FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 9/7/22

Cristian Javier has a tantalizing strikeout rate, but can he pitch efficiently enough to maximize that potential? Which pitchers and stacks should we prioritize tonight?

A handful of pitchers top the board on Wednesday night, but there isn't necessarily one guy who you can definitively put over the rest. On offense, Coors Field is off the slate, so only a couple of teams are flirting with five implied runs.

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


Alek Manoah ($10,900): Tonight's core pitching selection arguably boils down to four arms, so let's run through all four in order of salary.

Manoah lacks eye-popping numbers with a 3.73 SIERA, 23.3% strikeout rate, and 6.1% walk rate, but his ability to suppress hard contact looks like a very real skill, and he actually leads all qualified starters in the metric (23.3%).

The lack of punchouts typically limits his upside, but Manoah's skillset does allow him to pitch deep into games, as he's reached six innings in 20 of 26 starts and gone seven or more innings 8 times. He's hit seven innings in each of the last two starts, helping him to 50 and 46 FanDuel points.

The Orioles are a pretty neutral matchup, though, so there isn't necessarily anything that makes Manoah a must-start tonight. But Baltimore also isn't expected to do much damage (3.50 implied total), and it's perfectly reasonable to expect another solid performance on a night lacking a no-brainer top starter.

Yu Darvish ($10,800): Darvish has a little more punch in his profile, coming in with a 3.40 SIERA, 25.0% strikeout rate, and 4.8% walk rate. While he doesn't have an elite strikeout rate, it's the second-best of the slate. He wrecked the Dodgers of all teams for 58 FanDuel points in his last start, perhaps his best of the entire season.

The Padres regularly allow Darvish to log 100-plus pitchers, which has helped him go at least six innings in a ridiculous 23 of 25 starts this season, leading to the league's second-most quality starts (20). He's also reached at least seven innings in over half his games (13).

While Darvish also has a pretty average matchup against a Diamondbacks team that isn't particularly great for generating Ks, the slight bump for Darvish in both strikeout rate and innings gives him a leg up on Manoah at roughly identical salaries.

Cristian Javier ($9,900): In terms of pure upside, there's no question that Javier is the guy on Wednesday.

His 32.9% strikeout rate runs laps around everyone else, and he had a stretch this summer when he racked up double-digit strikeouts in three of four starts, with two of those games resulting in a whopping 70 FanDuel points.

Unfortunately, Javier also doles out walks at a high clip (9.1%), and unlike our previous two entries, he's not exactly an innings eater. Since those 70-point performances, Javier has hit six innings in 4 of his last 10 starts, and he hasn't gone beyond six in any of those outings.

For a guy who struggles with efficiency, facing the Rangers for the second start in a row is definitely a negative, and he issued three free passes the last time. Still, Texas' active roster also carries a 23.2% strikeout rate against right-handers, so the potential for a boatload of Ks is there, as well.

Jordan Montgomery ($9,500): Similar to Tuesday, there isn't a lot to love in the value range, so Montgomery might be about as low as you'll want to go in most cases.

The Nationals have the slate's lowest implied total (2.86), and their active roster has an 85 wRC+ and 22.3% strikeout rate versus southpaws. He certainly has the best matchup of these four hurlers.

There's no question that Montgomery has been excellent since joining the Cardinals, posting FanDuel scores of 40 or more points in four of six starts. However, his strikeout rate has settled in at 22.9% over that span, which is only marginally better than his time with the Yankees this year (20.7%).

Even so, if we look at his season as a whole, he's posted a rock-solid 3.61 SIERA and has strong marks in both walk rate (4.8%) and ground-ball rate (49.1%). Additionally, a 13.1% swinging-strike rate remains a sign that he should be squeezing out more punchouts than he's shown this year.


Houston Astros

Coors Field isn't on this slate, but the Houston Astros are in a fantastic spot again tonight and boast a 5.22 implied total. They'll take their hacks against left-hander Cole Ragans, who's posted an ugly 6.21 SIERA, 11.0% strikeout rate, and 12.2% walk rate over four starts.

This will be Ragans' second time facing the Astros, too, and the first time didn't go so hot, coughing up five earned runs, two dingers, and three walks in just 4 1/3 innings.

It's tough to read too much into the splits of just four games, but right-handed batters have predictably done the brunt of the damage, so it's easy to like Jose Altuve ($4,100) and Alex Bregman ($3,500) as top options, and then Jeremy Pena ($2,700), Yuli Gurriel ($2,400), Trey Mancini ($2,700), and Chas McCormick ($2,500) offer up a variety of value righties to choose from.

Of course, the top Houston lefties can still be included in full stacks against such an inexperienced starter, as well.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cory Abbott has produced pedestrian numbers between the bullpen and rotation this season, putting together a 5.07 SIERA, 20.9% strikeout rate, and 11.3% walk rate. He's also allowing a massive 66.7% fly-ball rate that's led to 2.03 dingers per nine innings.

Considering Abbott has only gone one inning in each of his last two appearances since getting called back up from Triple-A, it's hard to see him pitching particularly deep into this game. The good news is that Washington's bullpen has the eighth-worst xFIP among active rosters, so any way you slice it, this should be a good spot for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Paul Goldschmidt ($4,700) and Nolan Arenado ($4,400) are the core guys to build around, but Abbott has a laughable 7.21 xFIP and sky-high 81.6% fly-ball rate against lefties, so the likes of Lars Nootbaar ($3,300), Brendan Donovan ($2,400), Corey Dickerson ($2,200), and Nolan Gorman ($2,500) have added value for stacks.

San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres are another appealing offense in a plus matchup, taking on struggling lefty Tommy Henry.

Henry has six MLB starts under his belt, and the result has been a ho-hum 5.18 SIERA, 16.5% strikeout rate, and 11.5% walk rate. He's demonstrated the ability to get grounders in same-sided matchups (58.8%) -- albeit over a small sample -- but there otherwise isn't anything that stands out for the 25-year-old.

Manny Machado ($4,500) is the obvious big winner of this matchup, and then Ha-Seong Kim ($2,700), Josh Bell ($2,800), and Jurickson Profar ($2,600) give us some value to work around him.

Juan Soto ($3,900) gets the lefty-lefty matchup, but we're obviously siding with the superstar over the inexperienced southpaw. As of this writing, the Padres' 4.64 implied total is tied with the Cardinals for the second-best of the slate.