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FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 4/5/18

We have a pair of top arms to choose from on the FanDuel main slate. Should Masahiro Tanaka be your choice tonight?

For the second straight evening, we have a smaller slate on our hands, with only four games to choose from. However, note that this includes tonight's New York Yankees 6:35 p.m. EST game against Andrew Cashner. Let's just say you might want some Bronx Bombers in your lineups tonight.

Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered! And don't forget to take a listen to The Solo Shot podcast with Jim Sannes, who breaks down the MLB daily fantasy slate each day.

On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel's main slate.

Pitchers to Target

Robbie Ray ($9,600 on FanDuel): Honestly, there are really only two pitchers we should be interested in tonight, and Robbie Ray comes in with the highest pure strikeout upside. Last year, Ray had a tantalizing 32.8% strikeout rate, but a wild 10.7% walk rate and concerning 40.4% hard-hit rate allowed were also a part of that package. The good and the bad were all on display in Ray's opening 2018 start as he allowed six earned runs over five innings, including three homers, while striking out eight and walking three. Therein lies the risk with him, and the predominantly right-handed St. Louis Cardinals won't necessarily make things any easier. This current Cards crop collectively posted a 117 wRC+ against southpaws in 2017. Still, as Carlos Martinez reminded us yesterday, pure talent often trumps matchup, so the ceiling remains high if Ray can harness his stuff tonight. The question is ultimately whether you trust him more or less than the next guy.

Masahiro Tanaka ($9,300): Masahiro Tanaka was excellent in his first start, allowing just one run in six innings with eight punchouts and nine walks. The single run came off a home run, hardly anything new for Tanaka, but we'll live with that if they're of the solo variety. Tanaka's rollercoaster 2017 is well documented, so we know the risk of a blow-up spot looms, but he gets an enticing matchup against a Baltimore Orioles roster that struck out 23.9% of the time versus righties last season and has mostly struggled in the early going. Tanaka is also a massive home favorite against Andrew Cashner, giving him a great shot at getting the win. Tanaka may not have the strikeout prowess of Ray, although he did post a quality 25.8% strikeout rate in 2017, but he easily bests him in walk rate (5.5%), and the superior matchup arguably makes him the safer of the two tonight.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Giancarlo Stanton ($4,500): Cashner inexplicably skated by with a 3.40 ERA last year despite a 5.52 SIERA, but we know better than to believe in whatever voodoo magic he was using. He actually has solid batted-ball numbers against righties throughout his career, including a 28.1% hard-hit rate and 56.7% ground-ball rate in 2017, but come on, we're not going to let that scare us off from using Giancarlo Stanton. Cashner also posted only a 12.0% strikeout rate against right-handed bats, so good luck to him getting the ball past Stanton. On a four-game slate, the only way you're fading Stanton in this spot is purely for game-theory reasons, as he'll almost certainly be one of the most popular plays of the evening. The cold temperature won't help hitters, but the wind could be blowing out.

Brett Gardner ($3,100): His price has crept up a little, but Brett Gardner is still one of the cheapest and easiest way to get access to the Yankees. He'll have the platoon advantage against Cashner, and he will be prime position to rack up the fantasy points in a stacked lineup. As a possible bonus, he was also among those who saw a power boost versus righties last year, putting up a .191 isolated power (ISO) in the split.

Kris Bryant ($4,200): In the non-Yankees division, Kris Bryant is very much on the board against mediocre lefty Brent Suter. Suter has all of 108 1/3 career innings, but he has yet to show anything too flashy with a career 4.35 SIERA and 18.4% strikeout rate. On the other hand, Bryant sports a career .405 wOBA and .262 ISO against southpaws. You know who to place your bets on.

Value Hitters

Chris Davis ($2,100): Chris Davis has done scant little thus far, managing just a hit and three walks through his first 24 plate appearances. But if he's back leading off tonight, he actually makes for a nice punt play despite the tough matchup with Tanaka. Remember, if there's one thing Tanaka struggles with, it's serving up dingers. Across the last three years, he's allowed 82 home runs, the sixth-most in the league. Sure, Davis could just as well throw up a goose egg, but the upside is excellent for a cheap leadoff hitter. Even if you choose to roster Tanaka tonight, it's not out of the question to pair the two on such a small slate and hope for a solo shot.

Ben Zobrist ($2,400) or Albert Almora Jr. ($2,100): Ben Zobrist and Albert Almora Jr. have both led off against lefties for the Chicago Cubs, so whoever gets the nod against Suter will present nice value at their respective prices. Neither one has particularly notable power, but they don't strike out much, giving them a good chance to set up the strong bats behind them.

Hernan Perez ($2,000): Christian Yelich left yesterday's game with an oblique injury, so Hernan Perez could crack in the starting lineup in place of him. Perez is projected to possibly bat second in the order, which would immediately put him in the conversation at a minimum salary. He's a modest major league hitter, at best, but he does have a solid 35.7% career hard-hit rate against lefties. Jon Lester may appear to be a tough matchup in terms of name value, but his velocity continues to look suspect, and he allowed a .344 wOBA to right-handed bats in 2017.

Kenyatta Storin is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Kenyatta Storin also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username yatters. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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