DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 5/4/18
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
Gerrit Cole ($12,400 on DraftKings): Everybody knew Gerrit Cole was good, but he has taken his game to another level this season, his first with the Houston Astros. The biggest difference this season is the insane increase in his strikeout rate. His career-average is 23.5 percent but so far in 2018, he has jumped way up to a 39.4 percent rate. This season remains a small sample size, at just 41.2 innings pitched, so there should still be a bit of caution there. However, he's facing a swing-happy team in the Arizona Diamondbacks, who strike out at a 25 percent clip, the fourth most in the Majors. It's a plus-plus matchup for Cole tonight.
Jose Berrios ($9,800): Jose Berrios started off this season fantastic, but his last two starts have not been pretty. He's already taken on the Chicago White Sox this season, his opponent for tonight, and he lit them up for 11 strikouts. The White Sox have scored just 114 runs -- the fourth-fewest in the Majors -- and their 24.7 percent strikeout rate is the seventh-highest among. They are a team that boats some power but they're certainly not afraid of selling out for that power. If Berrios can get them to whiff, he could be in for a big game -- and his 26.3 percent strikeout rate this season should put him in a decent spot to do so.
Jose Quintana ($7,600): This price is kind of surprising, it could lead to higher ownership, but that just might not be the case. Quintana started off the season at $11,600 and he's seen that drop considerably since. He's had two great starts, two terrible starts and a mediocre start to this point. But that shouldn't be enough to drop his price by a full $4,000. He was great last season, sporting a 26.2 percent strikeout rate and a 147-foot average batted-ball distance. Quintana is a great pitcher, and while the matchup is pretty average against the St. Louis Cardinals, the price tag is very enticing.
Hitters to Target
Mookie Betts ($5,800): Here we go again with Mookie Betts. He has been the best hitter in baseball this season and now gets a matchup against one of the softest-tossing pitchers in the Majors, "Big Sexy" Bartolo Colon. In 2017, Colon allowed an 89.3 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and a 210-foot average batted-ball distance, both of which are the worst on the slate. Furthermore, he has an abysmal 13.7 strikeout rate, which is the second-worst on the slate. We all know what Mookie has done this season, hitting .370 with a 1.299 OPS and 12 home runs, so there is no reason why he cannot continue his hitting dominance tonight.
Carlos Correa ($5,100): The Diamondbacks have decided they are going to throw Kris Medlen on the mound tonight. He has pitched 82.2 innings in the Majors since 2013, and he was not good in those outings. His 24.1 innings in 2016 -- albeit a small sample size -- were especially disastrous, giving up a 34.2 percent hard-hit rate, .384 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and a .464 slugging percentage (SLG). Carlos Correa smashed right-handed pitching in 2017, putting up an elite .380 wOBA and a .239 isolated power (ISO), so he and the Astros are in a great spot against Medlen this evening.
Josh Donaldson ($5,000): Andrew Kittredge is a 28-year-old with just 28.1 Major league innings under his belt. In those innings, he has given up a 30.3 hard-hit rate, a .334 wOBA and a .480 slugging against right-handed hitting. Though the splits are limited to just 18 innings, this is a great matchup for Josh Donaldson, either way. Donaldson came off the DL yesterday and hit a home run in both games of a double-header for the Toronto Blue Jays. Oh, and he crushed right-handed pitching last season with a .389 wOBA and .261 ISO, and is in a great spot again tonight.
Matt Olson ($3,900): In 2017, Matt Olson absolutely destroyed right-handed pitching. He hit them up to the tune of a .439 wOBA and an incredible .434 ISO. He will typically bat fifth in the order, which gives him plenty of opportunity to drive in runs. He draws a terrible right-handed pitcher in Andrew Cashner, too. Cashner struggled in 2017, giving up a horrendous 203-foot average batted-ball distance. Considering he had a near-50 percent groundball-rate, that is shocking to see. His low .266 batting average on balls in-play (BABIP) and an ERA of 3.40 -- compared to a 4.61 FIP -- suggests that he was pretty lucky not to get into more trouble last season.
Jorge Soler ($3,800): Jorge Soler is a polarizing figure for many Chicago Cubs fans, and he has really found his stride this season on the Kansas City Royals. He has historically hit left-handed pitching really well, with a career .353 wOBA and .203 ISO. He's going to be facing Francisco Liriano, who hasn't been that great lately, and in 2017 was just OK. He had a pretty average 29.6 percent hard-hit rate allowed, but his strikeout rate was way down at 19.4 percent, and striking out has always presented an issue for Soler. With Liriano struggling in that department, though, hopefully he can avoid that tonight and put up a big game.
Jose Bautista ($3,500): Feel the nostalgia. Bautista will probably be at the bottom of the Atlanta Braves' order tonight, but it's a very strong lineup to be a part of at any spot. The veteran has always had a great eye for the ball and his career walk-rate of 14.1 is excellent (though it dipped to 12.2 percent from 16.8 percent in 2016 to 2017). In 2017, he sold out for power hard and had a brutal .203 AVG, but he still scored 92 runs and hit 23 home runs. He's facing Chris Stratton tonight, a pitcher that gave up a 28.3 percent line-drive rate in 2017. That led to a lot of hits, and his 39.1 hard-hit rate in the early part of 2018 is enticing for the same reasons. This is a big boom-or-bust play with Bautista, but this is probably his last chance to show if he can handle it in the Majors, so there's incentive for him to show out.
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.