MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 5/20/15

Nelson Cruz has absolutely mashed left-handed pitching this season, and is in a good position tonight to help you win some cash.

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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

Tyson Ross – Although his 2-3 record doesn't show it, Ross has actually gotten off to a hot start this season. The Padres' ace has posted a 3.94 ERA with a 3.28 xFIP while striking out 10.64 batters per nine innings through his first eight starts of the season. With a matchup against a Cubs squad who strikes out more frequently than any other team in the league (25.6%) in what Vegas expects to be the lowest scoring game on the slate with a 6.5 over/under, Ross should definitely be on your radar tonight on a night where there really aren't any elite pitching options taking the Hill.

Alternative Option: Jordan Zimmermann

Cost-Effective Pitcher

Carlos Martinez – Martinez' 4.73 ERA is far from flattering, but his 3.47 xFIP indicates that he is due for a bounce-back and the Mets provide a perfect opportunity for one. New York has been one of the worst hitting teams in baseball so far this season, earning just a .236 batting average and .291 wOBA as a team, both of which rank bottom five in the league. While the Mets don't strike out a ton -- they rank 15th in the league with a 20.4% strikeout rate -- the young Cardinals' pitcher should be able to record a decent amount of them regardless considering he has racked up 9.68 strikeouts per nine innings through his first eight appearances. My only concern with playing Martinez is that Mets' starter Bartolo Colon has been lights out this season and makes a strong play himself, which will make it somewhat difficult for Cardinals' pitcher to pull out a win, but at just $8,100 on FanDuel and $7,200 on DraftKings, Martinez could make a very sneaky GPP play tonight.

Alternative Option: Bartolo Colon

High-Cost Hitters

Nelson Cruz - Whenever you see a lefty on the bump against the Mariners, you know it's time to plug Cruz into your lineup. The Mariners' star has straight up destroyed left-handed pitchers over the course of his career -- he's posted an impressive .390 wOBA and .250 ISO against lefties in his 11 year career -- but has taken it to the next level through the early stages of this season. So far in 2015, Cruz has amassed a ridiculous .591 batting average, .876 wOBA, .955 ISO and 2.224 OPS against southpaws. Those are not typos. Tonight, the Mariners' slugger draws a strong matchup against Wei-Yin Chen who has allowed a .320 wOBA to righties this season, not to mention he should be extra motivated to perform against his former squad. Starting Cruz is a no-brainer tonight despite his expensive price tag across the industry.

Adam Jones - Just like Cruz, Jones has had his way with lefties all season long. Though his numbers aren't quite as gaudy as the Mariners' slugger, Jones has slashed southpaws to the tune of a .547 wOBA and a .444 ISO. Not too shabby. The Orioles' star outfielder should have little trouble knocking around Roenis Elias who has given up a .330 to right-handed hitters this season, especially considering the Orioles will be hosting Seattle at the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards. Jones makes an excellent play in all formats tonight.

Alternative Option: Brian Dozier

Cost-Effective Hitters

Trevor Plouffe - Pirates' starter Jeff Locke has been less-than-stellar so far this season. He's posted a 5.40 ERA with a 4.39 FIP and is striking out just 6.75 batters per nine innings while walking 3.15 per nine innings. Locke's opponent tonight, the Twins, have been stellar against lefties this season with a .333 wOBA as a team this season, but there are two Minnesota players that have really stood out against lefties -- Dozier and Plouffe. While the aforementioned Dozier does make a very strong play tonight, Plouffe is actually my preferred play when you factor in price. The Twins third baseman costs just $3,800 on DraftKings and $2,500 on FanDuel despite posting an outstanding .392 wOBA and .260 ISO against southpaws this season and should have plenty of RBI opportunities tonight while hitting in the middle of Minnesota's order against Locke.

Kevin Kiermaier - Kiermaier comes into tonight with a four-game hit streak, including back-to-back games in which he recorded extra-base hits. He's been very good against right-handed pitching this season, earning a .321 wOBA and .222 ISO and draws a spectacular matchup against Braves' rookie Williams Perez who is making his first major league start tonight. Perez was awful in his first two appearances of the season and currently sits with a 15.43 ERA and 12.14 FIP after allowing 4 earned runs in his first 2.1 innings in the bigs. Look for Kiermaier to stay hot tonight with the splits in his favor against the struggling rook.

Alternative Option: Ryan Raburn

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