5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Studs to Target on 5/2/16

Exposure to Michael Conforto tonight is highly recommended. Who else should you roster?

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, 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:


Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates

FanDuel Price: $9,100

Rostering a pitcher versus the Chicago Cubs will always include some hesitation. They are second in the MLB with 139 runs scored, after all.

However, there are a few things in Gerrit Cole’s favor tonight.

For one, his ground ball rate remains above 48 percent, similar to his rate the last two seasons, which helps limit his downside.

While the Cubs’ powerful left-handed bats at the top of the lineup can strike fear in the heart of any opponent, Cole has been magnificent versus lefties this season.

His overall strikeout numbers are down to 7.54 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9), but he’s only striking out 6.59 righties per nine innings. Versus lefties, that number jumps all the way to 9.00 K/9.

Lefties also haven’t generated any power whatsoever versus Cole this season -- he’s limiting them to a minuscule .028 ISO.

In a game with a low total of just seven runs, scoring should be difficult.

Cole is only a coin flip favorite for a win, so while that should exclude him from cash games, he remains a top-tier tournament option tonight.

Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros

FanDuel Price: $10,500

It’s been an interesting year for Dallas Keuchel, and it’s hard to make sense of his peripheral stats.

His strikeout numbers (7.44 K/9) and walk numbers (3.52 BB/9) are both worse than a season ago.

His ground ball rate, which has been above 60 percent each of the last two seasons, is down to 55.2 percent.

He’s also experienced a three-year high hard hit rate of 28.6.

Despite these dips, he’s induced a career-high 11.7 percent swinging strike rate.

He’s also been a bit unlucky, with a BABIP of .330 and a strand rate of 67.3 percent.

If there’s a matchup Keuchel can take advantage of, though, it’s the Minnesota Twins. Versus left-handed pitching, the Twins own the fourth-worst strikeout rate (25.5 percent), the second-worst ISO (.081), and the third-worst wOBA (.266).

As a -175 favorite tonight, Keuchel is a top option.


Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets

FanDuel Price: $4,300

Last season, Michael Conforto was excellent versus right-handed pitching, posting a .256 ISO and a .371 wOBA.

Somehow, he’s been significantly better this season. He’s blasted 4 home runs with an astronomical .371 ISO and .508 wOBA versus righties.

Those aren’t even the most impressive statistics. His hard rate is 57.1 percent! Yes, 57.1 percent of his balls in play versus right-handed pitching are hit hard.

Mike Foltynewicz is making his first MLB start of 2016, and he couldn’t ask for a worse matchup.

Last year, Foltynewicz allowed a ridiculous .262 ISO and .401 wOBA to lefties while only striking them out 17 percent of the time.

It’s possible Conforto’s hard hit rate actually increases after tonight’s game.

Edwin Encarncacion, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays

FanDuel Price: $3,400

Thanks to a small sample size in 2016, it appears on the surface that Edwin Encarnacion’s splits have actually reversed.

Throughout his career, Encarnacion has posted better numbers versus right-handed pitching.

Last year, he totaled a .294 ISO and .398 wOBA. In 2013 and 2014 combined, those numbers were eerily similar with a .282 ISO and .392 wOBA.

This year, his ISO split has fallen all the way to just .130.

However, history should win out. Don’t let a one-month sample cloud your judgement when three years of data are proving the opposite.

Encarnacion’s opponent tonight, A.J. Griffin, has been surprisingly competent versus right-handed batters this year, limiting them to zero home runs, a .081 ISO, and a .224 wOBA.

Ownership on Encarnacion will likely be down because of the righty-righty matchup and the recent small-sample numbers for he and Griffin.

In a fantastic matchup where ownership percentage is reduced due to recency bias, Encarnacion is the definition of an elite GPP option.

Curtis Granderson, OF, New York Mets

FanDuel Price: $3,600

You've already read about Curtis Granderson’s opponent Mike Foltynewicz above in Michael Conforto’s section.

He’s terrible versus left-handed batters.

You should be stacking the Mets’ lefties tonight wherever possible, as Foltynewicz allowed 17 home runs in just 87 MLB innings a season ago.

We’ve seen Granderson’s upside this year -- he notched a 50.1-point FanDuel game on April 22, coincidentally versus the Atlanta Braves when he hit two home runs.

Three of Granderson’s four home runs this year have been versus right-handed pitching, and his ISO split of .217 is very similar from a season ago (.225).

A leadoff hitter with an excellent matchup and great power splits, Granderson is an ideal cash-game option.