DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 8/9/18

Justin Verlander has been in peak form of late and looks to continue his roll against the Seattle Mariners. Which other players should you be targeting 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 DraftKings' main slate? Let’s check it out, starting with the pitchers.

Pitchers to Target

High-Priced Pitchers

Justin Verlander ($12,400 on DraftKings): Tonight, Verlander and the Houston Astros play host to the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are a good offense. They are tied for ninth on the season in wRC+ (101), and that number doesn't change much against right-handed pitching (100), a split in which they have just a 19.9% strikeout rate. But with Verlander as hot as he is, it just doesn't matter. Since the calendar flipped to July, the 35-year-old has earned a quality start in five of six starts while totaling 60 strikeouts on a 41.4% (!) strikeout rate. He's coming off a 14-strikeout, 1-run performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and we don't expect him to slow down. Our projections have Verlander as the only pitcher in line to exceed 20 DraftKings points, benefiting from being the third-largest favorite (-157) on the short main slate.

J.A. Happ ($9,300): A deadline addition, Happ has made only one start (a win over the Kansas City Royals) as a member of the New York Yankees so far, having been placed on the disabled list with hand, foot and mouth disease. He's expected to pitch Thursday's game against the Texas Rangers, who are a better matchup than they first appear. While they rank seventh with a 104 wRC+ against lefties, they also come with a 22.8% strikeout rate in the split and possess a number of left-handed bats. Meanwhile, Happ has a 3.73 xFIP and career-best 26.6% strikeout rate. His 2.89 xFIP and 26.6% hard-hit rate against lefties makes him a tall task for guys like Shin-Soo Choo, Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman. He's also the best bet for a win, with a -210 behind him this evening.

Low-Priced Pitcher

Ross Stripling ($7,200): It may be odd to target a guy in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field, and it is, but there's reason to look to Stripling tonight in tournaments. First and foremost, the dude's got some serious strikeout stuff, as he boasts an 11.1% swinging strike rate and 28.0% strikeout rate -- the fourth-highest among tonight's 12 starters. He also comes with a pristine 2.67 xFIP on a 48.1% ground-ball rate in his 16 starts. As for the Colorado Rockies, they've scored just seven runs in their past three games, all of which came at home. They're 29th in wRC+ (78) and have a bottom-10 strikeout rate (23.3%) against righties, as well. Despite a scary 5.03 implied total, the odds (-124) and numbers are actually in Stripling's favor.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Mookie Betts ($5,900): The Boston Red Sox open with the third-highest implied total (5.19) as they take on lefty Ryan Borucki and the Toronto Blue Jays. Borucki, through seven starts, has a 2.30 ERA, but a 4.28 xFIP tells us that he's benefited from some luck. After all, he's struck out just 16.5% of batters while allowing no homers on 46 fly-balls. Betts will look to change that on Thursday, as he brings in a 45.2% fly-ball rate and .395 ISO with the platoon advantage this season.

Giancarlo Stanton ($5,100): We've been recommending Stanton a lot of late, and for good reason. Not only is he in the Majors' sixth-best hitting park, but he's also produced an improved .288 ISO on a 43.9% hard-hit rate and 41.5% fly-ball rate over the last 14 days. His 50 plate appearances against righties in that span have resulted in four homers and a .349 ISO, which doesn't bode well for the Rangers' Ariel Jurado. The young righty has exploitable numbers in the form of a 5.11 xFIP, 40.4% hard-hit rate and 34.6% fly-ball rate through three big league starts.

Justin Turner ($4,700): The Dodgers' 5.47 total is the reason that Stripling can be favored while staring down a 5.03 total of his own. They are hitting in the thin of Denver, and they are facing a lefty in Tyler Anderson. L.A. has its fair share of lefty-mashing bats. Justin Turner is one of the best, and his price is fairly cheap. Though Turner's been limited to a shade more than 200 plate appearances this season, he's still turned a 45.0% hard-hit rate and 50.0% fly-ball rate into a .408 wOBA against lefties. And those marks are at 43.8%, 45.6% and .463 since the beginning of 2017.

Value Hitters

Steve Pearce ($4,300): As we talked about with Betts, Borucki is a guy to take advantage of, especially on a six-game slate. Finding value can be difficult, too, but Pearce provides a lot of that at a little over $4,000. Since moving to the Red Sox in late June, the veteran's got a .457 wOBA along with a .333 ISO, 39.6% fly-ball rate and 35.4% hard-hit rate. Against lefties, he has similar numbers -- .451 wOBA and .294 ISO -- this season. We project him to hit cleanup, and you can slot him in at first base or in the outfield. What's not to like?

Matt Kemp ($4,200): You can opt for other right-handed Dodger bats, but Kemp is the one to go after. He's the cheapest of the top options, and his splits against lefties are ridiculous. This season alone, he has a .386 wOBA and .294 ISO on 50.0% hard-hit rate and 52.2% fly-ball rate. Those are above some gaudy career numbers, which speaks to Kemp's eye for lefties like Anderson. He should be able to take advantage, with the Rockies' lefty posting his highest xFIP (4.35) at home against righties.

Teoscar Hernandez ($3,800): Hernandez and the Jays won't have it easy against Rick Porcello tonight. Porcello is fresh off a complete-game, nine-strikeout win over the Yankees, and his 3.84 ERA is spot on according to an identical xFIP. It's for that reason Toronto has a middle-of-the-road 4.28 implied total, but that doesn't mean they won't plate any runs. And if there's anyone to rely on, it's Hernandez in the midst of his breakout season. The right-handed hitter has been hitting fourth or fifth, and his batted-ball profile -- 40.0% hard-hit rate and 40.6% fly-ball rate -- against righties could lead to him driving in runs and producing some fantasy points in spite of the tough matchup.

Brett Oswalt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. 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.