FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 5/25/22

The Houston Astros draw one of the better hitting matchups on tonight's smaller slate. Which pitchers and stacks stand out?

On a smaller seven-game slate, this is a tougher night for pitching, and some weather concerns in places like Cincinnati and Atlanta could further complicate things. Some top offenses are in great spots for stacks, but you might be able to go off the board a bit, as well.

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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.


Lucas Giolito ($10,300): Giolito doesn't have the greatest matchup against a surging Red Sox team, but he's the top talent on Wednesday's slate, amassing a 2.71 SIERA, 34.6% strikeout rate, and 8.7% walk rate over six starts. While Giolito hasn't quite produced a true ceiling game yet, he had an abdominal strain in April and a recent stint on the COVID-19 injured list, so he's had to overcome some early hurdles thus far.

But the real test tonight will be whether he can handle a Boston team that wrecked Dylan Cease and ultimately piled up 16 runs last night.

As I noted yesterday, after the Red Sox's bats putzed around for much of this season, they've really turned it on lately, now sporting a league-best 156 wRC+ over the last 14 days. Couple that with a team that was already a low-strikeout team to begin with and has quietly moved up to second in barrels behind only the Yankees, and this doesn't look like the cupcake matchup it was earlier in the year.

The good news for Giolito is that Boston still only has a 3.33 implied total, which could be due in part to mild temperatures and 11 mph winds blowing in. Note that there could also be some rain tonight, but as of this writing, it doesn't look like it should be a big issue.

Cristian Javier ($8,200): Javier is the next-best arm on the board, putting up a 2.94 SIERA, 31.5% strikeout rate, and 8.1% walk rate between the rotation and bullpen this year. Due to his hybrid role this year, he hasn't had the longest outings, but he finally went six innings and 91 pitches in his last start, giving us more confidence that he'll have a normal workload moving forward.

Unfortunately, he also has a less-than-ideal opponent in the Guardians, an above-average offense with the third-lowest strikeout rate among active rosters (19.0%).

Still, Cleveland has one of the night's lower implied totals (3.64), and even in tougher matchups, it's difficult to find anyone else on the slate with the upside of either Javier or Giolito. They're the only two pitchers with strikeout rates above 30%, and no one else comes anywhere close.

Drew Rasmussen ($8,600): Once we get past those first two arms, Rasmussen's 22.4% strikeout rate is tied for the third-best of the slate -- which is really saying something.

But the Tampa Bay right-hander is a solid real-life pitcher who doesn't issue walks (5.3%) and gets grounders (49.5%), and the matchup checks out against a Miami team with a slate-low 3.09 implied total. A 12.0% swinging-strike rate is also a promising sign that he can bump up that strikeout rate.

Of course, with this being the Rays, Rasmussen doesn't have the longest leash, topping out at 88 pitches this season. He's gone six innings just once in eight starts, making him a poor bet for the quality start bonus.

Despite these constraints, he's still managed to pop for 55 and 42 FanDuel points this year, which will absolutely play on this sort of slate.


Los Angeles Angels

The Los Angeles Angels have been crushing it on offense this season, and they continue to own the highest wRC+ among active rosters (131). Opposing hurler Glenn Otto isn't likely to be up to the task.

Otto comes in with a 5.11 SIERA, 16.7% strikeout rate, 12.0% walk rate, and 39.2% ground-ball rate over five starts, and all of that sounds delightful for an Angels stack. While Otto could have more strikeout potential than he's shown -- he has a 12.3% swinging-strike rate this year and produced a 25.2% strikeout rate over six outings in 2021 -- that results just haven't been there, and we'll happily attack anyone dealing with control issues.

If we look at Otto's splits over all 11 of his MLB starts, a 4.92 xFIP stands out against left-handed batters, which draws us a clear path to Shohei Ohtani ($3,900), and Jared Walsh ($3,400) and Brandon Marsh ($3,100) will also benefit. Switch-hitter Luis Rengifo ($2,000) has an underwhelming career track record, but that minimum salary is appealing if he's hitting fifth or sixth.

Not that we need any added incentive to roster Mike Trout ($4,400) anyway, but Otto has really fallen off against righties this year (14.5% strikeout rate), so add Trout or Anthony Rendon ($3,100) in the mix, too.

Houston Astros

The Houston Astros are in contention for the night's top implied total (4.86), and a look at Cal Quantrill's peripherals make it easy to see why.

Quantrill's 3.48 ERA is a mirage that masks an ugly 4.99 SIERA, and a .254 BABIP and 6.1% homer-to-fly-ball rate say he's been more lucky than good. His 15.1% strikeout rate and 9.0% walk rate aren't scaring anyone, and a 40.2% fly-ball rate will absolutely lead to more home runs sooner rather than later.

Although Quantrill found some success against left-handed batters in 2021, his meh numbers against both sides of the plate this year make me inclined to just play this straight up.

Yordan Alvarez ($3,800) is our best bet for power, boasting a .309 ISO and 16.7% barrel rate, while Jose Altuve ($4,200), Kyle Tucker ($3,600), Jeremy Pena ($3,600), Alex Bregman ($3,500), and Michael Brantley ($3,200) all exceed a 130 wRC+ this year, showing just how lethal this lineup is.

Philadelphia Phillies

I would normally put the Yankees here against Tyler Wells, but injuries and COVID-19 have the bottom half of this lineup looking pretty meh, so they might be more of a team to grab an individual bat or two from.

The Braves stick out with a slate-high 4.92 implied total against Ranger Suarez, but we'll have to keep an eye on some rain in the forecast.

If that one plays, though, flipping over to the other side and stacking the Philadelphia Phillies could be a way to be contrarian.

Charlie Morton is eight starts into the season, and he's sitting on a 4.51 SIERA, 20.7% strikeout rate, 10.6% walk rate, and 34.2% ground-ball rate, which are all sizable steps back compared to 2021. Really, outside of one brilliant start against the Padres, Morton's been a pretty average pitcher this season, and it's fair to wonder if he's finally slowing down at age 38.

The veteran right-hander is still getting strikeouts versus lefties, but a 14.5% walk rate and 5.32 xFIP have been a net negative. In same-sided matchups, he's only showing a 17.7% strikeout rate.

Bryce Harper ($4,400) and Kyle Schwarber ($3,500) will have the platoon advantage and are clear power options with 14.8% and 18.3% barrel rates, respectively. Righties Rhys Hoskins ($3,400) and Nick Castellanos ($3,300) should be able to take advantage of Morton's low strikeout rate, and Alec Bohm ($2,800) is a value out of the two-hole.