MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 5/15/16
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 1:05 PM ET and contains all 15 games on Sunday’s schedule.
Pitchers to Target
Masahiro Tanaka ($9,800 on FanDuel): In his third season, Tanaka has proven to be an excellent pitcher when he’s been healthy. He owns a 3.06 SIERA over 336 2/3 career innings. He’s at it again this year, posting a 3.16 SIERA with a career-best walk rate (3.9%) and hard-hit rate (26.9%). His numbers would be even better if not for a six-run outing in his last start. Other than that clunker, Tanaka has allowed exactly two earned runs in five of his six starts, with the other being an eight-inning shutout. In a matchup with the Chicago White Sox, he is our top-ranked pitcher for the day. The clash is at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, but for his career, Tanaka has limited hitters to a .285 wOBA in games in the Bronx.
Jon Lester ($10,800): Boosted by an insane 92.7% strand rate, Lester isn’t pitching as great as his 1.96 ERA suggests, but he’s still throwing well, recording a 3.46 SIERA with a 23.6% strikeout rate and 5.6% walk rate. He’s our third-ranked pitcher for today’s home start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Using 2015 to get a bigger sample size, Lester finished last season with a 3.14 xFIP in his outings at Wrigley Field. While his strand rate will eventually regress, his meager 27.2% hard-hit rate is a sign of more good things to come.
Matt Moore ($7,100): In a home date with the Oakland Athletics, Moore makes for a nice value play Sunday, checking in as our ninth-ranked arm for the slate. Moore has flashed big-time stuff throughout his career, but he is showing tangible signs of putting it all together this season. He is sporting a 24.2% strikeout rate, 7.9% walk rate and 3.68 SIERA -- all of which are career-best clips. Moore has a nice matchup with the free-swinging Athletics, who rank 27th in wOBA (.294), last in walk rate (6.4%) and 17th in home runs (37). Tropicana Field ranks 21st in home run factor, per a three-year average of ESPN’s Park Factors, putting another feather in Moore’s cap for the day.
Hitters to Target
Curtis Granderson ($3,700): With his not-too-bad price tag, Granderson will likely be a popular play. As has been the case all series, the New York Mets will be a team to target for today’s matchup in Denver with the Colorado Rockies. Three of our top four hitters for the day don Mets’ uniforms, with Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes joining Granderson, who is our top-ranked hitter. New York is facing Rockies’ right-hander Tyler Chatwood. Granderson owns a career .369 wOBA versus righties, and he mashed his way to a .389 wOBA versus right-handed pitchers last season. The Mets have an implied total of 5.39 runs in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Jose Altuve ($4,400): While Coors Field is always a popular DFS target, the game with the highest implied run total for today takes place at Fenway Park between the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox. Both Houston and Boston are projected for 5.5 runs. Altuve has been a myth this year, destroying everything in sight on his way to an absurd .452 wOBA with 9 jacks and a .297 ISO. While he’s certainly due for some regression over the remainder of the campaign, as the leadoff hitter for a team projected to plate five runs, Altuve makes for a great play. Houston is facing Red Sox’ righty Sean O'Sullivan, who has an ugly 5.19 SIERA in 53 career starts. In addition to Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Colby Rasmus also rank as top-12 hitters today, according to our projections.
Franklin Gutierrez ($2,100): Gutierrez is our top value play for his matchup with Los Angeles Angels’ southpaw Hector Santiago. Primarily playing versus lefties, Gutierrez has logged just 55 plate appearances this season and has struggled to a .293 wOBA. However, he’s bossed lefties in his career, racking up a .360 wOBA and 39 long balls in 1,001 plate appearances versus left-handed pitchers.
Preston Tucker ($2,100): For those who want cheap exposure to the Astros’ lineup, Tucker is your man. The busy bee of a platoon -- the bat who plays versus right-handed pitchers -- Tucker boasts a .331 wOBA and has hit all 16 of his bombs against righties in his brief career. With O’Sullivan toeing the rubber for Boston, Tucker should be in the lineup, likely in the lower half, but it would be wise to double-check when lineups are announced.