FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 7/28/22

Despite a misstep in his last start, Shohei Ohtani continues to pile up the strikeouts and will look to get back on track against the Rangers. Which pitchers and stacks stand out tonight?

We have a clear top pitcher and top stack tonight, so roster percentages could play an important role in how you tackle tournaments on Thursday's slate.

Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered!

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


Shohei Ohtani ($11,100): Ohtani has been on an otherworldly run of late, racking up double-digit strikeouts in five straight games. While he did get shelled for six earned runs in his last outing, he's still produced an absurd 1.34 xFIP, 45.2% strikeout rate, and 6.3% walk rate over this stretch.

And if we take a step back and look at his season as a whole, we still get a tantalizing 2.38 xFIP, 35.9% strikeout rate, and 6.2% walk rate over 16 appearances.

The Rangers are roughly a league-average offense against righties, and they'll have their work cut out for them to get to Ohtani. Given Shohei's recent play, it isn't surprising to see Texas getting a slate-low 3.11 implied total.

We're doling out a lot of cash to get to Ohtani tonight, but he's the clear favorite to lead the slate in scoring, and some surprisingly low salaries at Coors mean we don't even need to pass on some of the night's top stacks to get there.

Zack Wheeler ($10,700): Of course, as Ohtani proved in his last start, even the best have their off nights, so we can also look to Wheeler as a potential pivot.

While the Phillies' right-hander doesn't bring the same firepower as someone like Ohtani, it's hard to take issue with a 3.11 xFIP, 26.7% strikeout rate, and 5.2% walk rate. Wheeler also tends to pitch deep into games when things are going well, and he's gone seven innings in three of his last four outings.

This matchup also checks out against the Pirates, who have the second-lowest implied total (3.23). Facing right-handers, Pittsburgh's active roster owns the league's second-worst wRC+ (79) and sixth-worst strikeout rate (23.7%), and the punchout potential could be even higher depending on who starts.

If Ohtani is on his game, Wheeler's unlikely to keep pace, but we still have to like his potential in this plum spot.

Alex Wood ($8,400): After suffering from poor BABIP luck for much of the season, Wood's fortunes have turned around a bit recently. He's utilized his slider to good effect over his last three starts, as well, helping him to a 2.06 xFIP, 33.9% strikeout rate, 4.8% walk rate, and 57.9% ground-ball rate during this stretch.

Unfortunately, it only resulted in one notable DFS performance (55 points), as Wood failed to go five innings in the other two games. His pitch counts continue to fluctuate wildly from start to start, adding risk to his profile. Despite allowing just two combined earned runs over this fairly strong run, he's logged 83, 84, and 97 pitches.

The Cubs may be deadline sellers, but they aren't the easiest opponent for southpaws. They could have an entire lineup of righties starting tonight, and the active roster has a scary 122 wRC+ in the split.

On the bright side, Chicago is also a good matchup for getting whiffs, and as many as five or six of tonight's projected batters have mediocre-to-poor strikeout rates. Wood will also benefit from both his high ground-ball rate and a home ballpark that suppresses home runs. Chicago's 3.72 implied total isn't anything to write home about.

Given the iffy workload and boom-or-best matchup, Wood is a risky play on a night where we can roster a superstar like Ohtani. But that's why his salary is what it is, and he's a way to have a completely different lineup build compared to those who pay up at pitcher.


Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers run laps around the field with a 6.96 implied total at Coors Field, and they'll be mega chalk with two-thirds of the lineup curiously coming in at salaries of $3,100 and below.

It took longer than expected, but Jose Urena finally got shelled in his fourth start with the Rockies, and we have every reason to expect that trend to continue tonight. Urena comes in with a 5.29 SIERA, 12.5% strikeout rate, and 11.0% walk rate, and he's performed poorly in the Majors for several seasons now.

His 51.9% ground-ball rate simply isn't going to cut it when the strikeouts and walks are this bad.

As I alluded to, it's almost laughable how easy it is to get exposure to this spot between Will Smith ($2,900), Jake Lamb ($2,200), Max Muncy ($2,400), Justin Turner ($3,100), Gavin Lux ($2,600), and Cody Bellinger ($2,800).

Maybe the sheer number of value plays helps spread out roster percentages for some of these guys, but you have to figure that pairing Ohtani with the Dodgers will be the most popular tournament strategy. Even fitting in one of Mookie Betts ($4,200), Freddie Freeman ($4,300), or Trea Turner ($3,900) ought to be possible while still rostering Shohei.

Toronto Blue Jays

Fading the Dodgers entirely will be tough to do in such a dream scenario, but this is baseball, after all, so we should be prepared for anything.

The Toronto Blue Jays are a logical alternative against Tyler Alexander, and their 5.56 implied total is the next best on the board.

Alexander typically comes out of the bullpen and hasn't thrown over 40 pitches in any appearance this month, so we probably won't see him go for more than three or so innings. But as long as he's out there, the Blue Jays will have a distinct advantage against a left-hander showing a 5.13 xFIP, 13.6% strikeout rate, and 46.4% fly-ball rate against right-handed hitting.

Toronto is a little trickier to stack with Ohtani, but Alejandro Kirk ($3,500), Bo Bichette ($3,400), Matt Chapman ($3,400), Danny Jansen ($3,400), and Lourdes Gurriel ($3,000) all have varying degrees of power without totally breaking the bank.

Philadelphia Phillies

We see a bit of drop-off after the top-two stacks, with the Rockies and Yankees having the next-highest implied totals at right around five runs. Neither team has an amazing pitching matchup, but Colorado is at home and the Yankees are the Yankees, so both are very much in play.

But a value stack to consider might be the Philadelphia Phillies, who take on Zach Thompson.

Thompson is having a thoroughly mediocre campaign, posting a 4.90 SIERA, 15.4% strikeout rate, and 9.7% walk rate. He's managed a 52.8% ground-ball rate versus righties, but he otherwise has lackluster numbers against both sides of the plate.

Kyle Schwarber ($3,300) and Darick Hall ($2,800) are the most promising left-handed power bats. While we're talking about a fairly limited sample size, Hall has been racking up barrels at a high clip and put up a .280 ISO in Triple-A before getting called up.

If you're looking for a third lefty, Bryson Stott ($2,700) has quietly improved over the summer, posting a .182 ISO, 11.5% strikeout rate, and 10.3% walk rate dating back to the start of June.

Beyond those lefty sticks, Rhys Hoskins ($2,700) is a clear value at his salary, and J.T. Realmuto ($3,100) is enjoying easily his best month of the season. Nick Castellanos ($2,300) continues to underwhelm, but he's an easy way to round out stacks as the projected five hitter.