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  • Jeff Trela @jtrela20

MLB DFS 7-9-2021 Pitching Primer

Today's MLB DFS 7-9-2021 Pitching Primer focuses on a fourteen-game evening slate. The weather has been wreaking havoc upon the Northeast this week, but it appears that Tropical Storm Elsa should not interfere with any MLB games tonight. Keep an eye on the Mets versus Pirates game as we get closer to lineup lock.

With this being every pitcher's last turn through the rotation before the All-Star Break, we could see some more innings out of starters that pitch well. Considering this lines up as more of a "pay down" type of slate, scores may be incredibly high.

It has certainly been a profitable first half, good luck tonight as we look toward the dog days of summer.


Kenta Maeda, Minnesota Twins ($7.3K, $7.1K) vs. DET



I said it was a "pay down" day at pitcher and this is why. In yet another horrible mispricing, Kenta Maeda barely appears on the screen when scrolling through FanDuel. He is my solid lock cash game play of the day on that site. On DraftKings, he is a sneaky good GPP play, as being priced only $100 more than Manoah will lead to very low ownership.

While the Tigers aren't exactly at the bottom of the American League as expected, they are a perfect target for our DFS pitchers. They are second behind the Rays in strikeouts per game, and seventh-worst at scoring runs. Maeda carries a .309 xWOBA and 30% strikeout rate against this projected lineup. Earlier this year he struck out six Tigers over six innings, en route to a 40 point day on FanDuel.

While Maeda has not been close to the pitcher we saw in 2020, he did show a flash of this in his last start. He ripped off ten strikeouts against the Royals, a team that does not strike out often, on the Fourth of July. He scored a whopping 58 FanDuel points that day and looks to build on that momentum today as a -235 favorite.

Even if he only matches the 40 point effort from back in May, that would represent more than 6x this salary. I'm very excited to build my lineup around him tonight, as we will be able to fit in every bat we want.


Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays, (10.3K FanDuel, $7K DraftKings) @ TB


In the most egregious pricing discrepancy of all time, Alek Manoah comes in as the most expensive option on FanDuel, while he is eighteenth on DraftKings. Being a two pitcher site, we may see over 90% ownership of Manoah on DraftKings tonight. If you play in cash games and do not have him locked in on DraftKings, you are doing DFS wrong.

As for the matchup, Tampa Bay is by far the worst team in the league at striking out. Manoah in fact struck out ten of these Rays just a week ago. His XBA of .188 is among the best in the league this year, as he runs toward the front of the Rookie of the Year candidates. In five of seven starts this year, Manoah has surrendered one run or less. He can afford to give up a few today though, as the strikeout total will offset it.


Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves ($10k, $9.6K) @ MIA




Charlie Morton has been solid, but not spectacular this year. The 3.91 ERA may shy away DFS players, but the 10.5 k/9 brings us right back in. Today, Morton is the starting pitcher on the favored team with the lowest total on the slate, at 7.5. He carries a 31.8% strikeout rate against these Marlins. The Marlins average less than four runs per game, fourth-lowest in baseball. Because he is priced similarly to Manoah on FanDuel, he makes for a good GPP option on that site.


Zach Thompson, Miami Marlins ($9.6K, $6.9K) vs. ATL


When we focus on a pitcher in a game with a 7.5 run total, we should also check out what the opposing starter has to offer. Zach Thompson has been outstanding to start his career, with 31 strikeouts in only 24 innings. He has pitched to a 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP despite a 43.9% Hard Hit Rate.

While the Braves have one of the top offenses in the game, they do tend to strike out quite a bit. Ozzie Albies may sit this game out, and he has been the main catalyst of the offense of late.

While Thompson is too expensive to use on FanDuel, he is priced nicely on DraftKings. Like Maeda, Thompson's ownership will be very low due to proximity in pricing to Manoah.


Dallas Keuchel, Chicago White Sox ($6.8k, $7.2K) @ BAL


While Dallas Keuchel is not the type of pitcher I like to use in DFS, he doesn't strike out anyone, he has had tremendous success against the Orioles. His .240 xWOBA and 2.2 FIP against this opponent represent the best on the slate. On DraftKings, where a pitcher is rewarded for keeping runners off base, you can look past the lack of strikeouts. However, the 14.1% strikeout rate limits his upside for GPP. He can be considered as an SP2 in cash games.


Taijuan Walker, New York Mets ($9.5K, $9K) vs. PIT


Taijuan Walker has been consistently average all year. His 32 average FanDuel points per game represent the third-highest of all pitchers toeing the rubber tonight. While he doesn't excite me, neither does the Pirates' offense. Walker represents a good pay-up alternative for cash games today, just keep an eye on the weather forecast.


Vincent Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies ($6.2K, $6.5K) @ BOS




Well, I can promise you no one else is going to recommend this one. I try to pick out a "puke in your mouth" pitching option on every slate. In the MLB DFS 7-9-2021 DFS Pitching Primer, there will be none the worse than Vinnie Velo.

The Phillies face the team with the best record in baseball tonight, but are only a +110 underdog on the road? It is because the opposing pitcher tonight is Garrett Richards.

Richards has imploded since June 1st and is an obvious casualty of the "sticky substance" controversy. He has even gone so far as to say he refuses to throw his curveball. The implied run total for the Phillies today is 5.2.

While the Phillies come in hot and have a nice chance to steal a win tonight, Velasquez still has to do his part to pay his salary in DFS. His .263 xWOBA and 32.5% strikeout rate against the Red Sox lead me to believe today could be a night he pops off unexpectedly. He should barely be 1% owned, especially in single-entry formats. Go for it, why not?

For any questions related to the MLB DFS 7-9-21 Pitching Primer, or for additional options, you can reach me on Twitter @jtrela20. Otherwise, check me out streaming LIVE this Wednesday at 9:00 PM EST on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast, now part of the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube network of podcasts.

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