DFS Plays of the Day – 5/16/23

Featured DFS plays for OwnersBox, DraftKings, and FanDuel for Tuesday

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Slate Details


OwnersBox- Main slate (12 games) – starts 7:07 PM EDT
DK/FD – Main slate (12 games) – starts 7:07 PM EDT


Weather Impact


Blue skies and sunshine are guaranteed.




Clayton Kershaw is my top pitcher for the day and remains one of the best arms in the game as long as he stays healthy. He’s allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his past five starts. His 10.15 K/9 is 18th among all qualified starters this season.

Three pitchers on the slate have a higher K/9 than Kershaw tonight, led by Kevin Gausman with 12.56 K/9 which ranks third overall in the majors. Gausman has had some truly eye-popping starts this season but has also dropped the ball in spectacular fashion at times. He gave up 8 ER against Boston back on May 4 but bounced back with a gem last week against Philly. He’s already dominated the Yankees once this season.

Zack Wheeler also makes the list with a 10.6 K/9 (12th overall) and a tantalizing matchup against San Francisco. The Giants are just average from a run-production standpoint and remain the most strikeout-prone group the league.

Cristian Javier has actually regressed this season to “just” 10.41 K/9. Javier ranks 15th in that metric after finishing third last year among all pitchers with at least 140 IP, so we know that his ceiling is much higher than what he’s shown so far. The Cubs have a lot of swing and miss in their game and have especially struggled lately.

Justin Verlander has shown no ill-effect of the shoulder injury that cost him the first few weeks of the season. And the Mets let him stretch to 106 pitches last time out, so I’m less concerned about his leash than I thought I would be. Since returning, he’s only faced Detroit and Cincinnati, so some trepidation is warranted today vs. the first-place Rays, but if anybody has earned the circle of trust, it’s JV.

Nathan Eovaldi has been one of the best surprises of the season. He has been completely untouchable his last three times out, going 25 2/3 innings without allowing a run and striking out 25. The matchup gets a little tougher today as he takes on the Braves. With so many other strong options to choose from, most bettors will shy away. I probably will too, but I wouldn’t blame anybody for staying invested.

Shane Bieber rounds out the SP1 discussion. I wouldn’t say that these were in any particular order, but Bieber would probably still be at the bottom of the tier simply for his lackluster strikeout potential. While he remains an elite arm overall and the White Sox are a good matchup, there’s just no guarantee you’ll get those K bonus points.

For anybody looking to save a few dollars for their offense, the best tier two starters are Bailey Ober, Justin Steele, Seth Lugo, and Alex Cobb. I’d put Luis Castillo in that group as well as his game has fallen off a bit the past couple weeks, barely breaking above a 4.00 ERA for the past month.




Targeting Coors Field is always a good place to start, but doubly so when talking about two average-at-best pitchers. The Rockies are scraping the bottom of the barrel for starting pitchers… or should I say, adding pitchers to the bottom of the barrel. They added Chase Anderson off waivers last week and are pressing him into service right away. Anderson has a 6.51 ERA since the start of the 2020 season.

Jonathan India endured through a mini-slump a few weeks ago, but he’s back on top of the world lately, hitting .404 with two homers and three stolen bases in the past two weeks. He’s one of a number of streaking Reds ready to ravage Coors. Jake Fraley returned to the starting lineup last night and promptly picked up two more hits. He had three home runs over his past two starts before that. Nick Senzel might be coming to the end of his recent reign of terror, but he’s still riding a four-game hitting streak. And Spencer Steer could be in the mix, too. He adds another 200 points to his OPS when a righty is on the mound.

On the Rockies side, they’ll face Brandon Williamson who was given a wholly undeserved promotion by the Reds from Triple-A Louisville. In eight minor league starts this season, Williamson has a 6.62 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, and just 27 strikeouts in 34 innings pitched. Right-handed hitters in the minors are batting .320/.425/.600 against Williamson, which should be music to the ears of Colorado’s boppers. Randal Grichuk is hitting .370 this season and is on a 12-game hitting streak. Kris Bryant is batting .291 with multiple hits in five of his past eight games. And Jurickson Profar also has shown some fire at the plate recently.

Jordan Montgomery is on the bump for St. Louis. He’s giving up a tasty barrel rate and missing few bats. He has started giving up the long ball lately, too. Milwaukee rookie Joey Wiemer has returned big on investment against lefties and is often ignored by most DFS players on a day-to-day basis. Against southpaws, Wiemer is slashing .313/.333/.625 with two of his three home runs. The Brewers also like to run Owen Miller out there against lefties. He took a seat yesterday but got into the game as a pinch hitter and singled to extend his hitting streak to eight games and push his average up to .324 on the season. William Contreras has just one hit in his past 16 at-bats, but if you’re locked into playing the matchup game, he has a 1.001 OPS vs. lefties this season.

Even when things have gone well for Lance Lynn this season, he still has not been very good. He’s given up less than three earned runs just once in eight starts this season and was hammered for nine hits, two walks, and seven earned runs his last time out against the light-hitting Royals. José Ramírez has been quiet this season (by his standards) but the power is starting to come around. He has six balls with an exit velocity greater than 100 mph over the past three games. And let’s ride the wave on Josh Naylor, who has lifted himself over the Mendoza Line with home runs in three straight games.

Tommy Henry hasn’t been awful for the Diamondbacks this season and has back-to-back quality starts, but it’s not exactly a recipe for success when your K/9 matches your BB/9 (3.63). His ERA is 4.43, but his xFIP is 6.26. Regression is coming and I’ll push my chips in that direction even with the A’s on tap. The inevitable decline of Brent Rooker might be at hand (no hits in his past three) but we’re still talking about a player hitting .298 with 11 home runs and 29 RBI this season. Plus, he has a 1.169 against lefties this season. Esteury Ruiz hit his first home run last week and continues to steal bases and hearts. He also has a positive split vs. southpaws with a.319/.396/.447 slash.

Oakland also has a lefty on the mound in Kyle Muller. Muller has given up four earned runs or more in five of his past six starts. Christian Walker, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Gabriel Moreno are good targets.

And, finally, let’s pick on Brady Singer one more time. The Royals’ hurler has been smacked around quite a bit this year. He’s in the absolute bottom percentile in hard hit rate and average exit velocity. Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, and Xander Bogaerts are all worth a look.


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

Ryan Loren

Ryan Loren is a baseball writer for Pitcher List and a Detroit sports fan struggling to remember what it's like to root for winning teams.

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