MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 8/17/15

Gerrit Cole looks to add to what has already been a career year tonight against the Diamondbacks.

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

Gerrit Cole – Cole has put together the strongest campaign of his young major league career so far this season, earning an impressive 2.67 FIP and 3.07 SIERA while striking out 9.02 batters per nine innings. With the Diamondbacks visiting Pittsburgh tonight, the Pirates ace draws a plus matchup at home in pitcher-friendly PNC Park. Although Arizona does rank 11th in the majors in wOBA (.318) against right-handed pitching, they rank just 16th in wRC+ (97) and strikeout at the eighth highest rate in all of baseball at 20.9%. The Pirates are currently locked in as -210 favorites in a game that Vegas expects to be one of the lowest scoring on tonight's slate with an over/under of just seven, which bodes extremely well for Cole. He is our number one overall projected pitcher on the board tonight.

Alternative Options: Cole Hamels

Cost-Effective Pitcher

Andrew Heaney – Heaney has put up some solid numbers so far this season with a 3.48 FIP and 3.95 SIERA. Despite that, most nights he would not be on my radar due to the fact that he strikes out just 6.32 batters per nine innings, however, with a matchup against the offensively-challenged White Sox tonight and a lack of quality starting pitching on the board, Heaney makes a very interesting play. Chicago ranks 28th in wRC+ (72) and dead last in wOBA (.276) in the league against left-handed pitching and strikes out a huge 21.6% rate. Although he is a riskier play than a guy like Cole, Heaney makes a solid number two starter on two-pitcher sites and a viable tournament play on all platforms tonight.

Alternative Option: Colin Rea

Top Hitters

High-Cost Hitters

Mark Teixeira – The Bronx Bombers have been one of the hottest hitting teams in all of baseball since the All-Star break and Teixeira has been one of the main reasons why, amassing an outstanding .437 wOBA, .330 ISO and 1.029 OPS since the break. Additionally, although the switch-hitting Yankee slugger has faired very well against both left-handed and right-handed pitching this season, his numbers are much more impressive from the left side of the plate, posting a .399 wOBA, .335 ISO and .954 OPS when facing righties this season. Tonight, Teixeira draws a solid matchup against Twins' righty Kyle Gibson and his 4.09 xFIP in a game that Vegas expects to be one of the highest scoring on the slate. Look for the Yankees to score a lot of runs tonight and for the hot-hitting Teixeira to be right in the middle of the action.

Andrew McCutchen – The former National League MVP has put together another great year so far this season, hitting to a .387 wOBA, .218 ISO and .910 OPS this season. And he's been a major reason why the Pirates are still in contention for a playoff berth. Despite the fact that he does not have the favorable platoon split against fellow righty Jeremy Hellickson, Cutch has actually performed better against right-handed pitching than against southpaws this season with his .389 wOBA, .229 ISO and .921 OPS against righties all being better than his comparable numbers versus left-handed pitching. Meanwhile, Hellickson has not been stellar against batters from either side of the plate, allowing a wOBA above .325 to both lefties and righties with a FIP above 4.21 against both right-handed and left-handed batters as well. The Pirates' star is in an excellent spot tonight and is in play in all formats.

Alternative Option: Brian Dozier, Brett Gardner

Cost-Effective Hitters

Derek Dietrich – Aging Brewers' veteran Matt Garza has struggled to slow down left-handed hitters this season. Garza has earned a 4.98 FIP and 4.75 xFIP against lefties this season while they have amassed a .355 wOBA. With the Brewers hosting the Marlins tonight, Dietrich becomes dollar for dollar one of my favorite plays on the board given his matchup with Garza. The Marlins' infielder has owned right-handed pitching this season, putting up an impressive .378 wOBA, .248 ISO and .881 OPS with six of his seven homers coming against righties this season. At just $2,700 on DraftKings and $2,300 on FanDuel, Dietrich makes an excellent value play in all formats tonight.

Stephen Vogt – Similarly to Dietrich, Vogt has destroyed righties so far this season. He has posted a .361 wOBA, .226 ISO and .855 OPS against right-handed pitching and gets a strong matchup against Chris Tillman and his 4.45 xFIP when facing left-handed pitching on the year. The Athletics have struggled to hit the ball since the All-Star break which has helped drive Vogt's price tag all the way down to $3,600 on DraftKings and $2,600 on FanDuel, but he is in a great spot against Tillman tonight and should provide excellent value at his price. Do not hesitate to plug the Oakland catcher into your lineup in all formats tonight.

Alternative Option: Abraham Almonte, Jung Ho Kang

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