DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 5/2/18

Gary Sanchez smashes left-handed pitching, and despite the perceived difficult matchup with Dallas Keuchel, Sanchez is in a great spot. Which other players should we target on DraftKings?

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

Aaron Nola ($9,900 on DraftKings): It seems like every time we target the Miami Marlins, the pitcher gets shelled. But, here we are again. Aaron Nola has been solid this year and was last year, as well. In 2017, he had a 26.6 percent strikeout rate, 3.60 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and limited his hard-hit rate to a mark of just 29.7 percent. He's taking on a Marlins team tonight that sits dead last in team weighted on-base average (wOBA) and strikes out the tenth most in the Majors at a 24 percent clip.

Luis Severino ($9,200): This is a matchup of skill-vs-skill as New York Yankees ace Luis Severino takes on the Houston Astros tonight. At just $9,200, this is by far the lowest priced Severino has been all season, dropping from $10,400 in his last outing against the Los Angeles Angels. He put up an elite 29.4 percent strikeout rate in 2017 as well as a slate-best 3.25 SIERA. He limited his hard-hit rate to 28.5 percent and doesn't walk many batters as his walk rate is just 6.5 percent. It's a tough matchup against the Astros, who have the seventh-best team wOBA at .325, but Severino could still get the best of them tonight if he's on his game.

Low-Priced Pitchers

Sean Newcomb ($7,600): In the early part of 2018, Sean Newcomb has put up a solid 28.1 percent strikeout rate. His 28.8 percent hard-hit rate is below league average, which is encouraging, and he's got an inflated .343 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). That means he has likely been getting a bit unlucky. Furthermore, he has a 4.23 ERA but just a 3.64 fielding-independent pitching (FIP), which also shows that there may be some natural positive regression as the season goes on. He's taking on the New York Mets tonight, which is a pretty neutral matchup, but the price of Newcomb is encouraging.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Rhys Hoskins ($5,200): Rhys Hoskins has been seeing the ball great this season with a .455 on-base percentage (OBP) and is still smashing it when he does get a piece of it as indicated by his .527 slugging percentage (SLG). He has hit right-handed pitching especially well with a .411 wOBA and a .230 isolated power (ISO) in 2018 and was even more devastating against righties last year with a .421 wOBA and a .333 ISO. Tonight, he's going to face Jose Urena, who has given up a slate-worst 43.6 percent hard-hit rate in 2018 as well as a 90.4 mile per hour average exit velocity, which is the second worst on the slate.

Gary Sanchez ($4,600): Gary Sanchez has smashed left-handed pitching since becoming a mainstay on the Yankees roster in 2016. Although his batting average this season leaves a lot to be desired as he's hitting just .214, his eight home runs are certainly encouraging. However, it is the fact that he has crushed left-handed pitching throughout his career with a 41.5% hard-hit rate that draws us here tonight. He doesn't have the easiest matchup against Dallas Keuchel, but Keuchel has struggled this season, so until he turns things around, it's fine to start targeting him.

Nelson Cruz ($4,400): Has age caught up to Nelson Cruz? I don't think so. Not yet, at least. Cruz's on-base percentage (OBP) has dropped down to .300 early in the season from .375 last season, but a big part of that is his 10.9 percent walk rate in 2017 decreasing to 2.5 percent in the early part of 2018. He's still got a fine batting average at .273 and has hit 6 home runs. Tonight, though, he's facing left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson, and Cruz has hit lefties especially well this season despite his struggles elsewhere with just 1 strikeout and 9 hard-hit balls in 17 plate appearances.

Value Hitters

Adam Duvall ($3,700): Adam Duvall hasn't been that great this season. He's hitting a horrific .170, and his .370 slugging percentage is nothing to be excited about. He has four home runs, but again, that's nothing too special at this point. He's taking on left-handed pitcher Wade Miley, who will be making his first start of the season, and that is why there is some hope for Duvall to get his season on track. Miley struggled last season, giving up a 22.9 percent line-drive rate while being unable to strike anybody out (19.5 percent strikeout rate) and walking a ton of batters (12.8 percent walk rate). His 5.07 SIERA is the second worst on the slate. Duvall smashed lefties with a .382 wOBA and a .293 ISO, so there is hope that he can replicate that success tonight.

Nick Ahmed ($3,300): Hyun-Jin Ryu wasn't that great last season, but he's been crushing it this season. In 2017, he had a terrible 36.2 percent hard-hit rate, a 22.8 percent line-drive rate and had an 18.6 percent home run to fly-ball rate. Nick Ahmed, on the other hand, also smashed left-handed pitching last season with a .450 wOBA and a .229 ISO. This may not be the best matchup based on how Ryu is pitching this season, but we're still operating on a small sample. Is this the Ryu we should expect for the entire season? It is hard to say, but at this price, Ahmed is worth the risk.

Starlin Castro ($3,100): This is kind of a floor play here, if that even exists in baseball. Starlin Castro is hitting a solid .310 this season, but he has no home runs and just 10 RBI. He also has a .415 OBP, so he has been walking a bit, as well. However, if other Marlins cannot get on base, then he won't be able to rack up many points as indicated by his 6.7 DraftKings points average this season. He's taking on Nola tonight, who has been solid, but at this price and batting third, it's justifiable to take Castro against a solid pitcher, anyway.

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.