DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 5/17/18

On an ugly pitching night, paying up for hitters like Tommy Pham may be the way to go. Which other players should you consider 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

Tyler Skaggs ($10,400 on DraftKings): Oh, man, pitching options tonight are horrible. When Cole Hamels and Tyler Skaggs are the only two pitchers priced above $10,000, some deep diving will be necessary. Skaggs is seemingly consistent as his range of outcomes this season has been small, with six of his eight starts falling between 17 and 25 DraftKings points. The Los Angeles Angels are -152 favorites against a Tampa Bay Rays team that has a slate-low 3.40 implied run total.

Low-Priced Pitcher

Luke Weaver ($8,000): Luke Weaver has been extremely volatile this season, having some elite games as well as some disastrous ones. He had great numbers last season with a slate-best 3.29 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and a solid 28.6 percent strikeout rate, which is the second-best on the slate. His 25.9 percent hard-hit rate and 49.4 percent ground-ball rate in 60.1 innings a year ago are also among the best on the slate. He's taking on a Philadelphia Phillies team that has a 25.2 percent strikeout rate, which is the fourth-most in baseball.

Chris Archer ($6,900): On the other side of the Angels game, we have Chris Archer of the Rays. Although the matchup isn't great, he's way underpriced at $6,900 when you consider his strikeout upside. He paced this slate with a 29.2 percent strikeout rate in 2017 and a 3.44 SIERA, which is the second-best. The Angels started off hot this season, but they have cooled considerably, striking out 22 percent of the time, 17th-most, and putting up a .309 team weighted on-base average (wOBA), the 7th-worst, over the last 30 days.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Mike Trout ($5,700): You just read what was good about Archer, now we'll cover what is bad. He had a 39.4 percent hard-hit rate, an 89 mile per hour average exit velocity and a 182-foot average batted-ball distance in 2017, all of which are among the bottom three on the slate. Mike Trout, on the other hand, smashed right-handed pitching last season and has continued to do that. Trout had an insane .450 wOBA and a .359 isolated power (ISO) a year ago, and that puts him in a great spot versus Archer.

Ozzie Albies ($5,400): The Atlanta Braves have a 4.46 implied run total against left-hander Jon Lester and the Chicago Cubs. In his short-career, Ozzie Albies has crushed left-handed pitchers with a .459 and a .314 ISO. Albies will likely be leading off for the Braves, and he has smashed 13 home runs with a .918 OPS this season. Lester hasn't been great this year with a 4.86 SIERA, 34.1 hard-hit rate and a 189-foot average batted-ball distance.

Tommy Pham ($5,000): Vince Velasquez has struggled the last two seasons, especially with giving up home runs. In 2017, he gave up 1.88 home runs per nine innings (HR/9) and in the early part of 2018, he has given up 1.76 HR/9. His 38.1 percent hard-hit rate and 88.8 mile per hour average exit velocity from last season got him into a lot of trouble, but his 10.8 percent walk rate is also troubling. Tommy Pham destroyed righties with a .396 wOBA and .201 ISO last season and is in a prime matchup this evening.

Value Hitters

Teoscar Hernandez ($3,800): Although Teoscar Hernandez is a right-handed hitter, he has crushed right-handed pitching. In 2017, he got to them for a .417 wOBA and .371 ISO, and he has continued that into 2018 with a .386 wOBA and .321 ISO. The Toronto Blue Jays have a 4.89 implied total tonight, the second-highest on the slate. They are set to take on right-hander Andrew Triggs, who has struggled in the early part of 2018, giving up a 40 percent hard-hit rate and a slate-worst 90.4 mile per hour average exit velocity.

Eric Hosmer ($3,800): Eric Hosmer isn't necessarily known for his power, but he did have a .400 wOBA against right-handed pitching last season to go with a modest .193 ISO and an elite .410 OBP. He'll be facing Chad Kuhl, who gave up an 88 mile per hour average exit velocity and a 180-foot average batted-ball distance in 2017. The San Diego Padres have one of the lowest implied run totals tonight at just 3.58, so this could be an opportunity to nab a cheap, low-owned player in a great spot.

Matt Olson ($3,600): Aaron Sanchez was a disaster last season for the Blue Jays with his constant blister issues and multiple trips to the disabled list. While he has improved a bit this season, there is still reason to believe that he is a pitcher to target with your bats. The Oakland Athletics have a 4.61 implied total, the fourth-highest on the slate. One player you're going to want to look at is Matt Olson, who was very successful against right-handed pitching last season with a .439 wOBA and an unbelievable .434 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.