3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 5/21/19
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.
Justin Verlander, P, Houston Astros ($12,000)
Verlander and Caleb Smith are the only starting pitchers on the slate with strikeout rates north of 30% on the season. Smith and the Miami Marlins are slight underdogs though, while Verlander and the Houston Astros are almost comically large favorites, at -390 on the moneyline. If that line holds through opening pitch, that would make the Astros the biggest favorites we've seen all season, per KillerSports.
Verlander's impressive strikeout stuff is nothing new, and if we expand our view back to 2018, his 34.0% strikeout rate is a slate-high, with nobody else topping 30.1%. His 2.77 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) since 2018 is also a slate-best by a big margin, with nobody else coming in better than 3.34. Even if we isolate his 2019 mark of 3.26 (up from 2018's stellar 2.63) he still comes in ahead of what anyone else has managed in that time.
Of course, he wouldn't be such a colossal favorite without some help on the other side from the Chicago White Sox. They have only managed a 95 wRC+ while striking out at the third-highest rate (25.7%) in the majors to open 2019.
The White Sox also have a tiny 2.83-run implied total tonight, which is the lowest on the slate.
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels ($4,700)
Not that I think you need convincing that Mike Trout is one of the most productive players in the majors, but he's kept up his usual hyper-productive ways this season, with a .426 wOBA and .274 ISO on a 40.3% hard-hit rate and 42.9% fly-ball rate over 198 plate appearances in 2019. He's well on his way to making it eight straight seasons with a wOBA of at least .400, and three straight above .425.
Whether he's worth paying up for often just comes down to how good his matchup is, and tonight he finds himself in a strong spot with the Los Angeles Angels boasting a 4.80-run implied total against righty Michael Pineda and the Minnesota Twins.
Pineda missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and as many pitchers before him, just hasn't looked the same upon his return. He has a 4.35 SIERA over nine games in 2019 after posting a previous career-worst of 3.77. He's giving up a 42.3% hard-hit rate (previous career-high was 32.7%), and his average fastball velocity is a full mile per hour below his previous career-worst.
Trout has no issues with same-sided matchups, and he should have little trouble continuing the trend of hitters beating up on Pineda in 2019.
Luke Voit, 1B, New York Yankees ($4,000)
Luke Voit is another righty that doesn't mind taking on right-handed pitching. He's been outstanding since being called up to the majors last year, notching a .447 wOBA in 161 plate appearances in 2018 and a .372 over 198 in 2019 so far, and in that time he's boasting a .396 wOBA and .260 on a 43.2% hard-hit rate over 270 same-sided plate appearances.
Hess opened his major league career with a 5.08 SIERA in 2018, and through nine starts in 2019 he's faring slightly worse, with a 5.16. Things won't get any tougher on Voit once Hess it out of the game either, as the Baltimore relievers rank bottom-three in the majors in xFIP.
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.