MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 9/18/15

Nelson Cruz is both affordable and primed for a big night. Who else should you roster 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

Max Scherzer -- Scherzer isn't our top projected pitcher tonight -- that would be Zack Greinke -- but his salary (Scherzer is $11,000 on FanDuel compared to $12,200 for Greinke) is enough to make him a better value. Scherzer enters the night ranked 10th in xFIP (3.02) and 3rd in SIERA (2.97) among 82 qualified pitchers this year and has a home matchup against the Miami Marlins. Scherzer manages 10.5 punchouts per nine innings, fourth among the group, and is third in walks per nine (1.18), so he shouldn't put himself in bad spots against a Marlins team that is dead last in the league in wRC+ against righties (84) this season.

Alternative Options: Zack Greinke

Cost-Effective Pitcher

Drew Smyly -- Smyly has some significant upside tonight against the Baltimore Orioles, who rank 21st in the league in wRC+ against lefties (90). Smyly has put up at least 17 FanDuel points in two of his last three outings. Back on September 1st, Smyly struck out 10 Orioles and didn't allow a run in 7 innings. At just $7,700 on FanDuel, he grades out as one of our best value picks of the night at starting pitcher.

Alternative Options: Lance Lynn, Mike Fiers

Top Hitters

High-Cost Hitters

Nelson Cruz --  Cruz is actually one of the best value picks on the board tonight, per our algorithms, at his $4,000 price tag on FanDuel. Cruz owns a .264 ISO and a .389 wOBA against right-handers this year, and Yovani Gallardo ranks 70th among 82 qualified pitchers in xFIP (4.38) and 77th in swinging strike rate (6.4%). A nice park shift is pretty much icing on the cake for Cruz, who has the highest odds to hit a homer tonight, per our algorithms.

Justin Upton -- Upton and Matt Kemp are priced up because of the fact that they're playing at Coors Field against Chad Bettis, but they're two of our top three projected batters tonight. Bettis owns a hard-hit rate of 31.0%, which ranks him 110th among 140 pitchers with at least 90 innings this year. Coors isn't a place you want to get hit hard, but that could happen tonight, especially from Kemp and Upton. Against righties this year, Upton owns a .238 ISO and a .377 wOBA. Kemp is at .169 and .313, respectively, but has 4 games in his last 10 with at least 6 FanDuel points.

Alternative Options: Josh Donaldson, David Ortiz

Cost-Effective Hitters

John Jaso -- Jaso continues to be near the minimum salary despite hitting leadoff at a pretty hard-to-trust position: catcher. The Rays face Tyler Wilson tonight, who has struck out just 7 batters in 24 2/3 innings. There's just not a lot of reason to fade Jaso in your cash games, and he's pretty clearly our top value bat on the night.

Mike Napoli -- Napoli possesses a .396 wOBA and a .291 ISO against lefties this year, and he gets one tonight: James Paxton. Among 198 batters with at least 100 plate appearances against left-handers this season, that wOBA ranks him 25th and that ISO ranks 8th. For just $2,400 on FanDuel? Sounds good to me.

Alternative Options: Todd Frazier, C.J. Cron

Click here for our top stacks of the day.