5 hitters to target tonight in daily fantasy

May 4th, 2021

Even without digging into the two sets of doubleheaders or the pair of 6:40 p.m. ET games (not included in standard daily fantasy contests), Tuesday's full schedule offers plenty of tough calls.

We're here to help with a few of those by presenting the five hitters you should be trying to fit into your lineups wherever possible. Of course, you don't need us to tell you that Mike Trout or Ronald Acuña Jr. are always safe bets, but this list focuses on five players who have either been scuffling a bit or just have a particular matchup that really stands out.

Let's take a closer look:

Mitch Haniger, Mariners
Opposing starter: Jorge López, RHP

López has allowed 18 runs off 22 hits (including six home runs) in just 21 2/3 innings this season, so it's obviously not a bad idea to try to get some exposure to the Mariners lineup. The pick here is Haniger, despite his struggles of late. Though he's hitting just .170 over his last 12 games (after hitting .338 over his first 16 games), Haniger is still in a good spot tonight. While López relies heavily on his hard stuff -- 40.2% sinker usage and 25.1% four-seam fastball usage -- Haniger feasts against those two offerings. Since 2018, he's hitting .355 with seven homers and a .634 SLG against sinkers, and .307 with 23 home runs and a .624 SLG vs. four-seamers.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays
Opposing starter: Cole Irvin, LHP

It might be tough to squeeze both of these guys into your lineup, but try to find a way to get at least one. Though Irvin has a 1.56 ERA in his last three outings, he's still allowed more than a hit per inning (19 in 17 1/3 innings), and he's still giving up plenty of hard contact. The southpaw also continues to rely heavily on his four-seamer (35.1%) and sinker (24.9%), despite the fact that opponents are hitting a combined .325 with a .506 SLG against those offerings since the start of last season. That bodes well for Hernández, who has absolutely thrived against those two pitches, hitting .398 with 12 homers and an .817 SLG against four-seamers and sinkers since the start of last season.

Guerrero, meanwhile, has teed off specifically against four-seam fastballs this year, going 12-for-27 (.444) with three homers and an .852 slugging percentage. Overall, Guerrero's 94.7 mph average exit velocity ranks fourth in the Majors, while Irvin's 92.6 mph average exit velocity allowed is the fifth-highest in the big leagues -- an ideal combination for the Jays slugger.

Freddie Freeman, Braves
Opposing starter: Joe Ross, RHP

Ross is a tough one to read. After back-to-back scoreless outings to start his 2021 campaign, he was tagged for 10 runs and four homers over just 4 1/3 innings in an April 19 outing against St. Louis -- his second start against the Cards in six days. He bounced back in his next outing, holding the Mets to one run over six innings. All told, aside from that 10-run disaster, he's allowed one run or fewer in each of his other three outings. Still, he hasn't pitched since April 24 -- and Freeman seems to have his number. The reigning National League MVP is 5-for-10 with two homers and four walks in his career against Ross.

Sure, it's not the biggest sample size, but that's just one reason we're looking at Freeman here. The other is that his current value is a bit deflated considering he's hitting just .216, and he's 1-for-17 since his four-hit game on Wednesday. Don't let that fool you, though, his average exit velocity (92.8 mph) is actually a tick higher than it was in his MVP season (92.4 mph) and his .637 xSLG is significantly higher than his actual .451 SLG. Expect those numbers to even out sooner rather than later.

Wil Myers, Padres
Opposing starter: Mitch Keller, RHP

Obviously, feel free to load up on Fernando Tatis Jr. and/or Manny Machado if you can fit them into your lineup, but Myers is an intriguing play in this matchup. Though Keller's slider was a dominant pitch last season -- opponents went 0-for-12 with six strikeouts against it -- that hasn't been the case in 2021. Opposing hitters are 9-for-23 (.391) with five extra-base hits and an .826 SLG against the pitch this year, and that should play right into Myers' favor. Since the start of last season, Myers is 22-for-65 (.338) with six homers and a .708 slugging percentage against sliders. Only Byron Buxton has a higher slugging percentage (.750) against sliders during that span. Keller enters this matchup with an 8.20 ERA, and that's in large part due to this Padres team. They tagged him for seven runs off nine hits in just 3 1/3 innings on April 15 -- so loading up on Padres hitters might not be a bad idea, even after they flirted with being no-hit on Monday.