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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for May 19

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays for Friday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings.

There are three games on the early turbo slate, followed by a full Friday night with the other 24 teams in Major League Baseball on the DFS main slate for DraftKings. Of the 12 games, only three are divisional matchups, and five are interleague contests. The Dodgers and Cardinals meet in a big National League series while the Twins visit the Angels in what could be a playoff preview in the American League.

Make sure to keep a close eye on pregame lineups and the latest player news by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the season continues.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $200K Relay Throw [$100K to 1st]

For up-to-the-minute news, analysis, and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.



Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels ($10,300) – Ryan edges out rookie sensation Bryce Miller ($9,400) as the top option on the slate since Wilson faces the Braves in a tough matchup and Ryan has a little longer track record. Ryan has been exceptional this season, ranking in the top seven for ERA, FIP and WHIP among qualifying starters.

In his most recent start, Ryan posted his third double-digit-strikeout game of the season by hurling six scoreless innings vs. the Cubs. He posted 34.5 DKFP in that outing and has over 24 DKFP in three of his four most recent starts and six of eight overall. He has also been very reliable, lasting at least six innings in every start. The Angels are a pretty neutral matchup, but there may be some fatigue involved since they just played seven straight days on the road, going 3-4 on the trip with an average of 4.3 runs per game over that stretch.

Other Options – Bryce Miller ($9,400), James Paxton ($8,300)


Jake Irvin, Washington Nationals vs. Detroit Tigers ($6,700) – The 26-year-old righty quickly climbed to the Majors after being drafted in 2018 by Washington. He made his MLB debut earlier this season and looked extremely sharp in his first two outings. He gave up just a total of one run on six hits in 10 2/3 innings while producing 9.6 DKFP in his debut vs. the Cubs. He followed that up with an even more impressive 24.1 DKFP in his second start.

In his most recent start, things unraveled a little bit, as he allowed six runs on six hits in just 4 2/3 to get his first MLB loss in an outing against the Mets. He still had six strikeouts but gave up six runs in the fifth after four shutout innings to start the outing. He should be able to return to his stronger form in this cushy matchup vs. the Tigers. Detroit has scored the fewest runs in the Majors this season (143), posting the fourth-worst team batting average (.229) and the second-worst team wOBA (.285). A matchup with the Tigers is a great spot to attack with any cheap starting pitcher, especially one who flashed so much upside already this season.

Other Option – Martín Pérez ($7,700), Michael Kopech ($7,400)



Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,300) – The Rangers' offense has been one of the best in baseball, ranking only behind the Tampa Bay Rays in total runs scored and fourth in team wOBA. While getting Corey Seager ($4,800) back in the lineup Wednesday was a huge deal, the main source or the Rangers’ production in his extended absence has been his double-play partner, Semien. Over his past 15 games, Semien has gone 21-for-62 (.339) with three doubles, two homers and a .403 wOBA. He has tacked on three stolen bases during that span to boost his total on the season to seven.

Semien and the Rangers have one of the best matchups on the slate Thursday because they’ll face Karl Kauffmann ($5,600), who was just recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque for this start. In his eight starts at Triple-A, Kauffmann posted a 7.78 ERA and gave up 54 hits in 37 innings including five home runs. The Rangers are a solid stack in the matchup, and Seimien is usually the spark plug that gets the offense fired up.


Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,600) – In March and April, Arenado hit .239 with two home runs, a .263 wOBA and a .080 ISO. Since that slow start, though, he has caught fire, going 17-for-52 (.327) over his past 12 games with seven home runs, a .457 wOBA and a .442 ISO. He has hit safely in nine straight games, averaging 16.4 DKFP per game over that span. His turnaround has helped the Cardinals turn their season around, and they’ll look to continue their surge against Tony Gonsolin ($8,900) and the visiting Dodgers on Friday.

Other Options – Pete Alonso ($5,400), Xander Bogaerts ($5,000), Jeremy Peña ($4,900)


Casey Schmitt, San Francisco Giants vs. Miami Marlins ($3,100) – Schmitt has slid over to 3B with the return of Brandon Crawford ($2,700) and can slot in at either 3B or SS in your lineup construction. The right-handed hitting 24-year-old was ranked as the Giants’ No. 3 prospect coming into the season and has started his MLB career red hot. He has hit safely in all but one of his nine games, going 15-for-36 (.417) with four doubles, two home runs and a .474 wOBA. Even though he’s not in an ideal matchup against Sandy Alcantara ($9,800), Schmitt brings enough salary relief to still be a strong play at barely over $3K.


Mark Vientos, New York Mets vs. Cleveland Guardians ($2,500) – Vientos forced his way to the Majors with a great start to his season in Triple-A. He hit .333 with 13 home runs in 38 games for an eye-catching .461 wOBA. He homered in his first game of the season on Wednesday, going 1-for-4 with 16 DKFP. He’s expected to return to the lineup against Cal Quantrill ($6,900), bringing a ton of power potential for a player with this bargain price tag. He also adds roster flexibility since he is eligible at 1B and 3B.

Other Options – Ezequiel Duran ($2,800), Andrew Vaughn ($2,600), Pablo Reyes ($2,200)



Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves vs. Seattle Mariners ($6,400) – Acuña has been amazing this season and continues to be one of the most reliable producers to build your lineup around on a nightly basis. He is hitting .345 on the season with 11 home runs and a .444 wOBA while adding 18 stolen bases, second-most in the Majors. He has homered in four straight games and has five home runs in his current eight-game hitting streak. He has posted at least 15 DKFP in five straight games and in seven of his last eight. Acuña can produce in a variety of ways and has averaged an incredible 12.9 DKFP per game through his first 43 games this season.

Adolis García, Texas Rangers vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,100) – García leads the Majors with 46 RBIs and comes into this great matchup vs. the Rockies almost as red-hot as Acuña. He has four home runs in his past four games and has hit exactly .300 (12-for-40) over his past 11 games with a .451 wOBA. He brings a high ceiling with his power potential and has done most of his damage at home, where he’s hitting .295 with a .421 wOBA on the season.

Other Options – Yordan Alvarez ($6,000), Byron Buxton ($5,200)


Christopher Morel, Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($4,400) – Morel will likely give up his leadoff spot with the return of Nico Hoerner ($5,000; hamstring) on Friday night, but Morel Mania will not be slowed down so quickly! In his eight games since being called up, Morel has gone 13-for-35 (.371) with a stolen base, two doubles, five home runs and a .518 wOBA. He has a hard-hit rate of 57.1%, and he has probably forced the Cubs to come up with ways to keep him in the lineup with his scorching start. Morel can fit at 2B or in the OF, so he’s another piece you can slide around and include in different lineup iterations. Morel will also be on the strong side of the splits against lefty Ranger Suárez ($6,300) and the Phillies on Friday.


Rob Refsnyder, Boston Red Sox at San Diego Padres ($3,000) – Refsnyder has startling splits and has become a lefty specialist in the middle of the Red Sox order against southpaws. Refsnyder is hitting .348 against lefties this season with two doubles, a home run and a .402 wOBA. He has multiple hits in four of his last five starts, averaging 11.6 DKFP in those five contests. He is expected to be in a premium lineup spot as the Red Sox start their West Coast road trip with a matchup against Blake Snell ($8,500) in San Diego.

Other Options – Esteury Ruiz ($3,600), Corey Julks ($2,600), Garrett Hampson ($2,300)

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $300K Relay Throw [$100K to 1st]

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.