Setting your DraftKings or Fanduel lineups for Wednesday, May 18? SI’s daily fantasy baseball experts recommends starting Anthony Rizzo and Ian Kinsler.
Every weekday during the MLB season, we’ll provide you with our ultimate DFS cash game lineup. Please note that the column is written in the morning, and you should check all lineups to make sure the players we’ve recommended are starting that day. Get all of Michael Beller’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.
Starting pitcher: Drew Pomeranz ($8,900) vs. San Francisco and Taijuan Walker ($7,100) @ Baltimore
Pomeranz has one bad start to his name this season, and that came against the same Giants team he’ll see on Wednesday. He has made three trips to the mound since that outing, allowing a total of one run while striking out 20 batters in 18 innings against the Dodgers, Mets and Cubs. Those slightly outweigh that one bad start. Pomeranz has been an absolute revelation for the Padres this season, posting a 1.80 ERA, 2.62 FIP, 1.08 WHIP and 51 strikeouts in 40 innings. Dollar for dollar, he’s the best pitcher on the slate Tuesday.
Walker calmed some nerves in Seattle with his latest start, less than a week after he had to leave an outing with neck spasms. He gave up four runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings, but he struck out nine batters, and his velocity was back where we expect it to be, a sure sign that the neck spasms were an isolated incident. Walker cruised through the first five innings of that start before getting touched up in the sixth, but it didn’t appear that fatigue was an issue. Tuesday’s matchup with the Orioles in Baltimore is a tough one, but Walker’s price is too good to beat.
Catcher: Welington Castillo ($3,400) vs. New York Yankees, Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi has surrendered seven homers in 42 2/3 innings this year, a troubling trend to bring into a start with the Diamondbacks in Arizona. Castillo provides a nice avenue to get invested in the Arizona lineup. The catcher is hitting .299/.339/.530 with seven homers, six doubles and 19 RBI this year. He checks off every box for our ideal DFS catcher. He’s affordable, he has power-related upside, and a matchup he can exploit.
First base: Anthony Rizzo ($5,100) @ Milwaukee, Jimmy Nelson
Rizzo and the Cubs were kept quiet by Chase Anderson, of all people, on Tuesday, but this is not a lineup you keep quiet for long. That the Cubs were shut down in the first game of their series with the Brewers only makes them more attractive in game two on Wednesday. Rizzo and Nelson have faced each other 16 times with the first baseman picking up four hits, three of which have gone for extra bases.
Second base: Ian Kinsler ($5,000) vs. Minnesota, Ricky Nolasco
Kinsler’s riding a modest six-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 10-for-24 with three homers, three doubles and five RBI. The homers have all come in his last three games, with Kinsler leaving the yard one time in each of those contests, and the 33-year-old’s slash line now sits at .309/.354/.531 for the season. He may not run much anymore, but he has been one of the best, most consistent fantasy players over the season’s first seven weeks.
Third base: Nolan Arenado ($4,500) @ St. Louis, Adam Wainwright
On Tuesday, we told you that any time Arenado is $3,900, as he was against Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals, you need to have him in your lineup. He proceeded to go 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI, which may not be a great day, but is fine when you only had to pay $3,900. The same principle is at play Wednesday. Wainwright has really struggled this year, and Arenado should be able to take advantage. The price is simply too good to pass him up.
Shortstop: Addison Russell ($3,900) @ Milwaukee, Jimmy Nelson
Russell has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball in May, posting a .320/.404/.560 slash with two homers, four doubles and 14 RBI in 57 plate appearances. Russell’s strikeout and walk rates have been moving in the right direction all season. It was only a matter of time before the rates that show up in fantasy leagues would, as well.
Outfield: J.D. Martinez ($4,200) vs. Minnesota, Phil Hughes; Charlie Blackmon ($4,000) @ St. Louis, Jaime Garcia; Jason Heyward ($3,900) @ Milwaukee, Jimmy Nelson
Martinez is starting to wake up from his early-season slumber, bringing his pop to bear in the middle of Detroit’s lineup. Over the last three games, he’s 7-for-12 with three homers and four RBI. This, of course, is the Martinez we expected to see all season. His struggles always seemed more like happenstance than a systemic issue, as we covered last week. He completes a mini-stack with Ian Kinsler on Wednesday. Blackmon also completes a mini-stack, joining Nolan Arenado in our lineup with a matchup against Wainwright. Blackmon lost about two weeks to injury this season, but he has been mostly the player we expect him to be when healthy, slashing .287/.346/.436 with a homer and three steals. Finally, Heyward completes a full stack with fellow Cubs Rizzo and Russell. Heyward is on an eight-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 11-for-32 with his first homer as a Cub.