FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 7/27/21
We've got all 30 MLB teams in action on Tuesday's slate, yet only two pitchers have salaries of $10,000 or higher. But the lack of high-end choices does open up room for our bats, with roughly half of tonight's offenses surpassing a 4.50 implied total. The one game with possible rain issues could be the Blue Jays-Red Sox contest, but as of this writing, it looks like it should be a go.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Lance McCullers ($10,500): McCullers is one of the two arms cracking a five-digit salary, and with Robbie Ray in a difficult spot against the Red Sox, that leaves McCullers as the more desirable high-salaried option. That's because he's up against the Mariners, who can give us a nice assist in punchouts due to their active roster's 25.7% strikeout rate versus righties.
Given the lack of top-tier aces on this slate, McCullers' 27.8% strikeout rate is a solid enough mark, and he's been on a roll lately with seven or more strikeouts in five straight starts. His 11.7% walk rate is a concern for his efficiency, but the good news is that the Astros have provided him a long leash lately, allowing him to log 100 or more pitches in three of his last four outings.
Charlie Morton ($8,500): Not a whole lot separates the top pitching options tonight, so we're hardly sacrificing upside if we dip down into the value range. Morton's 3.67 SIERA, 28.0% strikeout rate, and 8.6% walk rate compare favorably with just about anyone else on the board, and he faces a Mets team with a modest 93 wRC+ against right-handers.
Although Morton has struggled with walks a bit lately, he's another guy who's been consistently racking up punchouts, tallying at least seven in each of his last seven starts.
Kenta Maeda ($8,300): It's been an odd 2021 campaign for Maeda, but he's looked more like himself since returning in mid-June, registering a 3.60 SIERA, 30.1% strikeout rate, and 8.5% walk rate over seven starts.
He's up against a Detroit lineup that's actually performed well of late, but they're still a great matchup for whiffs, as their roster carries a 26.1% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching. Oddsmakers are also giving Maeda the benefit of the doubt considering the Tigers are displaying a mere 3.88 implied total.
Workload is always a worry with Maeda, particularly since the Twins have given up on the season, but he did get up to 95 pitches in his last appearance, so he won't necessarily get a quick hook.
Toronto Blue Jays: Toronto ought to be one of the most popular stacks of the evening in a cushy matchup against Garrett Richards. Richards' post-sticky stuff struggles are well-documented at this point, and he faced these same Blue Jays in his last start and promptly coughed up three home runs. In fact, this will mark the fifth time Richards has faced Toronto this year, so this deep lineup is more than familiar with his arsenal.
As for the veteran right-hander's numbers, he's posted a 5.05 SIERA and 14.9% strikeout rate since the beginning of June while allowing 2.08 home runs per nine innings. And most of those dingers have come off right-handed sticks, which naturally doesn't bode well for Richards against this lineup.
Considering the value we have at pitcher, it should be easier to stack the star-studded top half of the order than it is some other nights, and we also get Lourdes Gurriel ($2,700) and Randal Grichuk ($2,600) for cap relief.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs are a below-average offense, so it says something when their implied total jumps to a sky-high 5.95. Not only do they draw a fantastic matchup against an overmatched Vladimir Gutierrez, but we're getting hitter-friendly temperatures and winds at Wrigley Field.
Gutierrez checks just about every box you could hope for as someone we want to pick on, with a poor SIERA (5.58), strikeout rate (15.5%), walk rate (10.5%), and ground-ball rate (37.6%). It's all added up to a 4.97 ERA and 1.45 WHIP while giving up 1.82 dingers per nine innings. Yeah, I think we're going to want some Cubs exposure this evening.
We can happily attack Gutierrez with both sides of the plate, but his splits versus lefties show an egregious 6.79 xFIP, so Anthony Rizzo ($3,300) is practically a must, and Rafael Ortega ($2,000) -- while hardly notable on his own -- moves up the list as a value play if he's batting leadoff at his minimum salary.
Washington Nationals: The Nationals are another meh offense under most circumstances -- well, other than Juan Soto ($4,400) and Trea Turner ($4,300) anyway -- but they've actually been an above-average offense against lefties this season, and they face one of the league's weaker southpaws in Matt Moore.
Much like the aforementioned Gutierrez, Moore has just about everything we could ask for in stacking target, checking in with a 5.02 SIERA, 19.2% strikeout rate, 10.4% walk rate, and 35.9% ground-ball rate.
Eight of the nine home runs he's allowed have come to right-handed batters, which comes to a rate of 2.48 homers per nine innings. Outside of Soto, we could very well see the rest of the lineup loaded up with righties, and once you get past Turner, you can roster guys like Alcides Escobar ($3,200), Ryan Zimmerman ($2,600), and Josh Harrison ($2,800) without too much trouble.
Of course, Soto is still very much a core play despite the lefty-lefty spot. Soto owns a career 130 wRC+ in same-sided matchups, and Moore is striking out lefties at just a 16.4% clip.