FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 4/29/21
With roughly half of Thursday's games taking place this afternoon, the evening main slate has been whittled down to four games. That leaves us with a pretty barren selection at pitcher, but there's room to branch out with our hitters at least. Weather shouldn't be an issue tonight, as well.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Trevor Bauer ($11,000): Outside of just trying to get weird in tournaments -- because, you know, baseball -- there really isn't any statistical reason to roster anyone but Trevor Bauer tonight. He's put up a sparkling 2.37 SIERA, 37.8% strikeout rate, and 5.0% walk rate, and he draws a plus matchup against the Brewers, a team with a 26.5% strikeout rate versus righties dating back to last year. Milwaukee has easily the lowest implied total on the board (3.17), and unless you're making a boatload of lineups, you might just want to lock in Bauer and differentiate on the hitting side instead.
Luke Weaver ($7,500): In the event that Bauer comes up short, we probably don't need a massive score out of our pitcher to be viable, so despite Luke Weaver's rather meh 20.9% strikeout rate, his plus matchup with the Rockies is enough to put him in play. Colorado is never great on the road (3.88 implied total), and they carry an 81 wRC+ and 26.0% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching since the start of 2020. While Weaver hasn't had an especially noteworthy campaign, he's shown some punchout upside in the past and does have a 55-point FanDuel performance under his belt this season. The workload also checks out, with three straight games of exactly 94 pitches.
Adbert Alzolay ($6,500): I don't know if I can actually go here in a ruthless matchup against the Braves, but if you're looking strictly at strikeout numbers, Alzolay is the only guy who comes anywhere close to Bauer. He's produced a 3.47 SIERA, 29.8% strikeout rate, and 8.8% walk rate through three starts -- that's actually pretty good! The problem? All three games came against the Brewers. Still, his 14.5% swinging-strike rate is a good sign, and he did post a 33.3% strikeout rate over 21.1 innings in 2020, so there's some hope here at least? He also reached 83 pitches in his last outing, giving him a reasonable pitch count. Unfortunately, walks have been an issue over his young career (13.2%), which could get him in trouble against a top-notch opponent. Look, chances are this doesn't work out, but if you want to take a stab at upside, Alzolay isn't a crazy thought.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers curiously don't have a higher implied total (4.33) because left-hander Eric Lauer isn't exactly the guy you want on the mound to shut down one of the league's best lineups. Lauer only logged 11 innings in 2020, so if we look at his career numbers going back to 2018, we get a guy with a ho-hum 4.73 SIERA, 20.6% strikeout rate, and 8.7% walk rate. He also doesn't induce a high rate of grounders, and if anything, he may actually have worse splits in lefty-lefty matchups.
Feel free to load up on righties and lefties alike, and arguably everyone in tonight's projected lineup is a reasonable bet to put up a big score. Will Smith ($3,200) is notable at his modest salary in the middle of the order, as he's showing his usual power numbers, including a 16.3% barrel rate.
Atlanta Braves: As noted about Alzolay earlier, walks have previously been a problem for him, and the Braves are the type of team that will punish you for that. Atlanta's looking at one of the night's highest implied totals (4.69), and it's the lefties who will have a distinct advantage. While Alzolay has consistently shown a massive strikeout rate versus right-handed hitters since his debut (36.1%), that hasn't been the case against lefty sticks (22.4%), resulting in a 5.14 xFIP for the split.
That puts Freddie Freeman ($4,000) and Ozzie Albies ($3,000) at the front of the line, followed by all the righties with the hopes this gets out of hand. Ronald Acuna ($4,300) is always fantastic, of course, and the rest of the lineup falls in the value range.
Arizona Diamondbacks: As is always the case with Antonio Senzatela, the Rockies right-hander gets a high rate of ground balls but not much else. He has a middling strikeout rate against both sides of the plate, coming in at 10.3% against lefties this year and 16.4% against righties -- both rather close to what we've seen the past couple of seasons.
On a larger slate, the grounders might make the Diamondbacks a less intriguing stack because they're not loaded with power hitters, but tonight, even if they don't slug many home runs, we can hope they string together some long innings against a low-strikeout pitcher. In terms of pop, Eduardo Escobar ($3,500), Asdrubal Cabrera ($2,800), and Stephen Vogt ($2,300) are probably our best bets.