FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 6/16/21
Tonight's eight-game main slate features the best pitcher in baseball, but he's joined by some other noteworthy arms. Who should we prioritize? There's no shortage of stacking opportunities, as well, and the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves lead the way in implied totals.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Jacob deGrom ($12,200): Even with occasional injuries popping up here and there, deGrom continues to be an absolute monster on the mound, boasting a 1.60 SIERA, 46.2% strikeout rate, and 3.6% walk rate through 10 starts. He was pulled after 80 pitches in his last start due to flexor tendinitis, which adds some risk here, but the issue appears to be minor, as it didn't cause him to miss any turns in the rotation. And despite lower pitch counts of late, deGrom has still rattled off three straight starts exceeding 50 FanDuel points. The matchup also checks out versus the Cubs, whose active roster carries a 25.4% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.
Clayton Kershaw ($10,200): Once you get past deGrom, you can easily make an argument for any of Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler, or Kershaw as the next best option. Kershaw may have the lowest strikeout rate of the trio, but he draws the best matchup, facing a Phillies roster that's striking out 26.6% of the time against southpaws. Philadelphia also has the second-lowest implied total on the board (3.22) behind the aforementioned Cubs. As for Kershaw himself, his peripheral numbers are the best we've seen since 2017, as he's sporting a 3.07 SIERA, 29.0% strikeout rate, and 4.3% walk rate. In fact, if the season ended today, his 16.4% swinging-strike rate would be a career-high.
Zack Wheeler ($10,800): I'm not really in love with any of tonight's value options, particularly when we have four high-caliber arms at our disposal. And the truth is, you can make a case for Wheeler being the guy with the fewest question marks of that group. He may be facing the vaunted Dodgers, but LA is missing several key pieces in Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Max Muncy, making this a far easier draw than usual. Wheeler's recent game log is littered with fantastic performances, too, tallying at least seven innings in five straight games and reaching double-digit strikeouts in four of them.
Others to Consider: Gerrit Cole
Houston Astros: The Astros have the slate's highest implied total (5.33) in a pristine matchup against Jordan Lyles. The Texas right-hander has a lackluster 19.5% strikeout rate, doesn't get many grounders (36.5%), and is giving up loads of hard contact, resulting in 1.61 dingers allowed per nine innings.
Historically, Lyles has worse numbers against left-handed batters, so Yordan Alvarez ($3,700), Kyle Tucker ($3,400), and Michael Brantley ($3,000) are standouts, but he's been serving up a good chunk of those longballs to righties dating back to last season, so you can comfortably stack both sides of the plate. Mixing and matching any of the usual suspects batting in the top seven slots is fair game.
New York Yankees: Ross Stripling has solid underlying numbers, but the majority of that comes from the fact that he's been lights out versus left-handed batters despite throwing right-handed. But his reverse-split struggles in righty-righty matchups date back to last season, so this may not be a fluke. Over that span, he's showing a 5.05 xFIP and 17.8% strikeout rate in the split while coughing up over two home runs per nine innings.
All this doesn't bode well for him against all the righties in the Yankees' lineup. Aaron Judge ($4,100) and Giancarlo Stanton ($3,900) are the headliners, of course, and there's plenty of value in the rest of the order with guys like DJ LeMahieu ($3,100), Gleyber Torres ($3,000), and Gio Urshela ($2,600) projected to fill out the top five batting slots.
Atlanta Braves: Although Garrett Richards has been getting solid results, a 4.81 SIERA, 19.7% strikeout rate, and 11.0% walk rate aren't very exciting, and he isn't exactly preventing hard contact when he's 1st percentile in Statcast's hard-hit rate.
This is another unusual case where attacking Richards primarily with righties could be the way to go due because he owns a poor 4.80 xFIP in the split and gets far fewer grounders (41.7%). That naturally points to Ronald Acuna ($4,500) -- not that you ever need much incentive to enlist his services -- along with Austin Riley ($2,800) and Dansby Swanson ($2,600). William Contreras ($2,500) bats lower in the order but still deserves consideration due to his enticing 14.9% barrel rate.
Richards does have an annoying 55.9% ground-ball rate versus lefties but still doesn't get many strikeouts (18.6%), so Freddie Freeman ($4,200) and Ozzie Albies ($3,100) remain top plays for stacks, particularly as sluggers who don't hit many grounders.