MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Overview – Monday 4/24/23

The seven-game main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel looks like an excellent setup for MLB DFS action tonight. The spread of options both on the mound and at the plate should provide gamers a wide range of combinations of premium bats and serviceable arms on a day where a lot of teams are dipping into the bottom of their rotation. This is lending power and run creation upside to a number of teams, while only a few squads are dragged down by facing premium pitchers. Of course, as always, anything can happen in baseball, but tonight’s mid-sized slate seems more straightforward than most when it comes to pitching. Rostering the top starters of the day in more concentrated shares and getting to a broad spread of bats with differentiated lineups and, crucially, player combinations across several team stacks, seems like the best approach to a slate of this nature.

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. Update notes are provided as lineups are confirmed to the best of our ability, but lineup changes are not typically updated as lock approaches, so stay tuned to official news for any late changes.

MLB DFS: Game by Game Main Slate Overview – 4/24/23

Chicago White Sox (+139/4.09) @ Toronto Blue Jays (-151/5.01)

The game between the White Sox and Blue Jays features a matchup of right-handed veteran starters who are struggling to find their typical quality at the start of 2023. The visiting White Sox will be facing Chris Bassitt, who had one truly rough outing to start the year but has been rounding into form in his more recent outings. Bassitt gave up four home runs and was charged with nine earned runs against the Cardinals in just 3.1 innings in his first outing of the season, striking out none. In his second start, Bassitt struck out five but was dinged for another home run and gave up two earned runs against the Angels. He had a strong get-right outing against the Tigers that saw him strike out seven, but he did walk three in a six-inning start. His most recent game was perhaps the best of his season, which is a good sign for a right-hander who has given us quality and a strong average depth of start over time. Bassitt threw 6.1 clean innings of three-hit ball while striking out five Astros and walking just one. With the ugly first start, Bassitt’s season-long line of a 5.05 xFIP and a 5.40 ERA with just an 18.1% strikeout rate might scare off some of the public, but the pitcher has been mostly better than that this season and he comes at a fair $8,000/$8,500 which puts him in play against this White Sox lineup. Visiting Chicago has several capable bats at the top of the lineup, but the team has not really put things together so far in 2023. Luis Robert Jr. is projected to lead off, he is slashing .233/.250/.467 but has provided quality fantasy baseball outings with his five home runs and a lone stolen base. Robert has a .233 ISO but a 94 WRC+, he has driven the ball well but needs to be on base far more often. Another scuffling outfielder follows in the projected lineup, Andrew Benintendi is off to a start filled with career-low marks, including a 0.0% barrel rate and just a 21.2% hard-hit rate for his 84 plate appearances. Benintendi is a proven hitter who has always been better for contact and correlation than for power, so far this year he has provided little of either. He sits at a .280/.333/.346 triple-slash with just a .064 ISO and a 91 WRC+ but he is cheap if one chooses to target Bassitt on the mound. Andrew Vaughn has been one of the team’s best hitters in the early going, he is slashing .244/.352/.385 with just one home run but he is one of only three hitters with a positive mark for run creation at 113. Eloy Jimenez missed early action with an injury, but what else is new? When he is in the lineup, Jimenez has an elite bat, he is currently at a 17.1% barrel rate over his 58 plate appearances, though that has translated into just two home runs and an 82 WRC+. Jimenez and Vaughn are both cheap in the heart of the batting order, but the disappointing White Sox are a middling stack at best this evening. Jimenez is followed by Yasmani Grandal, who seems mostly back to form after a tough year at the plate. Grandal was an on-base machine in 2021, but he scuffled through most of last year, this year he is somewhere in the middle with a quality .361 on-base mark, a .203 ISO, and a 139 WRC+, hitting two home runs along the way. Grandal is a cheap playable catcher who can be utilized on both sites for his low cost and typically light popularity, but it is a limited option overall. Jake Burger has had a great start to his year, hitting five home runs in just 46 opportunities, he had eight in 183 tries with a solid .208 ISO last year, but he still looks more like a 27-year-old Quad-A player than he does the prospect who justified a first-round pick in 2017. Rookie outfielder Oscar Colas has just a 74 WRC+ with a single home run over his first 67 plate appearances and the bottom of the lineup is lousy with Elvis Andrus and Lenyn Sosa. If choosing one side or the other in this matchup, it seems like going to Bassitt is the better move.

The hometown Blue Jays check in almost a full-run higher in their implied team total with Lance Lynn on the mound for Chicago. Lynn is sitting at a 4.03 xFIP but an unsightly 7.59 ERA over his first 21.1 innings in four starts, already revealing some of the underlying quality and misfortune of his early outings. The righty has a 27.5% strikeout rate and has generated a 12.8% swinging-strike rate so far this season, last year he had a 24.2% strikeout rate with a 13.3% swinging-strike rate over his 121.2 innings, so the bump in overall strikeouts in the small sample is a nice start. Lynn has struggled with allowing earned runs, but that flawed stat is not the best indicator of how a pitcher has fared on the mound. Even against a stout Blue Jays team, there is at least some reason to expect that Lynn can pitch a fairly clean six innings while finding strikeouts along the way, he is likely to be low-owned for $8,400/$7,800, and the price on the blue site is particularly appealing if Lynn is unpopular. While the matchup is brutal, there is plenty of talent in play and the overall pitching slate is thin, so even if it does not work out, getting to additional shares of an option like Lance Lynn is a probably positive move in the long term. Of course, the loaded Blue Jays are also in play. The team can be deployed against Lynn with plenty of stacking combinations available at what are not high prices for this team’s talent, power, and run-creation abilities. George Springer is a star outfielder who hit 25 home runs and stole 14 bases in 583 opportunities last year but has struggled early in 2023. Springer has three home runs and three steals, but just a 62 WRC+ while slashing .198/.263/.308 with a .110 ISO over 99 plate appearances. The track record is too long to be concerned about the player, take advantage of the discount that has him priced at $4,600/$3,100 and capture the turnaround when it comes because it is coming. Stars Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are keeping pace waiting for their teammate to catch up. Bichette is slashing .330/.364/.511 with a tremendous 147 WRC+, he costs $5,700/$3,600 at shortstop, a $3,600 price is too low by $400 to $500 on FanDuel. Guerrero is slashing .341/.424/.451 with a .200 ISO, five home runs, a stolen base, and a 175 WRC+ in a matching sample of 99 plate appearances. The excellent trio should be rostered when going to Blue Jays stacks, they are not likely to be as popular as they should be, despite having better than a five-run implied team total. Daulton Varsho is cheap at $4,000/$2,900, though he has been struggling through a power outage early in 2023. Varsho hit 27 home runs with a .207 ISO in 592 opportunities last year, over 88 this year he is at just two long balls with a .132 ISO and a 94 WRC+, but the lefty outfielder should come around in due time. Tonight, Varsho carries an 8.98 in our home run model, the top-ranked option behind the team’s two superstars immediately ahead of him in the lineup. The power core can be rostered as a stack on its own, but do not leave out excellent third baseman Matt Chapman, as he is a big part of it from the five spot. Chapman has hit five home runs and has a .316 ISO while creating runs 114% better than average over 89 opportunities in 2023. While his triple slash and overall production will come back to Earth somewhat, Chapman has a long history of productivity and always hits the ball hard, this is a reliable home run and run creation option on a great team. Brandon Belt is a capable left-handed home run hitter who is priced at just $2,200/$2,400 because of early-season struggles; Alejandro Kirk is a playable catcher at $3,400/$2,700, he has a single home run but a 111 WRC+ over his 62 opportunities this year; and Cavan Biggio rounds out the lineup with Kevin Keiermaier.

Play: “some” shares: Chris Bassitt, Lance Lynn, Blue Jays bats, particularly if unpopular around the industry; “minor” shares: White Sox bats

Update Notes: the White Sox lineup was confirmed as expected. The Blue Jays will be without George Springer, and everyone in the projected lineup moves up a spot with Whit Merrifield dropping in seventh and Biggio-Keiermaier remaining intact at the bottom of the lineup. This is a ding to the top of Blue Jays stacks, but the overall read on the 1-7 hitters remains roughly the same.

Miami Marlins (+233/2.89) @ Atlanta Braves (-260/4.72)

The Marlins are probably in some trouble against outrageously talented Braves righty Spencer Strider, as evidenced by their lowly 2.89-run implied team total. Strider burst into the league riding a 38.3% strikeout rate over his first 131.2 innings in 20 starts last season with nearly unhittable stuff. He posted a 2.30 xFIP and a 0.99 WHIP for the season and is off to a similarly strong start despite a few blips with walks early in 2023. Strider has pitched to an absurd 40.9% strikeout rate with a 3.06 xFIP and a 2.45 ERA in his first 22 innings over four starts. The righty has walked 12.5%, up from 8.5% last season, but that has bumped his WHIP to just 1.05 in early returns. Strider costs $10,900/$11,200 but seems well worth the salary in this spot. The Marlins projected lineup has an average current-year strikeout rate of 23.9% but if we ignore the ludicrous 4.9% carried by Luis Arraez, the other eight hitters are at a 26.2% strikeout rate this season. Take out Jon Berti’s 17.8% at the bottom of the lineup and it jumps again to more than 27%. This is a team that has just a few above average run creators and struggles with strikeouts, seems like the ideal spot for a dominant Strider appearance. When going to Marlins hitters, which is not advisable in large doses, target the top of the lineup which is expected to include Jazz Chisholm Jr. who has just a 76 WRC+ over his first 86 plate appearances this year but was at 139 over his 241 last season. Garrett Cooper has created runs 12% better than average and he has three home runs but just a .160 ISO this year, Cooper hit nine long balls in 469 tries last season, he has been good to start 2023 but this is not a great option against this pitcher. The first two hitters are striking out at a 38.4% and a 28.8% clip this season, they should feed right into Strider’s upside. Luis Arraez is not going to do that, he is incredibly difficult to strike out and he has the league’s best hit tool. In addition to the 4.9% strikeout rate, Arraez is slashing .444/.506/.583 with a 199 WRC+, he has been excellent to open the season. Jorge Soler has the team’s power bat and is the last truly appealing name in this matchup. Soler has five home runs with a .324 ISO and a 153 WRC+, he correlates well with Arraez, but this is a low-end option overall. The balance of the Marlins’ projected lineup is less appealing with Bryan De La Cruz, veterans Avisail Garcia and Jean SeguraJacob Stallings, and Jon Berti, who at least has speed and puts the ball in play from the ninth spot in the lineup. This is a bad team against the best pitcher on the slate.

The Braves lineup is flashing for power upside against Miami righty Edward Cabrera, who has done a respectable job limiting premium contact overall. Cabrera has made four starts this year and he has allowed just a 4.2% barrel rate with a 37.5% hard-hit rate on an 8.6-degree average launch angle, leading to just a 1.22% home run rate in the small sample. Last season he made 14 starts and threw 71.2 innings, allowing a 3.44% home run rate but maintaining an excellent 33.3% hard-hit rate against. Cabrera is thought of as a decent pitching prospect, he struck out 25.8% last season but sits at 22% in the small sample this year, with a minor dip from a very good 13.3% swinging-strike rate to a still-strong 11.8%. The 25-year-0ld righty is cheap at $7,800/$7,500 but it may not be cheap enough for a matchup against one of the best lineups in the game. Atlanta is a free-swinging team, Cabrera could find strikeouts, but it seems unlikely for him to pitch overly deep or have an opportunity at a win in this one. The Braves lineup is a fixture in this space, the confirmed version was posted early and includes Ronald Acuna Jr. in the usual leadoff role. Acuna is a superstar by any measure, he is slashing .374/.452/.560 with a 175 WRC+, three home runs, and 12 stolen bases in 104 plate appearances. At $6,500/$4,600 he still makes a compelling purchase on both sites. Matt Olson is also expensive and he is also worth the salary. Olson has created runs 43% better than average while blasting six home runs and mashing the ball to the tune of a .291 ISO. He has a fantastic contact profile as well, the first baseman is carrying a 22.4% barrel rate and a 49% hard-hit mark over 101 plate appearances to open the 2023 campaign. The pricey pairing is joined by Austin Riley, who comes in at a roughly correct $5,800 on DraftKings but looks like a bargain for just $3,400 on the FanDuel slate. The blue site seems to be weaving cheap individual stars in and out of slates, perhaps in an effort to appeal to the non-stacking community, there have been several early notable bargains across the last few weeks, which is something worth monitoring; if the strategy paradigm shifts it is best to be ahead of the curve. Riley is an excellent power-hitting third baseman, he has four home runs this year and has created runs 19% better than average, and that is without his typically sturdy contact profile in place. Last season Riley had a 15.7% barrel rate and a 50.8% hard-hit rate in 693 opportunities, this season he sits at just 5.2% and 41.4%, both numbers will climb. Sean Murphy is one of fantasy baseball’s best bats at the catcher position, he has five early home runs and a .367 ISO with a 173 WRC+. The top four hitters in the Atlanta lineup have combined for 18 home runs and a 153 WRC+, meaning on average they have been 53% better than average in creating runs. Eddie Rosario has scuffled to just a .175/.203/.281 triple-slash with one home run but is hitting fifth tonight, he is cheap and has a track record but the play gets thinner by the day. Ozzie Albies is a much better option in the middle of the lineup, he fills a premium position at second base and comes at just a $4,800/$3,100 price tag. Albies has five home runs this season with a .198 ISO but he has just a 91 WRC+ to this point. Marcell Ozuna has produced even lower numbers than Rosario so far, the veteran outfielders have been struggling significantly at the plate. Ozuna is slashing .078/.190/.216 with two home runs and a WRC+ that sits 87% below average. Sam Hilliard has filled in well for Michael Harris II, Hilliard is slashing .317/.404/.488 with a 143 WRC+, a home run, and three stolen bases in his 47 plate appearances, he costs just $2,900/$2,800 in the eight spot on the left side of the plate. The lineup concludes with Ehire Adrianza, who has made just four plate appearances this season and is not much of an option at the plate.

Play: tons of Spencer Strider, Atlanta stacks/bats aggressively

Update Notes: the confirmed Marlins lineup has Garrett Hampson hitting ninth and Berti moving up to seventh. The Braves lineup was already confirmed earlier in the day.

New York Yankees (+137/3.65) @ Minnesota Twins (-149/4.44)

The Yankees and Twins renew their lopsided rivalry in Minnesota this evening, with the visiting Bronx Bombers facing onetime Yankees pitcher Sonny Gray. The righty comes at a fair price of $9,300/$10,600 against the free-swinging Yankees lineup. This version of New York’s lineup is not at full strength, the team starts out with a strong top-five but trails off like a typical lineup through the bottom half, at full health this team is typically deeper for both real baseball and MLB DFS stacking purposes. Gray has the talent and strikeout upside to post a nice score against the Yankees tonight. The righty has made four starts this year, throwing 22 innings over which he is yet to allow a home run and has pitched to a 0.82 ERA. Of course, we care more about his 3.99 xFIP than the ERA mark, but Gray has been undeniably good to open his year, his 28.3% strikeout rate is a jump from the 24% he posted over 119.2 innings last year, and it is supported by a 12% swinging-strike rate in the small sample. So far this year, Gray has thrown his fastball less often and with less spin, but with greater velocity, and he has mixed in his breaking ball and offspeed stuff with more regularity, which has served him well in strikeouts to this point. The righty has very good whiff rates on all but his four-seam fastball, which he throws 17.6% of the time. Gray could lose one in the seats against Aaron Judge or Anthony Rizzo, but the Yankees’ typically excellent power is somewhat diminished by absences, and it seems that the team will have to sequence and create runs against Gray, which is not their specialty at this point. Gray is in play, particularly if he comes up lower-owned in the matchup. The Yankees look like a mid-range stack at best. They are rarely, if ever, truly out of play, but the last four hitters in the projected lineup do not inspire much confidence, they are Willie CalhounOswaldo CabreraJose Trevino, and Franchy Cordero. Despite his four home runs and first two weeks of the season heroics, Cordero is at just a 92 WRC+ while slashing .186/.222/.488. Trevino is a mostly-defense catcher, Cabrera is a moderately capable slap-hitting utility man, and Willie Calhoun is well post-hype after being formerly regarded as one of the best prospects in the game while coming up with Texas. Calhoun is slashing .136/.208/.182 with a 12 WRC+ in his extremely limited 24 plate appearances. Of course, the top half of this lineup is a juggernaut. Anthony Volpe had a productive weekend at the plate, he now has two home runs and eight stolen bases but is slashing just .188/.317/.319 with a .130 ISO and an 87 WRC+. We can forgive the rookie for early struggles, his excellent speed is an asset if he can get on base ahead of Judge and Rizzo, who have combined for 11 home runs so far. Judge has six but is slashing an uncharacteristic .244/.344/.500 over just 93 plate appearances, though he has a 133 WRC+ and the best power in baseball. Rizzo has carried the team with an excellent .316/.411/.566, a .250 ISO, and a 176 WRC+ so far. Gleyber Torres has been productive and he is fairly priced at $4,700/$3,100. Torres has two home runs on the season but a productive 128 WRC+, he hits in front of fellow infielder DJ LeMahieu who is slashing .281/.361/.500 with a .219 ISO and a 143 WRC+. LeMahieu is a very underappreciated hitter in this lineup right now, he costs just $4,000/$3,200 and has three-position eligibility on the FanDuel slate. The top of the Yankees lineup is in play in moderate doses, but they are not a leading stack option for tonight.

The Twins could be in play in this spot and they remain very inexpensive on both sites. Minnesota will be facing minor league starter Jhony Brito, who has clung to a rotation spot in the absence of much better pitchers. Brito had a good first start, blanking the Giants over five innings of two-hit six-strikeout action. He has not approached that level since. Brito simply set the bar too high, he was never that pitcher in his minor-league stints and he is not that pitcher now. In his second outing, the righty struck out just two while allowing only three hits and a run over five innings, he was then tattooed by this Twins team in a memorable 0.2-inning outing that saw him yield one home run but get charged with seven runs on a day that the ball was sailing out of Yankee Stadium overall. Brito’s next start lasted 4.1 innings against the Angels, he gave up three hits and just one earned run but only struck out three and walked three. This Twins lineup has a chance to get to Brito again tonight, the starter costs $6,800/$6,000 so he can be rostered as a low-end dart throw from the value range, but there is not a significant ceiling, Brito has just a 17.2% strikeout rate so far, which is right around what he produced in AAA. Projected leadoff superstar Byron Buxton costs just $4,800/$3,000, establishing the theme early for the Twins. Buxton has hit three home runs and is slashing .243/.313/.432 with a .189 ISO in 83 opportunities. While the production hasn’t been up to his standards, the outfielder has still created runs nine percent better than average and he has a sturdy foundation of premium contact with a 13% barrel rate. Buxton is a star anytime he is on the field, when he comest this cheap in the leadoff spot he is a smash. Joey Gallo is projected to hit second today, but he is in play from anywhere in the Twins lineup. Gallo is one of our favorite ‘told ya so’ bats of the early season, he has blasted five home runs and has a .471 ISO with a 187 WRC+ in just 40 plate appearances, sitting out for two weeks with an injury. The return to form is not unexpected, if you have been following along every day you know we have focused on the contact profile that remained excellent despite Gallo’s largely inept year in the Bronx in 2022, this season’s tiny sample includes a ridiculous 33.3% barrel rate and a hilariously good 85.7% hard-hit percentage, again in just 40 plate appearances. Those numbers will be dramatically lower in the near future, but Gallo is a known masher who has returned to form, just ignore his 32.5% strikeout rate and everything will be fine. Carlos Correa is slashing .314/.282/.343 with just a 77 WRC+ which is why he costs $4,500/$2,900, which is far too cheap for his long excellent track record. Correa is a star and he is not injured, despite what free agency may have implied. The shortstop is a strong buy at these prices. Max Kepler lands in the cleanup spot ahead of yesterday’s successful home run call, Jorge Polanco, whose return this week gave this lineup another strong bat. Kepler has two home runs and a .225 ISO but has been below average for run creation in his 45 plate appearances, his left-handed power should play well tonight. Polanco has made 13 plate appearances since his return late last week, he has yesterday’s home run and a 204 WRC+ with a .308 ISO over the small opportunity so far. The toolsy infielder hit 33 home runs and stole 11 bases in his last full season in 2021, he made just 445 plate appearances while suffering from knee pain last season, producing 16 home runs and a 119 WRC+ but just three steals and a lost final few months. Polanco is still sneaky and he costs just $3,900/$2,600. Jose Miranda is better suited to the sixth spot in the lineup, he should produce in reliable doses, more so than he has over 93 plate appearances higher in the batting order so far. Miranda has no home runs and just a 66 WRC+ with a .023 ISO but he was a productive hitter with 15 home runs and a 117 WRC+ last year. Trevor Larnach brings cheap unreliable power to the plate from the left side, while Christian Vazquez and Michael A. Taylor are mix-and-match options for low popularity.

Play: Twins bats for both upside and salary value, Sonny Gray, minor shares of top-half Yankees bats

Update Notes: the Yankees have Cordero hitting sixth and Aaron Hicks slots into the nine spot behind Cabrera and Trevino. The Twins lineup has Kepler leading off with Buxton in the cleanup spot and Gallo hitting seventh, it runs Kepler-Correa-Polanco-Buxton-Larnach-Miranda-Gallo, which is a solid set of players from which to draw stacks. The final two hitters are as expected with Vazquez and Taylor offering here and there upside.

Detroit Tigers (+132/4.16) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-144/4.95)

The Tigers were a surprise focus team in today’s Power Index article, putting them oddly in play to some degree. The team is not good and expectations for major MLB DFS point creation should be tempered, there is more individual home run hitting upside than there is the potential for this team to hang a dozen runs on tonight’s starter. Still, a matchup against journeyman Colin Rea has even the lowly Tigers hitters salivating. The season so far has seen lower-end pitchers overcome the lousy Tigers lineup several times, but with the appealing power upside they may be worthy of consideration as a value play and potentially a source of cheap one-off options. Rea is a veteran right-hander who has bounced around the Majors and Japan’s NPB for the past few years, he does not offer much upside or intimidating stuff on the mound. The righty has made two starts in his return to the Brewers, posting a 19% strikeout rate with a 5.03 xFIP and a 50% hard-hit rate. Rea has allowed a 10% barrel rate with 93 mph of average exit velocity in his very small sample this season. Rea surprised in his first start against the Padres, pitching 5.2 innings of one-run ball while striking out six and walking one, allowing a solo home run. The second start did not go as well, but Rea was not awful, he threw five innings and yielded four runs on five hits but had just a pair of strikeouts. There is a thin window of opportunity for production from the very bad Tigers lineup tonight, but expectations should be well-tempered going into this play. Nick Maton hits from the left side and can drive the ball, he has a 13.6% barrel rate with a 40.9% hard-hit this season in just 71 plate appearances, hitting three home runs with a .177 ISO so far in the short sample. Maton has just a .177 ISO and a 52 WRC+, which is indicative of the quality we will find up and down the Tigers’ lineup. Riley Greene is slashing .235/.287/.358 with two home runs and two stolen bases while creating runs 18% worse than average over his first 87 plate appearances. The highly-regarded young player has a 10.2% barrel rate and a 44.9% hard-hit rate, last year he posted a 9.3% barrel rate with a 45.2% hard-hit in his 418 opportunities, though he struggled to translate that to home run power with just five long balls for the year. Greene is in play against this pitcher, he correlates with Maton and Javier Baez hitting behind him, as well as the team’s best bat, Kerry Carpenter. Baez is slashing .203/253/.246 and has no home runs with a .043 ISO and a 42 WRC+, and the former star is yet to barrel a ball this season over 76 plate appearances. There is “any given slate” upside in Baez, who is the first player in the projected lineup over the “magic number” in our home run model, sitting at 12.94, second-best on the team. The lead spot is, naturally, occupied by Carpenter, who has hit three home runs this year with a .236 ISO and an actually productive 110 WRC+. He is carrying a 13.70 in tonight’s home run model. Carpenter hits the ball solidly from the left side, he has a 20% barrel rate with a 45% hard-hit mark this year, his 11.1% barrel rate over 113 opportunities last year gives hope for consistent quality. Carpenter is cheap for his power potential, he costs just $3,100/$2,700 in the outfield on both sites. Infielder Zach McKinstry projects to hit fifth, McKinstry is the second of four players currently sporting a positive WRC+ for the season, though he has made just 43 plate appearances to this point. The lefty is slashing .256/.310/.487 with a 122 WRC+, two home runs, a pair of stolen bases, and a .231 ISO. Last season, McKinstry made 185 plate appearances and hit five home runs with seven steals, but slashed .199/.273/.361 with a .163 ISO. The personification of the concept of ongoing disappointment that is Spencer Torkelson hits sixth in the projected lineup. The right-handed first baseman is slashing .216/.256/.351 with a .135 ISO this year, and he is sitting on two home runs with a 62 WRC+. Torkelson does have an encouraging 10.2% barrel rate and a 44.1% hard-hit mark, and he strikes out at around the league-average pace, so there is hope for a turnaround for the 23-year-old former first-overall pick. Torkelson is carrying an 11.64 in tonight’s home run model, while Akil Baddoo drops to just 6.94 ahead of Miguel Cabrera who has made 39 plate appearances and is yet to hit a home run or do anything overly productive at the plate. The bottom of the lineup is occupied by Eric Haase in the projected afternoon form, Haase comes cheap at $2,800/$2,300 with catcher and outfield eligibility on both sites. The slugger has made 51 plate appearances this year and he has no home runs with a .042 ISO and a 2.9% barrel rate but still sits at a 10.08 in our home run model, which has a long memory for quality. Haase hit 14 home runs in 351 plate appearances last year, though his contact profile was only average, he had 22 long balls in 381 opportunities in 2021. Haase is in play, particularly where catchers are required, in small doses for individual home run upside. He is not a great wraparound consideration as getting on base and creating runs is not his primary skillset, but he could be a semi-useful one-off play on a slate of this nature.

A start by Matthew Boyd has the Brewers looking like a strong option at the plate as well. Boyd has been targeted in this space for power and run creation fairly regularly, though he has successfully limited home runs more this year over three outings than in seasons past. The lefty has just a 17.5% strikeout rate and a 14.3% walk rate though, which has fed his ugly 5.38 xFIP and 1.50 WHIP. Boyd is not very good, he allows far too many opportunities and he should have the high-quality Brewers lineup circling the bases. At $6,600/$7,000, one could decide to roster Boyd in this spot, the question would simply be “Why?”. The projected Brewers lineup has platoon specialist Mike Brosseau leading off against the lefty. Brosseau has a pair of home runs and a .258 ISO over 35 plate appearances, last season he put up six home runs with a .163 ISO in 160 opportunities. For his career, Brosseau has a 123 WRC+ and a .201 ISO against lefties and just a 91 WRC+ and a .172 ISO against same-handed pitching, he is in play at $2,300/$2,600 with eligibility at third base on DraftKings and adding second base to the equation on FanDuel. Willy Adames has tremendous power and a team-leading 9.67 in today’s home run model. Adames fills in shortstop very capably when searching for one-off options, he comes at $5,400/$3,300 and should have a strong opportunity to create MLB DFS scoring tonight. Christian Yelich is projected to hit third with Jesse Winker sitting against the southpaw, Yelich is slashing .250/.333/.386 with a 100 WRC+ and three home runs, the former MVP costs just $4,900/$3,200. William Contreras and Brian Anderson are a moderate right-handed power duo in the heart of the order. Contreras has not hit for power this year but he hit 20 home runs in 376 opportunities last year from behind the plate, and Anderson has gotten out to a great start with five home runs in his 88 plate appearances as a full-time player. Anderson hit just eight home runs in a part-time 383 plate appearances role last year. Luke Voit has been featured as an overrated hitter and disparaged in this space frequently, he is not nearly as good as his reputation but he does flash power in spots and hits right-handed. Voit has no barrels and just a 30.8% hard-hit rate with no home runs over 38 opportunities this year, he hit 22 home runs in 568 tries last season, but the limited slugger has a shot at value for just $2,500/$2,400 in this matchup. Owen MillerJoey Weimer, and Blake Perkins round out the projected lineup with an emphatic “bleh.”

Play: Tigers bats, Brewers bats, and good god, not the pitching.

Update Notes: Detroit will have Baddoo leading off ahead of Greene and Baez, with Maton hitting in the cleanup spot ahead of Carpenter and Torkelson, Cabrera-McKinstry-Haase rounds it out. The Brewers have Brice Turang in the nine spot behind Miller-Weimer-Perkins, and most importantly no Yelich in the lineup. This is a ding to the Brewers’ overall quality.

Oakland Athletics (+178/4.21) @ Los Angeles Angels (-196/5.92)

Lefty Jose Suarez has a good opportunity for a get-right start against the lousy Athletics this evening. Suarez has made three starts and pitched just 11.2 innings this season, he is sporting an ugly line with an 11.1% strikeout rate and a matching walk rate to go with his 6.78 xFIP and 9.26 ERA. The lefty has a ridiculous 2.40 WHIP and is yet to reach the fifth inning in a start. Suarez faced the tough Mariners and the Yankees in two of those outings, but the four-inning 10-hit two-strikeout start against the Nationals was an ugly mark in early returns. The lefty was a good pitcher just last year and he has had a good start to his career, at 25 years old, Suarez already has 54 Major League starts under his belt, he has pitched to a 4.67 xFIP and a 20.1% strikeout rate in that sample but each year showed signs of growth. Last season, Suarez made 20 starts and threw 109 innings, pitching to a 22.3% strikeout rate and a 3.86 xFIP that were both career-best numbers. While he is no ace, Suarez seems like a good candidate to turn things around overall, and he could find value easily for just $5,800 on both sites against an Athletics team that has been looking more and more like a AAA squad, which might be insulting to AAA baseball. The Oakland lineup opens with Esteury Ruiz, who has stolen five bases and produced a 112 WRC+ over 87 plate appearances. Ruiz is a correlation piece with a lack of strong correlation options. He can be deployed alongside Jordan Diaz, who has made a productive 11 plate appearances in the Show this year and had 51 last season. Jesus Aguilar is a veteran with lower-mid-range power. Aguilar has two home runs and a .138 ISO over 65 opportunities this year, he hit 16 home runs with a .144 ISO in 507 tries last season. Brent Rooker is still a quad-A player, but he has been good over 53 plate appearances this season. Rooker has four home runs and a .295 ISO in the tiny sample, but he has too many holes in his swing to sustain that production. Carlos PerezAledmys Diaz, and Shea Langeliers are playable when going to this team but no one stands out. Kevin Smith and Conner Capel are occupying spots at the bottom of the projected Athletics lineup tonight, they are not worth much for MLB DFS, but Capel can steal a bag if he gets on base and has a 111 WRC+ over 51 opportunities.

The Angels were featured in the Power Index for their opportunity against Ken Waldichuk, a lefty struggling to find himself at the Major League level. The Los Angeles lineup has excellent star power up top, but a few players drag down overall projections as well, which may help them get lost in the overall shuffle of projections, home runs, and other factors around the industry tonight. The bottom of the projected batting order includes Chad Wallach and rookie Zach Neto who are pulling in a 3.39 and 3.44 respectively. Neto is a highly-regarded rookie shortstop who was the first player from the 2022 draft class to reach the Show, mostly on the back of an excellent hit tool. Neto has scuffled since arriving and may need more time before he is fully baked, but he will get an extended look before anything changes. Wallach has six plate appearances with a home run on the board already this season, but the 31-year-old backstop has just a .108 ISO over 277 career plate appearances in the Majors and is a career backup. Brandon Drury has been swinging more and making premium contact less often, not a good recipe at the plate, but he had a great breakout year last season riding swing-plane changes to 28 home runs for the season, Drury is cheap at $3,600/$2,400 with eligibility at first and second base on DraftKings and at second and third base on FanDuel. This is a playable name from the bottom of the lineup for power upside, despite the early struggles he has a serviceable 6.83 in today’s home run model. Drury is projected to hit behind fellow infielder Gio Urshela, who has a knack for getting involved at the right time, which inflates the public perception of his skills at the plate. Urshela is decidedly average as a hitter, he had 13 home runs in 551 opportunities last year and is slashing .280/.308/.347 with a .067 ISO, one home run, and an 83 WRC+ over his first 78 opportunities this year. Urshela is a detriment to power marks with just a 4.84 in the home run model. A player who has no such problem is Hunter Renfroe who is projected to hit in his typical fifth spot in the lineup. Renfroe is the last man in the Angels’ true power core, he has a 10.38 mark on the board today, putting him ahead of cleanup hitter Anthony Rendon, who is at a 6.59. Renfroe has hit six home runs and is slashing .274/.351/.560 with a .286 ISO and a terrific 152 WRC+ in the heart of the lineup, but Rendon has struggled to find his quality coming back from missing parts of multiple seasons and after serving an early-season suspension this year. The former star third baseman has just a 2.3% barrel rate and a 34.9% hard-hit rate in 59 plate appearances, but there is good reason to believe; he is a cheap part of the top of this lineup. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani can be played for power and run creation against anyone in baseball. The duo has 10 combined home runs in 183 combined plate appearances, hitting five each, and they are creating runs 98% and 27% better than average respectively. Trout is at a 12.56 to lead the team with Ohtani on his heels at 11.87 in today’s home run numbers. Taylor Ward is a strong correlation piece with his ability to get on base and create runs and he has individual power that was on display last year. Ward is priced down to $4,900/$2,900 which makes the righty masher a very interesting play against this lefty. Waldichuk is a well-regarded prospect for strikeouts, but his big knocks are finding his command and control, and allowing too much power, both of which have been on display in his four early starts this season. The southpaw has just a 16.7% strikeout rate but a 10.4% walk rate, he has pitched to a 5.52 xFIP with a 1.85 WHIP and a 7.65 ERA so far this year. Opposing hitters have generated just 87.5 mph of average exit velocity against Waldichuk, with an 8.7% barrel rate, but a 7.29% home run rate so far this year. It is worth noting that, while the starter allowed three home runs in his first outing – against these same Angels on 4/2 – and a whopping four home runs to the excellent Rays in his second outing, Waldichuk was markedly better against the Orioles and Cubs in his next two starts. He struck out four Orioles and walked three while yielding three earned runs on five hits and pitching a nice 6.1 innings. Against the Cubs’ upstart lineup he posted a clean start covering five innings with five hits and three walks, but allowing no runs while striking out five. Still, the odds seem firm with the Angels in this contest, the team’s stars, and obvious names are stackable and can be used as one-off options on tonight’s MLB DFS slate on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Play: Angels stacks/bats; value-based Jose Suarez shares

Update Notes:

Kansas City Royals (+127/4.67) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (-138/5.44)

Another team flashing major power potential tonight is Kansas City. The Royals will be facing Tommy Henry, a lefty who has not pitched in the Show this season. Henry made nine starts and threw 47 innings last year, posting a 4.97 xFIP and a 17.6% strikeout rate. The southpaw walked 10.2% in that sample and gave up a 4.88% home run rate on a nine percent barrel rate and 39.3% hard hits. Henry spent the rest of his 2022 in AAA, where he made 21 starts and had a 5.13 xFIP with just a 21.7% strikeout rate. Henry is not a ranked prospect and is simply a placeholder who should be targeted with bats and not rostered on the mound this evening. The projected Royals lineup includes a strong top half that is largely focused on hitting the ball for power. Bobby Witt Jr. hit 20 home runs with 30 steals while slashing .254/.294/.428 last year, this season he is slashing .256/.297/.465 with four homers and five stolen bases over 91 plate appearances, with his ISO climbing to .209 from last year’s .174 and his WRC+ jumping from 99 to 107 in early results. Witt is a strong option in the infield, he is a $5,100 shortstop on DraftKings and he slots in at shortstop or third base for $3,300 on FanDuel, he ranks third out of four hitters who land between 12 and 13 in our home run model tonight at 12.23, Witt could get things started early for a Kansas City lineup that should roll tonight. Edward Olivares costs $3,200/$2,500 in the outfield, he has one home run and a stolen base early this year, last year he created runs 10% better than average over his 174 plate appearances, hitting four home runs and stealing two bags along the way. Olivares is a nice correlation piece that helps offset price and popularity early in the lineup. Vinnie Pasquantino is slashing .267/.369/.507 with a .240 ISO, four home runs, and a 141 WRC+, Sal Perez has just two home runs and a .146 ISO with a 68 WRC+ but the slugging catcher has been reliable for monster power over a long stretch and is too good to remain down for very long, and Franmil Reyes has prodigious power potential against any lefty. Reyes has hit two home runs and has a .143 ISO this season in 47 opportunities, he hit 14 long balls and had an 11.3% barrel rate and a 45.8% hard-hit mark in 473 opportunities last year. The bottom half of the lineup trails off, it includes Matt Duffy, Hunter DozierNate Eaton, and Kyle Isbel. Duffy is off to a good start in 37 opportunities, but he has a very limited track record of success at age 32. Dozier, Eaton, and Isbel are similar mix-and-match options with limited appeal. The top of the lineup is the focus for Kansas City hitting.

Royals starter Brad Keller should not be confused with a high-output premium MLB DFS pitcher, but he is effective generally at keeping the ball in the yard, which can have a limiting impact on opposing offenses. Keller has allowed just a 4.8-degree average launch angle in his four starts and 21 innings in 2023, he gave up a 6.7-degree average last year. He always allows hard-hit balls but they are typically on the ground or line drives, which keeps home runs in check. This year Keller has a 1.15% home run rate, last year it was at 2.76% over 139.2 innings, and the year before it was 2.94%. This is not Framber Valdez in terms of ability to generate worm burners, and Keller could easily be taken advantage of for sequencing and run creation with his ugly walk rates and so much contact available, but the Diamondbacks are projecting only as an upper-middle-class option, though they are also priced like one which could add to their appeal. Arizona’s lineup opens with Josh Rojas and Ketel Marte, who have produced a 95 and 113 WRC+ respectively to open the season. Rojas was better over a full year last year and he has been hitting well in general at .293/.341/.373, he just lacks for premium power. Marte has been driving the ball well so far, he has a .207 ISO and two home runs while slashing .280/.314/.488 with a pair of home runs. He remains cheap at $4,100/$3,000, as does Corbin Carroll who costs $4,400/$3,200 despite a 120 WRC+, four home runs, and eight stolen bases so far this season. Christian Walker got another home run on the board over the weekend, he now has three with a .177 ISO on his way back to the being the hitter who racked up 36 long balls with a .235 ISO last year. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Pavin Smith are an interesting righty-lefty duo from the fifth and sixth spots in the projected lineup, Smith has been good over just 35 opportunities, Gurriel has scuffled in his 83 and has a 76 WRC+, but a significant track record of productivity. The outfielder had a 114 WRC+ his last season in Toronto last year. Gabriel Moreno is moderately playable at catcher, while Alek Thomas is a cheap outfield bat with limited appeal in the eight spot. The interesting hitter late in the lineup remains Geraldo Perdomo who is now at .356/.431/.578 with a .222 ISO, a 172 WRC+, a home run, and a stolen base in his first 53 plate appearances. Perdomo was a highly regarded prospect who fell apart during his first year in the Show in 2022, he may have arrived this season and he remains cheap at valuable middle infield positions.

Play: Royals and Diamondbacks bats/stacks

Update Notes:

St. Louis Cardinals (-120/4.20) @ San Francisco Giants (+111/3.88)

The nightcap on tonight’s slate closes things with a quality pitching matchup between visiting Jordan Montgomery and hometown Alex Cobb. Cobb faces the stiffer opponent with St. Louis’ excellent lineup joining Montgomery for the trip, but the righty has a good track record and he has been out to a strong start to the season. Cobb has made four starts and thrown 19.1 innings this year, pitching to a 2.58 xFIP and a 1.50 WHIP with a 2.79 ERA. He has a 2.33% home run rate allowed while striking out 25.6% and walking just 3.5%. Last season, Cobb threw 149.2 innings and posted a 2.89 xFIP with a 23.9% strikeout rate, he has the talent to get through the Cardinals lineup cleanly, and they are somewhat diminished, relatively speaking, against right-handed pitching. Shares of Cardinals are also in play, Lars Nootbaar and Alec Burleson start the lineup with a pair of quality left-handed hitters. Nootbaar has two home runs and a .240 ISO in 36 plate appearances since rejoining the lineup, he hit 14 home runs with a .221 ISO in just 347 opportunities last season. Burleson has hit two home runs and has a .200 ISO with a 117 WRC+ over 66 tries this season. The pair of lefties hit in front of the team’s right-handed starts, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, two highly capable bats who can get to any pitcher in baseball. Arenado is off to a slower start, he has a 99 WRC+ and two home runs, Goldschmidt also has only hit two home runs, but he has a 136 WRC+ and a pair of stolen bases to pad MLB DFS scoring. Willson Contreras and Nolan Gorman are strong options in the heart of the order, Gorman is the better play, he brings tremendous power on the left side of the plate. The second baseman has six home runs in 78 plate appearances, he has been mashing the ball to the tune of a .343 ISO but he remains affordable at $4,400/$3,400. Paul DeJong is back in the Cardinals’ lineup, he went 3-4 with a home run in his return and he costs the dead minimum at shortstop on both sites, though he may not play. Jordan Walker and Tommy Edman round out the 1-9 playable lineup in style. The Cardinals are not in their best spot of the season, but this team is always an option, they are too good up and down to be completely ignored.

The Giants platoon-based approach will be in action against lefty Jordan Montgomery tonight, putting a few of their better right-handed bats on the board. Montgomery is good overall however, he has a 3.93 xFIP with a 1.03% home run rate and a 5.2% walk rate to start his season in four outings and 22.1 innings. The lefty’s strikeouts have dipped back to his Yankees-level production at just 19.6%, he jumped into the mid-20% range on arrival in St. Louis last season, finishing the year at 21.8% across the two teams. Montgomery could find strikeout upside against a free-swinging Giants team. The projected lineup for San Francisco has a current-year strikeout rate of 25.9%. Ignoring the 18.6% held by projected leadoff man Thairo Estrada and the excellent 14.9% posted so far by Wilmer Flores, the next seven hitters in the Giants’ lineup are striking out at a ridiculous 28.5% clip this season. Montgomery has a solid ceiling at $9,500/$9,000. Both Estrada and Flores are playable against the lefty when looking at Giants bats, they are 51% and 20% above average for run creation this season so far and were seven and three percent above last year. Estrada has four home runs and a .203 ISO this year, Flores has three with a .190 ISO. Lefty Michael Conforto has been good to start the season, he has four home runs and a .226 ISO with a 121 WRC+ while finding his hit tool. JD Davis is one of this space’s favorites, he has four home runs and a .215 ISO in his 71 opportunities this year, carrying a 48.9% hard-hit rate into tonight at just $3,900/$3,100. Darin Ruf is a $2,400 option on both sites who has been a longtime platoon specialist against lefties, he has no home runs this season but a 107 WRC+ in 27 opportunities. Righty David Villar has struggled to find last year’s form over his first 71 tries this year. In 2022, Villar hit nine home runs while slashing .231/.331/.455 with a .224 ISO and 124 WRC+ in 181 plate appearances. This year he is at just .167/.282/.367 with three home runs and a .200 ISO while creating runs 20% worse than average. Mike Yastrzemski loses a step against same-handed pitching, he may or may not land in the bottom of the lineup, where he would join likely mix-and-match candidates Joey Bart and Brandon Crawford. Crawford has three home runs on the board in 68 plate appearances, but a 61 WRC+ overall and he loses quality against lefties, Bart is not here for his offense at this point.

Play: Jordan Montgomery fairly aggressively, Alex Cobb, some Cardinals bats

Update Notes:

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