We have a 15-game MLB DFS slate on Friday, 5/17/19 beginning at 7:05 p.m. EDT. Below is a list of our best pitchers, hitters, and stacks to target (Three Up) and fade (Three Down) in MLB DFS contests. Note that some of these plays are recommended for Cash, and some are best reserved for GPP lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Please note the advice below is relevant for daily fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, and lots of other factors. This is important to consider when constructing a roster. Remember that more than in other sports, variance is a huge part of baseball. Even Mike Trout can go 0-for-4 on a given night, and Max Scherzer can get lit up by a weak team.
Weather can also play a huge role in MLB DFS on a nightly basis, and lineups are constantly shifting. So always, always check the starting lineups and weather reports when playing for an MLB slate. If a game gets rained out, your player gets zero points!
BEST MLB DFS TOURNAMENTS FOR 5/17
Extra Inning: $10 entry, $175k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $50k to 1st!
Medium 8s: $88 entry, $250k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $50K to 1st!
Fri. Rally: $9.99 entry, $100k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $20K to 1st!
Fri. Grand Slam: $44 entry, $250K guaranteed (FanDuel)- $50K to 1st!
Three Up for May 17, 2019
Frankie Montas at DET ($8.8k DraftKings, $8.8k FanDuel)
Montas has somewhat quietly put together back-to-back quality starts against the Pirates and Indians. Granted, those aren’t exactly offensive powerhouses. However, neither is the Tigers squad he’ll face Friday. In fact, Detroit comes into Friday night’s action with an AL-low 34 home runs and .223 team batting average. What’s more, the Tigers have a .288 wOBA and -36.0 wRAA for the season. Narrowing the focus to their performance versus right-handed pitching at home, Detroit sports a .285 wOBA, -16.2 wRAA and 23.6 percent strikeout rate against righties in Comerica Park.
Montas has almost been as solid on the road as at home. He sports a 2.95 ERA over 21.1 away frames, along with a respectable .312 wOBA allowed. Montas also has a pair of quality starts on the road thus far, and he’s just one out shy of recording six QS in eight trips to the mound overall. He’s also proven capable of capitalizing on favorable matchups this season, making him a solid cash or GPP option off higher-priced selections such as Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.
Other pitchers to consider: Jacob deGrom (at MIA), Max Scherzer (vs. CHC), Joey Lucchesi (vs. PIT), Jeff Samardzija (at ARI)
Freddie Freeman vs. MIL ($4.6k DraftKings, $4k FanDuel)
Freeman continues rolling right along in May. He’s now slashing .304/.401/.516 across 187 plate appearances and has already accumulated 19 extra-base hits (11 doubles, one triple, seven home runs). He’s punishing pitchers both handedness, and he owns a .377 wOBA, 33.3 percent line-drive rate, and 44.4 percent hard-contact rate against righties. Even though his home splits versus righties are worse than on the road, it’s worth noting he’s partly been the victim of an abnormally low .235 BABIP against that handedness at SunTrust Park.
Then, Freeman has generated a .385/.529/.923 line against Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin over 17 career plate appearances. That sample includes a pair of homers and only three strikeouts. Meanwhile, Chacin sports some very impressive numbers against left-handed hitters this season. Yet they are easily belied by the .148 BABIP, 6.16 xFIP, and 46.9 percent hard-contact rate he’s allowed to that handedness, against which he also owns an abysmal 4.29 K/9.
Other hitters to consider: Mookie Betts (vs. HOU), Freddy Galvis, Eric Sogard, Rowdy Tellez (all at CWS), Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor (vs. BAL), Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, Max Muncy (all at CIN), George Springer (at BOS), Nick Markakis (vs. MIL)
Cardinals vs. TEX (RHP Jose LeClerc, Opener/RHP Adrian Sampson, Bulk pitcher)
The Rangers are seemingly doubling down on questionable arms Friday. They’ll utilize shaky reliever Jose LeClerc, he of the 6.32 ERA and 1.79 WHIP, to pitch the first inning. He’ll give way to Adrian Sampson, who’s slated to serve as the bulk pitcher and who’s been lit up for 11 runs (10 earned) across 8.1 innings over his last two starts. The game will also take place in the hitter’s paradise known as Globe Life Park. The stadium checks in with the 11th-highest run factor (1.057), 14th-highest doubles factor (0.988), and second-highest triple factor (2.763).
The Cardinals have frustratingly been an up-and-down offense all season. However, the Cards’ 222 runs scored on the season (5.1 runs per game) still check in as fourth in the NL. St. Louis has 17- and 14-run tallies over its last seven games, providing a glimpse at their upside. And they have no shortage of sluggers who can take advantage of Globe Life Park’s tendencies. As a team, the Cards sport a .333 wOBA and co-NL-high 40.8 percent hard-contact rate versus right-handed pitching on the road.
Meanwhile, of St. Louis’ likely top eight position players in the lineup Friday, five have wOBAs of .340 or higher against right-handed pitching on the road. That’s not even factoring in whatever player might serve as the designated hitter for the Cards in the American League park, likely Harrison Bader or Yairo Munoz. Then, there’s always the matter of the Texas bullpen. Rangers relievers have allowed a .348 wOBA overall. That figure bumps up to .357 at Globe Life, where they’ve also surrendered 37 extra-base hits.
Kolten Wong, Paul Goldschmidt, Dexter Fowler, Marcell Ozuna, and Paul DeJong stand out as particularly appealing pieces of a stack due to their track record versus righties.
Other stacks to consider: Indians (vs. BAL), Braves (vs. MIL), Dodgers (at CIN), Astros (at BOS), Royals (at LAA), Athletics (at DET)
Three Down for May 17, 2019
Pitcher To Fade
Daniel Norris vs. OAK ($7.4k DraftKings, $6.9k FanDuel)
Norris opened the season in fine form overall. However, he’ll run into a high-upside offense in the Athletics. They’ve admittedly underachieved often this season but just provided a glimpse at their upside with a 17-run outburst Thursday. Norris has been a bit on the fortunate side thus far this season, too. The southpaw has yielded 39 hits over 34.2 innings. What’s more, he has a middling 6.75 K/9 and faces an Oakland squad that’s generated a .342 wOBA and AL-high 44.4 percent hard-contact rate versus southpaws on the road.
Norris has been particularly vulnerable to right-handed hitters. He’s yielding a .306 average and .337 wOBA to that handedness overall. In turn, the Athletics have six regulars likely to be in Friday’s lineup that sport a wOBA of .342 or better against left-handed pitching, and that’s without factoring in their production in the aforementioned Thursday blowout win. What’s more, none of Oakland’s likely starting nine Friday has a hard-contact rate lower than 34.2 percent versus southpaws, and six are at 42.9 percent or higher.
Hitter To Fade
Kris Bryant at WAS ($5.1k DraftKings, $4k FanDuel)
Bryant has been exponentially better of late than during his dismal start to 2019. That’s led to a healthy bump in his salaries. Despite recent success, Friday shapes up as a good day to consider a fade. To begin with, he draws a matchup against Max Scherzer, which always gives reason for pause no matter the hitter. Then, there’s Bryant’s forgettable history against the right-hander. The Cubs’ third baseman owns a .067/.177/.200 line versus Scherzer over 17 career plate appearances. Of the 14 outs Bryant has made against Mad Max, nine have come on strikeouts.
Scherzer boasts a .286 ERA, .219 BAA, and .263 wOBA allowed across 34.2 home frames. He also sports an impressive 1.01 WHIP and 2.66 xFIP at Nationals Park, and he’s held right-handed hitters there to a microscopic .181 average and .195 wOBA over an 85-batter sample while allowing just one home run. Finally, Bryant also has a 24.3 percent strikeout rate against righties on the road, further dampening his prospects.
Stack To Fade
Pirates at SD (LHP Joey Lucchesi)
Lucchesi is a talented young pitcher who’s nevertheless had a couple of bumps in the road thus far this season. However, those have primarily come on the road. The southpaw owns a 2.89 ERA, .226 BAA and .284 wOBA allowed across 28.0 home frames. Those numbers aren’t exactly surprising considering the stadium Lucchesi calls home. Spacious Petco Park continues to live up to its reputation as a pitcher’s haven this season. It checks in with the sixth-lowest run factor (0.821) in the Majors, a figure that also ranks second lowest in the NL.
Lucchesi could hardly ask for a better matchup on paper. The Pirates come in with a .267 wOBA and -11.4 wRAA against left-handed pitching on the road, along with a mammoth 30.3 percent strikeout rate. Current Pittsburgh hitters have faced Lucchesi once before in his brief career and had no luck. They went 0-for-8 against him in one 2018 encounter, with Lucchesi firing five scoreless frames. It’s also worth noting that of the eight Pirates position players likely to be in Friday’s starting lineup, only one (Melky Cabrera) has a wOBA greater than .329 against lefties, and four have figures well under that mark.