3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 5/15/19

The Tigers will give Gregory Soto his second major league start tonight. Which Astros should we target to take advantage of that?

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.

Justin Verlander, P, Houston Astros ($12,000)

The Houston Astros are massive -380 favorites over the Detroit Tigers tonight, so even though the game has a 10-run over/under, we can expect the offense in this contest to be entirely one-sided.

Looking at teams' active rosters since the start of the 2018 season, no unit has a higher strikeout rate against right-handed pitching than the Tigers' 26.0%, and their 85 wRC+ ranks 29th in that time. They're not showing any more promise if we just focus on 2019 either, with a 26.0% strikeout rate and 80 wRC+ on the year.

Justin Verlander isn't quite pitching as well as he was in 2018 (though he has a nearly-identical ERA), but his 3.28 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and 30.6% strikeout rate are both still terrific marks, ranking 11th and 10th, respectively, among qualifying pitchers.

As a huge favorite against the strikeout-happy Tigers, both his floor and ceiling are terrific tonight, and it's not a surprise that our models project him for the day's highest fantasy score.

George Springer, OF, Houston Astros ($4,600)

On the other side of things, the Astros' offense may be the most well-positioned on the slate.

Detroit Tigers lefty Gregory Soto will take the mound tonight, who made his major league debut on Saturday and got shelled for seven earned runs in only four innings. He came to the majors having pitched only 13 1/3 innings above even the High-A level, and the last time we got a big sample on him was in 2018 when he made 23 High-A starts. In that time he only managed a 4.49 xFIP. Not exactly an encouraging mark to be jumping straight to the majors with.

Springer is looking better than we've ever seen before in 2019, with a career-high 11.8% walk rate and an outstanding batted-ball profile that includes a 50.0% hard-hit rate, 11.5% soft-hit rate (both career-bests) and a 34.6% fly-ball rate.

While he's benefiting from a high BABIP and an unsustainable 35.6% home-run-to-fly-ball rate, his .444 wOBA, and .341 ISO are high enough that they can be hit by regression and still remain elite. And with the platoon advantage in such a great matchup, we don't need to be too worried about that regression on Wednesday.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves ($4,100)

Freddie Freeman is producing just like we've become accustomed to seeing him do, with a .391 wOBA and .215 ISO to open the 2019 season. Even more encouraging is his 45.2% hard-hit rate, which is on pace to be a career-high and which he pairs with a low 11.3% soft-hit rate.

He's always especially dangerous against right-handed pitching, with a .397 wOBA and .247 ISO in the split since 2016, and he shouldn't have much trouble keeping that up tonight against Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wacha hasn't turned in a SIERA better than 4.00 since 2014, and things have been especially bad for him lately. His 4.60 SIERA in 2018 was a career-worst, and through seven games in 2019, he's on pace to top that, with an awful 5.16 mark. His 13.0% walk rate has climbed to a career-high, and he's getting rocked for a 37.5% hard-hit rate with only a 13.4% soft-hit rate.

Oddsmakers are high on the Atlanta Braves offense tonight too, and they sport a hefty 5.07-run implied total.

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.