FanDuel MLB: Thursday Wild-Card Targets

FanDuel MLB: Thursday Wild-Card Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

Due to the conclusion of three series Wednesday, we're down to a five-game Wild Card slate. There are still some very good options on both the pitching and hitting sides, with some high-confidence plays to be had at various price points. Stacks are a bit more at a premium due to some quality pitchers taking the hill, but there's one home team in a particularly good spot.

Pitchers  

Yu Darvish, CHC vs. MIA ($11,000): Darvish has turned back the clock in 2020 while posting career bests in ERA (2.01), WHIP (0.96), HR/9 (0.6) and swinging strike rate (14.7 percent). He also posted an elite 31.3 percent strikeout rate and allowed three earned runs or less in 11 of his 12 starts. The Marlins generated a .219/.308/.384 line, 23.9 percent strikeout rate and -5.3 wRAA over 347 September regular-season plate appearances against right-handers on the road. Meanwhile, Darvish yielded just a .212 opponent average and .259 wOBA over 56 innings at Wrigley Field, while posting an elite 12.2 K/9.

Ian Anderson, ATL vs. CIN ($9,200): Anderson enjoyed an excellent rookie campaign, posting a 1.95 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 29.7 percent strikeout rate across 32.1 innings. He was particularly effective at home, where he turned in a 1.23 ERA over 14.2 frames. The Reds famously came up short repeatedly in Wednesday's Game 1 marathon, but it was par for the course for Cincinnati, which wrapped up the regular season with a .206 average, -9.1 wRAA and 27.3 percent strikeout rate over 885 plate appearances in September. Anderson racked up 23 strikeouts over the 17.1 innings covering his last three starts of the regular season, making him a good fit for the Reds' free-swinging style.

Zach Davies, SDP vs. STL ($8,600): Davies put together the best season of his career, posting new career highs in ERA (2.73), WHIP (1.07) and strikeout rate (22.7 percent) over 12 starts. He didn't allow more than three earned runs in any outing, and he recorded quality starts in five of his last seven trips to the mound. The Cardinals offense did look good while scoring seven runs in Game 1 on Wednesday, but St. Louis finished the season with a .226 average, -13.7 wRAA, .288 wOBA and bloated 28.3 percent strikeout rate versus right-handers on the road over 509 regular-season September plate appearances.

Top Targets    

Freddie Freeman, ATL vs. CIN ($4,200): Freeman is matched up against the hard-throwing but inconsistent Luis Castillo, who he's hitting .500 against in seven career plate appearances and who posted a 4.12 ERA over 39.1 road innings this season. Castillo allowed a .328 wOBA to left-handed hitters when traveling as well, with 11 of the 21 hits he surrendered going for extra bases. Meanwhile, Freeman posted a stellar .373/.495/.733 line against right-handed pitching this season, and a 1.153 OPS in 102 home plate appearances.

Tim Anderson, CWS at OAK ($4,000): Anderson, who had three hits in Wednesday's Game 1, was absolutely lethal versus southpaws all season, posting a .449/.509/1.000 line with a .606 wOBA and .551 ISO across 55 plate appearances against that handedness. That puts him very much in play against Athletics starter Sean Manaea, who pitched to some contact this season (57 hits allowed in 54 innings) and also saw a drop in strikeout rate from 27.5 percent to 20.8 percent. Anderson was also at his best on the road, where he posted a .333/.367/.569 line and .393 wOBA across 109 plate appearances.

Max Muncy, LAD vs. MIL ($3,600): Muncy slumped to an abysmal .192 average this season, but his .331 OBP was still very solid and many of his problems stemmed from a combination of his career-low 14.0 percent line-drive rate and .203 BABIP. Muncy still found his way to 12 home runs over 58 games overall, and Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff has allowed a 1.2 HR/9 to left-handed hitters. Muncy slugged eight of his 12 round trippers off righties while posting a .243 ISO and 42.9 percent hard-contact rate versus that handedness this season.

Bargain Bats      

Tommy La Stella, OAK vs. CWS ($3,000): La Stella gets a crack at a right-hander who had trouble with lefty bats this season in Dylan Cease. The White Sox starter surrendered a .553 slugging percentage and .400 wOBA in 90 PAs against left-handed batters on the road this season while also generating a middling 4.3 K/9. In turn, La Stella finished the regular season with a .303/.393/.510 line and .387 wOBA against right-handed pitching.

Jake Cronenworth, SDP vs. STL ($2,800): Cronenworth's impressive rookie campaign included a .285/.354/.477 line over 54 games, as well as a 1.010 OPS, .426 wOBA and .262 ISO against right-handed pitching at Petco Park. Savvy veteran Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright isn't an easy matchup, but seven of the nine homers he surrendered this season came off lefty bats.

Stacks to Consider  

Athletics vs. Cease: La Stella; Ramon Laureano ($2,900); Matt Olson ($3,100); Robbie Grossman ($3,000)

Cease is arguably one of the weaker links on the pitching chain Thursday, as he finished the regular season with a 4.01 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 1.9 HR/9 and 6.35 FIP, along with a middling 16.7 percent strikeout rate across 58.1 innings (12 starts). The right-hander also posted a 4.59 ERA on the road and had trouble with control all season, as evidenced by a 5.2 BB/9.

La Stella was just covered in the Bargain Bats section. Laureano posted a .324 wOBA against righties, along with a 24.2 percent line-drive rate versus that handedness at home. Despite his overall numbers taking a tumble this season, he was very good with runners in scoring position, posting a .377 wOBA and .222 ISO over a 48-plate-appearance sample. Olson and Grossman round out the stack as another pair of lefty hitters to put up against Cease, whose vulnerabilities to that handedness were detailed in La Stella's entry. Olson posted a .375 wOBA, .296 ISO and 44.9 percent hard-contact rate against right-handed pitching at home, while Grossman hit all eight of his homers this season off righties while also posting a .521 slugging percentage and .370 wOBA against that handedness.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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