DraftKings MLB DFS Picks – May 21st

I hope my friends in the U.S. had a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend while my friends in Canada enjoyed their Victoria Day Weekend.

I am back on this Tuesday to deliver some DraftKings MLB DFS Picks in hopes of putting a tough week from last week behind us.

Let’s dive in and see if we can get this week started on the right note!

P – Justin Verlander (HOU) – $11,300 vs. CWS

We are going heavy on pitching and searching for cost-efficient stacks in this lineup tonight and the heavy investment in pitching begins here with the highest-priced pitcher on the slate in the form of Justin Verlander. Verlander enters Tuesday night’s home game against the White Sox sporting a stout 2.38 ERA and 10.77 K/0 clip, although his 3.85 FIP and 3.58 xFIP would suggest some sort of regression. That said, with the White Sox projected to score a slate-low 2.9 runs tonight and with them also ranking 27th with a 26% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, I have the utmost of confidence in this one tonight. It would appear the only bat Verlander needs to contain tonight is Jose Abreu who has homered five times off of him in 41 at-bats, however current White Sox players are hitting .224 with a 32.7% strikeout rate against Verlander, so there’s plenty of reason to believe the future Hall of Famer is in for a good one tonight.

P – Caleb Smith (MIA) – $10,400 vs. DET

How about paying big money for the top two arms on the slate? That’s the strategy I am rolling with as Smith looks to continue a dynamite season tonight in Detroit. Enter tonight’s contest against the Tigers, Smith owns an elite 2.25 ERA, while his peripherals also support his work in the form of a 2.92 FIP and 2.94 xFIP. Of course, we are paying up for the strikeouts as he owns a massive 12.00 K/9 on the season and the Tigers enter this one with a huge 26.8% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching. One tale of caution is that the Tigers’ bats notably improve against left-handed pitching as their wOBA of .327 against southpaws actually ranks 10th in the league and their .186 ISO ranks 12th, however the Tigers have also scored an average of two runs per game over their last six and two runs or fewer in four of their last six. Given his elite strikeout numbers and the high strikeout rate of this Tigers team I don’t see much reason to think anything but big for an early NL Cy Young favorite tonight.

C – John Ryan Murphy (ARI) – $3,100 vs. SD

So here we go with the value and buckle up because we are going to see a lot of it as we had an average of $3,600 to use on our lineup after filling in the pitching. The D-backs will take on left-hander Matthew Strahm tonight in San Diego, and while Strahm owns a 3.07 ERA on the season, that number actually climbs to 4.24 at home while his 4.44 FIP and 4.58 xFIP at home aren’t any better. Furthermore, this is a D-backs team that put up five runs in just 2.2 innings against Strahm in his first start of the season, in San Diego. This is also a D-backs club that ranks third in all of baseball with an .850 OPS against left-handed pitching and fourth with a huge .223 ISO against them, so sign me up for a low-cost three-man stack, beginning here with Murphy. He doesn’t see much playing time, but Murphy has shown the ability to hit lefties for power as he owns a nice .190 ISO against them this season while he hit them for a powerful .200 ISO in 2018. He has pop with three homers on the season, so I will roll the dice on the low-cost catcher at the end of our stack tonight.

1B – Buster Posey (SF) – $3,500 vs. ATL

The one thing I don’t like about these stacks is the fact that they are playing in pitcher-friendly venues, but the Giants I am using tonight have had plenty of success against Braves right-hander Julio Teheran and are actually having nice success against right-handed pitching in general here in the first couple months of the 2019 season. Posey fell off a cliff last season, especially against right-handed pitching when he put up a brutal .078 ISO and .698 OPS against them, however he has bounced back in 2019 to the tune of a powerful .189 ISO and .817 OPS against them here this season. While batter vs. pitcher stats isn’t the end all and be all in DFS, I’m certainly not hating the fact that Posey has gone 7 for 16 (.438) with two homers and two walks in his career against Teheran. Teheran is having a decent year, but he walks a lot of batts and his ERA indicators suggest regression moving forward, so despite a 3.5 run projection I believe the Giants can get to the righty tonight and I am unleashing a four-man stack as a result.

2B – Wilmer Flores (ARI) – $3,700 vs. SD

I really hope Flores can get back into the lineup tonight as he missed yesterday’s game with a foot contusion after being struck by a pitch on Sunday. I want him back in this lineup tonight as he is a key member of the three-man stack I am rolling out for the D-backs tonight as Flores loves himself some left-handed pitching. He could enter this one tonight sporting an impressive .306 average, .224 ISO and .864 OPS on the season against left-handed pitching. After years of mashing lefties, Flores’ splits inexplicably reversed heavily in 2018, but keep in mind this is a guy who posted a big-time .262 ISO and .862 OPS against lefties in the 2017 season as a member of the New York Mets. It isn’t a huge sample, but Flores is 2 for 5 (.400) with a double in his brief history against the left-hander Strahm. He’s also 3 for 7 (.429) with two doubles and a run scored over his last three games, so I’m not hating the value upside with Flores against the southpaw Strahm tonight.

3B – Evan Longoria (SF) – $3,900 vs. ATL

Longoria’s price is actually the second-highest in our lineup tonight, but he’s having a quality season so far in terms of power and I like the numbers against right-handed pitching as well. He’s hitting just .229 overall with a poor .288 OBP, but Longoria does have some pop still in the form of a six homers and an overall .188 ISO while he’s actually swiped a pair of bags as well this season. That said, Longoria’s power has increased notably against right-handed pitching as he owns a .217 ISO against righties on the season while five of his six long balls on the season have come at the expense of a right-handed pitcher. Again, the average isn’t going to be there for the veteran, how ever Longoria has been productive lately with a double, a run, two RBI and a stolen base over his last four games (three starts). Oracle Park in San Fran is a tough hitter’s venue, but we needed a low-cost stack or two and I am liking the numbers I am seeing among these guys against right-handed pitching, and we will get them at low ownership perfect for GPPs.

SS – Nick Ahmed (ARI) – $3,600 vs. SD

Completing our three-man D-backs stack is Ahmed who could have the sneakiest power against left-handed pitching in all of baseball. He’s a big reason why the D-backs sport such monstrous number against left-handed pitchers as Ahmed enters tonight’s contest sporting a massive .380 average, .300 ISO and 1.076 OPS against left-handed pitching across 50 at-bats this season. While those numbers will surely grab your attention, perhaps we shouldn’t be overly surprised by them as he posted a powerful .217 ISO against lefties last season in his breakout year that saw him hit 16 home runs, eight of which came against a southpaw. It should also be mentioned we have a tiny bit of stolen base upside as he has two steals this season after tying a career-high with five last season. Ahmed has just one hit in six career at-bats against Strahm, but that hit went for a double. Given the numbers he sports against lefties this season, no pitcher or venue will have me not loving Ahmed at this more than reasonable price.

OF – Steven Duggar (SF) – $3,500 vs. ATL

The low-cost San Francisco value stack continues with Duggar who will technically lead off this stack as he is projected to hit in the two-hole tonight for Bruce Bochy. Duggar showed some power/speed ability in the minor leagues prior to his big league debut last season, and he showed his speed certainly with five steals in just 41 games and 152 plate appearances after stealing 11 bases in 78 minor league contests before his promotion. He has just one steal so far this season, but Duggar has shown an ability to provide some pop against right-handed pitching as he owns a quality .171 ISO and .751 OPS against righties on the season. That’s certainly not eye-popping production, but it’s my version of rock-solid as he has three homers, seven doubles and a pair of triples on the season. His spot in the projected two-hole is a big deal as it opens up run-scoring opportunities with the Giants’ big bats hitting directly behind him as this stack will actually be a 2-3-4-5 stack if FantasyLabs’ lineup projection rings true..

OF – Brandon Belt (SF) – $4,100 vs. SF

He’s the priciest bat in this stack for a reason as Belt has pummeled both right-handed pitching this season (and for most of his career) while he’s also enjoyed some big-time success against Teheran this season as well. Entering Tuesday night’s game, Belt owns a huge .300 ISO and .944 OPS on the season against right-handed pitching while he still owns a huge .250 ISO and .900 OPS against right-handed pitching at home this season as well. He has seven long balls on the year and a stolen base to boot, giving us a touch of stolen base upside on top of the power he brings to the dish. Teheran has a history of allowing steals as he surrendered at least 17 in each of the last three years and as many as 26 in 2017. He’s allowed three this season, but his projected battery mate tonight, Brian McCann, is just 1 for 9 in catching potential base-stealers this season and just 24.9% for his career. I really think we can eek out a steal or two in this stack to increase the value they bring to the table.

OF – Brian Anderson (MIA) – $2,900 vs. DET

After filling out my stacks I had an outfield spot remaining and $2,900 to play with, and of that narrow bunch I like Anderson the most. There are things to like about Anderson tonight, the first being his projected spot in the three-hole tonight against Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull. Another thing to like about Anderson is the fact his numbers against righties this season, although mostly unimpressive, are far greater than his numbers against lefties. He does bring some power/speed upside to the table as he has two homers and three steals on the season after a nice rookie year that saw him homer 11 times and steal a pair of bases as well. Anderson has gone 3 for 11 with two doubles, two runs and two RBI over his last three games, so some of the power is coming to be sure. He posted a quality .759 OPS against righties last season and with Turnbull’s peripherals indicating regression in the home run department I will take Anderson and run with this final spot tonight.


Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.