FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 6/17/21
Some big names headline tonight's pitching selection, but due to tough matchups or other potential concerns, there isn't necessarily a hands-down top option. Coors Field and strong offenses in plus matchups give us plenty to like for stacks, with four different teams exceeding five-run implied team totals.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Shohei Ohtani ($11,000): Ohtani is always difficult to fully trust due to his high walk rate (14.0%) and lower pitch counts (exceeded 90 pitches in two of nine starts), and to top it all off, he's got the highest salary on the board. But he also has one of the best matchups you could ask for against the Tigers, whose active roster owns a sky-high 27.0% strikeout rate versus righties to go with a middling 92 wRC+. Although Ohtani's velocity has dipped in his last four starts, he's coming off back-to-back strong outings against the Mariners and Diamondbacks, and he hasn't been nearly as wild over this span, issuing two or fewer walks in three of the four. It may not feel super comfortable, but Ohtani arguably has the easiest path to a ceiling game tonight.
Joe Musgrove ($8,500): Seeing as Brandon Woodruff is taking the hill at Coors Field with both high temperatures and the wind blowing out, he's a high-risk play despite his amazing numbers this season. While I won't rule him out completely in tournaments, we can get similar strikeout potential from Musgrove at a far lower salary point. Granted, Musgrove isn't exactly in a cushy spot himself against the Reds, but pitcher-friendly Petco Park should give him an assist as shown by Cincinnati's middling 3.30 implied total. And while his FanDuel scores have been underwhelming of late, the underlying numbers remain fantastic through a 2.68 SIERA, 33.8% strikeout rate, and 4.9% walk rate. Much like Ohtani, Musgrove's pitch count isn't likely to go far beyond 90 pitches, but that doesn't prevent him from being an excellent value tonight.
Rich Hill ($8,300): Do I trust Hill and the Rays? Not one bit. In typical Tampa Bay fashion, Hill's pitch counts have been all over the place this season, so we shouldn't be surprised if they decide to pull him after five innings regardless of how many pitches he's thrown. But he's still busted out for big scores a few times this season (61, 57, and 46 points), and Seattle is the type of opponent that can bring out those types of performances, as their roster carries a 27.5% strikeout rate and 89 wRC+ versus lefties this season. Hill's sporting a 25.9% strikeout rate, so if given enough leash, he could capitalize on the juicy matchup.
Others to Consider: Brandon Woodruff ($10,800)
New York Yankees: It was a ho-hum night for the Yankees' bats last night, but they're in a great spot to redeem themselves against T.J. Zeuch, who's getting called up from Triple-A. Zeuch threw a dozen forgettable MLB innings back in April -- which included coughing up five home runs -- and he wasn't exactly lighting it up in Triple-A, either, with a 4.62 xFIP across 35.0 innings. Overall, he's never shown much since his big league debut in 2019, entering the night with a career 5.49 SIERA, 14.3% strikeout rate, and 10.8% walk rate across 46.0 innings.
This will also already mark Zeuch's third outing this year against the Yankees, so they should be more than familiar with his arsenal at this point, too. New York boasts the night's second-highest implied total (5.27), and while getting up to Aaron Judge ($4,200) and Giancarlo Stanton ($4,000) is great, you can also go for a value stack with guys at $3,000 and below like Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Gary Sanchez, Rougned Odor, and Miguel Andujar.
Atlanta Braves: Following two straight poor starts, John Gant might be finally unraveling after dodging regression earlier this season. His low ERA simply isn't meant to last behind a horrific 6.08 SIERA, 16.3% strikeout rate, and 16.3% walk rate.
Outside of a solid 54.8% ground-ball rate versus righties, his numbers remain poor against both sides of the plate, though there's a clear edge for lefty sticks against a woeful 6.17 xFIP. That means Freddie Freeman ($4,300), Ozzie Albies ($3,200), and Abraham Almonte ($2,600) are all terrific ways to start out a stack, along with the always terrific Ronald Acuna ($4,500). The rest of the lineup comes in at lower salaries, too, so this is another stack where you don't necessarily need to spend a ton of cap space.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Milwaukee Brewers have a slate-best 5.72 implied total at Coors Field, so you don't need me to tell you that they're in play. That said, Marquez is a solid pitcher and was cruising before a rough outing against the Reds over the weekend, so it also wouldn't be crazy to go light on Milwaukee if you think they'll be overly popular.
One potential alternative would be the Rays, who get one of the evening's weaker hurlers in Justin Dunn. The Seattle right-hander can be attacked by both righties and lefties, but his splits against the latter are especially egregious, including a 5.62 xFIP, 22.5% strikeout rate, and 18.9% walk rate while allowing 1.8 home runs per nine innings.
If nothing else, Austin Meadows ($3,600) and Brandon Lowe ($2,800) are easy to like as one-offs, and if you go for the full stack, Ji-Man Choi ($3,100), Joey Wendle ($3,200), and Taylor Walls ($2,400) are others who will have the platoon advantage.
Others to Consider: Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays