FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 4/18/19
Well, if you thought Wednesday's pitching crop was shallow, Thursday's six-game main slate makes it look as deep as the Grand Canyon by comparison. Of the 12 teams going tonight, eight have implied totals exceeding 4.60 runs, led, of course, by the Phillies and Rockies at Coors Field. Yesterday's top pitching choices in Carlos Carrasco and Cole Hamels passed with flying colors last night -- let's hope for more of the same this evening.
Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered! And don't forget to take a listen to The Solo Shot podcast with Jim Sannes, who breaks down the MLB daily fantasy slate each day.
On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel main slate.
Pitchers to Target
Chris Paddack ($8,500 on FanDuel): This slate may be weak on pitching, but the good news is that being the case naturally means lower salaries for our friends on the mound. Chris Paddack stands out as a top option at home in a favorable matchup against the Reds, a team with a mere 3.33 implied total tonight. While Cincinnati's active roster was above average versus righties in 2018 -- suggesting they ought to improve -- they're showing the third-worst wRC+ against them (57) this season along with a 24.9% strikeout rate. A woeful .225 BABIP is partially to blame, but those are awfully hard numbers to pass up on any slate, let alone this one. Paddack was a hot breakout candidate in season-long drafts this spring, and he's producing a promising 3.87 SIERA and 30.2% strikeout rate through three starts. However, it's not all perfect, as he's also showing a concerning 11.3% walk rate and 51.6% hard-hit rate, and his 9.8% swinging-strike rate indicates those punchouts will dip. He's also yet to throw 90 pitches or log six innings in any start. Still, he shouldn't need to be perfect on a limited slate, and the Reds' early-season struggles could lead to a profitable score.
Domingo German ($9,000): Like Paddack, Domingo German's numbers have been mixed thus far, showing a fantastic 28.0% strikeout rate and 14.5% swinging-strike rate, while also posting a worrisome 14.0% walk rate and 4.42 SIERA. Additionally, he too hasn't exceeded 90 pitches in a game this season. And yet, German put up a fantastic 3.68 SIERA, 27.2% strikeout rate, and 8.8% walk rate over 85 2/3 innings last year, demonstrating the potential he has despite mixed results in his young career. The Royals have managed an above-average 106 wRC+ against righties so far, and Yankee Stadium is no picnic for any pitcher. But KC is getting a 3.80 implied total, and the Yankees are huge favorites to win this one.
Hitters to Target
Mike Trout ($5,000): Mike Trout didn't put up the massive numbers we were hoping for in the Texas series, but he gets another chance to do damage back home against Felix Hernandez. While Hernandez is managing a solid enough 4.07 SIERA so far, he also has a middling 17.5% strikeout rate and 5.6% swinging-strike rate, so Trout shouldn't have much trouble making contact. Given that Trout is near the top of the league in seemingly every Statcast category, that could mean some very, very bad news for Hernandez. Frankly, King Felix hasn't been an intimidating presence for a while now, and the Angels draw an appealing 4.85 implied total.
Charlie Blackmon ($3,600) and Rhys Hoskins ($4,600): Coors Field is high on the hitting list for practically any slate, and tonight is no different. Charlie Blackmon is surprisingly affordable for a home start, too, making him especially enticing. Zach Eflin is performing well in 2019, but he's struggled against lefties over his career (4.97 xFIP), and while Eflin was slightly better last season (4.32 xFIP), his low ground-ball rate will do him no favors in this park. We all know what Blackmon can do at Coors, where he owns a career .412 wOBA. On the other side, Rhys Hoskins has a tailor-made swing for Colorado, sporting a career 50.2% fly-ball rate, so don't be swayed by his pedestrian numbers over a small sample versus southpaws in 2018. Despite all his success last season, Kyle Freeland posted only an 18.5% strikeout rate and 4.42 xFIP against right-handed batters and was even worse the year prior.
Aaron Judge ($4,600): It's hard to know what to make of Homer Bailey, who's been a frequent target of DFS stacks for years but is actually showing some major improvements so far. Increasing the use of both his splitter and curveball, Bailey has amazingly shown a 3.53 SIERA, 30.4% strikeout rate, and 11.5% swinging-strike rate through 17 innings, and in his last start, he shut out Cleveland across seven frames. On the other hand, he's also allowing a 42.9% hard-hit rate and 36.6% ground-ball rate, and he was demolished by the Mariners in his previous start, leaving him with an all-too-familiar 5.29 ERA. Maybe some of these improvements stick, but given the batted-ball numbers and horrendous track record, it's tough to side with Bailey in Yankee Stadium. Aaron Judge is performing up to the standards we've come to expect, and he owns a monstrous career .404 wOBA, .300 ISO, and 46.4% hard-hit rate against same-sided pitchers.
A.J. Pollock ($2,800): Despite his early-season struggles, this is a rather nice price to get a man with A.J. Pollock's track record, and he launched a three-run bomb on Wednesday, which is hopefully a sign that his bat is finally ready to wake up. Zach Davies is tougher on right-handed hitters, but with just a career 4.44 SIERA and 17.3% strikeout rate, this is hardly a matchup to shy away from. That's particularly true in hitter-friendly Miller Park, where the Dodgers draw a 4.78 implied total. Pollock demonstrated improved power in 2018, posting a career-best .228 ISO with a 44.5% hard-hit rate and 38.4% fly-ball rate.
Kole Calhoun ($3,000) and Justin Bour ($2,700): The lefty duo of Kole Calhoun and Justin Bour didn't quite come through on Wednesday, but we shouldn't hesitate to roll them out against Felix Hernandez. Calhoun continues to produce an excellent 45.7% hard-hit rate and 43.5% fly-ball rate this season. Bour could be starting to get things going with a six-game hit streak, and he provided a solid .349 wOBA and .221 ISO versus righties in 2018. As for Hernandez, he allowed a .374 xwOBA, 41.3% hard-hit rate, and 40.4% ground-ball rate to lefty sticks last year.
Aaron Altherr ($2,500): With Odubel Herrera dealing with a minor hamstring issue and a lefty on the mound for Colorado tonight, Aaron Altherr could draw a rare start for the Phillies, giving us a cheap bat to gain exposure to Coors Field. Following a solid 2017 campaign, Altherr endured a forgettable one last year, but over both seasons, he put together a reasonable .208 ISO off a 36.6% hard-hit rate and 36.4% fly-ball rate, so it wouldn't be out of the question to see him do some damage tonight.
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