FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 7/25/22

Max Fried isn't a big strikeout pitcher, but he stands out on a slate lacking elite options. Which pitchers and stacks should we prioritize tonight?

We have 11 games to sift through on Monday night, and while there are some solid names taking the mound, it's a slate that's short on high-upside arms. On the other hand, there's a good bit of depth on offense, as eight different teams have implied totals above 4.50.

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


Max Fried ($10,500): Given his rather pedestrian 22.9% strikeout rate, Fried is one of those "better in real life" pitchers who lags behind the elite arms in DFS. Despite enjoying a fantastic campaign with a 2.64 ERA, he's logged over six strikeouts in just 5 of 19 starts and hasn't cracked 50 FanDuel points since early May.

But we don't have anyone toeing the rubber with a strikeout rate above 27% tonight, so the bar is low enough to place Fried at or near the top of our lists.

Outside of the modest strikeout rate, there's a lot to like about Fried's skillset. While his 3.40 SIERA is a smidge higher than his ERA, it's still a solid mark that's backed by a plus walk rate (4.6%) and ground-ball rate (49.7%). This year's 6.1% homer-to-fly ball rate looks a tad lucky, but considering he's allowed just 0.79 home runs per nine innings over his career, suppressing home runs is nothing new for Fried.

He also helps his DFS output by consistently registering quality starts, logging 14 this season, which is tied for the league's fifth-most. That's helped him hit 40 FanDuel points 10 times despite his lack of punchouts.

The Phillies' active roster is above average versus lefties (109 wRC+) and is a neutral matchup for strikeouts (22.4%), but their 3.70 implied total is one of the slate's lower marks. Although Fried may be more of a "high floor" play, that might be all we need in the context of this slate.

Sean Manaea ($9,900): The Tigers are one of the worst teams in the league, but their roster is actually competent versus southpaws with a 103 wRC+ and 21.7% strikeout rate. Tonight's lineup will be predominantly right-handed, and as few as two lefties could start.

Therefore, this may not be a walk in the park for Manaea, and it's not like he's had amazing results this month to begin with.

But there could still be some added upside to this spot because Manaea's actually performing pretty well against righties this year. In the split, he's producing a 3.81 xFIP, 24.8% strikeout rate, and 8.5% walk rate, which are all better marks than his numbers in same-sided matchups.

Additionally, despite Manaea being a fly-ball pitcher, we probably don't have to worry about the long ball when it comes to Detroit. They have a paltry .117 ISO when facing lefties and are one of the league's worst teams when it comes to barrels.

Manaea's struggled with walks lately, but that's another area where the Tigers could give him an assist. Detroit's 7.4% walk rate versus southpaws is the league's sixth-lowest number.

While this isn't quite the perfect matchup, there's enough going here for Manaea to bump him up as one of the night's best options.

Aaron Ashby ($7,400): The results haven't quite been there for Ashby, but he's put up a promising 3.51 xFIP and 26.8% strikeout rate this season, which certainly grabs our attention on this slate. His numbers take a slight dip when narrowed down to just his work as a starter, but a 3.76 xFIP and 24.8% strikeout rate will still play.

The issue has been a double-digit walk rate, as he's doled out three or more walks in 6 of his 12 starts. As a result, he's hit six innings just twice all season.

But this is the right salary to take the plunge, and even more so on a slate lacking elite hurlers.

Although the Rockies are a bad matchup for strikeouts (18.6% versus lefties), they hit poorly on the road, sporting an 84 wRC+ in away games. And despite Ashby's mediocre performances, Colorado only has a 3.66 implied total.

If Ashby can reel in the walks, pitch count shouldn't be a problem, too, as he's been allowed to crack 100 pitches three times.


Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are no strangers to high implied totals, and tonight is no different with a slate-high 5.24. They'll take their hacks against Paolo Espino, who has serviceable overall numbers but has struggled since joining the rotation.

Over seven starts, he's posted a 4.51 xFIP and 19.0% strikeout rate while allowing 2.30 home runs per nine innings. Espino has a low strikeout rate and low ground-ball rate against both sides of the plate, further enhancing this spot for Dodgers stacks.

Of Los Angeles' high-salaried options, Freddie Freeman ($4,200) will have the platoon advantage, so he should top the wish list but obviously fit in Mookie Betts ($4,200) and Trea Turner ($4,100) when possible, as well.

There's also a sizable drop-off in salaries after this trio, as everyone else is at $3,100 and below. Will Smith ($3,000) should be locked into the cleanup spot as usual, and Max Muncy ($2,400) is one of the better value plays of the night.

Houston Astros

The Houston Astros are another strong offense with a tantalizing matchup. They take on Adam Oller, who has a dreadful 6.02 SIERA, 13.1% strikeout rate, and 13.9% walk rate across 27 1/3 innings. Yikes.

He's scuffled as both a starter and reliever, and he has awful marks against both lefties (6.74 xFIP) and righties (6.53) alike.

This is a prime spot to roster Yordan Alvarez ($4,300) and Kyle Tucker ($3,700) -- the team's best power threats in terms of barrels -- and we're also getting nice value salaries out of Jeremy Pena ($2,900) and Alex Bregman ($3,000).

Chas McCormick ($2,300) bats low in the order, but his .180 ISO makes him a viable punt to consider, too.

Atlanta Braves

While left-hander Ranger Suarez is a far better pitcher than the previous two we've gone through, he'll be at a disadvantage against an Atlanta Braves lineup loaded with right-handed power.

Suarez has a crippling 69.0% ground-ball rate in same-sided matchups, but that drops to a less imposing 50.3% against righties. Combine that with a 19.3% strikeout rate and 10.2% walk rate in the split, and it's easy to see how Atlanta could make things hard on the southpaw in a hurry.

Add in a dinger-friendly venue in Citizens Bank Park and some hot and humid conditions, and the stage could be set for Atlanta to surpass their 4.80 implied total.

Ronald Acuna Jr. ($4,100), Dansby Swanson ($3,800), Austin Riley ($4,100), Travis d'Arnaud ($2,900), and Marcell Ozuna ($3,000) are the top righties in the order. Ozuna has curiously struggled against lefties this season but owns a career 119 wRC+ in the split.