MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 5/7/15 (Early Slate)
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As for today's lineups -- those can be found here. The information below is to help you understand why particular players are being picked, because we don't want you going into the things completely blind. We want to help you. Keep in mind, however, that things often change up until the games start, so make sure you're refreshing the optimal lineups as close to the start of games as possible.
Corey Kluber – In the early slate, the top pitchers seem to come down to Kluber and Jake Arrieta. Our algorithm likes Kluber more, so let's analyze his situation a bit. He's facing the Royals, a team that's striking out at just a 15.4% rate this year while hitting to a second-best .338 wOBA. (Are you excited yet?) Well, despite their hot start, KC has a .327 BABIP, fourth highest in baseball. They're hitting line drives at a good rate, sure, but regression should hit eventually. Kluber is obviously a capable pitcher himself, striking out over 10 batters per nine innings last year while pitching to a ridiculous 2.35 FIP. The matchup isn't ideal, but given today's slate, Kluber has to be on your radar.
Alternative Option: Jake Arrieta
Johny Lackey – Lackey is reasonably priced on both FanDuel and DraftKings today, and should be the most popular mid-tier, cost-effective pitcher used in the early slate. He's pitched to a 3.67 FIP to start the year, though his strikeout per nine rate of 5.12 leaves a lot on the table. The good news is that he's facing a Cubs lineup today that's striking out at the highest rate in the bigs against right-handed pitching. It could be tough for him to get a win against Arrieta, but his cost makes him a worthwhile play.
Alternative Option: Drew Pomeranz
Adrian Gonzalez - I feel like Adrian Gonzalez is in the primer every day, but it's hard to not love him when he faces right-handed pitching. He's a high-cost hitter, yes, but given the way he's been mashing, it's a bit of a surprise to not see his price higher on daily sites. So play him. He'll face Mike Fiers and his 4.23 FIP today in Milwaukee -- a positive park shift for Gonzalez -- and should have no trouble getting on base considering the platoon advantage and high team total on the day.
Miguel Cabrera - Jose Quintana isn't an awful pitcher -- he has a 5.28 ERA this year with a 3.96 FIP thanks to a pretty high .352 BABIP. And he was stronger last season, too. But he gets Miggy and the Tigers lineup today, which could be bad news given how strong the lineup is. Cabrera gets the platoon advantage, and the game, per Vegas, should see a good number of runs. I can't fault you for opting for Jose Abreu instead, but Miggy is in good shape overall today.
Alternative Option: Jose Abreu
Andre Ethier - It looks like Ethier will be hitting in the six spot today, which isn't ideal for a daily fantasy asset, but the matchup is strong enough to like it. As I said, Fiers hasn't been great to start the year. And Ethier, over his career, has a .381 wOBA and .203 ISO against right-handed pitching, which is significantly higher than his .285 wOBA and .112 ISO against lefties. The Dodgers and their top-ranked offense should score runs, with Ethier being a part of that.
Scooter Gennett - It's great to see Scooter Gennett back in the Brewers lineup, especially against right-handed pitching. Milwaukee gets Carlos Frias this afternoon, who has little experience at the big league level. Gennett has to be considered when he faces right-handed pitching. Against lefties, he's awful, with a .133 career wOBA. Against righties, that shoots up to .361. He's a punt play that could turn into a top play very easily.
Alternative Option: Alexei Ramirez