3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 4/25/19
Aaron Nola, P, Philadelphia Phillies
It's not often we're going to go down in price for a stud pitcher when Gerrit Cole is one of two pitchers priced above $10,000 on a slate, but that's the case tonight. Cole is against the Cleveland Indians, whose offense we can count on being better than their awful 67 wRC+ indicates -- thanks to their active roster's 103 mark last year -- and who will likely keep this game close with a stud of their own in Trevor Bauer on the mound.
At nearly $2,000 in savings, our models project Aaron Nola only 0.3 fantasy points behind Cole for the slate's top fantasy score among pitchers.
Nola turned in a strong 3.40 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) last season, and he has finished all four of his major league seasons with a mark of 3.66 or better. He also propped up his strikeout rate to a career-best 27.0% last year, which was bolstered by a jump from 10.8% to 12.4% in swinging-strike rate.
This campaign has been something of a disappointment so far. His swinging-strike rate is down to 8.4%, and his SIERA sits at 4.31. That's over a small five-game sample, though, and Nola has dealt with a really tough schedule. Four of his five starts have come against offenses that rank top-12 in wRC+ on the year, and his other came on the road at Coors Field (where he notched nine strikeouts and 41 FanDuel points).
Even though the struggles are what's most recent, a five-game stretch of tough matchups doesn't override what he's shown us consistently over the last couple of years, and there's no need to be too worried about Nola moving forward.
He also gets a dreamy matchup tonight as the Philadelphia Phillies are huge -205 favorites against the Miami Marlins, who sport a tiny 3.18-run implied total. The Marlins rank a lowly 27th in wRC+ (65) and have opened the season striking out at the third-highest rate (26.3%) in the majors. Nola finally gets a soft opponent to work with, positioning him well for a return to his 2018 form.