Pitching Plays for MLB DFS Contests on FanDuel DraftKings and Yahoo. Cash game and GPP tournament plays and strategies to help you choose the best starting pitchers for your daily fantasy baseball contests.

The MLB DFS Pitching Primer on FanDuel & DraftKings – May 2, 2021

MLB DFS: Breaking down the top daily fantasy baseball pitchers on FanDuel & DraftKings for May 2, 2021

Diving into today’s MLB DFS slate to uncover your best pitching plays.

If you’ve been reading this column lately, you’ll know that we’re a big proponent of sticking to the core principles that came out of a deep analysis of 2020 data. Don’t be afraid to pay up for pitching (both sites), and spending around $15,000 to $18,000 is often the optimal range in that department (DK).

Main Slate Targets

It’s a pretty clear-cut group of 4 arms that we’ll want to shortlist on the slate today.

In the elite tier, we have Max Scherzer against the Marlins and Lucas Giolito against Cleveland. Both premium talents in pretty darn good spots against sub-par offenses in their respective splits.

On the mid-tier and value side of things, we have Tyler Mahle against the Cubs (the better split to get Chicago) and Corey Kluber (despite his very mediocre sabermetrics) against the Tigers.

Let’s start with Scherzer and Giolito.

Scherzer’s 3.15 SIERA and 3.00 ERA on the year, along with a 11.4 K/9 and 15% chase% make him a tremendous option today. Especially facing a Marlins offense with a .281 wOBA split and a 27% K% as well (sub-30% hard hit%). Trevor Rogers is a tough draw for Washington themselves, but it’s really hard to go for him against a talented Nationals group with a slate-best .381 wOBA split vs LHP this year.

Scherzer’s allowed a lot of hard contact this year and has barely kept the ball on the ground (19% GB% in his 30 IP this year), but is still doing a good job limiting damage. The 25.8 degree average launch angle may be a little concerning on the surface, but those generally will lead to more lazy flies than homers, which has been his mantra pretty much all throughout his career. He’s pricey, but a great option today.

Giolito’s 5.68 ERA on the year appears a bit concerning on the surface, but the 11.7 K/9 and 3.78 xERA with a solid 29.5% CSW% (22.7% HR/FB%) tell us there’s more skill underneath it all. His 15% whiff and 37% chase rates are tremendous as a combo, and the .286 wOBA / 25% K% split are also nice to get him in against CLE. They do make a lot of hard contact (36.5% on the year), but I feel a bit better about it if Franmil Reyes happens to remain out (paternity leave) which would take a big bat out of the opposing lineup. He’s over $1,000 less on DK and $1,400 less on FD (compared to Scherzer), with an equally high ceiling.

Jumping down a little bit here brings us Mahle in a sneaky good spot against the Cubs. His 3.9 opponent total and 58% win% to go with a 12.6 K/9 on the year (best on the slate) are some really appealing metrics to work with today. Especially on DK where his $7,800 price tag makes him a very, VERY easy SP2 candidate. His barrel rate (7.5%) with just 4 allowed this year are some of the best in that regard on the slate, and the 27% K% split for CHC makes them a group that a strikeout-skilled RHP can definitely pick on. Dollar for dollar on DK, he may be the best mid-tier play on this slate.

The last name that we can consider here – and I think he’ll be somewhat popular on FD for his $7,300 price tag in particular – is Corey Kluber. His $8,100 on DraftKings is a little too high for a guy with a 5.27 SIERA on the year and a 5.4 BB/9, even for a DET club whose team wOBA is only .249 this year. I should note that this is their stronger split (.281 wOBA vs RHP compared to .217 and a whopping 37% K% vs LHP), but the numbers are still incredibly weak overall. His skills have eroded quite a bit over the years, but there’s still enough in the tank to be a useful QS/W candidate (71% win% leads the slate, actually) on Sunday. On DK though, I’d much prefer a Mahle + Scherzer/Giolito combo.

That will do it for our version of the Pitching Primer today. Best of luck in your contests!

About Jared

Jared is an expert fantasy sports player for both DFS and season-long formats. Specializing in DFS Baseball, Football & Basketball, with tens of thousands of dollars in career DFS earnings. Active player on FanDuel, DraftKings & FantasyDraft. Annual NFBC high stakes league participant.

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Pitching Plays for MLB DFS Contests on FanDuel DraftKings and Yahoo. Cash game and GPP tournament plays and strategies to help you choose the best starting pitchers for your daily fantasy baseball contests.

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