3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 5/8/19

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.

Chris Sale, P, Boston Red Sox ($11,000)

After a sketchy start to the season, Chris Sale seems to be fine. His last three games have seen him notch strikeout totals of 10, 8 and 10, and his last outing saw him deal six scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and one walk.

His strikeout rate is still down (to a still solid 26.9%) thanks to the slow start, but over those last three games it's up to 38.9% on a 13.3% swinging-strike rate. That's obviously a small sample, and that swinging-strike rate is still down from last season's 15.8%, but a strikeout rate that high has room to fall and still remain outstanding.

He also gets a prime matchup for strikeouts tonight, taking on a Baltimore Orioles team whose active roster has a league-high 27.3% strikeout rate against southpaws dating back to last season.

Oddsmakers are also high on Sale and the Boston Red Sox tonight, and the Sox are the slate's biggest favorites at -290 on the moneyline, while the O's 3.07 implied total is the slate's lowest.

J.D. Martinez, OF, Boston Red Sox ($3,900)

On the other side of things, the Red Sox also boast the slate's highest implied total as their offense also draws a juicy matchup, taking on right-hander Andrew Cashner and an Orioles relief pitching group that has the third-worst xFIP (4.94) in the majors.

Cashner is a matchup we're always looking to take advantage of. He posted a skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) worse than 5.30 in each of the last two seasons, and while he's showing a slight improvement, his 4.93 in 2019 is still an ugly mark. He's also giving up some absurd contact, allowing a 46.1% hard-hit rate with only a 12.2% soft-hit rate on the year.

J.D. Martinez is not a guy who struggles to hit the ball hard. There are 413 hitters to have recorded at least 200 batted-ball events since the start of the 2017 season, and Martinez has the eighth-highest average exit velocity in the group.

Same-sided matchups are no concern for the slugger either, and he owns a .409 wOBA and .301 ISO against right-handed pitching in that time.

His production is down some this year, but he's still making phenomenal contact (46.0% hard-hit rate, 8.0% soft-hit rate, 39.8% fly-ball rate). What is down is his home run-to-fly-ball ratio, which sits at 11.1%. The last two seasons have seen him post marks of 29.5% and 33.8%, and even his career average sits at 20.5%. That stat is highly prone to variance in the short term, so with the stellar contact he's making, we can fully expect a bounce-back on that front, and we can feel good about taking advantage of the discounted price tag it has led to.

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies ($4,900)

Like yesterday, we get Nolan Arenado at home against a southpaw tonight, and that makes him a really tough fade.

San Francisco Giants lefty Derek Holland isn't having as bad a season as his 5.34 ERA might suggest, with a 4.07 SIERA that has been an improvement on 2018's 4.20, but he's also allowing both hard-hit and fly-ball rates north of 40%. That's likely to be trouble at Coors Field, where fly balls can really carry.

Arenado has always had an ability to crush left-handed pitching, and across 1033 plate appearances in that split, he has a career .422 wOBA and .295 ISO. Those numbers become especially gaudy if we narrow that to home games (523 plate appearances), with his wOBA jumping to .485 and his ISO to .375.

With Holland giving up homer-friendly contact, Arenado is positioned to do some serious damage tonight.

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.