FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 5/12/21
We witnessed a fair number of strong pitching performances on Tuesday -- some more surprising than others -- and there's the potential for more of the same tonight. As a result, implied totals are once again on the more modest side, with the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers being some of the lone exceptions.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Gerrit Cole ($12,000): The Yankees' ace may have a hefty salary, but it's hard to argue with it when he's put up a 1.84 SIERA, 40.2% strikeout rate, and 1.8% walk rate. Among qualified starters, only Jacob deGrom has a better SIERA, strikeout rate, and strikeout-minus-walk rate than Cole. As always, the Tampa Bay Rays are hardly pushovers, but they also tend to whiff a lot and come in with a 24.5% strikeout rate versus righties. Even on a slate with other high-upside hurlers, Cole is the easy top choice.
Brandon Woodruff ($10,600): Brandon Woodruff continues to impress, boasting a 2.96 SIERA, 32.5% strikeout rate, and 7.0% walk rate this season. What's even better is he's coming off a season-high 103 pitches and has now exceeded 90 in five straight starts. The St. Louis Cardinals have a middling 88 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, leading to an inviting 3.01 implied total.
Zac Gallen ($8,200): Danny Duffy and Julio Urias both have enticing matchups, which puts them both in play, but if you're looking for someone on the value side, Zac Gallen stands out versus the Miami Marlins. The concern with Gallen is his high walk rate (12.2%), but he carries an encouraging 27.8% strikeout rate and has thrown 93 or more pitches in three of his last four starts. This is a potential upside matchup, as the Marlins have posted a 27.0% strikeout rate and 87 wRC+ versus righties thus far.
Others to Consider: Danny Duffy ($10,200), Julio Urias ($9,700), Andrew Heaney ($8,200)
Los Angeles Dodgers: As hinted from the start, a deep pitching slate naturally means fewer obvious stacking spots, but the Dodgers are one team we can have confidence in. Yes, attacking Justin Dunn hasn't really worked out yet this season, but his underlying numbers remain poor in just about any category, including a 5.74 SIERA, 19.8% strikeout rate, and 15.3% walk rate. He's also getting grounders at just a 30.0% clip, so we ought to see more home runs on the way.
Dunn has poor splits against both sides of the plate, but a 7.23 xFIP across 36.0 career innings versus lefties certainly gets out attention for guys like Corey Seager ($3,700) and Max Muncy ($3,200). That said, as is usually the case with the Dodgers, you can confidently stack anyone in the top two-thirds of the order.
Boston Red Sox: Stacking against pitchers with little to no track record is often tricky. While we can obviously assume that an offense like the Red Sox should excel when facing someone making his first big league start, the lack of familiarity or data with minor league pitchers can sometimes lead to underwhelming offensive outputs.
That said, what we do know is that right-hander James Kaprielian struggled in his brief 3.2 innings last season, and he's short on experience even in the minors, as he split 2019 across mostly Single-A and Double-A, along with one start in Triple-A.
Boston isn't a bad team to trust in because their active roster ranks fifth in wRC+ against righties (109). J.D. Martinez ($4,200), Rafael Devers ($3,900), Xander Bogaerts ($3,600), and Alex Verdugo ($3,100) are the core bats, while the rest of the lineup checks in below $3,000 each. Marwin Gonzalez ($2,400) carries value as a low-salaried leadoff man.
Chicago White Sox: J.A. Happ is outdoing his peripherals as he did in 2020, but something has to give at some point. Despite a 1.91 ERA, Happ is also carrying a 5.30 SIERA and 14.7% strikeout rate, and both a .171 BABIP and 5.0% home-run-to-fly-ball rate isn't sustainable.
The White Sox have been a ruthless matchup for southpaws in recent seasons, and their active roster owns a fantastic 130 wRC+ in the split since the start of 2020. Jose Abreu ($3,900) and Tim Anderson ($3,800) are standout plays, while you can get value from lower-order bats like Yasmani Grandal ($2,700), Yermin Mercedes ($3,000), and Andrew Vaughn ($2,200).