MLB DFS 7-16-21 Pitching Primer
The MLB DFS 7-16-21 Pitching Primer is primed up and ready to go for the second half!
The baseball season restarted with an inauspicious start last night, as the stand-alone Yankees vs. Red Sox primetime game was canceled due to health and safety protocols.
Today, the dark cloud over MLB appears to be an actual dark cloud, rain. Several of my pitching options below are at risk of a delay, PPD, or truncated game. If you aren't able to pay attention to weather forecasts up to lock tonight, you will want to stay with my main option, specifically in your cash games.
Additionally, several teams to this point have been not-forthcoming with their rotation plans coming out of the break. There is still very little clarity as to who will toe the rubber for as many as six teams tonight. If any updates are needed, I will make them in this space and announced them through Twitter.
The Dodgers are in Coors Field today and targeting Antonio Senzatella at home is always a popular DFS strategy. With only one pitcher priced over $10K on either site it should be relatively easy to get a few options in.
Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves ($8.7k FD, $8.5k DK) vs. TB
This game has ideal summer pitching conditions, with lower humidity and barely a chance for a sprinkle of rain. It is without question the safest landing spot for you in cash games.
As we all know, the Tampa Bay Rays are far and away the worst team in MLB at striking out, with a rate north of 10 k/9. In a small sample size, Charlie Morton has a 50% strikeout rate and minuscule .189 xwOBA against this roster.
Morton has struck out seven or more batters in five straight starts and is among the league leaders with eight wins. I would be using Morton tonight if he were $2k higher. This is a no-brainer smash spot for me on both sites.
Robbie Ray, Toronto Blue Jays ($9.8k FD, $9.3k DK ) vs. TEX
There is some risk in this game, as the forecast calls for light rain becoming increasingly steady into the night. The chance for a delay or even a PPD does exist, so you'll have to pay attention.
Robbie Ray is one of the premier strikeout pitchers in the game today. With 130 punchouts in 100.2 innings, his 11.7 k/9ths is among the league's best for starters. He is a threat for double-digit strikeouts every night and is the biggest favorite on the board at -235.
His ownership will be contained by the threat of rain, making him a very good GPP play for risk-tolerant DFS players.
Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants ($10.6k FD, $10.3k DK) @ StL
The year that Kevin Gausman is having is almost other-worldly. His .259 xwOBA and 2.78 ERA indicate that on a given day, he is the best pitcher in the game not named Jacob deGrom.
While the Cardinals do not particularly strike out much, they are the fourth-worst team in the league at scoring runs this year. They have had the second-lowest ISO in baseball since June 1.
There is a 25% chance of rain for tonight, but clearing late so at worst there could be a delayed start. As of now, the rain is not a concern for me, but the high humidity is. Humidity levels over 75% make for an optimal hitting environment.
Gausman will make a Coors Field lineup difficult to build, so if you are in the habit of fading the first game of a series in Denver as I like to do sometimes, spending up for Gausman makes for a sneaky GPP play. Despite the less-than-ideal pitching conditions and matchup, he is by far the best pitcher taking the mound tonight.
Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds ($8.8k FD, $8.2k DK) vs. MIL
Tyler Mahle is one of my favorite pitchers to use in DFS this year. He is rarely priced like a pitcher with a 31.4% CSW rate and 29.5% strikeout rate. Today is no exception, and I love the build when pairing him with Morton on DraftKings.
The Brewers are the fourth-worst team in MLB at striking out this year, and a familiar foe for Mahle. His .278 xwOBA and 36.1% strikeout rate lead me to believe a solid outing is coming.
Priced $100 over Morton on FanDuel, I see no reason to utilize Mahle in cash games on that site. But he will be a fresh GPP option for that reason. Pay attention to the 40% chance of rain through the entire night, it could cause a delay at some point and shorten the outing for the starting pitchers in Ohio.
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs ($9.8k FD,$7.5k DK) @AZ
The pricing on Kyle Hendricks makes no sense on FanDuel. He is a below league average strikeout pitcher on a site dependant on strikeouts. However, on DraftKings, the site with the scoring system more suited to his skill set, he is tremendously underpriced.
In a fairly large sample, Hendricks comes into this start with a 2.15 FIP and .238 xwOBA against Arizona. The Cubs are listed as a -150 favorite in this road contest.
With the matchup against the lowly Diamondbacks, no concern for rain with the domed stadium, and price consideration, he makes for a perfect second pitcher in cash games on DraftKings.
Kenta Maeda, Minnesota Twins (N/A FD, $8.7k DK) @ DET THIS GAME HAS BEEN POSTPONED!!!!!!!!
This game is the second half of a doubleheader and thus scheduled for only seven innings. FanDuel has not included the game on the slate. Meanwhile, DraftKings has put a scary blue exclamation point next to Kenta Maeda to warn you that the game is only seven innings. This will certainly deter some ownership. Meanwhile, Maeda has pitched beyond the sixth inning a grand total of zero times this year, so he should not be affected.
After a very concerning start, Maeda has turned his season around his last two starts. We have seen his price rise over $2500 over that span due to 35.7 and 22.9 DraftKings points performances. Last Friday, he struck out seven of these same Detroit Tigers in five innings. We were all over that start in this article last week and cashed handsomely because of it.
This game is part of a split doubleheader, and there is a high risk of rain throughout the day. If you are risk-averse or cannot be glued to the forecast today, you will want to stay away. This is a great spot at a risky GPP play, and nothing more.
For any questions related to the MLB DFS 7-16-21 Pitching Primer, or for additional options, you can reach me on Twitter @jtrela20. Otherwise, check me out streaming LIVE this Monday at 8:00 PM EST as we are joined by Fantasy Baseball legend Lenny Melnick on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast, now part of the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube network of podcasts.