DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Tuesday 9/18/18
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 ($12,100 on DraftKings): He is the most expensive pitcher on the slate, and while he doesn't have an elite matchup, it is still pretty solid given up the strikeout upside. Blake Snell has a 30.7 percent strikeout rate, which leads the slate among all "regular" starters (Josh James has a higher one but in just 10.2 innings pitched), so there is plenty of upside tonight. Snell also has an elite 0.98 WHIP and 3.24 xFIP, which bode well for him against a Texas Rangers team that struggles a bit against left-handed pitchers. This year, the Rangers have a 22.9 percent strikeout rate against southpaws, which is the eighth-highest in the Majors.
Aaron Nola ($10,900): At $1,200 less than Snell, Aaron Nola has just as elite numbers. He has a slightly lower 26.6 percent strikeout rate but an ever-so-slightly better 0.97 WHIP and a 3.23 xFIP. Additionally, his 25.5 percent hard-hit rate leads the slate. Nola has a matchup against a New York Mets team that is much better against right-handers compared to lefties, but there shouldn't be much concern here given Nola's general dominance this season. The Mets have just a 21.5 percent strikeout rate against righties -- just 19th in the Majors -- but they have just a 2.97 implied run total against Nola.
Joey Lucchesi ($7,600): Joey Lucchesi has one start against the San Francisco Giants this season, and he dominated them with nine strikeouts in six innings pitched. The Giants have a 22.9 percent strikeout rate against left-handed pitching, which looks good for Lucchesi, as he has a solid 25.4 percent strikeout rate. Additionally, he has a very good 3.57 xFIP despite a not-so-great 1.27 WHIP. The Giants struggle to generate offense against lefties, with a .288 weighted on-base average (wOBA) that sits 26th and an 80 wRC+ that sits 28th.
Hitters to Target
Mike Trout ($5,800): The best hitter in baseball has an elite matchup, and although he's basically in play every night, this one is especially great. Against right-handed pitching, Trout just crushes the ball, doing so to the tune of a .454 wOBA and a .320 isolated power (ISO). Additionally, he has been on an absolute tear as of late with three home runs, seven RBI and two stolen bases while hitting for a .455 AVG and a 1.390 OPS over his last 10 games. In just 17.2 innings this season, Liam Hendriks has given up 11 earned runs, including 3 home runs, which doesn't bode well for him against Trout and the Los Angeles Angels.
Ronald Acuna ($5,600): After a bit of a slow start to the season, Ronald Acuna has been an absolute beast. Over his last 10 games, he has been seeing the ball great, with a .390 AVG and 1.173 OPS despite just one home run, five RBI and three stolen bases. His numbers against left-handed pitching -- a .411 wOBA and a .283 ISO -- are great, and he's got a matchup against St. Louis Cardinals' Austin Gomber, who has had his struggles. Gomber has a 1.43 WHIP, 4.74 xFIP, and the second-worst line-drive rate on the slate at an ugly 26.1 percent.
Paul Goldschmidt ($5,300): Remember when the baseball world was concerned about Paul Goldschmidt's slow start to the season? Well, that slow start was actually just against right-handed pitching as he was still crushing lefties. Tonight, he gets to continue that as he takes on the Chicago Cubs' Mike Montgomery. In 2018, Goldschmidt has put up an elite .426 wOBA and an equally impressive .294 ISO. Montgomery has a lack of strikeout ability, as indicated by his 15.5 percent strikeout rate, and his 1.36 WHIP and 4.39 xFIP put him in trouble tonight against Goldy.
Justin Smoak ($4,300): Most switch-hitters are better either against right-handed pitchers or left-handed pitchers. In Justin Smoak's case, he is much better against right-handed pitchers. In this split, he has a .376 wOBA and a .259 ISO, which are pretty solid. Tonight, he's taking on Dylan Bundy, who has absolutely struggled this season, with an abysmal 1.40 WHIP and 4.34 xFIP. Additionally, his 46.7 percent fly-ball rate, 89.0 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 201 foot average batted-ball distance have led to a 17.8 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate -- the second-worst mark on the slate.
Nelson Cruz ($3,900): So, Nelson Cruz was $4,900 last night and dropped to $3,900 tonight. This could be due to the fact that it was supposed to be a Gerrit Cole start, but with Josh James slated to go, the Seattle Mariners are severely underpriced. Cruz has been solid against right-handed pitching, with a .369 wOBA and a .254 ISO in 2018. He's got 3 home runs in his last 10 games, and that should carry well into tonight. James was solid in Triple-A ball this season, with a 1.09 WHIP and 3.29 xFIP, so this is far from a great matchup, but given his lack of experience there is hope that Cruz smashes.
Brandon Lowe ($3,900): Who? I know, this is not a household name. However, Brandon Lowe has been pretty solid against right-handed pitching in his limited plate appearances. In those 90, he has a .354 wOBA and a .224 ISO. The matchup tonight, though, is fantastic as he gets to take on the Rangers' Yovani Gallardo. The Tampa Bay Rays surprisingly lead the slate with a 5.51 implied run total, though given Gallardo's 1.63 WHIP and 5.25 xFIP there is some justification there. Additionally, he has a 38.1 percent hard-hit rate, 22.7 percent line-drive rate and a 14.9 percent home run to fly-ball rate.
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.