DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 5/31/18
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
Aaron Nola ($11,100 on DraftKings): A lot of people will likely flock to Clayton Kershaw tonight, especially at just $700 more than Aaron Nola and in a better matchup. And why wouldn't they? He's the fourth-largest favorite on the slate, and his opponents, the Philadelphia Phillies, is projected for a slate-low 2.91 runs. However -- and we'll get more into some Kershaw issues when we talk about hitters -- Nola is in a great spot. He has a nice 24.6 percent strikeout rate, but his 25.1 percent hard-hit rate and 150-foot average batted-ball distance are fantastic, slate-best numbers. The Dodgers are still just a middle-of-the-pack team offensively, and you will likely get Nola at capped ownership because Kershaw is on the slate.
Jack Flaherty ($9,200): Jack Flaherty is taking on one of the more surprisingly-good offensive teams this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates. He's got a pretty great strikeout rate at 27.7 percent and has limited line-drives at an elite level of 12.5 percent. Now, remember, this is just over five starts this season, so that is a factor. His hard-hit rate and fly-ball rate of 37.5 percent and 41.7 percent, respectively, are a bit concerning, but with the lack of options today, he is certainly in play and has the "easiest" matchup of the second-tier of expensive pitchers.
Jose Quintana ($7,500): Talk about a roller coaster of a season for Jose Quintana. He seems to either get blown up or put up a great game -- very little middle ground here. Anyway, Quintana had some solid numbers last season with a 26.2 percent strikeout rate, 1.22 WHIP and 3.73 xFIP, but they have not been carried over into 2018. However, the New York Mets have been terrible against left-handed pitching this season with a league-low 70 wRC+ in the split and a 27 percent strikeout rate, which is the second-worst clip.
Hitters to Target
Aaron Judge ($5,700): In 2017, Aaron Judge is one of the best hitters against right-handed pitching. He absolutely crushed them last season to the tune of a .440 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and .364 isolated power (ISO). The New York Yankees have a 5.87 implied total against Andrew Cashner and the Baltimore Orioles. Cashner has been terrible this season with a 1.67 WHIP and 4.82 xFIP. Additionally, his 90-mile-per-hour average exit velocity could get him into a lot of trouble against this Yankees lineup.
Freddie Freeman ($5,200): Here we have another right-handed masher in Freddie Freeman. He put up an elite .422 wOBA and .293 ISO last season, and while those numbers have dropped a bit this year, he's still posting a solid .383 wOBA and .169 ISO. To be honest, he doesn't have the best matchup against Tanner Roark, but his hitting has been so good in this split that we can be willing to overlook Roark's solid pitching in favor of getting a potentially low-owned stud in a split in which he crushes.
Christian Villanueva ($4,500): If you told me before the season that Christian Villanueva would be $4,500 at the end of May, I would have said you were crazy. Well, here we are, and while he has essentially been a home-run-or-bust option, his power is insane, especially against left-handed pitching. Villanueva has smashed southpaws this season to the tune of a .555 wOBA and .585 ISO, albeit in just 58 plate appearances. Tonight he faces Wei-Yin Chen, who has been horrible this campaign. He has a slate-worst 5.88 xFIP and 208-foot average batted-ball distance, and his 52.8 percent fly-ball rate is the second-worst mark of the night.
Cesar Hernandez ($3,800): Cesar Hernandez saw a $700 drop in salary since yesterday because he's taking on Clayton Kershaw. That is understandable. However, Kershaw is coming off the disabled list and didn't even make a rehab start, tossing just one simulated game. Kershaw is a stud, obviously, but he has had some health issues lately and that is a little concerning, though it doesn't seem to concern Vegas as the Phillies have the lowest implied total on the slate. Hernandez has been solid against lefties this season with a .376 wOBA, and he is always a base-stealing threat once he gets on. This is a nice price for him in a matchup that may not be as difficult as one would think, and he shouldn't see much ownership as people stay away from taking on Kershaw.
Max Stassi ($3,700): This isn't even that cheap of a catcher play, but with Brian McCann on the shelf and Evan Gattis unlikely to catch often, it should be Max Stassi as the primary catcher for the Houston Astros for now. Stassi has hit lefties well this season, but it is just a small sample size of 35 plate appearances, so take these numbers with a grain of salt. Still, it is hard not to love a .560 wOBA and .281 ISO in this split, and the lefty he gets is really struggling. The Astros are taking on Drew Pomeranz, who has a slate-worst 1.88 WHIP to go along with an ugly 5.13 xFIP, 91.6-mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 197-foot average batted-ball distance.
Jurickson Profar ($3,600): Switch-hitting Jurickson Profar has had much more success against left-handed pitching in 2018. He has tuned up southpaws with a .413 wOBA and .313 ISO and gets to take on Seattle Mariners lefty Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc has a 4.39 xFIP, 45.1 fly-ball rate and doesn't strike out much of anyone with just a 19.1 percent strikeout rate. This is a great matchup for Profar, who should be able to pounce on LeBlanc's fly-ball tendencies.
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.