We're now approaching a full month of games into the 2018 MLB season and with it comes more data to work off of as we work to build our DFS lineups. At the start of every lineup is the pitcher start, which is where we begin for Saturday's slate of DFS action.
FanDuel offers up plenty of exciting contests for daily fantasy baseball players to choose from. Maybe your preference is getting involved in the early slate of games so you have something to enjoy during those early hours of the work day and to help make the time go by, FanDuel offers you a nice selection of early-only contests. You might prefer to get the work ahead of time then rush home, grab a chair and sit back to watch and enjoy the afternoon or 'main' slate of contests, once again FanDuel covers you for that.
Let's get started with our top six pitching targets for Saturday's full slate of action.
Chris Sale, BOS @ OAK, ($11,500)
Of course we choose Sale as one of the targeted pitchers for the slate on Saturday. While the Oakland Athletics are producing at a quality rate this season and certainly aren't one of weaker lineups in baseball, Sale can cut through them. The Oakland Alameda Coliseum is fairly pitcher-friendly and the Athletics are prone to chasing pitches and some swinging strikes. Sale may not be the top option, given his price, but you always need to have shares of elite southpaws in DFS unless they are at Coors Field.
Carlos Martinez, STL vs. CIN, ($9,800)
Fresh off seven shutout innings in his last outing against the Cincinnati Reds, Martinez will look to repeat his 11-strikeout, two-hit performance versus the Reds. When Martinez is on, he is easily capable of pitching seven-plus innings with 10-plus strikeout and allowing fewer than one base runner per inning. Now back at home with his lineup set to face off against Homer Bailey, St. Louis should be able to provide Martinez with enough run support to get a win. When matchup, price and potential are all brought together, there's a strong argument for Martinez to be SP1 of the entire slate.
Mike Clevinger, CLE @ BAL, ($8,900)
Clevinger is a major GPP play target for us given the potential for dominance in this matchup. First, we'll look at the Orioles' lineup. As of Friday, Baltimore entered with the worst swinging-strike rate (13.4 percent), lowest contact rate (71.6 percent) and the highest strikeout rate (28.3 percent). Clevinger, who flashed plenty of swing-and-miss stuff last year with a 12.4 SwStr%, offers the stuff capable of cutting through this lineup. The park factors bring some risk, but you'll want to get some shares of Clevinger in GPP contests.
Garrett Richards, LAA vs. SFG, ($8,400)
If you factored in salary invested in lineups, San Francisco arguably draws the worst returns on its investments in hitters this season. The Giants have the eighth-worst strikeout rate (25 percent) in the majors, rank 26th in wRC+ (78), 27th in wOBA (.281) and have the second-worst walk rate (7.1 percent) as of Friday. For Richards, who at times struggles with inconsistent command mixed between some dominant stuff, this is the perfect matchup for him. San Francisco's hitters lack the patience to work up a high pitch count and will almost certainly make the path to a quality start quite easy for Richards.
Blake Snell, TB vs. MIN, ($8,100)
A 3.06 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 9.40 K/9 rate and a 26.1 strikeout percentage. Those are Snell's numbers in his past 15 starts, certainly impressive. What's more meaningful for Snell and the Rays is his 17.3 percent K-BB rate and 8.8 percent walk rate across 82 1/3 innings pitched dating back to Aug. 3 last year.
The 25-year-old southpaw is really starting to figure it out and with his price point still offering value, it's absolutely something we want to take advantage of. This is a good pitcher and he's set to face a Minnesota Twins lineup with a 25 percent strikeout rate and a .311 wOBA, this is a beneficial matchup. He's a better GPP play than a cash-game target given there is still risk with the young lefty, but the upside and track record is there and it's something we're ready to bank on this weekend.
Kyle Gibson, MIN @ TB, ($7,300)
Gibson is our bargain play of the day and while he clashes some when pursuing the win with our pick above, we do cover our bases more and still land ourselves a solid pitcher with a great matchup. Tampa Bay, one of the worst teams in baseball, unsurprisingly boasts one of the worst lineups in baseball. Ranked in the bottom five in nearly every major offensive category and with a strikeout rate over 20 percent, this is a favorable opportunity for Gibson.
The 30-year-old righty is off to a strong start this season with a 3.41 FIP and no home runs allowed through three starts, but walks have been a problem. But this isn't the type of lineup Gibson will have to pitch around, he can go right after Tampa Bay's hitters and not really risk any significant damage coming his way.