DFS Primer – May 29

Gus Elmashni breaks down the DFS slate for Saturday.

Welcome to the Sunday edition of the DFS Primer. Also, Happy Memorial Day weekend! We are in the middle ,of it so I hope you are making the most of the extra time with family and friends. For yours truly, my 5-year-old son and I camped out in our backyard. That means no meticulous research for today, but I will still be referring to the Statcast metrics I love. What are those metrics, you ask? If you have read my previous DFS columns, there are six metrics I love, four of which can be found on Statcast. Here they are again:

1) K/BB ratio

2) FB/GB ratio

3) Barrel rate allowed

4) Hard hit contact %

5) xwOBA allowed

6) xERA

The last four metrics listed are from Statcast, and are ones I feel will give you an edge over the competition, since there seems to be so much focus on just traditional stats like ERA and ISO. Barrel rate is my favorite, since a big event like a HR can ruin your day if your pitcher serves up two or three bombs. The case in point would be Justin Verlander, who was knocked around by the Mariners Friday night. Of course HRs can help you rise to the top of the leaderboard if you had batters such as Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge, and Joc Pederson, who each went yard multiple times in one night.

I am feeling very good about my pitcher selection over the last two weeks. Last Sunday I had Zach Eflin, who was spectacular against the Dodgers and was not highly-rostered. My apologies for promoting him yesterday, as he couldn’t quite figure out the red-hot Mets. I wound up pivoting to Sandy Alcántara for the FanDuel slate, who was superb and completely outscored Gerrit Cole, who was rostered at over 60%. As the wise Warren Buffet has said often about investing, “Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.”

The whole industry was all over Cole yesterday just because it’s the Yankees and the Rays have several injuries. Well, the Yankees have injuries too, and they did not give Cole the run support he needed to get the W. DFS players still seem gun-shy to select pitchers against Atlanta. Why, you might ask? The Braves are defending World Series champions and have some big names in their lineup. But that was last year. Guess who is not there from last year? Freddie Freeman.

Don’t underestimate the value of a great #2 hitter. Freeman is so good at fouling off pitches and working the pitch count. He is also good at studying the opposition and sharing insight with his teammates. The Dodgers are well on their way to another deep postseason run as long as nothing catastrophic happens to the team. The Braves, on the other hand, are struggling to get to .500. They also strikeout A LOT and Alcántara has solid K metrics. K’s are king in DFS when selecting your pitcher, especially on FanDuel. Remember that.

So, who do we grab today without hesitation? Shane McClanahan of the Tampa Bay Rays. He is priced way up, but justifiably so. He is due for some negative regression with wOBA allowed and ERA, but not by much. The expected metrics for wOBA and ERA for McClanahan are .264 and 2.45, respectively, just a delta of -.023 and -.039 from his current levels. Meanwhile, the Yankees are still without Giancarlo Stanton, whose value should not be overlooked. On May 25 and 27, the Yankees scored just two runs. Yesterday, they scored just one run. Furthermore, they struck out 10 times on Friday and nine times yesterday.

Here is the nail in the coffin with my McClanahan analysis. He has impressive whiff rates with three of his four pitches. Check it out below (number of pitches in parentheses).

4-Seamer: 26.9% (300)

Slider: 45.6% (129)

Curveball: 38.8% (198)

Changeup: 50% (154)

With a run total of just 6.5 (for both teams combined!) and the Rays favored at -140, the Yankees are not expected to do much scoring. Vegas believes in McClanahan, Statcast believes in McClanahan, and I believe in McClanahan. You should too!

So, how do we build our stacks since so much of our salary is devoted to the Rays’ ace? Boston and Washington, that’s how. The Nationals did not do much last night in the second game of a doubleheader against Colorado, but has scored a combined 20 runs in the first two games of that series. As for Boston,  I cannot think of an offense hotter than theirs. How each batter is not priced over $3,500 on FanDuel is beyond me. Even the high-priced bats are bargains. Trevor Story should be at a mid $4K salary, and likewise with JD Martinez. I like them both as they face a lefty today.

The implied run totals for Boston and Washington are at 5.9 and 4.7, respectively. Minnesota is the only other stack I might consider, since the Twins have an implied run total of 5.1. However, Byron Buxton still has not fully broken out of his slump. He was benched on Friday and went just 1 for 5 last night. At least he got a hit, but he needs to do more before I hop back on the Minnesota train.

Here are some sample lineups for today. Fortunately both DraftKings and FanDuel decided to use the same games for the main slate, which makes roster construction much easier than it was yesterday.

P: S. McClanahan
P: S. Gray
C: C. Vazquez
1B: J. Bell
2B: T. Story
3B: M. Franco
SS: N. Hoerner
OF: J.D. Martinez
OF: K. Hernandez
OF: N. Cruz


P: S. McClanahan
C/1B: C. Vazquez
2B: T. Story
3B: M. Franco
SS: A. Escobar
OF: J.D. Martinez
OF: K. Hernandez
OF: N. Cruz
UTIL: J. Bell

There you have it! Seems like I found the time to do a deep dive while camping out in my backyard. Trust the data by going with McClanahan and building some Red Sox and Nationals stacks, who are each red hot. Good luck!


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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