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Spotlight Pitchers: Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel with Zack Wheeler | Today, 5/18/21

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Awesemo's expert MLB DFS contest breakdown on Jock MKT MLB with fantasy baseball advice & top MLB DFS picks like Zack Wheeler on 9/28.

Coming off a “too good to be true” matchup resulting in a dud for Gerrit Cole on Monday, we turn to Phillies’ Zack Wheeler against another high-strikeout group from Miami in an attempt to right our course. But regardless of how much Cole you may have unfortunately gotten to yesterday, enjoy the smorgasbord of daily fantasy baseball today. Here are the Spotlight Pitchers for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups on Tuesday, May 18.

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Top Daily Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers | May 18

Zack Wheeler: PHI vs. MIA — DraftKings $10,000; FanDuel $10,400

Zack Wheeler draws the Phillies’ start in an excellent matchup with the Marlins, averaging 22.7 DraftKings and 39.5 FanDuel points with a 26.7% strikeout rate in seven starts. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Wheeler an 18.1% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and the best chance of reaching top pitcher on FanDuel. However, Wheeler’s five-digit asking price lends to his bottoming-out value projections on both sites. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 25.9% on DraftKings and 12.2% on FanDuel indicate some moderate popularity among the field yet nothing nearly as steep as others on this slate.

Wheeler is striking out both sides of the plate above 26% and has nearly identical WHIPs just a tick above 1.00 against righties and lefties. Jazz Chisholm (first) could start the Marlins order with some bang, as he has a .275 ISO off right-handed pitching this season. Yet the Marlins collectively have a .226 batting average, 26.3% strikeout rate and 84 wRC+ against righty pitchers. With Wheeler riding a career-best strikeout rate at the time being, the spend-up could be worth shedding the ownership.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value D

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points A, Value C


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Cristian Javier: HOU at OAK — DraftKings $9,200; FanDuel $8,800

Cristian Javier comes into Tuesday with his career-best stuff as well, averaging 19.4 DraftKings and 33.28 FanDuel points over seven starts. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Javier a 14.3% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and a 5.8% chance of being the top pitcher on FanDuel. A moderately affordable salary makes Javier a 4.2% top-two value on DraftKings and 2.1% top value on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections forecast Javier with just 7% on DraftKings and 3% on FanDuel, which could make for an excellent low-owned pivot among the premium grouping of pitchers.

Oakland will have five righties and one switch-hitter, and Javier is striking out righties 36.6% of the time this year. Lefties Seth Brown (second) and Matt Olson (fourth) are forces to be reckoned with in the Athletics’ batting order, with Brown’s .221 ISO and Olson’s .278 average and 159 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this year. Oakland has a .214 batting average, 24% strikeout rate, 12.6% HR/FB rate and 96 wRC+ against righties. So long as Javier continues to keep his fly balls from turning into home runs like he has much of this season (0.95 HR/9), he makes for an under-the-radar play with upside.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points B, Value C

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points B, Value C 

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Blake Snell: SD vs. COL — DraftKings $8,900; FanDuel $8,000

Blake Snell is priced down on both sites and is in an enticing matchup with the Rockies. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool give Snell a 21.7% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and a 7.4% chance of being the top pitcher on FanDuel. MLB DFS projections in conjunction with his fiscal-friendly salary price make Snell a 7.8% top-two value on DraftKings and 4.9% top value pitcher on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections aren’t nearly as favorable, as the field has easily caught on to his featured discount.

While Snell is scheduled to face five righties and four lefties, he has struck out righties over 28% and has a 0.70 WHIP against lefties. He will have to tread lightly toward the top of the Rockies’ order, as Garrett Hampson (first) has a .447 ISO off of lefty pitchers this season. The Rockies have a .281 batting average, 24.4% strikeout rate, a 102 wRC+ and 14.6% HR/FB rate against lefties, all of which are passable. If Snell can navigate past the sparse power in this Colorado offense, he should reach fantasy value.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value A

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!


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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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