3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 6/17/21

Marcus Stroman has been outstanding for the NL East leading Mets. Which other top plays should we think about?

Just like in other sports, the focal point of your daily fantasy baseball lineups will be your high-salary studs. These guys take up by far the biggest chunk of your cap space, but they also offer the highest ceiling. And in the case of pitchers, the high-salary options typically come with the highest floors, too.

For hitters, we're looking for guys with big numbers, strong matchups, and with players around them that are likely to produce well, too, increasing our chances for runs and RBI. For pitchers, we want big strikeout numbers, while the ability to go deep in a game and pick up a win is also valuable.

With your high-salary picks playing such a big role in your lineup, you need to be right on these guys, so let's take a look at a few top-end options you can count on to anchor your lineup today.

Marcus Stroman, SP, New York Mets ($9,900)

There are only five arms that are at or above $9,000 on the main slate. While Brandon Woodruff ($10,800) has been excellent, pitching inside of Coors Field eliminates both him and German Marquez ($9,000) for me. Because the Houston Astros strike out so little, that also eliminates Dylan Cease ($9,200). And Shohei Ohtani ($11,000) is a tough sell at his salary.

So let's pivot to Marcus Stroman tonight. And, it's for good measure -- Stroman's rocking a delicious 54.8% ground-ball rate, and his 28.4% called-plus-swinging strike rate is just above league average.

Over the last 14 days, the Chicago Cubs, Stroman's opponent, have been really struggling at the dish. They rank third-worst in team wOBA (.280) with a whopping 27.7% strikeout rate. Play Stroman with major confidence.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves ($4,300)

It has not been all puppy dogs and ice cream for Freddie Freeman this 2021 season -- a sub-.230 batting average for one of the league's premier hitters is a bit surprising.

But he could get right tonight against John Gant of the St. Louis Cardinals, who's had some major control issues this season. He's walked 19.8% of left-handed hitters, which is actually more than his current strikeout rate in the split (17.4%). But the batting splits are also scary for left-handed hitters, as well -- he's allowed a 38.0% fly-ball rate to lefties.

In addition, Truist Park clocks in as a top-10 field in terms of park factor and home run factor. We rank Freeman as the fifth-best hitter (14.9 FanDuel points), so rostering him is a no-brainer.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B, Toronto Blue Jays ($4,400)

Do people realize how truly absurd Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been for the Toronto Blue Jays? He currently leads baseball in the Triple Crown categories, sporting a .348 batting average, 22 home runs, and 55 RBI, and he's also scored 50 runs so far. Incredible.

Tonight, he continues to get to hit at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, which ranks as a top-five hitter's haven in terms of park factor and home run factor. And, he faces journeyman Michael King, who has recorded a very mediocre 10.9% strikeout-minus-walk rate, and his 8.4% swinging-strike rate is far below league average.

The Blue Jays sport one of the highest implied team totals (5.06 runs), so if you want to pivot off of Coors Field, Vlad makes for a great play.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.