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Spotlight Pitchers: Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel with Vince Velasquez | Today, 5/20/21

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DraftKings & FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball pitchers rankings, projections ownership and optimal plays for Thursday May 20 featuring Vince Velasquez

Today is a split shift in daily fantasy baseball as two separate four-game slates are set for Thursday on DraftKings and FanDuel. With an intriguing group of pitchers on the main slate, we have been given no premium options to work with, making cash games that much more interesting. With a duel between Phillies veteran Vince Velasquez and Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara headlining, getting to costly hitters will be of no worry and adds a challenging element to the short slate. Here are the Spotlight Pitchers for Thursday, May 20.

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Top Daily Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers | May 20

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Sandy Alcantara: MIA at PHI — DraftKings $9,300; FanDuel $9,300

Sandy Alcantara draws the start for Miami in their last of a three-game series with Philadelphia, and he is averaging 15.3 DraftKings and 29.66 FanDuel points over nine starts. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Alcantara a 35.6% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and a 17.2% chance of being the top pitcher on FanDuel. MLB DFS projections and a moderate spend up land Alcantara as a 27.7% top-two value on DraftKings and 10.8% top value pitcher on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 29.6% on DraftKings and 13.7% on FanDuel are high in a vacuum, but they are surprisingly light considering other options.

Philadelphia is slated to roll out six righties, and Alcantara is striking out 29.2% and has a 1.11 WHIP against right-handers. Bryce Harper (third) has a .306 ISO against right-handed pitchers this season, and Alcantara’s 20.7% HR/FB rate against lefties could be problematic. Yet Philadelphia has a .236 batting average, a 26% strikeout rate and 91 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season. On a short slate with few other options, Alcantara is a spend-up pivot with lesser ownership.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points B, Value D

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points C, Value D


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Vince Velasquez: PHI vs MIA — DraftKings $7,500; FanDuel $7,900

On the other side of the duel is Vince Velasquez averaging 16.62 DraftKings, 29.2 FanDuel points and a 28.9% strikeout rate in five starts. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Velasquez a 43% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and a 18.3% chance of reaching top pitcher status on FanDuel, coinciding with the MLB DFS projections. Priced down on both sites, Velasquez projects as a 50.3% top-two value on DraftKings and 17.8% top value pitcher on FanDuel. However, MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 67.9% on DraftKings and 34% on FanDuel indicates that rostering Velasquez will create a massive need for differentiation with hitters.

Scheduled to face five righties, three lefties and one-switch hitter, Velasquez is striking out both sides of the plate at about a 29% clip, and his 3.0 HR/9 against righties is a red flag. With Jazz Chisholm’s .241 ISO and Jesus Aguilar’s .240 against the split this season, Velasquez will have to tread lightly around the early home run potential in this group. However, the Marlins collectively have a .229 batting average and 26.7% strikeout rate, earning 84 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. As such, the biggest concern here remains the staggering ownership among the field in cash games and single-entry fields.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points B, Value B

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points B, Value A

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Drew Smyly: ATL vs PIT — DraftKings $8,400; FanDuel $7,300

Atlanta welcomes the Pirates to town with Drew Smyly getting the nod for the Braves. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Smyly a 31% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and 15.4% chance of being top pitcher on FanDuel. Above-average MLB DFS projections and a fair price point land Smyly as a 30.1% top-two value on DraftKings and an 18.2% top value pitcher on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 53.8% on DraftKings and 35.8% on FanDuel are astronomical, however.

The Pirates will have five righties and three switch-hitters, and Smyly has managed a .250 average against right-handed hitters. The heart of the Pittsburgh order with Bryan Reynolds (third) and Jacob Stallings (fourth) may prove to be troublesome, as each has crushed lefty to the tune of .256 and .333 ISOs, respectively. Those fears can be tempered a tad since the Pirates have a .210 batting average, 24% strikeout rate and 78 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season. Though he is a popular pivot from the Miami – Philadelphia duel, Smyly has one of the best remaining matchups on Thursday’s main slate.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points C, Value B

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points C, Value D


Be sure to check out today’s daily fantasy baseball videos and podcasts, including our Dual NBA/MLB Live Before Lock Show!


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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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