FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 9/15/22

Thursday's slate gets going at 6:40 p.m. ET and gives us six games to run through. Pitching is a bit lacking tonight, but we could see a number of offenses go off in inviting matchups.

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.


Lance McCullers Jr. ($9,900): You know it's a smaller slate when not a single pitcher has a salary cracking $10,000, and that's even more the case when we see that McCullers is the highest-salaried arm.

McCullers has really struggled with his control since returning from injury last month, but he's coming off the best of his five starts, logging season-bests in walks (1), innings (7), and pitches (105) while allowing just 2 earned runs and striking out 6. He tied his season-high in FanDuel points (43), but this was easily his most encouraging overall performance.

That result came against the Angels, a team with a flawed lineup but one that still has the scary bats of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Things should get even easier tonight against the Athletics, who don't have any hitters resembling anything close to those two.

Against right-handers, the A's active roster ranks 24th in wRC+ (91), 25th in strikeout rate (23.4%), and 23rd in walk rate (7.3%). Oakland has a 2.99 implied total.

While McCullers hasn't produced a noteworthy strikeout rate overall, he's now tallied six or more punchouts in three of his last four, and his swinging-strike rate has improved to 12.4% and 13.3% over his last two.

While it's still difficult to fully trust McCullers, he's definitely trending in the right direction, and that potential leaves him as one of the better options tonight.

Carlos Carrasco ($9,000): If you're unsure about paying that slate-high salary for McCullers, Carrasco also draws a great matchup but at a much more palatable cap hit.

The Pirates' active roster comes in with a 90 wRC+ and 25.3% strikeout rate versus righties, making them perhaps an even better team to attack than the A's. Pittsburgh's implied total is also bottom of the barrel at 2.95.

Carrasco's season-long numbers won't blow you away, but they'll do the trick in the context of this slate. Over 25 outings, he's put together a 3.61 SIERA, 23.3% strikeout rate, 6.2% walk rate, and 46.4% ground-ball rate.

This will be his third start since returning from a stint on the injured list earlier this month, and he took care of business in his last start against Miami, earning a quality start and 43 FanDuel points. He got up to 74 pitches in that start, so he should now be close to his usual workload, which typically hovers around 90 or so pitches.

Miles Mikolas ($9,200): Mikolas is usually a pretty boring play for DFS due to his lack of strikeout upside, but boring could very well get the job done tonight.

While the right-hander has a lackluster 18.7% strikeout rate, he rarely doles out free passes (4.6% walk rate) or hard contact (28.9% hard-hit rate).

That's helped him earn fantasy points by pitching deep into games, which includes going at least seven innings 11 times over 29 starts and eight or more 5 times. In fact, three of his eight-inning outings have come over his last six appearances, and that's led to 40-plus FanDuel points in all three.

The matchup checks out against the Reds, too. Cincinnati's active roster has the league's third-worst wRC+ versus righties (83), and they're right there with Pittsburgh and Oakland with a low implied total (3.10).


Houston Astros

The Houston Astros are a top stack tonight (5.01 implied total), enjoying a plus matchup versus James Kaprielian.

Kaprielian checks all the boxes with a 5.28 SIERA, 15.9% strikeout rate, 10.6% walk rate, and 36.7% ground-ball rate. He has poor marks against both sides of the plate, with a particularly low strikeout rate against lefties (13.7%) and a sky-high fly-ball rate when facing righties (52.9%).

As per usual, Yordan Alvarez ($4,100) and Kyle Tucker ($3,700) are the top lefty sticks, and Jose Altuve ($4,300) and Alex Bregman ($3,700) are the standout righties. It should be easier to find the space for multiple studs due to the generally lower salaries at pitcher, too.

It's all value beyond that foursome, including number-two hitter Jeremy Pena ($2,600) and number-six hitter Yuli Gurriel ($2,500).

San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres have a bit of a wild card matchup against a 25-year-old making his MLB debut, but all indications are that the batters will come out on top.

Arizona right-hander Drey Jameson is getting the call despite some truly horrific Triple-A numbers. Looking at strictly the results, a 6.95 ERA and 1.59 WHIP over 114 innings sure doesn't inspire confidence, and that's largely backed by underwhelming peripherals like a 4.96 xFIP, 21.1% strikeout rate, and 8.2% walk rate.

Other than Jameson getting grounders at a decent clip (48.6%), there's little reason to think he's ready for the big leagues.

Manny Machado ($4,500) and Juan Soto ($3,800) lead the way, and we once again are left with easy-to-like salaries across the board. Jurickson Profar ($2,600), Josh Bell ($2,800), and Jake Cronenworth ($3,000) should round out the first five slots in the order.

St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins are two other offenses in money spots, and the Cardinals are especially enticing against a past-his-prime Chase Anderson.

Anderson hasn't been a competent starter since 2019, and even in that season, he was roughly league average at best as his underlying numbers left a lot to be desired. Since that campaign, he's bounced around from organization to organization, making MLB and/or Triple-A appearances for six different clubs, including three in 2022 alone.

Needless the say, the results have been lacking over this span, and from 2020-22, he's been rocked for a 7.15 ERA and owns a 4.99 xFIP, 20.5% strikeout rate, and 9.5% walk rate.

Looking at just 2022, he only has nine MLB innings under his belt for Cincinnati, but the outcomes have remained ugly, with the 34-year-old giving up nine earned runs and three dingers over four appearances (three starts)

Making matters worse, this will already be Anderson's third appearance against St. Louis since the end of August, so the Cardinals are more than familiar with whatever arsenal he has left.

Paul Goldschmidt ($4,600) and Nolan Arenado ($4,100) are the must-have plays for the Cards, and then Tommy Edman ($3,500) and Corey Dickerson ($2,600) have value as the table-setters batting ahead of them. Tyler O'Neill ($3,300) has finally found his power in the latter stages of the season, posting a .227 ISO since the All-Star break.