineup as a punt. Note that platoon bats like Flores and Ruf could get pulled for pinch hitters late, so keep that in mind.
Castano doesn't have notable splits against lefties, either, so you can still roll with Mike Yastrzemski ($2,900) and any other prominent lefty regulars who start.