MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 9/9/15

Is James Shields the best pitching value on the board 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

Jacob deGrom -- There aren't many elite pitching options on the board tonight and even fewer with plus matchups. That said, the one high-priced pitching option with a decent matchup that I trust tonight is deGrom. The Mets' ace has been spectacular this season, earning a 2.40 ERA, 3.03 xFIP and 3.10 SIERA while striking out an impressive 9.32 batters per nine innings through his first 26 starts of the season. Tonight, deGrom faces off with a Nationals squad who falls in the middle of the pack against right-handed pitching, ranking 14th in the league in wOBA (.315) and 16th in wRC+ (97) against righties on the year. While Washington seems like a less-than-stellar target from a wOBA and wRC+ perspective, they strike out at one of the highest rates in all of baseball against right-handers (21.6%), which makes a high-strikeout pitcher like deGrom a strong play any time he matches up with them. Although there are cheaper options that I prefer tonight, deGrom is a very viable play on all platforms tonight.

Alternative Options: Jon Lester

Cost-Effective Pitcher

James Shields -- Shields has put together another solid season, posting a 3.61 xFIP, 3.64 SIERA and striking out 9.60 batters per nine innings on the year and his numbers have been even more impressive at home in the friendly confines of pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The Padres' ace has put up a 2.93 ERA and 3.49 xFIP while striking out a whopping 10.36 batters per nine innings at home this season and gets the pleasure of facing off against a Rockies who has struggled mightily away from Coors this season. Colorado ranks in the bottom two in all of baseball in both wOBA (.287) and wRC+ (78) on the road while striking out at the second highest rate in the league at 23.9%. Shields has the best matchup on the board at home in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the bigs. He is not only the best value on the board, but he is our top overall projected pitcher available tonight.

Alternative Options: Mat Latos

Top Hitters

High-Cost Hitters

Michael Brantley -- Brantley has put together another impressive campaign this season, particularly when facing right-handed pitching. The Indians' star has owned righties this year, boasting a .395 wOBA, .185 ISO and .930 OPS against right-handers on the year. Contrarily, the man who Brantley will match up against tonight -- White Sox' pitcher Jeff Samardzija -- has struggled to get left-handed batters out all season long. The former Notre Dame standout has put up a 4.88 FIP and 4.60 xFIP when facing lefties while allowing them to hit for a .354 wOBA. Brantley is one of the best hitters in baseball and should have little trouble taking advantage of a plus matchup against Samardzija tonight. 

Freddie Freeman -- Although the Braves' lineup has been less-than-stellar this season, a matchup with Phillies' starter David Buchanan makes them a sneaky lineup to target tonight. Buchanan has been shredded for an abysmal 9.00 ERA, 5.19 xFIP and 5.31 SIERA while allowing both lefties and righties to hit for above a .420 wOBA. Much like the aforementioned Brantley, Freeman has destroyed right-handed pitching this season. The Braves' slugger has earned a .387 wOBA, .235 ISO and .908 OPS against righties through his first 96 games and draws a dream matchup against Buchanan and the Phillies. Do not hesitate to plug him into your lineup in all formats tonight. 

Alternative Options: Manny Machado, Ryan Braun

Cost-Effective Hitters

Joe Panik -- Fresh off the disabled list, Panik homered in his first game back last night and is in a great position once again tonight. The Giants' second baseman has owned right-handed pitching this year, boasting a .372 wOBA, .156 ISO and .857 OPS against righties so far this season and gets a spectacular matchup against Diamondbacks' right-hander Zack Godley tonight. The Arizona rookie has amassed a 4.25 xFIP and 4.31 SIERA since being called up to the big leagues but has accumulated a 4.63 xFIP when facing left-handed batters, which bodes extremely well for Panik. The young Giants' infielder is very much in play at $4,100 on DraftKings, but is an absolute steal at just $2,400 on FanDuel.

Steve Pearce -- CC Sabathia has been a shell of his former Cy Young award winning self this season, posting a 5.27 ERA, 4.84 FIP and 4.00 SIERA through 24 starts this season. He has also been absolutely shelled by right-handed bats, giving up a .387 wOBA with a 5.52 FIP and 4.29 xFIP against righties this season. Although he has struggled through some injuries this season, Pearce is finally healthy and has owned left-handed pitching throughout his career, boasting a .365 wOBA, .221 ISO and .847 OPS. Pearce makes a strong value play in all formats at just $2,800 on DraftKings and $2,200 on FanDuel tonight.

Alternative Options: Odubel Herrera, Trayce Thompson

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