MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 6/3/16
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.
Pitchers to Target
Noah Syndergaard ($10,600 on FanDuel): Noah Syndergaard has been outchea getting his Clayton Kershaw on of late, and he's still priced like a mere mortal. What gives? His SIERA for the season is down to 2.18 with a 32.9% strikeout rate, and he hasn't walked a guy or allowed an earned run since May 11th. Part of that was his ejection last week, but dude's feeling some type of way right now. He's dismissing foes with a 14.6% swinging-strike rate and 71.0% contact rate, so even though the Miami Marlins have a below-average strikeout rate against righties, you can't pass on a guy this dominant who is this cheap.
Vincent Velasquez ($9,000): This is a bit of a scary one because the Milwaukee Brewers walk and hit fly balls, the only two areas in which Vincent Velasquez isn't dominant. That's risky in a spot as dinger-friendly as Citizens Bank Park. The upside here, though, is tantalizing. The Brewers have the highest strikeout rate against righties in the league at 26.7%, and Velasquez has struck out 28.4% of his opponents this year. Velasquez doesn't have a high enough floor to rival Syndergaard, but he can serve as a high-upside pivot if you don't want to deal with the inevitable grotesque ownership.
Kenta Maeda ($8,600): No pitcher on this entire slate has a more favorable moneyline or a lower opponent implied team total than Kenta Maeda. The Atlanta Braves have been pesky of late, but they are still last in the league in wRC+ against righties. Although Maeda's current form isn't great, part of that is due to some difficult competition. Only two of his starts this year have come against teams that are outside of the top 17 in wRC+ against righties, and both of those were against the San Diego Padres. He'll finally get a bit of a break tonight with the Braves in town, and Vegas' confidence in him should help us feel all right about exploiting his low price tag.
Hitters to Target
Jayson Werth ($3,500): This offense gets less intriguing with Ryan Zimmerman going on paternity leave, but they've still got dudes who can mash lefties in Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon. Werth has already cranked out four home runs in 43 plate appearances against lefties this year on his way to a small-sample hard-hit rate of 51.4%. That's a bit too small to trust, but he also sports quality numbers against lefties for his career. Cincinnati Reds starter Brandon Finnegan has seen his SIERA inflate to 5.22 after a great first start this season, and the Washington Nationals have the bats to exploit that.
Jung Ho Kang ($3,100): The threshold for "value" hitters here is usually $3,000, and Jung Ho Kang exceeds that by a mere $100. That gap should be a whole lot wider. Regardless of price, he should be one of the top plays on the board going up against Jered Weaver. Weaver has a 5.13 SIERA, he has only struck out 12.5% of the righties he has faced, and they make hard contact against him 37.7% of the time. With the nastiness Kang has been dropping this season (a 50.0% hard-hit rate and 53.6% fly-ball rate), he's probably the top righty in the Pirates' order, even though he has some solid competition. He's in the perfect spot to clean up the bases as Weaver should allow a good number of runners to reach, and that only makes Kang more delectable and an unbelievable bargain.
Colby Rasmus ($3,100): It's the Houston Astros against a low-strikeout pitcher; you're going to want exposure, and Jesse Hahn's splits make lefties the desired target. In Hahn's five starts, his strikeout rate is a frightening 11.1%, eliminating the one weakness from this Astros offense. Lefties have hit him well in his career with a 32.0% hard-hit rate, and Colby Rasmus' hard-hit rate against righties is 36.6%. The guys in front of Rasmus should be able to get their way on base with Hahn's strikeout rate, giving Rasmus an ideal situation to drive in runs and add his own individual illitude, as well.
Chris Heisey ($2,000): This is really just a placeholder for whomever the Nationals plug in the leadoff spot as Chris Heisey, Michael Taylor, and Ben Revere are all options. Heisey, though, would be the most fun because of his price and propensity for fly balls. Heisey has 516 career plate appearances against lefties, and he has put 50.7% of his balls in play into the air. That'll play extremely well at Great American Ballpark. He shouldn't be batting leadoff for any team regardless of the handedness of the opposing starter, but the Nationals' inefficiencies in filling out a lineup can result in solid DFS values, at least.
Stephen Vogt ($2,800): Stephen Vogt's batted-ball stats are more than a bit concerning this year, but his situation keeps him in play for DFS. Vogt's hard-hit rate against righties is down to 25.4% with a 21.9% soft-hit rate, both of which are fairly dramatic deviations from where he was last year. If we look at just from May 1st on, things look even a bit grimmer with a 19.7% hard-hit rate. However, he's still hitting the ball in the air 46.0% of the time and hitting in the middle of the lineup. With the Oakland Athletics facing the low-strikeout Doug Fister tonight, all of that should combine to give him a decent floor while his fly-ball rate provides him with upside. It'll be time to start pulling off of Vogt soon if his batted-ball numbers don't improve, but the situation for tonight, at least, keeps him in a good spot.
Jason Castro ($2,700): Jason Castro's basically the opposite of Vogt in that his situation sucks, but he is individually slaying souls right now. Castro generally hits seventh or eighth in the order, and that is well below our ideal target zone for any hitter. However, he has a ridiculous 44.2% hard-hit rate against righties this year, and it's at 47.7% overall since the start of May. You can't touch Castro in cash with his spot in the batting order, and it's still a risk to use him in a tourney, but this dude has developed upside that we need to start acknowledging.