DFS Plays of the Day – May 25

Ryan Amore previews Tuesday's DFS slate.

Tuesday night’s 13-game slate is a fun one with a bevy of excellent pitching options. On DraftKings, the pricing for pitching is interesting, to say the least, with several high caliber arms available at sharp discounts.


Top SP: Jacob deGrom NYM ($11,800 DK, $12,000 FD) vs. COL


Baseball’s indomitable ace returns from his latest triumph, a trouncing of the Low-A Palm Beach Cardinals. The poor kids, they had no chance. His strikeout rate sits at 46.1% for the year. Will we see it reach 50%? Or perhaps the seventh no-hitter of the 2021 season? Or better yet, its first perfect game? The road Rockies are here to oblige. And so too are the Mets, whose makeshift lineup was shut down last night by the not so fearsome Austin Gomber. I foresee bagels aplenty in the runs column for this game.

I mentioned in the beginning, but DraftKings pricing seems a little odd tonight. Corbin Burnes, whose 43.3% K-BB rate leads the slate, is priced at just $9,100. I’m not sure what to make of it. This is the lowest his salary has been since opening day. In his last start against the Royals he was dominant once again, recording nine strikeouts backed by a 33.7% CSW. deGrom is the top option, but if you want to save some salary, it’s hard to argue with Burnes considering what looks like an excellent discount. He gets a Padres lineup that’s a little banged up right now, missing Trent Grisham, who was placed on the IL last night with a heel injury. Manny Machado is also questionable for tonight’s game.

Similarly, Lucas Giolito (19.2% K-BB rate, 28.9% CSW 2021) seems underpriced relative to his upside. We’ve seen him carry a much higher salary than tonight’s $8,700 on DraftKings and $8,500 on FanDuel. The Cardinal’s team wOBA of .305 ranks 21st. 

Honorable Mentions: Corbin Burnes, MIL ($9,100 DK, $10,200 FD) vs. SD; Max Scherzer, WAS ($10,700 DK, $11,000 FD) vs. CIN; Lucas Giolito, CWS ($8,700 DK, $8,500 FD) vs. STL; Joe Musgrove, SD ($9,500 DK, $8,400 FD) at MIL. 


Value SP: Kevin Gausman, SF ($7,200 DK, $10,800 FD) at ARI


Averaging 25.9 PPG on DraftKings, with a sparkling 1.66 ERA and 0.80 WHIP, Kevin Gausman is just underpriced. The former Oriole owns a 23.5% K-BB rate through his first six starts, which is good for sixth among tonight’s probable pitchers, yet his $7,200 salary ranks 16th. His other indicators are strong too, including a .287 xERA and .272 xwOBA allowed. The Diamondbacks’ team wOBA stands at .305 for the year (19th), and their 23.5% team K rate is just about in the middle of the pack, so the matchup isn’t imposing by any means, making Gausman a strong value. Facing rookie Corbin Martin, the Giants are huge road favorites (-179) this evening in Arizona.

Speaking of discounts, we’re getting a huge one with Clayton Kershaw tonight, as it seems to be a product of a tough draw on the road against the Astros. They don’t strike out much at all, with just a 17.9% K rate as a team, by far tops in the league, with the Padres in second at 20.8%. Considering Kershaw’s previous low in DraftKings salary was $9,500, he has to be on the board. His 24.6% K-BB rate on the year is fifth relative to tonight’s other probable pitchers.

If you’re looking for a punt play, Tarik Skubal (12.1% K-BB rate, 26.3% CSW 2021) is an option. What was already a pedestrian offense (.293 team wOBA, 24th), Cleveland recently lost Franmil Reyes to the IL. And Skubal is coming off a season-high nine strikeouts (38.9% CSW) in his last start against the Mariners in Seattle.

Andrew Heaney (23.2% K-BB rate, 29.9% CSW) has been a roller coaster so far, and he’s coming off a dreadful outing his last time out against the Indians. But this is a potential bounce-back spot for the lefty, and we’ve seen him produce 30 point performances on DraftKings three times this year, so there is fantastic upside relative to his salary. The Rangers have a team K rate of 25.1% against LHP (tenth highest). 

Honorable Mention: Clayton Kershaw, LAD ($8,000 DK, $10,000 FD) at HOU; Tarik Skubal, DET ($5,500 DK, $6,600 FD) vs. CLE; Andrew Heaney, LAA ($6,200 DK, $7,600 FD) vs. TEX; Cole Irvin, OAK ($6,700 DK, $7,200 FD) vs. SEA. 


1B Matt Olson, OAK ($4,600 DK, $3,600 FD) vs. SEA


Rookie Logan Gilbert has looked a little shaky in his first two starts. In his last outing against the Tigers, he needed 74 pitches to record eight outs, while recording just two strikeouts backed by a 19% CSW. Not a great sign. Maybe he rights the ship, but based on what we’ve seen early on, he looks vulnerable. Meanwhile, Matt Olson’s K rate is at a career-low 17.7%, and he owns a .376 career wOBA against RHP. Few can match his power upside. The A’s implied team total sits at just under five runs, making them a team worth targeting.

Honorable Mentions: Freddie Freeman, 1B ($5,600 DK, $4,000 FD) at BOS; Luke Voit, 1B ($4,000 DK, $2,800 FD) vs. TOR; Ronald Acuña Jr./strong>, OF ($6,100 DK, $4,500 FD) at BOS; Max Muncy, 1B/2B ($4,900 DK, $3,900 FD) at HOU; Aaron Judge, OF ($5,500 DK, $3,700 FD) vs. TOR. 


3B Josh Donaldson, MIN ($4,100 DK, $2,700 FD) vs. BAL


I know what you’re thinking. A loaded 13-game slate and we’re rolling with boring old Josh Donaldson?! Yes, because we should be looking at the Twins, as they have the top implied total on the board at just under six runs. They’ll be facing Orioles righty Dean Kremer, who has struggled so far with a 6.35 ERA and 1.59 WHIP through his first eight starts. For his career, (52.2 IP) Kremer has allowed a .357 wOBA and .225 ISO to RHB. Donaldson is off to a fairly quiet start, but his batted-ball numbers are superlative including a .393 xwOBA on the year. Nelson Cruz, who was able to pinch hit last night, would also be a top play if he’s able to return to the starting lineup tonight. 

Honorable Mentions: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 1B ($5,500 DK, $4,300 FD) at NYY; Brandon Belt, 1B ($4,300 DK, $2,800 FD) at ARI; Giancarlo Stanton, OF ($4,800 DK, $3,000 FD) vs. TOR; Buster Posey, 1B/C ($4,500 DK, $3,800 FD) at ARI; Anthony Rendon3B ($4,400 DK, $3,600 FD) vs. TEX. 


Value Batter: SS Gleyber Torres, NYY ($3,700 DK, $2,700 FD) vs. TOR


To his credit, Steven Matz (16.8% K-BB rate, 30% CSW 2021) has shown plenty of ability at times this year, but Vegas is looking at this as a mismatch, pegging the Yankees with an implied team total of five and a half runs, just behind the Twins for the best on the board. In that case, we have to consider Yankee bats. Gleyber Torres has gotten off to a dreadfully slow start, but has been productive of late. This could be an opportune time to buy before his salary jumps up. His teammate Gio Urshela, whose been hitting cleanup as of late, is another potential value too. 

Honorable Mentions: Alex Kirilloff, OF ($4,000 DK, $2,800 FD) vs. BAL; Gavin Lux, 2B/SS ($3,700 DK, $2,800 FD) at HOU; Alex Dickerson, OF ($3,000 DK, $2,400 FD) at ARI; Gio Urshela, 3B/SS ($3,900 DK, $2,400 FD) vs. TOR; Jonathan Villar, 3B ($3,600 DK, $2,600 FD) vs. COL; Tyler Walls, SS ($2,200 DK, $2,100 FD) vs. KC; Justin UptonOF ($3,300 DK, $3,000 FD) vs. TEX; Austin Riley, 3B ($4,000 DK, $3,000 FD) at BOS; Evan Longoria, 3B ($3,900 DK, $2,900 FD) at ARI. 


Top Stack: MIN vs BAL (Kremer)


As mentioned earlier, the Twins find themselves at the top of the board tonight. Kremer has shown a dip in K rate this year from 26.5% last year to just 20.9% so far in 2021. He’s also surrendered a .381 wOBA to opposing hitters this season (.361 xwOBA). For his career, he’s actually shown a lower K rate against RHB at 19.8% as opposed to 26.7% against LHB so, of course, Donaldson (career .386 wOBA) and Cruz (career .389 wOBA) make sense. Miguel Sanó (career .349 wOBA) is worth mentioning too as a boom/bust play perfect for tournaments. The Twins lineup has been in flux of late as they’ve dealt with injuries, but Luis Arráez (career .343 wOBA) would be a strong value play if he finds himself in the leadoff spot. Alex Kirilloff has been one of the more impressive rookie hitters so far this year and is another excellent play for all formats. Trevor Larnach, who has shown plus power in the minors, is a viable punt play if he’s in there too. Mitch Garver (.345 career wOBA) provides an upside option at catcher. 

We mentioned the Yankees and Athletics, but the Giants are an interesting potential stack too, as they have an implied total of over five runs. They’ll be facing rookie Corbin Martin, who is making just his second start back in his return from Tommy John surgery. He struggled with walks in his debut against the Dodgers, while also giving up two home runs. The Diamondbacks’ bullpen has struggled considerably too this year. The Giants are an offense that typically doesn’t attract too much attention, especially on large slates like tonight, so they could provide some leverage in tournaments. 

Honorable Mentions: NYY vs. TOR (Matz); SF at ARI (Martin); ATL at BOS (Richards); OAK vs. SEA (Gilbert). 

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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