MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Hunter Brown Wins Today’s A’s Matchup Sweepstakes (May 26)

Friday brings a plethora of new series, along with a 12-game featured slate that begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. Before you build lineups, several Stokastic tools can help identify daily MLB DFS Top Stacks, key pitchers and MLB DFS picks. Let’s dig into the player projections and popularity for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups, including a couple of righties in great spots, plus a powerful lineup that gets one of the best matchups an offense can get.

MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Kevin Gausman at Minnesota Twins — 3.7 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $10,300 | FanDuel $11,100 | Yahoo $51

Friday night, RHP Kevin Gausman checks in as the top pitching option for his road matchup in Minnesota. It should be a pleasant spring evening with game-time temperatures in the 70s, along with a light breeze blowing in from right field. Once again injuries have ravaged the Twins, with Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Trevor Larnach, Royce Lewis and Nick Gordon all on the injured list. Joey Gallo (shin) and Carlos Correa (foot) are also day-to-day with nagging injuries. That leaves Byron Buxton and the promising but inconsistent Alex Kirilloff as the main bats that Gausman will be dealing with.

This season Gausman has had two dreadful games, with 16 combined runs allowed in road losses to Boston and Houston. There is no shame in that since those are two of the most productive offenses in the league, and in Gausman’s eight other outings, he has ceded more than two earned runs only once. That game was his third start of the season, and the Detroit Tigers got to him for three runs, including a pair of round-trippers, but Gausman still offered up 11 strikeouts.

The 32-year-old ace is pushing towards a career high with his 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings, and he already has four games with double-digit whiffs. The projected lineup for the Twins strikes out nearly 25% of the time and has limited power against right-handed pitchers. Gausman is the clear building block for cash lineups and a terrific tournament play on Friday.

Late Slate Pitching Target: RHP Hunter Brown at Oakland Athletics — 3.3 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,900 | FanDuel $10,300 | Yahoo $47

The winner of today’s sweepstakes for who gets to face the Oakland Athletics is RHP Hunter Brown. The youngster has shown excellent potential through his nine starts in The Show, and he just held the A’s in check on Saturday, with one earned run across six innings while striking out nine. Five of his nine appearances have resulted in two or fewer runs, and with a per-nine-innings strikeout rate approaching 10, Brown is in play across all slates and a fine pivot away from Gausman for those dabbling in head-to-heads, 3-mans and double-ups while looking for a safe pitcher with upside.

Wild Card Pitching Target: LHP Reid Detmers vs. Miami Marlins — 4.0 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:38p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $7,700 | FanDuel $8,300 | Yahoo $34

For those trying to find a discounted SP2 on DraftKings and Yahoo, LHP Reid Detmers fits the bill. Tonight the 23-year-old southpaw will be facing the Miami Marlins, who are coming off a series in Coors Field and will now be playing at a venue with elevation just above sea level. We have seen time and again over the years that more often than not it takes a day to get acclimated to both going to and coming out of Denver, with how the Mile High City impacts various breaking balls.

Walks have been an issue for Detmers, but that has been offset by an impressive 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings. In his last three appearances, he has racked up 22 punchouts in 14.2 innings while curtailing the power of opposing hitters, allowing zero home runs. Detmers is a strong tournament option on the late slate while doubling as the cash game wingman on Friday’s featured slate.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Houston Astros at RHP James Kaprielian — 4.7 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

After being banished to the minors for poor performance, RHP James Kaprielian has been back in The Show for a pair of average starts. Kaprielian is 29 years old and though he was the 16th overall selection, it was in the 2015 MLB Draft. Tommy John surgery knocked him out of action in the spring of 2017 and the Yankees traded him to Oakland for RHP Sonny Gray later that summer. Kaprielian resumed his career in 2019 and then worked his way through the A’s farm system.

Essentially what we saw from Kaprielian last year is what most projection systems have for this season, albeit with more home runs allowed in the 1.4 to 1.65 range. Since he allows equal power to batters swinging the stick from both sides of the plate, most of the Houston lineup is in play. Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve are the usual suspects. Looking to Chas McCormick and Jeremy Pena from the bottom third of the order will provide differentiation. Then there is Jose Abreu, who has to hit a home run at some point … right?!

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Main Slate Secondary Target: Atlanta Braves vs. RHP Taijuan Walker — 5.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET

This season RHP Taijuan Walker has been struggling with home runs, walks and, as per is the norm for him, not enough strikeouts to get out of jams. The Phillies are his fifth team in five seasons, and while he probably has a couple more years ahead as an innings-eater, the Atlanta bats hold the advantage in this matchup.

Austin Riley ended his home run drought with a pair of round-trippers that traveled a combined 900 feet last night. Matt Olson has been outstanding throughout his career against opposite-handed pitchers, and this is the duo to target for DFS and in the home run market.

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Ronald Acuna, catcher Sean Murphy, Ozzie Albies and veteran outfielders Eddie Rosario and Marcel Ozuna can be used to create all sorts of full-stack combinations. Atlanta and Houston are likely to be overlooked tonight on the main slate, with the New York Mets facing the pitching abomination also known as RHP Connor Seabold.

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Late Slate Target: Boston Red Sox at RHP Brandon Pfaadt — 4.7 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

The Chase Field roof is scheduled to be closed tonight, as game-time temperatures will be in the mid-90s. On the mound for the Diamondbacks will be one of their better pitching prospects, RHP Brandon Pfaadt. It has been a winding road to The Show for Pfaadt, who spent three seasons pitching for the Bellarmine University Knights of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. His time was split between a starting role and the bullpen before he started all five games of his final season. Then the 24-year-old worked his way through each level of the minor leagues, ultimately being called up this season after five outings at Triple-A Reno.

So far Pfaadt has had a rocky run, though considering he has a grand total of 87 Triple-A innings, it should not be a surprise he lacks polish. Walks (8) and home runs (7) have been an issue over his four starts, plus just 14 strikeouts in 20 innings have not done him any favors. He will get better, but the Red Sox have been one of the better offenses in the league this season, even with J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts moving on to West Coast National League teams.

Of Pfaadt’s seven home runs, three have been courtesy of left-handed batsmen, while their right-handed counterparts have accounted for the other four. Primary targets should be from the top of the lineup, with Rafael Devers, Justin Turner, Masataka Yoshida, Jarren Duran and Alex Verdugo being the preferred priority order. Emmanuel Valdez and Tristan Casas can be used for discounted differentiation at the back of the lineup.

Final Thoughts for Friday, May 26 | MLB DFS Picks

There are potential storms in the Denver area, and though it is rare to see a game at Coors Field canceled, we will want to pay attention to the forecast leading up to first pitch.

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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

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