FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 7/14/22

Corbin Burnes has been brilliant again this season, and he's one of the top options in a pitching duel out west. Which pitchers and stacks stand out tonight?

We have a fair number of notable names toeing the rubber tonight, but two aces going head to head should get most of our attention. On offense, one team sticks out for our stacks, but things open up a bit after that.

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


Corbin Burnes ($11,300): Burnes has been one of the best pitchers in baseball again this season, and his stellar play is backed by a 2.75 SIERA, 32.4% strikeout rate, and 6.3% walk rate. As you might expect from numbers like that, he's been incredibly consistent from outing to outing, as well, and it's led to 13 quality starts in 17 appearances.

The Giants are a tough opponent that likes to mix-and-match its lineup depending on the handedness of the pitcher, so Burnes figures to see a lot of lefties tonight. It's hard to argue with the results, too, as San Francisco's active roster owns a 112 wRC+ in the split.

However, Burnes has practically identical strikeout splits against lefties and righties, so in terms of upside, he shouldn't miss a beat regardless of how the lineup shakes out.

And in spite of the Giants' credentials, they have a slate-low 3.24 implied total, which should give us even more confidence in Burnes. He and our next guy are arguably in a tier of their own tonight.

Carlos Rodon ($10,900): On the other side of that Burnes game is Rodon, who is also in the midst of a fine campaign. The left-hander has compiled a 3.10 SIERA, 31.0% strikeout rate, and 8.0% walk rate over his 17 starts, and while those aren't quite Burnes-level marks, we're really splitting hairs here.

And much like Burnes' matchup, Rodon will be treated to a lineup loaded with opposite-handed bats, and the Brewers' current roster has earned a 109 wRC+ versus southpaws.

While Rodon is especially lethal in same-sided matchups (37.2% strikeout rate), this is once again a situation where he should do just fine against all these righties, with his strikeout rate still up at 29.5% in that split.

Milwaukee's 3.26 implied total suggests that we're going to have a classic pitching duel on our hands tonight. Landing on either Burnes or Rodon could be the way to go in most of your lineups.

Kutter Crawford ($6,200): Although there are some other compelling names above $9,000, I'm not sure we're getting enough of a discount on most of them to dethrone the upside of Burnes and Rodon.

But if you want to roll the dice on an entirely different lineup build, taking a chance on Crawford may not be the craziest move.

Since getting called back up from Triple-A as a starter and bulk reliever, the 26-year-old has put together an encouraging 3.64 xFIP, 31.2% strikeout rate, and 9.1% walk rate over four appearances. His best performance of the season came against these same Rays a couple of outings ago, racking up 8 strikeouts in 5 1/3 scoreless innings following an opener, helping him to 46 FanDuel points.

Pitch count could an issue, though, as Crawford hasn't cracked 90 yet in this new role, limiting him to below six innings in each of those four games. However, he did reach a season-high 88 in his most recent start, so it's possible he could sneak into the 90s if things are going well.

The Rays could also assist him as a great matchup for punchouts, carrying a 25.1% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching. Perhaps it's also telling that Tampa Bay has a pretty modest 3.91 implied total despite Crawford's inexperience.

Clearly, this is a risky play when we have such elite pitchers up top. But there's a path to a solid ceiling here if you're willing to sprinkle him in, and your stacks will look entirely different from most lineups on the slate.


Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves pace the field with a 5.85 implied total that sits well above anyone else, and that's due to their inviting spot against Anibal Sanchez.

We haven't seen Sanchez pitch a big league game since 2020, and it didn't go especially well for him that season. Over 11 starts, he posted a 5.03 SIERA and 17.6% strikeout rate, and he was lit up for 1.87 home runs per nine innings.

Now 38 years old, there's little reason to expect Sanchez to bounce back, and outside of an outlier 2018 campaign, his struggles date all the way back to 2015. In three Triple-A starts this year, he's produced a 5.68 xFIP, 22.4% strikeout rate, and 13.8% walk rate.

We want to prioritize the top four bats in the order in Ronald Acuna Jr. ($4,300), Dansby Swanson ($3,600), Matt Olson ($3,700), and Austin Riley ($4,100), but it will obviously be impossible to fit all of them when rostering Burnes or Rodon.

Luckily, Marcell Ozuna ($3,100) has a reasonable salary out of the five-hole, and some combination of Travis d'Arnaud ($2,900), William Contreras ($2,700), Adam Duvall ($2,600), and/or Eddie Rosario ($2,500) will start tonight.

Every single one of these guys has enough power to make Sanchez pay, and it shouldn't be difficult to find a variety of four-man stacks to work with when paying up at pitcher.

Cleveland Guardians

Elvin Rodriguez is back with the big league club, and it's hard to see this second stint going much better than the first. Across five MLB appearances (four starts) earlier this year, Rodriguez recorded a 4.97 SIERA, 16.7% strikeout rate, 9.4% walk rate, and 37.7% ground-ball rate.

While he was a little unlucky with the long ball due to an inflated 26.5% homer-to-fly-ball rate, it's still worth noting that he was lit up for 9 dingers in just 20 1/3 innings.

His 2022 Triple-A numbers are also pretty uninspiring as seen by a 4.52 xFIP, 20.6% strikeout rate, and 9.5% walk rate over 47 innings.

The Cleveland Guardians are an ideal pairing with either of our stud aces tonight, as only Jose Ramirez ($4,100) has a high salary.

Ramirez is a no-brainer if you can open up enough cap space, and then Franmil Reyes ($3,200) and Josh Naylor ($3,200) stand out as the best power options in terms of barrels.

Beyond these three, every other hitter comes in at $3,000 or below, including Steven Kwan ($2,500), Amed Rosario ($2,900), and Andres Gimenez ($2,800), all of whom have some stolen base upside.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The always formidable Los Angeles Dodgers have the second-best implied total (4.89) in a plus spot versus Dakota Hudson.

Hudson's lucky to have a 4.00 ERA after 17 starts, as his 5.18 SIERA, 13.3% strikeout rate, and 10.9% walk rate all point to regression. Out of tonight's projected starters, his 2.4% K-BB rate is the slate's worst.

While the right-hander has an annoying 61.4% ground-ball rate against lefties, he still has a 4.97 xFIP in the split due to an awful 11.7% strikeout rate and 13.9% walk rate. In same-sided matchups, he has a slightly better 14.9% strikeout rate, but that ground-ball rate dips to 44.5%.

It isn't great all around for Hudson, and none of these numbers work in his favor against one of the league's best lineups.

Much like the Braves, by all means, grab a Mookie Betts ($4,100) or Freddie Freeman ($3,900) when you can, but you can always jump down to Justin Turner ($2,900), Cody Bellinger ($2,600), Max Muncy ($2,600), and Jake Lamb ($2,400) when in need of value.