MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 7/9/16
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 7:15 PM EST and features just 5 games.
Pitchers to Target
Max Scherzer ($11,900 on FanDuel): Scherzer is a bad, bad dude, and he’s always worth investigating any time he toes the rubber. You’ll have to pay up to roster him, but he’s our second-ranked pitcher for his road matchup with the New York Mets, who boast a measly implied total of 3.28 runs. Scherzer’s numbers -- 2.98 SIERA, 32.8% strikeout rate and 6.8% walk rate -- are sparkling, and the situation is good. The Mets rank 20th in wOBA against right-handers (.313), and Citi Field is the most pitcher-friendly environment in the game.
Jon Lester ($10,200): Lester is our top-ranked pitcher, and when you factor in how much cheaper he is than Scherzer, it’s hard to pass on the Chicago Cubs’ lefty. Lester is coming off a red-hot June as he limited hitters to a .231 wOBA while posting a 26.5% whiff rate and 4.2 walk rate last month. The Pittsburgh Pirates have a good offense (12th in wOBA), but they’ve really hit the skids of late, ranking 29th in wOBA over the last 30 days.
Brandon McCarthy ($7,900): If you’re looking to pivot off the two big dogs on the slate, McCarthy is an enticing option for his home matchup with the San Diego Padres, although he has some risk, too. For starters, the matchup is really, really good. Not only does San Diego rank 29th in wOBA versus right-handers (.289), but Dodger Stadium is very friendly to pitchers, slotting in 27th in park factor. The Padres have the main slate’s lowest implied total at 3.27 runs. The risk here is that McCarthy has made just one start this season, coming off the disabled list (elbow) earlier this week. His season debut was a doozy as he blanked the Colorado Rockies over five innings, fanning 8 and permitting just 2 hits, but the Dodgers are unlikely to let McCarthy toss much more than the 72 pitches he threw in that outing, making him pretty unattractive in cash games. With Scherzer and Lester likely to dominate ownership tonight, McCarthy does make for an intriguing tourney play, although he’s going to need to be extremely efficient to offset his lack of upside.
Hitters to Target
Nolan Arenado ($4,800): It’ll take a pretty penny to get Arendo, but he’s in an impeccable spot for his home matchup with Philadelphia Phillies’ righty Jerad Eickhoff. Arenado -- our top-ranked bat -- boasts a .375 wOBA against right-handed pitchers this season, and he owns a .425 wOBA at Coors Field. He posted a .397 wOBA with a 12.2% walk rate in June. Eickhoff is a promising young pitcher (3.93 career SIERA), but Vegas expects him to get ambushed tonight, giving Colorado an implied total of 6.36 runs. It may be attractive to pivot off Arenado as his ownership will likely be through the roof, but it’s tough to turn away from this kind of upside.
Kris Bryant ($4,400): If you want to go contrarian, Bryant isn’t a bad option. It’s hard to call him contrarian, since he’s one of the best players in baseball, but people are probably going to flock to Arenado tonight. Bryant has built on his monster rookie campaign, pretty much upping his numbers across the board. Bryant has a .398 wOBA with 25 jacks -- he hit 26 all of last season -- and a 10.9% walk rate. He’s dropped his strikeout rate down to 23.2% after whiffing 30.6% of the time last season. Bryant will face Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl in a road clash at PNC Park. Bryant has mashed righties to the tune of a .387 wOBA, and he’s put up a .422 wOBA away from Wrigley Field. Kuhl has pitched just 11 innings in the bigs, but he owns a 5.46 SIERA, 14.5% strikeout rate and 8.0% walk rate. In 76 2/3 frames at Triple-A to start the season, Kuhl pitched to a 3.87 FIP.
Tommy La Stella ($2,000): La Stella isn’t a regular for the Cubs, but if he’s in the lineup, he makes for an extremely attractive play and can be a cheap inclusion into a Cubs stack. As we just covered, Chicago is taking on a righty in Kuhl, and La Stella is sporting a .354 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. At a minimum salary, he’s an ideal way to get cheap access to the always-potent Cubs’ lineup, which has an implied total of 4.42 runs. La Stella hit leadoff Thursday, the last time Chicago faced a righty. If he’s at the top of the order tonight, he’d darn near be a must-roster option.
Eddie Rosario ($2,000): Rosario has been playing against right-handed pitching, and the Minnesota Twins are taking on righty Kyle Lohse. It’s certainly worth double-checking the Twins’ lineup tonight, but Rosario is in a decent spot if plays. I want to be clear: Rosario isn’t very good. With that said, he does hit righties better than lefties, and Lohse, who is making his season debut, is a huge wild card. Lohse struggled to a 4.43 SIERA last year, and he started this campaign with a 5.05 FIP in 58 2/3 innings at Triple-A. Minnesota has a mouth-watering implied total of 5.7 runs, and at a minimum salary, Rosario is worth a look as a punt play.