DFS Plays of the Day – May 19

Ryan Amore previews Thursday's DFS slate.

It’s one of those slates. Seven games this Thursday and they are divided two ways with an early slate beginning at 12:35 PM EST with the Yankees at Orioles. The FanDuel early slate includes the makeup of last night’s Guardians/Reds rainout. And the late slate? Three games starting with the Red Sox hosting the Mariners at 7:10 PM EST.


Early Slate Pitching 


Note: As we go through tonight’s pitching options, you’ll find their line from their previous outing, and in the table above you’ll find their combined stats from the 2021-22 seasons.

Yu Darvish : ($8,700 DK, $9,100 FD):@ ATL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

Kyle Gibson: ($8,400 DK, $7,300 FD): @ LAD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 69 pitches.

This game is tough to figure out and really just highlights the difficulty of this short slate. Based on track record, Darvish should win in terms of what we want for strikeouts, but to make matters difficult his K rate is down this year to just under 20%. While Philly does strikeout a bit, they are an offense that can stack a ton of power. So far, they’re fifth in baseball with a .324 team wOBA.

Gibson, meanwhile, gets the easier draw in the Padres, who have been propped up by a sensational season so far from Manny Machado. Otherwise, the Pads have been below-average as a unit with a .299 team wOBA, 20th in baseball. It makes me want to question everything, but I think I’d lean Gibson, especially on FanDuel where you’re getting a little discount.


Chris Bassitt: ($10,500 DK, $10,400): vs SEA (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 108 pitches.

Bassitt is probably a tick overpriced based on true talent level. But, we can’t quibble considering his excellent results so far and, yeah, the lack of alternatives.


Cal Quantrill: ($7,400 FD): @ CWS (L) – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 98 pitches.


Jordan Montgomery: ($7,800 DK, $8,100 FD):@ CWS (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 86 pitches.

I’m torn on Montgomery. I’ve always wanted to believe that he can be a relevant pitcher for fantasy purposes, but so far he’s been blander than oatmeal sans toppings. The Yankees have also been reluctant to let him go, as he’s yet to throw 90 pitches. He might just be forever stuck in that bucket of better real life than fantasy pitcher. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. He’s a massive favorite against the Orioles (.289 team wOBA, 25th).

Quantrill is the FanDuel only play as he looks to take advantage of Reds team that has struck out at a 24.9% clip so far, third most in baseball.


Late Slate Pitching


George Kirby at BOS 112 10 17.9% 27.6% 11.8% 0.80 0.90
Rich Hill vs SEA -130 186.2 14.1% 30.2% 9.5% 1.19 3.71
Zac Gallen at CHC -110 155.2 18.4% 27.1% 9.4% 1.16 3.58
Marcus Stroman vs ARI -109 205.1 15.4% 28.3% 11.1% 1.15 3.29
Framber Valdez vs TEX -205 174.2 11.1% 28.1% 10.0% 1.25 3.09


George Kirby : ($7,800 DK, $8,500 FD) : @ NYM (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.

Rich Hill : ($6,500 DK, $7,800 FD) : @ TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.

Old versus new. Promoted straight from Double-A Arkansas where he posted a sensational 29% K-BB% across five starts this year, Kirby will be making just his third start. He’s armed with an excellent fastball, at least in terms of velocity, averaging just under 96 MPH. However, his slider has returned just a 10.5% whiff rate. I’ll be interested to see how that number changes as we get a larger sample size. In the meantime, I think we have to look at Kirby as an extremely volatile option, like most, if not all, rookie pitchers. And that narrative has already played out in his first two starts. He did lose out to Matt Brash, who has since been demoted, for a rotation spot earlier this spring. That is to say, again, who knows with rookie pitchers. On the other side, Rich Hill can sometimes reach back and give us a vintage performance, but with a K rate below 20%, he’s someone who can easily have his night torpedoed with one good poke over the Monster.

Zac Gallen : ($10,300 DK, $10,600 FD) : vs CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 96 pitches.

Marcus Stroman : ($7,000 DK, $7,100 FD) : @ MIL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.

This game is essentially a pick ’em. I’d side with Gallen given that Stroman is making his first start in nearly three weeks (COVID-19) and the Cubs K at a 24.7% clip, tied for fourth most in baseball.

Framber Valdez : ($8,500 DK, $9,700 FD) :@ WSH (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 105 pitches.

Coming off an excellent outing, Valdez basically checks all the boxes tonight. He’s a massive home favorite (-205) and faces a Texas team that has been a disappointment despite their big offseason adds (.291 team wOBA, tied-22nd).


Bats and Stacks


  • NYY (4.8 implied run total) at BAL Bruce Zimmermann (LHP) 13.1 K-BB%, 4.20 ERA, 1.40 WHIP: Zimmermann has actually been very good and comes into today not having allowed any more than three runs across his seven starts. But, still, as a nondescript lefty facing a lineup with the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stantonwe should see the majority of rosters settle here, especially on such a short slate. On that note, the Yankees might be a calculated fade if you want to bank on the newly expanded fences in Camden Yard’s left field helping Zimmermann escape with some loud outs.


  • PHI (4.2 implied run total) vs SD Yu Darvish (RHP) 20.9 K-BB%, 4.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP: For tournaments, the Phillies have the power to break a slate and should be relatively low in terms of roster % as most people filling out there lineups will want to avoid a familiar ace in Darvish. But, he comes into today’s game with a strikeout rate hovering just under 20%, that’s down from 29.2% last year. I think that probably comes up as we play along this year, but, if you want to gamble on the potential trend that Darvish isn’t the same sort of pitcher that he has been in the past, the Phillies certainly have the power to take advantage especially if they get Bryce Harper back, who is grinding his way through a UCL tear in his elbow. Harper is at nearly the same price as Aaron Judge on DK and seems like the pivot in tournaments. At $3,800 on DraftKings, there is value with Nick Castellanos relative to his talent level.


  • CWS (5.2 implied run total) at KC Carlos Hernández (RHP) 6.4% K-BB%, 4.97 ERA, 1.46 WHIP: The Royals’ 25-year-old right-hander has been brutal this year. He does throw hard, so there’s that at least, but to that extent, his fastball velocity is down about two ticks relative to last year. He’s allowed lots of hard contact, and he’s walked more than he struck out so far. Not good. Luis Robert, Yasmani Grandal, and José Abreu are priced to move relative to their talent and the matchup. Abreu is basically a free square on FanDuel at $2,700. The results haven’t been there early on, but his batted ball numbers are still very good. And if you want to party like it’s 2015, A.J. Pollock is there at the minimum as a punt. The other side of this game is interesting too because Vince Velasquez is certainly a pitcher worth picking on and not too many will be lined up to stack the Royals.


  • HOU (4.9 implied run total) vs TEX Glen Otto (RHP) 13.5% K-BB%, 7.99 ERA, 1.58 WHIP: The Astros jump to the top of the board for tonight’s three-gamer. The former Yankee prospect has a plus slider but has been dreadful through four starts this year with an xERA of 7.70. Lefties have terrorized him too in his short career with a .406 wOBA allowed. Not what you want with Yordan Álvarez and Kyle Tucker lurking.


  • ARI (4.1 implied run total) at CHC Marcus Stroman (RHP) 15.4% K-BB%, 3.29 ERA, 1.15 WHIP: This will be Stroman’s first start since May 1st, so he might be a little rusty. That and the wind looks like it’ll be blowing out at Wrigley Field, which adds some interest. Christian Walker has been hitting the ball well this year (.417 xwOBA, 11.4% barrels/PA) and is an interesting dart at first. Top prospect Alek Thomas has been impressive in his short stint so far and is also very cheap on both sites.


Value Bats


*Late slate people

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

Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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