DFS Primer – May 21

Gus Elmashni breaks down the DFS slate for Saturday.

Welcome to the Saturday edition of the DFS Primer. If you read my article last Sunday and played the sample lineup on FanDuel, you are very welcome! It helped yours truly takedown a GPP with Tarik Skubal dominating the Orioles and getting plenty of offensive production from the Astros and Brewers. In fact, Rowdy Tellez, Kolten Wong, Jose Altuve, and Chas McCormick all homered and produced in other ways.

How did I do it? Data science, that is how. If you know how to mine the data and leverage it to your advantage, daily fantasy sports can be a very profitable venture for you. And we still have over 120 regular-season games left to play!

My main focus will be on pitching when building my lineups. Sure, you can try to grab the big named bats and completely ignore the pitching matchup but remember that even the best hitters will struggle against an ace on the mound, and terrible offenses will feast against a gas can pitcher. Focus on pitching, pure and simple.

There are six metrics I find to be the most beneficial when determining which pitchers to roster and which ones to attack.

1) Barrel rate allowed.

2) Percent hard-hit contact allowed.

3) Expected wOBA allowed.

4) Expected ERA.

5) Flyball to groundball ratio.

6) Strike out to bases on ball ratio.

I can go on and on as to why I chose those metrics, but you need to trust me that these are the metrics that will help us win more often than not. I promise to do a deep dive into these metrics in another article. For now, check out the table below for the pitchers on today’s main slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel (note: the NYM-COL game will be featured on DraftKings but not on FanDuel).



Focus on the last column. That represents the sum of rankings for each of the six categories mentioned above. Of course, K/BB ratio is ranked in descending order since you want a high number there, but the rest are in ascending order since low is the way to go.

The two pitchers at the top are intriguing options. Both are cheap and will be low owned. I recommend Springs as your #2 pitcher on DraftKings, but I can’t recommend him on FanDuel. He simply won’t get enough innings, and there are some studs on the main slate. As for Williams, buyer beware since the game is in Colorado and Williams allows a high barrel rate. Plus, Williams doesn’t quite get enough innings.

So it comes down to Verlander or Montas. Take the savings and go with Montas. The top of the order for the Angels is scary, but they also strike out a lot. In fact, the Angels lead the majors in strikeouts with 383 through 41 games played. That is nearly 10 Ks per game. Meanwhile, Montas throws a nasty slider with a whiff rate of 46.6%. His other three pitches (sinker, 4-seamer, and splitter) are also very effective, with each of them generating a whiff rate of at least 20%. Let the crowd flock to Verlander while you take down a GPP with Montas at lower ownership.

As for the bats, just attack the worst pitchers displayed in the table above. Tampa Bay and Milwaukee stacks it is, especially on DraftKings, given the low salaries. Interestingly both pitchers are reverse splits pitchers, so get those righties in there for Tampa Bay and those lefties for Milwaukee.

You can also consider a Houston stack on FanDuel since you will have enough salary to make that happen. Plus, Tampa Bay is missing several key players, so best to just use the Tampa Bay stack for DraftKings.

Here are some sample lineups.


P: F. Montas
P: J. Springs
C: G. Sanchez
1B: J. Choi
2B: K. Wong
3B: L. Urias
SS: W. Franco
OF: C. Yelich
OF: R. Arozarena
OF: A. McCutchen



P: F. Montas
C/1B: Y. Gurriel
2B: J. Altuve
3B: A. Bregman
SS: J. Urias
OF: C. Yelich
OF: H. Renfroe
OF: M. Brantley
UTIL: R. Tellez


What’s funny is that the FanDuel lineup is very similar to the one I suggested last Sunday. Will history repeat itself? I sure hope so! Good luck today, and you can thank me later when you make lots of money tonight!


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

Gus Elmashni

Gus Elmashni is a San Francisco Bay Area native and an avid fan of the NBA, NFL, and MLB. He has played fantasy sports since 1993 when a few high school friends and he would tabulate daily NBA results from the San Jose Mercury News and draft new teams every month. Gus has been with Pitcher List since April 2022 writing DFS articles and the Best Bets column. Additionally, Gus works full-time as an educator in Northern California and resides in Sacramento with his wife and two young children.

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