FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 4/19/22
Tonight's 10-game main slate has a slew of aces up top, and Coors Field is once again on the menu. Thankfully, rain shouldn't be a big factor, though quite a few games are looking at cooler temperatures.
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Corbin Burnes ($10,800): The top pitcher on the board is pretty clear tonight. Not only is Burnes arguably the slate's top talent to begin with, but he's at home against a poor Pittsburgh offense that we'll likely be attacking all season. It's of little surprise that the Pirates have a slate-low 2.95 implied total.
Burnes "only" has a 26.1% strikeout rate through two starts, but his 16.1% swinging-strike rate is similar to what he achieved last season when he produced a massive 35.6% strikeout rate. His workload shouldn't be in doubt, either, after tallying 97 pitches in his last appearance.
Burnes checks all the boxes and should be at the top of your wish list tonight.
Robbie Ray ($9,900): The obvious pivot to Burnes is Joe Musgrove ($11,000), who has been lights out through two starts, posting a 31.1% strikeout rate while issuing zero free passes. He can absolutely contend with Burnes for the highest score on the night against a Reds team showing a middling 3.21 implied total.
But, both pitchers have restrictive salaries well above the rest of the field, and maybe you'll need some of that back for certain stacks.
Taking a chance on Ray could be one option. The reigning AL Cy Young winner, the southpaw should be easy to like against the Rangers after crushing it with a 3.21 SIERA, 32.1% strikeout rate, and 6.7% walk rate last season.
But things haven't gone as planned to begin 2022. Ray hasn't looked the same in his opening starts, displaying reduced velocity with a poor 16.1% strikeout rate and 23.4% called-plus-swinging-strike (CWS) rate. Control has also been a problem, doling out a 10.7% walk rate.
That's a whole lot of bad news, and you can be forgiven if you'd rather wait for some positive signs before jumping back in on Ray.
At the same time, we're still only talking about two starts, and a reduced roster percentage could be a buying opportunity in tournaments. These early struggles could merely be the result of this year's abridged spring training, and it's not like the lefty had easy matchups against the Twins and White Sox, either.
Oddsmakers are also giving Ray the benefit of the doubt. The Rangers only have a 3.51 implied total, and FanDuel Sportsbook has Ray's strikeout prop set at 7.5.
Nathan Eovaldi ($7,800): Considering the strength of tonight's high-salaried arms, it might be tough for a value play to break through on Tuesday night. Not only do we have the previously mentioned trio, but Walker Buehler ($9,700) could be a factor as well.
If we're going to take a stab at someone, though, Eovaldi may fit the bill. I considered Justin Steele ($8,200) here, who has shown some promise in the early going, but I'm not sure he'll get enough punchouts and innings to keep up with the big boys tonight.
With Eovaldi, we have no such worries. The veteran righty got up to 101 pitches in his last start, and he's flashed a 30.2% strikeout rate and 14.1% swinging-strike rate thus far. His punchouts probably won't stay this high over the long haul, but he's shown the ability to pop for big games, and he put up a rock-solid 25.5% strikeout rate in 2021.
The problem? He's facing a tough Blue Jays lineup that boasts George Springer, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. up top.
However, they're missing a key piece in Teoscar Hernandez to injury, and the bottom half of the order isn't quite as formidable. Toronto's 4.18 implied total also might not be as high as you would expect.
Eovaldi's hardly a risk-free play, but getting this kind of strikeout ability and workload at this salary is hard to come by.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies were a colossal disappointment at Coors Field last night, and what's even more embarrassing is that opposing pitcher Chad Kuhl actually ended up on the perfect FanDuel lineup. Baseball!
Well, don't let that deter you from considering Philadelphia yet again, as they once again have the highest implied total (6.12), and no one else comes close.
The matchup isn't quite as enticing versus Kyle Freeland, but there also isn't anything scary about the left-hander.
Freeland's never been a high-strikeout pitcher, recording a 20.4% rate last season and just 15.2% through two 2022 outings. He tends to do a reasonable job inducing grounders, though they primarily came in lefty-lefty matchups in 2021 (53.3%).
The righties are the clear starting point, with Nick Castellanos ($4,100), J.T. Realmuto ($3,900), and Rhys Hoskins ($3,800) being the priorities. The lefty sticks of Bryce Harper ($4,200) and Kyle Schwarber ($3,300) will be at a disadvantage, but they could see lower roster percentages and still come through versus Colorado's relief pitching.
Outside of taking some swipes at some less exciting value options at the bottom of the order, rostering a lower-salaried pitcher like Eovaldi may be necessary to fit in these top bats.
Boston Red Sox: Despite last night's faceplant by the Phillies, their high implied total should lead them to be the chalk again. The Rockies should also get some looks, as well, but they could have a tougher path to a big night against Kyle Gibson, who's found some early success this year.
The Red Sox are perhaps the next logical pivot, checking in with a 4.82 implied total versus Yusei Kikuchi.
The lefty generally had solid peripherals last season, but he was just okay against right-handed bats, owning a 4.02 xFIP, 23.7% strikeout rate, and 10.0% walk rate. He also struggled to keep the ball in the park, allowing 1.69 home runs per nine innings in the split.
Kikuchi's 2022 debut went poorly against the Yankees, too, lasting just 3 1/3 innings while only generating a 7.1% swinging-strike rate.
The Sox are loaded with righty power, including J.D. Martinez ($3,700), Xander Bogaerts ($3,500), Enrique Hernandez ($3,400), Trevor Story ($3,000), and Bobby Dalbec ($2,600).
And, while Rafael Devers ($4,100) has less success against lefties, he's one of the team's best overall bats and is always deserving of a spot in stacks.
Minnesota Twins: Following the Phillies, Rockies, and Red Sox, the implied totals begin to tail off, and you can probably talk yourself into or out of several spots.
But the Twins might edge out of the others as the best of the rest.
Minnesota is facing Carlos Hernandez, who had lackluster numbers last season. Between the bullpen and rotation, he posted a 5.00 xFIP, 20.7% strikeout rate, and 11.5% walk rate over 85 2/3 innings. If we narrow that down to just his 11 starts, his metrics get even worse at a 5.42 xFIP and 15.8% strikeout rate.
On top of the plus matchup, the Twins have dirt-cheap salaries from top to bottom, with no batter above $3,100.
This lineup misses Byron Buxton, but we can still look to Carlos Correa ($3,100), Jorge Polanco ($3,100), and Max Kepler ($2,900) as a worthwhile trio -- particularly at these salaries. Gary Sanchez ($2,700) and Miguel Sano ($2,600) are always punchouts waiting to happen, but they can barrel the ball with the best of them when they connect, and this is the right pitcher to test the waters against.