DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 4/8/19
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
Justin Verlander ($10,400 on DraftKings): In 2018, Justin Verlander was among the best with his elite 34.8 percent strikeout rate, which leads the slate. In addition, Verlander has a slate-best 2.63 SIERA and the second-best walk rate at 4.4 percent. The one issue he has is his incredibly high and poor 51.4 percent fly-ball rate, but his 29.1 percent hard-hit rate keeps the ball in the park for the most part. Verlander strikes out more than enough batters to make up for any home runs he gives up, which keeps his upside as high as anyone's tonight.
Madison Bumgarner ($9,300): Madison Bumgarner was pretty terrible last season, considering the high hopes for him as the San Francisco Giants' ace. His strikeout rate was down to 19.8 percent from his career 23.9 percent rate, and his 3.99 FIP was the worst of his career. In his two starts in 2019 -- admittedly a very small sample size -- Bumgarner has been solid. He's got a 26.0 percent strikeout rate and 3.68 FIP, and has thrown 90-plus pitches in each of his two starts, one of which was against the offensively dominant Los Angeles Dodgers. He'll look to keep it going Monday against the San Diego Padres, who have just a 3.40 implied total against the lefty hurler.
Marco Estrada ($7,300): There are very few matchups in which Marco Estrada is a viable option, but taking on the Baltimore Orioles would be one of them. Now, this would be even more attractive if the game was in Oakland, but we can live with it in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Estrada's numbers were horrific in 2018, but he's had two acceptable starts against the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels, with one not-so-great start against the Seattle Mariners. The Orioles' .354 slugging percentage ranks 23rd in the Majors, and given that Estrada relies on inducing weak fly-balls, this is a good sign for his daily fantasy prospects.
Hitters to Target
Ronald Acuna ($5,500): Let's get the hitter from Coors Field out of the way early. As a rookie in 2018, Acuna absolutely smashed left-handed pitching, and tonight he has a great opportunity to dominate a southpaw in Coors Field. Last season, the youngster had an elite .415 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and incredible .293 isolated power (ISO). And while opposing pitcher Kyle Freeland allowed minimal hard contact -- just a 31.6 percent hard-hit rate -- and kept the ball in the park with just 0.76 home runs per 9 (HR/9), it is reasonable to expect Acuna to get the best of Freeland tonight.
Christian Yelich ($5,300): Christian Yelich is coming off of a career year and has continued that dominance into 2019. He smashed right-handed pitching last season, putting up an unbelievable .425 wOBA and .281 ISO. Tonight, he'll face Los Angeles Angels right-hander Trevor Cahill, a pitcher that relies on groundballs to get outs. He has a slate-high 53.4 percent groundball rate from 2018, but he did give up a 39.3 percent hard-hit rate. Now, obviously most of those hard-hit balls were on the ground, as shown by a slate-best 0.65 HR/9. Something will have to give here, and I'm leaning on Yelich's power.
Rhys Hoskins ($4,700): Rhys Hoskins is a right-handed hitter that had way more success against right-handed pitchers compared to left-handed pitchers in 2018. Against southpaws, he hit for a paltry .307 wOBA and .117 ISO. However, against righties his .380 wOBA and .288 ISO were among the best in the Majors. Tonight, he's facing a groundball-inducing righty in the Washington Nationals' Anibal Sanchez, but the veteran has had his struggles early on, walking 20.0% of batters and checking in with the fourth-lowest groundball-to-fly-ball rate of all starters on the slate.
Anthony Rendon ($4,200): On the other side of the Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies game, Anthony Rendon will take on right-hander Vincent Velasquez. Velasquez will be making his first start of the season and is a pitcher that produces plenty of strikeouts. While his 25.6 percent strikeout rate from 2018 is great, he also walks a ton of batters as his 9.4 percent walk-rate would show. Rendon should be able to take advantage of this, as he had a .383 wOBA, .211 ISO and a .375 OBP against righties last season.
Jay Bruce ($4,200): Jay Bruce was terrible as he played through an injury last season. This season, while he hasn't been great, the power has been astronomical as five of his seven hits have been home runs. He has just a .184 average, but he does have a .894 OPS, which has been severely inflated by his slugging percentage. Throughout his career, Bruce has been solid against righties, hitting for a .345 wOBA and .230 ISO ahead of a premium matchup against Kansas City Royals right Homer Bailey. In 2018, Bailey gave up an abysmal 40.9 percent hard-hit rate and an 88.5 mile-per-hour average exit velocity, which combined with a modest 33.0 percent fly-ball rate, led to an atrocious 18.7 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate.
Michael Brantley ($3,900): He's still trying to get accustomed to things in Houston, but Michael Brantley is really cheap when you consider what he can do at the plate and the talent around him in the order. At a sub-$4K price tag, Brantley has an interesting matchup against New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. In 2018, Tanaka gave up very few fly-balls, at just a 33.1 percent clip, but when a hitter got a hold of one it was gone, as his 17.7 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate would indicate. Brantley isn't known for his power necessarily, but his .187 ISO -- to go along with an elite .380 wOBA -- against righties last season still makes this a solid matchup to target.
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.