3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on Monday 5/17/21

Just like in other sports, the focal point of your daily fantasy baseball lineups will be your high-salary 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 pitchers, the high-salary options typically come with the highest floors, too.

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.

With your high-salary picks playing such a big role in your lineup, you need to be right on these guys, so let's take a look at a few top-end options you can count on to anchor your lineup today.

Gerrit Cole, SP, New York Yankees ($12,300)

Mondays can kind of lead to some weird slates, and given there aren't a ton of options tonight, it is a bit surprising that four pitchers have salaries at $9,000 or higher.

But even with a juicy number of high-salaried arms available on the slate, Gerrit Cole is a boss that stands out. He's been on fire this season, and the Texas Rangers, his opponent tonight, rank eighth-worst in team strikeout rate this season (26.2%) with a grotesque .150 isolated power (ISO).

Cole leads our projections (46.7 FanDuel points) and is a pitcher to build around on this slate.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs ($4,300)

If you are unaware of what's happened so far at the beginning of this MLB season, another hitter seeing a pretty fine resurgence is Kris Bryant.

So far, the slugging righty has ripped 10 long balls paired with a gorgeous .303/.396/.636 slash line. Those numbers could rise quickly tonight against former teammate Jon Lester, who's been pitching a bit over his skis as of late. While his 2.25 ERA over 16 innings may look tantalizing, he's striking out (15.2%) nearly as many as he has walked (10.6%).

The Cubs have a 4.39 implied total and are a good offense to stack. We peg Bryant as a top hitter bat on the slate, per our model.

Nelson Cruz, OF, Minnesota Twins ($3,700)

It doesn't really seem to matter that Nelson Cruz is a zillion years old -- okay, well maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration -- but the dude is still ballin' even into his 40s.

He's a top-five bat on the slate tonight, largely thanks to a matchup with southpaw Dallas Keuchel. Cruz owns nine home runs with a .239 ISO this season and continues to produce at a very high level.

Keuchel has been what we expected with a lot of balls in play, as evidenced by only 18 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings pitched with a 4.53 ERA and 4.93 SIERA. Expect Cruz to reach double-digit homers for the season tonight.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. 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.