FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 6/1/22
We're looking at a smaller eight-game slate tonight, and there's arguably a pretty narrow group of top pitchers and stacks that stand above the rest. Weather could be an issue in New York and Boston, so be prepared to make backup plans if you're targeting those spots.
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Robbie Ray ($9,700): It's been a rocky season for Ray, but his underlying metrics are slowly creeping towards the guy we saw in 2021. Despite the poor ERA, he's showing a 3.50 SIERA, 27.1% strikeout rate, and 16.3% swinging-strike rate, and that last mark is actually nearly a full percentage point better than last year's 15.5%.
The southpaw's really dialed it up over his last four starts, too, tallying 10, 9, 8, and 10 punchouts over that span, leading to a fantastic 37.8% strikeout rate. This meteoric rise has coincided with improved velocity and a ridiculous swinging-strike rate of over 19% in all four outings.
Unfortunately, walks have reemerged as an issue for Ray, and he's still a guy who'll give up his share of dingers.
But with the strikeouts rolling in at such a high clip again, we can have more confidence in his ability to overcome his flaws and post a big score, and that's particularly the case when the opponent is the Orioles. Baltimore is a below-average offense this year, and its active roster owns the league's second-highest strikeout rate against lefties (25.9%).
It could get up to 90 degrees at Camden Yards tonight, so a solo shot or two may be inevitable, but the punchouts should be flowing and lead to a potential high score for Ray.
Nestor Cortes ($10,800): It's worth noting right off the bat that this may be the most dangerous spot in terms of weather, but if it plays, Cortes has tons of upside despite a risky matchup versus the Angels.
While it's no secret that the Angels have been one of the league's best offenses in 2022, they do have their share of swing-and-miss bats. They don't strike out quite as often against left-handers, but their 23.6% clip is still the league's seventh-highest.
Meanwhile, Cortes has been brilliant, recording a 2.90 SIERA, 30.2% strikeout rate, and 5.9% walk rate over nine starts. His 9.7% swinging-strike rate likely means he won't maintain this high strikeout rate for the duration of the season, but it's hard to nitpick what he's accomplished thus far.
And in spite of the strong opponent, the left-hander is getting the benefit of the doubt tonight, as the Angels have a slate-low 3.31 implied total. If the weather ultimately doesn't play nice, then fellow lefty Tarik Skubal is a natural pivot at roughly the same salary.
Garrett Whitlock ($7,000): Whitlock has been pretty much unusable in DFS this season due to strict pitch counts, but after logging season-highs in both pitches (84) and innings (6) in his last start, he could be worth a stab at this modest salary.
The young righty's peripheral numbers have been stellar, submitting a 3.14 SIERA, 27.3% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate over 38 2/3 innings between the bullpen and rotation, and if we narrow things down to just his seven starts, his strikeout rate remains a healthy 26.2% clip.
As a total laughing stock at the beginning of the year, the Reds have been much more competitive over the last month, but they still rate as a below-average offense, and they come in with just a 3.61 implied total.
Admittedly, given Whitlock's limited workload all year, we really need everything to break right for him to contend with tonight's top arms, making him a huge risk. On top of that, rain could be an issue in Boston, which is another factor to keep in mind.
Due to these caveats, I definitely lean towards the high-salaried arms tonight, but if you're making a bunch of lineups and want to go all-in your bats, you could do worse than giving Whitlock a whirl.
Boston Red Sox
As noted above, there's rain in the forecast at Fenway, so that's something to check back on before stacking the Boston Red Sox. But this is a great spot for the Sox against right-hander Hunter Greene, and they have the slate's second-best implied total (4.89).
Greene is a familiar combination of strikeouts, walks, and home runs that we see from some pitchers (think Robbie Ray version 1.0), and as is often the case with these types, that leads to rough outings with the occasional gem sprinkled in.
It's been mostly the former for the 22-year-old; his 27.6% strikeout rate hasn't been able to overcome an 11.8% walk rate and a whopping 3.05 dingers per nine innings. There's certainly some poor luck in the home run department due to a 23.4% homer-to-fly-ball rate, but a 28.7% ground-ball rate means loads of opportunities for opposing batters to cash in on the long ball.
Add in a Cincinnati bullpen that has the highest xFIP among active rosters (4.47), and it's easy to like Boston's bats tonight.
Oddly enough, Greene has performed worse in same-sided matchups (4.60 xFIP), and while it's probably too early to read much into that, that could mean good news for righties J.D. Martinez ($3,900), Xander Bogaerts ($3,900), Trevor Story ($4,000), and Enrique Hernandez ($3,000). Of course, whenever lefty Rafael Devers ($4,100) has the platoon advantage, he's at the top of the list by default, too.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Although Quintana has a stellar ERA and WHIP, he's producing an underwhelming 20.0% strikeout rate and 8.9% walk rate that the Dodgers can take advantage of. The left-hander is a classic case of getting by on a low BABIP (.265) and an even more lucky 4.5% homer-to-fly-ball rate. His results are due for some serious regression.
Quintana held his own versus lefties in 2021, but that shouldn't be an issue for a lineup that should have righties in seven of nine spots, and one of those lone lefties is some guy named Freddie Freeman ($3,900).
Among the righty sticks, Mookie Betts ($4,500) and Trea Turner ($4,200) have been the Dodgers' top fantasy producers this season, and if you can't get up to them, the salaries are looking pretty good in the projected four-through-six slots between Will Smith ($3,300), Justin Turner ($3,000), and Chris Taylor ($2,900).
New York Yankees
It's still hard to believe Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter when we look at his numbers, but baseball gonna baseball.
Even with that one outlier performance, Detmers has a pretty meh 4.65 ERA over eight starts that practically mirrors his 4.55 SIERA. Remarkably, he has that ERA despite a laughably small .171 BABIP, too.
A 17.1% strikeout rate and 37.6% ground-ball rate are a great combo for home runs, and sure enough, Detmers has allowed 1.55 per nine innings. The lefty doesn't haven't strong numbers against lefties or righties, either, and he's actually only recorded a 10.8% strikeout rate in same-sided matchups.
This New York Yankees team is still missing some pieces, but if nothing else, Aaron Judge ($4,300) is one of the top plays on the slate, and if you're stacking, you can work in the guys around him like Anthony Rizzo ($3,700), DJ LeMahieu ($3,000), and Gleyber Torres ($3,000). The rest of the lineup consists of punt-level salaries.