DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 4/25/19

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

High-Priced Pitcher

Gerrit Cole ($10,200 on DraftKings): This was a toss-up between Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. They are facing each other tonight, and Bauer has been the better pitcher this season. But Cole was the better one last season and has the more favorable matchup this evening, so here we are. In 2018, Cole had an elite and slate-best 34.5 percent strikeout rate with a 2.91 SIERA. His 42.7 percent fly-ball rate is a bit concerning, but due to his solid 31.0 percent hard-hit rate allowed and minimal 0.85 homers per nine given up, there is little concern in that regard.

Value Pitcher

Caleb Smith ($7,300): This is a difficult matchup for Caleb Smith as he takes on a very tough Philadelphia Phillies lineup. However, he did one-hit them two weeks ago and has put up six-plus strikeouts in each of his four starts this season. The only difference is that last start was in Miami, and this one is on the road in Philadelphia, a much more favorable park for hitters. Smith has solid strikeout upside, though, as his 27.0 percent strikeout rate from 2018 and impressive 33.3 percent strikeout rate in the early part of 2019 are marks we rarely see in a pitcher priced this low.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Mitch Haniger ($5,600): Whew, baby -- this price has gotten a bit out of control. While the salary is steep, the matchup is great, and with just five games on the slate, this could be an opportunity to pay up for Mitch Haniger in an elite spot. While Haniger has had a bit more power against right-handed pitching in his career, his .361 wOBA and .191 ISO versus lefties are still great. Now, the Texas Rangers are starting left-hander Taylor Hearn -- a young pitcher making his Major League debut. He has just 20 innings pitched above Double-A ball, but he has shown elite strikeout capabilities everywhere he has gone. But this is an opportunity to possibly pick on a kid making his first start.

Mookie Betts ($4,700): The undisputed number-two player in season-long fantasy baseball coming into this season, Mookie Betts has started off slow. However, some of his underlying numbers aren't bad at all -- with his .402 wOBA and .270 ISO against right-handed pitching being something to consider. He'll take on Detroit Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, a pitcher who got smoked last season. He had a brutal 38.1 percent hard-hit rate, 43.0 percent fly-ball rate, 88.7 mile-per-hour average exit velocity and 196-foot average batted-ball distance.

Value Hitters

Nick Castellanos ($4,100): Nick Castellanos is not a hitter I typically look to use, but on a short slate, we have to consider any and all options. He's taking on Rick Porcello, who has a slate-worst 8.7 percent swinging strike rate. He does not fool hitters with his stuff, and that only helps Castellanos because he is rocking an ugly 27.8 percent strikeout rate this season. In addition, Porcello gave up a 13.8 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate last year and while his 35.7 percent fly-ball rate isn't terrible, it's high enough that he could get into trouble tonight. Castellanos has struggled against righties this season, but his .344 wOBA and .205 ISO in the split in 2018 were quality numbers.

Brian Goodwin ($3,900): I'll be honest, I did not realize how well Brian Goodwin has been hitting the ball this season. He's put up an elite .344 average with three home runs and a 1.013 OPS. His splits against righties have also been fantastic as he's got a .402 wOBA and .250 ISO. He's taking on a home -run prone pitcher in Masahiro Tanaka, and while this matchup would be better in Yankee Stadium, Tanaka's 1.44 homers per in 2018 is worth targeting.

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.