FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Sunday 10/3/21
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.
With no pitcher boasting a salary greater than Chris Sale's $9,800 tag, it's a different slate overall from those we've come to know throughout the full season.
With just one game left on the radar for teams, we should want to make sure sure our pitchers are in positive spots and, ideally, have something to pitch for in terms of the playoff race.
Walker Buehler ($9,500) fits the bill against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched a playoff berth but could actually still win the NL West, forcing a tiebreaker with the San Francisco Giants. Buehler, then, deserves some attention today and is numberFire's top projected pitcher.
Buehler -- among projected starters on the slate -- ranks sixth in SIERA (3.80) and fifth in called-strike-plus-whiff rate (29.2%). That plus the Brewers' active-roster strikeout rate has Buehler projected for the fourth-best strikeout rate of the slate.
Dylan Cease ($9,000) and the Chicago White Sox also have some seeding implications. They've already clinched the AL Central but have a chance to slot up into the 2 seed from the 3 seed, depending on how things go with the Houston Astros.
Cease and the White Sox will be facing the Detroit Tigers, whose active roster strikeout rate ranks them 28th. Their wRC+ ranks them 17th. Cease himself offers a high ceiling with the highest projected strikeout rate of the slate (28.3%) but can always get into trouble with walks. There's a very clear path to a big game if he can eat up strikeouts in a promising matchup.
Standing in the way of the Dodgers are Logan Webb ($8,700) and the Giants. Webb actually projects for the fifth-most FanDuel points on the slate, per numberFire's projections. That's despite a matchup with a low-strikeout San Diego Padres team (21.0%, 4th-lowest) and a 100 wRC+ (10th-best). Webb himself has elite marks, though, including the best SIERA (3.16) and hard-hit rate allowed (26.6%) across his 569 batters faced.
The Toronto Blue Jays cling to playoff hopes (numberFire's model gives them a 26.1% chance to make the postseason), which puts them and Hyun-jin Ryu ($8,000) on the map. Ryu is granted a promising matchup with the Baltimore Orioles.
Baltimore's active roster ranks 26th in strikeout rate (24.7%) and 20th in wRC+ (95). Ryu himself leans on the positive side of average for this slate: he ranks 13th in SIERA (4.20), 11th in expected ERA (4.44), and 10th in called-strike-plus-whiff rate (28.2%).
Tyler Anderson ($8,100) of the Seattle Mariners could be a differentiation play. The Mariners are clinging to 18.4% playoff hopes and need a win against AL West rivals. The Los Angeles Angels' active roster isn't anything to avoid even after they got the better of him two starts ago.
They have a 24.1% strikeout rate (22nd) and a 97 wRC+ (16th). The bigger issue is that Anderson lags in his own data and hasn't gotten too far into many games lately. He is 18th in SIERA (4.50) and in strikeout rate (19.4%) on the slate. Still, he's a pitcher with a need to win, which is overall rare to find on the slate.
Buehler, Cease, Webb, and Ryu all have solid cases relative to the rest of the pitching slate to be the pitchers we build around.
Stacks to Target
Toronto Blue Jays
It's hard not to make Blue Jays some of our building blocks for today's slate. That starts with Ryu on the mound but just as easily -- if not more so -- applies to the hitters, who will be facing Bruce Zimmermann.
Zimmerman, among projected starters, ranks 19th in SIERA (4.58) and 25th in expected ERA (6.11) this season across his 278 batters faced. That pairs with a sub-20% strikeout rate (19.8%) and a just-okay called-strike-plus-whiff rate of 27.5% and a targetable hard-hit rate of 34.7%.
As for Toronto's bats themselves, they sit 2nd-best in active-roster strikeout rate (20.1%) and wRC+ (114). They'll be in a positive hitter's park and face a bullpen with an active-roster xFIP- of 112. A lot lines up for the Blue Jays.
That should start with the top of the order: George Springer ($3,700), Marcus Semien ($3,800), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,000), Bo Bichette ($3,900), and Teoscar Hernandez ($3,400). They've got a mega implied team total of 6.59.
The Houston Astros take on Cole Irvin and are playing to lock in the 2 seed in the American League.
Irvin will have his work cut out for him at the jump, as he has a lowly 16.2% strikeout rate and a high expected ERA of 4.95 across 745 batters faced this season.
The Astros, meanwhile, lead the Majors in strikeout rate and wRC+ among all active rosters. Their implied run total is up at 5.14 runs, and we could get a value bat with Michael Brantley ($2,500) near the top of the order.
Chicago White Sox
Again, we can like the pitcher for the White Sox but also the hitters.
They'll be teeing it up against Tyler Alexander, whose ERA of 3.95 is misleading. His expected ERA is 4.38, his SIERA is 4.44, his xFIP is 4.87. He allows a 44.9% fly-ball rate and gets a strikeout in just 19.4% of his matchups.
This won't be an easy stack to build around with the elevated salaries of Tim Anderson ($4,100), Yoan Moncada ($3,500), Jose Abreu ($3,900), and Eloy Jimenez ($3,600) at the top, but they make for a strong primary stack in lineups and in lineups we're not using Cease.
The Minnesota Twins make for a mix-and-match stack option with value potential coming from Luis Arraez ($2,100), Max Kepler ($2,500), and Miguel Sano ($2,500) within the top six of the order.
The matchup couldn't be much better against Jackson Kowar, either. Kowar's 0-5 record isn't hiding much: he has an 11.28 ERA, a 7.44 expected ERA, and a 5.82 SIERA that stemps from a 16.9% strikeout rate and a 14.0% walk rate against 136 batters faced.
And don't worry about the walks: he still gives up plenty of hard contact (34.7%).
The Twins' implied run total is 5.38.