DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 5/18/18

Nolan Arenado faces a left-handed pitcher tonight, a split which he has crushed in his career. Which other players should you consider on DraftKings tonight?

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

Max Scherzer ($14,000 on DraftKings): If you want to pay up for the most consistent pitcher this season, you'll be looking at Max Scherzer every time he pitches. He's been incredible. While his 2017 strikeout rate of 34.4 percent was impressive, he has taken that to another level in 2018 with a 40.4 percent strikeout rate and a 2.11 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). He's taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have a 2.94 implied run total, the lowest on tonight's slate.

Sean Newcomb ($11,500): This is very expensive for Sean Newcomb, but there is plenty to be encouraged about. First, he's taking on a Miami Marlins team that sits dead last with a .283 team weighted on-base average (wOBA), and their 23.3 strikeout rate is a middling 14th. Newcomb has put up a solid 28.4 percent strikeout rate this season and he and the Atlanta Braves are -183 moneyline favorites, which is the second-largest on the slate. It could be worth paying up and being a little contrarian in doing so.

Low-Priced Pitcher

CC Sabathia ($7,500): CC Sabathia doesn't really strike anybody out as his strikeout rate last season and so far this season has fallen below 20 percent. However, he induces weak contact with a 27.2 percent hard-hit rate, 84.4 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 154-foot batted-ball distance in 2017, and almost identical numbers in 2018. He is only averaging 14.9 DraftKings points per game this season, but it's against the AL East that he's struggled, putting up 13 DK points or less in each of those contest. In his three starts outside of the AL East, he has put up 22 or more. Tonight he faces the Kansas City Royals, and with his success outside of his division he should be able to take advantage of some unfamiliar faces.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Kris Bryant ($5,600): Given that the Chicago Cubs seem to play a bunch of games that are not on the main slate, it is a rare occurrence for me to write them up. Well, tonight, is a premium matchup as they take on the Cincinnati Reds, who will be rolling out pitching gascan Homer Bailey. In 48.1 innings this year, Bailey has lived up to his first name Homer, giving up an incredible 12 home runs, second-most in the Majors. His 40.9 percent hard-hit rate and 42.1 percent fly-ball rate have led to a 17.4 percent home run-to-fly-ball rate. Kris Bryant crushed right-handed pitching last season with a .397 wOBA and a .249 isolated power (ISO) which should help him destroy Bailey tonight.

J.D. Martinez ($5,300): He did it again. J.D. Martinez has now hit a home run in four of his last five games and is now batting .344 with a 1.051 OPS, 13 home runs and 38 RBI. He's going to be facing off against Alex Cobb and the Baltimore Orioles tonight and, boy, has Cobb been terrible this season. He's got a lowly 11.4 percent strikeout rate and his 7.06 ERA is terrible, although inflated, as his SIERA is just 4.48. He has given up a 37.3 percent hard-hit rate and a 90.2 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, which will not bode well for him in Fenway Park tonight.

Nolan Arenado ($4,900): Nolan Arenado doesn't get to face left-handed pitching as much as he would like, but if he did it would inflate his numbers tremendously. He absolutely destroyed southpaws last season, with an eye-opening .534 wOBA, .420 ISO and a 1.313 OPS. Not only does he get to face a lefty tonight, but he is also taking on Derek Holland, who was terrible last season with a 38.4 hard-hit rate, 88.3 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and a 195-foot average batted-ball distance. Arenado could have a field day tonight but it is too bad this game isn't being played in Coors Field to emphasize the lopsided matchup even more.

Value Hitters

Didi Gregorius ($4,000): Didi Gregorius has seen his price drop considerably over the last two weeks, but tonight he is in a great matchup and at a pretty cheap price. He'll take on the Kansas City Royals' Jake Junis, who has given up a 44.6 percent fly-ball rate, 89 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and a 204-foot average batted-ball distance. These terrible numbers have resulted in a 16.7 home run-to-fly-ball rate. Didi has smashed righties this season with a .378 wOBA and an incredible .324 ISO and is in a prime spot.

Travis Jankowski ($3,800): Travis Jankowski is not going to hit many home runs, but he is batting .360 in 16 games this season. Jankowski has done most of his damage against right-handed pitching with an incredible .453 wOBA and a .171, although it is in just 49 plate appearances. He does have four stolen bases already, which is pretty incredible, so his speed is definitely a factor. Jankowski will be taking on Ivan Nova, who has given up a 91.7 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, which is the single-worst on the slate.

Jose Martinez ($3,300): This price just seems way too cheap for Jose Martinez. He is hitting .304 with 4 home runs and 23 RBI, and he will typically hit second or third in the lineup, which allows him to get extra at-bats. He's hit for a .361 wOBA and a .160 ISO this season against right-handed pitching and will be taking on Jake Arrieta, who looks solid on the surface but there is cause for concern. He has a sparkling 2.59 ERA, but a much worse 4.46 SIERA and his .231 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) both signal some severe regression is coming. Given that he has just a 16.5 percent strikeout rate and 6.3 percent swinging-strike rate, his reliance on ground-balls will eventually catch up with him given his other peripherals.

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.