DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 6/14/18

On a small slate, Blake Snell stands out as a fantastic pitching option. What other players should we lean on 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 Pitcher

Blake Snell ($10,900 on DraftKings): When looking at the pricier pitching options on the main slate, there's really only David Price and Snell to choose from, and despite a tough matchup with a tough New York Yankees offense, Snell gets top billing. While the Yanks can put up offense in bunches, as evidenced by their top-ranked offense, in terms of weighted on-base average (.341 wOBA), it's also an offense that can strike out in bunches. The Yankees own MLB's ninth-worst rate strikeout rate (23.4%) while Snell tops the main slate with a 27.4% strikeout rate, so consider the Tampa Bay Rays' southpaw here.

Low-Priced Pitcher

Domingo German ($6,700): Tonight is a tough slate, thanks to only four contests, but the Yankees' young arm is one to consider, especially if you are looking to save some coin and pivot off of Snell or Price. German faces a Rays' offense that is solid offensively, ranking 12th in team wOBA (.312), and they also rank in the middle of the pack in strikeout rate (22.2%, 14th). German, however, has shown an ability to generate plenty of swings and misses on his own, as he possesses a 26.1% strikeout rate on the season, which puts him second-best on the slate. And his absurd 14.1% swinging-strike rate is nothing to scoff at.

Anibal Sanchez ($5,500): Last year's campaign was, by most traditional metrics, one that the veteran right-hander would like to forget. Over 105 1/3 innings with the Detroit Tigers, Sanchez fired a 6.41 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. For a next-level hot take on those numbers, that's not good. However, hidden in those numbers were some sneaky-good advanced metrics. Sanchez posted a respectable 4.16 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) with a 9.8% swinging-strike rate. Sanchez really seemed to get damaged by the long ball, as he allowed 2.22 home runs per nine innings pitched (HR/9) in 2017. But this year, he's made some solid strides, sporting a 4.20 SIERA and dropping his hard-hit rate from 37.9% a year ago to 22.9%. Tasked with a San Diego Padres offense that checks in second-worst in strikeout rate (25.5%) and third-worst in team wOBA (.292), Sanchez makes for a cheap pitching option capable of a big score.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Paul Goldschmidt ($5,600): If there's ever been a hitter that's a near automatic lock for lineups, Goldschmidt would have to be the guy, right? The Arizona Diamondbacks take on Jason Vargas of the New York Mets, and Vargas has not fared well this season against right-handed batters, allowing nearly identical batted-ball marks of a 37.2% hard-hit rate and 37.3% fly-ball rate. But that only tells part of the story. Goldy owns southpaws, and over the last year, he has bossed them around for a .479 wOBA, 50.0% hard-hit rate, and 40.0% fly-ball rate. Lock the D-Backs' first baseman into your lineups and don't look back.

Mitch Moreland ($4,500): The Red Sox' first baseman has bounced around the order a bit in 2018, but his primary home resides in either the third or fourth slot (27 total times between them). With a tilt against Felix Hernandez and a very solid implied team total (4.41), Moreland could be a cheaper pivot off of Goldschmidt, but still turn in a crooked score. Over the last 12 months, Hernandez has been hammered by lefties for a .370 wOBA, 4.88 xFIP, and 36.7% fly-ball rate. Fittingly, for Moreland's career, he's been more than adept at smacking righties around, posting a .207 ISO and 38.8% fly-ball rate. This looks like a solid matchup we may want to employ for tonight's contests.

Nelson Cruz ($4,400): It seems as though Cruz is going to mash baseballs until the end of time. The age-37 outfielder is having another solid season (16 home runs, .371 wOBA), and he's made a career out of wrecking left-handed pitching. With the platoon advantage, Cruz has bopped his way to a .393 wOBA, .261 ISO, and 38.5% hard-hit rate over 1,663 plate appearances. That's doing work. If Price has shown us something over the last year, it's that righties can still give him some fits. Over 430 total batters faced, they've hit the southpaw for a 36.1% hard-hit rate and 43.2% fly-ball rate. Now owning five bombs in his last five games, we want to peep Cruz tonight.

Value Hitters

Nick Ahmed ($3,600): If you are still looking for some additional exposure to Vargas tonight, the Diamondbacks' shortstop doesn't make for a bad option. Covering the last 365 days, Ahmed has been pretty poor against right-handed pitching, recording a .252 wOBA and 33.1% hard-hit rate. But against lefties, he's turned into a superhero, notching a .382 wOBA, 39.0% hard-hit rate, and 40.7% hard-hit rate. If you are looking to pay up for Snell or some high-priced bats, lock in Ahmed.

Devin Mesoraco ($3,200): The Cincinnati Reds-turned-New York Mets catcher makes for an interesting choice, and that's primarily influenced by his date with Matt Koch. Over the last calendar year, Koch has struggled tremendously with same-sided bats, as they've popped him for a .436 wOBA, 47.1% hard-hit rate, and 5.11 xFIP over 126 total batters faced. Fold in Mesoraco's 43.6% fly-ball rate against righties, and the Mets backstop could be a cheap pivot option with big upside from his spot near the top of the lineup.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. 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