MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 7/24/16
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 1:05 PM EST and features 12 games.
Pitchers to Target
Jon Lester ($10,200 on FanDuel): Lester isn't throwing as well as his 2.89 ERA indicates, but he's having a solid season. He owns a 3.73 SIERA, 23.6% strikeout rate and 6.6% walk rate. He's actually been a little unlucky with an 84.9% strand rate, which is the worst mark of his career. Lester dazzled in June, putting up a 26.5% strikeout rate and 4.2% walk rate, and he gets a nice road matchup today versus the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee leads the league in strikeout rate at 25.6%, although they are also tied for second in walk rate at 9.8%. The Brewers rank 22nd in long balls (97), 22nd in wOBA (.309) and 23rd in ISO (.146). On a slate without any slam-dunk options, Lester is our top-ranked pitcher.
Rick Porcello ($8,600): Porcello is our second-ranked hurler for his home matchup with the Minnesota Twins. Porcello is turning in a solid campaign for a Boston Red Sox team that desperately needs quality starting pitching. He is sporting a 3.93 SIERA, 20.3% strikeout rate and a career-best 4.7% walk rate. That walk rate drops to 3.5% in his home starts, and he's facing a Twins' lineup that ranks 18th in wOBA (.315), 23rd in strikeout rate (22.5%) and 19th in wRC+ (94). The matchup would be better if it were as spacious Target Field instead of Fenway Park, but priced very reasonably, Porcello is worth checking out as a value play.
Jameson Taillon ($6,800): Taillon is a very tempting option today as a cheap arm with a great home matchup. Taillon is our eighth-ranked pitcher for his clash with the Philadelphia Phillies, who rank 22nd in ISO (.146), 24th in homers (96) and 29th in wOBA (.292). Taillon, a rookie, doesn't have much of a sample from which to draw conclusions, but through 34 big-league frames, he has a 3.86 SIERA with a 17.5% strikeout rate and 3.7% walk rate. His 53.3% ground-ball rate is extremely promising. In 61 2/3 innings this year at Triple-A, Taillon dominated to the tune of a 25.9% strikeout rate and a pencil-thin 2.5% walk rate. At this price tag -- and with a fairly weak pitching slate -- Taillon is an attractive tourney play. The only negative here is the fact Pittsburgh hasn't let him toss more than 95 pitches in a game, so Taillon will have to be very efficient to go 7 or 8 innings today.
Hitters to Target
Josh Donaldson ($4,200): Donaldson's numbers -- .424 wOBA, 43.2% hard-hit rate, 15.3% walk rate and 16.4% strikeout rate -- are up across the board from a year ago, when he brought home American League MVP honors. He's obviously a player to consider on a nightly basis, but when he's facing a lefty at home, which is the case today, you have to try to get him in the lineup. Against southpaws this season, Donaldson owns a .449 wOBA, and he boasts a 46.1% hard-hit rate at the Rogers Centre, which ranks seventh in home run factor. The left-handed hurler opposing Donaldson today is Wade Miley, who is struggling to a career-worst 4.65 SIERA this year. He's surrendering a .366 wOBA on the road to right-handed hitters, and Vegas gives the Toronto Blue Jays a juicy 5.34 implied total.
Paul Goldschmidt ($4,000): Putting Goldschmidt in a hitters' park against a lefty is just unfair, but that's today's scenario as Goldschmidt gets Cincinnati Reds' southpaw Brandon Finnegan at the homer-happy Great American Ball Park. On the year, the Arizona Diamondbacks' slugger is posting a monster .448 wOBA with a 40.4% hard-hit rate versus left-handers. Goldschmidt put up a .416 wOBA with a 41.8% hard-hit rate. Finnegan has been pretty terrible this year, pitching to an ugly 5.29 SIERA, 16.9% strikeout rate and 11.7% walk rate. He's allowing a .341 wOBA to right-handed sticks, and Arizona's implied total is 4.63 runs,
Ryan Schimpf ($2,200): Schimpf came through yesterday -- when he was a recommended play against Max Scherzer -- smacking a homer as part of a 25.2-point effort. Everything that applied Saturday also applies today, except that he's facing rookie Lucas Giolito instead of Scherzer. While Giolito is one of the top prospects in all of baseball, he's not Scherzer. Schimpf has a .398 wOBA with a .386 ISO and 8 jacks in 101 plate appearances. He's racked up a .404 wOBA against right-handers, and Schimpf's salary hasn't caught up with his production. Keep taking advantage of Schimpf against righties as long as he's available at the thrift store, which doesn't figure to be much longer.
Yasmany Tomas ($2,600): When Arizona is facing a left-handed starter, Tomas is always an attractive stacking option to pair with Goldschmidt. Against lefties, Tomas boasts a .398 wOBA with a dazzling 41.7% hard-hit rate. Even though the Diamondbacks' home park, Chase Field, is a very hitter-friendly environment, Tomas has been better on the road, posting a 46.1% hard-hit rate in his travels. On the road against a southpaw, that hard-hit rate jumps to 50%. The fact he's playing in Cincinnati, another good environment for runs, makes it really hard to pass on him in this matchup.