FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 10/1/21
With only a few days left in the regular season, pitching will be especially tough tonight, as outside of the handful of teams still fighting for the postseason, most are either eliminated teams coasting to the finish or division winners already looking ahead. Luckily, some of the night's stacking matchups happen to also include teams with something left to play for.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Sandy Alcantara ($9,300): Miami was obviously out of contention a long time ago, but Alcantara has been phenomenal down the stretch, posting a 2.97 SIERA, 28.6% strikeout rate, and 3.7% walk rate dating back to the start of August.
Meanwhile, with Philadelphia now eliminated, it wouldn't be surprising if they rest some of their key starters, leaving a bare bones lineup. As is, the Phillies come in with a middling 3.58 implied total, but be sure to check their lineup later to see if that mark drops even further.
Alcantara maintained a solid workload throughout September, so he ought to be allowed to go at least six innings to have a shot at a quality start.
Ranger Suarez ($9,000): We've been attacking the Marlins pretty much all season, so why not one more time with Suarez on the other side of this game? There's no guarantee Philadelphia lets Suarez log his usual workload, but that's pretty much the problem we face across the board tonight, and the lefty's gone over 90 pitches in four straight.
Since joining the rotation at the beginning of August, Suarez has produced a solid 3.77 SIERA, 24.0% strikeout rate, and 7.7% walk rate over 11 starts.
To no one's surprise, Miami has a low implied total as usual at 3.42.
Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,200): Rostering a starter from one the night's motivated teams is theoretically the best route to a guaranteed pitch count tonight. However, most of the options are fairly unappealing, particularly with the top talent of the bunch, Clayton Kershaw, failing to hit 80 pitches or exceed 5 innings in any of his September starts.
That arguably leaves us with Rodriguez as the most desirable choice in Boston's must-win game against the Nationals. The Red Sox choked away a golden opportunity against the Orioles this week, losing two of three, opening the door for the Mariners or Blue Jays to jump them for the final spot in the AL wild card race.
While the importance of this game could lead to a quick hook for E-Rod is even slightly off, the flip side is they ought to let him go deep into the game if he's dealing. Rodriguez isn't the easiest guy to trust, as you just never know what you're going to get from him, but he's put forth solid peripherals all year with a 3.62 SIERA, 27.4% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays tower over everyone else with a 6.19 implied total, and they need a victory to catch the Red Sox and Mariners, so motivation won't be an issue. Perhaps they'll be able to take advantage of their cupcake matchup against the Orioles better than Boston did.
Baltimore is rolling out Thomas Eshelman for a few innings to begin this one (6.07 SIERA; 9.6% strikeout rate) -- a great starting point for Toronto -- and then they'll fill the rest with a bullpen that's posted a 5.37 xFIP over the past month.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,300) is always the top choice when possible, but anyone in the star-studded top half of this lineup is a core play. Corey Dickerson ($2,300), Randal Grichuk ($2,400), and Danny Jansen ($2,300) are possible punt plays we could find at the bottom of the order tonight, too.
Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox mostly face-planted as the chalk stack the past few days, so it's possible the public is sick of them enough to drop their popularity a smidge -- but chances are they still get plenty of attention.
At any rate, they get yet another mediocre lefty tonight, this time in the form of Josh Rogers. Over five starts, Rogers owns a 5.45 SIERA, 15.3% strikeout rate, 8.9% walk rate, and 34.1% ground-ball rate.
As it's been all week, the same group of righty sticks are the top priorities between J.D. Martinez ($3,800), Xander Bogaerts ($3,700), Hunter Renfroe ($3,600), Enrique Hernandez ($3,400), and Bobby Dalbec ($3,000).
And much like Baltimore, Washington's bullpen also performed poorly in September (4.89 xFIP), so include lefty Rafael Devers ($3,900) right up there, as well.
Los Angeles Dodgers: At a 4.70 implied total, the Dodgers trail five other teams on the slate, which could put their roster percentages behind the top bats on the Blue Jays and Red Sox. Their matchup isn't as appealing against Eric Lauer, but Los Angeles is still fighting for a shot at the NL West title, so they remain a top offense to target.
The left-handed Lauer oddly has reverse splits against left-handed batters this season, but that actually falls in line with what he's done over his career. In 2021, he's showing an ugly 4.99 xFIP, 17.1% strikeout rate, and 12.6% walk rate in the split, perhaps giving us an opportunity to roster Max Muncy ($3,800) and Corey Seager ($4,000) as under-the-radar plays -- both can handle lefty-lefty matchups just fine.
Lauer is tough on righties (3.94 xFIP; 26.7% strikeout rate), though, so we're otherwise just hoping the talent of this deep lineup shines through.