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Spotlight Pitchers: MLB DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel | Verlander or Bieber?




Austyn's top pitcher MLB DFS picks for Friday, July 24th, including Shane Beiber and Justin Verlander on DraftKings, FanDuel.

The Following FREE MLB DFS picks for fantasy baseball lineups are based on Awesemo’s MLB Projections for today’s MLB DFS fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings. For more free DraftKings MLB picks and analysis for DFS baseball lineups, check out the YouTube Channel for today’s MLB Strategy Show, Deeper Dive & Live Before Lock Shows. Picks in green are for cash or GPP style contests. The rest are for MLB DFS tournaments. (Note: projections shown in the tables below are the default projections from Fantasy Cruncher). Let’s get into the slate for Friday, July 24.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers for DraftKings, FanDuel

Great Value

Justin Verlander – Astros vs. Mariners – FanDuel $11,200, DraftKings $11,400

Verlander coasted through another elite season at age 37, posting 3.18 xFIP while striking out 12.11 batters per nine innings. He held both lefties and righties to a combined .237 wOBA while striking out nearly 14 lefties per nine. That spells doom for the Mariners, who will toss six lefties out there (including their best hitters). They’re projected to score just 2.96 runs by Vegas and Awesemo projects him head and shoulders above the field. The Astros are the slate’s biggest favorite (-335), and Seattle holds the lowest implied total of the slate.

It’s hard not to love Verlander in this matchup with a Mariners lineup that just might be the worst in baseball next to the Orioles, Giants, and Marlins. They have a few guys with potential, but the majority of this lineup doesn’t belong in the majors. They strikeout a ton and don’t have the ability to string together hits. We know we’ll get over 100 pitches out of the ace, and I’d be shocked to see any less than seven innings of clean work. Verlander is the most expensive option on both sites, but I’m willing to bite the bullet as there are plenty of value bats to fit him. You can check some of those out in our Highlight Hitters article.

Shane Bieber – Indians vs. Royals – FanDuel $10,200, DraftKings $10,300

Bieber will save you some money off of Verlander, and he shouldn’t have much trouble with the Royals. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2019, sporting a 3.23 xFIP next to a 10.88 K/9 through 214 innings. It was just his second season in the bigs at age 24, and it’s far from crazy to expect him to come out even better this season. The Royals, per usual, have some tough at-bats, but not much in terms of consistent power. Jorge Soler and Maikel Franco both strikeout 28% of the time against righties, and the bottom four of the order is absolutely atrocious.

Bieber will be half as owned as Verlander and presents plenty of upside for the price. The big man is going to need to be a workhorse for the Indians this season and they’ll allow him to go well over 100 pitches if he’s rolling. Awesemo’s MLB projections have Bieber as the second-highest pitcher on the slate, well surpassing the more expensive Flaherty. While Verlander is my favorite option in all formats, I’ll make sure to get over the field on Bieber as well (25%).

Aaron Nola – Phillies vs. Marlins – FanDuel $9,900, DraftKings $9,100

The Marlins don’t pack much of a punch, and Nola is a safe bet tonight that will inevitably fly under the radar. He doesn’t come off as a pitcher with much upside, but he changed that narrative in 2019 with a 10.23 K/9. He went seven-plus innings on plenty of occasions and dominated this same Marlins team on multiple occasions. While they have upgraded in a few spots, they also added a few more strikeouts, and Nola could easily shut this squad down.

I don’t love the play in cash games as I would rather just pay up for Verlander or Bieber. However, he’s an excellent SP2 on DraftKings in cash games if you’re able to find some cheaper bats you’re a fan of. Nola is going to go at least six innings and could strikeout close to double-digits. He’ll be under 10% owned with so many options and you’ll automatically have a unique build in tournaments. Don’t overlook Nola on the pricier end.

Frankie Montas – Athletics vs. Angels – FanDuel $7,600, DraftKings $8,800

Montas flew under the radar last season, but was elite in just about every category. He struck out 9.66 batters per nine and held both lefties and righties to a sub-.278 wOBA. He also gave up just eight home runs through 100 innings, which is something most young pitchers will never do in this day and age. Montas has an elite changeup and it’s why he strikes out 11.34 lefties per nine. All four of the Angels lefties strikeout a ton and he can have a strong start if he can just neutralize Mike Trout.

It’s obviously easier said than done, but what follows Trout and Shohei Ohtani shouldn’t scare anyone. With Rendon out, it’s the 30% K rate Justin Upton followed by Tommy La Stella and Albert Pujols. Montas is priced in the mid-range tonight and gives you a unique lineup build on both sites from the jump. I’m a fan on both sites and will be over the field at around 20%.

Related MLB DFS Content

Ross Stripling – Dodgers vs. Giants – FanDuel $6,600, DraftKings $7,900

The Dodgers are -280 favorites tonight, and Stripling could very well be a cheap place to buy a win. It’s highly doubtful that he’ll go more than five innings, so this is more of a cash-game SP2 than anything. Stripling is a huge asset for this Dodgers team as he’s able to move between the rotation and bullpen without missing a beat. Outside of one eight-inning outlier performance, Stripling never went more than six innings in 2019. He did, however, hold an elite K/9 (9.23) and xFIP (3.58) and he was rarely beaten up.

The Giants hold the third-lowest implied total on the slate and are the second-biggest underdogs at +230. Stripling is affordable on both sites and he allows you to pay up for just about any bats you want. In cash games on DraftKings, I like pairing Stripling with Verlander or Bieber. You’ll still be able to spend up for a few hitters while maintaining the ability to drop 60 at starting pitcher. Stripling is the top-value SP on the slate, though he has more value on DraftKings where you can roster one of the studs with him.

GPP Only Options

Lucas Giolito – White Sox vs. Twins – FanDuel $9,500, DraftKings $9,500

This will be an interesting matchup to watch as the Twins are dangerous, but they can also go cold and strikeout a ton. Giolito erupted in 2019, upping his K/9 to 11.32 and lowering his xFIP to 3.66. He was often beaten up at the end of last year, but still managed to salvage his performances with double-digit strikeouts. This Twins lineup is full of power, but Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler all hold very high strikeout percentages, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Giolito keep them at bay.

If you look at the 2019 profile of Giolito, he appears to have reverse splits. A .306 wOBA allowed vs righties and a .241 against lefties. When you dig deeper, lefties inexplicably posted a .218 BABIP while righties got on base with a .327 clip on balls in play. Those numbers will surely normalize this year, so Giolito may see a few extra righties as it looks like he was worse against them last year. In tournaments, Giolito will come in around 5-8% owned and he has the ability to go seven innings and strikeout 10 or more.

Nathan Eovaldi – Red Sox vs. Orioles – FanDuel $7,100, DraftKings $7,100

Are there any DFSers left who enjoy when Eovaldi is on the mound? I doubt it. Eovaldi worked out of the bullpen for most of last season before joining the rotation at the end of August. He wasn’t great, allowing three or more runs in five of his eight starts. But Eovaldi isn’t the reason we’re looking at him tonight. It’s the Orioles and the unbelievably inept lineup they will be deploying. The entire order is filled with seven-to-nine hitters that strikeout 25% of the time.

Eovaldi is affordable on both sites, and he should be able to strikeout a batter per inning here while going a relatively clean five or six innings. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chris Davis or Renato Nunez take him deep, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Eovaldi pick up seven or eight strikeouts and an easy win. He’s a -225 home favorite and the Sox will do enough damage by inning five if Eovaldi can last. I don’t hate the play on either site and will look to get over the field with about 5-7% exposure.

Andrew Heaney – Angels @ Athletics – FanDuel $6,700, DraftKings $8,000

Heaney is going to be a GPP special every time he takes the hill. His 11.14 K/9 in 2019 was coupled with a 4.18 xFIP and 1.98 HR/9. Facing off with an Athletics lineup that has more than enough strikeouts littered throughout will give Heaney every chance to have a big night. On the flip side, he has issues with the long ball and those same guys will be swinging for the fences. I’ll be targeting both sides of this game in tournaments as I can see Heaney slicing through this order and striking out 10 or giving up five or six early runs before turning to a not-so-great bullpen.

Heaney faced this same Athletics lineup at the end of last season and struck out seven through five innings while allowing just one run. On DraftKings, Heaney is a bit pricey and will be low-owned. I love him in tournaments if you have a cheap offensive stack to pair with him and another stud pitcher. He’s cheap on FanDuel and a great GPP option that will come in under 10% owned. With the studs taking up so much of the ownership, these lower-priced guys are phenomenal GPP plays and Heaney may be my favorite. Just don’t forget to hedge him with an A’s stack or two.

In Conclusion

We have an interesting slate at starting pitcher to say the least. There are five or six viable options in both cash games and tournaments, and ownership should be spread out in turn. Awesemo projects Verlander head and shoulders above the field and I have to agree. His efficiency paired with the Mariners K% and inability to hit righties is just too good to pass up. If I’m paying up in cash games, you won’t find me on anyone else.

If you’re looking to spend down in cash games, Stripling and Eovaldi are in play. Both are big favorites and facing some of the weakest offenses in the league. I don’t mind Heaney either. While strikeouts are often thought of as an asset of a huge ceiling (they are), guaranteed strikeouts also give you a floor. Heaney is too cheap and a solid value on both sites.

I wouldn’t get too crazy in tournaments. Ownership won’t be too high on any single arm, and we’ll see a lot of guys around 8-12% owned. Mix and match your few favorite stacks with your five or six favorite arms. Heaney is my favorite GPP pitcher on the slate followed by Bieber, Montas, German Marquez and Nola.

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