DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 4/5/19
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
Shane Bieber ($9,300 on DraftKings): This has to be the first main slate of the year without a pitcher priced over $10,000. Shane Bieber is the top play of the day as he takes on the Toronto Blue Jays — a team that has struggled to score runs. They have just 24 runs in 8 games and although they haven't struck out much (about middle of the pack), there is plenty of upside for Bieber here. In 2018, Bieber had a 24.3 percent strikeout rate and elite 4.7 walk-rate. He certainly got unlucky last season as he had an extremely high .356 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and 4.55 ERA despite his 3.23 FIP.
Nick Pivetta ($7,700): Just from a pricing standpoint we will have two low-priced pitchers, even though I am quite high on Nick Pivetta. He had an ugly start against the Atlanta Braves to open his season and looks to bounce back against the Minnesota Twins this evening. Pivetta had an excellent strikeout rate in 2018 at 27.1 percent, but had a decent 7.4 percent walk-rate. In addition, he had a 3.80 FIP despite an ugly 4.77 ERA and .326 BABIP which means he should see some positive regression this season.
Brandon Woodruff ($6,800): In 2018, Brandon Woodruff made most of his appearances as a relief pitcher. We saw his strikeout rate increase from 17.4 percent in 2017 up to an incredibly respectable 26.7 percent in 2018. The Chicago Cubs have been averaging 6 runs per game in the early part of 2019, but they are just 1-5. Woodruff's solid strikeout rate and elite 53.1 percent ground-ball rate could make him a solid option for under $7k.
Hitters to Target
Bryce Harper ($5,500): Bryce Harper seems to be enjoying his time with the Philadelphia Phillies. Of course he's only had 16 at-bats, but he is batting .500 with 5 home runs and an insane 1.840 OPS. It's been 5 games, so clearly those numbers aren't going to be sustainable, but either way he has taken little time to adjust to his new team. Tonight he'll take on Twins' right-hander Jake Odorizzi — a pitcher that struggled last season. In 2018, Odorizzi had a 48.8 percent fly-ball rate (highest on the slate) along with a 36.5 percent hard-hit rate. In addition, he allowed an 88.0 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and another slate-worst 206-foot average batted-ball distance. Harper smashed right-handed pitchers with a .379 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and a .258 isolated power (ISO) in 2018.
Jose Altuve ($4,600): Frankie Montas struggled in his 65 innings last season, despite what his modest 3.88 ERA says. He gave up a slate-high 24.9 percent line-drive rate and 46.1 percent hard-hit rate. In addition, he had a .325 BABIP, which is high but makes sense given that high line-drive rate. Furthermore, his 4.86 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) says that his ERA was a mirage. Jose Altuve may not be the most powerful hitter, but he makes a lot of contact. Last season Altuve had a .374 wOBA and a not-so-great .140 ISO against right-handed pitching. He has a .316 career batting average and has had a .313 or better average for five straight seasons.
Jesus Aguilar ($4,400): Jesus Aguilar smashed left-handed pitching in 2018, putting up a solid .389 wOBA and .267 ISO. Tonight he brings that power into a favorable matchup against the Chicago Cubs' left-hander Jose Quintana. Last season Quintana gave up a modest 33.1 percent hard-hit rate, 34.3 percent fly-ball rate and 88.0 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, which led to an ugly 14.7 percent home run to fly-ball rate.
Starling Marte ($4,200): He hasn't done much this season, but this price is still a bit low for Starling Marte. He had a .277 batting average in 2018, hitting a career high 20 home runs while stealing 33 bases. Sonny Gray struggled mightily in his first start for the Cincinnati Reds, going just 2.2 innings while throwing 72 pitches, allowing 2 earned runs and 4 walks. He struggled with the New York Yankees last season too, with an ugly 4.90 ERA, although his .326 BABIP and 4.28 SIERA shows he was a bit unlucky. However, Gray's lowly 21.1 percent strikeout rate and ugly 9.8 percent walk-rate gives Marte some solid upside.
Shin-Soo Choo ($3,900): Shin-Soo Choo is an underrated hitter with legit discipline at the plate. He has back-to-back 20 home run seasons (he has 6 total), with a career 12.2 walk-rate and .276 batting average, which has led to a great .378 OBP. Last season he brought plenty of power against right-handed pitching, putting up a .385 wOBA and a .208 ISO with a .399 OBP. While he doesn't have a great average, his matchup against Felix Pena tonight is a great one. Pena struggled in 2018, giving up a 40.1 percent hard-hit rate, 88.3 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 24.1 percent line-drive rate. This could get him into a lot of trouble against a power hitter like Choo who continues to find ways to get on base.
Nick Markakis ($3,800): Nick Markakis is fresh off of a five hit game last night where he put up an incredible 37.0 DraftKings points without hitting a home run. That is impressive and rare. In addition, Markakis has shown great plate discipline over the last 4 seasons, with a 10.2 percent walk-rate and a 13.7 percent strikeout rate in that time. While his .353 wOBA and .146 ISO against right-handed pitchers from last season don't seem too impressive on the surface, with the big name hitters around him he will have plenty of opportunities to knock in a bunch of runs.
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.