Monday, June 21, has all eyes on baseball with the NBA playoffs getting a load management day and returning on Tuesday. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and stacks for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel.
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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks, Monday, June 21
Yahoo Stack of the Day: Houston Astros at LHP Keegan Akin — 5.6 implied runs
Different day, different Baltimore pitcher, same recommendation. The only concern here is the humidity manifesting into scattered showers in the late afternoon and early evening. This is a common occurrence in the Washington Metro area in early summer, and while the rain can be fierce at times, it generally does not last for very long. The same can be said about Keegan Akin’s starts.
Akin is averaging 93 pitches across his last four starts, though he has tallied just 19.1 innings. During this stretch he has less than a 20% strikeout rate, nearly a double-digit walk rate and a contact rate approaching 80%, which portends good things for the Astros.
Houston is always fierce against lefties, even without Alex Bregman. Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa are the MLB DFS picks to target tonight if the weather cooperates. Abraham Toro can be utilized as a discount dandy, with Chas McCormick and Michael Brantley serving as differentiation options.
Cincinnati Reds at LHP J.A. Happ — 4.9 implied runs
This could be the end of the line for J.A. Happ, as he has been an unmitigated disaster in his last four starts. During this stretch, he has allowed seven home runs in 19 innings and has just 14 strikeouts. The fastball is getting hammered, and while he is focusing more on his slider, it is not faring much better.
While this is a park downgrade for the Reds, they will get the designated hitter slot with this game being played under American League rules. That bodes well for Aristides Aquino being in the lineup for this two-game series, and DFS gamers won’t want to miss out on his tremendous power upside. Though he has just four hits in 22 at-bats this season, serving mostly as a pinch-hitter, he has a double and three home runs to his credit.
Tyler Stephenson is a nice way to check off the catcher requirement on DraftKings, and he is a perfectly acceptable first base option on the other sites. Nick Castellanos is in a prime spot for a home run, and Jonathan India and Eugenio Suarez are options as well. Minnesota will likely turn to righties Luke Farrell, Alex Colome and Matt Shoemaker as the freshest bullpen arms, which means Joey Votto and Jesse Winker should have the platoon advantage for the back half of the game.
Milwaukee Brewers at RHP Merrill Kelly — 5.0 implied runs
It seems that Merrill Kelly is being figured out by the rest of the league. Tonight will be his 52nd career start, and each of his last four have been successively worse. Over this stretch, he has accumulated 20.2 innings and allowed 17 runs allowed while suffering a home run in each game. The 20 strikeouts are solid, but the groundball outs have disappeared — only six in his last eight innings.
The Brewers boasts a tremendous amount of power in their lineup, and they are going to be scary if everyone is locked in at the same time. Tonight’s projected lineup has a combined .217 ISO against right-handed pitchers over the last two-plus seasons. From the left side of the plate, look to Christian Yelich (.279), Omar Narvaez (.289) and Daniel Vogelbach (.214) as the most likely options for extra-base hits. Avisail Garcia tends to be a boom/bust option with his propensity to swing at everything, but when he connects he punishes the ball. Recent addition Willy Adames is also a worthwhile option, particularly on FanDuel where he is just $2,500.
Top Target: RHP Yu Darvish vs. Los Angeles Dodgers — 3.4 implied runs
DFS Salary: Yahoo $50 | FanDuel $10,000 | DraftKings $10,200
Monday brings a treat with the Dodgers and Padres squaring off for the first of three games that will also be featuring a trio of tremendous pitching matchups. Tonight southpaw Julio Urias squares off with Yu Darvish. While the former is coming with a discount across the DFS sites, the latter is preferable as an ace.
Keep in mind that Los Angeles is without Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Max Muncy, who are all out with various maladies. This will be the third time that Darvish has faced his former team, and he handled them in the first two meetings across 14 innings, culminating in 18 strikeouts, a 1.29 ERA and only 10 base runners. Darvish also should throw between 93 and 98 pitches. Urias, on the other hand, is facing a fully healthy Padres lineup and generally does not exceed 87 pitches.
Secondary Target: RHP Kyle Gibson vs. Oakland Athletics — 4.5 implied runs
DFS Salary: Yahoo $37 | FanDuel $7,900 | DraftKings $6,300
This has been an excellent season for Kyle Gibson, allowing a combined .093 ISO. While his 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings are at a four-year low, Gibson has posted 11 quality starts in his 14 appearances. He has only four wins, but that is more of an indictment against the Rangers’ offense, as Gibson is seventh in MLB with a 2.03 ERA and 20th allowing a miniscule 1.03 base runners per inning. The roof will likely be closed in Arlington tonight, which should help the pitchers. This recommendation is more about finding a safe secondary pitcher than for the upside potential, which is hard to tap into with the lack of strikeouts.
Wild Card: RHP Jake Odorizzi at Baltimore Orioles — 4.5 implied runs
DFS Salary: Yahoo $30 | FanDuel $6,500 | DraftKings $5,900
This matchup is fraught with peril, but there are only 12 pitchers to choose from. Jake Odorizzi can be ignored on FanDuel, as he is unlikely to make it through the fifth inning. On DraftKings and Yahoo, however, the salary savings are nice, and there is some strikeout upside. The projected Baltimore lineup has seven batters with 20%-plus strikeout rates over the last two seasons against right-handed pitchers. A game like the Odorizzi posted against Boston two starts ago would be ideal; he threw 77 pitches, allowed three runs and struck out six, and even without the win, he would have been just a tick shy of 15 DraftKings points.
Final Thoughts for the Monday, June 21, MLB DFS Slate
Keep an eye on the weather in Chicago, Baltimore and New York heading towards first pitch, as each game has varying degrees of precipitation risk. As always, be mindful that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a home run play on Yahoo may be a below-average MLB DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.
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