FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Saturday 7/31/21

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.

Pitching Breakdown

There are three pitchers out on their own on this slate -- Yu Darvish ($9,600 on FanDuel), Aaron Nola ($11,000) and Brandon Woodruff ($10,800). They are the only three pitchers we have projected for more than 30 FanDuel points, and I rank them in that order. (Our model has Nola and Woodruff flipped.)

Even without factoring in salaries, Darvish is the clear number-one in my eyes. The season-long numbers are there as he's got a 3.47 SIERA, 28.9% strikeout rate, 12.8% swinging-strike rate and 5.8% walk rate. The matchup is there, too, as Darvish is hosting the Colorado Rockies, a team that sits dead last in road wOBA (.272). Once you add in Darvish's friendly salary, there's so much to like. I'll be overweight on him.

As for Nola and Woodruff, I lean Nola due to his matchup.

Nola is taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates while Woodruff is at the Atlanta Braves. Woodruff can carve up anyone when he's on, but the Braves are 10th in wOBA (.323). The Pirates rank 28th (.297). Nola carries a 3.30 SIERA, 29.0% strikeout rate, 13.1% swinging-strike rate and 5.0% walk rate. He can mow through Pittsburgh.

If you want a contrarian play, German Marquez ($10,000) fits the bill. Facing the San Diego Padres and with the third-highest salary on the slate, Marquez isn't going to attract a high draft percentage. But the Padres could be sans Fernando Tatis Jr., who exited early last night, and Marquez has the stuff -- 24.9% strikeout rate and 13.0% swinging-strike rate -- to do damage.

In the value range, JT Brubaker ($6,600), Tyler Anderson ($6,900) and Joe Ross ($7,400) have some appeal. Ross is the only one I'll use, because I think he can sniff the ceiling of the slate's aces. He's up against a Chicago Cubs lineup that just lost a lot of firepower, and he owns a 24.4% strikeout rate with an 11.1% swinging-strike rate. Our projections have Ross as the fourth-best arm behind the three we mentioned at the jump.

Stacks to Target

Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox have a juicy 5.28 implied total -- the highest of the slate as of Saturday morning (when a few totals aren't yet up) -- for their date with Triston McKenzie. McKenzie is a bit scary to stack against because he can miss bats (29.8% strikeout rate), but he's walking a hard-to-fathom 16.3% of hitters and is permitting 1.67 dingers per nine. That's not a good combo.

The Pale Hose possess plenty of pop and don't break the bank, making them a fine pairing with a high-salary ace.

Our projections have Tim Anderson ($3,600) as Chicago's top bat, and his power/speed skills give him huge upside on a nightly basis. Yoan Moncada ($2,900) and Gavin Sheets ($2,300) are superb point-per-dollar plays. Moncada had a big game last night (27.9 FanDuel points), and Sheets is low-salary access to a dude who has been hitting clean-up and holds a .352 wOBA.

Jose Abreu ($3,400) and Eloy Jimenez ($3,300) need to be on our radar, although both are dinged up. Abreu was hit in the head with a pitch last night while Jimenez missed the game due to a groin issue. Cesar Hernandez ($3,100) will likely hit second, and Brian Goodwin ($2,300) is a viable low-salary dart.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are up against Merrill Kelly, a low-strikeout pitcher who has had homer issues in his career. Yes, please. LA's implied total isn't posted yet, but it'll likely be pretty high. It's not easy to jam in the Dodgers' top sticks alongside an ace, but Darvish's salary helps.

Our algorithm slots Justin Turner ($3,400) as the slate's top bat, and he makes a lot of sense at his modest salary. We rank Chris Taylor ($3,900) third, and his multi-position eligibility is handy. Max Muncy ($3,900) is always worth a look. He's bashed righties for a .398 wOBA and 40.8% hard-hit rate. He's got a .404 wOBA and 45.9% hard-hit rate in July.

Corey Seager ($3,000) is back, returning to the lineup last night. He's posted a 41.7% hard-hit rate with the platoon advantage this season. Cody Bellinger ($3,100) has been miserable this year but can still run into one. Matt Beaty ($2,100) frees up some salary and boasts a .325 wOBA against righties, with all four of his taters coming in the split.

Minnesota Twins

A matchup with Jake Woodford puts the Minnesota Twins on the stacking radar. Woodford has a mere 18.1% strikeout rate in 57 career MLB innings, and he never had a strikeout rate above 20.4% at any minor-league stop.

Our model projects Mitch Garver ($2,700) as the Twins' best hitter, just slightly in front of Max Kepler ($3,700). Kepler is having a disappointing campaign, but he finished 2020 with a .383 wOBA and 47.5% fly-ball rate versus righties. Garver is rocking a .381 wOBA and has three jacks in his past five starts.

While rookie Trevor Larnach ($2,700) is slumping hard, he has a solid minor-league track record and has posted a .330 wOBA against right-handers. Jake Cave ($2,100) will hit from the left side, and Miguel Sano ($3,200) owns a 40.2% hard-hit rate and 53.6% fly-ball rate in this split. Our model doesn't rate Jorge Polanco ($3,400) as a good point-per-dollar play, but he'll probably be atop the order and is eligible at two positions.