3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 5/6/19
Just like in other sports, the focal point of your daily fantasy baseball lineups will be your high-priced studs. These guys take up by far the biggest chunk of your cap space, but they also offer the highest ceiling, and in the case of pitcher, by far the highest floors for production.
For hitters, we're looking for guys with big numbers, strong matchups, and with players around them that are likely to produce well too, increasing our chances for runs and RBI. For pitchers we want big strikeout numbers, while the ability to go deep in a game and pick up a win is also valuable.
Taking up so much salary, and playing such a big role in your lineup's ceiling, you're not going to want to whiff on these guys, so lets take a look at a few top-end options that you can count on to anchor your lineup today.
Gerrit Cole, P, Houston Astros ($11,500)
These extreme marks make sense on two fronts. First, Cole has been his usual phenomenal self in 2019. His 2.88 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and 37.6% strikeout rate have both managed to improve on his 2018 marks (2.91 SIERA, 34.5% strikeout rate). That increase in Ks comes with a jump from a 14.1% swinging-strike rate to a 16.2% rate, and he's fanned at least 10 hitters in four of his seven starts -- including three of his last four.
The Royals' active roster also owns a strikeout rate of 22.8% dating back to the start of last season, which is the 10th-highest in the majors. They combine that with a wRC+ of 93 (sixth-worst), and while they've shown some improvements in 2019, that's going to be tough to keep up against Cole.
Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros ($4,300)
The Royals make for an exploitable matchup on the other side tonight, too, as they'll be starting right-hander Jake Junis on the mound.
Junis showed some promising signs of improvement in his 2018 sophomore season, but so far he's not showing much in 2019, with a 4.36 SIERA that brings his major league career average to 4.19.
Even when things were going well last year, he was getting tagged for a big 41.0% hard-hit rate, and while that's down slightly this year (to a still high 38.8%), his soft-hit rate has also dropped from 16.4% to 13.2%.
Bregman may not have the platoon advantage here, but that doesn't typically matter much for him. He made 496 plate appearances against right-handed pitching in 2018, racking up a .390 wOBA and .243 ISO. So far in 2019 (118 plate appearances), he boasts an even better .433 wOBA and .312 ISO on a big 42.0% hard-hit rate and 45.7% fly-ball rate in same-sided matchups.
J.D. Martinez, OF, Boston Red Sox ($4,300)
We're not going to pass up on too many opportunities to pick on the Baltimore Orioles' bullpen, especially when they're up against top-end offenses.
Yes, John Means has looked more capable than most Orioles pitchers so far this season, but a 4.04 SIERA over eight starts is still nothing to write home about. And once he's out of the game, the Orioles' relievers have a group xFIP of 5.00, which is tied for the worst in the majors.
J.D. Martinez is destroying baseballs like usual, sitting in the top 7% of hitters in average exit velocity, per BaseballSavant, for the third straight season, with a 93-mile-per-hour mark that is tied for a career high.
He's "only" sporting a .377 wOBA so far in 2019, but considering his mark of .430 and .427 while making similar contact in the last two seasons, we can expect an improvement from him going forward.
That improvement is especially likely to come in the form of increased home run output, as despite the huge exit velocity and 44.4% hard-hit rate, he's only turned 9.3% of his fly balls into home runs, which is down from 33.8% in 2017, 29.5% in 2018 and a 20.5% career average.
A matchup with Baltimore is a pretty good cure for a hitter producing below where we'd expect them to.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. 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.