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MLB Daily Fantasy Primer: Saturday (8/21)

Aug 21, 2021

We rarely have the main slate during the day, but that’s what we have here. We actually have nine games during the day and five making up the night slate, so we’ll go ahead and discuss those day games because it’s the bigger slate. That can cause chaos if there are any weather issues, but it looks pretty clear (as of today). We can’t ask for anymore, so let’s get into it!

Check out today’s MLB Grand Slam contest at FanDuel >>

Saturday's Starting Pitcher Strategy

Max Scherzer (LAD) vs. NYM
It's honesty terrifying that the Dodgers landed Scherzer and Trea Turner at the trade deadline. This guy has been one of the best pitchers for a decade, generating a 2.85 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 33 percent K rate since 2013. That's an amazing run of elite consistency, and he's been doing the same work with the Dodgers, totaling a 3.09 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 12 K/9 rate over his last four starts. We certainly don't expect a 28th-ranked Mets lineup to bump those absurd averages.

Gerrit Cole (NYY) vs. MIN
Cole is one of the frontrunners for AL Cy Young, and he's honestly in the running every year. The right-hander has a 3.04 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in what's a "down" season for him, striking out 185 batters across just 136 innings. We expect that to continue here, with Minnesota playing without Byron Buxton and Nelson Cruz. That actually has Cole and the Yanks entering this matchup as a -230 favorite as well.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (TOR) vs. DET
The Motor City Kitties have been a tantalizing target all season, sitting 28th in K rate and bottom-10 in nearly every offensive statistic out there. That makes Ryu an easy choice, amassing a 3.73 ERA and 1.17 WHIP this season. They also enter this matchup as a -250 favorite.

Jake Odorizzi (HOU) vs. SEA
Since the beginning of June, Odorizzi has quietly had a nice second half with the Stros, pitching to a 4.06 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. That's really all you can ask for from someone this cheap, particularly in such a pristine matchup. This season, Seattle sits 27th in wOBA and 28th in xwOBA and will likely enter this matchup as a +200 underdog.

Kris Bubic (KC) vs. CHC
This is definitely the GPP play of the day. While Bubic is a rough pick, using anybody against Chicago is a good idea. This year, the Cubs rank dead-last in K rate and are plummeting down the standings after trading Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo. That means Bubic can cruise to a quality start, scoring at least 23 FanDuel points in four straight games before a dud earlier this week.

Cash Game Recommendations

Scherzer and Cole

GPP Recommendations

Ryu, Odorizzi, and Bubic

Top Lineup Stacks

Cleveland Indians (vs. Reid Detmers)

Trivia of the Day: Who is Reid Detmers? I've seen his name pop up a few times, and it's never gone well. In fact, Detmers has a 7.04 ERA and 1.44 WHIP through his first three starts. Those bad numbers make this Cleveland lineup very enticing, with Jose Ramirez, Franmil Reyes, Myles Straw, and Amed Rosario all hitting well from the right side.

Toronto Blue Jays (vs. Wily Peralta)

This one is pretty easy. Toronto ranks Top-5 in the nearly offensive category, having what feels like a million elite hitters. That makes them an attractive option against anyone but facing Wily should make them downright scary. Over his last five starts, Peralta is pitching to a 6.65 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. That's really terrifying against a lineup like this, particularly in a hitter's haven like Rogers Centre.

Kansas City Royals (vs. Cubs Bullpen)

This is a bizarre pick, but I'm going to run with something here. The Cubs are having a bullpen game because all of their starters are terrible, and they just traded away their two-best relievers (Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin). That means a bunch of crappy arms will come out here and try to shut down a contact-heavy lineup that likes to run. That sounds like a relievers nightmare, especially a bunch of Triple-A ones. That has the Royals clearly in play as a stack, with guys like Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield looking like the best choices.

  • J-Ram is obviously one of the best players in fantasy, and it's easy to see why. The switch-hitting stud is leading all third baseman with 9.6 DK points per game, which is a point higher than anyone else at the position. That's bad news for Detmer, especially with Ram collecting seven doubles, three triples, nine homers, 18 runs, 24 RBI, and seven steals over his last 26 games played.
  • Walsh is my favorite value of the day. This dude gets to face Triston McKenzie and his 5.12 ERA, mashing baseballs from the left side. In nearly 300 plate appearances against righties this year, Walsh has walloped his way to a .317 AVG, .390 OBP, .576 SLG, and .966 OPS against them.
  • Not much needs to be said about Vlad. The Blue Jays have one of the best matchups on the board, and he ranks second among all hitters in fantasy points per game.
  • Cruz has been mashing lefties throughout his career, compiling an OPS just shy of 1.000 against them. That makes him a sensational option against any southpaw, let alone a soft-tossing one with a 4.48 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.
  • The Franimal has been doing his usual thing, crushing his way to a .528 SLG this season. He's traditionally been one of the best power hitters around, and he actually has the best matchup of anyone on this Cleveland roster. The big man has homered in two straight games and should have no issues with Detmer from the right side of the plate.

  • Relievers tend to struggle with speedy guys, which means Merrifield could have 4-5 profitable at-bats. We're talking about a guy who has stolen a bag in nine of his last 16 games, hitting .290 in that stretch. If he gets on here, you can pretty much guarantee a quality fantasy outing because he's surely going for the league crown in swipes.
  • Straw will be the forgotten man in the Cleveland stack, but it would be silly to overlook the leadoff hitter. In this newfound role, Straw has a .457 OBP over his last seven games played. That's certainly the Straw that stirs the drink for this lineup, and it makes him impossible to avoid with the platoon advantage in his favor as well.
  • Dickerson has been crushing righties since his days with the Rockies, and he's always a sneaky piece to a Blue Jays stack. He's actually one of the only guys who hit from the left side, and it'll earn him a top-six spot in this order. That's no surprise when you see that his career OPS is north of .800 against right-handed pitchers.
  • Voit is too good to be this cheap. He was an MVP candidate last year and has posted a .542 OBP and 1.542 OPS over his last six games. Good luck finding that from anyone else in this price range.
  • Ruf has been a sneaky pick against righties for a while now, accumulating a .988 OPS against them since the beginning of last year. That's no small sample size, and it makes him about $1,000 too cheap on FD and $2,000 too cheap on DK.

Saturday's Hitter Strategy

This is a fascinating day of lineup construction. We rarely have multiple aces on a slate, but that's what we have here with Cole and Scherzer. That means one of those guys will be in almost every lineup, and it means you can't miss on hitting. The three-best stacks are obviously Kansas City, Cleveland, and Toronto, but we also like Tampa Bay and the two Chicago clubs. A variation of those six teams should be easy to fit in with those aforementioned pitchers because a lot of these teams have dirt-cheap players.

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Whether you're new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to a more advanced strategy - like Maximizing Your Potential in Multi-Lineup Contests - to learn more.

Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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