DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 3/29/19
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
Gerrit Cole ($11,200): He is the most expensive pitcher on the slate for a reason, as he was completely dominant in 2018. Cole leads the slate in most of the relevant categories, including a 34.5 percent strikeout rate with a 14.1 percent swinging strike rate, as well as 0.85 home runs per 9 innings (HR/9) and a 2.91 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). While his 8.0 percent walk rate is among the middle of the pack, it isn't going to kill him with how efficient he has been at punching out hitters. He's taking on a young Tampa Bay Rays team that Justin Verlander had his way with on Opening Day, throwing seven innings, giving up just three hits and one earned run while striking out nine.
German Marquez ($9,200): Marquez was a completely different pitcher in the first half compared to the second half of the season in 2018. His first half was good, but his second half was elite, and his numbers position him among the aces of the world. He improved his 23.5 percent strikeout rate, 8.2 percent walk rate, 1.39 WHIP and 3.82 xFIP in the first half to an incredible 33.9 percent strikeout rate, 5.5 percent walk rate, 1.00 WHIP and 2.30 xFIP. Those are ace-like numbers, and with a matchup against the offensively woeful Miami Marlins (29th in wOBA among active lineups) tonight, there is no reason to believe he cannot carry his dominance into 2019.
Joey Lucchesi ($7,900): After Eric Lauer pitched six shutout innings on Opening Day, giving up just four hits and striking out three batters, there is little reason to believe Lucchesi cannot keep that going as the San Diego Padres host the San Francisco Giants in their opening series. This is certainly a bit of a risky play, as $7,900 isn't exactly a bargain price for Lucchesi, but he did have a solid 26.5 percent strikeout rate last season and kept the ball on the ground, as indicated by his 44.7 percent groundball rate. However, when the ball was hit in the air that is when he got into trouble. While his 32.6 percent fly-ball rate is solid, he gave up a 40.6 percent hard-hit rate and a 20.4 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate -- the worst mark on the slate. But the risk might be worth the reward.
Hitters to Target
Mookie Betts ($5,500): Yusei Kikuchi will be making his second career start in the Majors after playing a game in Japan last week, and he couldn't ask for much more of a difficult matchup. After a solid debut against the Oakland Athletics last week, Kikuchi is lucky enough to host the offensive powerhouse Boston Red Sox. Mookie Betts contributes across the board in that he not only hits for power, he will put up an elite average, knock in a bunch of runs and score plenty of runs with 25-steal upside. In 2018, Betts absolutely destroyed left-handed pitching with an elite .488 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and .368 isolated power (ISO). He should be able to have plenty of success against a pitcher making his second start in the Majors, despite plenty of success across the pond.
Daniel Murphy ($4,600): Murphy has a career .299 average, but after changing his approach prior to the 2016 season, he has hit .347, .322 and .299 in those three seasons. Now he's playing for the Colorado Rockies, and his home Coors Field is known for inflating a player's BABIP. Although tonight's game isn't in Coors, it is in Marlins Park, which isn't known as a hitters park by any means, but its deep fences could help Murphy get on base plenty with his high batting average. Trevor Richards will be on the mound for the Miami Marlins this evening, and his slate-worst 25.3 percent line drive rate is exactly what a player like Murphy thrives on.
Matt Chapman ($4,400): In 2018, Chapman improved his strikeout rate to 23.7 percent, down from an ugly 28.2 percent in 2017. However, that wouldn't really be a huge issue tonight as he faces Matt Harvey, who is now on the Los Angeles Angels. Harvey has slate-lows with his 9.6 percent swinging strike rate and 19.8 percent strikeout rate, which bodes well for a former strikeout-heavy hitter in Chapman. Having plenty of success against right-handed pitchers in 2018, Chapman looks to carry that success into 2019, and tonight is a great opportunity for that. He had an impressive .376 wOBA and .258 ISO against righties last season, and Harvey is unlikely to keep him in check.
Justin Turner ($4,200): Turner has hit for a .312 average or better in each of the last two seasons and .294 or higher in four of his last five. He is a high-average hitter that can get 20 to 25 home runs if healthy. However, the latter two words are something he's struggled with of late. Turner has only played more than 130 games once in his career, but that is more of an issue for season-long aspects. When we can use him daily, we get to take advantage of when he play, and when he does he smashes left-handed pitchers. In 2018, he put up an elite .433 wOBA and equally impressive .244 ISO. Tonight, he'll face Arizona Diamondbacks southpaw Robbie Ray, who is an elite strikeout pitcher but struggles with the long-ball. He gave up a 44.4 percent hard-hit rate and a 17.4 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate in 2018, both of which are the second-worst marks on the slate.
Justin Bour ($3,600): If we want to talk about a pitcher that has struggled throughout his career with keeping the ball in the park, look no further than Marco Estrada. While moving to the Oakland Athletics from the Toronto Blue Jays will certainly help, he is still going to get lit up quite often with players going deep on him. He's a pitcher that looks to induce weak fly-balls, which in 2018 did not go well. He gave up a slate-worst 55.6 percent fly-ball rate despite having one of the best hard-hit rates on the slate at just 29.9 percent. However, he gave up a staggering 1.82 HR/9 and his 5.45 SIERA are both easily the worst marks among all pitchers tonight. Now that I'm done bashing Estrada, we can talk about Bour. He's not the best hitter by any means, but he does bring some power against right-handed pitchers, as his .349 wOBA and .221 ISO in the split would indicate.
Michael Brantley ($3,500): This is not an easy matchup because Charlie Morton was very good last season. However, this price is just way, way too cheap for a hitter of Brantley's caliber. Morton did not give up many fly-balls last season -- at just 30.3 percent -- but when he did, it didn't go well, to the tune of a 14.5 percent home run to fly-ball rate. Brantley started his Houston Astros career off hot with a home run on Opening Day while going 2-for-4. As a hitter, Brantley had an elite strikeout rate last season at just 9.5 percent, but his 7.6 percent walk rate left a lot to be desired. It is not a premium matchup, but it is an opportunity to get a very good hitter at a bargain-bin price.
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.