DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 4/12/18

Lucas Duda is off to a smashing start, and he gets a favorable matchup with righty Nick Tropeano. Which other players should we be focusing on?

Every day is unique for daily fantasy baseball, which is both a blessing and a challenge. Although we can’t simply plug and play our favorite studs day in and day out, each slate presents us with a chance for a new gem to vault us up the leaderboards.

Through the use of numberFire’s tools, we can better identify the players primed to succeed each day, making the process of filling out a lineup just that much easier. In addition to our custom optimal lineups, you can check out our 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.

Which names stand out for today on the DraftKings main slate? Let’s check it out, starting with the pitchers.

Pitchers to Target

High-Priced Pitcher

Jose Berrios ($11,000 on DraftKings): Jose Berrios is almost guaranteed to be the highest-owned pitcher on the slate. Not only is he the slate's best arm, he's in a sweet matchup. He is taking on a Chicago White Sox team that is striking out 25.6 percent of the time, the fifth most in the bigs. Berrios is generating a ton of weak contact so far (37.8% soft-hit rate), but he's not getting a lot of swings and misses (8.7% swinging-strike rate). The matchup with Chicago gives him a little more upside than usual, and he's hard to pass on in cash games.

Low-Priced Pitchers

Sonny Gray ($7,700): After two average performances, Sonny Gray has seen his salary plummet $2,000 since Opening Day. This is far from a safe matchup, but on a short-slate like this, you are unlikely to find many safe options. Gray is not much of a strikeout guy, but he is instead a ground-ball pitcher who induces weak contact as evidenced by his 52.8 percent ground-ball rate and slate-low 145-foot average batted-ball distance.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Bryce Harper ($5,800): Talk about a man on a mission. In 12 games this season, he has put up an incredible .518 weighted on-base average (wOBA), .474 isolated power (ISO), and 1.289 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). Those are absolutely beastly numbers. He has historically crushed right-handed pitchers, and that's what he'll see tonight in Chad Bettis. In 2017, Harper mashed righties to the tune of a .442 wOBA and .332 ISO.

Aaron Judge ($4,800): All rise. In the early part of the 2018 season, Aaron Judge has cut his strikeout rate down from 30.7 percent in 2017 to 26.3 percent. We will see how long that lasts, but it's a good start. He has started 2018 much like he did in 2017, crushing the baseball as his .460 wOBA and .237 ISO attest. Rick Porcello struggled in 2017, giving up a 38.3 percent hard-hit rate, something that should benefit Judge tonight, especially playing in Fenway Park as the 1.078 park factor is tops on this slate.

Value Hitters

Lucas Duda ($3,500): The Kansas City Royals are home to the Los Angeles Angels, a team that is going to have Nick Tropeano on the mound. He is making his first start in the big leagues since having Tommy John surgery in 2016. He struggled in limited action in 2016, giving up a 35.4 percent hard-hit rate and getting extremely lucky with his .189 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). So far in 2018, Lucas Duda has done very well for the Royals, particularly against right-handed pitching. The sample size is tiny, but he has a .416 wOBA and .333 ISO in 20 plate-appearances against righties this year. Last season, he was really good in the split with a .360 wOBA and .298 ISO.

Chris Iannetta ($3,400): It is not very often that you are looking to grab a Colorado Rockies catcher outside of Coors. However, the lefty-righty splits for Chris Iannetta make him a viable option even outside of Colorado. In 2017, Iannetta lit up left-handed pitching with a .409 wOBA and .263 ISO. Tonight he is taking on lefty Gio Gonzalez, who allowed 21 jacks last season, 19 of which were by right-handed hitters.

Ryan Sheppard is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan Sheppard also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username donkshow_. 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.