FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 9/19/21

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

There are plenty of viable pitching options on this 12-game slate, but it's hard to get away from Gerrit Cole ($11,500 on FanDuel) in a nice matchup with the Cleveland Indians.

Cole threw 108 pitches in his first start back after exiting early with a hamstring issue, and with the New York Yankees playing for their postseason lives, he should be full go. For the year, he's pitched to a 34.6% strikeout rate, 5.7% walk rate and 14.8% swinging-strike rate. The Indians carry the fifth-highest strikeout rate across the last 30 days (24.5%) and are showing a 3.35 implied total, the slate's third-lowest. We project Cole for a slate-leading 38.6 FanDuel points.

There are several fun alternatives behind Cole, including Shane McClanahan ($9,100), Sandy Alcantara ($10,800), Zack Greinke ($7,800), Logan Gilbert ($7,300) and Lucas Giolito ($9,300). While you can make a case for all of them, I'm most into McClanahan and Giolito -- both of whom have superb matchups and the ability to rack up strikeouts.

McClanahan is at home versus the Detroit Tigers. Over the last 30 days, Detroit is ninth-worst in wOBA (.300) with the eighth-highest strikeout rate (24.0%). McClanahan has displayed big-time swing-and-miss stuff, recording a 27.5% strikeout rate and 15.0% swinging-strike rate. What keeps him at least a notch or two below Cole is the workload as he hasn't surpassed 88 pitches in any of his last four starts. He should, however, do damage while he's in there. We peg McClanahan for 29.9 FanDuel points, and the Tigers' 3.10 implied total is the second-lowest.

Giolito -- the holder of a 28.7% strikeout rate and 15.6% swinging-strike rate -- also has some pitch-count concerns. He went just 87 pitches last time out, which was his first start off the injured list, and with the Chicago White Sox on cruise control right now, they may not be too aggressive with him. With that said, the matchup is there as he'll see the Texas Rangers, the offense with the lowest wOBA in the second half (.279). Giolito is projected for 36.9 FanDuel points, according to our model, and the Rangers have been handed an attackable 3.67 implied total.

Stacks to Target

San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres have been a really poor offense for much of the second half, but they can blow up against J.A. Happ. In 2021, Happ has struggled to a 4.99 SIERA and 17.5% strikeout rate. Righties have smashed him for a .378 wOBA, 47.0% fly-ball rate and 2.14 dingers per nine.

Thinking about Fernando Tatis Jr. ($4,500) and Manny Machado ($3,500)? You should be. Machado has a long history of mauling southpaws, and he's posted a 50.0% fly-ball rate in the split this season. Tatis owns a .371 wOBA and 45.6% hard-hit rate with the platoon advantage. He's our top-ranked bat.

Tommy Pham ($2,400) could hit leadoff with a lefty going. That would boost his outlook, but he's a viable pick regardless of where he's slotted. He's got a .374 wOBA and 41.2% hard-hit rate in the split. Jurickson Profar ($2,400) and Wil Myers ($2,600) will also hit from the right side and were sixth and fifth in the order, respectively, the last time San Diego saw a southpaw.

Jake Cronenworth ($2,900) has a serviceable .336 wOBA in lefty-lefty matchups and hit third in that aforementioned game.

Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are taking on Alexander Wells at Fenway Park. Yes, please.

Wells has surrendered 2.36 homers per nine in his brief MLB career and is striking out only 15.0% of hitters. Righties have accounted for a crap ton of the damage, pummeling him for 3.58 jacks per nine and a lowly 9.5% strikeout rate. Boston's 6.26 implied total is tops on the slate.

Xander Bogaerts ($4,100), Hunter Renfroe ($4,200) and J.D. Martinez ($4,400) are the main attractions. The only negative is that it's hard to use them alongside Cole.

That's where Bobby Dalbec ($3,500) and Enrique Hernandez ($3,600) come in handy, although they're still up there in salary. Hernandez led off versus a lefty the last two days while Dalbec has hit sixth and seventh. With the platoon advantage this year, Dalbec has a juicy .373 wOBA.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers will take on right-hander Adrian Sampson, and Milwaukee's salaries make them a good pairing with a high-salary arm. The Brewers boast a 4.98 implied total for this one.

Sampson has struggled to a 17.4% strikeout rate in 174 1/3 career MLB innings. This year, he's registered an 18.0% strikeout rate in 21 1/3 frames. Before being called up, he threw 81 2/3 innings in Triple-A and was able to muster a mere 16.9% strikeout rate while allowing 3.64 homers per nine. Yes, 3.64.

Dan Vogelbach ($2,100), Luis Urias ($2,800) and Omar Narvaez ($2,300) are great pieces who offer a ton of cap relief. Narvaez has a .357 wOBA with the platoon advantage, and Urias can be deployed at three positions. Vogelbach has posted a .360 wOBA at home versus right-handers.

Christian Yelich ($3,700), Kolten Wong ($3,800), Avisail Garcia ($3,500) and Eduardo Escobar ($3,400) are super appealing if you have the salary. I'll likely mix and match two of these guys with two of the Brewers' lower-salary sticks.