FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 8/7/20
Baseball is back in full swing again, with all 30 teams back in action tonight for the first time since July 26. The St. Louis Cardinals, the latest team to return from quarantine, will send Daniel Ponce de Leon to the mound against the Chicago Cubs to start their season back up again.
Our daily helper is available every day to help you sort through your best options on FanDuel's main slate. In addition to this helper, be sure to check out our daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to help fill out your lineups.
Since it's still early in the season, all stats referenced are from the 2019 and 2020 seasons combined unless otherwise noted.
Pitchers to Target
Zack Greinke ($8,800), Astros
Greinke looks like the top option on Friday's slate, even against a strong Oakland Athletics lineup. Despite Oakland's talent, their production hasn't quite lived up to expectations against right-handed pitching. Oakland ranks 23rd in the majors with a .346 slugging percentage against righties.
With a 5.00 ERA through two starts it appears as though Greinke's off to a slow start, but that number maybe a bit misleading. Many of his key Statcast metrics are actually better than his clips from last season. He's allowed a hard-hit rate of 31 percent (down from 39 percent in 2019) and an expected slugging percentage (xSLG) of just .352 (down from .397). So despite some frustrating fantasy outputs in his first two outings, you can still roster Greinke with confidence.
Matt Boyd ($7,900), Tigers
You're not going to roster many Detroit Tigers pitchers this season, but anyone going up against the Pittsburgh Pirates is worth a look. Pittsburgh is plating just 3.5 runs per game and has an anemic .567 OPS, worst in the majors.
Boyd has given up four runs in five innings in each of his first two starts, so there's some risk in using him right now. However, his hard-hit rate allowed sits at 33.1 percent, which is actually lower than his rate in 2019 (34.4 percent). His Fielding Independent Pitching of 3.89 also supports the idea that he's suffered from some bad luck in his first two outings, and he should bounce back against a weak Pirates lineup.
Julio Urias ($8,100), Dodgers
Through two starts, Urias has allowed just five hard-hit balls (95+ MPH) against 45 batters faced (11%), the fourth-lowest rate in baseball. On Friday, he faces a relatively weak San Francisco Giants lineup that he already shut down in his first start of the year. On July 26, Urias allowed one run in five innings against San Francisco but was pulled after just 78 pitches. In his last start, he was extended to 90 pitches, which should allow for a higher fantasy ceiling against the Giants this time around.
Hitters to Target
Fernando Tatis Jr. ($4,200), Padres
Against the 20 pitchers with most similar repertoire to Arizona Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver, according to Statcast, Tatis has posted a .438 batting average with 1.252 OPS in his career. That stat includes three hits in six at-bats against Weaver.
Freddie Freeman ($3,800), Braves
The Atlanta Braves face Philadelphia Phillies starter Vince Velasquez, who has given up 2.1 homers per nine innings of the last two seasons, so we should expect a few balls to leave Citizens Bank Park on Friday night. Among Atlanta's regulars, Freeman boasts the highest home run rate against right-handed pitchers (5.7 percent).
Although he isn't always in the lineup against righties, if Adam Duvall ($2,300) draws a spot start, be sure to plug him into some lineups, too. Duvall has a 7.3 percent home run rate against righties over the last two years.
Francisco Lindor ($3,500), Indians
Lindor is off to a frustrating start, but another matchup with Dylan Cease might be what he needs to back on track. The Chicago White Sox starter ranks 154th out of 166 pitchers in xSLG allowed, and that's in part due to getting roughed up by the Cleveland Indians in his first start of the year. The Tribe knocked Cease out of the game in the third inning, and Lindor contributed with a home run.
Cease relies on a four-seam fastball which he throws 53 percent of the time, so Lindor's success off him in their last meeting was no fluke. Even while struggling overall this season, Lindor has generated a .660 xSLG versus fastballs from righties -- well above the league average of .499.
Charlie Blackmon ($3,600), Rockies
Blackmon is a rare lefty who doesn't mind facing left-handed pitching, and Seattle Mariners starter Yusei Kikuchi looks like a particularly good matchup for him. Kikuchi throws his four-seam fastball and cutter over 75 percent of the time, two pitches versus which Blackmon excels. Over the last two years, he's generated a .584 xSLG versus that combo from lefties.
While we know Colorado Rockies hitters tend to struggle on the road, Blackmon included, that isn't the case against a pitcher with Kikuchi's repertoire. Against that fastball/cutter combo from lefties on the road, Blackmon's xSLG remains strong at .530.
With many DFS players likely to avoid Blackmon against a lefty on the road, this may be an ideal spot to roster him with expected low ownership.
Shin-Soo Choo ($3,000), Rangers
Choo started the season with a 1-13 slump, but he's back on track with home runs in three of his last five games. And with a .668 xSLG, the 12th best rate in the majors, his production is no fluke. Los Angeles Angels starter Griffin Canning relies on a 92 MPH fastball, a pitch which Choo handles well. Over the last two seasons, Choo has posted a .630 xSLG versus fastballs from right-handed pitchers.
Tommy Edman ($2,700), Cardinals
One of the cheap options on the slate who is worth a look is Edman, who faces Cubs lefty Jon Lester. Edman has a career .318 batting average and .591 slugging percentage against lefties. Edman has also been batting second for the Cardinals this season, and it's rare to find a top-of-the-order hitter on a decent team for this cheap.
Players to Avoid
Pete Alonso ($3,300), Mets
You can almost always justify gambling on a player with Alonso's power, but there are some signs that his slow start is driven by more than just bad luck. Alonso has generated an impossibly bad .046 xSLG versus fastballs from right-handed pitchers -- a monumental collapse from his .635 mark last season.
Miami Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara also relies heavily on a sinker/changeup combo (62 percent of his pitches). Against that combo from righties, Alonso has a career .412 xSLG -- not the typical power number we're used to seeing from Alonso against other pitcher types. So this is probably a matchup to avoid anyway, but especially so while Alonso is also slumping against pitches he typically handles well.