3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 6/17/19

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.

Kenta Maeda, P, Los Angeles Dodgers ($8,600)

Considering we've got eight pitchers priced at or above $9,000 on this 12-game slate, it's kind of surprising how thin the top options really are. Injuries, weather, and matchups take a lot of luster out of some otherwise exciting arms tonight. $8,600 is bending the definition of "stud" a bit, but that's what this slate calls for.

Maeda may not always prove exciting, but one thing that's hard to not love is a matchup with the San Francisco Giants. San Fran sits as the second-worst team in the majors in both wOBA (.285) and wRC+ (76) while striking out at an above-average 23.6% clip in 2019. If we narrow our view to their split against right-handed pitching, they strike out at the 11th-highest rate in the majors while only jumping to 27th in wOBA and wRC+.

Kenta Maeda's strikeout rate is down this year, sitting at 25.3% over 13 games. That is not a terrible mark on this slate though, as only one pitcher with at least 15 innings pitched (Luis Castillo) has a rate above 26.4% in 2019, and Maeda's 14.2% swinging-strike rate sits just 0.4% behind Castillo for tops in the group. If we expand our sample back to include 2018, Maeda again sits second in swinging-strike rate (14.4%, 0.2% out of first) and is second in strikeout rate (27.5%).

He's also got a great shot of picking up a win here, with the Los Angeles Dodgers sitting as huge -250 favorites, while the Giant's 3.40-run implied total is second-lowest on the slate.

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels ($4,600)

The top hitters available aren't nearly as full of question marks as the top pitchers on Monday. Trout, obviously as studly as they come, draws a primo matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Jays are set to start right-handed journeyman Edwin Jackson, who has pitched six games so far this season -- five as a starter and one as a long reliever after Toronto started with an opener.

Those 24 2/3 innings have seen Jackson struggle to the tune of a 5.43 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). This should come to the surprise of nobody, seeing as the last three years have seen him post marks of 4.98, 5.03 and 5.23 in that category.

This year is bad even by Jackson's standards though, as he's pairing a career-high 41.9% hard-hit rate with only an 11.8% soft-hit rate while striking out the second-fewest hitters (13.9%) of his career.

Trout stacks up fourth in wOBA (.446) and seventh in ISO (.349) among qualified hitters against right-handed pitching this season, and those elite marks are backed up by wOBAs of at least .450 and ISOs of at least .330 against righties in each of the last two years.

Shohei Ohtani ($3,800) is also barely priced like a stud and gets the same dreamy matchup. Our models project him for the third-highest fantasy score among hitters, so he should be firmly on your radar in this spot as well.

Matt Chapman, 3B, Oakland Athletics ($3,800)

Another budget-friendly stud, Chapman gets a matchup with Andrew Cashner and the Baltimore Orioles, which has been an almost can't-miss spot in DFS this year. Cashner's got a nice long track record of being bad, and he's on pace for his third consecutive season with a SIERA north of 5 (5.05 over 13 games in 2019). He's made some modest improvements in his strikeout and walk rates, but is still far from impressive on that front. He's also paired that with giving up some of the hardest contact of his carer, conceding 39.4% hard-hits with only 13.3% soft-hits.

And then, when he's inevitably yanked from this one, the O's will follow him with a bullpen that has the fourth-worst SIERA (4.54) of any group in the majors.

This leaves the Oakland Athletics with a hefty 5.31-run implied total, and we project Chapman for a top-five fantasy score on the slate.

The 26-year-old offers a ton of power, and BaseballSavant has him in the top 5% of hitters in average exit velocity for the second consecutive season, while his expected slugging percentage is up to a career-high .503.

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.