FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 6/18/21
Much like Thursday's slate, we have a bevy of quality-to-elite starters at our disposal tonight, but no one guy stands out above the rest, as you can find reasons to doubt any of them. And with 15 games to sift through, it will also be difficult to narrow down our favorite stacks, with quite a few loaded offenses in plus matchups, along with the always inviting Coors Field.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Corbin Burnes ($9,500): Under normal circumstances, Burnes would be an easy top choice tonight -- particularly at this salary -- but between Coors Field and all the sticky talk about dropping spin rates, we're left with far more questions than usual.
Burnes is coming off one of his worst outings of the year, and it came against the lowly Pirates of all teams. But before you sound the alarms, the Brewers' ace still demonstrated plenty of firepower in that start, racking up eight punchouts in only four innings with an elite 39.1% called-strikes-plus-whiffs (CWS) rate that actually exceeded his season average (36.6%). Burnes also endured an inflated .750 BABIP in that outing despite an 8.3% hard-hit rate allowed, suggesting all sorts of poor luck.
Additionally, he's also one start removed from a massive 70-point FanDuel performance against Arizona. At the end of the day, Burnes is the closest thing we've seen to Jacob deGrom in 2021, and despite the obvious risks, I just don't think I can fade him tonight at a sub-$10,000 salary.
Robbie Ray ($11,000): If you don't want to mess with the Burnes situation, Ray is arguably the choice with the fewest possible question marks. Trevor Bauer's recent dip in performance makes him more difficult to trust, while Carlos Rodon gets a rough matchup versus the Houston Astros. It might feel weird, but Ray is putting up numbers that can hang with these big names, as he's posted a 3.05 SIERA, 32.1% strikeout rate, and 6.3% walk rate over his dozen starts.
The only hang-up with rostering Ray is that he doesn't have a gimme matchup himself against the Orioles (21.3% strikeout rate versus lefties), and he's surprisingly the highest-salaried hurler on the board. Still, he's coming off three straight performances of 49 FanDuel points or better, which includes tougher matchups against the White Sox and Red Sox.
Alex Cobb ($7,500): There's a fair bit value to be found in the $9,000 range if you're multi-entering tournaments, but if you're looking to really spend cap space on your bats, then Cobb is your man. That's because he faces the Detroit Tigers, who come in with a 26.8% strikeout rate and 93 wRC+ versus right-handers. Detroit has one of the lower implied totals of the slate at 3.80.
Despite inconsistent results, Cobb is producing some promising underlying numbers, which include a 3.21 SIERA, 28.0% strikeout rate, and 60.0% ground-ball rate. A .357 BABIP and 57.7% strand rate -- both well off career and league averages -- point to some bad luck, perhaps explaining the sizable gap in real-life results. Nonetheless, he put up a season-high 55 FanDuel points a few starts back against Oakland, so the ceiling is there if his luck turns tonight.
Milwaukee Brewers: Despite being at Coors, I was a little skeptical of the Brewers' matchup against German Marquez last night, and they ultimately did have a quiet night at the plate. But we should be far more confident in their chances this time around with Antonio Senzatela taking the hill. The Brewers have the slate's highest implied total at nearly six runs (5.98).
Senzatela's lone skill is generating grounders (51.9% rate), making him a less-than-ideal matchup for dingers, but a pitiful 14.8% strikeout rate means things can get out of hand in a hurry with so many balls being put in play.
In terms of barrels per plate appearance, Avisail Garcia ($3,500), Omar Narvaez ($3,200), and Willy Adames ($3,100) stand out, and while Christian Yelich ($4,400) has been disappointing from a power perspective, he's still getting on base at a high clip and is sporting a solid .357 xwOBA. Luis Urias ($3,300) and Dan Vogelbach ($3,700) don't have especially exciting metrics, but they're likely to occupy prime run-scoring slots as the top two batters in the order.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays are right up there with the Brewers in implied total (5.59), as they have an inviting matchup versus lefty Bruce Zimmermann. While Zimmermann is tough in same-sided matchups, that same doesn't hold true against righties, where he's showing a lackluster 4.69 xFIP, 18.9% strikeout rate, and 36.5%. ground-ball rate. He's allowing 1.90 home runs per nine innings in the split, and Toronto is the type of offense that can add to that tally.
Of course, it isn't hard to find right-handed batters to like in this lineup with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,600), Bo Bichette ($4,100), Marcus Semien ($3,800), and Randal Grichuk ($3,000) projected to occupy the first four spots. Lourdes Gurriel ($2,500) has underwhelmed this season but offers us some value at his salary.
Minnesota Twins: Mike Foltynewicz's stellar 2018 campaign is a distant memory now, with opposing batters slugging dingers off him ever since. His strikeout rate has dropped to just 15.7% in 2021, and he's allowing a whopping 2.09 home runs per nine innings off a 41.5% fly-ball rate. Just look at all the dark blue dots scattered about on his Baseball Savant page.
Nelson Cruz ($3,800) and Josh Donaldson ($3,600) are the obvious power bats in the top half of the order, with both putting up double-digit barrels per plate appearance. And Foltynewicz has especially egregious numbers against lefties (6.41 xFIP), so Alex Kirilloff ($3,000), Trevor Larnach ($2,600), and Luis Arraez ($2,200) are all great values, and switch-hitter Jorge Polanco ($3,600) also gets a boost.
Miguel Sano ($3,300) should also be in the mix, as his awful strikeout rate is less of a hindrance against Foltynewicz and his lack of swing-and-miss stuff.