The Starting 5: Featuring pitcher and hitter MLB DFS picks for FanDuel & DraftKings cash game lineups on Sunday, May 20, 2018 (5/20).
Sharing articles with picks and advice to help you build winning MLB lineups on FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK).
Welcome to the Starting Five MLB edition. In this article, we will give you a pitcher to consider and three hitters in each salary range. The hitters will be broken down into the following categories stud ($4,000 plus in salary), midrange ($3,000 to $3,900 in salary) and value hitter (below $3,000 in salary). We will use FanDuel’s pricing as a reference. To end the article we will give you our top player of the day regardless if that player is a hitter or pitcher. These picks will also come from the main slate of games on FanDuel each day and may not include all games played that day.
Manning the Mound
SP to Target: Stephen Strasburg vs LAD
Of the 3 names on the safe side of the pitching equation for the main slate (i.e. taking Thor, E-Rod and Teheran off the table) he has the highest win% on the slate today with a 59% mark, and there’s plenty of ceiling for a guy with his kind of arsenal. A 3.07 SIERA, 30% hard hit rate and 12%/33% whiff/chase rates are fantastic – and the price is pretty reasonable as well. Once we get past E-Rod and Thor, his K/9 at 10.1 is best on the slate and can be put to work in a solid match-up here. Pricey on all sites, but the right play if you want to roll with the chalk.
The Batter’s Box
I’m going to focus on games that I don’t see much (if any) potential of rain playing a factor. That will help make sure you get a clear group of guys that should be safe to play.
Stud Bat to Target: 3B Josh Donaldson, TOR
Righties have a better time against Daniel Mengden than lefties, and I love the Jays for safe hitting exposure on the slate with the highest team total amongst the group that doesn’t have rain to worry about. He’s reached base safely in each of his last 10 games, and has excellent numbers over the last few years vs RHP with a 146 wRC+, .391 wOBA and .264 ISO for the split. He hasn’t been off to the hottest start in 2018, but the skills and indicators are far stronger than the results indicate. In a very beatable match-up, you can safely spend up for him at 3B if you have the cap room.
Mid-Range Bat to Target: OF Khris Davis, OAK
Joe Biagini is a highly exploitable arm on the slate for the visiting Athletics, and even though Davis is your classic boom or bust guy against RHP (28.3% K% in his last 1,115 PA for the split), he sports an elite .286 ISO and fantastic 127 wRC+/.358 wOBA for GPP consideration against righties. Don’t be shy to get him active here at a very nice price point.
Bargain Bin Bat to Target: OF Adam Frazier, PIT
The Pirates will continue to play the splits strategically to get Frazier at the top of the lineup in the right spots. He typically leads off against righties, and has looked sharp at times this year (in particular, his last 2 times manning the leadoff spot). Jordan Lyles is coming off the best outing of his career, but it’s hard to pass up the value he brings to the table as a high floor (13% K% vs RHP) guy with decent numbers against RHP (.320 wOBA dating back to 2016) who will hit at the top of the order against a soft arm.
Top Play of Day
C/1B Justin Smoak, TOR
The Jays’ one bagger is really hitting his stride for them right now, with 15+ FDP in 5 of his last 7 games and plenty of OBP production in that span (at least one walk in 7 straight). His recent run of high quality results and plenty of rain risk for others at the 1B position make him an elite target in my eyes, especially with a 18% BB% vs RHP this year and a rock solid .343 wOBA and .213 ISO combo for the split this year in nearly 120 plate appearances. If you like the Jays for 5-7 runs as much as I do here, don’t be shy to heavy up exposure to Smoak as a part of a stack.
Best of luck in your contests today!