MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: SP1 Framber Valdez + Rangers Bats (May 15)

Wednesday brings split-slate action with the featured tournaments locking at 7:10 p.m. ET on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help identify today’s MLB DFS stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Framber Valdez and Tanner Houck as Wednesday’s aces, with the Rangers and Cardinals shaping up as the teams to stack.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | May 15

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: LHP Framber Valdez vs. Oakland Athletics — 3.0 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,800 | FanDuel $9,200 | Yahoo $44

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool gives LHP Framber Valdez a 25% probability of being a top-2 scoring pitcher on both DraftKings and Yahoo, while he is the preferred option on FanDuel as well with an 11% likelihood of being the highest-scoring pitcher. Oakland plated two runners on Monday and just one last night in a 2-1 loss that went into extra inning. The team has scored three or fewer runs in five of the last 10 games and catcher Shea Langeliers is the only hitter who has seen positive results against Valdez.

This season, Valdez has seen his ground ball rate return to that of the best in the game at 64.4%, which is well above his already-elite 54.2% rate from last year. In his first five seasons, spanning 514.1 innings, he averaged a 66.2% ground ball rate. While his strikeouts are not quite back to his usual level of around one per inning, everything else is appealing about Valdez tonight, including his salary.

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Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: RHP Tanner Houck vs. Tampa Bay Rays — 4.0 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,100 | FanDuel $11,000 | Yahoo $46

Considering there is a chance of rain in Minnesota, RHP Pablo Lopez would have been the next recommended option, even in a tricky matchup against the top-heavy New York Yankees.

This is no slight to RHP Tanner Houck, who is not too far away from Lopez in the projections and potential upside. There is a little bit of weather in the Boston forecast, though it is likely to arrive in the later innings after Houck is in the dugout. Tampa Bay does have Josh Lowe back, but Brandon Lowe (no relation), the other guy who is suspended and a few key platoon players are out of the picture as compared to last season’s lineup. The back of the order does not have many above-replacement-level hitters, which allows for three-up, three-down innings.

Houck is in the midst of a career season, and while he has allowed three runs in each of his last two starts, he ceded just seven total in his first six appearances, including a complete game shutout against Cleveland. This is a lofty salary today, particularly on FanDuel, but Houck has seven quality starts, which is the second most in the league and a key bonus opportunity for the blue site scoring system.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Texas Rangers vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco — 5.1 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET

Shout out to RHP Carlos Carrasco for the long career and for being decent in his last two outings, allowing just four runs. Of course, the last start he did have two unearned runs while also allowing a pair of round-trippers to the White Sox in Chicago, so that is an indication that the end of the road is nigh for the venerable veteran. Carrasco has allowed multiple home runs in three of his last four appearances, and Globe Life Field is proving to be a little more offensive friendly than what appeared to be the baseline during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

When part-timers Robbie Grossman and Travis Jankowski, along with Ezequiel Duran, are the “worst” hitters in the lineup, well, that is a darn good lineup. Josh Jung is still out, and there is a chance the defending World Champions will make another move to shore up the outfield.

For tonight, the top six in the order are the priority plays, with Marcus Semien Adolis Garcia, Corey Seager, catcher Jonah Heim, Nathaniel Lowe and Josh Smith being the priority order. Leody Taveras is a viable option from the nine-hole, providing differentiation while also gaining synergy as part of a wraparound stack.

Main Slate Secondary Target: St. Louis Cardinals at RHP Griffin Canning — 4.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:07 p.m. ET

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool is wondering if the St. Louis Cardinals just needed a little time at Disneyland to relax and unwind. In the two games so far in Anaheim, the Redbirds have put up 17 runs, which is just over 10% of their season-to-date production.

RHP Griffin Canning blanked the Kansas City Royals for 5.2 innings on Friday, and he allowed just two earned runs in Cleveland in the preceding start. However, he still has a 5.75 ERA on the season and is allowing 1.35 baserunners per inning. While he has cut down on the home runs, walks and a lack of consistent strikeouts are still causing problems.

Look to lefties Lars Nootbaar and Nolan Gorman, with right-handed veterans Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado rounding out full stacks. Matt Carpenter is cheap and should be in the leadoff spot, but the elder statesman is a pinch-hit or pinch-run risk. Brendan Donovan is really the only other candidate for a five-man stack, so going with four is an acceptable outcome.

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Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

Tonight RHP Javier Assad is someone to target in the sports wagering world for the under on his 3.5 strikeouts prop, which is currently available on FanDuel at +124, with a lot of books offering positive money today.

OddsShopper shows this bet has +117 “true odds,” so the +124 line still brings a favorable 3.1% expected ROI. We can also see how crucial it is to shop the odds, as sportsbooks tend to vary wildly with their offerings. This can be seen with sharp book Pinnacle all the way down at -102.

Assad does project for right around 3.5 strikeouts, so we are counting on the Atlanta offense to help push him through his pitch count and even put some early numbers on the board to get the veteran righty off the mound. Assad does have four strikeouts in each of his last two starts and four or more in six of eight appearances. That is why the books are offering plus money, and why, even with the 52% probability that he surpasses the four-strikeout milestone, there is still a positive ROI when considering a longer time horizon for this type of wager.

The projected Atlanta lineup has a 20.0% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching since the start of last year, which is well below league average.

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Final Thoughts for Wednesday, May 15– MLB DFS Picks

Keep tabs on Minnesota, as there is a chance of rain in the Twin Cities. Be sure to check in with your favorite MLB Weather Report page closer to first pitch for updates.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show, at 6:00 p.m. ET brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $500 first deposit match! Full details here.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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