DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 8/16/18

Justin Upton has been crushing the baseball lately and has a great matchup tonight. What other players should you consider on Thursday's main slate?

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

Clay Buchholz ($9,500 on DraftKings): It's a sad pitching slate when not only is Clay Buchholz the most expensive pitcher, but he also has the best matchup, and is likely to be the highest-owned pitcher. Anyway, he has a modest 20.9 percent strikeout rate with a very good 1.14 WHIP, along with a good-but-not-great 4.09 xFIP, which is actually the fourth-best on the slate. He has put up 19-plus DraftKings points in four of his last five games, and although he's not a big strikeout guy, he's taking on a San Diego Padres team that cannot generate any offense against right-handed pitching. In the platoon split, the Padres carry a 82 wRC+ that ranks 28th in the Majors, and their .289 team weighted on-base average (wOBA) ranks 29th.

Jon Gray ($8,700): This is a pretty difficult matchup for Jon Gray, as he takes on the Atlanta Braves. However, the Braves could be without Ronald Acuna after he was pegged on the first pitch of the game last night. Gray has the second-best strikeout rate tonight at 27.1 percent and his 3.09 xFIP also sits second. He has a slate-best 28.6 percent fly-ball rate, but there is certainly some risk here because of the high-powered offense of the Braves. They will be a bit weaker if they are without Acuna, though, so be sure to keep an eye on their lineup.

Low-Priced Pitchers

Ervin Santana ($7,000): Ervin Santana has not been that great this season, failing to reach 10 DraftKings points in any of his 4 starts. However, he has about as good of a matchup as one could have against the Detroit Tigers. They have MLB-worsts in team wOBA (.286) and wRC+ (76) against right-handed pitching. Because of this, Santana and the Minnesota Twins are -163 favorites, which is the second-largest on the slate. Santana's numbers are ugly, and he struggled against the Tigers in his last start, but hopefully being at home will produce better results.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Justin Upton ($5,500): Justin Upton has been on an absolute tear as of late. Over his last 10 games, Upton is hitting for a .342 AVG with a 1.191 OPS, while smacking 5 home runs and knocking in 12 RBI. Against right-handed pitching this season, he has a legit .380 wOBA and .243 isolated power (ISO). He is taking on Ariel Jurado, who has struggled in limited innings this year. Although he has pitched just 20 1/3 innings, Juardo has given up a 40.9 percent hard-hit rate and 93.8 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, which has led to a 23.8 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate. That said, it's worth noting that he gave up four home runs against the New York Yankees in his last start, which would inflate these numbers.

David Peralta ($5,300): Here we have another hitter who is absolutely mashing the ball lately. Over his last 10 games, David Peralta has posted a .326 AVG, along with a 1.044 OPS and four home runs. He has been especially successful against right-handed pitching this season by producing an elite .402 wOBA and very solid .255 ISO. He's taking on San Diego Padres rookie Jacob Nix, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have a solid 4.29 implied run total that bodes well for this offense.

Shin-Soo Choo ($5,100): Shin-Soo Choo has been very good this year, and has already hit 20 home runs. This puts him just 3 shy of breaking his personal best of 22 home runs in a season, which he has accomplished 3 times in his career. He's been great against right-handed pitchers in 2018, putting up an elite .395 wOBA and solid .234 ISO. The Los Angeles Angels will be utilizing a bullpen game tonight, so it is tough to know what to expect, but the Texas Rangers have plenty of upside with tonight's highest implied run total (5.60).

Value Hitters

Randal Grichuk ($4,200): Randal Grichuk is a hitter that puts up just an average .330 wOBA against right-handed pitching. However, the raw power he brings is very good, as indicated by his .256 ISO. Tonight he's got a matchup against Kansas City Royals righty Glenn Sparkman, who has struggled in limited innings this season. Although he has just 16 innings under his belt in 2018, they have been ugly. He's got a 1.63 WHIP, and allows a 37.7 percent hard-hit rate, which doesn't bode well for him against Grichuk's power.

Elias Diaz ($4,000): Make sure you check the starting lineups to ensure that Elias Diaz is in there before rostering him, as the Pittsburgh Pirates also have Francisco Cervelli. Lately, there have been a few games where Cervelli has played first base with Diaz catching. Diaz has been elite against left-handed pitching this season, putting up an incredible .432 wOBA and .254 ISO. He has been even more dominant as of late, producing a .409 AVG and 1.227 OPS with two home runs over his last 22 plate appearances.

Freddy Galvis ($3,500): Freddy Galvis is taking on Buchholz tonight, a pitcher that was mentioned above as a recommendation. That's okay, though, as Buchholz is expected to be chalky, so you can gain some leverage by using Galvis (or other Padres). Galvis is on a bit of a power heater these days, putting up a 1.008 OPS and 5 home runs over his last 10 games. One thing Buchholz has struggled with this season is allowing a 36.8 percent hard-hit rate and 38.5 percent fly-ball rate. If Galvis gets a hold of one, he could very well add to his home run total.

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.