3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 5/6/21

Just like in other sports, the focal point of your daily fantasy baseball lineups will be your high-salary studs. These guys take up by far the biggest chunk of your cap space, but they also offer the highest ceiling. And in the case of pitchers, the high-salary options typically come with the highest floors, too.

For hitters, we're looking for guys with big numbers, strong matchups, and with players around them that are likely to produce well, too, increasing our chances for runs and RBI. For pitchers, we want big strikeout numbers, while the ability to go deep in a game and pick up a win is also valuable.

With your high-salary picks playing such a big role in your lineup, you need to be right on these guys, so let's take a look at a few top-end options you can count on to anchor your lineup today.

Gerrit Cole, SP, New York Yankees ($12,300)

There are a lot of interesting starting pitchers on today's main slate, which locks at 1:05 p.m. EST. Even though the Houston Astros don't swing and miss a ton, Gerrit Cole is still someone we can feel good about.

A year after being one of baseball's worst enemies and struggling mightily at the dish, the 'Stros have been better at the plate with a .313 wOBA and a league-low 19.6% strikeout rate. However, it's not all rosy -- they aren't generating a ton of pop with a .150 isolated power (ISO), and their 7.4% team walk rate is fourth-worst in the league.

Now let's get to Cole, who has resumed his spot as one of the game's top arms. He's averaging 54.2 FanDuel points per game, and he's whiffed a whopping 62 batters in 37 2/3 innings pitched.

The salary is up there, but we project Cole for 39.7 FanDuel points -- which is 7.2 more than any other hurler. Houston's 3.17 implied total is a slate-low mark.

Trea Turner, SS, Washington Nationals ($3,800)

With Drew Smyly manning the mound in the series finale between the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, slugging shortstop Trea Turner could continue his bopping ways.

The do-it-all middle infielder has rocked opposing pitchers for an impressive seven home runs and seven steals so far this season, and he will have the platoon advantage against Smyly. Turner bashed lefies for a massive .489 wOBA in last year's small sample.

We rank Turner as a top-10 bat on the slate, and his power/speed combo gives him huge upside.

Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins ($4,400)

Is this really going to be the season Byron Buxton puts the whole damn thing together?

It could be, friends -- it could be.

Buxton, the highest-salaried outfielder and the second-ranked bat, per our model, has been just ridiculous in 2021. He's got nine homers and four steals while producing a laughable .513 wOBA. His .429 BABIP is due to dip, but his 49.2% hard-hit rate should help him maintain his place among the elite fantasy assets.

And his opponent? Jordan Lyles, who has been absolutely torched this season. In 28 innings pitched, Lyles has been bombarded for a 7.39 ERA -- including 2.57 home runs per nine innings and a 50.0% hard-hit rate. The Twins' 4.85 implied total is the second-best clip on the slate.

Buxton checks a lot of boxes and may not be all that chalky due to his salary if the masses go for Cole.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.