3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 6/24/19
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 ($11,000)
This is certainly a down year for Kershaw, but with the lofty heights he's falling from that drop doesn't mean he's having a poor 2019 season by any stretch. He's notched a 3.76 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) while his strikeout rate still sits 19.1% ahead of his walk rate.
That strikeout rate is only good for fourth among today's starting pitchers, but it's also buoyed by a 12.1% strikeout rate, which is good for third (and only 0.4% out of second). His strong SIERA ranks second in the group, trailing only Lucas Giolito (3.67) who isn't in play thanks to a brutal matchup against the Boston Red Sox.
Admittedly, Kershaw's matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks is no walk in the park either, but their 3.68-run implied total is the lowest on the slate. That lends this matchup a degree of safety that it may not show on the surface, while Arizona's 10.9% swinging-strike rate doesn't leave Kershaw devoid of upside either.
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees ($4,300)
Judge has been held without a hit in three games since returning from his oblique strain, but that doesn't take away his fantasy appeal.
He was dealing with some fairly tough matchups in a series against the Houston Astros (taking on Justin Verlander, Wade Miley, and Brad Peacock), but his matchup tonight is on the opposite end of the spectrum, taking on righty Aaron Sanchez and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Sanchez has all but confirmed that he's never going to live up to the promise he showed early in his career, as he's followed up a 2018 campaign that saw him struggle to the tune of a 5.10 SIERA with a 5.43 mark through 16 games in 2019. His strikeout rate is down slightly (to 17.9%) while his walk rate is up to 12.4%, and hasn't been below 12.0% since 2016.
There's certainly room to wonder if Judge is fully healthy, going hitless for a few games after an injury absence, but per Baseball Savant he's made some pretty strong contact in those last three games. Four of the six batted-balls he's recorded have had an exit velocity of at least 89.5 miles per hour, while 238 of the 374 players with at least 50 batted balls this year don't even have an average exit velocity that high. Judge barely makes the cutoff (54 batted balls), but he sits atop the majors with a 97.0 mile-per-hour mark.
This matchup is good enough that even a partially-healthy Judge can bring some serious upside here, and his reduced price-tag makes him that much more appealing.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians ($3,700)
The 23-year-old Keller impressed with a 3.08 ERA in his 2018 rookie campaign, but some shaky peripherals (including a 4.51 SIERA) were a big red flag that regression was going to hit. The hit has been hard in 2019, as his SIERA has jumped to an awful 5.41 while his strikeout rate has taken a slight dip (to 16.1%) and his walk rate has ballooned to 11.4%.
He's giving up more hard hits (31.0% to 37.9%) and fewer soft hits (19.5% to 14.1%), and left-handed hitters, in particular, have given him fits, with a 5.49 xFIP in that split.
The switch-hitting Lindor offers no shortage of power against right-handed pitching, with an ISO north of .235 in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He's up to a career-high .365 wOBA on a 46.5% hard-hit rate against righties.
That wOBA isn't quite as high as we're usually targeting with stud bats, but Lindor's price-tag, power, and great matchup mean we can afford to look past that on Monday.
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.