DFS Daily Breakdown – May 18

Dave Swan breaks down the DFS slate for Wednesday.

Happy Wednesday! We’ve got baseball all day, which is suitable for viewing but not for DFS. There are several small slates, and the main will only showcase six games. Now, smaller slates are so tricky because the roster% typically gets condensed. My advice is to try and find some leverage plays. For example, stacking Seattle vs. Gausman because they’ve four LHB in the lineup. The probability of Seattle smashing isn’t high, but you’ll soar past the field for a payday if they do.

This slate is slightly different because nearly half the pitching options are bonafide aces. Furthermore, those aces will limit roughly half of the offenses. So, we could see even more chalk than usual. The hardest part of building your lineups will be smashing enough offense and selecting a couple of arms ready for a big day. You may need to rely on choosing the correct one-off pieces for success in GPPS.

Baseball is a game of high variance, and today’s as good as any to try something new. Good luck!


Implied Run Totals (IRT)



  • NYY @ BAL – The Yankees stack is pricey (specifically the early portion of the batting order) and will be difficult to stack. Consider using them as cheap one-offs like Jose Trevino or Joey Gallo. Stacking Baltimore? Against Gerrit Cole? Pass!
  • SEA @ TOR – Stacking against Kevin Gausman is ill-advised, but Seattle might be in play if you’re looking for a massive leverage play. There are plenty of cheaper bats to make a stack workable as you load up on ace-level pitching. Toronto is always in play for stacking, but today I’d focus on the back-end of the batting order like Santiago Espinal, Matt Chapman, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.


  • STL @ NYM – Today is an awful spot for St Louis since the lineup is right-handed and Max Scherzer dominated RHB. Avoid the lineup altogether. The Mets should be a reasonably popular stack with an IRT of 4.1 and manageable salaries (outside of Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor). However, I’d be more inclined to pull one-offs like Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith.
  • PIT @ CHC – Either offense is in play for stacking because the pitching is expensive. However, the field is in the same boat, and these two offenses aren’t exceptional. Use either as a small two or three-person secondary stack but not your primary because the upside is limited.


  • LAA @ TEX – Stacking against an ace will deplete your bankroll quickly, and Ohtani is an ace. But the slate doesn’t have many options, and right-handed bats can sneak one over the fences on him at times. I would only consider using Marcus Semien or Adolis García in GPPs for leverage. The Angels are crazy expensive, so you can’t stack them unless you take a hit in pitching. I would look elsewhere before stacking either team.
  • CHW @ KCR – The Royals arguably lost their best hitter yesterday, so stacking is out of the question. Instead, pull one-offs if you need more leverage in your builds since Giolito is returning from a COVID stint, and we aren’t sure how deep he goes. On the other side, the White Sox get a matchup against a pitcher that isn’t striking batters out. And they aren’t that expensive! This is a stack I really want to make work today.


Starting Pitchers



The Green Tier is where the aces live. While we are blessed with a slate full of stud pitching, we can only roster two of them. Do you risk taking the two priciest SPs to be different and jam in stacks? Or do you grab one and pull it from the Yellow Tier to build better stacks? We’ve got tough choices today, indeed.


  • Max Scherzer gets a tougher matchup than some of the other aces, but it’s Mad Max, and he’s matchup proof. He’s locked in and throwing nearly 100 pitches every time out. Additionally, St Louis has very few left-handed bats on the roster. Lastly, when a slate has many aces and few options, the priciest SP tends to go under-rostered.
  • Kevin Gausman is performing better than expected this season. The splitter has become his go-to and most thrown pitch, which has caused the strikeouts to spike. Furthermore, the control has been impeccable. Before I go on gushing over how great he’s become, make him a priority.


  • Gerrit Cole comes in as the third-highest-priced SP? Sign me up! We can grab a slightly better bat in our stack with the extra saving. Make Cole a priority in your builds and reap the benefits of a wonky slate.
  • Lucas Giolito might be the riskiest because this is the first outing since his stint on the COVID IL. Will he get a limited pitch count? It may not matter since the Royals are without their best hitter and haven’t been a consistent offense anyway.


  • Shohei Ohtani is under-priced for today and will be one of, if not the chalk pitcher on the slate. He gets an easier matchup against the Rangers, who scuffle pretty frequently. Lastly, it’s a spacious ballpark to mitigate the pesky fly balls.




Everyone is drooling over the Green Tier, and rightfully so. However, it will be highly challenging to roster two SPs from that tier and build a decent stack. For GPP purposes, you’ve got to get a little different, and these arms should provide the upside. Lastly, don’t use either of these two for cash games.

  • Dane Dunning is a total GPP shot in the dark. He’s got the strikeout rates to put up a monster day, but they come with a less desirable walk rate. Furthermore, his matchup isn’t an easy one. But we need to pay down somewhere while also trying to get away from the chalk.
  • Roansy Contreras doesn’t have an extensive track record in the MLB. However, from what we have seen, it’s been terrific. The stuff is electric, and the outcomes have routinely led to a solid number of punchouts. The big challenge will be the amount of work he’ll get today. Contreras’ previous two starts, he went 4.1 IP and 4.0 IP. It won’t take much to pay it back at this discounted salary.


Hitting Stacks


Chicago White Sox (vs. Zack Greinke)

  • Greinke has been a stalwart in limiting hard contact while not striking out anyone! No, like literally no one. That’s what makes him so intriguing today: the White Sox lineup puts plenty of balls in play. Furthermore, they’re picking up a 4.5 IRT with affordable salaries. As far as I’m concerned, this is the top stack of the day. Greinke operates on far too thin of a margin for error, and today will be the day of correction.
  • White Sox’ Core Stack Targets: Yoán Moncada, Luis Robert, and José Abreu.


New York Mets (vs. Jordan Hicks)

  • Are you stacking one of the best offenses on a small slate? Absolutely! However, they don’t fall into the number one position because the field will roster plenty from this lineup. Nimmo and McNeil against a Jordan Hicks with control issues will be essential, especially in cash games. Although we are stacking and Hicks allows a .170 ISO to RHB. So, consider Francisco Lindor a solid option at SS to pay up for.
  • Mets’ Core Stack Targets: Brandon NimmoJeff McNeil, and Francisco Lindor.


Toronto Blue Jays (vs. Marco Gonzales)

  • I prefaced this earlier that the Blue Jays should be a secondary stack. For instance, if the White Sox are your primary four-person stack, I’d make the Blue Jays my three-person secondary stack. Additionally, one of the main reasons is the matchup against Gonzales. This season he’s walking less than 20% of batters from either side of the dish. Furthermore, he’s allowing big-time thump (.380 ISO vs. LHB, .220 ISO vs. RHB).
  • Blue Jays’ Core Stack Targets: Santiago Espinal, Matt Chapman, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.


Value Hitters


Here are some of the best value hitters not mentioned above. Also, the value hitters are players under $3500 on DK and under $3300 on FD—just a step below my cash players. Use these players to smash into your lineup when you need to save some salary.


Value Plays


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

Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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