DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 5/1/18

Manny Machado is raking so far in 2018 and has a nice matchup with Nick Tropeano. Who else should you be considering for MLB DFS?

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

Max Scherzer ($12,700 on DraftKings): Max Scherzer stands out on a slate that is full of aces. A lot of these pitchers dominated in 2017, but Scherzer hasn't missed a beat early on in 2018 as he has his insane numbers. He has put up a ridiculous 38.0 percent strikeout rate while allowing just an 8.6 line-drive rate. He is taking on a Pittsburgh Pirates team that has been a bit of a surprise given that they traded away Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole in the offseason and are only 0.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the division lead. The Pirates have a team weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .320, which is 12th in the Majors, but they have a measly 3.03 implied total tonight.

Clayton Kershaw ($11,900): Every time I write up Clayton Kershaw, I point out that something looks off. His fastball velocity is down, and he isn't the strikeout king that he has been in years past, although his 26.9 percent strikeout rate is still very good. We are getting him for pretty cheap. His last start, he was $14,000, and Kershaw has seen his salary plummet to $11,900 -- a $2,100 drop. Even without the insane strikeouts, his numbers are still solid as hes' giving up a 28.6 percent hard-hit rate, 84.2 mile per hour average exit velocity, and a 159-foot average batted-ball distance.

Low-Priced Pitchers

Matt Koch ($5,200): In his two outings this season, Matt Koch has picked up two quality starts, going six innings and striking out four in each while picking up the win in his second start. He has a mediocre 21.2 percent strikeout rate, but his 56.8 percent ground-ball rate is among the best on the slate. The Los Angeles Dodgers are certainly banged up, and given that the Arizona Diamondbacks now have the humidor, which has seemingly reduced the offence in Chase Field, Koch could be in for a solid game. The one issue is that he's going to be facing Kershaw as the opposing pitcher, so picking up the win may prove difficult.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Mike Trout ($5,800): Yes, Mike Trout is incredibly expensive, but he's also facing an absolute pitching disaster in Alex Cobb. This season, Cobb has struck out a slate-low 6.0 percent of the batters he has faced. On top of that, he has given up a 39.0 percent hard-hit rate, put up a slate-worst 94.2 mile per hour average exit velocity, and his 13.11 ERA is laughable. Now, obviously, that ERA will regress positively, but there is certainly reason to believe many of Cobb's other numbers will remain terrible. Trout has put up a career .417 wOBA and .270 isolated power (ISO) against right-handed pitching in his career and is in a superb spot.

Charlie Blackmon ($5,100): After losing the leadoff role early in the season to DJ LeMahieu, Charlie Blackmon has potentially regained this role with an injury to LeMahieu. Blackmon has ledoff in two of his last three games, with Ian Desmond getting the third, and Blackmon should leadoff tonight against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. In 2017, Blackmon crushed right-handed pitching with an elite .420 wOBA and .292 ISO. While it's not at Coors, the wind is blowing out at Wrigley, and the game owns a slate-high 11.0-run over/under.

Manny Machado ($4,800): Manny Machado has crushed the ball in the early part of the 2018 season. Against right-handed pitching, he's posted a powerful .465 wOBA and .284 ISO, and he is going to face Nick Tropeano, who has struggled this year. Tropeano has put up a brutal 43.8 percent hard-hit rate and a 93 mile per hour average exit velocity in his first three starts of the year, which are his first appearances since 2016.

Value Hitters

Matt Davidson ($3,900): Matt Davidson is tied for second with 9 home runs and has been crushing it with 18 RBIs and a .984 OPS. He's also carrying a sweet 53.7% hard-hit rate. He'll be facing Michael Wacha. The St. Louis Cardinals' righty has been struggling this season, giving up a 39.5 percent hard-hit rate and 32.9 percent line-drive rate, and Wacha's 10.3 percent walk-rate isn't doing him any favors, either.

Eduardo Escobar ($3,700): Eduardo Escobar is a switch-hitter who has been hitting much better against right-handed pitching in 2018, evidenced by his .406 wOBA and .281 ISO in the split. It's not just a 2018 thing, but opposing pitcher Marco Estrada has struggled giving up the long-ball. His hard-contact has been average in 2018, just 30.6 percent, but his 55.3 percent fly-ball rate, 89 mile per hour average exit velocity and 199-foot average batted-ball distance have landed him at a terrible 2.33 home runs allowed per nine innings. The power that Escobar has demonstrated against righties this season puts him in a nice spot against Estrada.

Maikel Franco ($3,500): Maikel Franco has hit for a lot of power against left-handed pitching this season, putting up a .370 wOBA and .400 ISO in the split. He's hit half of his home runs against lefties this year, despite only about one-quarter of his plate appearances being against southpaws. He'll be facing Miami Marlins lefty Jarlin Garcia, who has been getting pretty lucky this season. Garcia has a 12.0 percent walk-rate, 89.6 mile per hour average exit velocity and 181-foot average batted-ball distance, but he has somehow managed to put up a sparkling 1.00 ERA. This is mostly due to an incredibly unsustainable .121 BABIP, which should level out sooner rather than later.

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.