FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 5/9/21
The beauty of daily fantasy baseball is that the top targets are different each and every day. Whether it's the right-handed catcher who destroys left-handed pitching or the mid-range hurler facing a depleted lineup, you're not going to find yourself using the same assets time after time.
While this breaks up the monotony, it can make it hard to decide which players are primed to succeed on a given day. We can help bridge that gap.
In addition to our custom optimal lineups, you can check out our batting and pitching heat maps, which show the pieces in the best spot to succeed on that slate. Put on the finishing touches with our games and lineups page to see who's hitting where and what the weather looks like, and you'll have yourself a snazzy-looking team to put up some big point totals.
If you need help getting started on that trek, here are some of the top options on the board today. We'll be focusing exclusively on the main slate.
Pitchers to Target
So, Jacob deGrom ($12,500 on FanDuel) is in his own stratosphere in terms of salary, as no other starting pitcher has a salary above $9,600 on this slate. Our model projects him for 41.2 FanDuel points, 7.1 more than any other pitcher. deGrom's matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks is a positive one: Arizona has the lowest implied total of the day (2.41 runs). They're just 24th in strikeout rate, but deGrom himself ranks in the 99th percentile in that category and in the 98th percentile in expected wOBA. You can't really go wrong starting your lineups with deGrom even at the elevated salary, and it's hard to want to anchor lineups around any other starters.
If you're not playing deGrom, we can look at the next-highest-salaried arm, Lucas Giolito ($9,600) against the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are middling in expected wOBA and expected slugging this season but are 23rd in strikeout rate. Giolito ranks third in SIERA among starters on this slate, making him part of the second tier behind deGrom. The Chicago White Sox are -152 favorites, a pretty hefty mark.
Who's second in SIERA behind deGrom (2.27) and ahead of Giolito (3.52)? That'd be Kenta Maeda ($7,400) at 3.24. Maeda has been dinged a few times lately, recording -9 and 11 FanDuel points in two of his past three starts, but against the Texas Rangers in his most recent start, he put up 46 by way of 8 strikeouts over 5.1 innings. A big concern for Maeda is pitch count upside: he has averaged 78.2 pitches per start but did most recently get to 94. Maeda's matchup today against the Detroit Tigers could lead to another big strikeout day in limited action. Detroit ranks as the lone outlier at the top of the league with a 29.6% strikeout rate, with no other team above 27.9%. Maeda has whiffed 28.4% of batters since the start of 2020. There are rain concerns here, so keep an eye out.
Dane Dunning ($6,700) of the Rangers could be in play as a complete deviation from the other pitchers against the Seattle Mariners. Dunning finds himself in the 63rd percentile in expected wOBA this season and the 53rd percentile in strikeout rate. The Mariners strike out at the eighth-highest rate in the big leagues at 26.4%. The Rangers are -134 moneyline favorites.
Stacks to Target
Boston Red Sox
Stacks today will depend on pitching choices: going for deGrom will require value bats. Anyone else will allow us to spend up. The Boston Red Sox are an option if we pass on deGrom.
The Red Sox get Dean Kremer on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles, and Boston's implied total is 4.82, the second-highest of the slate. Kremer still has a small sample overall with just 177 batters faced in the bigs and has put forth decent numbers: a 32.7% hard hit rate, a 24.9% strikeout rate (which may be inflated due to his 9.9% swinging strike rate), and a 4.55 SIERA. It's not great, but it's not terrible.
Still, this lineup has the talent to put up runs, as evidenced by the implied total. We could get some salary relief off the bat with Christian Arroyo ($2,200) if he leads off, but we're then looking at Alex Verdugo ($3,200), J.D. Martinez ($4,300), Xander Bogaerts ($3,600), and Rafael Devers ($3,500) next up. Again, this will depend on our pitching choice, but these guys (excluding Arroyo) are pounding the ball and all have expected wOBAs of at least 115% the league average.
New York Yankees
Few teams have underperformed quite like the New York Yankees. Their expected slugging (.463) ranks 11th in the bigs, and their actual slugging (.383) is 20th, which makes for the third-largest gap between a team's slugging and expected output in the league this year. It's similar with their expected wOBA (.346 to rank 6th) and actual wOBA (.311 to rank 13th). That's the second-largest gap in the MLB.
A date with Joe Ross could help right the ship. Ross has just a 19.1% strikeout rate since the start of last season and a 4.64 SIERA, and a 35.9% hard-hit rate. These are all some of the worst marks on the slate.
The lack of results have kept some salaries down, and the top of the lineup -- DJ LeMahieu ($3,100), Giancarlo Stanton ($3,600), and Aaron Judge ($3,400) -- could be jammed in with a value stack or piecemeal-ed into a lineup. We also get relief when we get past those three with some combo of Gio Urshela ($2,800), Gleyber Torres ($2,700), Mike Ford ($2,100), and Aaron Hicks ($2,600).
Only one of those hitters (Stanton by 0.002) has outperformed his expected wOBA with his actual wOBA, and none of them have outperformed their expected slugging.
With the Rangers getting a lefty in Justus Sheffield, we should get Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($2,900) batting leadoff, followed by Nick Solak ($3,000), Nate Lowe ($3,100, a lefty), Adolis Garcia ($3,300), and then Joey Gallo ($3,000; a lefty).
All of them are above the MLB average in expected slugging, particularly Garcia at .620.
The Rangers have the fifth-highest implied team total of the slate, which is nothing to hate on for these reasonable salaries at the top of the lineup.
Sheffield has just a 20.1% strikeout rate since the start of 2020 paired with a 4.56 SIERA. He's currently in the 22nd percentile in expected wOBA and in strikeout rate this season. There's not a lot to fear even though the Rangers are subpar in wRC+ against lefties this season (91).