FanDuel MLB Daily Lineups: Thursday May 17

FanDuel MLB: PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 12: Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates his solo home run during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 12, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
FanDuel MLB: PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 12: Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates his solo home run during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 12, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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FanDuel MLB: PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 12: A young boy looks at a display of baseball cards during a rain delay before a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 12, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The game was later postponed due to weather. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

Welcome to the FanDuel MLB Daily Lineups column for Thursday, May 16th 2018. We’re a fantasy baseball column focused on helping you build a DFS MLB optimal lineup for each slate.

With a very active weather system impacting the majority of the eastern part of the U.S., we’ve had some fairly large disruptions to the MLB schedule, and pinning down DFS MLB optimal lineups this week has been challenging for FanDuel MLB players.

Fortunately, Thursday’s baseball schedule appears to mostly avoid the weather-related conflicts. Unfortunately, the slate has a tremendous amount of garbage piled into the list of lineup options. However, for daily players like me, these are some of the most fun slates to play, and we’re going to find some interesting options.

While we typically work toward a cash lineup as an example at the end of this article, today’s lineup will look, and maybe truly is, more like a GPP line. However, we’ll also mention some of the more obvious cash plays, although many will be chalky due to the limited top options at each position.

Before we get there, a reminder to never take a DFS MLB optimal lineup as ‘bible’ for your personal lineup each day. Use the suggestions as guidance. Also, make sure you follow final lineup thoughts throughout the day on our twitter account @FantasyCPR or me @mattymcmatt17 look for late breaking lineup news.

Weather Note: We’re fading the Early Only slate and focusing solely on the Main slate tonight. So looking at the weather this evening, for the Main slate games, the only concern is the Cubs playing the Braves in Atlanta. There’s a decent chance for a delay for that game, due to showers and thunderstorms, and given the steady rain and lack of system movement, there is also a postponement possibility. We’re not going to mess with weather risk again tonight, so we’re fading the Cubs and Braves.

With weather-related considerations addressed, let’s get to the top pitching options…

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FanDuel MLB: PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 12: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 12, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

FanDuel MLB: Top Pitcher Main Slate

If you look solely at the xFIP this season, for each of the starting pitchers tonight, you’ll get lulled into grabbing Michael Soroka ($7,600) as the top play in the pitcher position. Weather-related issues aside, that’s a big mistake. We know little about Soroka so far this year, and 1.7 WHIP and over .400 BABIP are screaming for negative regression from Michael.

That really leaves us with three top pitchers under a 4.00 xFIP, Marco Gonzales ($7,000), Tyler Skaggs ($9,000), and Vince Velasquez ($8,300). Of those three pitchers, Skaggs and Gonzales have the best offensive match ups while on the mound tonight. But, Gonzalez is a lefty facing a right-heavy list of bats from the Tigers, and he’s given up eight runs in his last 12 innings pitched. That includes ten hits and two walk against the Tigers in Detroit. No, thanks.

While you can also make a case to play Cole Hamels ($8,800) as a top pitching pick for cash games, Skaggs clearly has the best match up and provides the best history this season to support his pick for cash games. Tyler has a solid 1.2 WHIP, 25% K-rate, is giving up less than one home run per nine innings, and is pitching on his home field against Rays bats who fan often.

So the safe, and super-chalky, play is Skaggs tonight. There, I got that out of the way. Now, for the insanely stupid GPP play which we’re actually considering better, Chad Kuhl ($7,700). Kuhl looks great over his last two starts, so is this play stupid? Well, Chad continues to struggle against left-handed bats, giving up over two home runs per nine this season with a high xFIP.

Also, the Padres happen to have nearly half of their projected lineup tonight, on the left side of the plate. So, it’s possible Kuhl could have a rough night. But also, it’s very likely hardly anyway plays Kuhl tonight. However, remember how I said Chad has pitched well lately? He has.

Kuhl does struggle with hits and runs against lefties, but he’s kept his ERA at four or below in most games. Also, in his last two starts, Kuhl pitched quality games and piled up 14 total strikeouts.

While the Padres have several lefties, they also have a 26.9% K-rate against right-handed pitchers like Kuhl, the worst percentage in baseball. So while Kuhl struggles against lefties, he’s facing lefty-bats tonight who are more likely to fan against him, versus many others in the league. We realize the risk here, but we’re going to buy the value from Kuhl tonight, take the low ownership, and load up on expensive offensive stacking plays.

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FanDel MLB: SAN DIEGO, CA – MAY 14: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies claps after hitting an RBI single during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on May 14, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

FanDuel MLB: Top Hitting Stacks Main Slate

OK, we’re going with a very risky play at the pitcher pick. So now what? Are we going to do something silly like stack Rockies bats outside of Coors Field? Yes, yes we are. A very popular value play we’ll likely see tonight is Jeff Samardzija ($5,900) against the Rockies in San Francisco. We think that’s a big mistake.

First, let’s talk about why it might make sense to go with Samardzija. The Rockies have a horrendous 64 wRC+ against Right-Handed pitchers. They’re also fanning at a high 25% rate in this scenario.

However, here’s the interesting part. The Rockies wRC+ actually improves to 71 and their K-rate drops to 23% when you move them out of Coors Field. Yes, that offensive team we get stoked about stacking Coors Field against any pitcher, is actually in a better spot in San Francisco tonight.

Also, a reminder about Shark’s start this season. In five starts, Shark has given up five or more earned runs in three games. Shark only lasted 3.2 innings against the Nats in his first home start, and followed that up with a poor performance against a weak Padres lineup.

He’s giving up two home runs per nine innings this season, and has a bad 1.71 WHIP, along with the worst xFIP of any starter tonight. So, we’re fading Samardzija at the pitcher spot, and stacking the Rockies against him.

Unfortunately, the Rockies bats like Nolan Arenado ($4,600) or Charlie Blackmon ($4,300) are still incredibly expensive. So we’re seeking value in our other offensive stack, and the Pirates provide plenty of value against Eric Lauer and the Padres. Lauer is off to a rough start this season, and it won’t get better tonight. The lefty is facing a Pirates offense who has a 126 wRC+ against lefties, tied with the Braves for the best in baseball.

There are lots of cheap plays in the Pirates offense tonight, aside from the more expensive Gregory Polanco ($3,700) and Corey Dickerson ($3,700). But with the value we’re getting at the pitcher spot, we can likely even afford their bats.

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FanDuel MLB: ANAHEIM, CA – MAY 16: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim warms up in the ondeck circle during the third inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium on May 16, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

FanDuel MLB: Summary and Example Lineup

Looking at the likely Rockies and Pirates lineups for today, we may grab some value options like Sean Rodriguez and Jordy Mercer from the Pirates or Ian Desmond who’s now in the C/1B slot for the Rockies. Doing this presents an awesome opportunity to then plug in a bat with more upside tonight like Shohei Ohtani ($3,400), Joey Gallo ($3,400) against James Shields, or Justin Smoak ($3,400) against Andrew Triggs.

So with one of those third team picks using plenty of salary left over for a utility spot pick, have got a risky-GPP lineup we’d also play in cash games. Again, if you want to avoid risk, Tyler Skaggs ($9,000) is a great cash play for FanDuel MLB. But we’re intrigued by the low ownership and value potential from Chad Kuhl.

For bats, we think many will make the mistake of fading the Rockies in San Francisco. Also, the Pirates have been eating lefties up this season, and get a poor-throwing lefty starting on the mound in Pittsburgh for the Padres tonight. With that summary in mind, here’s a look at a sample lineup for the Main FanDuel MLB slate on Thursday, May 17th

FanDuel MLB MAIN Slate Sample Lineup:

P            Chad Kuhl ($7,700)

C/1B     Ian Desmond ($2,600)

2B         Sean Rodriguez ($2,500)

3B         Nolan Arenado ($4,600)

SS          Jordy Mercer ($2,500)

OF         Charlie Blackmon ($4,300)

OF         Gregory Polanco ($3,700)

OF         Corey Dickerson ($3,700)

UTIL      Shohei Ohtani ($3,400)

Remaining Salary: $0

Note: This is a recommended lineup after discussing our top options for today. You should use this as a guide, and provide your own input when building FanDuel NHL lineups.  We are not telling you, or selling you, to use this lineup.

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