A really interesting dilemma at the top of the pitching slate today. You have two elite options in Max Scherzer versus the Phillies and Felix Hernandez versus the Padres. Both are ideal matchups, and since Felix is $2,200 cheaper, I expect many owners to give him the nod. I think that you’ll see Scherzer at a lower ownership than usual despite him being such an elite option. Scherzer actually hasn’t been as sharp as we are used to, posting a 4.58 ERA of his last five starts and allowing ten HRs in the process. However, his strikeout numbers are top notch which means his fantasy production has been too. Scherzer has scored 26+ DK points in four of six including his ridiculous 59 point game a few weeks ago. His upside is uncapped against the Phillies who are likely the second-worst offense in the league. No one scored fewer runs in May than the Phillies.
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This would be a pure value GPP flier, but Danny Duffy is worth pointing out. Duffy is a reliever by trade but the Royals have stretched him out over the course of the last four weeks. His pitch count has increased from 48 pitches in his first start, to 63 in his second, to 76 in his last outing. Those 76 pitches got him through 5.1 IP against the White Sox. If his pitch count and innings continue to trend upwards, he could quickly become a valuable fantasy option. In only 30 innings, his 9.98 K/9 would be considered the upper echelon in the league. He’s also walked the third-fewest batters per nine on this slate so he’s not wasting those precious pitches. He will face the Rays tonight who struck out at a ridiculous 25% in the month of May, third worst rate in the league. It’s also worth noting that Vegas clearly likes something about this matchup and has Duffy as a small favorite over the formidable Chris Archer.
The Mariners are absolutely rolling on offense right now. They finished May with the second-best wOBA in the league and the third most runs scored in the month. They slugged 40 HRs, also third-best, while striking out under 20% of the time. They travel to a tough ballpark in San Diego tonight and they will lose the DH, making me think most owners will overlook the M’s. I want to see the National League lineup they roll out, but I am excited to target Christian Friedrich who has a small sample size as a Major League pitcher. He’s been sporadic this season but his 5.21 xFIP compared to his 1.65 ERA would indicate that he is running significantly above expectation and a correction is bound to happen.
That’s all folks! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more player analysis and news as starting lineups are released! Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.