FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 5/23/21

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.

Pitching Breakdown

This is a fun pitching slate with a lot of good options at varying salaries.

At the top end, Zack Wheeler ($10,500 on FanDuel), Freddy Peralta ($9,900) and Cristian Javier ($9,900) stand out. Javier (Texas Rangers) and Peralta (Cincinnati Reds) have the matchup edge over Wheeler (Boston Red Sox). I rank these three Peralta, Javier and Wheeler.

Peralta has put up an elite 39.2% strikeout rate and 15.4% swinging-strike rate this season, and his workload isn't too bad as he's gone at least 88 pitches in three of his past four outings. The punchouts raise both his floor and ceiling. He's gone for 50-plus FanDuel points twice this year, and he's posted at least 46 FanDuel points in three of his last four starts. The matchup could be better, but it's not enough to push me off Peralta.

Max Fried ($8,500) is a quality pick in the midrange, and the matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates is a delightful one as the Bucs are next to last in wOBA (.288). Fried did leave his last start with hand cramping, but he should be ready to rock. He holds a 24.8% strikeout rate and 12.6% swinging-strike rate in 2021.

In the value tier, Luis Castillo ($6,800) jumps off the page. Castillo's salary is where it is for a reason -- he is struggling. But he hasn't been as bad as his 7.44 ERA suggests. Castillo's SIERA is 4.22, and his 11.3% swinging-strike rate tells us his 19.8% strikeout rate should be a touch higher. At home against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers, Castillo could shred if he's on. Milwaukee is third-worst in wOBA (.290) with the sixth-highest strikeout rate (26.5%). Our model ranks him as the slate's second-best hurler.

Stacks to Target

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are the lastest team to get to experience the fun of facing Matt Harvey, who has surrendered 13 combined runs over his last two starts (six total innings). The Nats' 5.40 implied total is a slate-high clip.

The foursome of Trea Turner ($4,000), Juan Soto ($3,900), Kyle Schwarber ($3,600) and Josh Bell ($3,500) pack a lot of pop and upside if you can get to them. If you use Castillo, that'll help. Turner and Soto are the top two hitters on the slate, according to our algorithm. What I'll do a lot of is mix and match a couple of these four with guys like Josh Harrison ($3,000) and Starlin Castro ($2,400).

Houston Astros

The only other implied total above 5.0 belongs to the Houston Astros (5.29), who are taking on Mike Foltynewicz. Folty has permitted 2.03 dingers per nine this season with a blah 19.2% strikeout rate and 8.2% swinging-strike rate.

Jose Altuve ($4,200) is the only Houston player above $3,500. Alex Bregman ($3,500), Yordan Alvarez ($3,300) and Michael Brantley ($2,800) come at fairly modest salaries. Alvarez and Brantley will have the platoon advantage, and Alvarez is one of my favorite plays on the slate -- as is Kyle Tucker ($2,900), who has a .346 wOBA this year against right-handers.

Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians are a stack I love for this slate. They have just one bat who is more than $3,000 -- so they're easy to pair with a high-salary pitcher -- and I don't think they'll be chalky despite a great matchup with J.A. Happ. The lefty has been brutal this year, sporting a 5.60 SIERA and 13.4% strikeout rate. The Chicago White Sox went nuts for 16 runs in his last start (six off him).

Jose Ramirez ($4,000) is the lone high-salary batter on Cleveland, and he has a 42.6% fly-ball rate and .341 wOBA as a right-handed hitter this year.

Franmil Reyes ($3,000) exited early on Saturday, and his absence would be a bummer for Indians stacks. But if he plays, he's a fantastic option as a righty with big-time power. Jordan Luplow ($2,300) hit leadoff the last time Cleveland saw a southpaw, and Cesar Hernandez ($2,700) was in the second spot. Amed Rosario ($2,100) is a decent low-salary dart throw.