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.

CHALK SP1s: Luis Severino, Shohei Ohtani, Zack Wheeler

Luis Severino is the only one of these three with a favorable strikeout matchup to any degree. Shohei Ohtani faces the Mariners and Zack Wheeler faces the Nationals — both matchups are terrible for strikeouts. Ohtani lowkey also has the toughest run prevention matchup of the three and it’s not really all that close. Ohtani being the highest-owned pitcher, then, doesn’t make much sense. I’m immediately crossing him off my list for ownership on FanDuel.

But Severino and Wheeler are absorbing a lot of ownership, as well. Severino with the average matchup that comes with baked-in strikeouts and Wheeler with the slightly better overall matchup that comes with very few strikeouts. Severino will have more ownership than Wheeler, so I lean toward Wheeler on that level. The lack of strikeouts baked into the matchup just has me tad scared at this moment of the morning.

This is where the overall matchup is amplified. Wheeler doesn’t need a strikeout-per-inning if he goes seven or eight innings. He just needs to keep the walks and score down to compile outs; and — with that — the strikeouts will come, as he’s averaged 12.16 K/9 over his last six starts, going six-plus innings in his last five.

All of this said, Ohtani is projected to be so highly owned because he’s only $8.2k on DraftKings. On FanDuel, (again) we can ignore him, but this price tag is a place where we can justify just plugging him into our lineups, ownership be damned. I prefer to leave behind the 40-50% ownership — especially in single-entry tournaments — but he’s totally viable.

There is no right answer here. Severino has the best shot at ten strikeouts, Wheeler has the best shot to compile outs, and Ohtani is a free SP2.

THE SP2s: George Kirby, Aaron Ashby, Tylor Megill

George Kirby is the real deal. If anything, he’s underperforming his strikeout expectation and what should be more solid power prevention. The Angels are a tough spot to keep the runs down, but the Angels are one of the best strikeout matchups in baseball. Kirby could regress toward the mean all over our faces and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Aaron Ashby is a mixed effectively wild bag. On the great side, he’s come out firing for 11.01 K/9 and only allowing 0.89 BB/9. On the ugly side, he’s surrendered 4.09 BB/9. the Mets are a pesky matchup, so we choose between Ashby’s baked-in strikeouts or the Mets talent. I’m siding with the pitcher at low ownership. But if we start seeing 20-25% (we won’t), I’ll back off of Ashby.

Tylor Megill is overpriced and might have a sore neck from watching balls fly away, but the Brewers don’t hit very well. They have power, which is scary for Megill, but they can strike out at a high rate. If power is a concern, Citi Field depresses power. The concern with Megill is more ownership than his ceiling.

Between Kirby and Ashby, Ashby is the more dangerous, but Kirby is gonna be ~30% owned. So, if we play Wheeler-Kirby, we have to be extremely conscious of our hitters’ ownership product.





Alex Sonty is a professional DFS and poker player, while contributing to RotoGrinders and FanGraphs, as well as serving as a part-time political science professor in Chicago, IL. He’s been playing fantasy sports since 1996 and entered the DFS realm in 2014, currently playing high-stakes MLB and NFL cash games and GPPs. He is a Chicago Tribune and SB Nation alum, while holding a J.D./M.A. and L.L.M. from DePaul University.

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Greg Simonsmember
17 days ago

Ashby’s 0.89 BB/9 should be HR/9, right?