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MLB DFS 5-14-21 Pitching Primer

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We have a full 13 game slate for the MLB DFS 5-14-21 Pitching Primer, just the way we like it.

We would have been all over Kevin Gausman against the Pirates, but for some reason that game is at 6:35 EST, leaving it off the main slate.

It’s rare for me to target two pitchers in the same game, but I’m seeing two games with a game total of only seven runs. This is a continuing trend in Major League Baseball, as we sit here right now the League Average at .234, the lowest in the history of the game.

As baserunners stay down, runs will stay down. Picking through the matchups to find the best strikeout environments is the way we continue to win.

I have seven pitchers for you today, with four safe for cash, so let’s get it!

MLB DFS 5-14-21 Pitching Primer

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Max Scherzer, WSH ($12.5k FD, $10.7k DK ) @ AZ

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Of the 26 pitchers on today’s slate, Max Scherzer has the largest sample size against his opponent. That’s a little strange being he used to pitch for the Diamondbacks. Not surprisingly, his .233 xwOBA against his former team is the best on the slate.

In his last start, Scherzer became just the fifth starter in Major League history to record 100 double-digit strikeout games. I’d bet good money on today is 101. His career has been nothing short of Cooperstown worthy, and he hasn’t slowed down one bit at age 37. his 33.5% k-rate and 4% walk rate are both among the league leaders. Although he is allowing more hard contact than in previous years, the xERA still sits at 2.82, telling us he remains a true ace.

We will need a 50 burger from him to pay off the high salary on FanDuel, and it is hard to justify paying $2k more for him than Glasnow. This makes him a GPP option for me there, while being a fair cash game on option on DraftKings.

Tyler Glasnow, TB ($10.5k FD,  $10.9k DK) vs NYM

Tyler Glasnow comes in with a .287 xwOBA and 33.3% k-rate against the Mets. He catches the Mets on a downturn. Their offense has been anemic of late. They haven’t scored more than four runs in a nine-inning game in ten days other than Happy Harvey day. The Mets come into the game with a .115 ISO, meaning they are the worst team in the league at hitting for power.

Glasnow has been the most consistent starting pitcher for DFS this year, as he has gone 4X his salary or better in six of his eight starts. His lowest point total this year was a respectable 33 FanDuel points. If you extrapolate the Vegas odds on this game, they basically tell us to expect 6 innings, 2 earned runs, and about 10 strikeouts from Glasnow tonight.  This puts us pushing 50 Fanduel points if we can get the win. He will be very high-owned in cash games on FanDuel. But still,  count me in.

Joe Musgrove, SD ($8k FD, $8.7k DK) vs StL

Joe Musgrove’s overall Statcast lines look a lot like Scherzer’s, 34.8% k-rate, 4.5% walk rate. That’s elite on the surface, but his starts have been up and down. He has three starts over 52 FanDuel points, and four starts under 27, with none in the middle.

Musgrove has been inconsistent this season, and this is just a play on the price. The Cardinals are actually one of the better teams this year at not striking out and at scoring runs, possibly limiting our ceiling here. At only $8k, I am willing to take the bet that we fall in the middle. Needing only 32 FanDuel points, he will be my #2 cash game option behind Glasnow.

Aaron Civale, CLE ($8.1k FD, $9.3k DK) @ SEA

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The Mariners offense is pitiful. Outside of Mitch Haniger, there is absolutely nothing to fear. They brought up young phenom Jarred Kelenic for last night’s game, then managed to be no-it into the eight inning by Zach Plesac.

Aaron Civale is not a big strikeout pitcher, so he doesn’t follow the profile so much. What he does offer is a Quality Start and/or Win in five of seven starts, en route to a 5-0 record, 3.49 ERA, and 1.07 WHIP.

Musgrove’s price is much better on DraftKings, making him the better start of the two on that site. However, I see very high ownership on Kelenic at $2100 on FanDuel in cash games, and most DFS players do not like to pair their starting pitcher with a hitter on the opposing team. This leads me to believe ownership on FanDuel will heavily favor Musgrove, leaving us with a great GPP pivot on Civale.

Drew Smyly, ATL ($6.8k FD, $7.6k DK) @ MIL

I feel like every article I write, something I say makes me throw up in my mouth. In the MLB DFS 5-14-2021 Pitching Primer, that acid reflux comes from Drew Smyly. Smyly has been attrocious at times this year. But what better elixyr than the Milwaukee Brewers to cure one’s ills?

Smyly comes into this contest with a .252 xwOBA against the Brewers, including a 34.1% k-rate. Milwaukee is the third worst team in the league at striking out, as they remain without All Star Christian Yelich.

Smyly’s last start matched his best of the year, for the second time earning a win at Washington. I recommend using Smyly as a pay down and stacking his teammates up against Adrian Houser.

David Peterson, NYM ($6.6k FD, $7.4k DK) @ TB

I pick on the Rays every day. They are the worst team in the majors at striking out. Last night they torched the Yankees for nine runs, yet still struck out 16 times!

David Peterson is the type of pitcher I usually try to stack against, but this matchup just begs me to use him. He has an 8 and a 10 strikeout game against the Phillies, another team in the bottom five of the league.

This game, again, has a total of 7. I’m willing to pair Peterson with his opponent, Glasnow, on DraftKings in my cash games.

Chris Flexen, SEA ($6.2k FD, 6.9k DK) vs CLE

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The Cleveland offense is just this bad that I am recommending Chris Flexen as a GPP play. The Indians don’t get on base. Flexen hasn’t been striking anyone out, despite a very nice 30.1% k-rate for the Doosan Bears of the KBO last year.  He has not walked anyone, either, with the 5% walk rate by far the best of his career to date. He’s limiting hard contact at the best rate of his career, as well. I’ll parlay these trends with the fact that Cleveland’s offense is barely better than the competition Flexen dominated in the KBO last year. The result will be 6-8 strikeouts and an easy 4X on salary investment.

 


For any questions or additional options you can reach me on Twitter @jtrela20. Otherwise, check me out streaming LIVE every Wednesday at 9 pm on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast, part of the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube network of podcasts.


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About Jeff Trela

Jeff has been succeeding in fantasy sports for nearly 30 years. As a baseball and football expert, he focuses on DFS, NFBC, redraft, and dynasty formats. His talents can be seen in #TGFBI and #SFB11 this year. He also hosts the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast every Sunday at 7:30 pm EST on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel.

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