MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 5/18/15

Despite a poor start to the season at the plate, the Phillies are in play in DFS tonight in Colorado.

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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.

Top Pitchers

High-Cost Pitcher

Matt Harvey – We've got a decent number of aces on the mound tonight for a small slate, but none of them really have strong matchups. Corey Kluber, coming off an 18-strikeout performance, is facing the White Sox and Chris Sale. Getting a win is no guarantee. You may look Cole Hamels' way and think there could be something there, but he's at Coors. Process of elimination gets us to Harvey, who's facing the Cardinals in New York tonight. It's not an ideal matchup -- St. Louis ranks fifth in the league in wOBA against righties, and is striking out at an above average rate against them. But Harvey's at home, there's a slight park shift in the wrong direction for the Cardinals, and the slate is just too ugly to go heavy with other options, at least in cash games.

Alternative Option: Corey Kluber

Cost-Effective Pitcher

Drew Pomeranz – I've never felt dirtier giving a DFS option in my life, mostly because I don't fully believe in the pick. Neither does our algorithm, which is marking Pomeranz as the fourth-best pitching option today, but a good bit worse than the slate's big three. If there's something to like with him, it's the fact that the Astros have the second-worst strikeout rate in baseball, sixth worst against left-handers. Pomeranz also has a career 7.70 strikeout per nine ratio, meaning the strikeout potential could be there, and while his ERA is a not-so-great 4.42, his FIP is at 3.80. No, you're not using him in cash games. And no, you're probably not investing a lot of money into him, even in GPPs. This is just what you're working with tonight from a cost-effective pitcher standpoint.

Alternative Option: Dan Haren

Top Hitters

High-Cost Hitters

Giancarlo Stanton - Stanton's average is down this season, but his batted ball profile looks pretty fresh. The problem is that he's striking out a little more than usual thanks to a slow start. He's been fine of late though, and gets Rubby De La Rosa in Miami tonight. It's a favorable park shift for De La Rosa, but that doesn't mean his poor pitching will all of a sudden disappear. So far this season, De La Rosa has a 4.13 FIP, and is giving up 1.43 home runs per nine innings, the 24th worst rate in baseball. The Marlins and Stanton should be good tonight in a game where Vegas thinks they'll score about 4.5 runs.

Jose Altuve - As I said above, I'm not overly optimistic about Pomeranz tonight (despite being in this writeup), and Altuve is one guy who can take advantage of his arm. Throughout his career, Altuve has a crazy-good .383 wOBA against left-handed pitching, up 73 points from what he sees against righties. And just last season, Altuve hit to a .440 wOBA against southpaws. Considering this, his base stealing abilities and a high team total for Houston, you could certainly do worse with your salary tonight.

Alternative Option: Miguel Cabrera

Cost-Effective Hitters

Ryan Howard - As our own Jim Sannes pointed out in his waiver wire piece earlier today, Ryan Howard's been hitting the ball well lately, to the tune of a .364/.417/.682 slash since May 3rd. As Jim noted, remember the sample size is small, but it's still something to keep an eye on. Combine this surge with Coors field and a bad right-handed pitcher, though, and you've got a good value play in DFS. He's not the same hitter he was a few years ago, but Howard does have a .364 wOBA against righties so far this year, and has hit them better throughout his career. Howard isn't incredibly cheap on DraftKings due to their pricing algorithm's understanding of park factors, but he can be had for a mid-tier price on FanDuel today at $3,400. He, along with other Phillies bats, will be popular tonight given their price tags, where they're playing, and the fact that you're almost forced to use a more expensive pitcher.

Anthony Gose - I'm trying to spread around the cost-effective hitters today, but it's tough given the Phillies are in Colorado. Anthony Gose isn't a bad option, though, going up against right-hander Mike Fiers in Detroit. Gose has had a really great start to the year, but he's also been fortunate given his absurdly high .493 BABIP. He's not a bad look against Fiers though -- this season, Gose has a .386 wOBA against right-handers, while Fiers' ERA, albeit likely to regress, is sitting at 5.00. I wouldn't play him on FanDuel, but Gose is definitely in play on DraftKings at just $3,500.

Alternative Option: Maikel Franco