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DFS Pitching Preview: June 16, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

Tonight is a smaller slate that we usually discuss. The game theory is different. We shouldn’t just play whoever we want because ownership concentrates heavily in certain pockets. We don’t have to avoid all chalk, but we have to pick our spots. I’m counting six solid spots for us to play pitchers — all favorable for different reasons and carrying different pitfalls.

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DFS Pitching Preview: June 14, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

On a 15-game slate, we can play half of the pitchers in mass multi-entry (MME), but we don’t have to. Trimming the fat with a scalpel, let’s flip the script and start with who I’m definitely not playing.

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DFS Pitching Preview: May 31, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

Of the 16 pitchers on the slate with at least 100.0 innings pitched since 2021, only four have SIERA over 4.00. And that includes Martín Pérez, who has a 3.71 SIERA this season and has yet to give up a home run through 56.1 innings. That said, only Kevin Gausman has a SIERA under 3.50. So, this slate isn’t a meeting of four or five aces, but there is some very good pitching scattered around. This is probably why everyone is pretty cheap on both sites — that pricing is relative to the slate.

There isn’t really a clear direction in which to go with pitching tonight. It really does depends on where we wanna go with hitting and how much leverage we’re looking to apply at the pitcher slot.

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DFS Pitching Preview: May 27, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

There’s a lot of really good pitching in shaky matchups that are fine to play in mass multi-entry, but our primary targets should be the two aces with the matchups on their sides.

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DFS Pitching Preview: May 24, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

The complexity of pitching on this slate is that there’s a lot of noise. Kevin Gausman, Logan Webb, Dylan Cease, and Walker Buehler can all make the claim that they’re aces. But there is one who rises above all of the rest.

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DFS Pitching Preview: May 20, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

This is a really tough slate in that there are no clear aces and the best pitchers we have don’t have matchups that stand out. On slates like this, I prefer to save money where I’m sacrificing the least projection, as opposed to chasing raw points. Because there are obvious plays for raw points.

Robbie Ray

Robbie Ray is probably my go-to on the slate. The only knock on him is that he wasn’t striking out many batters to start the season and walked 12 in his first 30.1 innings. But if we’re looking at recency bias, I’d rather look at what confirms the larger sample. Over his last 11.2 innings, Ray has 19 strikeouts and five walks, which is more in the direction of the 11.54 K/9 he achieved last season. Though he’s been effectively wild, he’s been effective, making the price tag too cheap.

As for the matchup, the Red Sox are a fine enough team to target. They don’t strike out much against left-handed pitching, but Ray’s strikeouts are baked into his skillset. At these prices, he can strike out seven in six innings and pay us back with extra juice.

Nestor Cortes

Of the pitchers on this slate, Nestor Cortes has the second-lowest SIERA this season (2.73). That’s elite. And we better believe he’s truly elite to play him because he has the worst matchup on the slate. The White Sox active roster has a 129 wRC+ with only a 21.1% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching since 2020.

To play Cortes is to play him to the degree by which his talent matchup-proof. And that’s not a reach, considering that none of the top pitchers have good matchups.

Sean Manaea

Sean Manaea has come heavy with the strikeouts this season. 10.47 K/9 this season so far and THE BAT thinks this is sticky, as it projects him the highest on the slate. The problem isn’t just the strength of the Giants to score runs, but their 21.1% strikeout rate against lefties since 2020. This looks like a spot where Manaea won’t get blown up and he has a long leash, but his BB/9 is up to 2.93 this season from 2.06 in 2021, so the plate discipline matchup is hairy.

Again, if you’re gonna believe the recency of Manaea’s 2022 strikeouts, we have to believe in the walks, too. This is a scary offense to which any pitcher can gift extra outs.

Julio Urías

Julio Urias belongs with these three not because of his talent, but because of his leash. Since 2021, his 3.73 SIERA is fine, his 8.97 K/9 is fine, but his 1.97 BB/9 and 1.06 HR/9 on a 5.7% barrel rate are elite. The Phillies need power to blow a pitcher up and he just doesn’t break that way, so there’s a high probability of six innings here.

Then, we get the strikeouts. The Phillies active roster has a 24.1% strikeout rate against left-handers since 2020, so if six innings is in the bag, we can strongly believe that at least six strikeouts are, as well.

There’s nothing sexy about this play, but Urias is adequately priced and we should project him well for the sneaky-decent matchup (relatively speaking). I prefer taking on the blowup risk of Ray for the biggest strikeout upside on the slate, but Urias is perfectly fine.

The great thing about DraftKings pricing pitchers so horribly is that we can play whoever we want. But — again — I’m not looking to spend $19k on pitching. The Ray-Urias combo costs only $17.2k.

Tarik Skubal and Jakob Junis

Finally, we get to good matchups. Tarik Skubal and Jakob Junis are the only pitchers on the slate with SIERAs under 4.00 who are also matched up with a wRC+ under 100 versus the handedness of the starters. They’re not very good pitchers, but they have the best matchups.

Thing is, Skubal’s matchup isn’t great and he’s really expensive because he’s got 10.21 K/9, only 1.82 BB/9, and a microscopic 0.45 HR/9 this season on a 5.7% barrel rate. this is a far cry from the feast-or-famine guy we’ve seen throughout his short career. This kid’s surrendered a ton of homers over a short period of time. Is he breaking out or is this a fluke?

Maybe a little bit of both.

We’ve seen his BB/9 slide in the right direction since he debuted, and — from there — it’s natural to see the power prevention get stronger.

But 0.45 HR/9 is just silly. That said, the Guardians are pretty weak on power outside of Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes, so Skubal should be fine.

Junis is palatable from a matchup perspective, as the Padres aren’t much after Manny Machado and Luke Voit. Junis can get a strikeout-per-inning, but his volume is firmly in the range of five innings. The pitching on this slate isn’t great, as we’ve already addressed, but we might need six innings from SP2 on this slate because there are some volume machines on it.

Cristian Javier

The Rangers are a great matchup, but they’re fine. We should only keep Cristian Javier in our MME player pools because he has the highest K/9 since 2021 on the slate at 11.37 and the Rangers can strike out a lot. The bad side of this is that he also has the most BB/9 at 4.41. He’s more dramatically effectively wild than Ray at a higher price.

Eric Lauer

I don’t believe it. Remember that if we’re gonna be prisoners of the moment, we have to still look at the total package. Sure, his 2.34 SIERA is the lowest on the slate and his 12.72 K/9 is the highest, and his 2.08 BB/9 is a reflection of great command, but he’s also given up 1.82 HR/9 on a whopping 11.1% barrel rate. American Family Whatever the Hell Park is a hitters park and Washington can mash left-handers just enough through Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz, and Josh Bell. Not to mention the latent power of Keibert Ruiz. This is a sneaky-terrible matchup for over $10k on an unproven guy with a history of being a bit of a bum.

Hyun Jin Ryu 류현진

We should be fans of Hyun Jin Ryu as a real-life pitcher, but his strikeouts have been on a sharp decline since 2020. Sure, he draws the Reds and can go seven, but he could easily come out with only two or three strikeouts. It sounds like I’m being hyperbolic, but I’m not.

Tyler Wells

The guy I’m looking at when I scroll all the way down under $7.5k isn’t German Marquez — a guy I normally like to play cheaply in Coors — or Luis Castillo. I think those guys get mashed tonight. So if I’m risking getting mashed to save a butt-ton of money, why not Tyler Wells?

His 10.26 K/9 and 1.89 BB/9 last year were good enough to translate into a high-command strikeout-per-inning guy after some bouts with control in the minors. The Rays aren’t scary. Their wRC+ against righties since 2020 is only 102, while they have a 24.4% strikeout rate to exploit. Wells is so cheap that we might not need the six innings we discussed earlier, so I can buy it.

Wells fits into the cheap pairing for which we might wanna aim on this complex slate.


DFS Pitching Preview: May 17, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

This is a tough slate for pitching. There are four good pitchers, but none are great. And of those four, three have tough matchups and one is in Coors. Consult the projections and ownership closely. Don’t chase high ownership on a mediocre play. Take the gamble on the lower-owned of your options.

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DFS Pitching Preview: May 9, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

There are a few tiers with which we’re gonna deal. More in order of salary than skill because we’re not talking about your pitcher picks. We’re talking about how you’re going to construct your lineups and the salaries are the shapes of our puzzle pieces.

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DFS Pitching Preview: May 3, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

Tonight’s decision revolve less around stats and more along the lines of gameplan and how you strategize to attack it.

If you’re aggressive on the ownership game and believe that Carlos Rodón is a top-three pitcher rest of season, as THE BAT does, you’re of the mind that he’s matchup-proof. Or you’re indifferent to matchups give a skill set like this. Enough so that his median should be the highest projection. I say that the Dodgers cap his ceiling, but this could be of no concern on DK where the $10k price tag is kinda’ low and no one is gonna play him.

This is an extreme stance — taking a rising star against the Dodgers, but we shouldn’t cross him off if his projected ownership continues to be low.

Wind could be blowing in at Wrigley around 20 mph. If you believe that pitch counts are still so wildly unpredictable that they’re impossible to project, but see Rodon’s matchup as too risky, Michael Kopech has similar strikeout stuff baked in against a Cubs team that strikes out a ton by default. That Kopech went 94 pitches his last outing pumps volume into this per-inning master. If five innings is good to you because it’s so hard to get to six anyway, Kopech is your guy on DK where they don’t give points for the quality start.

If five innings isn’t fine and you want the more comfortable matchup, Joe Ryan has gone six-plus in three straight starts. The Orioles could be less likely to disrupt that streak. He isn’t a consistent strikeout monster, but the Orioles are as good a strikeout matchup as the Cubs, so this could be a ceiling spot for Ryan’s strikeouts. Of these three pitchers, he’s the only one with three outings of six-plus innings.

All of that said, there’s a guy with double-digit K/9, solid control, and elite power prevention since 2021 who’s thrown 89, 89, 95, and 95 pitches across his four starts this season. And he’s facing the lowly Reds for under $9k on DK. Brandon Woodruff is just too damn cheap. If ownership is of no difference to you at pitcher, Woodruff is a game piece that we jam in everywhere to price enforce.

We should be playing one of these four on FD and can mix any of these four into DK lineups. But maybe you wanna sprinkle these four around at SP1 and take a stand on an SP2 cheaper that Woodruff. Which is totally fine — but the options are all very risky.

Cristian Javier has a SIERA under 4.00 since 2021 because of his 11.46 K/9. The risk is that the Mariners aren’t bad anymore, he has 4.40 BB/9 over that stretch with an uncomfortable 1.33 HR/9 allowed on a 9.8% barrel rate. But those strikeouts are sexy. If you disregard walks, Javier is extremely underpriced.

Tyler Mahle is probably not getting the win tonight, but the Brewers are ho-hum offense that strikes out a lot. Mahle has 10.41 K/9 since 2021. The lack of win probability caps his ceiling. But he’s free, so who cares?

Germán Márquez is a great pitcher at Coors Field. We normally don’t give a crap about home-road splits, but when a Rockie pitches well at home, we should take notice, because Coors is its own animal. It’s tough to keep the ball in the park and movement is funky, so pitchers can struggle to generate strikeouts. Marquez’ career ERA is 4.73 at home, but his 9.3 K/9 there is higher than his road 8.6. He’s struggled a little to start the season, but his ERA was 3.67 at Coors last season. I don’t know if last year was a fluke, but if you’re of the mind that Marquez is a good Coors pitcher, hell, no one’s gonna play him.

I think this can be a fine pitching pool from which to choose for SE3 and MME. If you’re wondering why I disregarded some guys, let’s take a look:

Alek Manoah is too damn expensive to be facing the Yankees. If we’re disregarding matchup, we can do it with a far better pitcher in Rodon for a comparable price. If Rodon were catching ownership in the 20% range, we could consider Manoah.

Julio Urías is cheap and there’s an argument that if we’re throwing matchup caution to the wind, we should do at a cheaper price tag. I empathize with this, but Urias doesn’t have baked-in strikeout stuff near Rodon, so Rodon is a rare case

Noah Syndergaard should go without saying. The Red Sox are a pretty neutral-ish matchup, but Syndergaard is only striking out 5.8 per nine this season. The strikeouts could come back this season, given his time away from the game, this is a rare case where I wanna see it first.

This brings us back to Ryan and Kopech. These are $10k-worthy pitchers on whom the field has been saying, let me see it first. The result is them being underpriced and maybe overowned.


DFS Pitching Preview: April 26, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

Pricing differs at the top of the pitching chain today across the sites. The gut reaction is to grab the cheaper options, but that isn’t always the correct option. The field likes to gravitate to the cheaper option. When we go along with the field on a pitching choice, we have to differentiate with our hitters. Don’t certain price points lock you into a chalky build.

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