MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 5/21/16
The beauty of daily fantasy baseball is that the top targets are different each and every day. Whether it's the right-handed catcher who destroys left-handed pitching or the mid-range hurler facing a depleted lineup, you're not going to find yourself using the same assets time after time.
While this breaks up the monotony, it can make it hard to decide which players are primed to succeed on a given day. We can help bridge that gap.
In addition to our custom optimal lineups, you can check out our batting and pitching heat maps, which show the pieces in the best spot to succeed on that slate. Put on the finishing touches with our games and lineups page to see who's hitting where and what the weather looks like, and you'll have yourself a snazzy-looking team to put up some big point totals.
If you need help getting started on that trek, here are some of the top options on the board today. This article is for the all-day slate, which starts at 2:10 PM ET.
Pitchers to Target
Jose Fernandez ($10,900 on FanDuel): The Miami Marlins’ ace is dominating again. Fernandez, in his age-24 season, is sporting a 3.07 SIERA with a career-best 35.2% strikeout rate and career-worst 11.7% walk rate. Still dealing in relatively small sample sizes, those two clips will likely return to career-average levels -- which are 30.1% and 8.0%, respectively -- over the course of the year. Fernandez is our second-ranked hurler for today’s home matchup with the Washington Nationals. Washington checks in with an implied run total of 3.2, the second-lowest mark for Saturday. Fernandez has been dominant in South Florida throughout his career, limiting batters to a measly .229 wOBA in his home outings.
Jacob deGrom ($10,000): It’s no secret -- deGrom has struggled this season. An early injury put him on the shelf, and he hasn’t looked anything like himself through his first 36 innings of the year, recording a career-low 15.7% strikeout rate. A home start against the Milwaukee Brewers -- who have the second-worst strikeout rate (25.5%) -- gives deGrom a great chance to right the ship. Citi Field has been baseball’s best pitcher’s park over the last three seasons, per ESPN Park Factors. Our models give the Brewers the day’s lowest implied run total (2.83) and have deGrom as the top-ranked pitcher.
Alex Wood ($8,500): Wood has been a solid back-of-the-rotation arm for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. He owns a 3.70 SIERA, 21.7% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate -- all of which are vast improvements from his 2015 numbers. Wood has a tasty road matchup against the San Diego Padres. Not only is Petco Park an incredibly welcoming environment for all pitchers (29th in ESPN Park Factors), San Diego’s offense is bad. The Padres rank 29th in wOBA (.281), 28th in strikeout rate (25.2%) and 22nd in home runs (39). Wood is our fourth-ranked pitcher for today, and his economical price tag will allow you to splurge on some big boppers.
Hitters to Target
Manny Machado ($3,700): With a price tag which leaves him outside the top 45 most expensive hitters for the day, Machado will be an attractive option as a not-super-expensive star. After a breakout campaign in 2015, he is at it again this season, posting career-best clips in strikeout rate (14.4%), ISO (.317) and wOBA (.428). Take into account the move to shortstop, a premium defensive position, and Machado is easily one of the game’s best players. For today’s matchup with Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Matt Shoemaker, Machado is our second-ranked bat, and we give him the fifth-best odds (0.26) of going deep.
Anthony Rizzo ($4,300): As Saturday’s fourth-most expensive hitter, unlike Machado, there’s no bargain to be had here. Rizzo checks in as our third-ranked hitter. Our models like the Chicago Cubs today -- surprise, surprise -- and project them to score 4.08 runs against San Francisco Giants’ right-hander Matt Cain. Rizzo racked up a .384 wOBA versus righties in 2015, and Cain is not your older brother’s Matt Cain. He has a 4.53 SIERA with a 16.3% strikeout rate.
Justin Turner ($2,300): The Los Angeles Dodgers’ third baseman is one of our top value plays of the day. Despite the clearance-rack price, Turner is our fifth-ranked third baseman for his matchup with San Diego Padres’ righty Cesar Vargas, who is sporting a 4.61 SIERA through 25 1/3 innings this year. The Dodgers’ implied total is 4.07 runs, and Turner has been hitting near the top of the order -- typically second -- for the majority of the year. It also helps that Adrian Gonzalez is expected to return to the lineup today, likely slotting in behind Turner.
Stephen Vogt ($2,200): Vogt may be a pivot play in tournaments, but he’s going to be a highly-owned dude in cash games. Despite the low price, he’s our top-ranked backstop for the day. He will see New York Yankees’ right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Vogt, a lefty, has always fared better against right-handed pitchers, putting up a .295 wOBA as opposed to a .235 wOBA versus southpaws. Vogt suffered a minor wrist injury last night, so make sure he’s in the lineup for the 4:05 PM (EST) game.