FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 9/20/21

Monday's main slate checks in at just seven games, but we actually have a pretty solid group of arms to choose from -- and most salaries won't cost an arm and a leg, either. On offense, some typical teams own the highest implied totals, including the Yankees, Astros, and Braves.

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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.


Robbie Ray ($11,000): Ray is the only pitcher who exceeds even $10,000, making him the highest-salaried hurler by a wide margin. He and Freddy Peralta easily lead the way in season-long strikeout rate at 33.1% and 34.1%, respectively. However, while Peralta is coming off a promising and efficient 49-point outing, he only threw 71 pitches with the Brewers looking ahead to the postseason, making him very difficult to rely on in DFS.

That leaves Ray alone at the top despite a matchup against a dangerous Tampa Bay team. After all, Ray steamrolled the Rays in his last start for 13 strikeouts on his way to 67 FanDuel points, and he's now posted double-digit punchouts in five of his last six outings. On the year, Ray ranks fourth overall among qualified starters in SIERA and strikeout-minus-walk rate, demonstrating once again how dominant he's been in 2021.

Sean Manaea ($9,600): While Manaea has been anything but consistent down the stretch, he draws a plus matchup against Seattle and has shown an excellent ceiling when things go well. The Mariners' active roster has a 91 wRC+ and 25.1% strikeout rate versus southpaws this year, and in Manaea's two starts against them this year, he's put up 67 and 61 FanDuel points.

Manaea's sporting a 3.64 SIERA, 26.1% strikeout rate, and 5.6% walk rate this season, and prior to a stumble against the Royals in his most recent start, he produced strong performances versus difficult opponents in the White Sox and Blue Jays. He's also been allowed to log 101 pitches in each of his last two appearances, too, as Oakland tries to cling to their wild card hopes.

Nestor Cortes ($8,500): Of the value options, it's Cortes who stands out due to his plum spot against the lowly Rangers. Among active rosters, Texas is actually dead last in wRC+ versus left-handers (78), and they come in with a middling 3.34 implied total.

Cortes is coming off perhaps his best outing after piling up 11 strikeouts against the Orioles, although considering his 24.6% strikeout rate as a starter, that performance figures to be a high-water mark this year. Still, between his solid underlying numbers, the matchup, and his workload, Cortes should be in line for another strong start tonight.

Others to Consider: Ranger Suarez ($9,000), Freddy Peralta ($8,900), Huascar Ynoa ($8,400)


Houston Astros: The Astros have one of the highest implied totals of the night (5.20), and their matchup is easy to like against Jaime Barria. Despite being a right-hander, Barria has a history of struggling in same-sided matchups, and he hasn't been so hot versus lefties this year, either.

Against righties, Barria has only mustered a 4.97 xFIP, 16.4% strikeout rate, and 8.6% walk rate, but those marks only get uglier against lefty sticks, with a 5.65 xFIP, 9.1% strikeout rate, and 9.1% walk rate. He doesn't carry a high ground-ball rate against either side of the plate, as well, leaving him susceptible to the long ball.

As always, in terms of power numbers, it's lefties Yordan Alvarez ($3,800) and Kyle Tucker ($3,700) who lead the way on Houston -- particularly against such a low strikeout rate -- and then we have the usual star righties in Jose Altuve ($4,200), Alex Bregman ($4,000), and Carlos Correa ($3,500).

Yuli Gurriel ($3,000) is a value sandwiched amongst that top tier group as the cleanup hitter most nights, while we should get some punts low in the order between whichever of Chas McCormick ($2,200), Jake Meyers ($2,200), and Jose Siri ($2,500) starts.

New York Yankees: We don't have as much data to go off when it comes to New York's opposing pitcher, A.J. Alexy, but early returns suggest a big night for the Bronx Bombers.

Over 14 2/3 innings, Alexy may be showing some firepower with a 24.1% strikeout rate, but he's also been wild (15.5% walk rate) and giving up fly balls (63.6% fly-ball rate). All of this generally falls in line with his minor league track record, too.

The high strikeout rate could prove troublesome, of course, but the more likely scenario is what the Astros did to Alexy most recently, racking up 6 earned runs, 2 home runs, and 4 walks in Alexy's 3 2/3 innings of work.

It all starts with the usual suspects of Aaron Judge ($4,100), Giancarlo Stanton ($3,900), Anthony Rizzo ($3,700), and Joey Gallo ($3,100), while the bottom half of the order comes in on the cheap. Luke Voit ($3,200) and Gary Sanchez ($3,000) are appealing mid-salaried power options if they're in the lineup.

Milwaukee Brewers: After the Astros and Yankees, the Braves (5.15 implied total) should also be a popular stack against Humberto Mejia, but the implied totals drop off a bit after those three. Atlanta deserves to be in that top group against a pitcher who's low on both strikeouts and ground balls.

But we'll probably want to broaden our horizons beyond those three teams in tournaments, and the Brewers are one such option against Jake Woodford, who's bounced between the bullpen and rotation this year.

Against lefties, Woodford is showing a modest 4.68 xFIP, 16.7% strikeout rate, and 39.8% ground-ball rate. And while it's over a smaller sample, if we narrow things down to Woodford's five starts, his strikeout numbers plummet in the split to just 8.9%.

He induces grounders at a higher clip in same-sided matchups (46.8%), but he otherwise has poor marks in that split, too, with a 5.27 xFIP, 18.0% strikeout rate, and 13.1% walk rate.

Lefties look like a good place to start our stacks, and switch-hitter Eduardo Escobar ($3,600) is the best candidate to take advantage. Kolten Wong ($3,500), Christian Yelich ($3,500), Omar Narvaez ($2,400), and Dan Vogelbach ($2,300) are the other lefties we should expect to see in the order, though none of them are probably exciting enough to use on their own as one-offs.

Willy Adames ($2,800) and Avisail Garcia ($3,000) are firmly in the mix as the best power-hitting righties in the lineup, too. All the low salaries make the Brewers an ideal team to stack with Robbie Ray.

Others to Consider: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics