DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 7/31/18

Masahiro Tanaka is the largest favorite on the slate in a superb matchup with Baltimore. 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 Pitcher

Trevor Bauer ($13,300 on DraftKings): Leading the slate with a 31.6 percent strikeout rate is a great way to become the highest-priced pitcher on the slate. That's what Trevor Bauer is tonight as he and the Cleveland Indians are on the road to take on the Minnesota Twins. Additionally, Bauer has a 1.12 WHIP and an xFIP of 3.05, which is the second-best on the slate. He doesn't have an easy matchup against the Twins, a team that strikes out at a below-average rate as well as produces runs at roughly a league-average level. But Bauer has elite strikeout upside regardless of matchup, as indicated by his 9 games with double-digit strikeouts (out of 22 starts).

Masahiro Tanaka ($10,300): Masahiro Tanaka does not have elite strikeout ability, but his 24.9 percent strikeout rate is more than acceptable. Additionally, he and the New York Yankees are -295 favorites, which is easily the largest on the slate. The Yankees are hosting the Baltimore Orioles, who have the worst record in the Majors with an ugly .302 winning percentage. Tanaka has a slate-best 1.06 WHIP (without counting the Tampa Bay Rays "starter"), and his 3.57 xFIP is nothing to worry about too much.

Low-Priced Pitchers

Danny Duffy ($7,700): He was a pitcher we targeted with our bats heavily to start the season, but Danny Duffy has been better as of late. In six of his last nine starts, Duffy has put up at least 21 DraftKings points, including two in which he went over 30 DraftKings points. He has gone at least six innings deep in all but one of the outings in that span, and Duffy put up at least seven strikeouts in five of them. His matchup against the Chicago White Sox is a fantastic one as they lead the league with a 25.9 percent strikeout rate against left-handed pitching.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Mike Trout ($5,900): Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels are visiting the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that is still employing their unique pitching strategy of starting with a relief pitcher then moving to the starter for the second inning for some games. Tonight is one of those games, and although he's likely to just see Ryne Stanek only once, Trout could tune him up. In 40.2 innings in 2018, Stanek has given up a 41.9 percent hard-hit rate and 50.5 percent fly-ball rate along with a 90 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 198-foot average batted-ball distance. Trout is smashing right-handed pitching to the tune of a .449 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and .327 isolated power (ISO), putting him in a great spot tonight.

Eduardo Escobar ($4,700): Eduardo Escobar was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks last week, and he has a great matchup against Bartolo Colon. Colon has really struggled this season with a horrendous 13.7 percent strikeout rate. Additionally, he's been getting hit hard with a 42.0 percent hard-hit rate. Escobar has showcased a lot of power against righties this season with a .293 ISO to go along with a very solid .382 wOBA in the split.

Freddie Freeman ($4,700): Freddie Freeman normally crushes right-handed pitching, and while he has been good this season, his .374 wOBA and .191 ISO are not as elite as one would expect. Luckily, he has a cupcake matchup against Miami Marlins right-hander Dan Straily tonight. Straily has really struggled, posting a 4.87 xFIP, and is coming into tonight's game with slate-worst clips in hard-hit rate (43.4 percent) and line-drive rate (27.7 percent). Additionally, his 38.2 percent fly-ball rate and 16.5 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate are numbers we want to attack, as well.

Value Hitters

Matt Kemp ($4,300): Wade Miley has just 22.1 innings pitched this season, but he seems to have gotten very lucky so far. He's got what looks to be a sparkling 2.02 ERA, but his slate-worst 5.07 xFIP tells a different story. Additionally, he has the worst strikeout rate on the slate at 12.6 percent, and his 42.0 percent hard-hit rate and 23.9 percent line-drive rate are also pretty ugly numbers. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp has crushed left-handed pitching this season, putting up a .307 ISO and .399 wOBA in the split.

Lucas Duda ($4,100): It is certainly not often that we're looking to roster Kansas City Royals hitters, but when they are taking on a bad pitcher -- in this case, James Shields -- then we need to consider it. Shields has the second-worst xFIP on the slate at a brutal 5.05 clip. He's also giving up a 42.5 percent fly-ball rate, 88.3 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 191-foot average batted-ball distance. Surprisingly, this has led to only a 10.1 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate, but given the average batted-ball distance, this could change. Duda's .337 wOBA against righties isn't too appealing, but he's got a 42.5% hard-hit rate and 45.1% fly-ball rate with the platoon advantage.

Justin Smoak ($3,800): If Justin Smoak was priced down this low because of a matchup against Trevor Cahill, then we should absolutely want to use him at this discounted price. He has been seeing the ball well over his last 10 games, putting up a solid .302 average, but the 2 RBIs and .735 OPS are ugly numbers over that stretch. However, Cahill is a ground-ball hurler to the max as he has a near-50 percent ground-ball rate. Those balls do get hit hard into the ground at a 41.1 percent clip, but with Smoak's .375 wOBA and .257 ISO against right-handed pitching, the price is just too good to pass up in a solid matchup. Plus, Smoak owns a 51.6% fly-ball rate off righties, which offsets some of Cahill's ground-ball ways.

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.