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Spotlight Pitchers: Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel with Gerrit Cole | Today, 5/17/21




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The week kicks off with an eight-game main slate of daily fantasy baseball stealing the spotlight as the NBA relishes its one-day hiatus before the play-in tournament games begin. Utilizing Awesemo’s MLB DFS expert projections and tools, we’ll focus on three of the best pitching options for Monday such as Gerrit Cole facing the strikeout-prone Rangers. Here are the Spotlight Pitchers for DraftKings and FanDuel DFS lineups on Monday, May 17.


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Top Daily Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers | May 17

Gerrit Cole: NYY at TEX — DraftKings $10,900; FanDuel $12,300

Gerrit Cole gets the nod as the Yankees head to Arlington, coming off another 12-strikeout performance while averaging 32 DraftKings and 52.35 FanDuel points per game over eight starts. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Cole a 42.4% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and a 15.3% chance of being top pitcher on FanDuel. The high asking price doesn’t quite curb his 15.4% top-two pitcher value on DraftKings, while he drops to a 1.3% top value on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 56.2% on DraftKings and 27.2% on FanDuel suggest Cole’s strikeout ceiling will be widely sought after against the Rangers.

Texas will have four lefties and five righties in their order, and Cole is striking out a staggering 46.7% of left-handed hitters. While the heart of the Rangers order with Nate Lowe (third), Joey Gallo (fourth) and Adolis Garcia (fifth) all have ISOs over .211 against right-handed pitchers over the past two seasons, Cole’s strikeout dominance is at its all-time finest. The Rangers’ 27.1% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching this season is third highest in the league. A cash game no-brainer, Cole’s unappealing ownership can quickly be outweighed by a must-own fantasy ceiling performance.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value C

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points A, Value A

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Yu Darvish: SD vs. COL — DraftKings $10,200; FanDuel $11,100

Yu Darvish takes on division foe Colorado at home while averaging 23.2 DraftKings and 40.62 FanDuel points in eight starts. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Darvish a 31.5% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings a 12% top-pitcher chance on FanDuel. MLB DFS projections with a spend-up pivot price tag give him a 13.3% chance at a top-two value on DraftKings and 1.8% top-value chance on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 50.7% on DraftKings and 27.8% on FanDuel, however, show he trails only Cole in popularity.

Darvish is slated to face five righties and four left-handed hitters from Colorado, and he’s posting an impressive 36.6% strikeout rate against righties this season. While Colorado has seen its struggles at the plate away from home, Ryan McMahon in the cleanup spot could provide a speed bump, as he has a .244 ISO and 102 wRC+ against righty pitchers. Darvish drags the ownership with him, but he has potential to be a must-have.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value C

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points A, Value A 

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Yusei Kikuchi: SEA vs. DET — DraftKings $7,800; FanDuel $9,000

Kikuchi is averaging 17.4 DraftKings and 32.85 FanDuel points in seven starts and draws a reeling Tigers team. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Kikuchi an 18.3% chance of hitting top-two pitcher status on DraftKings and a 7.6% chance of becoming top pitcher on FanDuel. Favorable MLB DFS projections and a fair salary make him a 19.7% top-two value on DraftKings, though he falls to 3.6% top pitcher projection on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections for Kikuchi suggest popularity, but nearly as heavily as the two aforementioned pitchers.

Detroit rolling out their mixed bag of four switch-hitters, three righties and two lefties, and Kikuchi is striking out both sides of the plate above 24%. That said, his 22.6% HR/FB rate is an area of concern. Leadoff hitter Robbie Grossman has a 147 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season, and his .211 ISO could penalize Kikuchi’s weakness. Yet Detroit collectively has a .204 batting average and 33.8% strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers, and there’s little to suggest the matchup tonight will not add to that total. Kikuchi provides outstanding value, especially on DraftKings where the savings are evident. He has the potential to hit premium pitcher fantasy totals.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value C

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points A, Value A

Be sure to check out today’s best DFS baseball videos and podcasts, including our MLB Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy Show!

Follow us on all of our social channels! Check out our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for more great Awesemo content. Looking for more MLB DFS picks content? We have loads of daily fantasy baseball articles, data, DraftKings and FanDuel cheat sheets and more on the Awesemo MLB DFS home page.

Once a man of 12-team teaser parlays and an abundance of season-long fantasy leagues, Chris "TopherSquints" Giordani gradually honed his fascination for sports and plus-money wagers toward Daily Fantasy Sports. A homegrown Awesemo student from the early stages of the site's inception, he became infatuated with the contrarian DFS mindset and eventually combined his passion for writing with Daily Fantasy at the Sports Gambling Podcast's website blog. Currently, Chris Giordani resides in Orange County, California, enjoys binging on stand-up comedy, and long strolls through the DraftKings lobby.

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