5 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 4/6/16

Stephen Strasburg draws an elite matchup against the Braves tonight. Who else should you be targeting?

In daily fantasy baseball, pitchers are the cornerstone of your lineups. It’s important to spend wisely at the position -- if your pitchers fail, your lineup is doomed.

In any slate, however, it’s also important to select the correct top-priced hitters. Luckily for us, some top bats have excellent matchups today.

Let’s take a look at the FanDuel studs for today’s main slate.


Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox

FanDuel Price: $8,500

Carlos Rodon showed great potential in his rookie season, striking out just about a batter per inning over 26 games.

After facing Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, the Athletics will take on their third consecutive southpaw tonight in Rodon. Rodon’s strikeout rate of 22.9 percent in the Major Leagues isn't quite up to par to Sale's 28.4 percent, but Sale fanned eight batters in seven innings of work on Monday, so this lineup can be set down with regularity.

The one negative for Rodon tonight is Vegas. He is currently a +125 underdog to Oakland’s Sonny Gray. However, you can use this to your advantage in tournaments because Rodon may be under-owned due to his lower likelihood of picking up a win.

Don’t worry about Rodon’s youth on the road, either. He maintained a 48 percent ground ball rate away from U.S. Cellular Field last season.

With his strikeout upside (8.98 strikeouts per 9 innings last season), Rodon is the perfect tournament pitcher, especially when he faces an offense like Oakland, who has struck out 20 times in two games so far this season.

Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

FanDuel Price: $11,300

Stephen Strasburg will be the chalk pitcher in cash games tonight, as he is a -200 favorite on the road versus the Atlanta Braves.

Strasburg’s consistency in 2015 adds to his cash game resume tonight: he struck out seven or more batters in 52 percent of his starts and allowed more than three earned runs in just six of his 23 games.

Strasburg had a nearly identical strikeout rate against both righties and lefties last season -- 29.1 percent and 30.2 percent, respectively -- so his strikeout upside remains even if the Braves tried to load their lineup with left-handed hitters.

Start your cash game lineups with Strasburg, and then work from there.


Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers

FanDuel Price: $3,400

Even as he ages, Adrian Gonzalez continues to mash right-handed pitching. In 464 at-bats versus righties last season, Gonzo posted a .230 ISO and .360 wOBA.

Andrew Cashner will be on the mound for the Padres tonight, and unfortunately for him, he is not great at containing lefties. In 226 innings pitched versus left-handed batters over the past three seasons, Cashner has allowed an ISO 28 percent above league average and has only struck them out at an 18.8 percent rate.

Look at the difference in Cashner’s fly ball splits last season. Only 21.8 percent of batted balls were fly balls by righties, but that number jumped all the way to 39.9 percent for lefties. With Gonzalez posting a 19.0 home run-to-fly ball ratio versus right-handed pitching in 2015, there’s a good chance Gonzo leaves yard tonight.

Randal Grichuk, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

FanDuel Price: $2,600

Many times as fantasy players, we’re quick to jump on batters if they are facing pitchers of the opposite hand. As a result, we often overlook fantastic matchups with right-handed batters facing right-handed pitchers.

Randal Grichuk is in one of those situations tonight, as he amassed an Edwin Encarnacion-esque .280 ISO versus righties in 2015. This isn’t great news for opposing pitcher Juan Nicasio, who had a weird reverse batted profile in 58 innings last year.

Nicasio flashed a 52.8 percent ground ball rate versus lefties last season, but versus righties, he allowed a massive 27.9 percent line drive rate.

While a small sample size, the fact remains that Grichuk destroys right-handed pitching, and Nicasio is no ace. At $2,600, Grichuk’s price is far too low for the situation.

Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals

FanDuel Price: $5,200

I wrote about Bryce Harper on Monday and his dominance versus right-handed pitching, and he thanked us nicely with a home run in his first at-bat. I’m going to copy and paste a section from Monday’s article about his 2015 performance:

"Bryce Harper made a massive jump in 2015 at the ripe age of just 22 years old, as he went from being a good hitter to a completely disruptive force versus righties -- Harper posted the highest ISO against right-handed pitching than any other player with at least 150 plate appearances last seasons. A whopping 35 of his 42 home runs last season were against right-handed pitching."

Would you want to be in Bud Norris' shoes tonight, with his 40 percent hard-hit rate versus lefties in 2015?

It’s okay. You don’t have to be in his shoes. Pay $5,200 and be in Bryce’s shoes tonight instead.