Playing DraftKings or Fanduel on Wednesday, May 25? Our daily fantasy baseball expert recommends starting Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta in today’s lineups.
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: Jake Arrieta ($13,100) @ St. Louis and Junior Guerra ($7,400) @ Atlanta
Arrieta Day is also Corey Kluber, Aaron Nola and Jose Quintana Day, but don’t let the savings those three pitchers provide pull you away from one of the three best pitchers in baseball. In Arrieta’s two starts since his one non-quality outing in the last year, he has allowed just three runs while striking out 19 batters in 15 innings. He has yet to face St. Louis this season, but there’s no such thing as a bad matchup for Arrieta. As is the case with Clayton Kershaw, DFS owners shouldn’t worry about his performance, but should rather consider it’s worth saving money while turning to another pitcher with a high ceiling. That was the case in Kershaw’s last outing when Johnny Cueto shut down the Padres. It is not the case for Arrieta on Wednesday.
Guerra is coming off his best start of the season in which he struck out 11 Cubs and lmited one of the best offenses in baseball to three runs on five hits in seven innings. Take that, his price, and his matchup with the Braves, and he’s a great pitcher to pair with the $13,100 Arrieta.
Catcher: Wilson Ramos ($3,100) vs. New York Mets, Steven Matz
Ramos is a catcher we turn to frequently because he’s always affordable and has had a consistent bat in the middle of Washington’s lineup. Matz might be a tough lefty, but Ramos loves seeing a southpaw on the mound. He’s 7-for-23 with a homer and three doubles against them this year and has a .288/.335/.427 career slash line with the platoon advantage.
First base: Anthony Rizzo ($4,300) @ St. Louis, Carlos Martinez
Rizzo is mired in a terrible slump, during which he has gone 3-for-34 with six strikeouts. We’re admittedly focused on arbitrary endpoints, but that doesn’t change the fact that Rizzo simply hasn’t been hiself at the plate over the last 10 days. A player of his caliber doesn’t stay down for long, and even with this ugly stretch in his game log, he has a .375 OBP and .509 slugging percentage for the year. Smart money is on him turning it around sooner rather than later.
Second base: Josh Harrison ($3,200) vs. Arizona, Rubby De La Rosa
Harrison is 5-for-10 with two walks in his last three games, running his slash line to .314/.347/.415 this season. He has at least one hit in 24 of his last 28 games and can be a cheap piece in a Pittsburgh stack against De La Rosa on Wednesday. He hasn’t lost much against righties this year, hitting .295/.326/.388 without a platoon advantage.
Third base: Travis Shaw ($3,700) vs. Colorado, Chad Bettis
Shaw is in a bit of a rough patch, getting just two hits in his last 19 at-bats covering five games. A matchup with Bettis could be just the right thing to get him going. First, Shaw carries a .333/.405/.568 slash line against righties this season. Second, Bettis has been a decent mid-rotation pitcher for Colorado this year, but he doesn’t exactly feature shutdown stuff, accumulating a 4.18 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 1.21 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 56 innings.
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts ($4,700) vs. Colorado, Chad Bettis
If it weren’t for Jackie Bradley Jr., we’d all be talking about Bogaerts. The Boston shortstop is on a 17-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 31-for-81 (.408) with three homers, six doubles and 12 RBI. Just for the record, he had a modest six-game hitting streak immediately before starting the 17-gamer, going 11-for-24 on that stretch. His .349 batting average leads the AL.
Outfield: Charlie Blackmon ($3,900) @ Boston, Steven Wright; Cameron Maybin ($3,400) vs. Philadelphia, Aaron Nola; Mikie Mahtook ($3,200) vs. Miami, Justin Nicolino
Blackmon is 10-for-31 with a homer and two doubles in his last seven games, raising his slash line to .300/.351/.475 in the process. The knuckleballer Wright has been nothing short of excellent for Boston this season, but Blackmon’s price is too good to pass him up. Maybin hasn’t stopped hitting since coming off the DL a little more than a week ago, going 16-for-28 in his first eight games this season. Detroit’s matchup with Nola is one of the toughest on the board Wednesday, but we know we’re not going to get a perfectly ideal player at $3,400. There’s more good than bad for Maybin Wednesday. Mahtook returned to Tampa over the weekend, and got his first start of the season on Monday. He went 1-for-3 while hitting second in that game, a spot he can plan on occupying whenever he does start. Remember, he hit .295/.351/.619 with nine homers in 115 plate appearances with the Rays last season.