DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 5/15/18

Nick Pivetta is a great way to afford the big bats tonight. Who should you consider pairing him with 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 Pitchers

Gerrit Cole ($13,900 on DraftKings): Just seeing how much Gerrit Cole is dominating on the Houston Astros this season has to sting a bit for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who traded him to Houston this offseason. He's put up an insane 41.4 percent strikeout rate, which is sure to regress a bit considering he has just a 23.9 percent strikeout rate for his career. The Astros are -155 favorites -- third-best on the slate -- and are taking on a Los Angeles Angels team that came out of the gate hot. And although they are fifth in the Majors in runs scored, with 204, they sit 25th with just 101 over the last 30 days.

Noah Syndergaard ($10,800): The New York Mets are -168 favorites tonight as they host the Toronto Blue Jays as we'll see Noah Syndergaard take on Jaime Garcia. Thor has a 3.10 skill-interacted ERA (SIERA), which is the third-best on the slate, along with an elite 27.6 percent strikeout rate and a very impressive 24.8 percent hard-hit rate, which is second-best on the slate. The Jays are striking out at a 26.8 clip over the last 14 days and could be in for some trouble tonight against Syndergaard.

Low-Priced Pitcher

Nick Pivetta ($7,200): There is some weather around this game, so make sure to keep an eye on that. The Philadelphia Phillies have to be getting excited about Nick Pivetta, who has been pretty solid this season. Sure, he has had some down games, but he has put up some very good games as well and has a premium matchup tonight. In 2017, he had an impressive 24 percent strikeout rate and has improved that into the early part of 2018 to 25.6 percent. One aspect that is encouraging is the drop in his hard-hit rate going from a very bad 35.5 percent down to an elite 24.6 percent, and he is doing so without being a heavy ground-ball pitcher.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Freddie Freeman ($5,200): Once again, we have Freddie Freeman taking on a right-handed pitcher in a split that he has dominated in the past. In 2017, he destroyed righties with a .422 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and a .293 isolated power (ISO). He has a lot of protection around him this season with Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies and a surprising Nick Markakis all hitting in and around him in the order. He's taking on Yu Darvish, who is coming off a DL stint and actually gave up hard contact last year, at a 33.1 percent clip and a 22.4 percent line drive rate, which could get him into a lot of trouble against an elite Atlanta Braves team.

J.D. Martinez ($5,100): J.D. Martinez is a right-handed hitter that absolutely smashes right-handed pitching. In 2017, he crushed righties with a .402 wOBA and an insane .351 ISO. In the early part of his stint in a Boston Red Sox uniform, he's tuned up righties to a .451 wOBA and a .348 ISO. He'll be taking on the Oakland Athletics' Daniel Mengden, who in 2018 has given up a 39.6 percent hard-hit rate and a horrific 90.1 mile-per-hour average exit velocity. Boston has an implied run total of 5.74, which is the highest on the slate, so Vegas also agrees that Mengden is going to get lit up.

Travis Shaw ($4,200): You know, targeting Zack Greinke may not be the best idea, and on a 14-game slate, maybe this is silly. However, Shaw smashed right-handed pitching in 2017 with a .373 wOBA and a .249 ISO and has continued that right into 2018 with a .403 wOBA and a .330 ISO. Greinke, on the other hand, gave up a 35.1 percent hard-hit rate in 2017 and is even worse in the early part of 2018 with a 41.8 percent hard-hit rate. Greinke's 89 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 191-foot average batted-ball distance are among the worst on the slate. You should get low ownership here, putting Shaw and other Milwaukee Brewers in play, especially if you're entering multiple tournament lineups.

Value Hitters

Cesar Hernandez ($3,900): As noted above, there is some weather concerns to keep an eye on for this game. Last season, he was solid against right-handed pitching with a .345 and a .106 ISO. He doesn't hit for much power, but that is okay -- once he's on base he can just steal you a base and he has seven already this season. He's taking on Andrew Cashner tonight, and Cashner just stinks. He cannot strike anybody out as his 12.2 percent strikeout rate would indicate, and his 5.52 SIERA is the second-worst on the slate.

Matt Chapman ($3,300): On the flip-side of the Boston-Oakland matchup, we have Eduardo Rodriguez pitching. He's got some strikeout stuff, but he does give up fly-balls and as his 45.2 percent fly-ball and 14.3 percent home run--to-fly-ball rate would indicate they don't always stay in the park. And his 89.8 mile-per-hour exit velocity and 187-foot average batted-ball distance. Matt Chapman is in a prime spot as he was great against left-landed pitchers in 2017 with a .333 wOBA and a .220 ISO.

Matt Duffy ($3,200): Ah, the old auto-stack versus Ian Kennedy play. Well, we don't like to use the Tampa Bay Rays often but against Ian Kennedy everybody is in play. In 2017, he had a horrific 41.7 hard-hit rate, a 47.7 percent fly-ball rate, an 89.3 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and a 210-foot average batted-ball distance, all of which are the worst on the slate. It is always annoying trying to figure out which Rays to use, but Matt Duffy has done well against righties this season with a .386 wOBA and a .138 ISO.

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.