4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Studs to Target on 5/12/16

Who are the high-priced stars worth grabbing for Thursday's eight-game slate?

As is often the case on Thursday, we have a lighter schedule with which to work as there are just eight games on FanDuel’s main slate. When playing any sport on FanDuel, it’s imperative to hit on high-priced players, especially when it comes to pitching.

Let’s take a look at two hitters and two pitchers, who, despite costing a good chunk of change, are worth the investment.


Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

FanDuel Price: $12,500

Clayton Kershaw is the day’s most expensive hurler -- by $1,600 -- for his matchup with the Mets. While his ownership will likely be through the roof, making him an attractive fade in tournaments, it doesn’t change the fact he’s our top-ranked arm for Thursday by a significant margin.

Still just 28 years old, Kershaw somehow keeps getting better. He’s sporting career-best numbers nearly across the board through his first 53 innings of the year.

Clayton Kershaw Innings SIERA K% BB%
2013 236 2.99 25.6 5.7
2014 198 1/3 2.09 31.9 4.1
2015 232 2/3 2.24 33.8 4.7
2016 53 2.07 32.8 1.5

Man alive -- is he great or what?!

Tonight, Kershaw gets the Mets at Dodger Stadium, where he’s been downright disgusting. In 885 1/3 career innings in his home park, he owns a 2.80 xFIP while limiting hitters to a laughable .247 wOBA.

Our models project Kershaw to score 42.81 FanDuel points, nearly 10 points more than any other pitcher. We have him allowing 1.77 earned runs and 5.57 hits while punching out 7.28 hitters over 6.92 innings. The Mets’ implied total of 2.5 runs is almost a full run lower than any other team's total.

David Price, Boston Red Sox

FanDuel Price: $9,400

Thank goodness for advanced stats because David Price's 6.75 ERA could easily trick us into thinking he’s not pitching well when, in fact, he’s having one of the better seasons of his career.

Take a look at his numbers from 2014 on.

David Price SIERA K% BB% LOB%
2014 2.72 26.9 3.8 72.7
2015 3.27 25.3 5.3 78.6
2016 3.02 29.0 6.6 54.2

As you can see, other than a slightly inflated walk rate, Price is still doing his thing. His strikeout percentage is elite (actually a career-high), and his SIERA superb. What’s really plaguing him is terrible luck, namely his unsustainably awful strand rate (LOB%).

Simply put: Price is giving up hits with men on base. His strand rate is the worst among qualified starters. That is random bad luck more than an indictment of his skills.

Price is going to be just fine, because, well, he is fine right now -- as our own Jim Sannes pointed out earlier this week.

For tonight’s clash with the Astros, who have the second-worst strikeout rate (25.9 percent) in the Majors, Price comes in as our second-ranked pitcher. We project him to allow 2.74 earned runs on 5.94 hits while striking out 5.68 hitters over 6.57 innings of work.


Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles

FanDuel Price: $4,100

When Chris Davis is facing a right-handed pitcher, he’s a great play. When he is playing at home, he’s a really good option. When he’s at home versus a right-handed pitcher, you get the point.

Davis gets paid a very large amount of money -- $161 million over seven years -- due in large part to his ability to destroy right-handed pitching. In 2015, Davis racked up a monster .410 wOBA and 37 bombs versus right-handers. Davis also does a ton of damage at home, mashing his way to a .422 wOBA and 28 long balls in last year’s games at Camden Yards.

He will see Detroit righty Mike Pelfrey tonight. Pelfrey is sporting an ugly 5.43 SIERA this season and has allowed 1.78 homers per nine innings. Our model projects Davis to score 13.68 points tonight with the second-best odds (0.26) of going deep, making him our second-ranked hitter. The Orioles own the night’s highest implied total at 5.26 runs.

Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

FanDuel Price: $4,500

Ryan Braun and the Brewers host right-hander James Shields and the Padres tonight. Braun owns a career .376 wOBA against right-handed pitchers, and he’s off to a red-hot start this season, ranking sixth with wOBA.

Player wOBA
Daniel Murphy .472
Manny Machado .467
David Ortiz .453
Aledmys Diaz .451
Nolan Arenado .450
Ryan Braun .449

Boosted by a sky-high .411 BABIP, Braun is benefitting from batted-ball luck, but he’s also making some of his own breaks. He owns a 36.3 percent hard-hit rate with just a 12.7 percent soft-hit rate.

In his 11th season, Shields has proven to be one of the game’s most reliable arms, but at 34 years of age, he may finally be hitting the wall. He has been bad this year, posting an 18.3 strikeout percentage, 10.8 walk percentage, and 4.71 SIERA -- all of which are career lows.

Braun ranks as our top hitter for the night. We project him to score 14.76 points, and he’s tied with Davis for the second-best odds (0.26) of smacking a long ball.