FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 9/13/21
Monday's main slate is comprised of seven games and marks the return of Clayton Kershaw, though he won't be a factor in DFS tonight due to a limited pitch count. This is a fairly wide open slate across the board, as there isn't necessarily a lot separating the top pitchers and stacks.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Sandy Alcantara ($10,600): Given that he plays for the lowly Miami Marlins, you may not be fully aware that Alcantara has been absolutely dealing of late. Since the beginning of August, he's posted a 2.90 SIERA, 31.3% strikeout rate, and 4.6% walk rate over his last eight starts, which has resulted in six FanDuel scores of 46 points or better over that span, including a high-water mark of 70 points in his last outing.
He now faces a modest Nationals team that carries an 89 wRC+ versus righties, giving him a great opportunity to keep the momentum going.
Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,500): Rodriguez has produced solid peripherals all season, but a 5.15 ERA and 1.39 WHIP demonstrate how maddeningly inconsistent he's been. From August onward (seven starts), he's put up 46 or more FanDuel points three times while also submitting disastrous scores of 2 and 5 points.
Still, a 3.65 SIERA, 27.2% strikeout rate, and 6.7% walk rate this year show that he's generally been much better than the results would suggest, and an elevated .358 BABIP points to some poor luck being a factor. Seattle's active roster owns a 93 wRC+ and 25.3% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitching this season, so the matchup is right for the good version of Rodriguez to show up.
Yu Darvish ($9,200): Darvish has struggled more often than not lately, but he's coming off an encouraging performance against the Angels. Additionally, despite the underwhelming results this summer, he's still managed a 3.37 xFIP, 28.2% strikeout rate, and 5.2% walk rate since the All-Star break, which closely mirrors his first half marks.
The trouble is that he now has to face the Giants, who own the best record in the Majors and are showing an impressive 110 wRC+ versus right-handers. While cooler temperatures and a pitcher-friendly Oracle Park could help Darvish out, this is a decidedly risky spot for the veteran hurler. But, given his overall track record and promising underlying numbers, we shouldn't rule out another strong outing from him.
Houston Astros: We're not seeing a ton of high implied totals on the smaller slate, but the Astros lead the way at 5.10 against Spencer Howard. Last week, the 25-year-old righty threw 23 pitches in his first start since returning from the COVID-19 injured list, so he'll probably only log a few innings tonight, but he'll also be followed by a bullpen that's produced the second-worst xFIP (5.53) over the last 30 days.
While we aren't dealing with huge sample sizes, right-handed batters haven't had any trouble getting to Howard this year, as he's recorded a 5.30 xFIP, 20.9% strikeout rate, 11.6% walk rate, and 39.3% ground-ball rate in the split. He's surprisingly managed a 28.0% strikeout rate versus lefties, though he still allows plenty of walks and fly balls against them, too.
Houston's righties appear to have the advantage against Howard, but with the Rangers' bullpen likely pitching the bulk of this game, we ought to feel comfortable stacking just about anyone in this lineup. In terms of power, Yordan Alvarez ($3,600) and Kyle Tucker ($3,400) continue to be the top options, and guys like Michael Brantley ($2,600), Yuli Gurriel ($3,000), and Chas McCormick ($2,200) are values at their respective salaries.
Toronto Blue Jays: This being baseball, a team can score double-digit runs one night and get shut out the next, but it's hard to ignore what the Blue Jays did over the weekend, racking up 44 runs across in their last three games -- and two of them were seven-inning contests due to a doubleheader.
They'll look to keep things rolling tonight in what's expected to be a matchup versus opener Collin McHugh and bulk reliever Ryan Yarbrough. While McHugh has produced impressive numbers this season, Yarbrough owns a modest 4.46 SIERA and matches up poorly against Toronto as a lefty. When facing righties, Yarbrough is putting up a 4.78 xFIP, 16.6% strikeout rate, and 35.2% ground-ball rate.
The top half of the Blue Jays' lineup needs no introduction, and they're the priorities as always. Lower in the order, Alejandro Kirk ($2,700) and Randal Grichuk ($2,600) are the top values, and as an added benefit, it's possible they avoid facing McHugh. Lourdes Gurriel ($3,800) is really getting up there in salary, but that should keep his popularity down, and he's posted a .252 ISO since the All-Star break.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Dodgers are the third team with a high implied total, though it's a tricky matchup against Zac Gallen, so you could consider fading them in tournaments if you get the sense they'll be pretty popular.
There's a fairly big drop off after that, but one team you could consider is Tampa Bay. Although their matchup isn't spectacular against Alek Manoah, Manoah figures to find his way onto some lineups in tournaments, so that could keep the Rays' bats from seeing overly high roster percentages. And while the rookie right-hander is enjoying a fine campaign, he's submitted the occasional clunker here and there, which is only natural in his first big league season.
Manoah has a hefty 28.7% strikeout rate versus lefties, but he's also given up 1.82 home runs per nine innings in the split, along with a worrisome 12.4% walk rate. In same-sided matchups, he hasn't been allowing home runs as often but has a middling 22.9% strikeout rate. The lack of dingers to righties could also simply be due to luck, as he's giving up plenty of fly balls (41.7%) and is only showing a 6.0% homer-to-fly-ball rate that ought to regress towards the league average (13.7%).
Ultimately, we can find a path to success in either split, and the Rays are a potent offense with a 114 wRC+ versus righties. Nelson Cruz ($4,200), Brandon Lowe ($3,500), and Austin Meadows ($3,300) are the guys to build around, and all-or-nothing Mike Zunino ($3,400) is perfect for tournaments.
Others to Consider: Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres