MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Thursday, May 23

MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Thursday, May 23

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

We try to keep our recommendations all on one slate, but that's going to be impossible here. We only have eight games for the whole day, with six of them taking place during the afternoon. What's even more frustrating is that only two of them have the same start time! That's why we're going to include every game in this article because it'll be up to you to see which time you'll be available to play. With that in mind, let's get started by looking at the pitchers. 

Pitching

Paul Skenes, PIT vs. SF ($9,500)

This is the first opportunity I've had to recommend Skenes, so I had to take it. This kid is the definition of a phenom prospect, generating a 0.99 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 14.8 K/9 rate at Triple-A this season. He showcased that in his most recent start, striking out 11 batters across six no-hit innings. It's possible that this kid is already one of the best pitchers in baseball, and he should thrive in a pitcher's venue like PNC Park throughout his career. Facing San Fran is far from scary, sitting 17th in wOBA and 18th in runs scored. 

Kevin Gausman, TOR at DET ($9,000) 

It's been a rough start to the season for Gausman, but he's too good to be posting numbers like these. The Blue Jays ace has allowed at least five runs in three of his nine starts but has allowed one run or fewer in five starts. That inconsistency has led to an ugly ERA and WHIP, but we're talking about a guy who had a 3.10 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over the last three years! We expect him to return to that form and add to those one-run starts here, facing a Tigers lineup that ranks 23rd in K rate, 24th in OBP and 22nd in wOBA. That was clear when Gausman scored at least 31 FanDuel points in their last three matchups, averaging 40 FD points per game!.

Top Targets

Elly De La Cruz, CIN (vs. Matt Waldron) $4,400

This kid has always had immense talent, and we're finally seeing it play out. He ranks second on this slate with 14.2 FanDuel points per game thanks to his 35 runs, 30 steals, nine homers and .355 OBP. The ability to steal bags has guaranteed EDLC one of the highest floors in DFS, and he could run wild against a knuckleball pitcher. De La Cruz has a .925 OPS against righties this year, with Waldron posting a 5.00 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. 

Alec Bohm, PHI (vs. Andrew Heaney) $3,700

Bohm is in the middle of a breakout year as the Phillies cleanup hitter, collecting a .391 OBP and .924 OPS. What's made him really scary are his splits, as he sports a .370 OBP and .932 OPS against southpaws since 2022. He also enters this matchup amid a seven-game hitting streak, generating a .982 OPS during that hot streak. It's not like Heaney is great at keeping people off the basepaths, amassing a 4.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. We also like Nick Castellanos ($2,800) in a Philly stack, as he has a 1.833 OPS in six at-bats against Heaney.

Bargain Bats

Oneil Cruz, PIT (vs. Mason Black) $3,000

Cruz set a Statcast record Tuesday when he had three hits above 115 mph. That just paints a picture of what this kid can provide. Those hard-hit metrics are playing out in the stats that really matter, with Cruz compiling a .300 AVG and .967 OPS across his last 15 games. Most of that damage has come with the platoon advantage in his favor, and he's generated a .891 OPS against righties this year. This is a right-hander he can rock, with Black getting blasted to the tune of a 7.71 ERA and 1.97 WHIP. Bryan Reynolds ($3,000) and Connor Joe ($3,000) are good pairings if you want to ride a Pittsburgh stack against Black. 

Ezequiel Tovar, COL (vs. Joey Estes) $3,000

The Rockies are one of the most unremarkable franchises in any sport, but Tovar is looking like a potential breakout. The shortstop has been moved up to the two-hole recently, registering a .340 AVG and 1.080 OPS across his last 11 outings. That sort of form makes him tough to fade against a gas can like Estes, totaling a 9.35 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. The Rockies are a tough team to stack but Ryan McMahon ($3,300) and Charlie Blackmon ($2,800) also have the platoon advantage against Estes, with Mac maintaining a 1.086 OPS across his last nine games. 

Stacks to Consider

Oakland Athletics vs. Colorado Rockies (Ryan Feltner): Brent Rooker ($3,500), Shea Langeliers ($3,000), Abraham Toro ($3,000)

This Oakland-Colorado series is one of the ugliest three-game stands of the season, but it's an interesting series from a DFS standpoint. Oakland is looking to win the series here, and they shouldn't have any issues in a fabulous matchup with Feltner. The Rockies righty has a 5.97 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in four years. It might sound gross to stack the A's but this team ranks fifth in homers! 

Rooker is the guy who's carried them to that top-five mark in dingers, providing a .361 OBP and .944 OPS in a breakout campaign. Most of that damage has come since May 1, and he's accrued a 1.113 OPS since then while providing a 1.042 OPS against righties for the year. Langeliers is projected to bat cleanup in this game, having accumulated a .954 OPS against righties this year. We can't overlook Toro as the leadoff hitter given a .412 OBP and .968 OPS across his last 23 games. 

Baltimore Orioles vs. Chicago White Sox (Mike Clevinger): Gunnar Henderson ($4,500), Ryan O'Hearn ($2,800), Colton Cowser ($2,800)

Clevinger has been the butt of many jokes throughout his career, but the real joke is his pitching. The righty has a 5.56 ERA and 1.85 WHIP. It appeared as though Clevinger was due for some negative regression when looking at his recent history, and that's what's happening in Chicago. It's likely to continue against Baltimore's bludgeoning lineup, as the team has hit the most bombs in baseball. 

We talked about how De La Cruz is the second-highest scoring player in DFS, but Henderson is the clubhouse leader with 14.5 FanDuel points per game. That's scary since he's homered in four of his last five game while providing a .885 OPS against righties throughout his career. O'Hearn and Cowser are the cheap options we like, with both guys getting the platoon advantage against Clevinger. O'Hearn has a .376 OBP and .895 OPS against righties this year, while Cowser has collected a .393 OBP and .921 OPS.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Joel Bartilotta plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Joelbartilotta Yahoo: Joelbartilotta.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joel Bartilotta
Joel has 20 years of Fantasy experience, and can recall riding a young Daunte Culpepper to a championship in the 2003-04 season in his inaugural fantasy year. He covers NBA, NFL, daily fantasy, EPL, and MLB for RotoWire.
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