FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 8/22/21

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 projections and 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

We have three hurlers projected for at least 30 FanDuel points, and they stand out from the pack. The three are Steven Matz ($8,000), Adam Wainwright ($9,600 on FanDuel) and Framber Valdez ($9,700). All three have pretty dope matchups.

Our projections slot Valdez and Wainwright in their own tier, pegging them for 40.0 and 39.3 FanDuel points, respectively, while we project Matz for only 31.5 FanDuel points. I think all three are fairly equal as I'm higher on Matz than our model is while also being a little lower on Wainwright and Valdez.

What's holding me back a bit with Wainwright is a lack of swing-and-miss upside. The Pittsburgh Pirates don't pack much of a punch, but they have limited strikeouts fairly well for much of the season. With that said, the Pirates' 24.0% strikeout rate over the last 30 days is the seventh-highest. Wainwright has been pretty solid all year, but his 8.0% swinging-strike rate is a below-average mark and hints at regression for his 22.5% strikeout rate. Pittsburgh's 3.30 implied total is a slate-low clip.

Valdez's season-long strikeout numbers aren't stellar -- 21.9% strikeout rate -- but Seattle helps in that department as the M's have the 10th-highest strikeout rate (23.7%) over the last month. Valdez has gone for 30, 49, 29, 33 and 40 FanDuel points across his last five outings. He's also logged at least 99 pitches in three straight starts. He's a quality play even if I do think our projection is a touch high.

Matz is very appealing at his salary. The lefty takes on a Detroit Tigers lineup that has decent pop but is striking out 24.6% of the time over the last 30 days, the third-highest in the split. Matz sports a 4.03 SIERA and 23.3% strikeout rate for the year. The Tigers' 4.04 implied total isn't ideal, but I think Matz's strikeout ability gives him a top-of-the-slate ceiling today.

I want to hit on Carlos Hernandez ($7,100) real quick as a value option. He has done fairly well for the Kansas City Royals since being moved to the rotation, and he's done so despite his past four starts coming against the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox (twice). Now he's taking on a Chicago Cubs offense that is at the other end of the spectrum -- one that has the highest strikeout rate over the last 30 days (28.4%). Hernandez -- who boasts a 23.6% strikeout rate -- struggles with walks, but the Cubbies have the fourth-lowest walk rate (7.2%) over the last month.

Stacks to Target

Houston Astros

The Houston Astros have scored 33 runs over their last three games, including 27 across the last two. They mash lefties, and they're taking on Tyler Anderson. Houston isn't going to sneak up on anyone today, but man, they are tough to fade right now.

Righties Jose Altuve ($3,700), Carlos Correa ($3,900), Yuli Gurriel ($3,000) and Aledmys Diaz ($2,700) will be core plays for me. Gurriel owns a .395 wOBA against southpaws while Diaz has a .405 wOBA in the split. Altuve (40.3% fly-ball rate) and Correa (.374 wOBA) also do work with the platoon advantage.

Fellow right-handed hitters Chas McCormick ($2,600) and Jake Meyers ($2,700) offer cap relief. Meyers has a hit in five straight. McCormick has a 50.0% fly-ball rate versus lefties, although he exited early with a hand injury yesterday.

The lefty-lefty matchup shouldn't scare you away from Yordan Alvarez ($3,900) and Michael Brantley ($3,200). Alvarez has put up a .367 wOBA and 37.3% hard-hit rate in the split in 2021. Brantley's production against left-handers isn't as juicy, but he is getting crushed by a .269 BABIP in same-sided matchups despite a hard-hit rate (37.2%) that is significantly better than his hard-hit rate against righties (33.3%).

Toronto Blue Jays

One of the other go-to stacks today will be the Toronto Blue Jays, who should feast on Drew Hutchison. The Tigers' right-hander got just five outs in a six-run (two earned) outing against the Cleveland Indians in his 2021 debut. The Jays' carry a monster 5.96 implied total, the slate's highest.

The big negative with Toronto -- as is always the case with them -- is that they're way up there in salary. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,400), Marcus Semien ($4,000), Teoscar Hernandez ($3,900) and Bo Bichette ($3,700) are all at least $3,700. They're top-shelf plays if you can get to them. We have Vladdy, Bichette and Semien ranked among our top four bats.

Corey Dickerson ($2,600) is a vital piece on this slate as a low-salary guy who gets you a piece of the Jays. Dickerson is projected to hit sixth and will have the platoon advantage.

Righties Randal Grichuk ($2,700) and Lourdes Gurriel ($3,200) also make for economical inclusions to Toronto stacks.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers are up against Sean Nolin, and their implied total is a saucy 5.56. Nolin, a lefty, has made one start this season, permitting four earned runs and one jack in three frames versus the New York Mets. He should be in a lot of trouble today.

Eduardo Escobar ($3,500), Willy Adames ($3,400) and Avisail Garcia ($3,400) will hit from the right side against Nolin. Garcia has punked southpaws for a .442 wOBA and 43.3% hard-hit rate. He's one of my favorite plays on the slate. Adames has been better against righties this season, but he's so hot (.398 wOBA in the second half), that it doesn't matter too much. Escobar has posted a .342 wOBA and 46.5% fly-ball rate against lefties.

Christian Yelich ($3,500) hasn't been good in lefty-lefty spots this season, but that may not be a big deal if Nolin has a short day. On the other hand, Kolten Wong ($3,300) has a better wOBA against southpaws (.360) than he does right-handers (.339) and is projected to lead off.

Value sticks Luis Urias ($2,700) and Lorenzo Cain ($2,900) need to be on our radar if they get in the lineup.