DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 8/21/18
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
Blake Snell ($11,500 on DraftKings): Blake Snell has been absolutely elite this season. He has put up a 28.5 percent strikeout rate, 1.02 WHIP and 3.54 xFIP, and he's also done a decent job to limit hard contact, at just a 33.2 percent rate. He's got a premium matchup against the Kansas City Royals this evening, a team that has a 23.5 percent strikeout rate against left-handed pitching, which is the fifth-worst in the Majors. The Royals also struggle to generate offense, with an abysmal .287 team weighted on-base average (wOBA) -- which sits third-worst in the Majors -- as well as a 77 wRC+ that's tied for the worst mark in all of baseball.
Masahiro Tanaka ($10,200): He has just a modest strikeout rate, at 25.3 percent, but Masahiro Tanaka still has a very good 1.12 WHIP and 3.57 xFIP. The 37.6 percent hard-hit rate is concerning and leads to a high number of home runs when he gives up fly-balls, as he has a 20.4 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate. However, over his last 10 games his strikeouts have improved as he has struck out 67 batters in 57.2 innings, with a 3.12 ERA despite giving up 11 home runs in those games.
Michael Kopech ($7,600): Making his Major League debut tonight, Kopech is a prospect with an elite arm. He has put up a 31.3 percent strikeout rate, 1.27 WHIP and a 3.42 xFIP in Triple-A ball this season, and tonight, he has a matchup against the Minnesota Twins. It's not an elite matchup, as the Twins have a 21.6 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitching and, in addition, have the 12th-best wOBA and 14th best wRC+ against righties. Over his last seven starts, though, Kopech has allowed just 9 earned runs across 44 innings, including an elite 59 strikeouts to 4 walks.
Hitters to Target
J.D. Martinez ($5,800): Of all hitters with at least 50 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, J.D. Martinez leads the Majors with a .457 wOBA. He brings with that an elite .366 isolated power (ISO) as somebody that just absolutely destroys righties. He's taking on the Cleveland Indians' Shane Bieber, who has definitely struggled in some aspects of his game. Although his 3.57 xFIP is solid, he has a brutal 1.41 WHIP and 42.2 percent hard-hit rate. Additionally, his 89.0 mile-per-hour average exit velocity could get him in some trouble against Martinez tonight.
Nolan Arenado ($5,700): Among those with at least 30 plate appearances in the split, Nolan Arenado is the MLB leader in wOBA against left-handed pitching. He leads the way with an absurd .542 wOBA across 163 plate appearances, and he brings with that an equally insane .434 ISO. Not only that, he gets to do damage in Coors Field against San Diego Padres' Robbie Erlin. Erlin has mostly pitched out of the bullpen this season and has some solid numbers, but coming to Coors Field is never ideal for a pitcher, especially one that has only been stretched out for three starts this season.
Giancarlo Stanton ($4,900): He is much better against left-handed pitching, but Giancarlo still has solid numbers against right-handed pitching. Although not as elite, his .348 wOBA and .227 against righties is solid. Additionally, he has been just destroying the ball of late. Over his last 10 games, Stanton is averaging 12.8 DraftKings points per game, which is a result of a .361 average, 1.283 OPS and 4 home runs. He's taking on Miami Marlins righty Pablo Lopez, who could get into trouble against Stanton given that he has a horrific 20.0 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate on the season.
Gregory Polanco ($4,200): Gregory Polanco has a solid matchup this evening against Atlanta Braves' Kevin Gausman. Gausman was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Braves earlier this month and has had one elite, one average and one bad start since the trade. He has a 1.34 WHIP and has given up a 15.4 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate, so some of the power that Polanco brings could hurt Gausman. Against right-handed pitching, the Pirates' lefty has put up a .356 wOBA and a .259 ISO, which bodes well against a pitcher that can be homer prone. Gausman started the year giving up eight home runs in six games and had a stretch about a month ago in where he gave up a long-ball in seven straight games.
Kyle Schwarber ($4,100): Kyle Schwarber has actually been relatively solid this year, hitting 22 home runs and picking up 50 RBI. He has done most of his damage against right-handed pitching against which he has put up a .362 wOBA and .270 ISO. He brings power with his bat and takes on Jordan Zimmermann, a pitcher that has struggled in certain aspects of his game. He has given up a 44.3 percent fly-ball rate along with an 88.6 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and a slate-worst 200 foot average batted-ball distance. He has kept the ball in the park on that high volume of fly-balls, with just a 12.9 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate, but against the power of Schwarber he could see that rate rise tonight.
Maikel Franco ($3,900): Maikel Franco has been seeing the ball well of late, displying a .353 AVG over his last 10 games. Unfortunately, that has only resulted in two home runs and four RBI, so he hasn't been able to cash in on all of his hits. He has been solid against right-handed pitching this season, with a .352 wOBA and a .216 ISO. His opponent is Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark, who has struggled with a 4.42 xFIP and a mediocre 1.28 WHIP. His 21.4 percent line-drive rate and 36.6 percent fly-ball rate aren't anything special, and they come without muck strikeout ability (19.8 percent strikeout rate). Franco is in a solid spot at this price point.
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.