FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 8/5/21

As per usual, we have a smaller Thursday main slate at six games, and while it's lacking elite pitching options, there's still some upside in our limited selection. On the hitting side, five offenses headline the board with implied totals well over five runs.

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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.


Sonny Gray ($9,300): Only two pitchers exceed even $9,000, and of the two, Gray is the clear top guy due to his strong underlying numbers and a plus matchup against Pittsburgh. Injuries have limited Gray's time on the field this season, but when he's been out there, he's generated a 3.61 SIERA, 29.0% strikeout rate, and 8.8% walk rate over 15 starts. He also logged 95 or more pitches in three of five July starts, so the workload is there, as well.

The Pirates aren't a big strikeout team, but they're a low-powered offense with an active roster sporting a mere 81 wRC+ versus righties. While Gray hasn't been the most consistent hurler this year, look for him to produce in this inviting spot.

Framber Valdez ($9,700): Valdez is probably someone I would gloss over on a normal-sized slate, but he falls under the "in play by default" category amongst tonight's choices. His 21.5% strikeout rate and 10.7% walk rate both leave something to be desired, and that tends to limit his upside on most nights. However, where he excels is a truly elite 71.3% ground-ball rate, so he isn't likely to get lit up by the long ball.

The Twins still have their share of dangerous bats, but they could help out Valdez with a few extra punchouts, too, as they own a 24.0% strikeout rate versus left-handers. Chances are Valdez doesn't crack the 50-point barrier, but on this slate, he could still do well enough to keep you in contention.

Touki Toussaint ($8,500): Toussaint is one of the real wild cards tonight, coming off an awful 4-point FanDuel performance but scoring 52 and 42 points in the two starts prior. A high walk rate has plagued him at every level over his young career, and across his 112 big league innings, he's put up an ugly 13.1% clip. But in this most recent stint, he's kept it down to just 5.6% over the three outings, which is a promising sign, and he's never lacked firepower, as it's also come with a 28.2% strikeout rate.

This isn't a bad matchup against the Cardinals, either, as St. Louis has a middling 90 wRC+ against righties. Toussaint's overall track record shows that he could once again completely flop here, but you could do worse than chase the potential ceiling.


Houston Astros: We may have just 26 2/3 innings of MLB data on Griffin Jax, but there isn't anything to suggest he's prepared to take down one of the league's best offenses. Jax has been crushed for a 6.41 ERA, and the underlying numbers haven't been pretty in a 5.09 SIERA, 19.0% strikeout rate, and 9.5% walk rate. He's also allowed a whopping 53.7% fly-ball rate, which has helped opponents to 2.36 home runs per nine innings.

Add in Jax's unremarkable minor league numbers, and it's easy to see the Astros earning their 5.74 implied total this evening.

Outside of maybe the very bottom spots of the lineup, you should feel pretty comfortable stacking just about anyone in this deep Houston lineup. Yordan Alvarez ($3,700) and Kyle Tucker ($3,600) are the top power options, and both will have the platoon advantage. Aledmys Diaz ($2,800) is getting regular at-bats and has produced a .199 ISO this year, making him a solid value at his salary. Chas McCormick ($2,200) is a worthwhile punt if he cracks the lineup.

Chicago White Sox: It's no secret the White Sox perform well versus lefties, and they get an exploitable matchup against one tonight in Daniel Lynch. Over five starts, Lynch hasn't exactly demonstrated he belongs, getting wrecked for a 6.95 ERA, and that isn't all that surprising when looking at his poor 5.37 SIERA and 13.0% strikeout rate. He's also induced grounders at a rate of only 38.0%, so more home runs could be in his future, too.

Chicago can roll out an entire lineup of right-handed bats, so Lynch will really be up against it. This isn't a very high-salaried stack, too, with Tim Anderson ($3,600), Jose Abreu ($3,400), and Eloy Jimenez ($3,300) checking in with the highest salaries of the bunch. Cesar Hernandez ($3,100) is a low-salaried bat out of the two-hole, and if you want a value bottom-half stack, you can group together some cheap power between Adam Engel ($2,700), Yoan Moncada ($2,900), and Andrew Vaughn ($2,800).

Atlanta Braves: With five teams exceeding five-run implied totals -- including what could be a popular Toronto Blue Jays offense -- perhaps the Braves get less attention with "just" a 4.61 mark. But their matchup against Wade LeBlanc places them right up there with those other offenses, as the veteran southpaw has pedestrian numbers this year. Against right-handed bats, he's recorded a 5.44 xFIP, 15.2% strikeout rate, and 35.9% ground-ball rate, and he has a history of coughing up home runs in the split.

Similar to yesterday, that should put us on Ozzie Albies ($3,600), Jorge Soler ($3,300), Austin Riley ($3,500), Dansby Swanson ($3,200), and Adam Duvall ($3,200). And LeBlanc's displaying a meager 12.7% strikeout rate in lefty-lefty spots, so Freddie Freeman ($3,700) still deserves plenty of love, too.

Others to Consider: Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals