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MLB DFS targets for early slate on Saturday, May 22nd

We go over some top picks to consider for Saturday afternoon’s early slate on DraftKings.

Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians throws a pitch in the sixth inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on May 11, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by: 2021 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

There are seven games for the early state on Saturday afternoon, with the first two games beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Baltimore Orioles will play the Washington Nationals, while the Houston Astros will face the Texas Rangers. We are going to go over some top options on DraftKings and give out a few value picks to help you build your lineup.

Top Pitchers

Shane Bieber, Indians vs. Twins ($11,200) — Anytime the 2020 AL Cy Young award winner is on the mound, you have to give it some consideration to put him in your DFS lineup. This season, Bieber only has a record of 4-3 with an 3.17 ERA through nine starts. However, he is the league leader in innings pitched (59.2) and strikeouts (92). Strikeouts is where you can rack up a ton of points, if you pick the right pitcher.

The 26-year-old pitcher struggled in his last outing against the Mariners, scoring a season-low 13.1 fantasy points (4.2 IP, 5 hits, 3 earned, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts). However, that is more of anomaly from the ace pitcher, who is averaging 27.4 DKFP this season.

Lance McCullers Jr., Astros vs. Rangers ($9,500) — Quietly, McCullers Jr. is having a great season for the Astros. The 27-year-old has a record of 3-1 and 2.70 ERA through eight starts. He also has 52 strikeouts in 46.2 IP, along with 20.1 fantasy points per game this season.

The Astros’ starting pitcher will be facing the Rangers on Saturday, who he just went against last week. In that outing, McCullers Jr. produced 19.3 fantasy points (6.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts). Furthermore, in his last five starts, McCullers is averaging 24.4 fantasy points per game, which is higher than his season average.

Top Hitters

Jose Altuve, Astros vs. Rangers ($6,100) — If you have not played Altuve in DFS over the last two weeks, then you’ve been missing out on valuable production. The veteran second baseman is hitting .308 with 5 home runs, 19 RBI .817 OPS, and averaging 8.9 DKFP. While his season average for fantasy points might not sound impressive, Altuve has now recorded a hit in 15 straight games.

Over the course of his hitting streak, the Astros second baseman has had 10 games where he scored at least 10 fantasy points or more. That is tremendous value and what you want to see from one of the top hitters at the position.

Nick Castellanos, Reds vs. Brewers ($5,600) — The last time I did one of these DFS targets posts, I highlighted Reds outfielder Jesse Winkler, who has been criminally underrated this season. However, his teammate in Castellanos has continued to swing a hot bat for one of the best offenses in the majors.

The veteran is hitting a ridiculous .342 with 11 HRs, 27 RBI, 1.036 OPS, and averaging 10.6 fantasy points per game. Castellanos also has his own hitting streak going, reaching base safely in nine consecutive games. But unlike Altuve, who’s putting up big fantasy numbers during his hit streak, Castellanos only has four games where he’s scored 10 DKFP or more.

Value Pitcher

Matthew Boyd, Tigers vs. Royals ($7,700) — Boyd is a solid value pitcher based on what’s left outside of the top pitchers on the early slate. If you start Bieber, then the Tigers ace is the best option at the second pitcher spot to help save salary cap.

The veteran pitcher has a record of 2-4 with an ERA of 2.46 and is recording 16.6 fantasy points per game. He isn’t a strikeout machine like Bieber or McCullers, but Boyd has been consistent, scoring 16 fantasy points or more in seven out of eight starts this season. The Tigers are facing the Royals on Saturday, who Boyd has had success against. In two starts vs. Kansas City, Boyd has produced 20.2 and 19.3 fantasy points, respectively.

Value Hitter

Austin Riley, Braves vs. Pirates ($4,200) — Braves third baseman Austin Riley continues to be undervalued in DFS in a Braves lineup that is loaded with talent, which is great news for DFS players. This season, Riley is slashing .310/.410/.503 with 7 HRs and 15 RBI. He also has a .914 OPS and is averaging 7.3 fantasy points per game. On Friday night against the Pirates, Riley scored 35 fantasy points, thanks to 2 HRs as the Braves won 20-1.