MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 4/17/14

Matt Holliday is a decent option tonight against the Nationals.

If you’ve never played daily fantasy baseball before, it’s time to start. Unlike traditional leagues, you’re able to select the players you want on that specific day only, giving you a different squad to root for each and every day.

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As for today's lineups - those can be found here. The information below is to help you understand why particular players are being picked, because we don't want you going into the night completely blind. We want to help you. Keep in mind, however, that things often change up until the games start, so make sure you're refreshing the optimal lineups as close to the start of games as possible.

Let's get to it.

Note: Players mentioned here may not be part of some of our daily lineups because of particular sites' cost analysis. Always look at our optimized lineups to see what our algorithms say.

Top Pitchers

David Price - Price is off to a good start in 2014, sitting with a 2-0 record and a sub-3.00 ERA that should actually be even lower than it is. He's facing a Yankees lineup that hasn't been incredible in the runs scored department, ranking 22nd in the league. None of the big names in the Yankees lineup have crushed Price in the past either, which is always good. Price is a good bet to go deep into the game, and should return his value on most sites tonight.

Chris Sale - Like Price, Sale has started the season off well, winning all three of his starts while seeing an ERA under 3.00. His K/9 is down from a season ago, but it's still been good at 8.41. Tonight he'll face the Red Sox, who struggled a bit against lefties last year and are striking out at the 15th-highest rate in the bigs this year. Sale's another safe option just because of who he is, rarely giving you a poor outing.

Best High-Priced Hitters

Matt Holliday - If you're entering a tournament tonight, you may want to consider using a Cardinals stack. They're facing right-hander Taylor Jordan. While this is a righty/righty matchup, Holliday actually hits right-handers better than lefties, and Jordan pitches worse against righties than he does left-handers. Holliday should deliver tonight.

Carlos Gonzalez - The algorithms have liked Gonzalez a lot to start the year, and tonight is no different. His splits are really favorable against right-handed pitching, which he'll face tonight against Ian Kennedy in San Diego. Do note that Gonzalez hasn't had the most success against Kennedy in the past, perhaps because Kennedy doesn't favor handedness. The sample is still small in baseball terms though.

Most Cost-Effective Hitters

Norichika Aoki - Aoki is cheap, and that's why you'd play him. He only has one hit since April 9th, but gets right-hander Scott Feldman in Houston tonight. While Feldman's been really stud-like to start the year, his FIP is almost four points higher than his actual ERA, and his xFIP is even higher. It's a value play if you're looking to spend elsewhere in your lineup tonight.

Jonny Gomes - Gomes was in this very article yesterday, and he came through with a decent 1 for 4 with one RBI night. Tonight the Red Sox are facing Chris Sale, sure, but Gomes is a much better hitter against southpaws, making him a value play. In fact, we like him more than any Red Sox player not named David Ortiz.