DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 5/17/19
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
Jacob deGrom ($11,400 on DraftKings): There are numerous aces on the slate tonight, but Jacob DeGrom has the best matchup by far. Despite being the most expensive pitcher on DraftKings, his matchup is likely to see him as the highest-owned pitcher as well. Rightfully so, though, as he had a 32.2 percent strikeout rate, a 5.5 percent walk rate and a slate-best 26.6 percent hard-hit rate last season — one in which he won the NL Cy Young award. His matchup tonight is against the Miami Marlins who are striking out at a 27.1 percent clip against right-handed pitchers this season — the second most in the Majors. This gives DeGrom elite upside.
Jon Gray ($8,500): Jon Gray seemed to be a victim of extremely poor luck last season. He had a .322 BABIP and a 5.12 ERA despite his much better 3.68 SIERA. The BABIP and ERA to SIERA comparison are quite different and there is reason to believe that this season would be better. His strikeout rate is very similar as it was 24.6 percent in 2018 and up to 25.1 percent in 2019. However, his ERA is still not great at 4.25 and with a SIERA of 4.06 he's still getting a bit unlucky but not pitching as well as last season. He's got a tougher matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight, but he's out of Coors Field which should benefit him.
Aaron Sanchez ($6,900): We can get exposure to three completely different tiers of pitching tonight, which brings us to the basement price-tag of Aaron Sanchez of the Toronto Blue Jays. Sanchez is not much of a strikeout pitcher with just an 18.9 percent strikeout rate for his career. However, he excels at inducing groundballs, with a 53.9 percent groundball rate over his career. Tonight could be a night where he is able to generate a couple more strikeouts as well, as the Chicago White Sox strike out at a 25.9 percent clip against right-handed pitchers — the fifth-highest rate in all of baseball.
Hitters to Target
Cody Bellinger ($5,500): Cody Bellinger is absolutely tearing a strip off the baseball right now. His numbers against right-handed pitching this season aren't even fair as he has completely dominated with a .554 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and a .423 isolated power (ISO). He has a fantastic matchup tonight against Cincinnati Reds' Anthony DeSclafani — a right-handed pitcher that struggles with the long-ball. In 2018, DeSclafani gave up a 41.9 percent hard-hit rate and a 36.1 percent fly-ball rate which led to a 19.8 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate.
Nolan Arenado ($5,400): Throughout 2018, Nolan Arenado crushed left-handed pitching with an elite .488 wOBA and a .379 ISO in 206 plate appearances. In 58 plate appearances in 2019 (admittedly a small sample) his numbers are even more elite with a .516 wOBA and a .471 ISO. I don't think you can get a better matchup than a left-handed pitcher making just his second Major League start. While Cole Irvin had a 3.56 xFIP last season, his 5.48 xFIP in 2019 has been terrible. In addition, he barely strikes anybody out so he could be in trouble.
Jose Ramirez ($4,300): I probably write up Jose Ramirez too often, but quite frankly, his skill level and complete dominance last season makes his current price way too cheap. He's a switch-hitter that has more success against right-handed pitching as indicated by his dominant .410 wOBA and .315 ISO in this split last season with just a .344 wOBA and .203 ISO against lefties. He'll take on a right-handed pitcher in Dylan Bundy who struggled immensely last season. While his 34.6 percent hard-hit rate wasn't terrible, his 46.0 fly-ball rate combined with that led to an abysmal 17.8 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate.
Willie Calhoun ($3,900): In his two games since being called up this season, Willie Calhoun is six-for-twelve with two home runs and five RBI. He's batted second in both of these starts and assuming the Rangers are still interesting in placing him their in the lineup, this price tag is great for the power he can bring. His matchup is an interesting one as he'll take on St. Louis Cardinals' right-hander Miles Mikolas who only gave up an 0.72 HR/9 last season with a 49.3 percent groundball rate. However, Mikolas doesn't strike anybody with just an 18.1 percent strikeout rate so that should help Calhoun a bit.
Buster Posey ($3,500): Buster Posey is certainly a shell of his former self, but he has still seen some product plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season. He has put up a solid .363 wOBA and a .206 ISO in that split in 2019 and has a decent matchup tonight. He'll take on Merrill Kelly who has given up a mediocre 34.9 percent hard-hit rate and 33.1 percent fly-ball rate but it has led to a not-so-great 16.7 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate. While Posey isn't a massive home run threat, it still gives him a bit more upside tonight.
Nicky Lopez ($3,300): Nicky Lopez doesn't have many plate appearances until his belt in the Majors, but if the Kansas City Royals are going to continue to place in him the second spot in the lineup, there is plenty of reasons to use him especially at this price tag. He's got a solid matchup against Matt Harvey of the Los Angeles Angels which bodes well for Lopez tonight. He should be able to get plenty of plate appearances against Harvey who in 2018 gave up 38.9 percent hard-hit rate and 37.5 percent fly-ball rate which led to a nightmare 15.1 percent home-run-to-fly-ball rate.
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.