FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 9/14/21
This looks like a slate where we can probably get away with a fairly tight core at pitcher, particularly with only one arm exceeding $10,000 tonight. The very top stacking matchups are also somewhat concentrated for a 12-game slate, but with this being baseball, we know it's never quite that simple on any given night.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Gerrit Cole ($11,400): Cole was pulled early from his last start due to hamstring tightness, which is never something you want from your pitcher when you're forking over far and away the highest salary on the slate. But Cole didn't require a stint on the injured list, and given the alternatives on the board, it's hard to see anyone else on the slate matching a healthy Cole's ceiling.
Cole has settled into his usual impressive numbers on the year, boasting a 2.80 SIERA, 34.7% strikeout rate, and 5.4% walk rate across 26 outings. Prior to the abbreviated start, he scored 73, 55, 46, and 47 FanDuel points over his last four.
Baltimore's active roster has a 96 wRC+ and 24.7% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, so the matchup checks out, as well. The Orioles have a 3.53 implied total, one of the lowest of the night.
Nathan Eovaldi ($10,000): If Cole's hamstring issue concerns you, and/or you just don't want to pay that premium salary, Eovaldi is a great pivot in a plus spot versus the Mariners. Lucas Giolito might normally be the next best choice, but seeing as he's returning from the injured list with his own hamstring issue, he's even riskier than Cole.
From the beginning of July onward, Eovaldi has posted a pristine 3.23 SIERA, 29.2% strikeout rate, and 3.7% walk rate over a dozen starts, which are among the best marks of any non-Cole arm on the slate. While Eovaldi is typically held to just under 100 pitches in his starts, that tiny walk rate helps his efficiency, logging six-plus innings in half of his appearances over that span.
As for Seattle, they tend to help out opposing pitching scores with a 91 wRC+ and 25.4% strikeout rate versus righties.
Frankie Montas ($9,300): Much like Eovaldi, Montas has improved as the season's gone on, as he's sporting a 3.45 SIERA, 30.1% strikeout rate, and 7.8% walk rate over his last 12 starts. He's also notched quality starts in 10 of his last 11.
Kansas City hasn't been a great opponent for accumulating punchouts for much of the season, but they have some high-strikeout bats lower in the order these days, which includes Adalberto Mondesi, who whiffs a great deal despite being a fantasy darling.
While Montas doesn't quite fall into "value" territory, he still brings a good chunk of change back into our pockets when compared to Cole. If you need a true bargain bin guy, then you could take a stab at Erick Fedde due to his spot against the light-hitting Marlins.
Others to Consider: Erick Fedde ($7,200)
New York Yankees: The Yankees are easy to like against left-hander Alexander Wells, who has some rough numbers versus right-handed bats, albeit over a small sample. In 14 2/3 innings against righties, Wells is showing a 7.08 xFIP, 8.9% strikeout rate, 10.1% walk rate, and 30.2% ground-ball rate.
Despite the lack of innings, I'm willing to buy into those marks due to his modest minor league track record, which includes a 4.49 xFIP and 21.9% strikeout rate in Triple-A this year. Season-long projections on FanGraphs universally peg him for an ERA bordering on 6.00.
All of these leads to Bronx Bombers owning the slate's top implied total (5.97). Aaron Judge ($4,100) and Giancarlo Stanton ($4,000) are the top spend-up options, while there ought to be solid righty values lower in the lineup in guys like Luke Voit ($3,200), Gleyber Torres ($3,100), Gio Urshela ($2,500), and Kyle Higashioka ($2,000).
Joey Gallo ($3,000) gets the lefty-lefty matchup, but he owns a career .279 ISO in the split and should absolutely be included at such a modest salary.
Houston Astros: Jordan Lyles is giving up 2.08 home runs per nine innings, leading to him allowing the most dingers in the league (36). Do you need to know much more than that to stack the Astros against him?
Lyles has poor marks against both lefties and righties -- I know, shocking -- but lefty sticks should have a leg up, with Lyles displaying a 5.63 xFIP, 16.8% strikeout rate, 10.0% walk rate, and 47.2% fly-ball rate against them.
After that, any of the usual right-handed bats are fair game in this deep lineup. Check the very bottom for some punt value out of someone like Chas McCormick ($2,200) if he starts, too.
San Francisco Giants: Teams like the Giants, Dodgers, Phillies, and White Sox also find themselves in great spots, and between them and the previous two teams, perhaps one or two lags behind in popularity.
San Francisco's implied total is slightly lower than several of these other teams, so it's possible at least some of their bats see lower roster percentages. In any case, the matchup is excellent against Jake Arrieta, another hurler getting rocked by the home run ball, allowing 2.19 per nine innings.
Similar to the Astros' situation, we can comfortably stack both sides of the plate, but the lefties once again get a slight bump versus Arrieta. Against them, he's showing a 5.46 xFIP, 16.8% strikeout rate, 12.9% walk rate, and 40.4% ground-ball rate.
With that in mind, Brandon Belt ($3,600) ought to be the popular first choice here, and Tommy La Stella ($2,700) and LaMonte Wade Jr ($2,900) could also draw attention as value plays. But we can also look to Brandon Crawford ($3,400) and Mike Yastrzemski ($3,300) lower down, and it's likely they get less attention.
Others to Consider: Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics