FanDuel MLB Helper: Sunday 7/17/16
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 main slate, which starts at 1:10 PM EST and features the nine early games.
Pitchers to Target
Max Scherzer ($11,900 on FanDuel): It'll take a serious investment as Scherzer is the main slate's most expensive arm, but he's also the slate's top-ranked pitcher with a projected total of 36.21 points. Scherzer is putting together another elite season. His 32.8% strikeout rate and 23.2% soft-hit rate are both career-best numbers. Scherzer has limited hitters to a .246 wOBA at Nationals Park, which is where he'll be for today's matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As we covered yesterday when Tanner Roark was a recommended play -- Roark threw 8 shutout innings -- the Pirates have struggled offensively over the last 30 days, posting a .303 wOBA, .148 ISO and 27 homers in that stretch.
Jacob deGrom ($10,400): Scherzer is always a threat to be the highest-owned pitcher anytime he toes the rubber, but if you're looking for an attractive pivot play, deGrom is your man. The New York Mets' flamethrower gets an enticing road matchup at the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the slate's second-lowest implied total at 3.54 runs. After a slow start to the season, deGrom has straightened himself out. He was outstanding in June, recording a 30.8% strikeout rate and 3.9% walk rate last month while limiting hitters to a .268 wOBA. Philadelphia ranks 29th in wOBA (.296), 23rd in jacks (90) and 20th in ISO (.150).
Michael Wacha ($7,600): Wacha has never quite developed into the star it looked like he was going to be after a sparkling debut in 2013, but he's been a consistently solid hurler for the St. Louis Cardinals. This season, he's putting up a career-worst 4.23 SIERA with a 20.5% whiff rate and 7.9% walk rate. On the bright side, his 29.9% hard-hit rate is better than his career average. Wacha is coming off a superb June, a month in which he held hitters to a .272 wOBA. He is set to take on the Miami Marlins this afternoon at the friendly confines of Busch Stadium. Wacha has fared better at home throughout his career, giving up a .284 wOBA in St. Louis. With a .330 wOBA on the road, Miami certainly isn't an easy matchup, but Wacha could be an interesting contrarian play in tournaments with deGrom and Scherzer likely dominating ownership.
Hitters to Target
Kris Bryant ($4,500): Bryant is a really good hitter regardless of the situation, but he's at his best when he's at home against left-handed pitchers. In those situations, Bryant owns a .438 wOBA this season, hitting 7 jacks in just 59 plate appearances. None of that is good news for Texas Rangers' southpaw Cole Hamels, who squares off today with Bryant and the Cubs in Chicago. As an added bonus, the wind is howling, and it's blowing straight out at Wrigley Field. Bryant lost his mind in June, mashing to the tune of a .425 wOBA and .412 ISO last month while crushing 11 taters. In the middle of a potent Cubs' lineup, Bryant is our top-ranked hitter for the main slate.
Curtis Granderson ($4,200): Granderson has vastly improved versus lefties throughout his career, posting a respectable .327 wOBA against left-handers this season, but he's still better against righties. That's what he'll get in today's road matchup with Phillies' starter Zach Eflin. Granderson is sporting a monster .372 wOBA on the road against southpaws, smacking 2 homers in 44 plate appearances. This clash will be played in Citizens Bank Park, which ranks first in home run factor. Eflin owns a meager 12.1% strikeout rate and an ugly 5.02 SIERA. Vegas likes the Mets' offense to rock Eflin, giving New York an implied total of 4.46 runs.
Willson Contreras ($2,900): Contreras has just 101 plate appearances to his name -- so we're working with a small sample -- but he's been really darn good. He boasts a .387 wOBA with 5 home runs and a .236 ISO. He's been especially lethal at Wrigley Field, racking up a monster .462 wOBA in his home games. As we mentioned earlier, the Cubs will be at home against Hamels, and the forecast has the wind blowing out at 16 miles per hour. It's never easy to predict Joe Maddon's lineup, but Contreras has been slotted fourth and fifth, respectively, over the last two days. Check the lineup, but Contreras' price tag hasn't caught up to his production, making him a cheap way to get exposure to the Cubs.
Rougned Odor ($3,000): Why should the Cubs' bats be the only ones who get to have some fun in an offensive-friendly environment? Texas' left-handed hitters are in a good spot against Chicago righty John Lackey. Overall, Lackey owns a 3.76 SIERA and 25.6% whiff rate, but he's struggled to a 4.13 xFIP versus lefties. Lackey has also fared worse at home, posting a 4.20 xFIP at Wrigley Field. Odor, a lefty who has a pencil thin 2.2% walk rate, won't be confused with Joey Votto anytime soon, but he provides some pop at a thin position. He has a .219 ISO and .320 wOBA this year against right-handed pitching, and Odor hits leadoff for a solid Rangers' lineup, which boasts a .321 wOBA.