MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 8/13/15

Mike Trout is always in play, but tonight's matchup makes him a fantastic option.

If you've never played daily fantasy baseball before, it's time to start. Unlike traditional leagues, you're able to select the players you want on that specific day only, giving you a different squad to root for each and every day.

And if you'd like, you can use our optimal lineups here at to crush the competition.

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

Lance Lynn – With only five games on tonight's slate it will not be easy to find value, especially at pitcher. With that said, the one pitcher I feel confident about starting in all formats is Lynn. Lynn has quietly put together another spectacular season for the Cardinals, earning a 2.99 FIP and 3.49 SIERA while striking out an impressive 9.61 batters per nine innings. Although he draws a very average matchup against the division rival Pirates who rank 14th in the majors in both wOBA (.310) and wRC+ (99) against right-handed pitching, Lynn has been one of the most consistent fantasy commodities in the league and gets a big boost for tonight's game taking place in St. Louis where he has held opposing batters to just a .272 wOBA. The Cardinals' ace is our top overall projected pitcher for tonight's slate.

Alternative Option: Stephen Strasburg

Cost-Effective Pitcher

Mat Latos – As I already mentioned, value at pitcher is nearly impossible to find tonight. However, if I had to choose one cost-effective pitcher to take a flier on it would be Latos. At first glance, you may think that the newly acquired Dodgers' pitcher has been terrible this season -- he has accumulated a 4-8 record with a less-than-stellar 4.67 ERA -- but the advanced metrics tell a bit of a different story. Latos' 3.65 FIP and 3.73 xFIP indicate that he has had a bit of bad luck and is likely to bounce-back somewhat over his next few starts and tonight's matchup with the Reds is as good a chance as any. Cincinnati ranks just 16th in the league in wOBA (.309) and 21st in wRC+ (92) against right-handed pitching and have really struggled away from home, ranking just 26th in both wOBA (.293) and wRC+ (84) while on the road this season. Latos is a viable number two pitching option in cash games and a very interesting play in tournaments tonight.

Alternative Option: N/A

Top Hitters

High-Cost Hitters

Mike Trout – I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how good Trout is, but here are a few quick bullet points anyway. The Angels' young star ranks in the top three in all of baseball in wOBA (.416), ISO (.300) as well as wRC+ (176) and has posted a wOBA above .410 against both left-handed and right-handed pitchers. Trout is in play pretty much any time he takes the field and with a matchup against Royals' starter Jeremy Guthrie and his abysmal 5.21 FIP, 5.05 xFIP and 5.07 SIERA he is our number one overall projected batter on the board tonight. Do not hesitate to plug Trout into your lineups in all formats despite his very expensive price tag.

Mark Teixeira – Teixeira's resurgence following tow sub-par seasons has been a critical part of the Bronx Bombers' success this season. The Yankees' switch-hitting slugger has done well against both lefties and righties this season, but is truly an elite fantasy option any time he faces off against a right-handed pitcher. Teixeira has amassed a .400 wOBA, .333 ISO and .954 OPS against righties this season and gets to face one tonight in Trevor Bauer. Although Bauer has had a very strong season, he has struggled somewhat against left-handed hitters. The Indians' starter has posted just a 4.78 FIP and 4.41 xFIP against lefties, which means all Yankees' left-handed bats are in play tonight. Teixeira is our second overall projected batter on the board tonight behind only the aforementioned Trout.

Alternative Option: Bryce Harper, Joey Votto

Cost-Effective Hitters

Andre Ethier – Ethier has been excellent against right-handed pitching this season. He has amassed a .385 wOBA, .213 ISO and .894 OPS against righties and gets a solid matchup against Reds' rookie right-hander Keyvius Sampson tonight. Although we only have a small, three-game sample size to look at for Sampson, he has allowed lefties to hit for a .323 wOBA while giving up a 4.02 FIP. Ethier will be batting in the middle of the order in a game where the Dodgers' are massive -180 favorites and should have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. He provides great value at just $3,700 on DraftKings and $2,900 on FanDuel tonight.

David DeJesus – As I discussed earlier, the Angels draw a dream matchup tonight against the struggling Guthrie. While I talked about how bad Guthrie has been overall, his numbers against left-handed batters have been nothing short of horrific. The Royals' starter has given up a whopping .401 wOBA to lefties with a massive 5.95 FIP and 5.53 xFIP. Although DeJesus has had his ups and downs this season, he is in a great spot tonight against Guthrie. The Angels' outfielder will likely be batting at the top of the order in a game that Vegas expects to be one of the highest scoring on tonight's slate. He is a strong value play at just $2,700 on DraftKings and $2,200 on FanDuel.

Alternative Option: Erick Aybar, Jacoby Ellsbury

Click here for our top stacks of the day.