3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 6/12/19

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 ($11,100)

This has a lot of parallels to yesterday's pitching situation. The top arm on the slate isn't the safest play in the world, with oddsmakers only pegging Verlander and the Houston Astros as -122 favorites while giving the Milwaukee Brewers a 3.63-run implied total. The bump in both floor and ceiling from a potential high strikeout total means its still well worth paying up to the top for Verlander, though.

His 2019 numbers aren't quite as stellar as last year, but he's still sporting a 30.9% strikeout rate (backed by a career-high 15.1% swinging-strike rate) with a 3.31 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). That makes him the only pitcher on the slate with at least five innings pitched and a strikeout rate north of 30%, as well as the only one with a SIERA below 3.50.

For as much power as the Brewers offer, they're also striking out at 25.0% clip against righties this year (tied for the fifth-highest in the majors), leaving tons of strikeout upside here. Our models like Verlander to take advantage with a slate-high 8.08 Ks, while our next-highest projection is only 6.36.

Nelson Cruz, OF, Minnesota Twins ($3,900)

Nelson Cruz saw his production drop in 2018, but a change in scenery seem to be doing him good, as he's bounced back well in 2019. His wOBA is up to .377 and his .280 ISO is actually on pace to be a career high.

He's making some of the best contact of his career, with his best-ever marks in both hard-hit (54.9%) and soft-hit (8.8%) rates with a 42.2% fly-ball rate. His 94.9 mile-per-hour average exit velocity is the highest of the last five years, and per Statcast, he ranks in the top 4% of hitters in all of exit velocity, barrel rate and expected slugging percentage.

He brings that into a plus matchup against his former team tonight, with southpaw Tommy Milone taking the mound for the Seattle Mariners. Milone has only pitched nine games over the last two seasons, but dating back to 2017, he's given up a massive .414 wOBA and 5.14 xFIP to the 303 right-handed hitters he's faced.

Bryce Harper, OF, Philadelphia Phillies ($4,100)

Harper's 2019 campaign has been thoroughly underwhelming so far. He's not producing poorly, but a .346 wOBA and .215 ISO are both unexciting marks for the 26-year-old, who posted a .376 wOBA and .247 ISO in 2018 after managing marks of .416 and .276 in 2017.

But he's still making the type of contact we've typically seen from him, and his hard-hit rate is actually up to a career-high 46.1%, lifting his average exit velocity north of 91 miles per hour for the first time since 2015.

Tonight's matchup should let him continue to crush the ball, giving him no shortage of upside against Merrill Kelly and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kelly has a poor 4.87 SIERA over his first 13 major league starts, getting cracked for a 39.7% hard-hit rate (including a 41.0% mark by left-handed bats).

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.