MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 8/7/16
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 1:05 PM EST and features the first nine games of the day.
Pitchers to Target
Madison Bumgarner ($11,400 on FanDuel): Prior to his last start -- a mouth-watering matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies -- Bumgarner had scored at least 31 FanDuel points in each of his last nine starts. Because baseball is baseball, the punchless Phillies got to Bumgarner for 10 hits and 4 earned runs in 5 innings. Don't let that deter you today as Bumgarner is our top-ranked hurler for his road matchup with the Washington Nationals, whose 3.72 implied total is the third-lowest of the main slate. The San Francisco Giants' ace owns a 3.31 SIERA, career-best 27.8% strikeout rate and 6.1% walk rate. Nationals Park ranks 25th in home run factor, and Bumgarner's strikeout rate has climbed to 29.8% over the past 30 days. It takes quite an investment, but his blend of safe floor and big upside make him worth every penny.
Gerrit Cole ($9,500): Cole got off to a slow start this year. His 4.08 SIERA is a career-worst mark, but he's been great since coming off the disabled list. He recorded a 23.4% strikeout rate and 3.9% walk rate in July, and his 22.7% soft-hit rate this year is a career-best clip. He takes on the Cincinnati Reds today at PNC Park, which ranks 24th in park factor and 28th in home run factor. The Reds are one of the weaker offenses in baseball, ranking 28th in wOBA (.305), and they've been particularly poor away from home with a meager .293 wOBA on the road. Cincy's implied total of 3.23 runs is the lowest of the slate.
Joe Musgrove ($6,000): Musgrove has just 4 1/3 big-league innings to his name, but man, it's a great 4 1/3 frames. In his debut earlier this week against the Toronto Blue Jays, Musgrove held the potent Jays' lineup to 1 hit and 1 walk while punching out 8 in 4 1/3 innings. He isn't going to post a 53.3% strikeout rate, obviously, but he has some gaudy minor-league strikeout numbers, as well. He put up strikeout rates of 29.4% and 24.1%, respectively, in Double-A and Triple-A earlier this year. Like his debut, Musgrove draws another tough matchup, this time getting a home meeting with Texas Rangers, who rank 11th with a .322 wOBA. Texas' wOBA drops to .307 away from home, and Musgrove's ability to gets swings and misses gives him a nice ceiling. On the negative side of things, the Houston Astros are unlikely to let him get deep into the game, but he still checks in as our fourth-ranked arm despite being projected to pitch just 6.05 innings.
Hitters to Target
Chris Davis ($3,600): Davis' .330 wOBA pales in comparison to the .390 wOBA he posted in 2015, but he is still having his way with right-handed pitching. This season, he's sporting a 40.9% hard-hit rate and 48.0% fly-ball rate against righties, and Davis gets a pristine matchup this afternoon against James Shields at U.S. Cellular Field, which checks in ninth in home run factor. Shields is allowing hitters to post a 33.3% hard-hit rate with a 37.3% fly-ball rate. Coupled with an ugly 15.5% strikeout rate and 9.6% walk rate, it's a miracle his SIERA is only 5.14. The Orioles' implied total of 5.14 runs paces the slate, and Davis even provides a little savings compared to other top sluggers.
Matt Carpenter ($4,000): Carpenter has played two games since coming off the disabled list with an oblique injury. He's gone hitless in seven plate appearances, but he gets a juicy matchup today against Atlanta Braves' starter Mike Foltynewicz. Carpenter is destroying everything this year, especially if it's thrown by a right-handed pitcher. Versus righties, he owns a .426 wOBA with a mind-numbing 50.3% hard-hit rate and 47.1% fly-ball rate. Foltynewicz has pitched to a 4.22 SIERA and is giving up a .356 wOBA and 48.4% fly-ball rate to left-handed sticks. Carpenter did exit early Saturday, but St. Louis Cardinals' manager Mike Matheny said his star infielder isn't injured. It's certainly worth double-checking the Cards lineup, though.
Matt Joyce ($2,600): A lot of the things that made Joyce an attractive option yesterday also apply today. Joyce gets a nice matchup with right-hander Dan Straily. Against righties this season, Joyce owns a monster .399 wOBA with a 36.5% hard-hit rate, 42.7% fly-ball rate and 10 jacks in just 166 plate appearances. For his career, his wOBA versus right-handers is .349. Straily is pitching to a career-worst 4.81 SIERA, and he has struggled to a 5.86 xFIP versus southpaws.
Nick Franklin ($2,400): Franklin, a switch hitter, has just 81 plate appearances this year, but he's fared very well against right-handed pitching, posting a .352 wOBA with a 45.0% hard-hit rate. He boasts a 35.6% hard-hit rate versus right-handed pitchers over his career. Franklin will square off with righty Kyle Gibson today. Gibson is getting torched by lefties, allowing a .360 wOBA to southpaws. Franklin is in an ideal spot to do some damage, sandwiched between Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria in the second spot in the Tampa Bay Rays' lineup.