DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 4/26/19
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
Max Scherzer ($10,400 on DraftKings): Max Scherzer has been a dominant strikeout pitcher for years, and his slate-best 34.6 percent strikeout rate from 2018 is evidence of that. In addition, he had an elite 2.71 SIERA and 5.9 percent walk rate. His matchup tonight is among the best that one can have. He will take on the San Diego Padres, who currently have a 26.5 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitching -- the third-worst mark in the Majors. The Friars' .287 weighted on-base average (wOBA) ranks 26th, which also illustrates their struggles in 2019.
James Paxton ($9,600): James Paxton has settled in real nicely for the New York Yankees, striking out nine or more batters in three of his five starts so far, including two 12-strikeout games this season. Tonight, he'll head out west to take on the San Francisco Giants. The Giants sit middle-of-the-pack with their 15th ranked strikeout rate against left-handed pitching. However, they have an ugly .270 wOBA against southpaws, which ranks 28th and is an encouraging stat for Paxton's upside. He had a 32.3 percent strikeout rate, so he may be able to get the Giants to rack up some K's tonight.
Daniel Norris ($6,900): Daniel Norris has four appearances -- one as a starter -- this season, and his one start came against these very Chicago White Sox earlier this week. He was magnificent, throwing 79 pitches of two-hit ball across five innings and striking out six. He struggled keeping the ball in-play last season and gave up a gaudy 40.6 percent hard-hit rate, but his strikeouts were always encouraging, as his 25.5 percent strikeout rate in 2018 is high enough to give him solid upside at this price.
Hitters to Target
Whit Merrifield ($4,900): In 2018, Whit Merrifield was fantastic against left-handed pitching, with his elite .402 wOBA and solid -- but not great - .181 isolated power (ISO). However, in the early part of 2019, things have flip-flopped a bit. He has a much lower .325 wOBA but a significantly higher .333 ISO. Now, his 2019 plate appearances against lefties is only about one-sixth that of 2018, though it is still something to monitor. He'll take on the Los Angeles Angels' Tyler Skaggs, who gave up a 40.1 percent hard-hit rate and 34.4 percent fly-ball rate, which led to a 11.5 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate in 2018.
Dan Vogelbach ($4,900): He completely smashed spring training the last two seasons, and he continues that dominance in 2019 -- something he was unable to do in years' past. Against right-handed pitching, he has absolutely smashed for an astonishing .497 wOBA and .456 ISO. Tonight, he gets struggling right-hander Shelby Miller, who has given up a .338 wOBA to left-handed hitters, as well as a 1.18 HR/9, in his career. That bodes well for Vogelbach tonight.
Nelson Cruz ($4,700): Nelson Cruz was a disappointment in 2018, but he has come out firing for his new team, the Minnesota Twins. It is very early in the season, but he may have sacrificed a bit of power to improve his plate discipline. In 2018, he had a 9.3 percent walk rate, .256 AVG, .252 ISO and a .342 OBP, whereas in the early portions of 2019, he has a 13.5 percent walk rate, .279 AVG, .213 ISO and a .405 OBP. His strikeout rate remains similar, but he'll take on Baltimore Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb, who had just a 15.4 percent strikeout rate in 2018 while giving up a brutal 1.42 HR/9 innings.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,300): It's about time. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is making his Major League debut tonight for the Toronto Blue Jays after just smashing the ball in Triple-A ball this season. He was hitting for an elite .471 wOBA and .333 ISO with three home runs in 33 plate appearances. Now, this price is pretty cheap for a guy with all the hype he has been getting, so just know that his ownership is more than likely going to be inflated to the point where fading him may be the more viable option in tournaments. But where is the fun in that? He'll battle Mike Fiers, who gave up a 39.1 percent hard-hit rate and 43.2 percent fly-ball rate, which led to a 14.1 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate in 2018, and they'll face off in a hitter-friendly Rogers Centre tonight.
Khris Davis ($4,200): Speaking of underpriced, it looks as though pricing is a bit softer across the board tonight. Reigning home run king Khris Davis has 10 home runs on the season and is also hitting in Rogers Centre. He'll face off against Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays, a pitcher that gave up just a 20 percent fly-ball rate in 2018, but when they went in the air they left the park, as his 13.6 percent home-run-to-fly-ball would indicate. Davis just needs to get a hold of one to make this price point worth it, and given his .374 wOBA and .315 ISO against righties in 2018, I'm willing to bet that he takes Stroman or someone deep.
Matt Carpenter ($4,100): Finally, we round everything out with another underpriced hitter. Matt Carpenter is off to a slow start, especially against right-handed pitching. He has just a .302 wOBA and .167 ISO in this split, whereas in 2018, he absolutely smashed righties with a .385 wOBA and .280 ISO. His matchup against Anthony DeSclafani is a premium one, as the righty gave up an abysmal 41.9 percent hard-hit rate and slate-worst 1.88 HR/9 innings in 2018. While Carpenter has struggled this season, this is a fantastic matchup to get things going.
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.