DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 5/16/19

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

Luis Castillo ($10,600 on DraftKings): Whew, baby -- tonight's pitching slate is scary. We do have Luis Castillo at our disposal, though, and he has been pitching like an ace this season with a 31.8 percent strikeout rate and 1.76 ERA. While the ERA is a bit misleading as he has a 3.08 xFIP, the strikeout rate is elite. However, this is a tough matchup against the Chicago Cubs, and it's at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. The Cubs can hit, and they sit just 22nd in strikeout rate (22.5 percent). In spite of the tough spot, Castillo is hands-down the best pitcher on the slate, and he's worth a play.

Value Pitcher

Eric Lauer ($6,800): There isn't much in the way of appealing value arms tonight, and it doesn't cost much more to get up to a Marcus Stroman, but if you need to dive this deep, Eric Lauer has a solid matchup. While his 19.8 percent strikeout rate -- both this year and last -- is very low, he is taking on a Pittsburgh Pirates team that strikes out at a 28.2 percent clip against left-handed pitchers. In addition to their high strikeout rate, the Pirates also have just a .266 percent weighted on-base average (wOBA) against southpaws. With this game at Petco, Lauer is a decent dart throw.

Hitters to Target

High-Priced Hitters

Jorge Polanco ($5,000): This is an expensive price for the switch-hitting Jorge Polanco, but with how he has played this season, the salary is justifiable. Polanco has completely crushed right-handed pitching this year with an elite .451 wOBA and an equally impressive .320 isolated power (ISO) in the split. Similar to last year, you want to use Polanco against righties rather than lefties, and today he'll see right-hander Erik Swanson.

Ronald Acuna ($4,500): As a rookie in 2018, Ronald Acuna had plenty of success against right-handed pitching with a .377 wOBA and .246 ISO. Those numbers are certainly down this season (.335 wOBA and a .137 ISO). However, he has an intriguing matchup against St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright. In 2018, Wainwright struggled with his control, posting an ugly 9.9 percent walk rate, and he struck out just 22.1 percent of the batters he faced. The Atlanta Braves' 4.80 implied total is the second-highest of the slate, and Acuna is viable as part of a stack or as a one-off play.

Value Hitters

Dexter Fowler ($3,900): Dexter Fowler is coming off a disastrous 2018 season. But he has bounced back this campaign with a .383 wOBA and .148 ISO against righties (while producing just a .314 wOBA and a surprising .000 ISO against lefties). We're dealing with pretty small samples still, but Fowler is looking like 2017 Fowler. Luckily for us, he's taking on a righty tonight in Julio Teheran. The Braves' hurler struggled with a 36.5 percent hard-hit rate and 41.9 percent fly-ball rate a year ago, and he's giving up a 42.8% hard-hit rate and 40.7% fly-ball rate so far in 2019.

Ryon Healy ($3,700): While the price is a bit high for a boom-or-bust play, Ryon Healy does bring enough to the table against right-handed pitching to be in play tonight. So far this season, he has a modest .330 wOBA versus righties, but his ISO in the split is a solid .261. His opponent is Michael Pineda of the Minnesota Twins. Pineda has struggled in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, allowing 2.25 homers per nine with a 4.70 xFIP. If Pineda continues to give up a 45.0 percent hard-hit rate and 43.4 percent fly-ball rate, his home-run troubles will remain an issue.

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.