FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 9/20/23

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 9/20/23

Wednesday's five-game slate isn't loaded with aces up top like yesterday, but we're also lacking many matchups to exploit for our bats. It's worth noting that rain is expected in St. Louis, so that will be something to monitor later in the day.

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.

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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.

Pitching Breakdown

After being lights out earlier in the season, Kevin Gausman ($10,900) hasn't been quite as dominant or consistent over the last couple of months, but even this version of him is enough to place him at the front of the line against the New York Yankees.

Since the All-Star break, Gausman has put up a 3.81 xFIP, 28.3% strikeout rate, and 8.6% walk rate. While he's flopped in two of his last three starts in tough spots (vs. Texas, at Colorado), he took advantage of the Kansas City Royals in between for 10 strikeouts and 61 FanDuel points, so the ceiling remains intact.

The Yankee's active roster enters with a 93 wRC+ and 24.3% strikeout rate versus right-handers, so this isn't a bad spot for Gausman to post another strong outing. On FanDuel Sportsbook, Gausman is -122 to clear 7.5 Ks, which is an encouraging sign, as well.

Justin Steele ($10,800) and Kodai Senga ($10,600) immediately follow Gausman in salary, and both arms are appealing alternatives.

Beginning with Senga, he's on a streak of seven straight quality starts and has double-digit strikeouts in three of his last four appearances. During this stretch, he's produced a 31.6% strikeout rate and a slightly improved 9.8% walk rate. Not too shabby.

The Miami Marlins are a below-average offense versus righties, and their active roster's modest 7.4% walk rate versus righties should help Senga keep the free passes to a minimum. Given Gausman's up-and-down results lately, I wouldn't have any problem even placing Senga ahead of him.

Steele is firmly in third place against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although the Pirates' lineup isn't anything special, the southpaw is unlikely to face a single left-handed batter tonight, dampening his upside.

That being said, between a 24.2% strikeout rate, 5.2% walk rate, and 49.4% ground-ball rate, he's tied for the third-most quality starts this year (20). The Chicago Cubs are -178 home favorites, so the combo of a win and quality start propping up Steele with 10 additional FanDuel points isn't an unlikely scenario.

In the value range, we have Aaron Civale ($8,300) as a matchup-based play versus the Los Angeles Angels.

With Shohei Ohtani officially shut down, the Angels' active roster has dropped to a league-worst 83 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and what remains of this lineup is littered with high-strikeout bats. The Halos have one of the night's lowest implied team totals (3.34).

Civale's season-long numbers don't move the needle, but since moving to the Tampa Bay Rays, he's recorded a 3.38 xFIP, 27.9% strikeout rate, and 5.2% walk rate over his last eight starts. However, perhaps his biggest hurdle is his pitch count, as the Rays have pulled him as early as 80 pitches but also let him go as long as 98.

While that's a headache, he's logged eight or more punchouts three times with the team, including a season-high 12 versus the Boston Red Sox a few starts back. He could be worth the risk tonight.

Hitting Breakdown

As of this writing, the Tampa Bay Rays are the only team with a remotely high implied team total (4.66), and it's not like opposing left-hander Reid Detmers has poor underlying metrics. In fact, Detmers has a scary 28.2% strikeout rate versus righties this season, and the Rays are projected to have an entire lineup of right-handed batters.

However, the good news is that he's allowed a 42.3% fly-ball rate in the split, and hard contact has been an issue for him in 2023, so there could be some home run potential for Tampa Bay. While Randy Arozarena ($3,500) is an obvious power bat, the lower strikeout rates of Yandy Diaz ($3,600), Isaac Paredes ($3,000), and Harold Ramirez ($2,800) are especially appealing for this matchup.

Let's hope the Milwaukee Brewers-St. Louis Cardinals game plays because it may very well be one of our better spots for offense.

Right-hander Adrian Houser has a notable weakness against lefties (5.02 xFIP), but the problem is that most of the Cardinals' best bats are right-handed. Still, we can roster lefty Lars Nootbaar ($3,100) out of the leadoff spot, and Richie Palacios ($2,400) could bat high in the order, as well.

When facing righties, Houser's still just a low-strikeout pitcher (17.9%) who relies on grounders (52.6%), though, so Paul Goldschmidt ($3,600) and Nolan Arenado ($3,300) are still top plays.

On the other side, left-hander Zack Thompson has performed fairly well since joining the rotation, and this matchup for the Brewers is similar to the Rays' spot against Detmers.

Over seven starts, Thompson has a solid 24.4% strikeout rate against righties, but he's also generating just a 40.0% ground-ball rate and allowing a 42.0% FanGraphs hard-hit rate.

William Contreras ($3,200) is the only projected batter above $3,000, so it's easy to form a value stack involving him and some combination of Willy Adames ($3,000), Mark Canha ($3,000), Carlos Santana ($3,000), Josh Donaldson ($2,600), and Tyrone Taylor ($2,600).

The Chicago Cubs are the only other team with an implied team total above four runs, but it's against a quality pitcher in Mitch Keller, and winds could be blowing slightly in at Wrigley Field. Keller has allowed 1.35 home runs per nine innings to lefties with the platoon advantage, though, so someone like Cody Bellinger ($3,900) could come through for us.

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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.