3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 8/1/19

Freddie Freeman's potent numbers against righties make him tough to ignore in a date with Anthony DeSclafani. Which other high-priced players should you trust on Thursday?

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 ($11,700)

Before you even look at who else is on the slate, you can be assured that Gerrit Cole ranks tops in strikeout rate and no worse than second in skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) -- because that's where he ranks among all qualifying arms on the season.

This slate in particular, though, helps Cole stand out. His 2.88 SIERA dominates the next-best mark (3.31), and his 37.3% strikeout rate sits 6.2 percentage points higher than anyone else's. He hasn't posted fewer than 45 FanDuel points in any of his last six starts, and he's had at least 58 FanDuel points in four of the six.

His matchup tonight is against the Cleveland Indians, whose active roster has a middling 99 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, though their 20.5% strikeout rate is among the lowest in the majors. Cole's numbers are strong enough relative to the rest of the pitchers in action tonight, though, that he's still well worth regarding as the top fantasy arm on the slate.

Cody Bellinger, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,700)

Cody Bellinger may be priced $200 higher than any other hitter on tonight's main slate, but he's well worth paying up for with only six games on tap.

Bellinger's .441 wOBA ranks second among all qualifying hitters in 2019, and his .341 ISO is good for third. Per Baseball Savant, he also ranks second in both expected wOBA and expected slugging percentage among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances on the year.

He doesn't get the platoon advantage tonight against San Diego's Joey Lucchesi, but it doesn't really matter. Lucchesi is nothing to write home about, with a 4.36 SIERA on the year and a career 37.9% hard-hit rate and 34.0% fly-ball rate allowed, and Bellinger fares just fine in same-sided matchups. His numbers fall against lefties, sure, but when falling is still a .432 wOBA and .311 ISO -- marks that would rank fourth and seventh among qualifying hitters regardless of handedness -- we don't need to be too concerned.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves ($4,200)

Anthony DeSclafani is not be having a bad season for the Cincinnati Reds, with a modest 4.17 SIERA and a 25.1% strikeout rate, but he still leaves the door open for some serious fantasy upside.

His 1.65 home runs allowed per nine innings don't really jive with what you'd expect from someone with a 4.17 SIERA, and that's coming on some worrying contact. DeSclafani is letting opposing hitters put the ball in the air to the tune of a career-worst 40.9% fly-ball rate, and he's paired that with a 41.8% hard-hit rate, which sits just behind last year's 41.9% clip and is the second-highest of his career.

Things get especially ugly against left-handed hitters, where the .385 wOBA he's allowing means that if "Left Hander Against DeSclafani" was a single player, they would be tied for 14th in wOBA among qualifying hitters.The contact he's surrendering in the split is similarly worrying, with a 48.0% hard-hit rate, 11.2% soft-hit rate and 50.7% fly-ball rate. It's easy to see where the home runs are coming from.

Freddie Freeman doesn't need a ton of help sending one yard, either. He's flexing a .399 wOBA and .255 ISO on the season. Against right-handed pitchers (363 plate appearances), those marks jump to a .417 wOBA and .267 ISO on a 51.8% hard-hit rate and 9.6% soft-hit rate.

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.