DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 4/25/18
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
Clayton Kershaw ($14,000 on DraftKings): If there's such a thing as Kershaw being too expensive, this could be it -- at least with how he's pitched to this point in the season. Kershaw has not been very Kershaw-esque in 2018, with just a 26.9 percent strikeout rate. At his current pace, his strikeout rate will have declined for the fourth straight season, so what is going on here? He's only had one start with double-digit strikeouts this season, which is again a bit concerning. But it is still Clayton Kershaw, and he does have a great matchup tonight against the Miami Marlins, who have a team weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .274 -- worst in the Majors. The Marlins have also struck out 24.1 percent of the time, which is the 10th-worst mark in all of baseball. He hasn't been the player we've become accustomed to seeing, but Kershaw's still one of the best pitchers in the game with one of the best possible matchups on the board tonight.
Jake Arrieta ($8,500): This is high-priced relative to the rest of the slate, as Jake Arrieta is the fourth-highest priced pitcher tonight. Arrieta has had a pretty enigmatic start to the season. Two games ago, he had just 1 strikeout and 19 groundballs whereas, in his last start, he had 10 strikeouts to 7 groundballs against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Two polar-opposite games, and his first start was even more mediocre. It will be interesting to see which Arrieta shows up tonight, but he has a good matchup to repeat his high strikeout total. He's taking on a swing-heavy Arizona Diamondbacks team that owns a 26.1 percent strikeout rate, ranking fourth-worst in the Majors in that category. Despite two mediocre fantasy games, Arrieta has an elite 2.04 ERA and an 0.96 WHIP, making him an attractive option if you can afford him beside, or instead of, Kershaw.
Jacob Faria ($6,300): Jake Faria would be underpriced tonight even if this wasn't a great matchup against the Baltimore Orioles. His first two starts were a bit ugly, but both were against the Boston Red Sox. He followed those up with back to back 20-plus DraftKings points games, despite throwing no more than 80 pitches in either of those games. Tonight, he's taking on an Orioles team that strikes out at the second-highest (27.1 percent) clip in the Majors, while their .283 wOBA is second-worst in all of baseball. Faria has a good-not-great strikeout rate of 19 percent, but he picked up 7 and 6 strikeouts, respectively, in his last 2 games -- and with a limited pitch count at that.
Hitters to Target
Rhys Hoskins ($5,000): Rhys Hoskins has been a beast this season, putting up an elite .328 AVG and 1.106 OPS. He's hit 4 home runs and picked up 19 RBI, and he is currently riding an 11-game on-base streak. In 2017, Hoskins smashed right-handed pitching with a .421 wOBA and a .333 isolated power (ISO) and has continued that into 2018, sporting a .454 wOBA and .291 ISO. He's taking on Zack Greinke tonight, which may not seem like a great matchup, but Greinke has struggled this season. He has a slate-worst 201-foot average batted-ball distance and a 89.4 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, which is also bottom-five on the slate. He has a 3.28 skill-interactive earned run average (SIERA), which is second-best on the slate, but his .262 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) indicates he may have some regression coming.
Tommy Pham ($4,700): Pham is off to a great start in 2018, and has been on fire over his last 10 games. Over that span, he is batting .500, with a 1.367 OPS including 2 home runs, 5 stolen bases and 5 multi-hit games -- all for an average of 13 DraftKings points per game. His numbers against left-handed pitching this season have been great, hitting to a .568 wOBA and a .214 ISO, both among the best on the team. Now, he's taking on Steven Matz, who has been pitching great this year, but his 2017 numbers were horrible. We'll see who the real Matz is and hopefully Pham can get the better of him tonight.
Cody Bellinger ($4,500): After crushing it as a rookie in 2017, Cody Bellinger has come out of the gate a tad slow. It's really his power that has been troublesome, as his .271 AVG is similar to his .267 AVG in 2017, however, his ISO has dropped from .315 to .176 and his wOBA .380 to .331. However, he has still been hitting right-handed pitching pretty well. In 2017, he had a .383 wOBA and a .323 ISO, and in 2018 his wOBA is still an acceptable .386 but, again, the ISO is down to .189. Hopefully, taking on Trevor Richards and his 41.9 percent hard-hit rate will get Bellinger back on track in the power department tonight.
J.T. Realmuto ($3,600): This is going to be a tough one, as J.T. Realmuto is taking on Kershaw, tonight's premier pitching play. But Realmuto is one of the Marlins' few good hitters, and there are some holes in Kershaw's game. Kershaw's fourseam fastball has been about 91.5 miles per hour this season, which is about 2 miles per hour lower than what he's thrown the last 2 seasons. This is certainly a concern and something we can target with hitters. Since the start of the 2016 season, Realmuto has hit the fourseem fastball to the tune of a .296 AVG and a .489 SLG. Furthmore, he has come off the DL swinging a hot bat, hitting .400 with 2 home runs in his first 6 games back.
Daniel Robertson ($3,500): On one hand, how don't you pick somebody going against Alex Cobb? On the other, it's the Tampa Bay Rays. Well, let's go with the one that is hitting right-handed pitching pretty well this season, and that is Daniel Robertson. He's got a .394 wOBA and a lowly .107 ISO, so it's all about getting on base with him, as he has an elite .474 on-base percentage (OBP) -- 4th best in the Majors among those with at least 50 plate appearances. Cobb has been a disaster this season, giving up an insane 50 percent hard-hit rate, 94.2 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 3.86 (!!!) home runs per nine innings while managing a measly 9.5 percent strikeout rate. Now, of course these numbers will come back down when his .515 BABIP regresses, but he's been terrible, and we can keep stacking against him until he proves different.
Steve Pearce ($3,500): The Toronto Blue Jays are facing a left-handed pitcher tonight, so that should mean we get Pearce in the leadoff spot. He's been one of the best Blue Jays against lefties this season, hitting to the tune of a .427 wOBA and .285 ISO. The Jays will be facing Eduardo Rodriguez tonight, and while he's got some fantastic strikeout stuff, he gives up deep hits. His 192-foot average batted-ball distance in 2017 and 190-foot mark in 2018 are both second-worst on the slate. Furthermore, he gave up a 42.9 percent fly-ball rate in 2017 and a 48.7 percent fly-ball rate so far in 2018, which are worst and second-worst on the slate. He can be great, but when hitters hone in on his pitchers they launch them.
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.