3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 7/12/19

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.

Gerrit Cole, P, Houston Astros ($11,400)

Gerrit Cole ranked second among all pitchers with 44.95 FanDuel points per game heading into the All-Star break, turning in what might be the most statistically impressive first half of any hurler.

He sits tops among qualifying arms with a 36.7% strikeout rate, making him one of only two pitchers in the group with at least 30% more strikeouts than walks. Those gaudy strikeout numbers are backed up by a 15.8% swinging-strike rate (second among qualifying arms), and his 2.89 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) also clocks in at second.

He doesn't have the safest matchup in the world as we come out of the break, taking on a powerful Texas Rangers lineup, but this spot also gives the potential for a ton of upside.

The Rangers rank top-10 with a .197 ISO against righties, but their 24.8% strikeout rate in the split is tied for the sixth-highest in the majors. Even if they manage to flex some of their power against Cole, a big strikeout total goes a long way to giving his floor a boost, while he also offers the most upside on the slate.

Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees ($4,400)

We've got a Coors Field game on this slate, but even still, the New York Yankees at home own the highest implied total on the slate at 6.74 runs. That should give you a pretty good idea of just how much damage they are capable of doing in a terrific matchup against Toronto Blue Jays righty Aaron Sanchez.

Sanchez only managed a 5.57 SIERA over the first half of the season, which wasn't too surprising after he posted a 5.10 in 2018 and 5.62 in 2017. That 5.57 mark is tied for the worst among qualifying pitchers in 2019.

Aaron Judge missed about two months earlier this season, but he got in 12 games in June and July before the All-Star break, going yard four times and looking plenty healthy with a 46.4% hard-hit rate and 7.1% soft-hit rate.

Judge has a long history of obliterating right-handed pitching, with a .411 wOBA and .306 ISO dating back to 2017, and he should have no trouble keeping that trend going against Sanchez.

Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado Rockies ($4,600)

Speaking of Coors Field, Charlie Blackmon and the Colorado Rockies aren't far behind the Yanks, ranking second with a 6.29-run implied total at home against righty Sonny Gray and the Cincinnati Reds.

Gray, to his credit, has looked great with Cincinnati. He's sporting a 3.83 SIERA across 17 games, which is on pace to be his best since 2015. He's also forcing more ground balls (55.8%) than he has since 2014. His 28.1% fly-ball rate is up a bit from what we've seen recently, though, and he's also allowing the highest hard-hit rate (38.9%) of his career. That hard-hit rate has also jumped to 40.6% against left-handed bats in 2019.

Blackmon is not a guy you can afford to give a ton of hard contact to if you're a right-handed pitcher and especially if you're at Coors Field.

Blackmon's swatting 40.3% hard hits and 40.1% fly balls against righties this season (right in line with what we've seen from him over the last few years), and across 87 such plate appearances at Coors Field that has netted him a comical .621 wOBA and .566 ISO on the year. That's over a small sample and is nowhere near sustainable, of course, but even if we go all the way back to 2017 (537 plate appearances) we see a massive .486 wOBA and .369 ISO in the split.

Those numbers are far too good to let Sonny Gray's solid start to 2019 scare you off of Blackmon here.

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.