When you think of comfort food, mac-n-cheese is always at or near the top of the list. Who can resist the temptation of that four-cheese goodness your mom used to make on holidays or special occasions? Maybe it’s the Kraft mac-n-cheese variety that comes to mind first…the one in the blue box that was a fundamental food of every kid’s diet back in the day. Perhaps you prefer to add bacon, ground beef or some other carnivore’s delicacy to take your mac-n-cheese to another level. No matter your taste, I think we all can agree that mac-n-cheese, with its mystical powers to brighten the darkest days, remains a staple of our life no matter our age.
Today’s DFS version of mac-n-cheese should also give us comfort and make us feel better about our lineups. I’ll be whipping up a recipe of MacKenzie Gore and Dylan Cease to suit my tastes but if you prefer adding a little something extra to the ingredients, I can’t argue with a dash of Shane McClanahan instead. No matter your choices, the meal is destined to be delicious. While these pitchers are the main course, I’ll try to drum up enough side dishes and desserts to round out your Sunday menu.
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MacKenzie Gore, SP: DK: $8,800 / FD: $10,100 – Remember when MacKenzie Gore was sent to AAA to begin the season? Is it just me or does that seem ages ago? Thankfully for the Padres, and frankly all of us baseball fans, his stay in El Paso was short because he’s finally living up to his lofty prospect billing, spinning a 2.06 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over his first 35 innings pitched. His metrics suggest there is still room for growth, which doesn’t bode well for the Pirates bats today that collectively are among the worst in baseball for team OPS.
Dylan Cease, SP: DK: $9,300 / FD: $9,500 – The Razzball Streamonator must also be into comfort foods because Dylan Cease is the highest rated SP on the slate today. With the exception of recent games against the AL East (Red Sox and Yankees), Cease has been a solid starter for the White Sox. His K/9 and BB/9 are both excellent at 13.7 and 3.7, respectively. In fact, these rates are the best of his young 4-year career to this point. This should serve him well today as the Cubbies rank in the bottom third of all MLB in team strikeout rates.
MJ Melendez, C: DK: $3,700 / FD: $2,000 – Salvador Perez returned from the IL on Saturday after missing 10 games due to a thumb injury. His absence paved the way for MJ Melendez to secure everyday ABs and show us all he can play at this level. During Salvy’s IL stint, Melendez simply averaged over 13 FanDuel points per game. The Royals don’t have many other options to turn to, so I expect MJ to remain in the lineup alongside his backstop mentor.
Matt Olson, 1B: DK: $5,000 / FD: $3,800 – There’s a lot to like about Matt Olson today. He lines up against Marlins RHP Elieser Hernandez in a L-R matchup that clearly favors Olson. In the few head-to-head matchups, Olson is 2-5 with a pair of doubles – a stat Olson is one of the MLB league leaders in. He’s also one of the league leaders in walks as well, so the likelihood of a 0-fer is very low (only one 0-point game during May). To top it off, Hernandez is not exactly lighting things up himself with a 5.45 ERA and 1.31 WHIP, giving up 11 HRs over his 39 innings pitched. Again, there’s a lot to like about Matt Olson today.
Whit Merrifield, 2B: DK: $4,700 / FD: $3,000 – I wrote about Whit Merrifield in my DFS column two weeks ago. If you missed that literary work of art, I painted a word picture something along the lines of Merrifield beginning to “rise from the ashes like a phoenix.” So, what’s he done since I penned that masterpiece, only average just above 13 FanDuel points per game. There’s no reason to divert at this point, stick with Whit!
Austin Riley, 3B: DK: $5,300 / FD: $3,000 – Today looks like an ideal day for a Braves mini-stack. Adding Austin Riley to the previous Olson recommendation is the play for me. Take a quick look at the MLB HR leaders and tell me who the first Atlanta Brave you come across is. I’ll save you the time, it’s Austin Riley. Riley has quietly reached double-digit long balls. He’s also second on his team in 2B and BB, even mixing in a couple SB for good measure. What I’m saying is, there are many ways for Riley to rack up points versus Elieser Hernandez and the Marlins today.
Tim Anderson, SS: DK: $5,500 / FD: $4,200 – Tim Anderson is quickly earning the moniker, “all he does is hit the ball!” This isn’t news to us fantasy baseball gurus as we expect Anderson to compete for a batting title annually. What caught my eye for DFS is the recent number of multi-hit games. Tim has 12 multi-hit games since May 1 – that adds up to a 55% clip. Want more? Ok…he’s added 4 SB over that same span of games. Good enough for me, I’ll be running with Timmy!
Joc Pederson, OF: DK: $4,600 / FD: $3,300 – If Gore and Cease are mac-n-cheese, Joc Pederson is your grandma’s meatloaf and gravy. When he’s not getting slapped by his fantasy football mates, Joc has been absolutely punishing the baseball. His batted ball stats are practically off-the-chart this season, experiencing increases in exit velocity, hit strength, hit distance, and xSLG. Additionally, Joc is sporting a .967 OPS versus RHP like Tyler Mahle and playing the Reds today in Cincinnati. Add this all up and he’s a great addition to our DFS menu today.
J.D. Martinez, OF: DK: $5,000 / FD: $3,400 – Picture this, you are taking a sports quiz and the question comes up, “Who leads MLB in batting average as of today?” If your answer is not J.D. Martinez, you would be incorrect. We don’t see J.D. on the evening highlights much anymore and he’s arguably the third or fourth best player on his team but what he continues to do is get the job done. Look at some of these FanDuel scores over the past week or so: 21.9, 21.6, 15.2, 31.1, 12.1 and 24.6. The common denominator here is that he’s posted those without a single HR on the ledger. J.D. proves he can be an effective DFS pick without the long ball. Even still, the righty faces LHP Bruce Zimmermann today – a pitcher who he’s already taken deep. This is like the excitement I get when I see a triple-stacked chocolate cake brought to the table to finish off the meal! Mmm Mmm Good!
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Looks to be very little chance at any rainouts today. Winds in Detroit and Chicago favor our “mac-n-cheese” pitchers while those in SoCal may help fuel a Shohei-Vladdy HR duel.
Doing Lines In Vegas
For my lock, I’ll take Chris Bassitt over 5.5 IP at +125. In his 9 starts this season, he’s failed to go over 5.5 IP only once, which was his last time out in SF. He’ll be plenty rested and motivated to get back on track tonight at home against the Phillies.