MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 5/21/15 (Night 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.
Julio Teheran – Tonight's slate is ugly from a pitcher perspective, which will happen when Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Jacob deGrom and David Price all pitch during the day. Though the algorithm seems to like Jesse Chavez more, I'm going to rely mostly on Julio Teheran in cash games, which is a frightening thing to think about given the way he's pitched this year. After a season that saw him pitch to a 3.49 FIP, that number is down to 5.53 this season for Teheran. Yes, his BABIP isn't strong, but neither is his batted ball profile, as he's surrendering a line-drive rate of 29.3% this season. He hasn't been good, and there's no getting around it. The reason I like him most tonight mostly has to do with the horrible pitchers on the mound, but also because the Brewers haven't been strong against righties this year. The one thing Teheran has been able to do this year is strike out batters (his K rate is actually up from last year), and the Brew Crew rank fifth worst in strikeout rate against righties. That, and Vegas has the Braves are relatively heavy favorites tonight, meaning he could be in store for a win.
Odrisamer Despaigne – This just feels dirty. Despaigne has an awful strikeout per nine rate (3.68), an awful FIP (5.31) and is giving up 1.23 home runs per nine innings this year. But alas, this slate of pitchers is terrible, and the matchup for Despaigne tonight could be a lot worse. First, it's important to note that he's at home in San Diego, a heavy pitcher's park. Second, though his K rate is bad, the Cubbies do have the worst strikeout rate in all of baseball. The over/under for the game sits at a favorable seven runs -- the lowest for the night slate -- with the Padres as slight favorites. I guess you could do worse -- our algorithm thinks so, at least.
Alternative Option: N/A
Mike Trout - You can't go wrong with Mike Trout, so instead of focusing on him, I'll just look at the matchup. The Angels are facing RA Dickey, who's started this season with an awful 5.86 FIP, down from his 4.32 FIP last year. Dickey's giving up 1.62 home runs per nine innings, and even if he regresses from that number, his 1.13 career average is nothing to write home about. He's got the highest line-drive rate against in his career going right now, and his velocity is down a bit from last year. In a park that can favor hitting, I'm all for the Angels and Mike Trout tonight.
Freddie Freeman - Freeman seems to always slide under the radar because of the position he plays, but he's generally a pretty good value in DFS. Tonight the Braves take on right-hander Matt Garza, who's been tremendously bad to start the year (5.38 FIP, 1.58 home runs per nine). Over his career, Garza hasn't shown huge splits, but Freeman has. He has a .383 wOBA against right-handed pitching this season, which is great, but it's also only four points higher than his career rate. In other words, he loves right-handed pitching and generally mashes it. There are always strong first base options in DFS, but I may favor freeman -- when you factor in his cost -- most tonight.
Alternative Option: Josh Donaldson
Ryan Raburn - The Indians have been putting Raburn in the cleanup spot against left-handed pitching, which they'll face tonight in John Danks. He's been really solid against lefties this year, hitting to a .365 average, and he has a .350 wOBA in the split throughout his career, 47 points above where he's at against righties. Danks is certainly not a strong pitcher, as evidenced by his 4.38 career FIP, which is higher than his 4.73 FIP this season. The Indians are in play tonight, and that includes Raburn.
Dustin Pedroia - Second base can be a wasteland during a short slate, and that's somewhat the case tonight. I don't mind if you look Pedroia's way, who's become pretty cost-effective across DFS sites. The Red Sox face Wandy Rodriguez in Boston, and have one of the higher team totals of the night. Pedroia will have the platoon advantage against Wandy -- over his career, Pedroia has a .371 wOBA against lefties, and his power numbers are better against them as well. Wandy has decent platoon splits himself, which makes the matchup pretty good for Pedroia.
Alternative Option: Erick Aybar