FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 8/29/22
We only have six games on Monday's main slate, and a pair of aces lead the way by a decent margin. A handful of teams stand out for stacks, with the Toronto Blue Jays entering the night with the highest implied total.
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Corbin Burnes ($11,100): Burnes is coming off perhaps his worst start of the season, but a shellacking at the hands of the Dodgers can be forgiven. Tonight's matchup versus the Pirates should be a cakewalk by comparison. Against right-handers, Pittsburgh's active roster has an 85 wRC+ and 24.5% strikeout rate.
Burnes has faced the Pirates three times this season, and while he racked up 10 punchouts the first time, he curiously struggled with walks in the last two, allowing a season-high five in August and four in July.
I'm willing to chalk these latter starts up as outliers, though, as the Pirates are a middle-of-the-road team in walk rate against righties (8.2%). Their slate-low 2.76 implied total further shows that we shouldn't worry about Burnes tonight.
Overall, his numbers haven't quite matched last year's Cy Young-winning campaign, but he's still been one of MLB's top starters in 2022 with a 2.97 xFIP, 31.4% strikeout rate, and 6.9% walk rate.
According to numberFire's projections, Burnes is the night's top pitching option by a wide margin.
Carlos Rodon ($11,000): Rodon's also in a midst of an excellent campaign, and he has nearly identical underlying marks as Burnes. The southpaw has posted a 2.99 xFIP, 32.1% strikeout rate, and 7.0% walk rate this year.
However, he gets a far more difficult matchup against the Padres. When facing lefties, their active roster owns a 118 wRC+ and has the third-lowest strikeout rate (17.8%) and third-highest walk rate (10.3%). Not great!
The good news is that Rodon has been in excellent form over the last two months. Since the start of July, he's recorded a 2.77 xFIP, 34.6% strikeout rate, and 5.3% walk rate over his last 10 games. During that stretch, he's racked up double-digits in half of those starts.
Despite San Diego's credentials, they have just a 3.37 implied total, so Rodon seems to be getting the benefit of the doubt here. Due to the wide difference in matchups, Burnes should be your first choice, but Rodon is an excellent pivot in GPPs.
Frankie Montas ($9,100): It's safe to say that Montas hasn't exactly met expectations since joining the Yankees at the trade deadline, but three of his four starts have come against the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Mets, so perhaps at least some of the blame goes to some brutal matchups. Even if we include an average Red Sox team, all four haven't been great opponents for strikeouts.
Well, that won't be the case in tonight's spot against the Angels. The Halos are roughly a league-average offense with Mike Trout back, but they still have a league-worst 26.7% strikeout rate versus righties.
For the season, Montas has a respectable 3.44 xFIP, 23.9% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate. If this version of Montas shows up, that's more than enough to take advantage of this matchup.
The right-hander has also gone 92 pitches in his last two starts, so he ought to have a full workload if he's on his game.
The Angels have a 3.50 implied total, which ranks as the night's third-lowest. It's awfully hard to trust Montas, but the matchup puts him on the radar tonight.
Toronto Blue Jays
It's always tricky to analyze pitchers with limited MLB experience, but Javier Assad certainly left a lot to be desired in his debut last week. Although the 24-year-old held the Cardinals scoreless over four innings, he issued four walks to three strikeouts, and a 5.72 xFIP is a better indication of how he performed.
His Triple-A numbers suggest that those walks could go down, but a 4.11 xFIP, 24.8% strikeout rate, and 4.7% walk rate doesn't read as a particularly overpowering line, and he did struggle with walks in Double-A earlier this year, too (9.4%).
At the end of the day, it's much easier to side with the Toronto Blue Jays here, and that's even more the case when they're showing a 5.66 implied total.
Given the high-upside talent at pitcher today, it could be hard to fit in some of the Blue Jays' top bats, but they have plenty of affordable salaries that we can turn to in guys like Lourdes Gurriel ($2,800), Alejandro Kirk ($3,000), Bo Bichette ($3,200), and Matt Chapman ($3,100).
After mostly skating by with decent results for much of the season, Madison Bumgarner's poor peripherals have caught up with him lately, as he's posted a 7.53 ERA over his last five starts.
Overall, his season-long ERA is finally creeping closer to his 4.77 xFIP, and things should continue to trend in that direction considering his paltry 16.6% strikeout rate and a 37.9% ground-ball rate that leaves him open to home runs.
Even better, Bumgarner isn't even showing strong marks against left-handed batters anymore, as his xFIP is actually worse in the split (5.30) compared to righties (4.60).
That means we can happily include the Philadelphia Phillies' power lefties in Bryce Harper ($4,200) and Kyle Schwarber ($3,800) when the salaries work, and then Rhys Hoskins ($3,400), Alec Bohm ($3,200), J.T. Realmuto ($3,600), and Nick Castellanos ($3,100) round out the top right-handed bats.
As of this writing, it's unclear who the official starter for the Pirates will be, but all indications are that we're getting a bullpen game, and the Milwaukee Brewers have a 4.74 implied total. Among active rosters, Pittsburgh's bullpen has the league's third-worst xFIP.
Given that it's hard to play specific matchups in this spot, this is mostly about trying to fit in the top Brewers without worrying too much about handedness.
Christian Yelich ($3,200), Andrew McCutchen ($2,900), and Kolten Wong ($2,700) don't have as much home run upside, but they should all bat in the top two-thirds of the order and can chip in stolen bases here and there.