DraftKings Plays of the Day—5/17

Erik Smith details today's DraftKings slate with his must plays and best values of the day.

Pitcher List is proud to partner with DraftKings for the 2019 season. We’ll be featuring our top picks for every daily slate through the season and feature articles dedicated to the GPP.

With every team playing a night game, DraftKings features 15-game slate that includes every MLB team, giving DFS players plenty of options while filling out their lineups.


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Top SP: Jacob deGrom, NYM ($11,400) at MIA


As if Jacob deGrom needed any help padding his stats this year, he faces the poor Marlins offense for the third time already this season. There isn’t much analysis needed on the matchup, as this is the best matchup on the slate any way you slice it, and deGrom is an elite arm. Deciding whether to roster deGrom completely comes down to strategy and format, as he is going to be as popular a play as we have seen this year. deGrom has averaged 22.34 DraftKings points on the year, while against the Marlins he has averaged 37.8 points. If you think you can find another starter who matches deGrom’s point total, you’ll have a huge advantage on the field, as you’ll be saving significant money compared with a huge percentage of lineups. Fading deGrom can obviously blow up in your face if he matches his 45.4 points from the last time he pitched in Miami, however. He’s probably an automatic play in cash games and smaller-entry contests, but those who risk fading him in larger tournaments could be handsomely rewarded if their alternatives pan out.

Honorable Mention: Max Scherzer, WAS ($11,100) vs. Cubs.


Value SP: Frankie Montas, OAK ($8,800) at DET


While there are some slightly cheaper options who are worth considering, I like Frankie Montas as a value option tonight against a weak Detroit offense. The Tigers are sporting a .280 wOBA against right-handed pitching, a number that is dropping as they have produced a .260 wOBA against righties since May 1. Montas has been solid if unspectacular, pitching into the sixth inning in six of eight starts this year. I considered Joey Lucchesi, as he has a matchup against a Pirates team that really struggles against left-handers. But Lucchesi’s upside is held back by the fact that he rarely makes it past the fifth inning. Martin Perez has a deceptively good matchup against a Mariners team that has struggled against lefties as of late, and he has shown the ability to pitch late into games. But in the end, I think Montas is a better pitcher and has more upside tonight, edging out the other options in his price range.

Honorable Mention: Martin Perez, MIN ($8,600) at SEA.


1B/OF Cody Bellinger, LAD ($5,500) at CIN (RHP Anthony DeSclafani)


While Cody Bellinger is an obvious play, this matchup is too appealing to pass up. With three hitters priced above Bellinger and batters such as Jarrod Dyson within $200 of his price, there still seems to be some value here. Bellinger gets a matchup in the home run-friendly Great American Ballpark against Anthony DeSclafani, a pitcher who has struggled against lefties. DeSclafani allowed a .385 wOBA against left-handed batters last year, and his struggles have continued this year, with a .380 wOBA. Bellinger owns an absurd .554 wOBA against right-handed pitching this year, and as if he needed more value, he has stolen seven bases in 2019. You may not have room for him if you spend up on deGrom, but Bellinger is a compelling reason to be thrifty with your starting pitching.

Honorable Mention: 3B Eugenio Suarez, CIN ($4,800) vs. LAD (LHP Rich Hill).


Value Bat: OF Nick Senzel, CIN ($4,200) vs. LAD (LHP Rich Hill)


Small sample size alert, but entering Thursday’s games, Nick Senzel was batting .357 with two home runs and a double in 16 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, good for a .511 wOBA on the year. And while Rich Hill hasn’t had trouble with right-handed hitters in his career, 2019 has been a different story. Hill has allowed five home runs over his three starts this year, with all five coming against right-handed hitting. While these sample sizes are too small to draw sweeping conclusions, finding a leadoff hitter in a home run park with a positive platoon matchup for $4,200 is a value in my book. Hill will no doubt correct his problem against righties eventually, but let’s hope we can take advantage of this trend for at least one more start.

Honorable Mention: Matt Chapman, OAK ($4,200) at DET (LHP Daniel Norris).


Lineup Stack: Athletics at Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris)


I love stacks on both sides of the Dodgers vs. Reds matchup, but there are some pricey options in those lineups that can make stacking difficult. Oakland looks like the best bang for your buck tonight, and if you’re playing deGrom, you’ll likely need to cut some corners on hitters. Oakland as a team has a .340 wOBA against lefties this year with only a 19% strikeout rate. Daniel Norris has been solid this year, but he should be exploitable in this matchup. And once the Athletics get through Norris, one of the league’s five worst bullpens awaits. Matt Chapman and Khris Davis are both way down in price because of recent slumps, but both have excelled against lefties this year. Davis showed signs of life with a two-homer game on Monday. Throw in Stephen Piscotty at $3,600 with a .440 wOBA versus lefties, and you have a cheap start to a stack with home run potential. Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley, and Chad Pinder also present exploitable options from the right side.

Honorable Mention: Dodgers at Reds (RHP Anthony DeSclafani).


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is eriks44) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings, and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any nonpublic information.

Erik Smith

Ohio University graduate. Former food service employee in Yellowstone National Park. Now lives in Asheville, NC, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. DFS enthusiast and Reds fan.

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