3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 5/22/19

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.

Gerrit Cole, P, Houston Astros ($11,700)

One big edge the Houston Astros' stud pitchers get compared to say, Max Scherzer tonight, is that they are backed up by one of the best offenses in the majors, which always gives them a great shot of scoring a win. Today, for example, the Astros are colossal -350 favorites, while Scherzer and the Washington Nationals are slight underdogs to Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets (who are -116 favorites).

Of course, that's not the only thing going for Cole today -- there's a reason the Chicago White Sox' 3.10-run implied total is also the lowest on the slate.

Cole was an absolute killer in 2018, with a 2.91 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and 34.5% strikeout rate. He has been pitching even better so far in 2019, with a 2.54 SIERA and blistering 38.3% strikeout rate (backed up by a 16.0% swinging-strike rate) over 10 starts.

He leads today's starting pitchers in both strikeout rate and SIERA, and he gets a primo matchup to boot. The White Sox rank only 19th in the majors with a 93 wRC+, while their 26.1% strikeout rate is the MLB's third-highest.

Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees ($4,400)

I've been all about loading up on New York Yankees bats so far this week, and that's no different on Wednesday as they draw another matchup with the Baltimore Orioles.

It almost doesn't matter who's on the mound for the Orioles, they are bereft of dangerous starters and have one of the worst relief groups in the majors (ranking bottom-5 in xFIP as a unit). Today's likely victim of the Yankees' bats is righty Dan Straily, and he fits the Orioles mold with a heinous 6.41 SIERA and a 10.7% strikeout rate that barely eclipses his 9.4% strikeout rate in 2019. These struggles are nothing new either, as he only managed a 4.92 SIERA with a 10.0% walk rate in 2018. Since 2018 he's also giving up a huge 44.0% hard-hit rate and 44.8% fly-ball rate.

Gary Sanchez' .404 wOBA and .390 ISO over 131 plate appearances in 2019 have made his 2018 struggles feel like a distant memory, and the production is far more in line with 2017's .368 wOBA and .253 ISO. He still managed a .220 ISO in that down year though, so we know he's always going to be a threat for some huge power. There's also no need to be concerned about this same-sided matchup against Straily, as Sanchez has cracked righties for a career .361 wOBA and .268 ISO on a 38.7% hard-hit rate and 38.9% fly-ball rate.

Michael Brantley, OF, Houston Astros ($4,000)

Going back to the Astros' high-powered offense, they boast a 5.40-run implied total against White Sox righty Ivan Nova tonight, making them a team worth targeting on both sides.

Nova has posted a SIERA worse than 4.40 in three of his last four seasons, and he's skidded to a career-worst 5.06 over nine games in 2019. His strikeout rate has fallen to a lowly 14.6% while his walk rate has jumped to 7.3% (both his worst marks since 2011).

He has had an especially tough time with left-handed hitters, getting cracked for a 4.90 xFIP and .370 wOBA since 2015.

The left-handed Brantley is likely to give Nova fits here, striking out only 9.9% of the time and walking 6.9% of the time, after posting a 9.5% strikeout rate and 7.6% walk rate in 2018. If we just look at his work against righties, his walk rate (8.5%) is actually higher than his strikeout rate (8.2%) in that time. It's not just a good eye that makes him appealing either, as he's turned in a .387 wOBA and .207 ISO on a 41.6% hard-hit rate in that split.

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.