MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 5/18/16
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. With the split slates, we'll be focusing exclusively on the late slate starting at 7 pm Eastern.
Pitchers to Target
David Price ($10,500 on FanDuel): Don't let Dustin Pedroia fool you; he didn't fix David Price by suggesting a change in his wind-up. Price was already dealing before he struck out 12 batters in 6 2/3 innings last week, and he's the best pitcher on this slate. Price's SIERA is down to 2.83 with a disgusting 31.0% strikeout rate, both of which are either the best or second-best mark of all starters for the day. The Kansas City Royals only have a 19.0% strikeout rate against lefties, but if they sit any regulars in the second half of a double-header, Price could go off once again.
Johnny Cueto ($10,900): If you're playing in a tournament, Francisco Liriano should be in this slot, as he has stupid upside against the Atlanta Braves. Johnny Cueto's low walk rate makes him perfect for cash against the San Diego Padres. Cueto's first eight starts for the San Francisco Giants have been tremendous, as he has a 3.33 SIERA with a 23.0% strikeout rate and 4.4% walk rate. The Padres have a 71 wRC+ against righties and a 25.2% strikeout rate, so Cueto should be able to rack up a good number of points in a hurry. Price and Liriano give you two top-tier options today, but Cueto's right up there, too.
Taijuan Walker ($8,500): The matchup here is less than ideal with Taijuan Walker facing the Baltimore Orioles, but Walker is too good to be priced this low. He has a 3.09 SIERA this year thanks to a 24.4% strikeout rate, 3.9% walk rate, and a 50.0% ground-ball rate. He's well above average in all three of the most important pitching categories, yet he still qualifies as a "value" pitcher. He shouldn't. The park and opponent are rough, but with the Orioles holding a 21.6% strikeout rate against righties, he has the ability to post a silly total tonight.
Hitters to Target
Carlos Correa ($4,400): If you've got cash, you should try to spend it on the Houston Astros today, especially Carlos Correa. Chicago White Sox starter Mat Latos has a vomit-inducing 5.50 SIERA, and although he is a bit better against righties, his xFIP when facing them is still 4.86. Correa has been even better this year than his Earth-scorching rookie season with a 39.8% hard-hit rate against right-handed pitchers. That's great for most hitters, but when they're a shortstop? Bless this man.
Gregory Polanco ($3,700): Julio Teheran would be one of the best pitchers in the league if he never had to face lefties. Unfortunately, those little devils exist, and he'll be facing off with one of the better ones today in Gregory Polanco. Teheran has walked more lefties than he has struck out this year, pushing his xFIP to 6.61, which is higher than his already-gruesome mark of 5.08 from last year. Polanco has upped his hard-hit rate against righties this year to 36.8% while walking more than he has struck out. Add in his stolen-base upside, and you've got yourself a dandy of a play today.
Brian McCann ($3,200): Speaking of dudes who have been brutal against lefties, Shelby Miller is starting today for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Good thing the New York Yankees don't have any lefty bats, right? This will go well! Brian McCann has been the sauciest lefty for the Bronx Bombers this year, sporting a 37.9% hard-hit rate and 43.1% fly-ball rate against righties. There will likely be value in the Yankees' order depending on who bats where, but McCann is a guy you can build around.
Yan Gomes ($2,700): With Brandon Finnegan on the bump for the Cincinnati Reds, pretty much any Cleveland Indians batter is in play today. Yan Gomes just happens to have the ability to launch dongs while playing a premium position. In his five seasons, Gomes has never had a soft-hit rate above 16.4% against lefties, equating to a 13.6% rate for his career. Pair that with a 40.2% fly-ball rate, and you see why Gomes has upside. Finnegan's SIERA has climbed all the way to 5.18 with a 16.7% strikeout rate, numbers that won't play well in a park as dinger-friendly as Great American Ballpark. Gomes' spot in the order makes him less attractive for cash, but he's likely the top tournament option at catcher for the day.
Matt Joyce ($2,800): Starling Marte has one more day in which he can be on the paternity list, and if he's still out of the Pirates' order, Matt Joyce may once again be an easy way to save salary. He only has 59 plate appearances this year, but his 32.4% hard-hit rate is a marked improvement over what he did last year with the Los Angeles Angels. Like Polanco, he has walked more than he has struck out against righties, and with Teheran's struggles versus lefties, Joyce could add to a home run count that is already up to five.
Brad Miller ($2,700): If you don't have the ability to pay up for Correa at shortstop, Brad Miller is a fantastic fall-back option. Toronto Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey certainly hasn't been bad this year, but he sports an 11.1% walk rate to lefties and a 32.8% hard-hit rate. Miller has thumped righties with a 40.0% hard-hit rate and 43.1% fly-ball rate this year, and batting second should give him a proper number of opportunities. The Rogers Centre is a fan of the long ball, and Miller is the perfect candidate for some extra-base hits at a decent price.