FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 10/12/21
With the remaining American League series getting pushed back to Tuesday afternoon due to weather, we now have three games on tap, with the first one getting going at 2:07 PM ET. This could be a tricky slate to navigate, though, as we'll likely see half the teams going with pitchers on short rest and/or bullpen games.
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
With many of these pitching staffs being pushed to the brink, starting pitcher is a bit of a mess today. As of this writing, only three of the six teams have announced their starters, with those three being Lance McCullers ($9,600), Carlos Rodon ($8,600), and Anthony DeSclafani ($8,000).
Milwaukee announced they won't opt for Corbin Burnes on short rest, and they could instead go with left-hander Eric Lauer. While it's possible that Lauer would be deployed like a normal starter, in a must-win game, it wouldn't be surprising if the Brewers aren't afraid to go with a quick hook. They pulled Freddy Peralta after just 57 pitches for a pinch-hitter on Monday despite logging four scoreless innings. (UPDATE: Lauer is officially starting today)
Meanwhile, Atlanta could use Charlie Morton on short rest, but it's an "everybody's on the table" situation, so this could ultimately turn into more of a bullpen game. (UPDATE: Morton is officially starting today.)
Lastly, the Dodgers have offered a similar sentiment in stating "everyone's on the table," possibly rolling with Walker Buehler on short rest or opting for Tony Gonsolin. In either case, we probably shouldn't expect the starter to go more than a few innings.
Circling back to the announced starters, this all leaves McCullers as the best choice practically by default. The Houston righty logged 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 while logging 104 pitches. McCullers will be on four days rest, so he could have a shorter leash this time around, but he's still the most likely candidate to make a "normal" start. In the regular season, he posted a 4.01 SIERA, 27.0% strikeout rate, 11.1% walk rate, and 56.4% ground-ball rate.
The same can't be said for Rodon, who threw 69 pitches in his last start at the end of September and has experienced reduced velocity. He's well-rested, so it's possible a revitalized Rodon shows up, but it's much more likely the White Sox will look to the 'pen in short order. On top of that, the Astros are a tough offense that doesn't strike out often.
DeSclafani is our final option, and he has a daunting task ahead of him against the Dodgers. While he was solid this year, a 22.5% strikeout rate isn't particularly exciting, and he hasn't cracked 90 pitches since August 2nd. This will also be his seventh start against Los Angeles this season, and most of his results were mediocre to poor.
Ultimately, this largely boils down to just taking the closest guy to a sure thing in McCullers and then differentiating with your bats. If you want to roll the dice, Rodon is probably the next best choice in case he's given more leash than expected and resembles anything close to the guy who produced a 34.6% strikeout rate this season.
Stacks to Target
Between the murky pitching situations and otherwise solid starters taking the mound today, you could make a case for just about any offense for stacks.
The Dodgers are arguably in one of the better spots because of their familiarity with DeSclafani. The Giants righty doesn't necessarily have any glaring weaknesses, but his low strikeout rate should allow the Dodgers to put the ball in play plenty, and we know what tends to happen when they do that. Mookie Betts ($3,700), Corey Seager ($3,600), and Trea Turner ($3,900) are locked into the top three slots, followed by values in Justin Turner ($3,100) and Will Smith ($3,000).
If we assume Eric Lauer is starting for Milwaukee, then Atlanta is also worth putting at the top of your list. Lauer has a higher strikeout rate versus righties but also allows a 44.6% fly-ball rate and 39.1% hard-hit rate. Meanwhile, he owns a middling 17.9% strikeout rate and 12.8% walk rate versus lefties. It will be interesting to see if the Braves switch up their lineup versus a lefty, but given those splits, just about anyone is fair game.
The White Sox are probably at the biggest disadvantage against McCullers, but from a game theory perspective, they also figure to see some of the lowest roster percentages due to the presumed popularity of McCullers. The wind is also expected to be blowing out in that contest, so that could be a slight bump to bats on both sides.
The more conventional strategy would be to attack Rodon in case his velocity is still down, with a focus on righties Jose Altuve ($4,100), Alex Bregman ($3,100), Carlos Correa ($3,900), and Yuli Gurriel ($3,000) against the southpaw. Yordan Alvarez ($3,400) and Kyle Tucker ($3,700) also handle lefty-lefty matchups just fine.