3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 9/16/21

Just like in other sports, the focal point of your daily fantasy baseball lineups will be your high-salary studs. These guys take up by far the biggest chunk of your cap space, but they also offer the highest ceiling. And in the case of pitchers, the high-salary options typically come with the highest floors, too.

For hitters, we're looking for guys with big numbers, strong matchups, and with players around them that are likely to produce well, too, increasing our chances for runs and RBI. For pitchers, we want big strikeout numbers, while the ability to go deep in a game and pick up a win is also valuable.

With your high-salary picks playing such a big role in your lineup, you need to be right on these guys, so let's take a look at a few top-end options you can count on to anchor your lineup today.

Framber Valdez, P, Houston Astros ($10,100)

This is a tiny four-game main slate on Thursday, and while a lot of the viewing population may be enamored with the football game, some of us knuckleheads -- myself included -- still live and breathe with fantasy baseball.

So let's get to the top MLB DFS options.

The one pitcher who sticks out is Framber Valdez of the Houston Astros. He's the only super high-salaried hurler tonight, and he has been unequivocally outstanding this season thanks to a delightful 69.2% ground-ball rate. The strikeout rate is solid at 22.0%, and if there is one issue, it is his command (10.1% walk rate).

Valdez is a heavy favorite this evening (-220 moneyline) in a great matchup with the Texas Rangers, an offense that's recorded a .312 wOBA in the last 30 days. We project him as the night's top arm by almost eight FanDuel points.

Editor's note: Valdez has been scratched. Luis Garcia is starting instead.

Bryce Harper, OF, Philadelphia Phillies ($4,500)

Bryce Harper has been an absolute beast this season for the Philadelphia Phillies, and we peg him for the top score among hitters.

Over 526 plate appearances, Harper has slammed his way to an MVP-type season, logging a .305 isolated power (ISO), .430 wOBA, and 171 wRC+. Ooh, doggie.

And, things can get even better tonight. Harper faces righty Kyle Hendricks, the owner of a 4.85 FIP. Hendricks has really struggled with the long ball this campaign, giving up 1.57 homers per nine, and Harper should go berserk tonight.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, New York Yankees ($3,700)

In 57 innings in Triple-A this season, Chris Ellis -- tonight's starter for the Baltimore Orioles -- allowed 2.20 dingers per nine. That's right. And so far in a small sample size at the major league level, he's posted a 48.3% fly-ball rate.

With a gaudy 5.96 implied team total, the New York Yankees are going to be a chalk stack. All of their bats are in play, but I especially believe that Anthony Rizzo's milkshake is going to bring the fans to the yard. Rizzo's .217 batting average against right-handers isn't the tidiest, but he has slammed them for a .204 ISO.

With Ellis's poor numbers, a massive implied team total, and a game inside Camden Yards (which is top five both in park factor and home run factor), Rizzo makes for a great play as a piece of Yankees stacks.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.