FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 7/16/21

The beauty of daily fantasy baseball is that the top targets are different each and every day. Whether it's the right-handed catcher who destroys left-handed pitching or the mid-range hurler facing a depleted lineup, you're not going to find yourself using the same assets time after time.

While this breaks up the monotony, it can make it hard to decide which players are primed to succeed on a given day. We can help bridge that gap.

In addition to our custom optimal lineups, you can check out our batting and pitching heat maps, which show the pieces in the best spot to succeed on that slate. Put on the finishing touches with our games and lineups page to see who's hitting where and what the weather looks like, and you'll have yourself a snazzy-looking team to put up some big point totals.

If you need help getting started on that trek, here are some of the top options on the board today. We'll be focusing exclusively on the main slate.


Tonight's slate is absolutely loaded with viable pitching options, but they're all in a rather condensed salary range of $10,600-$8,700. If you want to roster a pitcher below that range tonight, do so at your own risk.

Kevin Gausman ($10,600) - Gausman's the slate's most expensive arm, but his salary is far from outlandish. Among qualified pitchers, only Jacob deGrom has a lower ERA than Gausman's 1.73 mark, and his 2.84 xERA and 30.5% strikeout rate are nothing to scoff at, either. The San Francisco Giants ace has racked up at least 43 FanDuel points in 13 of his last 15 starts, and that includes outputs of 48, 49, 52, 52, 58, 61, and 61 during that stretch. Tonight, he'll get to face a St. Louis Cardinals lineup that's been scuffling at the dish. Since the start of June, the Cardinals' 82 wRC+ ranks third-worst in the league, according to FanGraphs. St. Louis also struggles against righties, as indicated by their 86 wRC+ in that split (fifth-worst).

Robbie Ray ($9,800) - As far as bang for your buck, Robbie Ray might just be the best play tonight. The lefty's 3.09 SIERA, 3.15 xFIP, and 32.0% strikeout rate are all tops among tonight's scheduled starters. The 29-year-old has amassed 37-plus fantasy points in 13 of his last 15 efforts, and that includes totaling 49 or more in five of his last eight. Ray and the Toronto Blue Jays get an enticing draw in the Texas Rangers. Texas' 92 wRC+ since June 1 is tied for the fifth-lowest mark in the majors. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather for this one as there is some risk here.

Andrew Heaney ($8,800) - Southpaws have not been kind to the Seattle Mariners in 2021. On the season, Seattle's 88 wRC+ and 26.9% K rate versus lefties both rank fifth-worst in all of baseball. Punch-outs have also been a big issue for the Mariners lately, as only the Chicago Cubs are whiffing at a higher rate Since the start of June. Meanwhile, Heaney's been pitching a lot better for the Los Angeles Angels than his numbers might indicate. The 30-year-old's 5.38 ERA on the season might be vomit-inducing, but his 3.71 SIERA and 3.85 xFIP imply that he's been extremely unlucky to date. Heaney does possess a 28.5% strikeout rate on the campaign, and that should play very well in this matchup.

Other Pitchers to Consider: Kyle Hendricks ($9,800), Charlie Morton ($8,700), Chris Flexen ($7,000)


Los Angeles Dodgers: I mean, where the heck else were we going to start? The Dodgers are at Coors Field, and numberFire's Matchup Heat Map has them with a ridiculous 6.56 implied run total, by far the highest on the slate.

Los Angeles will take their swings against Colorado Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela, and that's just more good news for their hitters. In 292 1/3 innings since the start of 2019, Senzatela has posted a 5.20 ERA, 4.74 xFIP, and 14.0% strikeout rate. Hitters have tagged him for a .293 average, .816 OPS, .348 wOBA, and 1.1 homers per nine innings during that stretch. The 26-year-old has essentially been equally generous to hitters from both sides of the plate, so we don't have to be picky about which players we include in a stack.

The top play has to be Max Muncy ($4,400), who comes in with a .943 OPS, .282 ISO, .401 wOBA, and 158 wRC+ against opposite-handed pitchers this season. Of course, Mookie Betts ($4,300) is also in play. The former MVP has amassed a .834 OPS, .208 ISO, .361 wOBA, and 131 wRC+ versus same-sided pitcher in 2021 -- he's also garnered two long-balls and five hits in 10 trips to the plate against Senzatela in his career.

On the more affordable side of things, we have Will Smith ($3,200), A.J. Pollock ($3,500), and Gavin Lux ($3,000). Smith has handled righties to the tune of a .914 OPS, .235 ISO, .392 wOBA, and 151 wRC+. Meanwhile, Pollock's .250 ISO versus righties ranks second on the team and Lux has accrued 6 hits in 11 tries against the Rockies right-hander.

Toronto Blue Jays: An argument can be made that the Blue Jays are an even better stacking option than the Dodgers. Toronto's implied run total is "only" 5.69, but they're at home against the ever-so-generous Jordan Lyles.

In 154 innings since 2020, Lyles has been battered to the tune of a 5.67 ERA, 5.29 xFIP, and 1.7 homers per nine. During that stretch, hitters have posted a .826 OPS, .353 wOBA, and 16.4% strikeout rate against him.

Oddly enough, it's right-handed bats that have had the most success against Lyles. Since last season, same-sided hitters have tagged him for a .301 average, .883 OPS, .373 wOBA, and 2.2 dongs per nine. Wowza.

Toronto's lineup is basically a Sophie's Choice of right-handed hitters. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,400) is probably the top bat on the slate. Vladdy's 1.136 OPS, .354 ISO, .469 wOBA, and 200 wRC+ versus righties are almost hard to believe.

After Guerrero, you can pick and choose between any of Marcus Semien ($3,900), George Springer ($3,700), Bo Bichette ($3,600), Teoscar Hernandez ($3,200), and Randal Grichuk ($3,000). Cavan Biggio ($2,600) and Reese McGuire ($2,000) are the only potentially viable cheap plays tonight, but they're nothing more than dart throws at the moment.

New York Mets: The Mets are probably the best economical stack on tonight's slate, and that's due to their mouth-watering matchup against Chad Kuhl and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This season, Kuhl has assembled a 4.73 ERA, but he hasn't even been that good, as indicated by his 5.23 xFIP and 5.27 SIERA. Kuhl has struck out just 18.8% of the batters he's faced, and that's coupled with a less-than-ideal 12.6% walk rate.

Lefties, in particular, have had their way against the 28-year-old hurler. For his career, left-handers have tagged him for a .845 OPS, .360 wOBA, and 1.42 dongs per nine frames, and that comes with a 5.04 xFIP as well.

For the Mets, Brandon Nimmo ($3,100), Jeff McNeil ($2,600), Michael Conforto ($2,700), and Dominic Smith ($3,500). Nimmo has a 124 wRC+ versus righties and is hitting .317 with a .841 OPS on the season. Meanwhile, McNeil and Smith are hitting .350 and .311 over their last 14 games, respectively. Conforto has struggled for most of the season but his career .235 ISO and 136 wRC+ versus righties keeps him in play.

Of course, we can't forget about Home Run Derby Champ Pete Alonso ($4,000). Pete has stockpiled a .922 OPS, .314 ISO, and 145 wRC+ away from Citi Field this season.

Finally, J.D. Davis ($2,500) is expected to be activated today and needs to garner consideration if he's in the lineup. In 41 trips to the plate versus righties this campaign, Davis is sporting a 1.019 OPS and 186 wRC+.

Other Teams to Consider: San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics