DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 6/29/18
Every day is unique for daily fantasy baseball, which is both a blessing and a challenge. Although we canâ€™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 numberFireâ€™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? Letâ€™s check it out, starting with the pitchers.
Pitchers to Target
Trevor Bauer ($13,300 on Draftkings): Trevor Bauer is in the midst of a breakout season for the Cleveland Indians, posting a 3.04 SIERA, 31.8% strikeout rate and 13.3% swinging-strike rate thus far in 2018. The breakout is in part due to his ramped-up slider usage. Bauer is throwing his slider 14.3% of the time compared to 4.4% in 2017. That 10 percentage-point differential is huge when factoring in the 38.6% whiff percentage it has generated, according to Baseball Savant. He has been locked in over the last month, bumping his strikeout rate up to 38.6% in that frame. The Oakland Athletics rank 15th in the MLB in strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, but it is still a bit above average at 22.8%. Bauer also gets a positive park shift traveling to the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum, and he has actually pitched better on the road this season with a 3 percentage point bump in his strikeout rate and a 2.93 xFIP compared to 3.13 at home.
Jacob deGrom ($13,600): Jacob deGrom is having an even better season that Bauer with a 2.88 SIERA, 31.4% strikeout rate and 15.4% swinging-strike rate through 16 starts. (NOTE: deGrom's start has since been pushed back to tomorrow.) He draws an extremely positive matchup with the Miami Marlins, who have the 10th-highest strikeout rate against righties (23.7%) and rank 24th in wRC+ (86). The Cy Young hopeful does pitch a bit worse on the road, but with his ability to limit hard contact against a weak offense, I'm not as concerned as I would be with other arms. You'll have to pay for him, but deGrom grades out as one of the top plays of the day.
Marco Gonzales ($7,800): Marco Gonzales is having a career year for the Mariners, boasting a 3.74 SIERA, 21.1% strikeout rate and 5.3% walk rate thus far. He lacks the high-strikeout upside we typically target in daily fantasy, but we also aren't being asked to pay for that at his price, and his elite control makes up for it. He has a strong matchup with the Kansas City Royals, who rank 23rd in wRC+ against left-handed pitching and 25th in ISO. The Royals don't strike out a lot -- just 21.4% against lefties -- but we aren't targeting strikeouts here, anyways, and their weak offensive stats clearly make this a plus matchup.
Felix Pena ($6,600): Felix Pena has looked great through his first two starts for the Los Angeles Angels, putting together a 3.52 SIERA and a 25.5% strikeout rate. The strikeout rate is most likely legit, as he held strikeout rates of 25% or higher over his last three seasons in the minor leagues, and he has transitioned well from the bullpen, topping out at 83 pitches in his last start. He should be able to go a bit longer than that tonight, and he has a positive matchup with the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles rank sixth in the MLB in strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers at 24.7%, and they have been ice-cold, ranking third-worst overall in wRC+ over the last 30 days (74).
Hitters to Target
Mookie Betts ($6,100): Mookie Betts continues to provide one of the most solid floor/ceiling combinations in daily fantasy baseball, averaging 12.5 DraftKings points per game on his quest for a 30/30 season. He draws an exceptional matchup tonight against CC Sabathia in Yankee Stadium. Betts has put up video-game like numbers against left-handed pitching this season, posting an insane .417 ISO, 222 wRC+ and 40.7% hard-contact rate in 2018.
Eric Thames ($5,000): Eric Thames is fresh off a home run and three runs batted in last night and draws an even better matchup against Sal Romano in Great American Ballpark. Thames has picked up where he left off last season, feasting on right-handed pitching to the tune of a .357 ISO and a .425 wOBA. He's been on fire since coming off the disabled list on June 12th, clanging his way to a 48.3% hard-contact rate and 58.6% fly-ball rate over that span. Romano has struggled with batters from the left side of the plate this season, owning an ugly 5.10 xFIP and an 10.9% walk rate.
Justin Smoak ($3,600): Justin Smoak hasn't flashed the power that we saw from him last season, but he has still hit left-handed pitchers well with a .350 wOBA in 2018. He's been seeing the ball exceptionally recently, as evidenced by a 36.4% hard-contact rate and 45.5% fly-ball rate over the last 14 days. Francisco Liriano has been his typical self this season, putting up a 5.07 xFIP and 12.4% walk rate against right-handed batters through 11 starts. The Toronto Blue Jays own a healthy 5.3 implied run total, so it would be smart to get some exposure to the meat of their lineup.
Nick Ahmed ($3,300): Nick Ahmed draws a great matchup with Andrew Suarez tonight at Chase Field. Ahmed has hit left-handed pitching well this season, cranking out a .371 wOBA and .259 ISO through 76 games. Suarez has struggled with right-handed batters this season, allowing a .368 wOBA and 50.0% hard-contact rate. Ahmed provides a cheap source for power and typically moves up to second in the order against southpaws.