FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 7/9/21
We have a hefty 14-game main slate coming to us on Friday, but it's actually lacking in star power at pitcher. Only two hurlers have salaries at $10,000 or higher and just five exceed $9,000. On the bright side, that should leave more cap space for our bats, and there are plenty of stacks to choose amongst a plethora of high implied totals.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Charlie Morton ($10,000): Morton is probably the closest thing we have to a "big name" on this slate, which is saying something. Still, he's enjoying a solid 2021 campaign, checking in with a 3.62 SIERA, 27.6% strikeout rate, and 8.0% walk rate, and he hasn't seen any dip in those numbers over the past month. This a prime spot against Miami, as the Marlins' active roster owns a middling 90 wRC+ and 25.4% strikeout rate versus righties this season. Miami has one of the night's lowest implied totals (3.59). It's worth noting that Morton hasn't fared all that well against the Marlins in three starts this year -- including his most recent one -- but that shouldn't deter us from sticking with him in a pitching group lacking elite arms.
Taijuan Walker ($9,500): Walker has posted a very respectable 3.95 SIERA, 25.9% strikeout rate, and 8.0% walk rate this season, and he demonstrated some nice upside last month, with FanDuel scores of 61 and 55 FanDuel points against the Cubs and Orioles, respectively. We might not get that ceiling opposite the Pirates, though, as Pittsburgh has an annoyingly low 21.6% strikeout rate against right-handers. That said, this is hardly an imposing offense, with an 85 wRC+ in that split, so Walker ought to have a high floor at the very least. The Pirates have the lowest implied total of the slate (3.21).
Kenta Maeda ($7,300): Maeda's season-long numbers are pretty mundane, but he's coming off a 58-point FanDuel performance against Kansas City, which definitely gets our attention. Since returning from the injured list, Maeda's now posted a 4.12 SIERA, 28.4% strikeout rate, and 11.4% walk rate over four starts. Those walks are an issue, but Maeda's starting to show the strikeout upside that was sorely missing early in the year. He also got up to 97 pitches in that last start, so workload shouldn't be a concern, either. Best of all, this is the right matchup to keep the momentum going versus Detroit and their 26.3% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching.
Boston Red Sox: Boston leads the way with a 5.70 implied total in an inviting spot against Vince Velasquez. While Velasquez will occasionally have a strong outing here and there due to his 25.2% strikeout rate, his weaknesses should be exposed by a potent Red Sox lineup. The veteran right-hander has a poor 12.1% walk rate and allows fly balls at a 43.5% clip, leaving the door open for free runners on base and dingers.
The heart of the order in J.D. Martinez ($4,000), Xander Bogaerts ($3,600), and Rafael Devers ($3,800) are the top guys to build around, but this is otherwise a spot to mix and match just about anyone who cracks the lineup. Hunter Renfroe ($3,300), Alex Verdugo ($2,900), and Bobby Dalbec ($2,600) are some of the better bats at lower salaries.
Philadelphia Phillies: Flipping over to the other side of that game, the Phillies are in just as great a spot if not better. Garrett Richards is one of the most obvious cases where the lack of sticky stuff has completely derailed his ability to pitch effectively. Over the past 30 days, he's produced a 5.88 SIERA, 9.5% strikeout rate, and 8.6% walk rate over five starts. Yeah... good luck to him.
Similar to the Sox, we really don't have to be too picky here, but Bryce Harper ($4,100), Rhys Hoskins ($3,800), Andrew McCutchen ($3,400), and J.T. Realmuto ($3,300) are among the standouts, and the rest of the lineup comes in at value salaries.
Minnesota Twins: The White Sox are probably just as deserving of this third spot in a plus spot versus Jorge Lopez, but the Twins enjoy a truly fantastic matchup against Matt Manning. In four starts, Manning has only mustered a 5.85 SIERA and 7.4% strikeout rate while allowing a ton of hard contact. Add in a lackluster Tigers bullpen, and it's easy to see why the Twins boast a 5.62 implied total.
Nelson Cruz ($3,700) is the obvious starting point when possible, and Josh Donaldson ($3,100) is easy to fit in after making his return yesterday. Most everyone else comes in at lower salaries, with Alex Kirilloff ($2,700) being an enticing low-salaried power option due to his excellent Statcast metrics, which include an 85th percentile barrel rate and 93rd percentile xSLG.