FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 9/22/21
Tonight's slate is another one with quite a few intriguing names at pitcher, but one arm pretty clearly takes the night's top honors. On offense, a lot of the same high-powered lineups we've highlighted throughout this week are popping up again as potential stacks, as well.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Zack Wheeler ($10,700): While we also have aces like Chris Sale and Walker Buehler taking the mound tonight, Wheeler is in a tier of his own.
Sale is putting up solid numbers since his return from Tommy John surgery, but his velocity was down in his last start following a brief stint on the COVID-19 injured list, resulting in just one strikeout, and he's logged six innings in just one of his six appearances. Meanwhile, Buehler has the unenviable task of pitching at Coors Field.
We have no such concerns with Wheeler, though, who has pitched well lately after a few underwhelming starts at the end of August. Wheeler boasts an excellent 3.19 SIERA, 28.9% strikeout rate, and 5.4% walk rate this season, and he's been an innings eater in an era when such things don't exist, leading the league in innings pitched and tying for second in raw strikeouts.
To top it all off, he draws a plus matchup against Baltimore, which comes in with a slate-low 3.15 implied total.
Ian Anderson ($8,000): Given the uncertainty of the other high-salaried starters, it might not be a bad idea to drop straight down to the value range in lineups without Wheeler. Anderson is one such option against the Diamondbacks, which has an active roster that owns a poor 79 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching. While Arizona could use an entire lineup of lefties and switch-hitters to counter the right-handed Anderson, which isn't ideal, the good news is that Anderson doesn't see any dip in punchouts in that split.
Overall, he's posted a middle-of-the-road 23.4% strikeout rate this season -- a disappointing mark compared to what we saw in 2020 -- and a 10.0% walk rate remains worrying, as well. That being said, Anderson's now flashed 7 and 9 punchouts in back-to-back starts and most recently logged 99 pitches, suggesting he could be on the upswing after missing a good chunk of the summer on the injured list.
Between the high walk rate and fluctuating strikeout rate, there's risk in trusting Anderson, but his recent form hints at the upside we've seen in the past, and the opponent and salary make him a worthy tournament play.
Corey Kluber ($8,000): Kluber is another guy who isn't necessarily the easiest player to put faith in, but he's the latest Yankees hurler to face this weak Texas lineup. Kluber was out of commission since May before returning at the end of August, but much like Anderson, he demonstrated a full workload in his latest start (95 pitches), so he shouldn't have any restrictions in a game New York needs to win to move up in this wild card race.
While Kluber's results have been mixed over his four post-injury starts, including a concerning 11.4% walk rate, he's shown some potential off a 26.6% strikeout rate. The Rangers have one of the lowest implied totals on the board at 3.54.
Others to Consider: Chris Sale ($10,000). Luis Garcia ($8,300), Joe Ryan ($7,700)
Houston Astros: The Los Angeles Dodgers have the slate's highest implied total (6.01) in another Coors game, but I'm once again hesitant to go all in due to the matchup. This time they're up against Colorado's top pitcher, German Marquez, and it's not like we're getting any discount on their salaries, which are astronomical again. They're in play, of course, but it's a possible spot to fade or lower exposure to if they sound like they'll be popular.
The Astros also figure to be a heavily-rostered stack, but they have a delightful matchup against Janson Junk. Although Junk has only made two MLB starts, it's come with an 11.8% strikeout rate and 39.3% ground-ball rate, leading to him already giving up three home runs. Only a lucky .231 BABIP has prevented him from getting lit up yet. Junk did post solid numbers in Double-A this year, but this is a huge step up against one of the most lethal lineups in the league.
Against the right-hander, lefties Yordan Alvarez ($3,800) and Kyle Tucker ($3,500) get bumped to the front of the line, followed by the usual Astros righties. The bottom of the order continues to be a source of value, too, between whichever sub-$3,000 bats find their way into the lineup.
New York Yankees: The Yankees should be the other popular alternative to the Dodgers and Astros, facing left-hander Taylor Hearn. As both a reliever and starter, Hearn has put up a modest 21.9% strikeout rate, 9.3% walk rate, and 40.2% ground-ball rate, which shouldn't exactly scare any of the opposing batters on the other side.
We'll naturally want to attack the southpaw with right-handed sticks, as Hearn owns a poor 4.89 xFIP in the split. It all starts with Aaron Judge ($4,100) and Giancarlo Stanton ($3,900), and Luke Voit ($3,200) could also find his way into the order. Guys like Gleyber Torres ($3,100), Gary Sanchez ($3,000), and Gio Urshela ($2,600) all have lower salaries and can help function as value plays to mix in, or they can be used together as part of a less popular bottom-half or wrap-around stack.
Boston Red Sox: The Phillies and Braves are also in good spots with high implied totals, but don't forget about the Red Sox, who sit just behind all of the aforementioned teams with a solid mark of 5.04.
A look at Taijuan Walker's season-long numbers don't necessarily move the needle for a stack, but he's been getting absolutely pummeled since the All-Star break. In the second half, he's posted a 4.87 SIERA, 19.1% strikeout rate, and 8.5% walk rate while giving up a whopping 2.95 home runs per nine innings. Now facing a surging Boston team that's on a six-game win streak, Walker could see his woes continue tonight.
The Red Sox are loaded with power options between Rafael Devers ($4,000), J.D. Martinez ($3,900), Hunter Renfroe ($3,800), Xander Bogaerts ($3,700), and Kyle Schwarber ($3,600). Bobby Dalbec ($3,100) is a fantastic value if he starts, as he's put up a tantalizing .415 ISO since the start of August.
Others to Consider: Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers