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Spotlight Pitchers: Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel with Jack Flaherty | Today, 5/19/21




St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty joined other athletes in sharing his displeasure with the not guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case

It’s hump day and we’re in for another hefty main slate with 12 games on the horizon in daily fantasy baseball following an early two-game sampler. With several quality pitchers priced up in the premium tier, we’ll look to Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty at home against the Pirates, while Corbin Burnes’ matchup in Kansas City makes for an intriguing alternative. We also get a Shohei Ohtani pitching night as the Angels welcome Cleveland to town. Here are the Spotlight Pitchers for Wednesday, May 19.


Top Daily Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers | May 19

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Jack Flaherty: STL vs PIT — DraftKings $9,700; FanDuel $10,800

Jack Flaherty draws a favorable nod against the Pirates, averaging 22 DraftKings and 39.12 FanDuel points in eight starts. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Flaherty a 22.6% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and 9.6% chance of being the top pitcher on FanDuel. Combined with fantastic MLB DFS projections and a high four-digit price tag on DraftKings, he projects as an 8.8% top-two value. Flaherty’s near-$11,000 salary on FanDuel, however, lends to only a 1.8% top value. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 29.5% on DraftKings and 15.7% on FanDuel signify what is one of the most popular plays on Wednesday, yet nothing outlandish.

Scheduled to face five righties, three lefties and one switch-hitter from Pittsburgh, Flaherty has a 33% strikeout clip against righties and a 1.07 WHIP against lefties. Flaherty has had his quarrels with hard contact, and Will Craig (sixth) is hitting a .200 ISO off of right-handed pitchers this season. But there is little punch to worry about in this Pirates hitting order, as San Diego has just a .114 ISO and 83 wRC+ against righty pitchers this year. Despite the ownership being a bit much to sign off on, Flaherty’s undeniable upside in a stellar matchup is hard to pass.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value D

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points A, Value C

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Corbin Burnes: MIL at KC — DraftKings $10,300; FanDuel $10,500

The mastery continues for Corbin Burnes, rocking a 45.3% strikeout rate and averaging 29 DraftKings and 47.83 FanDuel points in six starts. Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Burnes a 36% chance to be a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and 13.4% chance of being the top pitcher on FanDuel, and he has the top MLB DFS projections for the slate. Burnes dons a moderate top-two value projection of 13.6% on DraftKings and a 3.4% top value on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 22.3% on DraftKings and 11.9% on FanDuel indicate some attention for Burnes without being the top chalk for today.

Burnes has extinguished an astounding 55.4% of right-handed hitters this season, and the Royals will have five righties in the lineup. With Carlos Santana’s (second) .227 ISO and Salvador Perez’s (fourth) .308 average against right-handed pitchers, Burnes will have to navigate the early brute force in the Kansas City order carefully. Yet the R0yals have a .230 batting average, 23.1% strikeout rate and 91 wRC+ against the split, and they are especially struggling of late. The spend up is worth it for Burnes here, as the strikeout potential remains one of the greatest on the slate.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value B

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points A, Value A

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Shohei Ohtani: LAA vs CLE — DraftKings $7,400; FanDuel $9,500

Today is a mound day for Shohei Ohtani, coming off of 30.8 DraftKings and 52 FanDuel points against Houston a week ago (and hitting several home runs since). Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Ohtani an 11.9% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and a 5.5% chance of being top pitcher on FanDuel. In tandem with solid MLB DFS projections and fair price point, Ohtani lands as a 13.4% top-two value on DraftKings but just a 1.9% top value pitcher on FanDuel. MLB daily fantasy ownership projections of 11.4% on DraftKings and just 1% on FanDuel make Ohtani a rather intriguing play that lacks public attention.

Ohtani’s posted an incredible 48% strikeout rate against right-handed hitters this year. As such, Cleveland will send three lefties and two switch-hitters against Ohtani. Jose Ramirez (third) is smashing a staggering .430 ISO off right-handed pitchers this year, while Franmil Reyes (fourth) has a .911 OPS against the split. Cleveland collectively has a .216 batting average, 21.5% strikeout rate and 85 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this year. With a potentially overlooked matchup and impressive strikeout ceiling at a fair price, Ohtani makes for an excellent option on Wednesday.

Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points D, Value E

Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points C, Value B

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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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