3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 7/31/19
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.
Jacob deGrom, P, New York Mets ($12,000)
The price difference between Jacob deGrom and the next-most expensive pitcher (Jose Berrios at $10,400) is huge, but even with Berrios taking on the Miami Marlins it's still worth paying all the way up for deGrom.
Just looking at active rosters, yes the Marlins rank only 29th in wRC+, but the Chicago White Sox (deGrom's opponent tonight) strike out at the 4th-highest rate in the majors (25.6%) in that split, compared to 7th (24.2%) for the Marlins. The White Sox don't have an overly concerning wRC+ either, at 96.
With the matchups fairly close, deGrom's nasty numbers make him a far more exciting play. His 31.2% strikeout rate is the highest on the slate by 1.3 percentage points, while Berrios is way behind at 21.8%. He also owns a strong 3.41 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) on the year, compared to a 4.34 for Berrios.
Yes, the Marlins are still one of the worst offenses in the majors, but the White Sox also make for a juicy fantasy matchup, and Jacob deGrom is far better equipped to take advantage of his opponents' struggles.
George Springer, OF, Houston Astros ($4,500)
The Cleveland Indians are starting right-hander Zach Plesac on the mound tonight, and while he looked promising before being called up to the majors, he's having some real struggles. Across 11 starts (61 innings), we've only seen Plesac managed a 5.21 SIERA with a 5.11 xFIP. This sample is 23 innings bigger than he's posted in a single season at any level above High-A, and with his 36.8% hard-hit rate combining with a 37.8% fly-ball rate while he's striking out only 18.1% and walking 9.1% of the batters he faces, there's not a lot of reason to believe he'll turn things around in the short-term.
George Springer is having by far the most productive season of his career, with a .397 wOBA and .302 ISO across 345 plate appearances -- ranking 8th among qualifying hitters in both categories.
Don't let a same-sided matchup turn you off of Springer either, as he's actually produced better against right-handed pitching this season. In that split (261 plate appearances), he's turned a 47.8% hard-hit rate into a .397 wOBA and .315 ISO.
Bryce Harper, OF, Philadelphia Phillies ($4,200)
There are a handful of games with no implied total set as of Wednesday morning, but for the time being the Philadelphia Phillies' own the slate's highest mark at 5.24 runs. Even if a couple of teams (like the Houston Astros) end up with marks ahead of that, 5.24 runs is nothing to scoff at, and it's easy to like Philly's matchup against Jeff Samardzija and the San Francisco Giants.
Samardzija's production fell off a cliff in 2018 when he posted a 5.96 SIERA across 10 starts. He's made some strides in the right direction in 2019, but his 4.64 SIERA is still a weak mark, and he's giving up a hard-hit rate (42.5%) that is 11 percentage points higher than he's ever allowed before, while his fly-ball rate (41.2%) and soft-hit rate (12.4%) make this matchup especially appealing in fantasy.
He has an especially terribly 5.47 xFIP against left-handed bats, with his fly-ball rate jumping to 48.8% and soft-hit rate tumbling to 6.8% in that split. Bryce Harper has been no killer in 2019, but he's been hitting more than well enough to take advantage of the especially pronounced platoon advantage here.
Harper's .353 wOBA and .217 ISO are certainly underwhelming by his usual standards, but those are still far from poor marks. He's also making great contact, and his 44.3% hard-hit rate is a career-high while his 12.1% soft-hit rate and 37.2% fly-ball rate are both better than his career averages (14.2% and 37.1%, respectively).
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.