FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 9/19/23
We have some elite pitching atop Tuesday's slate, but most of them will require a fair bit of salary cap space. Is there enough hitting value out there to still roster the night's top stacks?
Our daily fantasy helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups.
Be sure to also incorporate numberFire's great tools into your research process, including daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, and batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups.
Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Two names immediately stand out at the top of tonight's list of pitchers, and that's Spencer Strider ($11,500) and Blake Snell ($11,300). And when looking at the matchups, this is a rare case where Strider might not be the slate's definitive SP1.
That's because Snell is at home facing the Colorado Rockies, a team that's not only terrible on the road but is even worse versus lefties. When facing southpaws, Colorado's active roster has an abysmal 59 wRC+, 28.3% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate.
With numbers like that, it's no surprise their implied team total sits at 2.88 against a lefty like Snell.
Remarkably, Snell continues to produce in spite of his 13.4% walk rate. Over his last four starts, he's scored 58, 52, 46, and 52 FanDuel points, and those last two performances came versus top-tier opponents in the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Maybe those free passes come back to bite him one of these days, but that's unlikely to happen against this impatient, whiff-happy Rockies lineup. Among qualified starters, only Strider's 37.6% strikeout rate ranks higher than Snell's 31.4%.
Of course, if Strider is your preference, you won't get any pushback here.
This is a repeat matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies, but he had no trouble getting the job done last week, logging nine strikeouts and 55 FanDuel points. As evidenced by their higher 3.78 implied team total, the Phillies are a far more potent opponent than the Rockies, though.
But what more needs to be said about Strider at this point? He's averaging 42.9 FanDuel points per start and is a threat for double-digit Ks every time he takes the mound.
If that pair wasn't enough, we also have Luis Castillo ($10,900) sitting right below them in a plum spot versus the Oakland Athletics (3.13 implied team total). The A's has been one of the league's worst offenses against right-handed pitching this season, and that includes their active roster showing a fantasy-friendly 24.8% strikeout rate.
While Castillo doesn't have the pure firepower of Strider or Snell, we'll gladly take a 3.69 SIERA, 27.2% strikeout rate, and 6.4% walk rate in this plus matchup.
Zac Gallen ($10,600) is yet another ace we have at our disposal, but he's arguably a distant fourth in a neutral matchup against the San Francisco Giants. Gallen's results have been a rollercoaster lately, too, getting shelled three times in his last five starts while also scoring 58 and 64 FanDuel points in the other two.
Still, anyone with that kind of ceiling has to be on our radar, and he should be less popular than the previous trio.
Gallen's 25.7% strikeout rate isn't elite, but his 5.3% walk rate is the eighth-best among qualified starters, helping him regularly go deep into games. As a result, he's second in innings pitched this year, and that volume has helped keep him inside the top 10 in total strikeouts.
This isn't to say the Blue Jays are an easy matchup for Schmidt; it's just that they'll likely start six right-handed hitters. Schmidt is -- quite frankly -- garbage against lefties this season, but in same-handed matchups, he boasts a 3.53 xFIP, 26.0% strikeout rate, and 4.2% walk rate.
The 27-year-old has been given more leeway with his pitch counts lately, too, as he's gone 94 or more pitches in four of his last five outings. I'm skeptical whether he can do enough to keep pace with the slate's foursome up top, but the salary savings are tempting.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to take on a Detroit Tigers bullpen game, so it isn't the least bit shocking to see them with one of the slate's best implied team totals (5.04).
In looking at Detroit's active relievers, their collective xFIP is smack dab in the middle (16th), perhaps making this a neutral matchup on paper. However, the Tigers had to dip into their bullpen early on Monday due to starter Eduardo Rodriguez leaving after three innings with a back injury, and they also have just one left-handed reliever.
While it's hard to play matchups here, that last point means we should feel comfortable prioritizing lefties Freddie Freeman ($4,100) and Max Muncy ($3,600), and MVP candidate Mookie Betts ($4,500) is always in play. Value lefty sticks David Peralta ($2,500), Jason Heyward ($2,700), and James Outman ($2,800) could prove important on a night when we'll generally want to allocate funds at pitcher, too.
The Atlanta Braves are right up there with the Dodgers in implied team total (5.22), but this is a tricky matchup against southpaw Cristopher Sanchez, who is expected to be used in tandem with right-hander Michael Lorenzen.
Sanchez held his own against the Braves his last time out, logging 10 Ks over 7 1/3 innings while allowing 4 earned runs. He also got up to 96 pitches, so chances are he'll be allowed to pitch deep into the game if he's dealing.
But facing the same pitcher in two straight starts should benefit Atlanta, and the lefty is far less scary against right-handed batters. Whereas Sanchez is showing a ridiculous 35.8% strikeout rate and 73.0% ground-ball rate in same-handed matchups, that dips to 20.3% and 53.3% when facing righties.
The presence of Lorenzen in a piggyback role does mean we don't have to ignore the lefties completely, though. He has a low strikeout rate against both sides of the plate, and his xFIP is poor when facing lefties (4.91).
The Cleveland Guardians aren't a team we look to stack often, but with cooler temperatures taking over many parts of the country, a warm and windy night in Kansas City should boost their prospects. We're expecting double-digit mph winds blowing out to left on top of temperatures nearing 80 degrees. As of this writing, this game has the slate's highest over/under (10.0).
Steven Cruz will open for the Kansas City Royals, but Alec Marsh is expected to be the bulk reliever tonight. What should have the Guardians excited is that Marsh coughs up dingers to both sides of the plate, allowing 2.24 per nine innings off a 44.6% fly-ball rate this year.
While he does have a higher strikeout rate versus lefties, that could be inflated over a small sample and should be less of an issue for a Cleveland lineup that suppresses punchouts.
The Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers are other teams with high implied team totals bordering near five runs. The San Diego Padres are a little lower down but are intriguing against Ryan Feltner, who's returning from a lengthy IL stint after being hit by a comebacker in May. Feltner struggled over eight starts before the injury (5.59 SIERA), and he'll be followed by a Rockies bullpen with the second-worst xFIP among active rosters.
The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.