MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 10/02/15

Mike Trout and the Angels look to continue their late season push to the playoffs tonight against the rival Rangers.

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

Francisco Liriano -- The Pirates have accumulated the second best record in the majors this season and a lot of their success can be attributed to the  excellent play of their pitching staff. Along with fellow ace Gerrit Cole, Liriano has been very impressive this season, earning a 3.18 FIP, 3.20 xFIP and 3.42 SIERA while striking out 9.91 batters per nine innings. Tonight, the Pirates' southpaw draws an outstanding matchup against a Reds squad who has lost 12 straight games and ranks 28th in wOBA (.301) and 27th in wRC+ (86) with the fourth highest strikeout rate in the league since September 1st. The Pirates are massive -260 favorites in a game that Vegas expects to be one of the lowest scoring affairs on the slate. Liriano makes a great play in all formats.

Alternative Options: Noah Syndergaard, Jake Arrieta

Cost-Effective Pitcher

Chris Heston -- Although this season featured both ups and downs, Heston's had a solid sophomore campaign. The young Giants' starter posted a .391 FIP and 3.98 xFIP while striking out more than seven batters per nine innings. While those numbers don't necessarily jump off the page, the reason why I'm so high on Heston tonight is his matchup with the Rockies. Colorado has just been abysmal offensively away from Coors Field, ranking dead last in all of baseball in wOBA (.281) and wRC+ (74) while on the road this season. With tonight's contest taking place at one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the big leagues, expect a strong performance out of Heston tonight against the home-sick Rockies.

Alternative Options: Alex Wood

Top Hitters

High-Cost Hitters

Mike Trout -- I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how good Trout is, but I will anyway. The reigning American League MVP currently ranks inside of the top five in all of baseball in wOBA (.412), wRC+ (171), ISO (.288) and OPS (.984) and has absolutely abused left-handed pitching this season. Trout has tagged southpaws for a .429 wOBA, .288 ISO and 1.022 OPS, which makes him a spectacular play tonight against Rangers' lefty Martin Perez who has given up a .350 wOBA to right-handed batters on the year. The Angels' star is our top overall projected batter on the board tonight.

Jose Abreu -- At first glance, you may not be excited about Abreu's righty-righty matchup with Alfredo Simon, however, upon closer inspection, you'll notice that Simon has been terrible against batters from both sides of the plate and the White Sox' slugger has actually crushed right-handed pitching this season. Simon has amassed a 4.81 FIP, 4.76 xFIP and 4.87 SIERA while allowing both right-handed and left-handed batters to hit for above a .320 wOBA on the year. Meanwhile, Abreu is a reverse-splits hitter, destroying right-handed pitching to the tune of a .387 wOBA, .242 ISO and .914 OPS. The White Sox' star may be overlooked by some, but is actually a sneaky good play tonight. 

Alternative Options: Buster Posey, Dee Gordon

Cost-Effective Hitters

Alex Gordon -- Gordon has put together a very strong season for the Royals, earning a wOBA above .340 and an ISO above .150 against both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Tonight, he draws a matchup against Twins' starter Ervin Santana who has struggled to get out left-handed batters all season long, accumulating a .489 FIP and 4.82 xFIP against lefties while they have knocked him around for a .343 wOBA. Not only is Gordon one of the best value plays on the board at just $2,600 on FanDuel and $3,500 on DraftKings, but he is actually our fifth highest projected batter on the board tonight.

Brandon Crawford -- Speaking of left-handed batters with great matchups tonight, Crawford gets the pleasure of facing off against Kyle Kendrick tonight. Kendrick has been awful when facing lefties this season, amassing a horrific 6.58 FIP and 5.64 xFIP while they have blasted him for a whopping .418 wOBA. Contrarily, Crawford has had his way with right-handed pitching this season, putting up a .342 wOBA, .222 ISO and .811 OPS this season. Pretty much all Giants' batters are in play tonight and Crawford is no exception.

Alternative Options: C.J. Cron, Andres Blanco

Click here for our top stacks of the day.