FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 10/11/21

The playoffs are heating up. What does it mean for today's four-game MLB slate?

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

The early-announced starters -- in series that were off on Sunday -- are Freddy Peralta ($9,200) for the Milwaukee Brewers and Ian Anderson (8,200) for the Atlanta Braves as well as Alex Wood ($8,000) for the New York Giants and Max Scherzer ($9,900) for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The way the series has broken for the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays takes a relevant starter off the board, given a bullpen game and short starting stint for whoever gets the nod for the Rays. Boston is starting Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,400).

And then after a Game 3 rally, the Chicago White Sox will be giving the ball to Carlos Rodon ($8,600) against Jose Urquidy ($7,900) and the Houston Astros.

Scherzer leads the slate in SIERA (2.94) since the start of July across his 357 batters faced -- and that comes with a pristine 8-0 record. Scherzer ties with Rodriguez for the most likely win odds (40.0%), via numberFire's projections, though you'll probably see lower expectations for Rodriguez elsewhere, given the toss-up nature of that matchup.

Anyway, back to Scherzer, who also leads the slate in expected strikeout rate (27.6%), per my model, followed by Peralta (26.8%).

Speaking of that, here is a snapshot of each pitcher's expected strikeout rate, based on their data combined with their opponent's active-roster strikeout rate.

Pitcher Expected K%
Max Scherzer 27.6%
Freddy Peralta 26.8%
Eduardo Rodriguez 25.7%
Carlos Rodon 25.1%
Alex Wood 24.5%
Jose Urquidy 21.5%
Ian Anderson 20.8%

The worst pitcher by SIERA (5.36) since July 1st is Anderson, despite his 4-1 record and 3.86 in that split. He has a 12.1% walk rate and a slate-low 18.2% strikeout rate. Contrary to that, his Braves are -112 on the moneyline, and numberFire's algorithm projects him for .31 wins, trailing just Scherzer and Rodriguez at the .40 mark.

Ultimately, we've got seven choices, and the pretty unquestioned number-one option is Scherzer, even at the salary. Next up should probably be Rodriguez, given a good strikeout projection (7.15, behind only Scherzer's 7.17), though you could really go virtually anywhere after Scherzer.

Notably, Rodon and the White Sox sit at -126 on the moneyline, and the fact that he ranks second in SIERA (3.06) and second in strikeout rate (32.4%) helps him project well after Scherzer and Rodriguez. He's my personal second choice at a viable salary of $8,600.

I know the peripherals are not as high on Anderson, but numberFire's projections still like him as a value play for today's slate, as well.

Stacks to Target

Here is how likely each team is to score at least 7 runs as well as their odds to lead the slate in scoring over a thousand simulations. This can help us see the overall expectation for teams and to see how close (or narrow) the offenses should be ranked.

Team Opp
O/U Implied
Leader %
CHW Jose Urquidy 9 4.67 22.2% 16.6%
TB Eduardo Rodriguez 9 4.50 21.2% 14.4%
BOS Bullpen Game 9 4.50 19.7% 14.2%
LAD Alex Wood 7 4.06 17.3% 11.8%
HOU Carlos Rodon 9 4.33 22.2% 15.4%
ATL Freddy Peralta 8 4.04 16.4% 11.1%
MIL Ian Anderson 8 3.96 15.8% 9.8%
SF Max Scherzer 7 2.94 9.9% 6.7%

Chicago White Sox
The White Sox put up a dozen runs last night and draw Urquidy, who ranks as a low-strikeout pitcher on the slate while also sitting sixth among seven starters in SIERA and seventh in hard-hit rate.

They boast a slate-best implied run total for a reason. Tim Anderson ($3,600), Luis Robert ($3,700), Jose Abreu ($3,900), and Yasmani Grandal ($2,700) should sit inside the top four, and Eloy Jimenez ($3,000) and Yoan Moncada ($2,800) make for a more affordable 3-through-6 stack.

Tampa Bay Rays
I know that I mentioned Rodriguez rating out well enough as a pitcher, but in lineups where we don't use him, we should strongly consider the Rays' bats.

They've got a 4.50 implied run total, same as Boston's, and have the luxury of knowing their foe to start the game. The Rays' active roster ranks highly in wRC+ (113), as well.

Randy Arozarena ($3,900), Wander Franco ($3,700), Brandon Lowe ($3,600), and Nelson Cruz ($3,400) aren't the most affordable stack, yet they are relatively easy to build around in non-Scherzer lineups. The potential of Yandy Diaz ($2,900) and Jordan Luplow ($2,200) can help us get there, as well.

Los Angeles Dodgers
In the late game, we could get some leverage with the Dodgers against a good lefty pitcher in Alex Wood. The handedness dings Corey Seager ($3,700) at the top, but we've still got righties Mookie Betts ($3,800), Trea Turner ($4,000), Justin Turner ($4,000), Will Smith ($3,000), and Albert Pujols ($2,100) we can target in the top six.

The elevated salaries, late matchup, the middling implied run total, and the tougher-than-average opponent could leave the Dodgers a bit overlooked, but the simulations say they aren't that far off in top probability to lead the slate in runs or get to seven-plus.