FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 8/9/22

On a slate littered with pitching talent, is Shohei Ohtani the top option? Which other players should we consider on a deep main slate?

The word "loaded" gets thrown around a lot when it comes to large DFS slates, but that really is the case on Tuesday. Even if you just take a glance at the evening's pitchers, you can probably find half a dozen who already look roster-worthy, and the same can be said when perusing all the high-octane offenses with hefty implied totals. Did I mention it's a Coors Field night, too?

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


Shohei Ohtani ($11,200): After going six straight starts with double-digit strikeouts, Ohtani logged "just" seven against the Athletics last week, and it just so happens he's facing that very same team tonight.

While back-to-back starts facing the same opponent might normally be a negative, it's much less concerning when that squad's active roster comes in with a 90 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and they're at worst a neutral matchup for punchouts.

No one would be shocked if Ohtani started a new double-digit strikeouts streak, and he now owns a sparkling 2.37 SIERA, 35.9% strikeout rate, and 5.7% walk rate this season. Before the Oakland outing, he was coming off a 43.1% strikeout rate in the month of July.

We do have to acknowledge that he dealt with a minor forearm issue in that last start, but all indications are that it's a non-factor. It hasn't affected Ohtani's playing time as a hitter over the past week, nor did it sound like tonight's start was ever in doubt.

The A's have a 3.07 implied total, and even on a loaded slate, it's easy to like Ohtani as the top option.

Shane Bieber ($10,200): I'm not overly concerned with Gerrit Cole's recent stretch of mediocre performances, and I could just as easily place him here. However, he does have a second straight start against a solid Mariners team, though, and his $10,900 salary isn't much of a discount compared to Ohtani's.

Likewise, Zack Wheeler is about as consistent as they come, and he's facing a below-average Marlins team. Wheeler has gone seven innings in five of his last six starts, scoring 40 or more FanDuel points in all five of those instances.

But let's check out Bieber instead, who not only gives us a full $1,000 back in our pockets when passing on Shohei, but he has the best matchup on the board in the Tigers.

Detroit's woes probably need little explanation at this point, but when facing right-handers, their active roster ranks 30th in wRC+ (70) and has the 26th-worst strikeout rate (24.1%).

With reduced velocity compared to past seasons, Bieber isn't racking up the strikeouts as often as before, but he's still settled in with a useful 3.36 SIERA, 25.1% strikeout rate, and 5.6% walk rate. He doesn't hurt himself with free passes, and he's still keeping home runs at a minimum by allowing a modest 32.4% fly-ball rate.

It's all helped him to stay fairly efficient in 2022, and he's logged quality starts in 14 of 20 appearances.

In terms of pure upside, Bieber will have a hard time matching Ohtani or Cole, but he's popped for big games at times this year, and this is the perfect spot for another one.

Braxton Garrett ($8,300): Given the number of top-notch pitchers on the slate, this may not be the night to mess around with value plays too much, but Garrett's put together a 3.16 SIERA, 27.0% strikeout rate, 5.7% walk rate, and 46.2% ground-ball rate over 11 starts, which is eerily similar to what we've seen from Wheeler this year.

Obviously, Wheeler has the far longer track record of success, so that isn't to say they're on even footing -- but those are mighty intriguing numbers at this salary range.

Garrett's recent play should also pique our interest. Over his last four starts, he's logged 11, 7, 8, and 11 strikeouts -- a combined 39.8% clip -- helping him to FanDuel scores of 55, 46, 24, and 44 points.

Those performances came against the Reds and Pirates at twice apiece, so this is a step up in competition against the Phillies, and that's reflected by a not-so-great 4.51 implied total. But Philadelphia also carries a 24.5% strikeout rate versus lefties, so there's still a path to a high ceiling, too.

Between the matchup and a pitch count that can fluctuate anywhere from roughly 80-100 pitches on any given night, Garrett's salary feels about right. But as his last few starts have shown, we could be rewarded if we're willing to take the plunge.


St. Louis Cardinals

It's a Coors Field slate, and it's logical to expect that we'll have a hard decision to make between stacking the St. Louis Cardinals (6.13 implied total) and rostering Ohtani.

Well, as it turns out, outside of Paul Goldschmidt ($4,500), Nolan Arenado ($4,300), and Tyler O'Neill ($3,500) every other Cardinal is at a salary of $3,200 or lower. While that will almost certainly add to St. Louis' popularity, it will be hard to resist pairing the night's top stack and pitcher in the same lineup.

The Rockies are rolling out Ryan Feltner, and despite a horrible 5.75 ERA, a 3.84 xFIP suggests he's deserved better over his 40 2/3 innings. Still, his 20.8% strikeout rate and 9.8% swinging-strike rate aren't moving the needle, and he produced an underwhelming 4.92 xFIP in Triple-A this year, as well.

Most of Feltner's struggles have come against lefties, as six of the seven dingers he's allowed have come from that side of the plate. Dylan Carlson ($3,100), Nolan Gorman ($3,200), and Lars Nootbaar ($2,800) could be the big winners tonight, and then it's a matter of fitting in who you can between Goldschmidt, Arenado, and O'Neill.

New York Mets

If you're afraid of the Cardinals being too popular, the New York Mets also have a delightful matchup of their own. They're sporting a 5.32 implied total versus an over-the-hill Mike Minor.

The veteran lefty is getting wrecked by right-handed batters in 2022, posting a 5.88 xFIP, 18.1% strikeout rate, 10.9% walk rate, and 25.0% ground-ball rate in the split.

The big three of Pete Alonso ($4,200), Francisco Lindor ($3,900), and Starling Marte ($3,600) are the priorities, but you'll likely need some combo of Darin Ruf ($2,600), Eduardo Escobar ($2,500), and Mark Canha ($2,600) to fit more than one in.

Note that there could be some pinch-hitting risk amongst the value plays -- all of whom find themselves in platoon roles now -- but it could be worth it if the Mets can get to Minor early.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Potent offenses like the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Toronto Blue Jays have plus matchups, and all of them have at least a few value plays to allow for stacks while still paying up at pitcher. The Rockies face a solid pitcher in Miles Mikolas, but we know how Coors Field can go on any given slate.

But if you're looking for a value stack that may draw less attention, the Arizona Diamondbacks once again draw our attention versus the lowly Pirates.

Right-hander Zach Thompson is one of the weaker starters on the board, putting up a 4.76 SIERA, 15.9% strikeout rate, and 8.8% walk rate this season. And that's even before we add in a weak Pittsburgh bullpen that continues to have the worst xFIP among active rosters (4.32).

Thompson is allowing home runs against both sides of the plate, but he allows far more fly balls to lefties (39.3%), making this ideal for stacking any of Josh Rojas ($3,000), Alek Thomas ($2,700), Ketel Marte ($3,300), Daulton Varsho ($3,400), and Jake McCarthy ($2,200).

The right-handed Christian Walker ($3,000) is a fly-ball hitter (46.6%), though, so Thompson's high ground-ball rate in same-sided matchups isn't as much of a worry. Walker is a stellar value as the D-backs' top power hitter (.249 ISO).