MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 9/3/15
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 numberFire.com 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
Jordan Zimmermann -- Zimmermann has looked pretty good through his first 27 starts of the season, posting a 3.60 FIP, 3.83 xFIP and 3.84 SIERA while striking out 7.06 batters per nine innings. Normally, these would not be the numbers of a recommended high-priced pitching option, however, there are only six games on tonight's slate and Zimmermann is the biggest favorite on the board against one of the worst offenses in all of baseball. Although they strike out at just a 18.4% rate, the Braves rank dead last in all of baseball in wOBA (.296), wRC+ (84) and ISO (.110) making them an outstanding matchup for any starting pitcher. Zimmermann is our highest overall projected pitcher on the board and is easily the safest play in cash games tonight.
Alternative Options: Francisco Liriano
Mat Latos -- Much like Zimmerman, Latos does not have the type of overwhelming numbers that you might usually see in this column. He's earned just a 3.53 FIP, 3.72 xFIP and 3.91 SIERA while striking out 7.69 batters per nine innings, but, also like Zimmerman, gets a spectacular matchup tonight against the Padres who rank in the bottom five in the league in wOBA (.298), wRC+ (90), ISO (.140) and strikeout percentage (21.8%). Although I don't trust Latos enough to start him in cash games on one-pitcher sites like FanDuel, he makes a viable number two starter on two-pitcher sites and an interesting tournament play across the industry.
Alternative Options: Colin Rea
Bryce Harper -- Harper has been arguably the best hitter in baseball this season. He leads the majors in a number of statistical categories including wOBA (.454), wRC+ (193), ISO (.296) as well as OPS (1.086) and has demolished right-handed pitching to the tune of a .473 wOBA, .332 ISO and 1.143 OPS against righties on the year. Contrarily, Braves' starter Matt Wisler has been absolutely lit up by left-handed bats. He's given up a massive .444 wOBA and has earned a horrific 7.40 FIP and 6.21 xFIP against lefties on the year. Harper is our number one overall projected batter on the board tonight.
Buster Posey -- With the Giants taking a trip to Colorado to visit the Rockies at Coors, pretty much all Giants right-handed bats are in play against southpaw Chris Rusin who has allowed a .372 wOBA to righties on the year. That said, Posey is definitely my favorite out of that group tonight. The Giants' star catcher has posted a .347 wOBA, .147 ISO and .804 OPS against lefties on the year and gets a massive park boost for playing at Coors tonight. With the combination of Posey's hitting prowess and Rusin's struggles against right-handed hitters, Posey is an elite play in a relatively small slate tonight.
Gregory Polanco -- With such a small slate tonight, batting value is not particularly easy to come by. That said, with few elite pitchers on the board you should have a few extra bucks to work with when choosing which batters to play. While at $3,300 on FanDuel and $3,700 on DraftKings Polanco isn't as cheap as the guys I might normally feature in the cost-effective hitters section, he is very affordable given the pitching options available and gets a plus matchup against Brewers' rookie right-hander Taylor Jungmann. The young Pirates' outfielder has been great against righties, earning a .324 wOBA and .134 ISO so do not hesitate to fire him up against Jungmann tonight in all formats.
Adrian Gonzalez -- Gonzalez has quietly put together another outstanding campaign this season, posting a .365 wOBA, .219 ISO and .857 OPS on the season, and his numbers are even stronger when facing right-handed pitching. The Dodgers' slugger has owned righties this year, amassing a .372 wOBA, .240 ISO and .878 OPS when facing right-handed pitchers and gets a solid matchup against Padres' rookie Colin Rea tonight. Gonzalez -- who was once one of the most expensive players across the industry -- has seen his price tag fall all the way to $3,100 on FanDuel which makes him dollar for dollar one of my favorite values on the board tonight.