3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 6/18/19
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.
Clayton Kershaw, P, Los Angeles Dodgers ($10,700)
He may not be the Clayton Kershaw of yore, but he hasn't exactly deteriorated into being Edwin Jackson, so Kershaw still makes for a top play when he gets a matchup as dreamy as tonight's.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are massive favorites (-280 moneyline), leaving the San Francisco Giants showing a slate-low 3.10-run implied total. The Giants have both the second-lowest wOBA (.284) and second-lowest wRC+ (75) as well as a top-12 strikeout rate (23.6%) and the 2nd-worst ISO (.142) of any team in the majors. Looking just at their work against southpaws, that strikeout rate jumps to 24.0% while their wRC+ falls to a league-worst 68.
Kershaw's drop in strikeout rate, to 23.6%, has typically kept his fantasy value down this year. That mark doesn't hold up too terribly on this slate though, with only four pitchers sporting a rate more than 3% higher, and only two (excluding openers) boasting a swinging-strike rate more than 0.1% higher than his 12.3%.
One of those two is Jacob deGrom, who is a tough play against an Atlanta Braves squad that ranks top-10 in wRC+ against righties, and the other is Justin Verlander. Verlander is the slate's most expensive pitcher at $12,000, and while he does draw a solid matchup of his own, the $1,300 in savings makes it well worth playing Kershaw in one of the best matchups you can ask for.
Cody Bellinger, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,700)
On the other side of that game, righty Shaun Anderson will take the mound for the Giants. The youngster has pitched only 34 major league innings, but in that sample has a weak 4.89 skill-interactive ERA. Those struggles are no surprise after he notched a 4.45 xFIP in 47 1/3 Triple-A innings in 2018 and a 4.18 in 35.0 Triple-A innings in 2019.
There aren't many hitters more qualified to take advantage of a plus matchup against a righty this year than Bellinger. His .456 wOBA in the split ranks third and his .327 ISO ranks ninth in the majors.
Per BaseballSavant, the way he's hitting the ball also gives him the highest expected wOBA (.484) and highest expected slugging percentage (.703) in the majors.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians ($3,900)
The Cleveland Indians' 5.41-run implied total is the highest on the slate as they travel to the hitter-friendly confines of Globe Life Park to take on the Texas Rangers and right-hander Adrian Sampson.
Globe Life has the most hitter-friendly park factor on the slate, and Sampson has only managed a 4.53 SIERA this year, bringing his major league career-average to 4.59. Like with Anderson, it's unsurprising that a guy who struggled in the minors (4.74 xFIP in 126 2/3 Triple-A innings in 2018) isn't finding much success against even tougher competition.
The contact he's allowing is especially concerning, with a 44.9% hard-hit, 13.7% soft-hit, and 42.9% fly-ball rate.
The switch-hitting Lindor has posted an ISO of at least .230 against righties in each of the last three seasons, and in 2019 he's sporting career-bests in both wOBA (.383) and ISO (.255) in that split. He's smacked right-handers for a 47.1% hard-hit and 34.7% fly-ball rate in 2019, and he should have no trouble continuing to make outstanding contact in this matchup. And in 90-degree heat in Texas, that should translate to plenty of scoring.
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.