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MLB DFS picks

We have a seven-game MLB DFS slate on Saturday, 5/18/19 beginning at 7:15 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!

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Three Up for May 18, 2019

Best Pitcher

Nick Margevicius vs. PIT ($6.9k DraftKings, $7k FanDuel)

There are certainly opportunities to pay up at pitcher Saturday night. Three pricier options are listed below. However, for those looking to save some dollars while also running a bit contrarian, Margevicius is worth a look in GPPs. The southpaw draws an excellent matchup against a Pirates squad that’s particularly struggled against left-handers on the road. Then, Margevicius has been very impressive considering he’d never pitched above High-A ball prior to this season. The rookie has gone at least five innings in four straight starts. That even held true in a road turn at Coors Field his last time out, certainly a baptism by fire for a young pitcher.

The Pirates walked into a Friday night encounter against Margevicius’ fellow southpaw Joey Lucchesi with a .270 wOBA, -12.2 wRAA, and 29.0 percent strikeout rate versus lefties on the road this season, along with an anemic .097 ISO. As pointed out Thursday, only Melky Cabrera had a wOBA of greater than .329 against left-handed pitching among Pirates regulars heading into Friday’s game. Margevicius has also done a solid job limiting hard contact at home (31.2 percent), while Pittsburgh hitters have almost mirrored that figure with a modest team 32.0 percent hard-contact rate against lefties on the road.

And finally, Petco Park should work in the young lefty’s favor. The spacious stadium came into Friday night’s series opener with the sixth-lowest run factor (0.820), along with a bottom-half home-run factor (0.950).

Other pitchers to consider: Stephen Strasburg (vs. CHC), Jose Berrios (at MIN), Jon Lester (at WAS)

Best Hitter

Ketel Marte vs. SFG ($4.4k DraftKings, $3.6 FanDuel)

The switch-hitting Marte has enjoyed his greatest success facing southpaws. The emerging 25-year-old owns a .310/.344/.603 line versus left-handed pitching, along with a .396 wOBA and .293 ISO. Then, he’s solved Giants starter Madison Bumgarner more often than not in past encounters. Marte owns a .444 average with a pair of doubles and only one strikeout over 10 career plate appearances against the veteran lefty. Bumgarner has also allowed a .289 average, .341 wOBA, 26.6 percent line-drive rate, and 43.4 percent hard-contact rate to right-handed hitters.

Marte has been best at his home park of Chase Field. The talented second baseman has a .351 wOBA and .247 ISO at home, along with a 41.3 percent hard-contact rate. Finally, Bumgarner has also allowed five home runs across four starts at Chase over the last three seasons, another point in Marte’s favor.

Other hitters to consider: Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain (at ATL), Nick Markakis, Freddie Freeman (vs. MIL), Jason Heyward (at WAS), Marwin Gonzalez (at SEA), Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Tommy La Stella, Kole Calhoun, Jonathan Lucroy (all vs. KC)

Best Stack

Angels vs. KC (RHP Jakob Junis) 

Junis has continued to struggle against either side of the plate. He’s also had his fair share of trouble versus several Angels hitters. Collectively, current Los Angeles bats own a .400/.417/.800 line against Junis over 35 career at-bats. Then, Junis has allowed a .291 average, .380 wOBA, 10 extra-base hits (five doubles, five home runs), and 38.2 percent hard-contact rate on the road.

Left-handed hitters have hit Junis especially hard on the road. They own a .367 average and .474 wOBA against him over a 34-batter sample. Those numbers make the likes of Kole Calhoun and Tommy La Stella especially attractive. However, right-handed hitters Mike Trout (one homer in three at-bats against Junis), Albert Pujols (one home run, .500 average against Junis), and Jonathan Lucroy (.500 average, four RBI against Junis) have also enjoyed plenty of success against the Royals starter.

And when the Angels are able to get Junis out the game, they’ll enjoy just as good a matchup. Kansas City relievers had yielded a 5.04 ERA, .343 wOBA, and 53 extra-base hits (27 doubles, three triples, 23 home runs) this season heading into Friday night’s action. That includes a .370 wOBA over the last week of play (116-batter sample).

Other stacks to consider: Padres (vs. PIT), Braves (vs. MIL), Red Sox (vs. HOU)


Three Down for May 18, 2019

Pitcher To Fade

Steven Brault at SDP ($6.5k DraftKings, $ FanDuel)   

In addition to Junis, Brault is also a pitcher to consider leaving out of lineups Saturday. The young left-hander is expected to take the hill and just allowed six earned runs on nine hits across 3.2 innings to the Cardinals last Sunday. For the season, Brault owns an 8.82 ERA and 1.84 WHIP across 16.1 innings. He’s been at his worst on the road. Brault owns a 10.38 ERA, .368 BAA, and .460 wOBA over 8.2 frames outside of PNC Park.

The Padres have also been impressive against left-handers on their home field of Petco Park. San Diego headed into Friday night’s action with a .327 wOBA and .204 ISO against southpaws at home for the season. And they’ve been even more potent of late. The Padres boast a .372 wOBA and .268 ISO against lefties at Petco over the last three weeks of play, a stretch during which 10 of their 22 hits against that handedness have gone for extra bases.

Finally, Brault has yet to go more than four innings in any outing this season, further limiting his upside.

Hitter To Fade

Mitch Haniger vs. MIN ($4.2k DraftKings, $3.8k FanDuel)

Haniger is a quality hitter who simply hasn’t been able to find his stride this season. The outfielder is hitting just .237, and he’s especially struggled versus righties at T-Mobile Park. Haniger owns a .214 average and 29.0 percent strikeout rate against that handedness at home. Although he certainly carries some pop in his bat, Saturday isn’t likely to be one of the nights in which he shows it off. Haniger draws a matchup versus Twins right-hander Jose Berrios, against whom he’s 0-for-9 with five strikeouts over 10 career plate appearances.

As detailed below, Berrios has been a solid pitcher on the road as well. Additionally, he happens to excel with the pitch Haniger has the most success with, and he’s also proficient at a secondary pitch that Haniger already struggles against. While Haniger owns an impressive .434 wOBA versus the four-seam fastball, Berrios is allowing a minuscule .268 wOBA and is carrying an impressive 25.4 percent strikeout rate when throwing it. Then, Haniger only owns a .174 average and .271 wOBA against the sinker, a pitch Berrios is allowing a modest .282 wOBA when deploying.

Stack To Fade

Mariners vs. MIN (RHP Jose Berrios)

Haniger is far from the only member of the Mariners I expect to underwhelm on Saturday. Berrios did struggle his last time out. Yet the right-hander undeniably has the talent to bounce back in strong fashion, especially against a Seattle squad that’s struggled versus right-handers at home for most of the season. The M’s headed into Friday night’s action with a .290 wOBA, -12.4 wRAA, .202 average, and bloated 28.0 percent strikeout rate against righties at T-Mobile Park.

Berrios was atypically hittable against the Angels his last time out. However, he’s been a solid road pitcher all season. The young right-hander owns a 3.12 ERA, .221 BAA, .304 wOBA, and excellent 90.5 percent strand rate outside of his home stadium of Target Field. Current Mariners hitters haven’t exactly had much success versus Berrios, either. They have a collective .203/.271/.406 line against him across 64 total at-bats. In addition to Haniger, Berrios has especially stymied the likes of Edwin Encarnacion (.083 average) and Tim Beckham (0-for-4 in five plate appearances).

Given Berrios’ above-average ability to miss bats and Seattle’s struggles against both him and pitchers of his handedness overall, I don’t see an offensive explosion for Seattle on Saturday.

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