MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Overview – Saturday 4/29/23

A five-game MLB DFS main slate gets rolling at 7:05 ET tonight, with a handful of interesting options on board. There are a few good starters, including a pair of aces, on the board along with a Coors Field game carrying a massive run total, and a few spots for potentially low-owned upside. The slate features a Yankees team that comes in at roughly 14% of its expected capacity for run creation starting the year, the badly damaged lineup is taking on water fast and could easily sink MLB DFS shares tonight in Texas while the opposing team tees off on their flawed starter. The Rays and White Sox have a very compelling three-sided matchup for MLB DFS on both DraftKings and FanDuel, the Angels and Brewers can arguably be played from four different angles, and two of the night’s top pitchers will close things out in tough matchups in the Cardinals vs Dodgers game.

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 – 4/29/23

New York Yankees (+146/3.81) @ Texas Rangers (-159/4.79)

An extremely low-rent version of the Yankees lineup will be in Texas to face veteran righty Nathan Eovaldi in what should be a good opportunity for the pitcher to post a strong MLB DFS score. The Yankees will once again be without Aaron Judge, whose hip injury sounds like it will cost him a stint on the IL, but the team should at least get their starting shortstop back at the top of the lineup, but things get very ugly outside of the projected top-four. Eovaldi, meanwhile, checks in at a very fair price for a pitcher with a 26.3% strikeout rate and just a 4.2% walk rate for the season. The righty has been very good on the mound, a fact that the public may slightly overlook, given the 5.20 ERA and 1.41 WHIP on the surface stat line. For $8,800/$8,500 this is a strong buy at pitcher against this lineup, Eovaldi has a good chance to pile up punchouts against these Yankees, he is inducing an excellent 13.6% swinging-strike rate with a 31.3% CSW% for the season. In the small 27.2-inning five-start sample, both marks are up slightly from last year and the season before, both of which were already good with a 12.4 and 12.6% swinging-strike rate. Eovaldi will be facing Anthony Volpe at the top of the projected Yankees lineup after the rookie got the night off against deGrom’s start last night. Over the first 100 plate appearances of his career, Volpe is slashing .226/.350/.345 with a .119 ISO while creating runs four percent better than average. He has a bumpy 29% strikeout rate but a good 16% walk rate that has bolstered his solid on-base percentage and helped him reach eight stolen bases. Volpe has just a 5.5% barrel rate and an average 38.2% hard-hit rate so far this season, but he is not expensive at his premium position for just $3,800/$2,900. DJ LeMahieu slots into the second spot after leading off last night, the infielder has compelling three-position eligibility at first, second, and third base on FanDuel for $3,100, he loses second base for $3,800 across town but would still be very much in play when going to these Yankees. LeMahieu has a .205 ISO with three home runs and he has created runs 24% better than average over his 93 plate appearances in an early season return to form. Anthony Rizzo is the best bat in this version of the Yankees lineup. The left-handed first baseman should hit third, with Gleyber Torres in the cleanup spot. Rizzo has five home runs with a typically excellent .295/.387/.505 and a 153 WRC+, he is too cheap at $4,400/$3,300 but does not have a ton of help in the lineup. Torres has four home runs in his 105 plate appearances, posting a .195 ISO and creating runs 33% better than average so far. The $4,700/$3,200 second baseman is the last player in the projected lineup who has been above-average for run creation. Willie Calhoun has a 50 WRC+ and a .029 ISO in 37 plate appearances, the former top prospect has simply never hit at the Major League level. Oswaldo Cabrera slots into the seventh spot, he is a cheap outfielder on both sites but is slashing .213/.238/.300 with a .088 ISO and a 43 WRC+ over 84 plate appearances this season. Cabrera was admittedly OK in 171 opportunities as a utility man last year, he slashed .247/.312/.429 with a .182 ISO and a .111 WRC+. Aaron HicksJose Trevino, and lefty Jake Bauers (apparently) round out the skippable Yankees lineup.

The Rangers were featured in our Power Index, they will be facing Jhony Brito, a flawed pitcher who has been miscast covering injuries in the Yankees’ rotation. Brito had a good first game, striking out six Giants hitters over five clean innings. He has totaled six strikeouts in his next four outings combined. That is the true Brito, the first start was an outlier and, as we said at the time, it will almost certainly stand as his best start all year. Brito has two true pitches, a Major League quality power-sinker that was grading out with a 107 Stuff+ mark during Spring Training, and an effective changeup that does not seem special in the long term but does help the starter induce weak contact, which has been his primary saving grace in most of his outings. Brito also throws a middling curveball and a basic four-seam fastball, but the sinker-change combination is his primary arsenal. Over his 17.2 innings, Brito has a 6.11 ERA with a 5.56 xFIP and a 1.53 WHIP, he has generated a 9.6% swinging-strike rate and has just a 22.7% CSW%, if teams simply wait on him he will implode, which was the start-one book on this pitcher. Brito has not allowed much power to this point, opposing hitters have managed just a 1.28% home run rate with a 33.9% hard-hit rate, but that may not hold against this hard-hitting Rangers squad, particularly when considering the 12.5% barrel rate on a 15.2-degree average launch angle that Brito is giving up, a squared up pitch should travel. Marcus Semien has five homers with a .202 ISO, he hit 26 home runs last year and a massive 45 the season before and is one of the top second basemen in baseball at the dish. Semien is justifiably expensive at $5,900/$4,100 tonight. Travis Jankowski put up a strong MLB DFS score just last night, he creates points via his hit tool and his speed, and with some help from his friends in the lineup, Jankowski has no home runs and just a .100 ISO in his 57 plate appearances, but he is creating runs 38% better than average in the small sample and is slashing .320/.404/.420 with four stolen bases. Jankowski is not a major home run threat, he has just a 2.38 in our model, which looks a bit awkward for him among the 10.84 carried by Semien, and the 11.06 and 10.68 for the next two hitters. Those are, of course, Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia, who check in with three and seven home runs respectively so far. Lowe is slashing .257/.319/.438 with a .181 ISO and a 110 WRC+. The first baseman hit 27 home runs with a .191 ISO and a 143 WRC+ last season, so we know there is upside beyond the already good numbers he has posted over 116 plate appearances this year. Garcia has a 13.2% barrel rate with a 51.3% hard-hit which has translated to a .255 ISO with a .520 slugging percentage. The outfielder has wheels in addition to his power, though he has stolen only one base this season. He swiped 25 with 27 home runs as a major MLB DFS scoring asset last season, Garcia is also pricey but worth it at $5,700/$4,000. Third baseman Josh Jung slotted back into the lineup after being listed as day-to-day, assuming he plays again tonight he is another good power consideration who also provides cost savings. Jung has hit five home runs and has a .204 ISO with a 121 WRC+ in his 100 plate appearances this season. He has barreled the ball at a 10% clip with a 43.3% hard-hit rate but struggles with strikeouts that could leave holes in a DFS lineup. Jung is priced at just $3,900/$3,300, he is a better option at the lower relative cost on DraftKings but is in play from site to site and could go lower-owned than some of his teammates where only four players can be stacked. Jonah Heim has a 12.3% barrel rate with a 49.1% hard-hit percentage and four home runs in just 81 plate appearances. The catcher is a somewhat underappreciated asset at his position on larger slates, in a spot like tonight’s he will probably be popular on DraftKings, but could be lower-owned on FanDuel for $3,500. Ezequiel Duran slots in with shortstop and outfield eligibility for just $2,500 on DraftKings and he adds second base eligibility for the same price on the blue site. Duran is slashing .291/.328/.400 with a 105 WRC+, he has hit a home run and stolen a base in his 58 plate appearances and is getting more of a shot to produce this season. Duran has flashed interesting mid-range power and speed in his minor league career, he is in play from the late lineup for Texas stacks and his flexibility at a cheap price makes him a usable one-off part. Josh Smith and Leody Taveras are at a 3.82 and 5.12 in the home run model, they have combined for one home run in 115 plate appearances this year and hit seven together in 594 combined tries last year, Ruth and Gherig these two are not.

Play: Rangers bats/stacks, Nathan Eovaldi, small slate/large field top-4 Yankees are fine with low expectations and a general lack of help turning the lineup over

Update Notes: The Yankees’ confirmed lineup has Isiah Kiner-Falefa hitting ninth for $2,300/$2,100 with third base and outfield eligibility on DraftKings and outfield/shortstop eligibility on FanDuel, he is an uninspiring offensive player and another non-entity at the bottom of this lineup (yes, anything can happen). Bauers is hitting eighth, so he actually is on this team now, which is good to know. Trevino moves up to seventh, with the top-six as anticipated. The Rangers lineup is as expected with the exception of the ninth spot, which goes to somewhat interesting Bubba Thompson, an outfielder who costs $2,200 on both sites. Thompson has good speed, he stole 18 bases despite just a .302 on-base percentage and only 181 plate appearances last year, though there is not much beyond that for MLB DFS.

Los Angeles Angels (+125/3.75) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-136/4.34)

Brewers ace Corbin Burnes is on the mound for $9,500/$10,300 in an interesting spot in a home start against the Angels tonight. Burnes has just a 19.5% strikeout rate and  4.37 xFIP with a 4.55 ERA for the year, well off of his 2.85 xFIP, 2.94 ERA, and 30.5% strikeout rate over 202 innings and 33 starts last year, and even further off of the fantastic 2021 season. The righty has induced an 11% swinging-strike rate, which is down significantly from his highs of 15.1% and 16.6% the last two years. He has lost about 1.1 mph on his cutter, the primary pitch in his arsenal, and he is generating far fewer whiffs on all of his breaking and offspeed pitches, with hitters pounding his slider at an uncharacteristic rate. Still, there is plenty of reason to have faith in the starter’s ability to turn things around, he still grades out in the 100th percentile for fastball spin and has strong marks across the advanced metrics, while remaining a top option on Stuff+ boards. Taking the discount on a pitcher with this level of long-term talent against a relatively free-swinging Angels team seems like a reasonable play, if Burnes comes up lower-owned than he should be because of the perceived struggles, high price, and bad matchup, so much the better. Angels leadoff man Taylor Ward has made 120 plate appearances and he is striking out at a 20% clip while walking in 11.7% of his plate appearances, both sturdy rates that are improvements on last year’s already decent 21.3% and 10.6%. Unfortunately, when he has made contact this season he has lacked the premium upside that was on display in long stretches last year. Ward has just a 7.6% barrel rate with a 35.4% hard-hit in the small but growing sample. The righty was good for contact with a 42.4% hard-hit rate and 12.1% barrels last year, which helped him to 23 home runs and a .192 ISO while his sturdy hit tool and on-base acumen added to the mix and resulted in an excellent 137 WRC+. Ward is cheap at $4,300/$2,800 he can put the ball in play and generate correlated scoring with stars that follow in the lineup. Mike Trout is Mike Trout, and he is always in play. That said, the superstar does strike out aggressively, he was at 27.9% last year and lands at 27% over 115 plate appearances this year. The heavy strikeout rate by Trout and, less so, Shohei Ohtani (21.7% this year, 24.2% last) feed into the upside for Burnes, but the pair are obviously lethal bats who could ruin the pitcher’s night in one swing. Trout has five home runs while slashing .303/.400/.545 with a .242 ISO and a 164 WRC+, and Ohtani is at .277/.339/.515 with a .238 ISO and a 132 WRC+ while hitting six home runs. The duo is followed by Anthony Rendon, who is priced down at just $4,300/$2,800 and typically goes under-owned in these situations. The former star has been somewhat better than what it may seem on the surface, though his 95 WRC+ is clearly a below-average mark by five percent for run creation. The third baseman is striking out at just a 13.4% clip so far, he was at 18.1% in last year’s small sample, and he gets on base at a steady pace, partly via a 13.4% walk rate. Rendon is slashing .258/.366/.303 and has just a .045 ISO and a 3.4% barrel rate, but with the sheer amount of contact he can generate along with his ability to get on base, there is ongoing upside for MLB DFS purposes when he is cheap and low-owned in the heart of the Angels lineup. Rendon will rise above the waterline for WRC+ if nothing else, simply on the virtue of what he is already doing well this season, if he finds his launch angle and barrels we could see further upside and, eventually maybe even his first home run of 2023. Hunter Renfroe is a name everyone is familiar with in the middle of this batting order. The outfielder has seven home runs this year with a .280 ISO and a 143 WRC+, he has been a trustworthy power hitter for some time now and will not surprise anyone at $5,200/$3,700, but he is very much in play. Brandon Drury has eligibility at first and second base on both sites for $3,700/$3,200, and he could actually be a player who surprises as an under-owned option again tonight. Drury is up to a .256 ISO and a 117 WRC+ with five home runs in 94 plate appearances and has seemingly found his swing plane over the last handful of games. The infielder is up to a 48.3% hard-hit rate with a 6.7% barrel rate after missing premium contact over the first couple weeks of the season, he remains a somewhat unpopular bargain on many slates. Luis Rengifo is a better bat than Gio Urshela but either would be in play if going to contrarian Angels. Matt Thaiss and Zach Neto are more afterthoughts against an ace like Burnes. Thaiss has one home run and a 125 WRC+ with a .208 ISO in his 30 plate appearances but he is here because of an injury to a better player. Neto is a highly regarded young player who was called up extremely early, he was drafted just last year and is the first among his draft class to reach the Show. He has slashed .244/.333/.333 with a .089 ISO and a 93 WRC+ over his first 51 opportunities. Overall, the Burnes side of this equation is still the better option, particularly if the starter is projected to be under-owned around the industry, but Angels bats are in play in a full portfolio of lineups.

The Brewers will be facing lefty Reid Detmers who clocks in at $8,500/$8,800 and projects in the middle of the pitcher board tonight. Detmers was a roller coaster for production last season, ending the year with a 22.6% strikeout rate in 129 innings and 25 starts. He had a 4.20 xFIP and a 3.77 ERA overall and was largely a league-average pitcher, except when he was unhittable. Detmers has been fairly good to start 2023, he has a 26.6% strikeout rate with a 4.39 xFIP and  4.15 ERA over four starts, but he has also allowed a 42.4% hard-hit rate with a 6.8% barrel rate and 90.4 mph of average exit velocity, adding up to a 4.26% home run rate in the small sample. The southpaw has shown reasonable depth so far this season as well, pitching 4.2, 5.0, 6.1, and 5.2 innings while striking out seven, five, seven, and six against four average to good lineups. Detmers saw a big jump in his strikeout rate in the second half of last season, climbing from 20.2% to 25.3% after a brief trip to AAA, so the bump in strikeouts overall is not a total surprise. This could be a somewhat interesting pitcher against a projected Brewers lineup with a 24.7% current-year strikeout rate. If we ignore the 15% posted by Owen Miller in 40 plate appearances (19.7% in 472 last year) the team drops to 26%, Detmers has the opportunity to reach a nice ceiling score for a good price in this outing. The Brewers will have Christian Yelich and a long list of right-handed hitters to throw at Detmers tonight, of course, and they could exploit the hard hits that the pitcher has allowed, but fortune favors the bold in MLB DFS decision making, and Detmers will probably only be owned in the mid-range on a small slate. Yelich is slated to lead off, he is slashing .232/.327/.354 with a .121 ISO and  92 WRC+ while striking out 29.2% of the time. He hits everything hard when he makes contact, the outfielder has a 56.1% hard-hit rate this season but just a 4.5% barrel rate and three home runs. Yelich is always a threat, he is playable for $5,100/$3,000 but may also contribute to Detmers’ strikeout total. Willy Adames contributed a home run last night as a strong one-off shortstop on an odd slate, he has a team-leading 7.39 in our home run model tonight and is a dangerous hitter in any situation. Adames has a 13% barrel rate with five home runs, a .204 ISO, and a 122 WRC+ so far this year. In 671 plate appearances last year, the shortstop hit 31 home runs, he had 25 in 555 opportunities the year before and he was above average for run creation in both years. William Contreras is having an interesting start to his season at the plate. Over 81 plate appearances, the catcher has cut his strikeout rate from 27.7% to just 16% while maintaining an 11.1% walk rate. He has slashed .306/.383/.403 with a .097 ISO and one home run in the tiny sample, his barrel rate is down but his hard-hit rate remains about the same, suggesting that a slightly different approach might be in play – or, as is extremely likely, this is just statistical noise in a very small sample. Contreras is cheap as a good catcher option, he costs $3,600/$2,800 and can be deployed for his sturdy bat and a good spot in the batting order on both sites. Mike Brosseau has three home runs and specializes against left-handed pitching, Brian Anderson has hit five home runs and has a .209 ISO with a 119 WRC+ t0 start 2023. Anderson has stretched the solid run of hitting over 104 plate appearances, he has a 15.6% barrel rate for the year but just a 34.4% hard-hit and he strikes out 27.9% of the time so far this year. As with many of these hitters, Anderson has upside for a home run and a nice score, but we can also easily envision a golden sombrero. Luke Voit isn’t good, we feel that point has been proven. Still, at $2,500/$2,400, if he is in the lineup, there is now low-owned cheap potential for a hitter who can barrel a ball against a lefty who has allowed a lot of premium contact so far this year. Voit is not off the table if he is in the lineup. Joey Weimer and Blake Perkins round out the lineup, they cost very little but have provided very little to this point.

Play: Corbin Burnes, Reid Detmers, minor shares of bats on both sides

Update Notes: The Angels are shaking things up with Zach Neto in the leadoff spot and Taylor Ward dropping to seventh. Urshela is in the lineup hitting eighth instead of Rengifo and Chad Wallach slots into the last spot as a cheap catcher, probably an extremely minor ding to the Angels lineup overall, but no substantial changes to the hitters we want from it. The Brewers lineup includes Victor Caratini instead of Perkins, Caratini is hitting seventh he offers a bit of sneaky power potential from the catcher spot for just $2,600 where the position is needed.

Tampa Bay Rays (-131/5.10) @ Chicago White Sox (+121/4.50)

The Rays have the highest non-Coors implied team total on the afternoon board in Vegas with a 5.10 in their game against veteran righty Lance Lynn, who is off to a rough start with a beefy 7.52 ERA so far this year. Lynn has been throwing meatballs for hitters to get the fat part of the bat on with regularity in his first five starts this season. Opposing hitters have been indulgent against the veteran, gorging on his 44.9% hard-hit rate and 9.0% barrel rate allowed and putting up an inflated 5.65% home run rate so far this year. Compared to a waifish 3.7% last year, Lynn’s 2023 walk rate is morbidly obese at 10.5%. There is still good reason to believe that the pitcher will round into form, his strikeout rate, for example, has not been out of shape at 25.8%, it lands between last year’s 24.2% and the 27.5% he posted in 2021. Overall, Lynn’s numbers are somewhat exaggerated by a bad 4.1-inning outing in his second start, a game in which he was charged with eight earned runs while walking three and striking out just five. For the season, the righty’s xFIP is a much more trim 4.30. His 12.8% swinging-strike rate also lends credence to the idea of upside, and one could reasonably expect that Lynn’s surface numbers will get slim fast. At $7,600/$8,100 and what seems likely to be single-digit popularity in a bad matchup, Lynn is on the radar for pitching shares… how could something that big not be? On the Rays’ side of the game, everyone looks great at all times in all situations, which is only a minor exaggeration for the outrageously good ballclub at this point. On a day when our Yankees are recruiting players from the stands to fill out the lineup, we just marvel in envious wonder at the mix-and-match nature of the incredibly deep Rays lineup. Every decision they have made this year has been right, every player they insert into the lineup for a day has delivered, and there is no real reason to expect things to slow down against a struggling aging starter. Today’s version of the projected lineup sees only Francisco Mejia slip below average for run creation in the small sample. The catcher is slotted in ninth, he has a 48 WRC+ and a .049 ISO in 46 plate appearances, but he is not completely inept as a switch-hitting cheap backstop if he is in the lineup. Mejia was once a highly regarded prospect bat at his position, he just never truly delivered, he has six home runs in 299 and 277 plate appearances in each of the last two seasons. Everyone else in the projected lineup has been at a minimum 23% better than average creating runs in samples ranging from 63 plate appearances to 116. Break up the Rays! The lineup opens with Brandon Lowe, who could ruin Lynn’s day in his first plate appearance. Lowe mashes from the left side, he has a 24% barrel rate with a 52% hard-hit over 91 plate appearances this year, contact that has translated into seven home runs and a .308 ISO. The second baseman is slashing .244/.352/.551 and he has created runs 55% better than average. Lowe costs $5,400/$3,900, the FanDuel price is too cheap, Lowe is our home run pick from the Rays today at 10.33 in the home run model. Randy Arozarena is in the second spot in the projected lineup, he is in play from everywhere in the batting order. The excellent outfielder costs $6,200/$4,400 on a short slate but he is worth it with his .210 ISO and 168 WRC+ so far this year. Arozarena hit 20 home runs and stole 32 bases with a 125 WRC+ last season, he has five homers and three steals this year so from one perspective he is just beginning to get things warmed up. Wander Franco and Harold Ramirez land in the next two spots in the lineup. Franco is slashing .292/.353/.519 with a .226 ISO and a 147 WRC+ over 116 plate appearances to lead his team. The shortstop has four home runs and five stolen bases, he is an absolute star and is arguably too cheap at $5,800 on DraftKings, he should be over $4,000 on FanDuel, particularly given his position. Ramirez has made 76 plate appearances and is slashing .333/.395/.638 with a .304 ISO and a 191 WRC+ which is the highest mark on the absurdly productive club. The outfielder costs just $3,900/$3,500, while the power is still a tough sell, Ramirez has always had a reliable bat at the plate and a good contact profile for a productive line-drive hitter. This season he has five home runs on the board, he hit just six in 435 plate appearances last year and had seven in 361 the season before. Even if the home run power cools, Ramirez is a productive playable hitter at a cheap price, he will likely be a popular play if he is in this spot in the lineup. Josh Lowe should be in play tonight, he is projected to hit fifth and has also been out to an outrageous, probably unsustainable, start to his season. At his 185 WRC+ while slashing .348/.384/.623 with a .275 ISO and four homers, he is a strong piece for $4,600/$4,000. Isaac Paredes had a nice MLB DFS scoring game last night, he comes cheap and is lower-owned than most of his teammates on most slates. Paredes has a 123 WRC+ in 92 plate appearances with a .193 ISO and four home runs. Taylor Walls has been aggressively productive over 63 plate appearances, hitting three home runs and stealing two bases while creating runs 62% better than average. The infielder is an under-appreciated asset from late in the lineup if he plays, while he is most definitely not the power hitter we have seen to this point, he is a productive cog in the machine and he has flexible positioning between second and third base on DraftKings, adding shortstop to the mix on FanDuel. Luke Raley also offers multi-position eligibility, this time at first base and in the outfield, for $2,900/$3,000, and he has more true power in his bat than Walls. Raley has already hit five home runs this season, posting a .321 ISO and a 127 WRC+ in his 63 opportunities on the back of a 22.9% barrel rate and a 48.6% hard-hit. This is a ridiculously good team, whoever is in the lineup can be played, but do not be too hasty to write Lynn off completely, the veteran could very easily have a good outing and keep this team in check.

The Rays are starting the game with an opener, Calvin Faucher, who should see an inning or two before handing off to bulk reliever Yonny Chirinos with neither pitcher offering much appeal. The White Sox are still pulling upside in models, this team should be better than it is in the win/loss column, but they have been essentially the opposite of the Rays, with players in and out of the lineup due to injury and almost every key bat underperforming to start the year. The projected starting lineup for Chicago has Andrew Benintendi in the leadoff spot, the left-handed outfielder has been a slap-hitter this season, he has just a 1.3% barrel rate and a 22.8% hard-hit rate, down from his already somewhat low 5.1% and 38.5% last season. Benintendi is far removed from the player who hit 17 home runs in 2021 when it comes to premium contact, he has no home runs and a .052 ISO in 104 plate appearances this year. The power outage would not be such a concern if the player were getting on base and creating runs with his usual regularity but Benintendi is slashing just .281/.337/.333 and he has created runs 11% worse than average. The triple-slash numbers are not completely awful, but this is a player who was a .304/.373/.399 hitter with a 122 WRC+ last season. Andrew Vaughn has a 112 WRC+ over 113 plate appearances, with two home runs but just a .153 ISO. The first baseman checks into this contest at an extremely cheap price of just $2,700/$2,800, the White Sox lineup overall is a major source of value in this spot. Vaughn slashed .271/.321/.429 with a 113 WRC+ over 555 plate appearances last year and he has a good-not-great contact profile so far this season with an 8.1% barrel rate and a 44.6% hard-hit. Outfielder Luis Robert Jr. is the team’s most expensive player at $4,800/$3,400, which is not a high price in itself. Robert is slashing .215/.250/.411 with a .196 ISO and an 80 WRC+ which calls the higher salary than his teammates somewhat into question. He is inarguably talented at the plate and he has a 10.7% barrel rate, but he has also struck out at a 29.2% clip while walking just 3.5% of the time. Robert has been stuck on five home runs for some time, he has just one stolen base on the season and if salary savings are needed in a White Sox stack it is conceivable that he is skippable at the high price. Robert is still a player we want in lineups overall, he had a 111 WRC+ last year with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases, and he is a productive player. Eloy Jimenez has also struggled in his 79 plate appearances, slashing just .181/.253/.306 with a .125 ISO and a 56 WRC+, we have reached the heart of the White Sox problem this season. The lack of production from these two hitters, in addition to the absence of rehabbing Tim Anderson, has left a massive hole on the scoreboard, leading to loss after loss. Jimenez is cheap for his talent level, he costs $3,000/$2,900 tonight and we can cling to his current-year barrel rate of 12.5% with a 41.7% hard-hit to steady faith going into this slate. Jake Burger and Yasmani Grandal are projected to hit in the middle of the lineup. Grandal is always in play as a cheap catcher who can get on base and create runs on a good day, with maybe a bit of power as well, he has a .187 ISO for the season. Burger has seven home runs in 63 plate appearances over which he has a ridiculous .463 ISO. Buying past performance is never a great idea, Burger is not this hitter and there is no such thing as “hot” but there are plenty of encouraging signs that his price is still incorrect in an “any given game” sense at $2,900/$3,000. Burger has a 27.8% barrel rate and a 52.8% hard-hit for the year, which will come down, but he did post a 14.9% barrel rate in 183 plate appearances last season. Investing in his sustained production, not the hot start, is why we can roster this hitter at these prices. Oscar ColasElvis Andrus, and Lenyn Sosa could be replaced with three of the team’s hot dog vendors and few would notice the dip in production; if there was one. Colas is a well-regarded rookie who is yet to produce, between the three he would still be our choice.

Play: Rays bat/stacks, White Sox bats/stacks, Lance Lynn shares for value/ownership

Update Notes: there is rain in the forecast in Chicago, but it seems like a passing shower that will not impact play significantly. The Rays have Brandon Lowe leading off, followed by Franco-Arozarena-Josh Lowe-Paredes-Walls-Raley-Mejia and Jose Siri lands in the bottom spot in the lineup. Siri is a good wraparound option for $2,700/$3,200 in the outfield, he has a mix of power and speed that can play well for MLB DFS, though his on-base skills leave something to be desired. The White Sox have Robert-Vaugh-Gavin Sheets, with Andrew Benintendi out of the lineup. Things pick up as expected with Jimenez-Burger-Grandal, then Adam Haseley, who costs $2,000 in the outfield on both sites. Haseley is a post-hype prospect with some mid-range power and speed upside, he could shake things up at the flat minimum on both sites in an unlikely MLB DFS play.

Arizona Diamondbacks (-108/6.38) @ Colorado Rockies (-101/6.27)

The game at Coors Field is carrying a 12.5-run total on the board in Vegas, three full runs higher than the 9.5 in the Rays vs White Sox game, and at least four runs higher than every other game on the board, making it worth essentially half-again as much as any of those games when it comes to run expectation, which is simply absurd. Both sides of this one should be overwhelmingly popular for MLB DFS contests in all formats on both DraftKings and FanDuel, with the Diamondbacks taking the lead position as the better team with the more interesting bats on probably the better side of a no-wrong-answer matchup. Arizona is projected to face righty Noah Davis, who has two starts and 9.2 innings under his belt this year and had one relief inning on his ledger in 2022. Davis is no hotshot prospect, he is unranked, just turned 26, and lacks a track record of success in the minors. In 133.1 innings and 26 starts in AA last year, Davis had a 4.68 xFIP with a 5.54 ERA, a 25.9% strikeout rate, and a major home run problem. Davis allowed 26 long balls to 588 hitters, a 4.42% home run rate, in AA. Daivs is having an inflating effect on the Diamondbacks’ home run marks in our model, almost the entire team is above 10, with Christian Walker leading the way at a titanic 29.5. Walker has three home runs so far this season with a .161 ISO and he has been struggling with his premium contact, but we know there is a monster power bat lurking, and he is priced way down in a Coors Field game. At $4,100/$3,500 in this matchup and ballpark, Walker is an absolute smash spot for power potential. Leadoff man Josh Rojas has no home runs and a .085 ISO for the year, he hit nine homers in 510 plate appearances last year and 11 in 550 the year before, he is at an 8.37 in the home run model. Ketel Marte drops in with a 15.92, he has three home runs and has been squaring the ball up nicely with a .206 ISO and a 41.5% hard-hit rate. Marte hit 12 and 14 home runs the past two seasons, he is a strong option at second base on both sites. Corbin Carroll is second on the team at 18.25 in the home run model. The rookie has a .237 ISO and has created runs 51% better than average in his 103 plate appearances this year with four home runs and 10 stolen bases. Carroll is MLB DFS dynamite, he adds explosive upside to any lineup and he could go off in a number of ways in this ballpark even without taking the ball over the fence. Walker is slated to hit cleanup in the projected lineup, with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. batting fifth. Gurriel checks in with one home run and a .117 ISO over his 100 plate appearances in 2023, but his strong 48.7% hard-hit percentage plays very well in this ballpark, and he is a player who hit 21 home runs in 2021, though he managed just five last year in an otherwise strong season. Gurriel needs to barrel the ball and elevate more frequently to capitalize on his power, he is in play without a home run but also sits well above the magic number with a 13.50 in the home run model. Pavin Smith has a 12% barrel rate and a 56% hard-hit rate over his 43 plate appearances, which has amounted to a pair of home runs and a .257 ISO, which is very good for a part-time player who is treated as a non-entity by the MLB DFS community. Smith will not be unpopular if he is in the lineup tonight, no one in this game will be on a five-game slate, but it is possible that he will be one of the lower-owned options who still has reasonable upside. The first baseman is priced at $4,000/$3,700, which most will see as high for him, even in this situation. Smith adds outfield eligibility on the blue site, helping his cause, he has a 12.70 in the home run model tonight. Catcher Gabriel Moreno does not scoop the big power bump that his teammates do, he is at just a 3.99 in the home run model and is better as a positional correlation play. Alek Thomas has two home runs in 84 opportunities this year, with a .149 ISO and a 60 WRC+, the left-handed outfielder has not been good and he was mediocre at best in 411 plate appearances last year, hitting eight home runs with a 71 WRC+ and a .113 ISO, but he costs $3,200/$2,900 in Coors field and has managed a respectable 8.6% barrel rate with a good 48.3% hard-hit in the tiny current-year sample. Geraldo Perdomo has a .204 ISO with one home run on the board and he has created runs 80% better than average in his 65 plate appearances. Perdomo makes a compelling case for wraparound shares if he is in the final spot in the Arizona lineup tonight.

The Rockies won’t exactly be facing Sandy Koufax tonight, with lefty Tommy Henry on the bump for Arizona. Henry made nine starts last year, throwing 47 innings and pitching to a 4.97 xFIP with a 17.6% strikeout rate and a 10.2% walk rate. He allowed a nine percent mark for barrels and a 4.88% home run rate on 90 mph of average exit velocity. This season Henry has made just one start, lasting 4.1 innings against Kansas City while striking out one, walking four, allowing a home run, and getting charged with three earned runs. Henry was a target for power that day and he has the Rockies as the second overall team, behind the Diamondbacks, in today’s Power Index. Two Rockies hitters are above the magic number for home run upside, Kris Bryant and CJ Cron are both strong plays from the right side of the plate against this lefty in this ballpark. The veteran sluggers are likely to be popular on this slate, but so will everyone in this game, the chore is figuring out unique combinations in which they can be played together with correlated options in a full Rockies stack while not duplicating a dozen other lineups. Charlie Blackmon is slated to lead off, though that may not happen in a lefty-lefty matchup. Blackmon would be fine in that spot against this starter and he has had a productive start to his season with a 111 WRC+ while slashing .275/.389/.407, he is a good option to play alongside Bryant and Cron. Jurickson Profar has been less appealing overall, but at least he is cheap at $3,700/$3,200 and this is Coors Field. Profar is slashing .217/.295/.348 with a .130 ISO and a 63 WRC+, though he does have three home runs to Blackmon’s two if we are looking only at counting stats. Bryant is slashing .309/.374/.443 with a 113 WRC+ and three home runs. His power has yet to arrive in full, however, the outfielder has just a 3.8% barrel rate with a 28.2% hard-hit mark, neither of which is characteristic of the excellent hitter outside of last year’s injury-shortened season. Odds are strong that Bryant’s power will come around as the weather warms and his contact improves, for now, he is a highly productive option regardless. Cron has been stuck at five home runs and has struggled somewhat otherwise, but he still has a sharp contact profile at 15.9% barrels and 44.4% hard hits. Elias Diaz is creating runs 16% better than average this year but was 33% behind the curve in a larger sample last year. Ryan McMahon is a good power bat in the infield for just $4,900/$3,300 if he plays against the lefty tonight. McMahon has four home runs and a .198 ISO this season, he loses quality against same-handed pitching for his career, but all lefty pitchers are not created equal. Alan Trejo and Ezequiel Tovar are mix-and-match pieces late in the lineup while Brenton Doyle is potentially more interesting than that if he plays. Doyle has a respectable 8.12 in our home run model and checks in with a good projection for MLB DFS point-scoring at a $3,200/$2,500 salary. In 507 plate appearances in AA last year, Doyle hit 23 home runs and stole 23 bases, and he hit 16 home runs and stole 21 bases in 424 opportunities at high-A the year before. While he is not a highly regarded prospect and he strikes out far too much – including in the minor leagues where he was above a 30% strikeout rate at every stop – Doyle has appeal as a potentially low-owned option in a great spot against a lousy lefty.

Play: bats bats bats and, did we mention bats?

Update Notes: Arizona threw us a curveball with no Ketel Marte in the lineup, slotting Perdomo into the two spot, which is interesting for the infielder who has found is form in early returns this season. Perdomo was a top prospect who had a disastrous year in his first full season last year, so much so that most prospect sources decided he was probably a long-term utility/backup rather than a star, he is changing minds again early this year. Rojas is in the leadoff spot, Carroll-Walker-Evan Longoria-Smith-Emmanuel Rivera-Thomas-Jose Herrera rounds out the lineup in a different-looking but still very interesting configuration. Longoria is a fair replacement for Gurriel production-wise at different positions and Rivera has a good prospect bat at a cheap $3,000/$2,400 price. The Rockies confirmed lineup gets a boost by dropping Jurickson Profar and seeing the return of old MLB DFS masher pal Randal Grichuk, who will make his season debut after missing time with an injury. Blackmon is leading off ahead of Bryant-Diaz-McMahon-Cron-Grichuk-Doyle. Bump to Rockies bats 1-7. 

St. Louis Cardinals (+131/3.70) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-142/4.39)

A quality pitching matchup between two lefties rounds out the slate in style from Los Angeles, with Clayton Kershaw taking the mound for the hometown Dodgers. Kershaw has been his typically lights-out self to start the season, he has a 26.4% strikeout rate and a 3.13 xFIP with a 2.32 ERA while allowing just a 34.9% hard-hit rate and inducing 13.9% swinging strikes with a 31.8% CSW%. The veteran southpaw is always good when he is healthy and on the mound, he may not be the absolute apex predator that he once was, but he remains an elite starting pitcher who is only ever truly slowed by the unfairness of injury. Kershaw had a 27.8% strikeout rate with a 2.83 xFIP over 126.1 innings and 22 starts last year and a 29.5% rate with a 2.87 xFIP in 22 starts and 121.2 innings the year before, there has been no diminishment in his recent output. The Cardinals are an excellent lineup and they are even better against lefties, but on the flip side of the same “all lefties are not created equal” coin, there are lefties and then there is Kershaw. The starter seems like a good place on which to spend some lineup shares tonight, even at $10,500/$10,800. The Cardinals’ active roster is third in baseball with a .203 ISO and second with a 152 WRC+ against left-handed pitching this season, they are not fully out of play but the 3.70 implied team total in Vegas should be taken as a strong warning. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are in play against anyone in baseball, they are pricey against Kershaw in this spot however, which makes it an interesting inflection point in this matchup. If the stars come through they will directly ding a popular pitcher from an unpopular position in MLB DFS lineups. If they get any help from the likes of Tommy Edman, who is leading off in the confirmed Cardinals lineup, Willson Contreras, or slugger Tyler O’Neill, who is hitting sixth after a late scratch last night, it would send the slate sideways in a hurry. Edman has created runs 34% better than average this season, he is a good leadoff man ahead of the pairing of stars, Arenado is notably cheap at $5,000/$3,000, because he has struggled to a 73 WRC+ so far this year. Contreras is a good catcher play in most situations, he has a 116 WRC+ and should be played if targeting Kershaw with bats. Dylan Carlson slots in between Contreras and O’Neill, the switch-hitter has just a 79 WRC+ and a .077 ISO in 56 opportunities this year and was only at league average for run creation last season. O’Neill is a welcome site in the lineup after dealing with back pain yesterday, his power has not fully arrived this year but the slugger has a big bat on the right side and is carrying a 15.4% barrel rate with a 48.1% hard-hit for the season in 85 plate appearances. He is cheap in this matchup at $3,700/$2,600. Paul DeJongAndrew Knizner, and Lars Nootbaar round out the confirmed lineup. Nootbaar drops against the lefty but is potentially a sneaky wraparound play from the ninth spot in the lineup, and DeJong has power potential for a cheap price at a premium position.

The Dodgers are facing a good lefty as well, though Jordan Montgomery is no Kershaw. The lefty has a 20.3% strikeout rate with a 3.88 xFIP and a 3.81 ERA for the season. He has walked just 4.9% of opposing hitters though his WHIP sits at 1.27 for the season, if Montgomery maintains the healthy walk rate we could see a dip in opportunities against as the season rolls along, which would presumably lead to good marks for run prevention. Montgomery struck out 21.8% last season while walking five percent, he is a good real-life pitcher who has small slate upside in most cases, but the matchup is brutal against a fully armed and operational Death Star Dodgers lineup. With Will Smith and Max Muncy back in the fold, the Dodgers lineup should be loaded against Montgomery this evening. The projected version opens as expected with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman doing the Hollywood stars thing at the top. Both players have hit four home runs and stolen a base so far, Betts has a 116 WRC+, Freeman is at 137 and is slashing .302/.380/.472. Catcher Will Smith slots in with bigtime power and an excellent stick behind the plate for $5,000/$3,600. Smith is slashing .318/.396/.591 with three home runs in 53 plate appearances while creating runs 64% better than average. Chris Taylor is projected in the cleanup role against the lefty, though we may see a different bat in that spot. Taylor is slashing just .155/.219/.414 with a 68 WRC+ and would be an odd choice with everyone back. Muncy lands fifth against a lefty but could clean up, or could hit third with Smith fourth. Muncy has 11 home runs and a gargantuan .466 ISO with a 201 WRC+ in his 94 plate appearances this year and there are absolutely no concerns about playing him in a same-handed matchup. For his career, Muncy has a .228/.357/.476 triple-slash with a .248 ISO and a 126 WRC+ against right-handed pitching and he is better at everything with a .244/.357/.494 triple-slash, a .250 ISO, and a 131 WRC+ against fellow lefties. Play Max Muncy if you play Dodgers. Miguel Vargas and James Outman slot into the next two projected spots, but there is some variability to what the Dodgers may do at the bottom of the lineup. Either player is an option, with left-handed Outman as the current standout with seven early home runs, a 165 WRC+, and a .344 ISO. Trayce Thompson is a potential late-lineup home run bat for $2,900/$2,700 if he sees a start. Thompson has four home runs but is slashing .171/.306/.463 to start the year. He has a terrific contact profile with a 26.3% barrel rate and a 57.9% hard-hit that amount to a .293 ISO and a 112 WRC+ in his tiny sample of 49 plate appearances. Austin Barnes slots in as a second catcher option in the projected lineup but Smith is your man if they both play.

Play: Clayton Kershaw, some Jordan Montgomery, Dodgers bats/stacks, some contrarian Cardinals bats

Update Notes: the Dodgers lineup was confirmed as projected, Chris Taylor is in fact in the cleanup spot. The Cardinals were confirmed when this was written.

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