MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 6/18/16
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
Danny Salazar ($10,300 on FanDuel): With his elite strikeout numbers, Salazar is always an attractive option, and today he will square off against the punchless offense of the Chicago White Sox. Salazar is turning in another superb season as he owns a 3.78 SIERA and 29.8% strikeout rate. The only thing keeping him from upper echelon of starting pitchers is his inflated walk rate, which sits at a career-worst 12.4%. The White Sox rank 24th in ISO (.142), 26th in homers (60) and 22nd in wOBA (.305). Chicago has an implied total of just 3.71 runs. While the next hurler figures to draw a lot of attention, it’s Salazar who is our top-ranked pitcher today.
Max Scherzer ($11,500): The stars align for Scherzer as he gets a dream matchup against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Scherzer is coming off a dominant outing against the high-octane Chicago Cubs, one in which he allowed two hits and fanned 11 -- without issuing a walk -- over seven sparkling innings. San Diego’s offense isn’t nearly as intimidating as the Cubs. The Padres rank 28th in wOBA (.294) and 27th in strikeout rate (24.1%). Owner of a career-best 31.6% strikeout rate, Scherzer should be able to rack up the punch outs today. Spacious Petco Park is the second-best pitchers’ park in the game, per ESPN’s Park Factors, and the Padres’ implied total of 2.83 runs is the day’s lowest mark.
Dallas Keuchel ($7,700): Keuchel, last year’s American League Cy Young winner, got off to a horrific start this year. He still hasn’t returned to his elite form, but he’s at least striking out a good number of hitters in recent starts. Over his last three outings, a span of 18 1/3 innings, Keuchel has whiffed 23 while only walking three. He’s been the recipient of some rotten luck as both his BABIP (.339) and strand rate (64.0%) are well worse than his career averages -- although his career-worst hard-hit rate (30.1%) shoulders some of the blame. Scherzer will likely have a high ownership number today, and if you’re looking for a contrarian tournament play, Keuchel is an intriguing, cheap option for his home matchup with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds’ implied total is a meager 3.3 runs, and Keuchel is our fourth-ranked arm despite not being one of the 10 most expensive pitchers.
Hitters to Target
Josh Donaldson ($4,500): Donaldson is on some kind of tear right now. He’s averaged 39.9 FanDuel points over his last four games. In that stretch, he’s totaled 10 hits, three bombs, five walks, 11 runs, 9 RBI’s and 1 steals. All that in just four games! Whew! Today, Donaldson will face off with Baltimore Orioles’ right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who has been terrible this season. Over 18 innings, Gallardo has posted a 5.64 SIERA, 10.8% strikeout rate and 8.4% walk rate. He’s going to be in trouble today against Toronto, even with Jose Bautista on the disabled list. Donaldson is sporting a monster .409 wOBA versus righties, and Camden Yards ranks third in park factor.
Yoenis Cespedes ($3,800): Cespedes had a breakout season in 2015, posting a .367 wOBA, .251 ISO and 35 bombs. He’s been even better this year as he is boasting a .385 wOBA, .279 ISO, 41.5% hard-hit rate and 9.3% walk rate, all of which are career-best clips. Cespedes will do battle with Atlanta Braves’ righty Aaron Blair at Turner Field. Blair came to Atlanta as part of the Shelby Miller deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he’s been awful in his rookie campaign. Blair owns an ugly 6.06 SIERA, 12.1% strikeout rate and 13.2% walk rate. The New York Mets have a tasty implied total of 4.89 runs, and Cespedes figures to be a key cog in the offensive output.
Anthony Rizzo ($3,000): Rarely does a hitter as talented and productive as Rizzo come with this kind of price tag. Rizzo’s .259 batting average could lead some to believe he’s having a down year, but that is far from the truth. In fact, the soon-to-be 27-year-old is having one of the best seasons of his career. Rizzo, a lefty, has put up a .388 wOBA, 13.7% walk rate, 13.7% strikeout rate and .268 ISO. The ISO, walk rate and whiff rate are all career-best numbers. The reason for the economical price is the matchup with Pittsburgh Pirates’ southpaw Jonathon Niese. Rizzo has struggled, by his standards, versus left-handers this year, posting a .325 wOBA, but some of that is due to a very unlucky .180 BABIP versus lefties. Over his career, Rizzo owns a .335 wOBA and .259 BABIP against southpaws.