MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 8/18/15

Is Clayton Kershaw worth his massive price tag tonight?

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

Clayton Kershaw – Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball. He ranks first among all starters in in FIP (2.18), xFIP (2.08) and SIERA (2.20), while ranking second only to Chris Sale in strikeout percentage (32.7%) and strikeouts per nine innings (11.39). The reigning Cy Young award winner is in play any time he takes the hill, and tonight is no different considering he is facing off with an Athletics squad who ranks dead last in wOBA (.282) and 28th in wRC+ (80) since the All-Star break. With that said, Kershaw's price tag has skyrocketed to a ridiculous $13,400 on FanDuel and $15,000 on DraftKings, which means if you're going to start him you will need to make some serious sacrifices in other places. While he's our number-one overall projected pitcher on the board tonight, and is very much in play on all formats, there are some less-expensive pitching options tonight who might provide better value than the Dodgers' ace.

Alternative Option: Francisco Liriano

Cost-Effective Pitcher

James Shields – Continuing my thought on pitching value tonight, our algorithm projects Shields within a single point of Kershaw on both FanDuel and DraftKings but with a substantially cheaper price tag. The Padres' veteran has posted a very respectable 3.42 xFIP and 3.42 SIERA while striking out an impressive 9.84 batters per nine innings. Shields draws a matchup against a Braves lineup that ranks just 25th in the majors in wOBA (.301) and 28th in wRC+ (89) against right-handed pitching this season, and also gets a boost for pitching at home at one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in all of baseball at Petco Park. Shields certainly doesn't provide the same upside as a guy like Kershaw, but at just $8,700 on FanDuel and $8,600 on DraftKings, he provides just as much if not more bang for your buck.

Alternative Option: Garrett Richards

Top Hitters

High-Cost Hitters

Anthony Rizzo – Rizzo has followed up last year's career year with another massive campaign this season. He's already belted 23 homers with 68 RBI while amassing a career-best .405 wOBA and .248 ISO. The Cubs' slugger has had his way with right-handed pitching this season, posting a .392 wOBA, .262 ISO and .926 OPS against righties and draws a plus matchup against Tigers' starer Anibal Sanchez and his 4.12 FIP against left-handed hitters. With the wind blowing out at Wrigley, look for Rizzo to have a big game on a night where the Cubs are -155 favorites in a game that is expected to be very high scoring.

Nelson Cruz – The Mariners get the pleasure of facing off with Rangers' pitching Chi Chi Gonzalez tonight. Seattle's lineup is filled with left-handed bats who should be in a great spot against the right-handed Gonzalez, however, the Mariners' player I'm most excited about tonight is Cruz. Despite not having the preferred platoon split, Cruz has faired very well against right-handed pitching this season, earning a .403 wOBA, .271 ISO and .944 OPS. Additionally, Gonzalez has actually had a tougher time against righties than lefties on the year, posting an abysmal 5.91 FIP and 5.61 xFIP against right-handed batters this season. With all of this in mind, our algorithm projects the Mariners' slugger to have the best chance of any player who is taking the field at going deep tonight and is our top overall projected batter on the board.

Alternative Option: Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano

Cost-Effective Hitters

John Jaso – After missing much of the season with a wrist injury, Jaso has come back in excellent form, amassing a .395 wOBA and .149 ISO through his first 34 games of the season. The Rays' catcher has put up even stronger numbers against right-handed pitching, earning a .401 wOBA, .165 ISO and .937 OPS. With a matchup against Astros' veteran righty Scott Feldman tonight, Jaso provides excellent value at just $3,200 on DraftKings and $2,500 in FanDuel. Do not hesitate to plug him into your lineups in all formats tonight.

Ryan Raburn – Although he has been nothing short of horrific against right-handed pitching this year, the Indians' specialist outfielder has absolutely crushed left-handed pitching this season. Raburn has managed a .384 wOBA, .236 ISO and .911 OPS against southpaws this season and draws a spectacular matchup tonight against Red Sox' rookie lefty Eduardo Rodriguez and his 4.32 xFIP against right-handed batters. Rayburn is dollar for dollar one of my favorite plays on the board tonight at just $2,500 on DraftKings and $2,400 on FanDuel.

Alternative Options: Derek Dietrich, Dexter Fowler

Click here for our top stacks of the day.