DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 5/11/18
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
Max Scherzer ($13,300 on DraftKings): Max Scherzer is in one of the best spots on the slate this evening. In 2017, he had an elite 34.4 percent strikeout rate and 26.5 percent hard-hit rate, both of which are second-best on the slate. Furthermore, he had a 2.98 skill-interactive earned run average (SIERA) which is the second-best among tonight's pitchers. He has just one start this season where he finished below 27 DraftKings points and tonight he's taking on a Arizona Diamondbacks team that strikes out at a 25.1 percent clip, the fifth-most in the Majors. It's a recipe for success for an ace like Scherzer.
Justin Verlander ($13,000): Justin Verlander is certainly a close second to Scherzer tonight. The veteran right-hander has been virtually un-hittable this season, and he comes in to this game with a sparkling 1.17 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP to go with his elite 35 percent strikeout rate. Although there are certainly some concerns with his high 60.5 percent fly-ball rate, his low 24.1 percent hard-hit rate keeps those fly-balls in the park. Tonight, Verlander takes on the Texas Rangers, a team that is striking out 26.3 percent of the time -- second-most in all of baseball.
Luke Weaver ($7,900): If there was ever a matchup to help Luke Weaver turn his season around, this is the one. He hasn't been great this season, but tonight he gets one of those matchups that can help get a player out of a funk as he takes on the San Diego Padres, a team that leads the Majors with a 26.7 percent strikeout rate. Now, in 2017, Weaver had a solid 28.6 percent strikeout rate while giving up just a 25.9 percent hard-hit rate in 60.1 innings pitched. This season, he's got a 20.7 percent strikeout rate, but if he can get that up a bit tonight he's in a great bounceback spot.
Hitters to Target
Freddie Freeman ($5,300): The Atlanta Braves have been one of the most fun teams to follow this year, and with the promotion of Ronald Acuna, that will continue. The Braves are taking on the Miami Marlins tonight and the Marlins will have Dan Straily on the mound. He struggled in 2017, giving up a 45.9 percent fly-ball rate which led to a 13 percent home run-to-fly-ball rate. Straily's 189-foot average batted-ball distance is the fourth-worst mark on the slate, too. And this all bodes well for Freddie Freeman, who mashed right-handed pitching lto the tune of a .422 wOBA and a .293 isolated power (ISO) a season ago.
Jose Ramirez ($5,100): Jose Ramirez is one of the speed and power guys that so many teams covet. In the early part of 2018, he's already totaled up 10 home runs and 5 stolen bases. Tonight he's going to be taking on right-hander Jason Hammel, who struggled in 2017 with an 88 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and a 194-foot average batted-ball distance, both of which are bottom-three on the slate. Ramirez destroyed righties last season with a .397 wOBA and a .272 ISO, and he looks to continue that dominance tonight.
George Springer ($4,800): George Springer has been great this season, so his price seems a bit low relative to everybody else on the slate. Tonight, though, the Houston Astros will host Cole Hamels and the Texas Rangers. Hamels struggled last season with a 36 percent hard-hit rate and an 87.7 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and while the exit velocity has remained similar in 2018, his hard-hit rate has ballooned up to 46.5 percent. Springer crushed left-handed pitching last season with a .413 wOBA and a .249 ISO -- numbers that have jumped to a .461 wOBA and .395 ISO in 49 plate appearances in 2018.
Jesus Aguilar ($3,900): It's nice to get a Coors Field player for under $4,000 tonight. The problem is, the Brewers have five options to fill up the outfield and first base slots, leaving one of Jesus Aguilar, Ryan Braun or Domingo Santana to sit on the bench. Domingo and Braun each sat out once over the last two games, so it could be Aguilar's turn tonight so make sure to check numberFire's lineup page to ensure he's in the lineup. Anyway, Aguilar had success against right-handed pitching last season with a .338 wOBA and a .250 ISO. The power hasn't quite been there this season, but he is sporting an elite .354 AVG right now with a .423 OBP, so it will be hard to remove him from the lineup. The hitting environment tonight is a great spot for him to get that power going -- again, so long as he's in the batting order.
Yasmani Grandal ($3,700): It will be interesting to see how Matt Harvey does after such a public departure from the New York Mets. If recent history means anything, he'll probably pitch poorly. In 2017, Harvey had a 33.8 percent fly-ball rate and a 32.5 percent hard-hit rate, which led to a slate-worst 20.6 percent home run to fly-ball rate. Those numbers are basically the same as this season, but the hard-hit rate is up to 43 percent. Yasmani Grandal was solid in 2017 with a .332 wOBA and a .236 ISO against righties, and those numbers are even better in 2018 with a .401 wOBA and a .243 ISO.
Brett Gardner ($3,600): This has been a tough start to the season for Brett Gardner, who is hitting just .208 through his first 130 at-bats. In 2017, he was solid against righties, putting up a .359 wOBA and a .191 ISO and although Gardner isn't known for his power, his .099 ISO in 2018 is really bad. Tonight, he's taking on Kendall Graveman, a pitcher that gives up a ton of hard-hit ground-balls. He gave up an 88.8 mile-per-hour average exit velocity in 2017, but his 51.2 percent ground-ball rate kept those balls down. However, he doesn't strike anybody out either so if Gardner can find the holes he could get on base and perhaps steal a bag or two.
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.