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MLB DFS: Best/worst plays for Saturday, May 22nd

Ramon Laureano bashes lefties, and Ian Happ is BACK, baby!

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

What follows are guys who stuck out to me at first glance over morning coffee. I’m mostly looking at single-player values to start out with. It’s just my thing. I work outward from there. I’m always around in the comments or on Twitter at @HeathCapps if anyone wants to talk MLB DFS. It’s a fickle beast, but it sure is fun to play.

I also encourage you to follow @realdfswars and all of the 20 analysts who are participating this year. That’s a great way to access a bunch of daily fantasy content—and from a bunch of helpful and welcoming people, too.

It sucks for all of us that I got away from my Atlanta Braves last night. I had them for most of the week, and I missed the 20-spot they put on Tyler Anderson and the Pirates last night. Seven home runs and a pair of grand slams later...let us just say there are tears in my coffee this morning.

Single-Player Values

Scouring the six games individually, here are the names that stood out:

Albert Pujols at $2,000, batting fifth against RHP Matt Wisler. I hate it, but 2K? Maybe that’s a boring “cash” game option for those of you who dabble that way. I don’t, but felt the salary was worth mentioning.

Ian Happ ($3,800) gets a $700 price hike from Friday, but he’s still worth it as one of the lower-priced Cubs and a power/speed option. I’ll mention him more in a second.

Dylan Carlson ($2,800) is too cheap for a bat of his caliber, especially one batting second. Adbert Alzolay has some strikeout upside, but he’s not an arm to shy away from. For reference, Carlson is only $100 more expensive than Harrison Bader. Just yikes.

I don’t love Danny Santana, but if he leads off for Boston at $2,400 he’s tough to ignore. Boston has scored the most runs in the majors this year, and they are top five in homers, RBI, batting average, slugging, wOBA, and wRC+. Laugh all you like at the state of their starting pitching in recent times, but the Red Sox can score plenty of runs.

Alec Bohm ($3,500) is too cheap. Don’t care who the opposing pitcher is. I like Eovaldi, but I’m not running away screaming, either.

Jarred Kelenic ($3,600) is still super-affordable and should stick at leadoff despite the LvL matchup. Ryan Weathers won’t pitch deep anyway. Mitch Haniger ($4,600) seems too cheap for what he has accomplished this year? I’m surprised he isn’t closer to 5K. And Kyle Lewis ($3,500) is also dirt cheap. I may need to dig more into Weathers and into Seattle to see if I can tolerate a three-man Seattle stack. Kyle Seager ($4,100) is also solid and could round it out if I decided to go crazy with Mariners today.

As for games where I don’t love the offenses, I like Robbie Ray against the Rays, and I like Chris Bassitt in the late game. Now lets get into specifics...

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

OF Ian Happ @ RHP Miles Mikolas ($3,800)

For a mere $3,800 on DraftKings, you can snag the upside that is Ian Happ. Happ was a popular sleeper pick heading into season-long fantasy drafts this year, but injuries and ineptitude have held him down until recently. In the month of May he’s batting .417 with five homers and four doubles, as well as a trimmed his strikeout rate from 33.3% in Mar/Apr to 23.7% in May. He’s also on a heater, with multi-hit games in each of his last two, and one of those was a double-dong day. He has at least one hit in six straight games. Miles Mikolas will throw his first pitch since the 2019 NLCS, and he’s reportedly healthy after working six innings in his last rehab start. That said, it’s lefties we want against Mikolas historically, and the switch-hitting Happ fits that bill.

Chris Bassitt @ Los Angeles Angels ($7,800)

Bassitt could get staked to a decent lead here with the mercurial Patrick Sandoval slated to start for the Halos. He handled the Angels well last year, pitching to a 3.52 ERA over three starts. This is the first time he’ll catch them in 2021, and it will be without the services of Mike Trout. I dig that the Athletics put up eight runs last night and catch a lefty in Sandoval, too. Oakland’s .192 ISO versus southpaws ranks second in the majors, after only the mighty Atlanta Braves. Don’t forget about Chad Pinder if he cracks the starting lineup. He went nuts last night with three hits, including a homer and a double. He’s only $2,400 on DK and qualifies at shortstop and outfield. Go nuts with this free square if he’s in there.

Players to Fade

Manuel Margot is batting .190 over 21 at-bats against the lefty Shane McClanahan. He does have a home run, but that’s about it. I’d be surprised if he’s actually in the two-hole as projected? But we’ll see.

Stacking the Padres could be a letdown? They put up 16 runs last night, but the lefty Justus Sheffield has been pretty decent this year. He hasn’t allowed a home run in three of his last four starts, for reference. Of course, that could just mean he is due for an ugly one, and the Padres could easily stick it to him. I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, okay?

Stack of the Day

If it is Patrick Sandoval (and not Dylan Bundy) on the mound for the Halos, I’ll have a hard time not making my hay with Oakland today. The Angels bullpen has a 5.05 ERA—bottom five in the league—so when you marry that with Sandoval being a southpaw (Oakland’s bread and butter) and Sandoval’s career 5.36 ERA...I’m biting!

Lastly, for your general knowledge, Ramon Laureano is slashing a robust .365/.421/.673 against lefties, with a .308 ISO and a tiny 15.8% strikeout rate. He’s been a monster in that split this year. So let’s goooooooo, Oakland! Get Chad Pinder into that lineup, too!