MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 5/14/16
The beauty of daily fantasy baseball is that the top targets are different each and every day. Whether it's the right-handed catcher who destroys left-handed pitching or the mid-range hurler facing a depleted lineup, you're not going to find yourself using the same assets time after time.
While this breaks up the monotony, it can make it hard to decide which players are primed to succeed on a given day. We can help bridge that gap.
In addition to our custom optimal lineups, you can check out our batting and pitching heat maps, which show the pieces in the best spot to succeed on that slate. Put on the finishing touches with our games and lineups page to see who's hitting where and what the weather looks like, and you'll have yourself a snazzy-looking team to put up some big point totals.
If you need help getting started on that trek, here are some of the top options on the board today. This article is for the main slate, which starts at 7:05 PM ET.
Pitchers to Target
Tanner Roark ($8,400 on FanDuel): Saturday’s main slate is a little weird, with most of the day’s big arms -- Stephen Strasburg, Jake Arrieta and Corey Kluber -- taking the mound in the afternoon. That leaves us with Roark as the top big-money hurler on the main slate. Owner of a 3.84 SIERA and 22.4% strikeout rate, Roark has quietly been on a tear of late. Over his last four starts (27 1/3 innings), he has allowed three earned runs -- all of which came in one game -- with 32 punch outs and 9 free passes. He’s allowed zero earned runs in five of his seven starts this season while working at least six innings in six of those starts. Roark is facing off with the Miami Marlins, which always brings concern about the thunderstick of Giancarlo Stanton, but Roark has had success against the Marlins’ slugger. It’s a small sample size of 12 at-bats, but Stanton is hitting just .167 versus Roark.
Dillon Gee ($6,600): This is all about Gee facing the Atlanta Braves, a team allergic to offense. Atlanta ranks last in home runs (9) and wOBA (.260), and they’re going to be a team to target all season. This will be Gee’s first start of the campaign. He’s been very pedestrian in 20 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, posting a 4.16 SIERA, 18.2% strikeout rate and 9.1% walk rate. Again, this is about the matchup in addition to Gee’s price tag allowing you to get the bats you want. The game being at Kauffman Stadium doesn’t hurt, either, as the Royals home field ranks 26th in Home Run Park Factor.
Hisashi Iwakuma ($8,000): Iwakuma is on the more expensive side for a value play, but he’s our top-ranked pitcher for the main slate. Coming into this season, Iwakuma had been incredibly consistent in his four-year career, never posting a SIERA better than 2.94 or worse than 3.36. He’s sporting career-worst numbers nearly across the board through his first 43 innings of 2016, but one of his best starts of the year was an eight-inning, two-run outing versus the Los Angeles Angels, which is who he tangles with tonight. Despite the presence of all-world superstar Mike Trout, the Angels rank 23rd in wOBA (.301), 28th in long balls (29) and 29th in Isolated Power (.122.). Iwakuma also gets the benefit of pitching in his home park, Safeco Field, a pitcher-friendly stadium where he owns a career 3.03 xFIP while holding hitters to a .281 wOBA.
Hitters to Target
Josh Donaldson ($4,300): Donaldson is always a great play against a left-handed pitcher, but even when that’s not the case -- like tonight’s matchup against Texas Rangers’ starter Colby Lewis -- he is still our top-ranked hitter for the night and has the best odds (0.39) of hitting a homer, according to our projections. In 166 plate appearances this season, Donaldson owns a .394 wOBA with 9 jacks. Lewis hasn’t been good since 2012, and the trend is continuing this year as he has a 4.47 SIERA with a mediocre 17.4% strikeout rate. The game is taking place at Texas’ Globe Life Park, the sixth-best hitters’ park, according to ESPN’s Park Factors. With an implied total of 5.07 runs, Toronto, as usual, will be a nice team to target tonight.
Michael Conforto ($4,000): A lefty, Conforto has some very lopsided platoon splits in his brief career and has become unplayable against left-handed pitchers. However, he’s straight up ruthless versus righties, posting a .391 wOBA. He gets to square off with Colorado Rockies’ right-hander Eddie Butler tonight at Coors Field. Playing in the best hitters’ park in the game, per ESPN’s Park Factors, the New York Mets have the day’s highest implied run total at 5.39 in a game with an implied total of 10.5. Conforto is our second-ranked hitter for the main slate, with Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes also in the top five. The Mets will be a popular stack.
Domingo Santana ($2,300) - Santana has been a popular trendy play this year as his batted-ball profile -- namely a 35.9% hard-hit rate -- suggests a breakout is coming. It hasn’t come yet, but the numbers say it’s right around the corner. Santana gets to square off with San Diego Padres’ pitcher Luis Perdomo tonight in a home game at Miller Park, which is the fourth-best hitters’ park and ranks third in home run park factor, per ESPN's Park Factors. Perdomo hasn’t pitched in The Show since 2012 and owns a 4.40 SIERA for his career.
Chris Owings ($2,100) - Owings isn’t a lock to be in the starting lineup, but if he gets the nod, he makes for a great value play. For those looking to pivot off the Mets, the Arizona Diamondbacks are a nice fallback option. Set to face Jake Peavy, Arizona has an implied run total of 5.02 in a game which will be played in hitter-friendly Chase Field. In a near-everyday role, Owings is boasting a .312 wOBA and has five steals without being caught. Peavy is throwing batting practice this season, recording a 4.40 SIERA and 36.1% hard-hit rate -- both of which are career-high clips.