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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for May 23

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

Another work week gets rolling with 10 games on the main slate at DraftKings on Monday night under the lights. Four of the 10 brand new series getting underway to start the week are divisional matchups, while there’s also an unusual interleague matchup between the Blue Jays and Cardinals in St. Louis. There are a couple of weather spots to keep an eye on, especially in the early games in Washington and Atlanta, so be sure to monitor the forecast leading up to game time if you include players from those contests.

Leading up to the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET, be sure to track all the news, lineups and updates in the DK Live app and by following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also available on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), and I’m always happy to answer any questions you have about these picks or the strategies I typically use.


Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $300K 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.


PITCHER

Stud

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles ($10,500) – Cole in this matchup is an expensive play but can’t be overlooked due to his high ceiling. He has over 22 DKFP in each of his past five starts, including 22.2 DKFP in his most recent outing, which was on Wednesday in another matchup against the O’s. He is 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA and 3.14 FIP in addition to a 10.51 K/9 rate on the year. All those numbers are trending the right way with a 2.12 ERA, 2.27 FIP and 11.12 K/9 over his past six starts. His strikeout production has been even better in his two most recent home starts, resulting in 34 and 28.7 DKFP. The Orioles have won three of their past four games, but are still hitting just .227 as a team this year while ranking in the bottom third of the MLB in runs scored and the top third in most strikeouts.

Other Options – Tyler Anderson ($9,400), Luis Garcia ($8,700)

Value

Zach Davies, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Kansas City Royals ($6,000) – Admittedly, this is a little bit of a flip-flop for me since I have called for stacking against Davies earlier this season. However, given this matchup, I think he has a ton of upside for an option available at only $6K and could be the key to still stacking up big bats if you go with Cole as your ace. Davies did get knocked around by the Dodgers in his last start, but Los Angeles does that to contact-heavy pitchers like Davies. Against easier lineups, though, the soft-tosser has actually had solid fantasy performances, including a pair of games with over 19 DKFP in each of his two most recent home starts, which were just before he couldn’t beat L.A. Davies does have a 4.35 ERA and 4.03 FIP on the year with only a 6.86 K/9 rate. While he isn’t the strikeout-heavy pitcher I normally target, he has fared well enough to be an exception if the matchup is right. The Royals are just that right matchup ranking in the bottom five in the Majors in runs scored, home runs and ISO on the season and coming in having dropped four straight games. Davies is one of four scheduled starters tonight named Zach (or Zack) and will go up against former-Diamondback Zack Greinke ($4,800) in a game matchup that should set him up for success.

Other Option – Triston McKenzie ($7,700), Tucker Davidson ($7,200)


INFIELD

Stud

Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($5,500) – Goldschmidt led the St. Louis offense with four hits on Saturday and took the day off yesterday while his teammates piled up 18 runs against the Pirates. He has been carrying the offense during his current 14-game hitting streak which has included eight multi-hit games, 12 doubles and four home runs. He has gone 27-for-59 (.458) with a .407 ISO and .567 wOBA during his streak, and his .342 batting average is second-best in the National League behind only Manny Machado. Goldschmidt and the Cards will look to keep their offense rolling as they welcome in José Berríos ($8,500) and the Blue Jays.

Stud

Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays at St. Louis Cardinals ($5,000) – Bichette has at least 7.0 DKFP in four of his past six games, highlighted by his two-homer, 30-DKFP performance on Saturday. While his season totals are still a little “meh,” he has been picking things up lately by hitting .291 (23-for-79) over his past 20 games with four home runs and two stolen bases. He typically hits in a great spot in the order between George Springer ($5,000) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,900), providing him plenty of run production opportunities. The Blue Jays will be taking on Miles Mikolas ($9,600), who pitches to contact a lot, seemingly a very dangerous strategy against the power-packed top-third of the Toronto order.

Other Options – Ozzie Albies ($5,100), Jeremy Peña ($4,700)

Value

Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees ($2,000) – Rutschmania continues as the top prospect in all of the MLB leads his Orioles to New York after going 2-for-8 with a triple and 8.5 DKFP per game over his first weekend in the majors. Rutschman has already showcased a great approach at the plate and should almost immediately become one of Baltimore’s best bats. He is still available at the minimum and comes with a lot of upside, so give him a look at this salary while you still can even in a tough matchup against Cole. Last season, he had a .178 ISO and .395 wOBA in 43 games at Triple-A, and his hitting skills appear to be MLB ready.

Value

Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($2,000) – Another slightly less hyped recent call up making an impact is Gorman, who has made it to the Majors at just 22 years old after rocketing through the Cardinals’ farm system. In Triple-A, he started the year hitting .308 with a .441 wOBA on 15 home runs in just 34 games. He has immediately slotted high in the batting order and gone 5-for-10 (.500) with two doubles, two walks and four runs scored in his first three games in the Majors. Especially if he hits second right in front of Goldschmidt, he brings too high of a ceiling to pass on at the minimum salary.

Other Options – Ty France ($3,700), Eduardo Escobar ($3,500)


OUTFIELD

Stud

Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($6,100) – The Braves have enjoyed having their superstar back at the top of their lineup, and he continues to find multiple ways to produce plenty of fantasy goodness. In his 15 games after a late start to the season, he has only two home runs but has gone 17-for-57 (.298) with eight stolen bases, a .399 wOBA and a robust 51.5% hard-hit rate. He has at least one hit in 11 of his past 12 games while hitting .341, and he has hit .368 in his five home games including both of his home runs. He should be set up to put on a show for his home fans again in this contest if the weather cooperates. In his past meetings against Phillies SP Zack Wheeler ($9,900), Acuña has gone 8-for-28 with three home runs.

Stud

Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets at San Francisco Giants ($4,500) – On the season, Nimmo’s numbers are almost identical to last year’s production, and his spot being locked in at the top of a strong lineup has led to him being a regular fantasy contributor so far this season. He has hit safely in 17 of his past 18 games, going 23-for-69 (.333) with four doubles and two triples boosting him to a .381 wOBA. He doesn’t usually provide the stolen bases or home runs that Acuña or Mookie Betts ($5,700) bring from the leadoff spot, but he does consistently get on base and score runs. As a mid-range option, Nimmo has been consistent enough this season to be a relatively low-risk play.

Other Options – Mookie Betts ($5,700), Hunter Renfroe ($4,600)

Value

Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics ($3,400) – Rodríguez continues to be one of my top go-to options in this price range. The rookie has been locked into my value OF slots all season long and has shown off an immensely high ceiling. He has moved into the cleanup spot for Seattle while going 21-for-62 (.339) over his past 16 games with two homers, three stolen bases, a .386 wOBA and a 44.7% hard-hit rate. He also gets a boost from taking on a lefty in this matchup against Zach Logue ($8,100) since he is hitting .333 against lefties this season with a .394 wOBA.

Value

Josh Naylor, Cleveland Guardians at Houston Astros ($3,300) – In his return from the COVID-19 IL, Naylor picked up where he left off, homering for a third straight game. He now has six homers on the season and all of them have come in his 16 most recent contests. During that stretch, he is 18-for-56 (.321) with a .357 ISO and .447 wOBA. He still struggles against lefties, but whenever he’s this cheap and going up against a right-handed starting pitcher, the power potential is too high to pass up.

Other Options – Pavin Smith ($3,400), Chad Pinder ($2,000)


TEAMS TO STACK

New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles – Even though Jordan Lyles ($5,800) had a decent outing against the Yankees last week, I’m not counting on a repeat performance. He allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings in that outing, which was one of his best of the year. He’s 2-4 through eight starts with a 4.11 ERA and 3.88 FIP and has allowed only five home runs after surrendering 38 last season in 32 games. While he has been a little better, the Yankees still offer so much power potential at home that they are still worth a look. Anthony Rizzo ($5,100) has two career home runs against Lyles in 13 at-bats while DJ LeMahieu ($5,300) is 6-for-16 in their past matchups. Aaron Judge ($6,200) and Giancarlo Stanton ($5,900) always bring plenty of power upside as well with Gleyber Torres ($4,800) and Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($4,300) cheaper ways to get in on some of the action as well. It’s not a cheap way to go, but playing at home against a fly ball pitcher always sets the Yankees up with a high ceiling.

Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers – In this AL Central matchup, the Tigers will give the ball to Elvin Rodriguez ($4,000), who will be taking the spot of Eduardo Rodríguez (ribs), who is on the IL. Elvin Rodriguez gave up four runs in 2 23 innings in his only MLB experience this season before going 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA in 22 23 innings in Triple-A. Most of his struggles in the minors came against left-handed batters, so it should be a good spot for Luis Arraez ($3,600) and Max Kepler ($3,400) to be solid value plays. The other bats that typically put up points for the Twins are Byron Buxton ($5,800), Carlos Correa ($5,100) and Jorge Polanco ($4,900). If you need value options, Gio Urshela ($3,100) and even Nick Gordon ($2,000) could be options as well.


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.


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