FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 7/3/21

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, which starts at 7:15 p.m. EST.

Pitching Breakdown

There is one standout pitcher on this slate in terms of projection and salary, and it's Clayton Kershaw ($11,000 on FanDuel). We project Kershaw for 36.2 FanDuel points -- 4.8 clear of the field -- and his $11,000 salary is $2,500 more than anyone else's.

Deciding how you want to handle him is the first big call you'll have to make. While you can make a case for prioritizing Kershaw, I'm more likely to fade him. I'm a little lower on him than our model is as his matchup with the Washington Nationals isn't a fun one. Washington sits eighth in wOBA against lefties (.327), and their 23.3% strikeout rate in the split is right at the league average. They've also been on fire of late, notching the second-best wOBA over the last 14 days (.371).

On top of the matchup concerns, it's a Coors slate, so the extra salary you get by using any non-Kershaw pitcher will be of great help. But it's not just Coors -- we have a whopping seven teams with implied totals of more than 5.00 on this seven-game slate. Several of those offenses have high-salary sticks I want. And I'm also intrigued by a few other hurlers, but maybe that's just me talking myself into lower-salary guys because I want to save the coin.

With all that said, if any pitcher on this slate drops a 50 burger, it'll likely be Kershaw. He put up 70 FanDuel points last time out and has a 2.98 SIERA for the season. He's a stud. If you want to lock him in and build from there, I get it. I'll sprinkle him in, but I'll be underweight on him.

The pitchers I'll have a lot of are Alex Cobb ($8,500) and Sammy Long ($6,700) -- and maybe some Jake Odorizzi ($7,200) but probably not much.

Cobb may wind up as the most popular hurler on the slate, because he gets us access to good season-long numbers and a quality matchup for a pretty modest salary. For the campaign, Cobb sports a 3.26 SIERA, 27.8% strikeout rate and 12.3% swinging-strike rate. Those are legit numbers. Cobb has at least 30 FanDuel points in five of his past seven outings, with spike games of 47 and 55 in that span. But he's also got two games of three FanDuel points, so there's obvious risk. Against a Baltimore Orioles offense that hovers around the league average in most stats, Cobb offers more pros than cons tonight.

Long, a rookie, is more of an unknown commodity as he's got just 20 MLB innings to his name. I'm more than intrigued, though, as he blowtorched Double-A and Triple-A this year in brief stops at each level and has amassed a 23.5% strikeout rate and 4.10 SIERA so far in the bigs. If you want a larger sample size, Long put up a 28.7% strikeout rate in 97 innings in High-A back in 2019. The matchup is certainly there as he gets the Arizona Diamondbacks, who rank 23rd in wOBA (.301) and have the 9th-highest strikeout rate (24.6%) across the past 14 days. For $6,700 and a chance to go Mall Madness with bats, I'm interested.

Stacks to Target

St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies

Through two games of this Coors series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies, we haven't gotten the big-time eruptions we've been expecting, with the Cards getting an extra-innings boost on their way to nine runs last night. With lefties Kyle Freeland and Wade LeBlanc on the bump tonight, we may get the fireworks (yes, that was a lame Fourth of July reference) we've been waiting for.

I could list out a lot of names here, but it would be a waste of time for both of us. Colorado has a 6.09 implied total. St. Louis owns a 5.91 implied total. Those are the two biggest clips on the slate. Everyone in both lineups is in play. You'll need deep pockets, though, because the salaries are up there pretty much across the board.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are my favorite stack of the night. They bring a 5.39 implied total into their clash with Paolo Espino, the owner of a 19.3% strikeout rate over 65 2/3 career frames. In 2021, he's recorded an 18.8% strikeout rate in 35 2/3 innings, a mark which drops to 15.8% versus left-handed hitters.

Max Muncy ($4,100) and Cody Bellinger ($3,500) will likely be the lone LA bats who hit in a good spot and have the platoon advantage. Muncy does everything well and has produced a .407 wOBA and 18.4% walk rate against righties. He's got four jacks over his last six games. Bellinger has yet to take off this season but had a .360 wOBA and 40.6% fly-ball rate last year versus right-handers.

We don't need to limit ourselves to the Dodgers' lefties. Mookie Betts ($3,800), Justin Tucker ($3,000), Will Smith ($2,600) and Chris Taylor ($2,900) are all super appealing. Smith, Turner and Taylor will be core plays for me at their friendly salaries.

San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants roasted the Diamondbacks for 11 runs last night, and we could see more of the same today. The Giants have a 5.32 implied total, and our algorithm has them plating 6.36 runs, the second-most on the slate. With no one over $3,200, San Fran is a perfect stack to pair with Coors bats, although that'll likely make them pretty chalky.

The Giants are taking on Jake Faria. In 168 1/3 career innings, Faria has pitched to a 4.68 SIERA and 21.0% strikeout rate. He hasn't thrown more than 67 pitches in a game this year, hitting that number in his lone start, so this could be more of a bullpen game for the D-Backs. That's good news for the Giants as Arizona's 'pen is third-worst in reliever SIERA (4.41) and dead last in bullpen strikeout rate (19.8%). The Snakes' relievers should be gassed, too, after covering seven frames last night.

Mike Yastrzemski ($3,200), Alex Dickerson ($2,500), Buster Posey ($3,100) and Brandon Crawford ($3,000) are the projected 1-4 hitters. Our model loves Yastrzemski, projecting him as the top overall hitter on the slate. Dickerson is always a fine low-salary dart throw at a dong when he's up against a righty. Posey and Crawford have been raking all year.

Points chasers will be on LaMonte Wade Jr ($2,900), who finished with 34.7 FanDuel points on Friday. Wade's game log is pretty funny as he's got 34.7, 0, 0, 24.7, 0 and 31.4 and 0 FanDuel points over his past seven. He'll have a shot at a ceiling game here, especially if he winds up hitting near the top of the lineup.