DFS Plays of the Day – May 21

Dave Swan previews the DFS slate for Friday's action.

Happy Friday, again! The first thing we notice is the slate is quite robust. Second, the pricing on SP went through the roof-especially for mid-level talents as well. This will make things a little more difficult, so building a stack needs to cost less than usual. No worries, I have a perfect one for you! Furthermore, there is a bevy of games played today, 15 in total. Outside of some weather concerns for DET at KC, we should see no reason to worry about rainouts. Last, the first games start at 7:05 EST, so you’ve got plenty of time to craft the perfect build. Good luck!


Top SP: Ian Anderson, ATL ($10,500 DK, 8,800 FD) vs PIT


The pitching on today’s slate is littered with superhuman talent. Our superhuman of choice today is Atlanta’s young stud arm, Ian Anderson. Let’s start with the obvious; the Pirates have a weaker lineup. Do you know how I know? Their cleanup hitter is a catcher. All kidding aside, the main reason is the lack of overall offensive firepower. The Pirates vs. RHP have the lowest team ISO(.113) and fourth-worst OPS(.653).

Besides picking on Pittsburgh, Ian Anderson has a tremendous skillset on the mound. His 29.9% CSW lends a helping hand to all the strikeouts. Oddly, he is down just a touch on his K/9 total from 2020. Possibly a focus on keeping the ball on the infield instead of allowing too much hard contact. The groundball rose to a sliver past 55%. Additionally, the 9.4 K/9 and elite ground ball rate produced a 3.20 ERA, backed up by a 3.60 FIP.

Usually, I’ll drop a few honorable mentions if you want to pivot away from the main play. However, the high-priced arms face off against stout offense or in extremely favorable parks for today’s slate. Could any of those dynamic arms ball out and put up gigantic DFS points? Absolutely, but you will be paying through the nose and taking on a bunch of risks.

Honorable Mentions: Trevor Bauer, ($11,900 DK, $11,800 FD) at SF.


Value SP: Mike Minor, KC ($7,500 DK, $7,600 FD) vs DET


We are paying way down for our SP2 with Mike Minor. The Royals’ SP bounced back nicely against division rival Chicago White Sox on his last time out. Minor, in seven innings, scooped up a win while striking out seven batters and only allowing one earned run. Impressive, considering the White Sox are the best team in the MLB vs. southpaws.

Today’s matchup makes slotting Minor at SP much easier. The Tigers are a disaster against LHP, as shown by their 58 wRC+. That is no joke; it is a 58 wRC+. If you had to select the next team to be no-hit, the Tigers against LHP might be the stone-cold favorite. How can they be so bad against LHP? They strike out over 33% of the time! On top of the very breezy whiff profile, the Tigers showcase next to no power(.080 ISO).

Honorable Mention: Kyle Gibson, ($7,100 DK, $8,100 FD) vs HOU; Tyler Anderson, ($7,300 DK, $7,900 FD) at ATL. 


3B José Ramírez, CLE ($5,600 DK, $3,600 FD) vs MIN


J-Ram is a terrific start to any build, as far as your hitters go, especially as a one-off play too. The Cleveland team around him has their spurts of greatness and gets no-hit twice in a season. No knock on Cleveland. That is just 2021 baseball. Luckily, we don’t have to worry much about J-Ram’s output. He is elite.

What makes him so elite? The 3B is a Statcast nightmare for opposing pitchers. First, he walks over 10% of the time, and when he is making contact, it’s deafening. Second, he touts the 84th percentile in barrel% and 97th percentile in xwOBA. I mean, cmon, his xSLG is .608 as well. So it’s no surprise why the Cleveland star has already parked 12 pitches in the bleachers. If we have to spend a ton of salary on someone, J-Ram has the ability to be a DFS monster.

Honorable Mentions: Alex Bregman, 3B ($5,800 DK, 3,500 FD) at TEX; Eduardo Escobar, 3B ($5,300 DK, $3,700 FD) at COL.


2B/3B Jazz Chisholm Jr., MIA ($4,000 DK, $3,400 FD) vs NYM


Jazz is another bat we should never feel like we are throwing bad salaries at. On a DFS point-per-game basis, Jazz is one of the best. How does he get all those points? He steals bases, eight on the season, and hits HRs; he racked up five already. Sure, we can debate his massive strikeout rate as a deterrent, but it’s far more fun to lament over this 16% barrel rate and .468 xwOBAcon. Since coming back from a short IL stint, Jazz continues right where he left off by collecting a hit in each game back. Now, we just wait for the points to pile up.

Honorable Mentions: Ketel Marte, 2B/OF(DK-only) ($5,300 DK, $4,100 FD) at COL; Marcus Semien, 2B ($5,600 DK, $3,400 FD) vs BOS.


Value Batter: OF Adolis García, TEX ($3,500 DK, $3,400 FD) vs HOU


Ok, this is more of a DraftKings play, but what is going on his Adolis’ salary here? The Rangers’ OF continues to mash HRs, and yet his salary isn’t moving up all that much. Adolis has already swatted 11 HRs and put up 30 RBI in 36 games played. Additionally, García has a 17.7% barrel rate and .491 xwOBcon. We aren’t going to think too hard on this one for our DK builds; Adolis will be in most lineups built today.

Honorable Mentions: Randal Grichuk, OF ($4,300 DK, $2,800 FD) vs TB; Cameron Maybin, OF ($2,900 DK, $2,100 FD) at MIA.


Top Stack: Milwaukee Brewers at CIN (RHP Jeff Hoffman)


The implied run total for the Brewers is 4.5, which is one of the higher spots on the slate. However, building a five-person stack at an affordable price is fairly easy. Additionally, included in this stack will be a former MVP, Christian Yelich. The odd part about stacking against Hoffman against left-handed hitters is that he prefers to trade out walks for hard contact. This makes him a perfect target to build a stack against, specifically if the MLB squad is loaded with lefties. Luckily, for the Brewers, we can toss on Kolton Wong, Omar Narváez, and Daniel VogelbachWait that is only four people. Next, tack on Avisaíl García, as he has shown the ability to thump away at RHP by putting six into the bleachers already.

To review, we were able to make a five-person stack with a bunch of HR potential that might get walked a lot? Oh yeah, and we are in one of the smallest ballparks in all the land? Against an SP with a career 6.17 ERA that has one of the implosive bullpens in the MLB behind him? And at an affordable price? Enjoy!

Honorable Mentions: WAS vs BAL (Kremer), CLE vs MIN(Dobnak), ARI at COL (Coors Field).


Featured image 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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