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 projections and 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.
This is a weird slate.
Knebel is expected to serve as an opener, with Tony Gonsolin ($7,800) possibly eating up a chunk of innings. But who knows how the Los Angeles Dodgers will play it. I wouldn't risk using Gonsolin -- especially since he doesn't offer that much of a salary discount -- unless there are reports that he will for sure be the bulk guy. And even then, he's still awfully risky as he could toss just one or two frames, but the Atlanta Braves do have a slate-low 3.81 implied total.
I don't feel strongly about any of Eovaldi, Fried or Garcia, but when I try to talk myself into someone, Eovaldi is the guy I have the easiest time backing.
Yes, the matchup is awful. The Houston Astros are really good, don't strike out much and have the slate's highest implied total (4.33). But Eovaldi -- the owner of a 3.60 SIERA and 25.5% strikeout rate this year -- was lights out in the last round, amassing a 1.73 SIERA, 40.0% strikeout rate and 2.5% walk rate across 10 1/3 innings versus the New York Yankees.
If you prefer Fried or Garcia, go for it. I almost never do this, but I think I'm going to prioritize getting the five-six bats I feel really good about and then figure out pitcher from there.
Stacks to Target
Los Angeles Dodgers
It's always difficult to make a case for four-man stacks on these small playoff slates. On normal-sized slates in the regular season, we're picking on bad pitchers. There aren't any bad pitchers on this two-gamer, which lends itself to us either having to stack against a solid hurler or not deploying the usual four-man stacks.
I'm still in favor of doing at least one four-man stack, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the offense I'm most into on this slate.
They're facing Max Fried, a lefty who finished the regular season with a 3.76 SIERA and 23.7% strikeout rate. He's good, but we're going to have to make some sacrifices to full-on stack on nearly any of these two-game postseason slates. Fried's strikeout rate was just 22.7% against right-handed hitters, and that pushes me to LA's righties.
When the Dodgers took on Alex Wood in the Divisional Round,Mookie Betts ($3,800), Justin Turner ($3,000), Chris Taylor ($3,300), Trea Turner ($3,700),Will Smith ($2,900),A.J. Pollock ($2,600) and Albert Pujols ($2,100) were all in the lineup.
Guys like Pollock and Pujols are pinch-hit risks if they come up against a righty later in the game. I'll likely be underweight on Betts. He's amazing, but following his stellar showing in Game 5 on Thursday, he'll likely be among the most popular sticks -- maybe the most popular bat.
Justin Turner and Smith will be core pieces for me. Pujols is hard to turn down at that salary even if we get just two or three plate appearances from him.
Corey Seager ($3,500) was the only lefty to get into the lineup versus Wood. He hit third and may go overlooked due to the matchup with Fried. He's a guy I'll have plenty of. Fried actually gave up a higher wOBA to lefties (.304) this season than he did righties (.269).
Boston Red Sox
I really like Luis Garcia. He was a stud this season, racking up a 26.4% strikeout rate and 3.91 SIERA as one of the breakout pitchers of 2021. But he tossed around 50 more innings this year than he had in any minor-league campaign, and it appeared to be catching up to him down the stretch.
Across September and October, Garcia had a meager 15.0% strikeout rate after not dipping below a 24.7% strikeout rate in any month prior to that. He didn't look very good in his lone start last round, conceding five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox.
Lefties were a bugaboo for Garcia all season. They tagged him for a .348 wOBA and 1.61 homers per nine. Garcia dominated righties to the tune of a .241 wOBA and 0.65 taters per nine. It's obvious where the focus of our Boston Red Sox stacks should be -- although you can certainly play righties, too, with how short the leash is for most starters in the postseason.
Kyle Schwarber ($3,400) and Rafael Devers ($4,000) are a high-upside two-man pairing if you can find the coin for Devers. Schwarber and Devers hit first and third, respectively, versus righty starters in the Divisional Round. Schwarber owned a .410 wOBA and 42.0% hard-hit rate in the split this season while Devers posted a .401 wOBA and 45.8% fly-ball rate against righties.
Alex Verdugo ($3,100) was Boston's only other left-handed bat in those lineups. He put up a .378 wOBA with the platoon advantage.
I want to get to Devers if I can, and I'll likely have a lot of Verdugo and Schwarber alongside my Dodgers stacks. I'll mix in some Martinez and Hernandez, as well.