MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/13/20 on FanDuel

James Paxton gets us access to strikeouts without breaking the bank, making him a key for FanDuel's simulated MLB DFS slate. Who else stands out on Wednesday?

On Wednesday's simulated MLB DFS slate, you get to have your cake and eat it, too.

Normally, there's not enough salary to go around to roster both a high-strikeout pitcher and a stack at Coors Field. It forces us to choose between one delicacy or the other.

For this one time, though, we don't have to choose. We can have both, and it's not even all that hard to do so.

Here's the rundown of starters, sorted by their salary on FanDuel. The individual pitcher numbers come from starts they made in 2019. The opposing numbers are based on current active rosters against that pitcher's handedness in 2019.

Pitcher Salary Opponent SIERA Strikeout % Walk % Opp. K% Opp. wRC+
Stephen Strasburg $10,800 LAA 3.49 29.9% 6.7% 20.3% 109
Clayton Kershaw $10,000 PHI 3.77 26.7% 5.8% 23.9% 109
Lance Lynn $9,500 TOR 3.67 28.1% 6.7% 25.2% 85
James Paxton $8,700 TAM 3.93 29.4% 8.7% 27.1% 99
Kenta Maeda $8,500 DET 4.22 26.2% 8.4% 25.6% 82
Dylan Bundy $8,300 WAS 4.54 23.1% 8.3% 21.5% 96
Joey Lucchesi $7,700 CWS 4.48 23.0% 8.2% 23.8% 119
Jose Urquidy $7,500 KAN 3.77 25.9% 4.3% 22.1% 93
Mike Fiers $7,300 SEA 5.19 16.7% 7.0% 25.9% 88
Jon Gray $7,200 SFG 4.28 23.7% 8.4% 24.0% 89
Max Fried $7,000 BOS 3.83 24.6% 6.4% 19.7% 112
Kendall Graveman $6,800 OAK -- -- -- 22.8% 109
Ryan Yarbrough $6,500 NYY 4.21 20.9% 3.2% 23.6% 126
Reynaldo Lopez $6,400 SDP 4.88 20.9% 8.0% 25.0% 88
Chase Anderson $6,300 TEX 5.00 20.2% 8.4% 25.5% 89
Jake Arrieta $6,200 LOS 4.82 18.5% 8.6% 20.2% 122
Brad Keller $6,100 HOU 5.23 17.2% 9.9% 16.3% 129
Jordan Zimmermann $6,000 MIN 4.93 16.3% 5.0% 20.9% 119
Brian Johnson $5,700 ATL 5.92 13.9% 10.2% 22.7% 106
Kevin Gausman $5,500 COL 4.41 23.6% 7.3% 22.5% 86

Good day to you, James Paxton ($8,700). Let's break this down and see how we can squeeze in all the goodies we want.


The key to getting both upside at pitcher and within your stacks is clearly going to be Paxton. Sorry for the lack of suspense.

Paxton is pitching on the road against a respectable Tampa Bay Rays team. It's not as if he's the safest asset on the planet.

But he had the second-highest strikeout rate last year among starters on the slate, and the Rays' new-look offense strikes out 27.1% of the time against lefties. That's a monster number, and it pumps a tank of helium into Paxton's projected strikeout rate.

There's risk with Paxton due to the matchup and venue, and that certainly matters. But we shouldn't turn down someone with his upside at such a cheap salary, so Paxton is our no-brainer top pitcher of the night.

In theory, there are other pitchers on the slate. We should probably talk about them, as well. I s'pose.

If you wind up with a little extra salary to spare, then Lance Lynn ($9,500) is in a fun spot, as well. He's at home against the Toronto Blue Jays, whose active roster finished 2019 with a 25.2% strikeout rate against righties. Lynn, himself, can generate upside with a 28.1% strikeout rate, and he tends to pitch deep into games. He would fit a "pay up to be contrarian" approach, if we assume that Paxton will be the chalk of the slate.

Kenta Maeda ($8,500) doesn't save you much relative to Paxton, but he's another guy who can get whiffs in a plus matchup. Maeda as a starter last year had a 26.2% strikeout rate, a mark he'll put up against a Detroit Tigers team that struck out 25.6% of the time against righties. The overall matchup is softer for Maeda, which gives his floor a boost. It's just hard to care too much about floor in a free-play tournament.

Lynn and Maeda work if you want them, and there are reasons to like both. But it'll be hard to justify not locking in Paxton and going from there.


The reason we wanted to find someone in Paxton's salary range was that we do have a game at Coors tonight, and it's one we should feel pretty good about stacking.

The matchup pits Jon Gray against Kevin Gausman. The two had nearly identical strikeout rates last year, and Gausman had the better walk rate. Gausman's results just hit the pooper in a big way. Neither offense is all that great against righties. This might actually allow us to favor the San Francisco Giants over the Colorado Rockies thanks to the salary relief you get by stacking the virtual visitors.

On the Giants' side, we want to focus on the lefties as Gray struggled much more when facing them last year. The plus is that none of Brandon Belt ($3,500), Alex Dickerson ($3,100), Brandon Crawford ($3,100), or Mike Yastrzemski ($3,000) will bleed us of much salary to get there. Even if you lock in all four of those players, you'll have the salary flexibility to load up on Rockies hitters for the second stack in your lineup.

Unfortunately, the discount angle doesn't apply to the Rockies' sticks. Given the matchup with Gausman, they're still worth prioritizing. They'll just force you to scrounge for value elsewhere.

Ryan McMahon ($3,700) and Daniel Murphy ($3,300) are far from perfect as both had an isolated slugging percentage under .190 against righties last year despite playing half their games at this hitter's haven. If the game were played anywhere else, they wouldn't be on our radar. But as mid-range exposure to such an elite park, they'll at least work if we can't find the salary for the Rockies' true studs.

Two other stacks that stand out beyond Coors are the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves.

The Twins can pair well with the Giants due to the number of mid-range options they've got. They're facing Jordan Zimmermann, who finished 2019 with a 4.93 SIERA and 6.91 ERA as a starter.

Although the Twins are largely in the $3,000 range, Jorge Polanco ($2,600) does give us a monster value option here. He's primed to bat second and had a .207 isolated slugging percentage against righties last year. If you decide to stack the Twins, it's wise to start with Polanco and go from there.

The Braves are where we turn if we need additional value thanks to their matchup with Brian Johnson. Because Johnson is a lefty, we can drool over Adam Duvall ($2,700) and Travis d'Arnaud ($2,500) in the middle of the order, and Dansby Swanson ($2,300) becomes a salary-saver in the seventh spot. They're an ideal stacking partner with the Rockies if you need help getting up to the bigger names within that lineup.

The author of this article has no involvement with the MLB Sim Sports simulations powered by numberFire and has no knowledge of the results of tonight’s contest.