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DFS Plays of the Day – May 8

Ryan Amore previews Saturday's DFS slate.

Saturday gives us a seven-game main slate without a clear option at pitching in the top tier. 

 

Top SP: Lance Lynn CWS ($9,500 DK, $10,400 FD) at KC

 

Overall, Clayton Kershaw has been excellent through his first seven starts of the year with a 21.4% K-BB% and 32.4% CSW. We should probably just ignore his dud outing last time out against the Cubs. And speaking of that outing, because he only ended up throwing 39 pitches, he’s pitching tonight on three days rest for the first time since way back in 2016. Knowing how exceedingly cautious the Dodgers tend to be, it’s kind of a strange spot with Kershaw tonight. The skills remain strong but given some potential workload uncertainties and the fact that it’s on the road in the A.L. against a tough Angels lineup that doesn’t strike out a whole lot (21.9% as a team this year), I’m looking at Kershaw as more of a secondary option tonight.

What about Cristian Javier? He’s been brilliant through five starts with a 22% K-BB% and 28.3% CSW to go along with a sparkling 1.75 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. It’s a gut call on my part but I do feel as though his $10,700 salary on DraftKings is a sell-high point. His arsenal looks somewhat limited in that he’s got a tremendous slider (51.1% whiff rate this year!!) but not a whole lot else behind it to fall back on. In three of his five outings, he hasn’t exceeded 90 pitches so length is sort of a question mark. And couple that with a matchup against a dangerous Toronto Blue Jays lineup and yeah, I’m not terribly excited for Javier tonight especially considering how high his salary has jumped up.

That leaves us with Lance Lynn. The veteran righty has been productive in the early going with a 1.82 ERA and 0.97 WHIP through four starts backed by a 25.8% K-BB% and 27.5% CSW. Lynn has been one of the more reliable starters in baseball over the past two-plus seasons as he’s carried a 3.57 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 20.6% K-BB% going back to 2019. In terms of workload, Lynn feels like the safest bet at the top. We saw the sort of upside Lynn possesses as he fired a complete game against these same Royals in his second start out earlier this year. But the funny thing is he’s coming off a short 68 pitch outing his last time out in a win against Cleveland. Still, that was probably just a one start sort of anomaly since it was his first appearance off the IL. The White Sox are the second-biggest favorite on the board as of this writing (-155). 

Honorable Mentions: Clayton Kershaw, LAD ($10,500 DK, $11,000 FD) at LAA. 

 

Value SP: Ian Anderson, ATL ($8,900 DK, $7,900 FD) vs PHI

 

Don’t look now but Garrett Richards has now put together two fairly decent outings. He’s a tempting target tonight considering how the Orioles have struggled offensively as a team with just a .292 team wOBA (5th worst). Still, his erratic command has me leery even against the Orioles. Instead, let’s go with Ian Anderson. With twelve starts under his belt for his career, Anderson owns a 2.62 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 17.8% K-BB%, and 29.7% CSW. He gets the Phillies who have struck out at a 27.9% clip as a team (2nd worst behind the Tigers). The Braves are the biggest favorite on the board tonight down in Atlanta (-160).

Daniel Lynch, a top prospect for the Royals, is someone to keep a close eye on as we move forward. In his first start against Cleveland (74 pitches), his control was a little shaky as he allowed four walks through four and two-thirds innings. Considering the lack of options tonight, he’s definitely on the board for tournaments just know that he carries considerable risk. In a similar fashion, Zac Lowther is another high-risk 2nd SP punt play to consider for tournaments as at $4,000 on DraftKings, he doesn’t have to do too much to pay off. 

Honorable Mention: Garret Richards, BOS ($8,200 DK, $7,400 FD) at BAL; Daniel Lynch *GPP only, KC ($5,300 DK) vs CWS; Zac Lowther *GPP only, BAL ($4,000 DK) vs BOS.

 

OF Michael Conforto, NYM ($4,100 DK, $3,100 FD) vs ARI

 

Here I go again mentioning Michael Conforto. But I still like this price for Conforto who has a career .373 wOBA against RHP. He gets another susceptible righty tonight in Merrill Kelly who has allowed a .370 xwOBA so far this year to go along with just a 16.6% K rate. 

Honorable Mentions: Corey Seager, SS ($5,100 DK, $3,500 FD) at LAA; Marcell Ozuna, OF ($4,900 DK, $3,500 FD) vs PHI. 

 

1B Freddie Freeman, ATL ($5,300 DK, $4,000 FD) vs PHI

 

Vince Velasquez has been largely underwhelming as a starter, in 33 starts going back to 2019 he’s accumulated a 4.96 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He’s certainly capable of missing bats as his K rate during that span stands at 25.9%, but he’s been plagued by inefficiency. So far this year he’s struggled more so with free passes as his walk rate is 15.5%. That could lead to some traffic on the bases tonight going against a potent Braves lineup down in Atlanta. Freddie Freeman makes sense as a top option at first considering Velasquez has allowed a .347 wOBA to lefties for his career. 

Honorable Mentions: Alex Bregman 3B ($4,800 DK, $3,600 FD) vs TOR; J.D. Martinez, OF ($5,200 DK, $4,300 FD at BAL. 

 

Value Batter: OF Willie Calhoun, TEX ($3,700 DK, $2,800 FD) vs SEA

 

It’s been really nice to see Willie Calhoun back in action after last year’s scary drilling to the head. He’s been digging in the leadoff spot of late for the Rangers and has been quietly productive so far posting a .392 wOBA (.369 xwOBA) through 72 PA. He combines a low K rate (13.9% this year) with power making him a perfectly suitable option as a value play against the Mariners and their mystery starter in tonight’s game down in Texas. 

Honorable Mentions: Jeff McNeil, 2B/3B ($2,900 FD) vs ARI; Austin Riley, 3B ($3,900 DK, $2,500 FD) vs PHI; Kyle Lewis, OF ($3,800 DK, $2,600 FD) at TEX; Andrew Vaughn, 1B ($2,600 DK, $2,200 FD) at KC; Michael Chavis, 1B/2B ($2,200 DK, $2,000 FD) at BAL; Marwin Gonzalez1B/2B ($3,400 DK, $2,400 DK) at BAL; Rowdy Tellez *GPP only, 1B ($2,500 DK, $2,200 FD) at HOU.

 

Top Stack: ATL vs PHI (RHP Vince Velasquez)

 

As we mentioned earlier with Freeman, Velasquez has looked vulnerable during his career as a starter. The Braves have one of the better implied team totals of tonight’s slate at just over five runs. I brought up Velasquez and his splits against lefties earlier but you shouldn’t hesitate to target the righties here too. Going back to 2019, Velasquez has allowed a .356 wOBA and .250 ISO. Ronald Acuña Jr./strong> goes without saying with the other upside power options here being Marcell Ozuna (.332 xwOBA this year) and Austin Riley (.327 xwOBA this year). William Contreras is on the board too if you’re in the hunt for a value option at catcher.

The Red Sox should be a popular stack this evening as they continue their stay in Camden Yards. Zac Lowther is a rookie making his first start so we know how those things can go with nerves and all that is to say that there is absolutely upside with stacking Boston. But Lowther is an interesting pitcher to keep an eye on. Scouting reports indicate that there is a sort of deceptive element to Lowther in that his fastball is capable of generating plenty of swings and misses despite not having big velocity as it seems to be a product of his unique release point and extension. J.D. Martinez is a fine play in all formats given his start to the season and his excellent career numbers against LHP. But knowing that Lowther has some unique ability (2.55 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 15.3% K-BB across 148 IP in Double-A 2019) and that this is Boston’s first time seeing him there could be some value in fading them in tournaments. 

Honorable Mentions: BOS at BAL (Lowther); LAD at LAA (BundyGPP); HOU vs TOR (Matz). 

 

Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Ryan Amore

Writer for PL, artist, DFS enthusiast, and occasional Yankee fan. Once won a GPP with Henderson Alvarez. A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club. Appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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