DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 9/20/18
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
Max Scherzer ($13,000): On a smaller seven-game slate, Max Scherzer is far and away the best pitcher. He leads the slate with his 34.2 percent strikeout rate, 0.91 WHIP and 3.09 xFIP. He has put up 10-plus strikeouts in 6 of his last 10 games and 27-plus DraftKings points (DKpts) in 7 of the last 10. He's got a matchup against the New York Mets tonight, a team that hasn't been too bad against right-handed pitching. However, the Mets have a 21.8 percent strikeout rate, which is 21st overall, but with the strikeout ability of Scherzer, that likely won't matter much.
Matt Boyd ($9,400): There are some solid numbers behind Matt Boyd, but also some concerning ones. He has a modest 22.9 percent strikeout rate but the second-best WHIP, at 1.09. Additionally, he has an 86.9 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 9.6 percent home-run-to fly-ball-rate -- both of which are among the top three on the slate. The Detroit Tigers are -154 favorites, but the Kansas City Royals do not really strike out much, so Boyd will have limited upside. He's pitched at least 5 innings in each of his last 10 games, so there is a good chance he can at least pick up the win and put together a solid outing.
Cody Reed ($5,500): Cody Reed is dirt cheap against a Miami Marlins team that doesn't produce much offense against left-handed pitchers. The Marlins have an 81 wRC+, which is the fourth-worst, to go with a .286 weighted on-base average -- tied for the worst in the Majors. Reed does have some solid numbers, though, which makes the price a bit perplexing considering the matchup. He has a 23.1 percent strikeout rate, which while it isn't great isn't terrible either. He also has a 3.66 xFIP -- the third-best on the slate -- and brings with that slate-bests in line-drive rate (14.3 percent) and fly-ball rate (26.5 percent).
Hitters to Target
Francisco Lindor ($5,800): Imagine having both Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor just dominating for your team? Well, the Cleveland Indians have that luxury, and Lindor has an elite matchup tonight. He has a really solid .352 wOBA against right-handed pitching along with a solid .251 isolated power (ISO). He gets to take on James Shields, who -- let's just say he hasn't been great. He has a modest 1.30 WHIP and a brutal 5.04 xFIP. Additionally, he has a 43.3 percent fly-ball rate and 190 foot average batted-ball distance, which have led to a 12.2 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate.
J.D. Martinez ($5,100): Among all hitters with at least 50 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, J.D. Martinez sits fourth with a .438 wOBA. Additionally, he has crushed the ball with impressive power in the form of a .327 ISO. The matchup against the New York Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka is not necessarily a great one considering Tanaka's 1.09 WHIP and 3.39 xFIP, but he has been prone to giving up the long-ball. Sure, he has just a 33.6 percent fly-ball rate, but he has an abysmal 17.3 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate, so if Martinez gets under the ball there's a great chance it's going yard.
Daniel Palka ($4,900): This is a pretty expensive price for a Chicago White Sox player, but Daniel Palka has actually been fantastic against right-handed pitching. With a .351 wOBA and an elite .289 ISO, there is hope for Palka tonight. Over his last 10 games, Palka has crushed five home runs, while hitting for a .313 AVG and a 1.187 OPS. He's taking on Josh Tomlin, a mediocre right-hander at best. He has a 1.51 WHIP and a 5.44 xFIP along with a 39.9 percent hard-hit rate, 45.7 percent fly-ball rate, 90.1 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 210 foot average batted-ball distance, which have all resulted in a slate-worst 22.5 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate.
Nick Castellanos ($4,300): The numbers for Nick Castellanos against right-handed pitching aren't fantastic, but they are solid and the matchup against Jorge Lopez certainly makes up for it. Castellanos has a .336 wOBA and .192 ISO against righties -- numbers that are certainly acceptable. But Lopez has struggled with hard contact, giving up a horrendous 41.4 percent hard-hit rate. His 1.35 WHIP and 4.56 xFIP are also poor, and a 23.0 percent line-drive rate also favors a guy like Castellanos.
Ji-Man Choi ($4,300): Ji-Man Choi brings a lot of power to the Tampa Bay Rays and has done most of his damage against right-handed pitching. With a .386 wOBA and a .266 ISO, his matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays' Sam Gaviglio is a fantastic one. Gaviglio has a 1.44 WHIP, which is pretty brutal, and with his struggles to generate strikeouts -- as indicated by his 20.3 percent strikeout rate -- he could be in trouble. To make matters worse, Gaviglio has given up an 88.4 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, which has contributed to an 18.2 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate.
Kendrys Morales ($3,800): As a switch-hitter, Kendrys Morales certainly has a favorable split, and that is his hitting right-handed pitching being significantly better in 2018. He has a .368 wOBA and a .226 ISO against righties with an ugly .258 wOBA and .127 ISO against lefties. Although Ryne Stanek will be starting for the Rays, Yonny Chirinos will come in as a long-relief arm in a bullpen game. His numbers -- a 1.26 WHIP and 4.09 xFIP -- are alright, but he does have a slate-worst 43.4 percent hard-hit rate and a 24.2 percent line-drive rate that could get him in to trouble, as well.
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.