MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Overview – Tuesday 4/11/23

The Tuesday Main Slate gets rolling with 10 games of MLB DFS action on both DraftKings and FanDuel at 7:07 ET this evening, giving gamers a bonus two minutes for any frantic pre-lock lineup machinations. The slate features a wealth of sturdy pitching options, with several of the game’s apex predators on the mound tonight. There are also a few very high upside spots for collecting MLB DFS points through offense, with the Cardinals and Rockies on the slate at Coors Field, and a few premium lineups facing weaker starters, most particularly the Angels, Rangers, and Mets, who topped our Power Index for the day. The Angels seem like a prime source of home run picks against the homer-prone starter that they face, even without Shohei Ohtani as a hitting option, MLB DFS gamers should be able to draw power from the Los Angeles lineup once again.

Note: All analysis is written utilizing available projected lineups as of the early morning, pay close attention to confirmed lineups and adjust accordingly. This article is posted and updated as it is written, if a game has not been filled in simply check back in a few minutes. Lineup changes are not typically updated as lock approaches, so stay tuned to any news for changes.

MLB DFS: Game by Game Main Slate Overview – 4/11/23

Detroit Tigers (+238/3.44) @ Toronto Blue Jays (-267/5.69)

The slate gets started with the underdog Tigers visiting the newly remodeled Rogers Centre for a game against the Blue Jays. The changes to Toronto’s home park should be expected to provide a moderate boost to power as the season goes along, while the team raised the height of outfield walls, they moved the power alleys in somewhat, which should balance the overall impact in favor of power. The Tigers lack much upside on any given slate, and in a matchup against Alek Manoah they seem fairly overmatched. Manoah has made one bad start and one good start this season, most recently going seven innings and striking out five against the Blue Jays while allowing just one hit and no runs. The righty did walk four hitters in that game, but he has strikeout upside and should be able to make it through a number of clean innings against a bad Tigers lineup. Manoah pitched to a 3.98 xFIP with a 2.24 ERA last year, somewhat betraying the quality of his on the surface numbers, but the righty is a talented effective starter. Over 196.2 innings, Manoah struck out 22.9% last season, he had a 27.7% rate in 2021, so we know there is strikeout upside beyond what we saw last season. Manoah could post a strong MLB DFS score tonight. The Tigers lineup features Akil Baddoo in the leadoff role, the young left-handed outfielder costs $2,500 on DraftKings and on the blue site, he is a reasonable source of potential power and speed for a very cheap price and he can be stacked with Riley Greene, who is out to a .286/.342/.429 start with a 119 WRC+ in his 38 plate appearances. Greene is currently profiling as the best bat on this team, but veteran Javier Baez is drawing an OK projection for just $4,100/$2,600 and he offers eligibility at both second base and shortstop on the FanDuel slate. Kerry Carpenter had an 11.1% barrel rate and six home runs over 113 plate appearances in a cup of coffee last season. The lefty totaled 36 long balls between AA, AAA, and that small sample in the Show last year, he packs a punch but has not hit a home run yet in his 22 plate appearances this season. Carpenter costs just $3,000/$2,400, while righty Spencer Torkelson rounds out the list of the most playable Tigers at $2,400/$2,500. Torkelson hit just eight home runs in his 404 opportunities last season, the 23-year-old is at .235/.250/.353 with a 63 WRC+ and one home run over his first 36 plate appearances in 2023. Beyond Torkelson, the Tigers lineup sees Nick MatonMiguel Cabrera – who is doing a nice job touring the league and accepting his farewell accolades and little else this season – and catcher Jake Rogers, who has hit two sneaky home runs already this season. There is not much to like about Detroit’s offensive upside.

The Blue Jays, on the other hand, look like a strong spot from which to draw stacks in their matchup against right-hander Matt Manning. The righty had a semi-effective start against the Astros to open his year, going 5.2 innings and allowing six hits, two runs, and a home run while striking out four. That is not stellar, but it is probably better than one would expect from a pitcher who had just an 18.3% strikeout rate over 63 innings and 12 starts last year. Manning pitched to a 4.37 xFIP underneath a much better 3.43 ERA last year, meaning he got somewhat lucky and is more likely the pitcher who lands between last season’s xFIP mark and the 5.13 that he posted the year before with a 5.80 ERA over 85.1 innings. Manning did limit power somewhat effectively, cutting home runs to just 2.28% last year after posting a 2.60% mark the season before, but he is not a soft-contact specialist and he allows plenty of fly balls, the Blue Jays talent should capitalize. The first three hitters in the Toronto lineup are excellent, but George SpringerBo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero are also very expensive. They cost $5,300, $5,600, and $5,700 on DraftKings, and Springer checks in at $3,700 while the other two are $3,900 players on the blue site. Playing two of those hitters with other options from the lineup is a clear path, if there is an effective way to pay for all three, so much the better. The trio combined for 81 home runs last season and Bichette was the low man with a WRC+ that sat 29% better than average. Daulton Varsho adds a 106 WRC+ and 27 more home runs to the mix from the cleanup spot, Varsho costs just $4,000 on the DraftKings slate and $3,400 on FanDuel, while third baseman Matt Chapman checks in for $4,800/$3,800. Chapman hit 27 home runs with a .204 ISO last season as has been mentioned multiple times in this space this year. In 44 plate appearances in 2023, Chapman has two home runs and a .325 ISO while slashing .475/.523/.800 with a WRC+ 175% better than average. Hopefully, you were playing him all along because the prices are going up. Toronto’s lineup rolls from Alejandro Kirk, a top-end catching option with a strong hit tool and mid-range power, through lefty Brandon Belt, who not many people realize is even on this team, and infielder Cavan Biggio. Belt made only 298 plate appearances his last year in San Francisco but the veteran is a great source of premium contact and power, he had a 12.6% barrel rate last year and in 2021 he hit 29 home runs in just 381 plate appearances. Belt should not be skipped against a weak righty.

Play: Alek Manoah, Blue Jays stacks

Update Notes:

San Diego Padres (+123/4.24) @ New York Mets (-133/4.85)

A showdown between two top National League teams has the Mets looking like a stronger play tonight, in a matchup against a weak left-handed starter. The Padres will be facing a lefty as well, but David Peterson is somewhat more reliable than his opponent and has a better chance at keeping batters at bay. The southpaw made 19 starts last year, covering 105.2 innings and pitching to a sharp 3.31 xFIP with a 3.83 ERA. Peterson struck out a very solid 27.8% of opposing hitters, up from the 24% mark he had in 66.2 innings in 2021. There is potential for a sneaky-good performance from the starter who costs a mere $6,800 on the DraftKings slate, where he is not likely to be very popular given the matchup. At $8,500 on FanDuel, rostering Peterson is a much taller order, but he is not entirely out of play. The lefty has allowed a home run in each of his starts this season, putting up five strikeouts while allowing a lone run to the Marlins over five innings in his first outing before struggling more in yielding five runs to the Brewers the second time on the hill. Peterson will be challenged by a lineup that features another dynamite trio at the top, with stars Xander Bogaerts, Manny Machado, and Juan Soto. That three-man combination will cost a total of $17,100 on DraftKings and $10,800 on the blue site, where $3,400 for Machado is probably too cheap. As one-offs at third base go, one could do far worse than drawing a few shares of Machado. The right-handed slugger hit 32 home runs with a 152 WRC+ last season and 28 with a 122 WRC+ the year before, he is one of baseball’s very best. Soto and Bogaerts bookend Machado with quality, while projected cleanup hitter Nelson Cruz has terrorized left-handed pitching for the last quarter-century. Cruz is doing his best Jason Vorhees impression so far this season, having risen from what looked like it had to be the end to post a .350/.381/.750 start to his season with a .400 ISO and two home runs in his first 21 plate appearances. What will come in a fair sample is anyone’s guess, but Cruz has a career .263 ISO against southpaws, so we’re willing to play him today and find out. Jake Cronenworth is a quality late bat in this lineup, the infielder costs $4,400/$2,600 with multi-position eligibility, he hit 17 home runs and created runs 10% better than average last year. Ha-Seong Kim and Austin Nola join Trent Grisham as mix-and-match pieces from late in the projected batting order, while Jose Azocar is a difficult recommendation if he plays.

The Mets were a feature in today’s power index in their matchup against lefty Ryan Weathers. Weathers could be in trouble against all of the right-handed power in the Mets’ lineup. Weathers made just one start and threw 3.2 innings in an ignorable 2022, but he made 18 starts in 2021 and posted a 4.99% home run rate over his 94.2 innings. The southpaw pitched to a 4.71 xIP with a 5.32 ERA and allowed a 43.2% hard-hit rate to opposing hitters, the Mets have an opportunity to feast. Lefty Brandon Nimmo is in the projected leadoff role but may skip the spot against same-handed pitching, if he is playing he is playable against this starter and he flashes mid-range power potential with a 7.73 in the model. He is followed by right-handed speed burner Starling Marte, who has a bit of power potential of his own. Marte his 16 home runs in 505 plate appearances last year and 12 in 526 the year before. He does not have an elite contact profile, his barrel rate last season was just 6.8% and his hard-hit was a lowly 33.9% but he is a very capable bat-on-ball veteran who can take a lefty like Weathers over the wall. Both outfielders are excellent correlation pieces in full Mets stacks at the absolute worst. Francisco Lindor gets slightly more power as a lefty bat against a right-handed pitcher, but he has a .185 career ISO and a .474 slugging percentage with a 122 WRC+ against lefties for his career, with 53 of his 185 home runs coming with him hitting right-handed against a lefty pitcher. Lindor hits ahead of thumper Pete Alonso, who has five home runs already this year and has hit more than anyone in the combined years since his 2019 debut. Alonso is a no-brainer even at $6,100/$3,900, he is arguably far too cheap on FanDuel in fact. Tommy PhamMark Canha, and Jeff McNeil are not exactly home run threats in a serious way, but any of them can hit one out of the park, with Pham and Canha being the more likely of the trio. Pham hit 17 long balls in 622 plate appearances last year, Canha hit 13 in 542, while McNeil, the hit-tool specialist, managed only nine but slashed .326/.382/.454 and created runs 43% better than average. Eduardo Escobar has power upside from late in the lineup, he is another switch-hitter in this Mets batting order. Escobar hit 20 home runs last year and 28 in the 2021 season. Rookie Francisco Alvarez brings the idea of power potential in the Major Leagues to the plate with him this evening. The young backstop has just 18 plate appearances in the Show in his career to date, but he hit 27 home runs across AA and AAA last year and 22 in high-A the season before. Alvarez is a late-lineup target who may not be as popular as he should be in this matchup.

Play: Three of four corners are in play: David Peterson (DK SP2 primarily), Padres bats, Mets stacks

Update Notes:

Cincinnati Reds (+205/3.62) @ Atlanta Braves (-227/5.50)

Braves righty Kyle Wright was somewhat overshadowed by the outrageous strikeout talent of Spencer Strider in the Atlanta rotation last year. While not as flashy, Wright posted a very sturdy 23.6% strikeout rate over 180.1 innings in his 30 starts. He pitched to a 3.30 xFIP with a 3.19 ERA while allowing just a 2.57% home run rate last season, though his hard-hit rate allowed was at 41%. The young hurler is making his 2023 debut this evening, he opened the season on the injured list, and he has a favorable matchup against the Reds in a home start. Wright costs $9,300 on the DraftKings slate and $9,100 on FanDuel, where he looks like the sharper play from site-to-site. The opposing Reds do not project for a ceiling game with Wright on the hill. Cincinnati has a few usable parts in their lineup, but they are a weak stacking target on many nights, particularly when not in their home band-box ballpark. The projected Reds lineup starts with capable second baseman Jonathan India, who checks in for $5,000/$3,400 after slashing .249/.327/.378 with 10 home runs last year. India is off to a .324/.425/.500 start with a 144 WRC+ over his first 40 plate appearances this year, but he is not surrounded by a ton of quality. T.J. Friedl has a mid-range power bat from the left side of the plate, he is pulling in a 5.43 mark in our home run model for $3,500/$2,500 in the Cincinnati outfield. Jake Fraley and Tyler Stephenson round out the projected top four, Stephenson is in play as a catcher on many slates, he slashed .319/.372/.482 over 286 plate appearances last year and was similarly productive in a larger sample in 2021. Wil Myers has an upside in most situations, but he is off to just a .226/.351/.258 start while creating runs 29% worse than average with no power over his first 37 plate appearances this year. Myers will find his footing, he is particularly a target in Reds home games against lefties this year, but he is only moderately interesting in this spot. Jason Vosler has acceptable-but-that’s-it power, while Spencer Steer could provide cheap potential, but the bottom of the Reds lineup is not where someone wants to set up stacking camp.

With righty Luis Cessa going for Cincinnati, the Braves lineup looks like another elite source of MLB DFS scoring. The righty allowed a 4.17% home run rate on a 42.9% hard-hit percentage and a 9.3% barrel rate last year while pitching to a 4.29 xFIP over 80.2 innings and 10 starts. Cessa has one start under his belt this year, he allowed two runs on four hits, walking three and striking out just two against the Cubs, he is in trouble against the Braves and does not project as a playable pitcher on either site, despite a $6,700 price across the industry. The Braves have been a fixture at the top of industry target boards all season so far, nothing changes tonight. The team is simply too good at creating runs and hitting for power, they do everything necessary to make them justifiable DFS darlings. Ronald Acuna Jr. costs $6,300/$4,200, the superstar is off to a .340/.415/.511 start to his season with two home runs and five stolen bases in his 53 plate appearances over 11 games, he is always in play. Matt Olson has created runs 93% better than average with three home runs over his 52 plate appearances this season, the first baseman mashed 34 home runs and had a 120 WRC+ in 699 plate appearances for Atlanta last year, he is always an option as well, but even more specifically against a weak right-handed starter. Back on the right-handed side of the plate, Austin Riley and Sean Murphy are an excellent third base and catcher tandem in the middle of the lineup. The duo hit a combined 56 home runs last year, though Riley had 38 of them. Murphy costs just $3,800/$2,400, he is in play both where catchers are necessary and where they are not. Switch-hitting second baseman Ozzie Albies is a more effective bat as a righty against a lefty pitcher, but he has plenty of correlation and individual scoring potential against Cessa, he leads the way into one of baseball’s better bottom halves, with Eddie RosarioMarcell OzunaOrlando Arcia, and injury replacement Sam Hilliard rounding out the projected batting order. The two veteran outfielders, Rosario and Ozuna, are capable power hitters, while Hilliard provides sneaky left-handed pop for just $2,200/$2,300. Hilliard hit 14 home runs in 238 plate appearances with the Rockies in 2021, posting a .248 ISO but creating runs 15% below average. Only six of the 14 home runs came at Coors Field, Hilliard is a light interest low-owned low-cost differentiation piece tonight if he is in the lineup.

Play: Kyle Wright, Atlanta stacks

Update Notes:

Chicago White Sox (+135/3.67) @ Minnesota Twins (-146/4.42)

The visiting White Sox placed star shortstop Tim Anderson on the IL early this afternoon, losing another key piece of their everyday lineup. Anderson leaves a large hole at the top of the projected batting order in the team’s matchup against talented right-hander Pablo Lopez, who comes in at a ridiculous $7,300 price on the DraftKings slate. Lopez is at a much more sensible $9,600 on the blue site tonight. The righty has made two effective starts for his new team so far this season, allowing only one run over 12.1 innings against the Royals and then the Marlins. He struck out eight hitters in each game and has allowed just five hits total. Lopez has been a quality starter for a long time, he posted a 3.56 xFIP with a 23.6% strikeout rate over 180 innings for the Marlins last season, and he had a 3.32 xFIP over 102.2 innings in 20 starts in 2021. The righty seems like an excellent target on the mound on both sites, but he plays differently as what should be a fairly highly-owned SP2 price on the DraftKings slate and a potential pay-to-be-contrarian option on FanDuel. Lopez slots in just beneath the premium aces on the board tonight. The White Sox are not entirely without talent tonight, of course, they still have Andrew Benintendi and Luis Robert Jr. providing a solid mix of hit tools, speed, and a bit of power up top. The duo combined for 17 home runs and 19 stolen bases last year in 922 plate appearances, they both created runs well above average and can be played in light shares in stacks. Yoan Moncada is inexpensive at $4,900/$3,100 at third base, he is another capable piece to add with the first two hitters, as are lefty slugger Gavin Sheets and young righty Andrew Vaughn. Catcher Yasmani Grandal has been an excellent backstop who has a unique ability to get on base and provide correlated scoring along with a bit of his own individual home run upside. Grandal is a cheap $3,600 catcher on DraftKings, but the upside is somewhat limited. Oscar Colas is slashing .306/.359/.417 and creating runs 22% better than average with a home run and two steals in his first 40 plate appearances, the rookie is still cheap toward the bottom of the lineup. If you have read us before, you know that we do not think much of Elvis Andrus as a ballplayer, but for MLB DFS purposes he can provide a touch of sneaky pop and speed from time to time, he is not off the board, but the White Sox should be taken lightly as a stack tonight, given their missing pieces and matchup.

Veteran righty Lance Lynn has made two starts this season, posting one OK outing and one clunker, which came against the Giants. The first start against the Astros saw Lynn allow two runs on a home run and three hits while striking out six, which is as good a result as anyone could ask for against the Houston lineup. Had he not walked four hitters he may have gotten through the full six innings for a better performance in that one, but Lynn struggled through just 4.1 innings in his second start. He was charged with eight earned runs on nine hits and, concerningly, three home runs with just five strikeouts against the free-swinging San Francisco team. Lynn is probably still more the guy who made the start against Houston than the punching bag that faced San Francisco. Over 121.2 innings last year the righty had a 24.2% strikeout rate and pitched to a 3.44 xFIP with a 3.99 ERA, he can be trusted for $9,000 on DraftKings and $8,800 on FanDuel tonight. Lynn is facing a flawed Twins team with a propensity toward an all-or-nothing power approach. Byron Buxton can be played against anyone, he has an 11.90 rating in our home run model, giving him a well above average chance at a long ball tonight, but the sequencing and correlation in the lineup beyond Buxton and Carlos Correa leave much to be desired. The Twins should have Correa at shortstop and in the two-hole this evening, he hit 22 home runs last year while creating runs 40% better than average, but he is struggling at just .182/.250/.242 to start the year. That has Correa’s price far too low on FanDuel, where he comes in at a $2,700 price. At $5,100 on the DraftKings slate, Correa is correctly priced and more difficult to play. Trevor Larnach and Jose Miranda offer moderate home run and run and run creation upside. Larnach had a 43.8% hard-hit rate and an 11.4% barrel rate last season from the left side of the plate, while Miranda hits righty and had a 42.1% hard-hit but more as a line-drive specialist. The bottom of the Twins’ projected lineup includes uninspiring names like Nick GordonDonovan SolanoKyle Farmer, and other spare parts. If one is inclined to build a great number of Twins stacks today, the bottom of the lineup can be mixed and matched through them, but the primary focus is up top, and even that does not look like a great spot.

Play: Pablo Lopez, Lance Lynn, White Sox and Twins top-end bats in limited shares

Update Notes:

Seattle Mariners (+105/5.18) @ Chicago Cubs (-114/5.44)

Another solid spot for offense could be presented to gamers in Chicago’s Wrigley Field this evening with the Mariners in town to face rookie Hayden Wesneski who has made one start, pitching 4.2 innings and allowing two home runs and six hits while striking out four this season. The righty made four starts last year, posting 33 innings in his six total appearances and pitching to a 25% strikeout rate with a 3.64 xFIP, he is a well-regarded young pitcher who simply needs to find his footing and form at this level. Against a loaded Seattle team, he may not have that opportunity this evening. The Mariners’ projected lineup starts with the typical excellence of Julio Rodriguez, who is slashing .265/.333/.469 and creating runs 31% better than average over his first 54 plate appearances this year. Rodriguez hit two home runs and stole four bases in the small sample already, he is a major star for $5,700/$4,100 and is an option on both sites. Ty France slashed .276/.340/.437 with 20 home runs and a 127 WRC+ last season, he slots into first base for a fair $4,800/$3,300 ask across the industry, while Eugenio Suarez fills the hot corner with power for just $4,300/$3,000. Suarez is yet to hit a home run this season, but he has had a strong start nonetheless, posting an unexpected .326/.354/.391 triple-slash while creating runs 17% better than average over his first 48 plate appearances of the year. Those numbers will regress and his home run total will grow as the plate appearances increase, Suarez has a good shot to get on the home run board this evening. Cal Raleigh and Teoscar Hernandez hit a combined 52 home runs last season, they are a dynamite duo for just $8,700 total on DraftKings and even better for $5,800 on the blue site. Jarred Kelenic has been mentioned in this space several times for his prospect profile and absurdly hot spring, as well as the under-appreciated power he has already shown even while struggling for overall quality in the Show. Kelenic had an outrageously good Spring, and he is sitting at .300/.344/.500 with a home run, two stolen bases, and a 141 WRC+ with a .200 ISO over 32 plate appearances in 2023. Sometimes a player souffle needs a bit more time in the oven to rise to its full heights, we could be seeing the start of a major breakout for the post-hype outfielder, get on board while it is still early. Kelenic costs $3,000/$2,400 from site to site, he is a great play in this matchup. Veterans A.J. PollockKolten Wong, and J.P. Crawford round out the projected lineup with quality, the Mariners are playable from one through nine.

The Cubs draw a matchup against righty Chris Flexen, who had a very limited 16.1% strikeout rate across 137.2 innings last year and a 16.9% mark in 179.2 innings the season before. Flexen pitched to a 5.04 xFIP and a 3.73 ERA last year, he is a below-replacement-level pitcher who truly has little business in this rotation outside of keeping a spot warm for prospect Bryce Miller, who we should see take this job sometime in May or June. For now, Flexen is not much of an option for MLB DFS purposes at his pricing. The Cubs are not a great offense, but with a ton of contact available and some power potential with a fly ball pitcher in this park, they are not off the board tonight. Nico Hoerner hit 10 home runs and stole 20 bases last season, giving him a nice combination for MLB DFS counting stats. The second baseman is followed by his double-play partner, Dansby Swanson, who costs just $3,400 on the blue site but is at an appropriate $5,500 on DraftKings. Swanson hit 52 home runs over the past two seasons, he is one of the most underrated shortstops in baseball. Ian Happ and Cody Bellinger give the Cubs a pair of thumpers on the left side of the plate in this one. Happ hit 17 home runs while slashing .271/.342/.440 and creating runs 20% better than average last year, while Bellinger struggled but still managed 19 home runs. The 27-year-old former MVP is slashing just .176/.263/.294 with a 53 WRC+ and one home run to start the season, the clock is ticking on his Chicago reclamation. Veteran Trey Mancini has a sturdy bat on the right side of the plate, and lefty Eric Hosmer could provide cheap quality, but he is not much of a home run hitter. The bottom of the lineup rounds out with all-or-nothing pop in Patrick Wisdom, but the slugger costs $5,000/$3,200 with very little around him late in the batting order. Miles Mastrobuoni and Tucker Barnhart are minimally playable, Barnhart is a very cheap $2,200 catching option on the DraftKings board if one ignores his role at the bottom of the projected lineup.

Play: Mariners stacks, minor shares of top-end Cubs bats

Update Notes:

Kansas City Royals (+239/3.06) @ Texas Rangers (-267/5.06)

The Royals are fortunate that baseball does not play one-game series because their trip to Texas would have been a waste of time if they were only getting tonight’s shot against the pitcher of all pitchers Jacob deGrom. The right-handed dazzler had an unheard-of 42.7% strikeout rate across his 64.1 innings in 11 starts in his last year with the Mets. deGrom is the very best of his generation, his only challenge is health. The righty pitched to a microscopic 1.54 xFIP with a 0.75 WHIP last year, he had a 1.61 xFIP with a 0.55 WHIP over 92 innings the year before, striking out 45.1% for good measure. While he was uncharacteristically teed up in his first outing, allowing five runs on six hits and a home run to the Phillies, deGrom was back on form against the Orioles in his second start. In that outing, the righty struck out 11 hitters, walked two, and allowed a lone earned run on two hits. There is upside for even more tonight against the free-swinging Royals lineup, deGrom is our highest projected pitcher by a wide margin. The Royals are difficult to play, anyone deciding to hedge stack against deGrom is probably just wasting entries, but those who choose to should focus on the team’s premium bats. Those include Bobby Witt Jr.MJ MelendezVinnie Pasquantino, and Salvador Perez. Second baseman Michael Massey can be added to round out a five-man stack that will be low-owned and very likely to fail.

The Rangers lineup, on the other hand, looks to be in a prime position for MLB DFS scoring once again on this slate. The team is facing right-handed Jordan Lyles who allowed a 3.36% home run rate with a 10.4% barrel rate last year and a 4.94% home run mark with a 9.1% barrel rate and a 41.6% hard-hit percentage in 2021. Lyles struck out just 18.6% last year, allowing a 4.40 xFIP and 4.42 ERA, and he has made two starts in 2023. The righty yielded five earned runs with two home runs but struck out nine Blue Jays in his most recent outing, he pitched a cleaner but lower-end game in giving up a lone run but striking out just two Twins in his first game of 2023. Throwing Texas bats at the starter seems like the best approach, Lyles does not offer much MLB DFS scoring upside on the mound, but he can be thrown into just a few lineups at his $6,900 SP2 price on DraftKings. Marcus Semien and Corey Seager hit 59 combined home runs last season as the game’s best middle infield duo. This year, Semien has a home run while slashing just .209/.222/.326 with a 45 WRC+ but Seager is off to a .324/.435/.486 start with a 164 WRC+ and a home run. The duo should be aggressively played in Rangers stacks. They are followed by another premium pair, with Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia, who got on the board in a big way last night. For the season, Garcia is slashing .225/.279/.400 with two home runs, he has one of the top power and speed combinations in the league and should be a steady source of production on both sites all season. Josh Jung struggled with a 38.2% strikeout rate while slashing just .204/.235/.418 and creating runs 19% worse than average last year. This season, Jung is out to a .229/.270/.429 start with two home runs and a 24.3% strikeout rate, if he can make consistent contact there is MLB DFS scoring upside in the well-regarded young hitter. The bottom of the Texas lineup includes veteran quality in Robbie GrossmanJonah HeimBrad Miller, and Josh Smith, any of whom can be mixed and matched through Texas stacks. If Ezequiel Duran sneaks into the bottom of the confirmed lineup he should be a low-owned source of power and speed who could have a solid game for a fair price.

Play: Jacob deGrom, Rangers stacks

Update Notes:

St. Louis Cardinals (-166/6.83) @ Colorado Rockies (+152/5.31)

The game on tonight’s slate that truly draws the eye is the one providing a 6.83-run implied team total to one of baseball’s best offenses. The matchup between the Cardinals and Rockies in Coors Field should be a highly-owned affair across the industry this evening. The pitching matchup between home starter Kyle Freeland and Cardinals righty Miles Mikolas does not offer much strikeout upside, though both starters should at least be regarded as capable MLB veterans who could post somewhat clean outings. This does not put them in play for MLB DFS purposes, even at pricing and ownership, the pitchers to target at Coors typically come with a higher strikeout ceiling. With Freeland pitching, the heavily right-handed Cardinals lineup should be fully engaged in this one. The team will have Tommy Edman and Dylan Carlson, two switch hitters who do well in this split atop this configuration of their lineup. Edman offers a bit of individual power as well as excellent speed, if he were a more capable on-base option he would be a major piece for the Cardinals, instead of simply a highly effective “good” player. Carlson hit eight home runs in 488 plate appearances last season and created runs at league average, hitting in front of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado makes him a terrific target tonight. The two right-handed corner stars for the Cardinals are, of course, in play at any price in this ballpark, but the Cardinals do not seem to have been priced up on either site for this game. Goldschmidt costs his typical $5,600/$4,200 and Arenado lands at $5,200/$4,000, they seem like fair bets for extreme popularity, but even broadly owned they have an undeniable potential for MLB DFS scoring on this slate. Catcher Willson Contreras and Tyler O’Neill add more right-handed pop in the middle. O’Neill is slashing .267/.313/.367 with just one home run to start the season, but a Coors game could be just what he needs to get in gear. The slugger hit 34 home runs and stole 15 bases in 2021 before an injury-hampered 2022 season. Taylor MotterJordan Walker, and a very sneaky Juan Yepez round out the projected lineup. Yepez hit 12 home runs in just 274 plate appearances last year, posting a 9.2% barrel rate and a .194 ISO, against lefties he could provide a surprise at the end of the batting order.

The Rockies are the lesser of these two teams in any matchup, and they are facing probably the better of these two pitchers, but they are still a semi-capable veteran team at Coors Field against a soft-tossing contact-oriented pitcher. If they are lower-owned than they should be they may make for an excellent MLB DFS tournament option. Mikolas struck out just 19% of opposing hitters last year, pitching to a 3.80 xFIP and allowing just a 35.7% hard-hit rate, but in the spacious park in Colorado his contact rates could haunt him. Rockies targets include leadoff man Jurickson Profar and veteran outfielder Kris Bryant, who is slashing .295/.367/.364 but is yet to hit a home run in his first 49 plate appearances this year. Veteran Charlie Blackmon is out of the lineup tonight, with Ryan McMahon sliding up to the third spot in the lineup. The lefty slugger has solid power potential for just $4,800/$3,200 with multi-position eligibility on the blue site. He is followed by cleanup hitter C.J. Cron who has the best individual upside between his projection and his mark in our home run model this evening, and lefty veteran Mike Moustakas, who costs just $2,700 on both sites and has first and third base eligibility on DraftKings, with second and third base positioning on the FanDuel slate. The veteran has struggled with both injuries and quality in recent years, but his home run output is not so distant a memory as to be entirely forgotten in this matchup. If he is low-owned “Moose” is a play tonight. Elias Diaz, Yonathan Daza, and Ezequiel Tovar are all playable from late in the confirmed lineup, with Tovar making for an interesting wraparound play. Rookie Elehuris Montero is a good option at third base for just $3,100/$3,000. Montero has a well-regarded bat and he will likely come up under-owned in this spot.

Play: Cardinals stacks aggressively, Rockies stacks, particularly if lower-owned around the industry

Update Notes:

Washington Nationals (+261/3.15) @ Los Angeles Angels (-294/5.48)

The Nationals are another team wasting money and jet fuel flying around the nation to lose baseball games. Washington’s largely inept lineup will be facing elite starter Shoehei Ohtani tonight, putting them somewhere under the kitchen floor when discussing their relationship to the proverbial table. Nationals bats are simply overmatched, in a pure contrarian MLB DFS “it’s baseball” sense, anything could happen, but it is the thinnest of possible plays on this slate and simply does not seem worth the shares. The best Washington bats are Alex CallJeimer CandelarioJoey Meneses, and Dom Smith, which is telling on its own. Ohtani is too cheap at $9,700 on DraftKings, he is appropriately priced to $10,800 on the blue site. The righty hurler had a 33.2% strikeout rate and a 2.65 xFIP last year and a 29.3% strikeout mark over 130.1 innings in 2021. It breaks no new ground to say that Ohtani is one of baseball’s best pitchers, the only flaw in having him on the mound is that it causes the Angels’ lineup to lose one of baseball’s best hitters, as MLB DFS sites are yet to figure out a way to allow the two-way superstar to play on either side of games in which he is pitching. Play Ohtani aggressively on the mound in this matchup, his teammates can carry the offensive side against Washington’s targetable starter.

The hometown Angels are facing Josiah Gray, a right-handed starter who has some ability and has posted respectable mid-20s strikeout rates in his brief career in the Majors, but one who also struggles greatly with issuing walks and even more with allowing home runs. Gray threw 148.2 innings in 2022, pitching to a 4.57 xFIP and a 5.02 ERA while allowing a massive 5.86% home run rate. In 2021 he threw 70.2 innings and gave up a 6.19% home run rate. While he is a pitcher who may develop as his career progresses, for now, Gray remains a ripe target for home run and run creation upside, throwing bats at him until further notice is the recommended approach. Outfielder Taylor Ward is in the leadoff role in the projected lineup once again. Ward hit 23 home runs with a .192 ISO, a 12.1% barrel rate, and a 42.4% hard-hit percentage last season, he is the first of five Angels hitters – NOT including Ohtani — who land over the 10 mark in our home run model. This makes the team playable even without one of their superstars available. The team can be stacked in part, or in full, or they may be a phenomenal source of one-off plays this evening. Superstar Mike Trout hit 40 home runs in just 499 plate appearances while posting a monstrous .347 ISO and a .630 slugging percentage last season. In 2021, Trout made just 146 plate appearances, hitting eight home runs but still posting an outrageous .291 ISO. Trout is a baseball demigod, he should be treated accordingly. Ohtani is pitching and hitting, so he will be able to help with run creation and could easily be the one to take Gray deep, but he is unavailable for MLB DFS hitting purposes. All the same, the typical Angels lineup runs on with Anthony Rendon, who missed last night’s game with shoulder soreness, and Hunter Renfroe. The pair of righties, assuming Rendon plays, are both over the 10-mark in our home run model, they make quality options for low prices at $4,000/$2,800 and $5,000/$2,800 from DraftKings to FanDuel respectively. Lefty Jake Lamb hit three home runs in 111 tries last year and seven in 170 the season before, the platoon specialist is playable in the outfield or at first base if he is in the lineup, he costs merely $2,400 on DraftKings; on FanDuel he is a $2,500 option at first or third base. Against Gray, even the bottom of hte lineup is flashing power potential, Gio Urshela could surprise with one of the seven or eight home runs he will hit this season, and catcher Logan O’Hoppe is pulling in an 8.33 mark. Infielder Luis Rengifo fills multiple positions for a cheap price, he could provide sneaky power potential as well, Rengifo quietly hit 17 home runs in 511 plate appearances last season, though nothing about his ISO or contact profile suggests that he is a long-term home run option.


Update Notes:

Milwaukee Brewers (-119/4.45) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (+110/4.14)

The Diamondbacks are starting right-handed Merill Kelly tonight against the visiting Brewers. Kelly pitched to a 3.85 xFIP with a 3.37 ERA and a 22% strikeout rate over 200.1 innings in 2022 and he had a 4.24 xFIP with a 19.5% strikeout rate in 2021 while covering 158 innings. The righty is more apt to pitch six clean innings with a low strikeout total than he is to post a ceiling score, but a $7,100 price tag on DraftKings is at least reasonable for his talent level in this matchup, there are strikeouts to be had in the Brewers projected batting order. There is also potential for sequencing and MLB DFS scoring against the starter, giving this a two-sides feel. Brewers bats to target include former MVP Christian Yelich, who still can get on base and still runs, even if he never remembers to elevate the ball and hit for power. Jesse Winker provides power upside and a sturdy hit tool from the left side of the plate for just a $3,400/$2,800 investment, he could be a sneaky play in stacks and as a cheap unpopular one-off in the outfield. Willy Adames is pulling in the team’s highest salary at $5,200/$3,200, but he offers power from the shortstop position and is always at least moderately playable in any role. Rowdy Tellez hit 35 home runs in 2022 while posting a .242 ISO and creating runs 10% better than average, where fantasy gamers do not have to care about silly things like batting average, Tellez is a much better player than how he rates in season-long fantasy baseball rankings. The MLB DFS playing public may be asleep at the switch with the left-handed masher at just $3,400/$2,600. Catcher William Contreras and outfielder Garrett Mitchell have quality through the middle. Mitchell is notably cheap at just $2,900 on the DraftKings slate, he is a $3,200 option on the blue site. Brian AndersonBrice Turang, and Joey Weimer round out the projected lineup, they are all “fine” but the focus should primarily be from one through seven.

With a baseball public that seems eager to bury him as an elite starter, Brewers righty Corbin Burnes has done nothing to help his case over his first two starts of the season. The typically talented righty had trouble in a five-inning outing against the Cubs that saw him yield four earned runs on four hits while striking out just three, then he struggled through just 4.1 innings, allowing a pair of home runs and getting charged with six earned runs while striking out just three against the much better Mets. Burnes may be somewhat diminished from his Cy Young Award-winning pinnacle, but it seems unlikely that the pitcher is entirely shot as well. The righty had a 30.5% strikeout rate over 202 innings in 33 starts last year, following up his 35.6% mark in 167 innings the year before, he has been reliably one of baseball’s very best before faltering somewhat down the stretch in 2022. The righty projects well in tonight’s start in the desert, he costs just $8,500 on DraftKings and $9,700 on FanDuel, if the cheap pricing ends up connecting with low ownership around the industry, this could be an excellent sneaky play. Burnes is proven, there is good reason to trust that he will find his form, or at least reason to give him more leash to do so. Playable Diamondbacks bats include Ketel MartePavin SmithChristian WalkerCorbin Carroll, and Jake McCarthy, with Alek Thomas possibly adding a sneaky left-handed power bat late in the lineup at low cost and no popularity. The young Diamondbacks are a good lineup with a ceiling for more, but they are in a tough spot until proven otherwise in their matchup with Burnes.

Play: Corbin Burnes, Brewers stacks, limited Diamondbacks hedge stacks

Update Notes:

Los Angeles Dodgers (-150/4.72) @ San Francisco Giants (+138/3.87)

The final game of the night (between us, as much fun as 7,125 words and counting always is, it is also always nice to reach the last game of the day) sees a healthy pitching matchup between righty Dustin May and southpaw Alex Wood. The hometown Giants will run Wood out to face a loaded Dodgers lineup on which his steady hand is having a minor impact for scoring potential. Wood is a good-not-great pitcher who made 26 starts last year and posted a 3.41 xFIP under his unsightly 5.10 ERA, meaning many of the earned runs with which he was charged were due to circumstances outside of his control. The lefty allowed a 3.06% home run rate last year and a 2.39% mark the season before. While he yielded a 39.3% hard-hit rate in 2022 and a 40.5% mark in 2021, he is reasonably good at keeping the ball down, with just an 8.5-degree average launch angle last season and a 7.1-degree mark in 2021. This could keep the Dodgers’ power somewhat at bay, but the team is great at sequencing and run creation as well, so it is tough to trust Wood beyond a few shares at his $8,200/$8,400 pricing. The Dodgers are a frequent fixture across the MLB DFS industry, the team is filled with talent from top to bottom. Today’s projected lineup sees the usual form across the top-half, with stars Mookie BettsFreddie Freeman, and Will Smith occupying the top three. Betts checks in at $6,200/$3,800, Freeman at $5,900/$3,700, and Smith is a $5,900 catcher on DraftKings and a $4,100 option on the blue site. That group created runs 43% better than average last season. J.D. Martinez and Max Muncy go righty-lefty to add power and run-creation ability in the middle of the batting order at fair pricing, Martinez is a $5,200/$3,100 play and Muncy is a $5,300 option on DraftKings but costs merely $2,900 at third base on FanDuel. Miguel Vargas and Miguel Rojas as well as Chris Taylor are playable in a mix-and-match sense, while Trayce Thompson has solid power potential. Thompson hit 13 home runs in just 255 plate appearances with a .251 ISO last year, he is drawing a good home run mark against a pitcher who is reluctant to yield power.

Electric Dodgers righty Dustin May takes the mound against the free-swinging Giants lineup. San Francisco offers strikeout upside for the young hurler, but they also have a fair amount of pop on the left side of the plate and the team focuses on platoon rotation as a philosophy. May has made two starts this season, striking out four Diamondbacks over seven innings in his first outing at home and then five of the same Diamondbacks hitters in a road game the next week. May has outrageous horizontal break on his two-seamer, he possesses significant strikeout upside in the right matchup, and he could end up under-owned by a field that sees $9,200/$9,500 as too high a price for the starter. On the Giants’ side, the focus should be on top-of-the-lineup lefties including LaMonte Wade Jr. and Michael Conforto, as well as Joc Pederson and Mike Yastrzemski. That four-man left-handed group has a strong blend of power and on-base skill, they should be able to create runs against May if he does not have his premium stuff this evening. Right-handed David Villar hits in the middle of that group. Villar quietly hit nine home runs in just 181 opportunities last season, posting a .224 ISO and a 9.1% barrel rate. Thairo Estrada fills a cheap infield position and provides at least correlated scoring potential, while Brandon Crawford and Blake Sabol throw two additional lefty bats into the mix. The preference remains with May in this space, but a few hedge stacks of Giants make sense if rostering the young starter in a wide range of lineups.

Play: Dustin May, Dodgers bats, minor shares of Alex Wood, and minor shares of Giants bats in large tournaments.

Update Notes:


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