FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 5/26/22

Shohei Ohtani is a top option on a surprisingly deep Thursday main slate. Who else stands out across tonight's 10 games?

After generally seeing some wonky scheduling on Thursdays, we actually get a normal 10-game slate tonight that starts a smidge earlier at 6:40 pm ET. There's weather to monitor in multiple spots, though, with games in Atlanta and Detroit being the shakiest. Pitching is especially deep tonight, and you can make a case for several guys as the slate's number one choice.

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


Shohei Ohtani ($9,900): Ohtani has the best overall marks on the slate, coming in with a 2.45 SIERA, 34.0% strikeout rate, and 5.8% walk rate through seven starts. While he saw a slight dip in velocity a couple of starts ago, he had no trouble bringing the heat last week, registering his highest velocity of the season (98.4 mph). Ohtani's pitch count has also settled into a good spot, logging 99, 92, and 94 pitches over his last three.

This isn't a cupcake matchup against the Blue Jays, a team that has the 10th-lowest strikeout rate (20.6%) among active rosters. However, Toronto's offense hasn't really met expectations so far this season, posting a below-average 98 wRC+, and that's reflected by their 3.36 implied total.

Ohtani's produced double-digit strikeouts twice this year, and it came against low-strikeout teams in the Astros and Red Sox. While he isn't the most consistent pitcher from start to start, the Japanese superstar is ruthless when he's on his game, and there's no question that he can be the night's top scorer.

Nestor Cortes ($10,300): Eric Lauer, Cortes, and Tarik Skubal are the three guys above $10,000, and all three have been outstanding in 2022. However, none of them have a particularly easy matchup, and Skubal's game is threatened by poor weather.

But let's take a look at Cortes, who has put together a 2.68 SIERA, 32.4% strikeout rate, and 6.4% walk rate over his eight outings. His 10.2% swinging-strike rate is nearly identical to last year, which suggests that his strikeout rate could eventually take a few steps back, but he's also seen a bump in CSW rate (29.0%), so this isn't necessarily a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

The southpaw's workload also checks out, reaching at least 99 pitches in three straight.

This is a bit of a troublesome spot against Tampa Bay, though, which is what keeps him behind Ohtani. Many of the Rays in tonight's projected lineup don't swing and miss often, with guys like Yandy Diaz, Wander Franco, Harold Ramirez, and Manuel Margot all owning strikeout rates below 13%.

That could make it difficult for Cortes to have a ceiling game, but he should be able to minimize the damage at pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field, and Tampa Bay's only showing a 3.61 implied total.

Aaron Nola ($8,900): Rain could be an issue in Atlanta tonight, so that's something to keep tabs on, but if this one plays, Nola and Kyle Wright are both intriguing options.

Nola's matchup against the Braves is a dangerous one, but it's also one with loads of strikeout potential. While Atlanta has plenty of power, they have the highest strikeout rate among active rosters this season (26.8%).

Rostering Nola has been frustrating at times, but the underlying metrics are still there between a 2.56 SIERA, 30.9% strikeout rate, and 4.8% walk rate, and unlike last year, he's also back to inducing grounders at a 50.8% clip. We can point to an unlucky 20.0% homer-to-fly-ball rate for some of his mediocre outings, so he shouldn't keep allowing dingers at such a high rate.

Getting these types of numbers at a mid-level salary is easy to like, and if the weather cooperates, Nola is an excellent upside play in tournaments. In the event of a washout, Frankie Montas is a fine alternative at $8,800, as well.


Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the slate's highest implied total by a wide margin (5.35), and they're a clear option against Humberto Castellanos and a bullpen that has the second-worst xFIP among active rosters (4.52).

Castellanos has posted a 17.4% strikeout rate and 38.5% ground-ball rate this season, and he had low marks in both of those metrics in 2021, as well.

While he doesn't have noteworthy numbers against either righties or lefties, the latter get a boost against a guy with a career 5.55 xFIP in the split. To take advantage, click that add button on Freddie Freeman ($3,800), and fellow lefties Max Muncy ($3,000) and Cody Bellinger ($2,800) have increased value at their modest salaries.

Overall, though, this is just a great all-around spot, so we don't have to be picky and can stack just about any part of this deep lineup.

Minnesota Twins

Left-hander Daniel Lynch checks several boxes for a Minnesota Twins stack, with a lack of punchouts (20.8%), too many walks (10.1%), and tons of fly balls (49.5%). Dating back to last year, Lynch has a 5.20 xFIP against righty bats, and this lineup is projected to be right-handed across the board.

Byron Buxton ($3,900) and his .333 ISO are an obvious want for stacks, and then Carlos Correa ($3,400), Jorge Polanco ($3,200), and Gary Sanchez ($3,100) round out the usual suspects.

Like always against a lefty, Kyle Garlick ($2,500) should bat high in the order, but he's a pinch-hit risk once Lynch is out of the game. That being said, he's launched four round-trippers off a 14.8% barrel rate this season, so he's still capable of delivering a big score.

Boston Red Sox

The White Sox finally broke a six-game win streak for Boston last night, but as I've noted the past few days, this Red Sox offense has really come alive lately. Over the last 14 days, Boston leads the league in wOBA (.385), ISO (.234), and barrel rate (11.7%) while continuing to strike out just 19.3% of the time.

After tougher matchups against Dylan Cease and Lucas Giolito, the Red Sox finally get a weak link of this Chicago rotation in Dallas Keuchel.

Keuchel has a 53.9% ground-ball rate and not much else these days. In fact, he has a negative K-BB% due to having a mere 10.7% strikeout rate paired with a 12.1% walk rate. The lefty's 5.48 SIERA is one of the worst on the slate, too.

J.D. Martinez ($3,900) and Xander Bogaerts ($3,700) have been Boston's best righties this year, and Trevor Story ($4,100) is suddenly performing like the big free agent signing he was supposed to be, with all eight of his home runs coming over the last 13 games, helping him boost his season-long barrel rate to 14.1%. Enrique Hernandez ($2,900) has started to string together some multi-hit games and is a value out of the leadoff spot, too.

A struggling left-hander also shouldn't deter us from going with Rafael Devers ($4,400), who leads the team with 10 dingers and a .261 ISO.