MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Overview – Sunday 4/9/23

An early afternoon start, a busy holiday weekend, and an MLB DFS Strategy Show with our pals across town have this column in extra high gear, as we get a jump on the slate with the clock ticking past 2:30 am ET. The slates on both DraftKings and FanDuel get started at 1:05 ET and feature 10 games that all commence within an hour of that stat time. The sprint slate features several strong spots for power and run creation as well as quality pitching options from up and down the salary spectrum. MLB DFS gamers should be able to create a wide range of quality lineups with combinations of premium pitchers and high-quality stacks.

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

MLB DFS: Game by Game Main Slate Breakdown – 4/9/23

Cincinnati Reds (+156/3.73) @ Philadelphia Phillies (-170/4.87)

The Reds are facing right-handed starter Taijuan Walker, who projects as a mid-range pitching play for a fair price on both sites. Walker is not a premium option, but he is in a reasonably good matchup, he is not expensive, and he is unlikely to be very popular, making him a tournament option on the mound. The Reds also have upside at the plate however, Walker had just a 20.3% strikeout rate last year, there are hits available against the starter, the Reds could find both sequencing and power against Walker, though he was good with just a 2.31% home run rate last season. Noteworthy Cincinnati bats include Jonathan India at second base, T.J. Friedl in the outfield, and Tyler Stephenson who makes a strong catcher play. Lefties Jake Fraley has power potential from the three-spot in the lineup and Jason Vosler is the home run pick from this team today. Vosler fits in inexpensively at first base or in the outfield on DraftKings and at first or third base on the blue site.

On the other side, the Phillies are facing Graham Ashcraft, who is not much of an MLB DFS play. Ashcraft made 19 starts and threw 105 innings of 15.3% strikeout baseball last season. He pitched to a 4.09 xFIP with an inflated 1.42 WHIP, which is far too much opportunity allowed for a pitcher who sits no one down via the strikeout. Ashcraft is a target for bats, the Phillies stack is in play as are individual hitters. Trea Turner is one of the game’s best shortstops and leadoff men, he has power and speed in a lethal combination. Turner hits in front of lefty stud Kyle Schwarber who hits home runs around the moon and back when he connects. Schwarber is carrying a team-leading 8.93 in our home run model in this matchup.  The third premium option from atop the Phillies is catcher JT Realmuto, who can be aggressively played both where his position is required and where it is not. Realmuto slashed .276/.342/.478 with 22 home runs last season. Nick Castellanos needs to fill in for missing Phillies stars with a return to form, he had a rough first season with the Phillies last year but is an All-Star caliber producer for his career. The struggles have rendered Castellanos cheaper than he should be, if he is also less popular for that reason he could make a strong tournament play in stacks of Phillies. Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm bring mid-range pop and speed to the lineup, while the trio of lefties at the bottom of the projected batting order are of a lower grade. Still, Jake CaveKody Clemens, and Brandon Marsh in particular can provide MLB DFS scoring at cheap pricing.

Play: Phillies stacks, some Reds bats, some Taijuan Walker

Update Notes:

Boston Red Sox (-113/4.39) @ Detroit Tigers (+105/4.19)

The Red Sox are in Detroit to face lefty Matthew Boyd, which has Boston pulling in excellent grades for power and run creation. The team projects well in the Power Index and in MLB DFS point scoring projections, and they come relatively cheap for the upside. Boyd had several extraordinarily rough seasons for home runs a few years ago, at his worst he allowed 66 home runs over 255.2 innings between 2018 and 2019. Boyd is a target for Red Sox bats, he struck out just 19.9% of hitters in 78.2 innings in his last extended stretch, which came in 2021, while pitching to a 4.79 xFIP. Red Sox bats include the obvious Rafael Devers from the top of the batting order. The slugging third baseman has had a good start to his season and he has multiple years of more than 25 home runs on his ledger already. Devers connects well with projected leadoff man Rob Refsnyder, who is a correlation piece only, as well as veteran Justin Turner and Mastaka Yoshida, today’s home run pick from this lineup. The 29-year-old rookie who starred in Japan’s NPB is off to a .250/.344/.393 start to his MLB career. He has hit one home run and two stolen bases in his first seven games in the Show, creating runs five percent better than average. Yoshida costs $5,200 on DraftKings and $3,500 on FanDuel, the sites are not offering a newcomer discount, but the public may not be at full steam on the play; do not sleep on Yoshida when stacking Red Sox. Slugger Adam Duvall is another option for a home run, he posted a 12.8% barrel rate in what was a lousy 2022 that saw him hit just 12 long balls in his 315 plate appearances. In 2021, Duvall blasted 38 homers in 555 opportunities. Excellent Alex Verdugo can be included as can veteran infielders Christian Arroyo and Enrique Hernandez in minor shares across a large number of stacks.

The Tigers will be facing Red Sox starter Kutter Crawford, who threw 77.1 innings in the Show as a rookie last season. Crawford pitched to a 4.33 xFIP with a 1.42 WHIP, but he had a fair 23.1% strikeout rate and induced a good 11.3% swinging-strike rate. The righty allowed a 3.59% home run rate last year, he is not a terrible option against the Tigers’ weak batting order. Crawford could be a bargain at just $5,800 on the DraftKings slate and $7,100 on FanDuel. The righty had a rough first outing, allowing seven runs on eight hits including three home runs to the Pirates, but he has a good shot against a bad team on Sunday. The Tigers, meanwhile, will counter with a highly mediocre lineup, but on that could succeed via baseball being baseball. The team will be without Austin Meadows, who is headed back to the IL as he struggles with ongoing anxiety issues. Meadows will be replaced by Akil Baddoo, who costs the dead minimum on DraftKings but was not listed in the overnight salary sheet for FanDuel. Baddoo is in play if he is leading off as projected, and he could be an interesting piece at low ownership and a minimum salary regardless of where he hits. In 225 plate appearances last year, the outfielder slashed just .204/.289/.269 with two home runs and nine stolen bases, but he was much better the year before. In 2021, Baddoo made 461 plate appearances, slashing .259/.330/.436 and hitting 13 home runs while stealing 18 bases and creating runs eight percent better than average. If that guy shows up at minimum price tomorrow he could win an MLB DFS tournament. Lefty Riley Greene has made 29 plate appearances over the first seven games of his age 22 season. Greene is off to a .296/.345/.481 start with a 131 WRC+, one home run, and one stolen base so far. The highly regarded prospect made 418 plate appearances last season, slashing .253/.321/.362 with just a 98 WRC+, five home runs, and one stolen base. The Tigers badly need Greene and Spencer Torkelson to get their promising careers in gear. Torkelson is just 23, he made 404 plate appearances last year and posted an ugly 76 WRC+, meaning he created runs 24% worse than average. He slashed .203/.285/.319 with just eight home runs and a .117 ISO. This season, Torkelson has made 28 plate appearances and he has already hit a home run, though he is slashing just .222/.250/.370 with a 68 WRC+ to this extremely early point in the year. In limited shares, both young hitters are in play when stacking Tigers, because who else can you play on this team? Javier Baez is not nearly the player he once was, he can still get into a home run from time to time, but they are fewer and farther between. Baez hit 17 home runs in 590 plate appearances last season. Kerry Carpenter has loads of power and a strong contact profile, he had an 11.1% barrel rate last year and hit six home runs in his small 113 plate appearance sample. Nick MatonMiguel CabreraZach McKinstry, and Eric Haase are also people who are on this team. The Tigers should be played in very limited shares, primarily at the top of the lineup. Dipping into that list of the final five hitters in the lineup gets ugly quickly, but any one of them can be used to differentiate a large stack of the “good” Tigers bats.

Play: Red Sox stacks, Kutter Crawford, minor shares of Tigers bats

Update Notes:

Oakland Athletics (+244/3.03) @ Tampa Bay Rays (-273/5.08)

The matchup between the Athletics and the Rays is looking quite one-sided on paper. Oakland checks in as +244 underdogs with just a 3.03-run implied team total. The fairly inept offense does not offer tremendous MLB DFS scoring potential, very few Oakland bats are in play against solid Rays starter Drew Rasmussen. The righty struck out 21.4% of hitters over 146 innings last year and 23.8% in 76 innings in 2021. He pitched to a 3.56 xFIP with a sterling 2.84 ERA last season, and he is quite adept at limiting baserunners and opportunity. Last season Rasmussen had just a 1.04 WHIP, he had a 1.08 mark the year before with a walk rate that was nearly three percentage points higher than the 5.3% he posted last season. Though he does not possess a massive strikeout upside, Rasmussen can provide MLB DFS quality by pitching cleanly deep into a game. In his first outing of the season, Rasmussen was a solid play against a bad Nationals lineup. He threw six innings of two-hit baseball while striking out seven and allowing no runs. In a home game in Tampa Bay’s pitcher-friendly park, Rasmussen could easily repeat or better the trick against an equally bad lineup.

The Rays bats are the other prime play from this game. The excellent Tampa Bay offense has the team sitting at 8-0 early in the season while finding ways to score runs in droves. The team is facing righty James Kaprielian, who had just a 17% strikeout rate over 134 innings last season. The young hurler is not a high-end pitcher, despite being a well-regarded prospect at one point. Kaprielian has been unable to find his footing at the Major League level, in 26 starts last season he had a 5.06 xFIP and a 4.23 ERA with just a 24.9% CSW%. The pitcher is not playable against this Tampa Bay team, even at price and popularity. The Rays lineup includes top-notch options, not the least of which is Yandy Diaz who is too cheap for his talent across both DraftKings and FanDuel. The righty fits in at both first and third base on both sites, he costs $4,300 and $3,200 from site to site, despite slashing .296/.401/.423 with a fantastic 146 WRC+ last year. Diaz has already hit two home runs and has a 166 WRC+ over his first six games and 27 plate appearances in 2023, he is a very strong correlation piece. Brandon Lowe has a 9.84 to lead the team in our home run model, the slugging second baseman has endless power and is very good at getting on base, making him a highly productive MLB DFS option, particularly against weak righties. Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco are the team’s two stars in the middle of the batting order. Both are getting pricey, but they are worthy of significant investments in this matchup and in Rays stacks in general. Left-handed Luke Raley is in the projected lineup and he looks like a fair play in the home run model. Raley made just 72 plate appearances last season, but he hit a home run and had a 13.2% barrel rate in the tiny sample. Raley fills outfield and first base on DraftKings where he costs just $2,500. Manuel Margot is always willing to surprise and/or frustrate MLB DFS gamers with his infrequent home runs, while Josh Lowe, Christian Bethancourt, and Taylor Walls round out the projected lineup in somewhat playable form. All three can be mixed and matched across Rays stacks for differentiation.

Play: All things Rays; Drew Rasmussen heavily and Tampa bats

Update Notes:

New York Yankees (-129/4,55) @ Baltimore Orioles (+119/4.05)

The power-packed Yankees lineup wraps up a series in Baltimore with a game against Tyler Wells, a limited right-handed starter. Wells threw 103.2 innings over 23 starts last season, pitching to a 4.60 xFIP and a 4.25 ERA with a 3.78% home run rate allowed. The righty yielded a 38.8% hard-hit percentage with a 7.9% barrel rate on a 19.1-degree average launch angle, which should provide solid home run shape for Yankees hitters. The starter had a 4.02% home run rate on a 41.1% hard-hit rate in 2021, so there is a consistency to his ability to allow power. Wells did post a strong start in his first outing of the season, pitching five clean innings of no-hit ball while striking out two Rangers hitters, the Yankees should find some hits at a bare minimum. The team’s loaded lineup gets started with D.J. LeMahieu who is capable of going deep but is more of an on-base correlation piece with the massive home run hitters that follow him. Aaron Judge hit more home runs than anyone in American League history in 2022, breaking Roger Maris’ record with 62 home runs. Judge leads the Yankees projected lineup with a 16.76 in our home run model. He is followed in the lineup by left-handed first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a masher who has hit 30 or more home runs five times in the last eight seasons. Rizzo is pulling in an 11.65 in the home run model, ranking him between Judge and righty designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton. For just $3,300 on FanDuel, Stanton is a ludicrously cheap outfield option given his power upside against this pitcher. He is in play at $5,100 on the DraftKings slate as well, he will likely be lower-owned where he is higher-priced. Stanton hit 31 home runs in 452 plate appearances last year, driving the ball with a 19.2% barrel rate and a 52.1% hard-hit rate. The outfielder has tattooed baseballs early this season, driving mammoth home runs deep into the stands, he has a strong chance to continue that trend tomorrow. Gleyber Torres is no stranger to hitting home runs in Camden Yards and he has regained his power after hitting 24 home runs last year, following a brief power outage during the pandemic season. Torres should be hitting in front of a group that includes Jose TrevinoOswaldo Cabrera, and Anthony Volpe, who would have had the first home run of his career on Saturday had his triple been one foot to the left in order to miss the high wall in right field, the shortstop had to settle for a triple instead. The missing hitter in that group should either be Aaron Hicks, who saw a start on Saturday, or Franchy Cordero, who has added pop from the left side of the plate as a part-time outfielder. Either bat would be in play, but Cordero is currently the more reliable option for home run upside, he is pulling a 6.25 in our model at the bottom of the batting order.

Yankees starter Nestor Cortes Jr. lands at $9,300 on DraftKings and $10,000 on the FanDuel slate. Cortes is a strong option on most slates, he will be challenged by the young Orioles lineup, but there should be a fair number of strikeouts available for the crafty lefty, and he is very good at limiting runs while pitching deep into games. Cortes had a 3.64 xFIP and a sparkling 2.44 ERA over 158.1 innings last year. He posted a 26.5% strikeout rate and a 6.2% walk rate with a microscopic 0.92 WHIP and an 11.1% swinging-strike rate. Cortes was great at limiting power as well, he allowed just a 2.60% home run rate on a 34.5% hard-hit mark. The lefty should be played across the industry, but Orioles bats make for a good hedge stack if they are low-owned. Baltimore’s lineup has been featured across this site several times in the early part of the season, the team has excellent options for real baseball and for MLB DFS on any given night. Cedric Mullins II was a 30/30 man in 2021, he hit 16 home runs and stole 34 bases last year. Mullins hits ahead of the duo of Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle who are going to be a core for this team for a long time to come. The catcher and first baseman both pack power punches and are the primary engine of this offense. Outfielder Anthony Santander has a strong 8.90 mark in our home run model, putting him 0.03 above Mountcastle’s mark. Austin Hays lands at a 6.60 in that model, this team has power up and down the lineup, those are strong numbers against a pitcher who is good at keeping the ball in the park. Gunnar Henderson and Jorge Mateo, if he returns to the lineup, are favored plays from later in the projected batting order.

Play: Yankees stacks, Nestor Cortes Jr., minor shares of Baltimore bats

Update Notes:

Chicago White Sox (-111/4.63) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (+102/4.48)

Both young starting pitchers in this contest had very rough 4.2-inning starts in their first outings of the 2023 season. Pirates starter Johan Oviedo allowed three home runs on his way to giving up five earned runs on six hits while striking out just four hitters. The simple fact that Michael Kopech had a worse outing for the White Sox should seriously frighten anyone considering playing the starter for MLB DFS today. Kopech allowed a ridiculous five home runs to the 25 hitters he faced. He was charged with seven earned runs on eight hits while striking out five in a game against the Giants. Kopech will look to get his year on track against a middling Pirates squad, while Oviedo has a taller order against the talented White Sox. Oviedo comes extremely cheap on both sites, he is a $6,200 option on DraftKings and a $6,400 play on the single starter site. Oviedo made eight starts last season, throwing 56 total innings and striking out 22.3% while walking 9.5%. His 4.14 xFIP betrays his 3.21 ERA to a degree, but he was reasonably good at limiting premium contact. Oviedo is not entirely lacking for upside at his price and what should be low popularity. At the same time, the White Sox bats should be in play against a limited young starter. Chicago features a fantastic hit-power-speed combination in leadoff man Tim Anderson. The righty is a 30/30 threat any season, though he was limited by injuries last year. Anderson is a $5,700 option on DraftKings but he costs just $3,400 across town. The shortstop is followed in the projected lineup by Luis Robert Jr.Andrew Benintendi, and Yoan Moncada. The third baseman, Moncada, is off to a solid start after a good showing for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. He is slashing .400/.419/.733 with two home runs over his first 31 plate appearances in seven starts. At just $4,800 and $3,200, Moncada is too cheap if he is in the cleanup spot in this lineup. Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets bring power to the middle of the projected lineup, and Yasmani Grandal is a very strong catcher play on DraftKings at just $3,700. Rookie lefty outfielder Oscar Colas remains viable for a very cheap price and near total lack of popularity from site to site.

Kopech seems like the more targetable of the two starters in this game. In addition to the atrocious performance in his first outing this year, the righty had just a 21.3% strikeout rate over 25 starts last year, pitching to a 4.83 xFIP which pulls the rug from under his 3.54 ERA. Kopech allowed a 3.04% home run rate and a 41.3% hard-hit percentage, he is a target for Pirates bats, but they seem very likely to be a popular value choice across the MLB DFS industry. The prime plays from Pittsburgh include Oniel CruzBryan Reynolds – baseball’s hottest week one player – as well as Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Santana, all of whom have power and run creation upside. The pricing after Cruz and Reynolds falls off the table, making it very easy to stack Pirates or combine them with other premium plays. Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes is cheap from site to site, though he has yet to truly produce at the Major League level. Hayes slashed .244/.314/.345 last year while creating runs 12% worse than average, the highly regarded young player needs to produce for both his team and MLB DFS gamers. Jack Suwinski brings power upside whenever he is in the lineup, he barreled the ball in 12.2% of his batted ball events last season, hitting 19 home runs in just 372 opportunities. The bottom of the lineup includes Connor Joe and Ji-Hwan Bae, who both are worth minor shares if building several Pirates stacks.

Play: White Sox bats, Pirates bats

Update Notes:

Seattle Mariners (-123/4.23) @ Cleveland Guardians (+114/3.86)

Facing soft-tossing righty Zach Plesac, who struck out just 17.6% of opposing hitters in 131.2 innings last season, the Mariners look strong in both the Power Index and MLB DFS scoring projections. Plesac yielded a 3.35% home run rate with a 40.9% hard-hit percentage on a 9.6% barrel rate. Plesac pitched to a 4.40 xFIP and a 4.31 ERA last season and he had a 4.77 xFIP with a 4.67 ERA the season before. That year, Plesac allowed a 3.85% home run rate on an unsightly 43.1% hard-hit percentage, he is a targetable pitcher with a lineup like Seattle’s. In his first start of the season, Plesac lasted just one inning, yielding six runs on seven hits, including a home run, to the 11 batters that he faced. Three of the bats in the Mariners’ projected lineup are pulling better than a 10 in our home run model. At 11.26 in the home run model, Julio Rodriguez leads off and has excellent speed in addition to his prodigious power. The right-handed outfielder hit 28 home runs and stole 25 bases as a rookie last year, he is a strong play on this slate home run or not. The other two hitters with a strong rating in the model are Eugenio Suarez at 10.17 and Teoscar Hernandez at 10.22. Suarez hit 31 home runs each of the last two seasons, he is one of the better pure power hitters in all of baseball, regardless of any flaws in his swing-and-miss – something the Mariners also do aggressively across the board – while Hernandez hit 25 home runs of his own in 2022. The outfielder hit 32 the season before and he posted a .226 ISO over those two years. With Ty France hitting between Rodriguez and Suarez, and Cal Raleigh dropping between Suarez and Hernandez, the Mariners offer fantastic options for stacking run creators and power bats together. Raleigh costs just $3,500 at catcher on the DraftKings slate, the slugger crushed 27 long balls in 415 plate appearances last year. France is more of a correlation play but he managed 20 home runs of his own last season and he can be deployed in stacks as much as any of his teammates. Second baseman Kolten Wong had a 15 home run and 17 steal season last year, he has a solid left-handed bat, while veteran A.J. Pollock provides another sturdy stick in the late part of the batting order. Jarred Kelenic had a monster Spring that sparked talk of a post-hype breakout, but he has scuffled to just a .211/.250/.316 triple-slash with no home runs and a 58 WRC+ over his first 20 plate appearances after the games began to count. Kelenic still has upside and he might be under-owned at a cheap price, which makes him all the more interesting for tournaments. Even in his disastrous two partial seasons, Kelenic managed 21 home runs over 558 combined plate appearances from 2021 and 2022, and he put up a 13.6% barrel rate in his 181 plate appearances last year. There is still hope for the young outfielder, he should be included in Seattle power stacks.

Righty George Kirby is a talented young starter in a tough spot pitching against the Guardians in Cleveland. Kirby put up a 24.5% strikeout rate over his 130 innings and 25 starts as a rookie last year. He had an excellent 3.33 xFIP and a 3.39 ERA, and his strong strikeout rate was built on just a 9.7% swinging-strike rate and a 25.9% CSW%, meaning he could find far more strikeouts as he develops. However, that is unlikely to take place immediately before tonight’s game, and the Guardians are very difficult to strike out up and down the lineup. Steven Kwan had a single-digit strikeout rate over 638 plate appearances last season, the three teammates who follow him in the projected batting order were all in the mid-to-low teens in the category. Avoiding the strikeout seems like an organizational philosophy for Cleveland when only Mike Zunino had a below-average mark at a ridiculous 37.4% in his 123 plate appearances. Zunino is an all-or-nothing slugger who, as featured here recently, had a better barrel rate than Shohei Ohtani over 375 plate appearances in 2021, a year that saw him hit 33 home runs. Every other hitter in the projected lineup is better than average at avoiding strikeouts, with an average rate of just 15,5% when skipping Zunino. The Guardians also provide excellent power, speed, and run creation services, this is a very good option for MLB DFS when the team is firing on all cylinders for a night. Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez are an excellent double play combination on both sides of the ball, both infielders have mid-range power and good stolen base speed, and they hit on opposite ends of a great stretch of correlation and power plays. Jose Ramirez is one of the game’s best overall players. Ramirez slashed .280/.355/.514 with 29 home runs and 20 stolen bases last year, he is arguably too cheap at $6,200 and definitely is at $3,900. The Joshes, Bell and Naylor, in the middle of the lineup can both bring power potential while seeing a high number of pitches and putting the ball in play, as can outfielder Oscar Gonzalez, who leads into Gimenez, who hits in front of Zunino at the end of the lineup. This is a very good Cleveland offense that is worth playing, even against a quality pitcher such as Kirby.

Play: Mariners stacks, some George Kirby, Guardians stacks

Update Notes:

Miami Marlins (+133/3.69) @ New York Mets (-144/4.40)

The Marlins are facing the Mets and starter Carlos Carrasco, who had a strong 2022. The veteran righty threw 152 innings and posted a 23.6% strikeout rate with a 3.45 xFIP last season. Carrasco costs $8,000 on the FanDuel slate and $8,500 on DraftKings, he had a rough first outing of the season, facing just 20 hitters over four innings and yielding five earned runs on five hits including a home run. The talent and matchup are on Carrasco’s side in this contest, making him an interesting option for MLB DFS. The Marlins have a much-improved lineup this season as well though, putting their bats somewhat in play. Jazz Chisholm Jr. is a burgeoning star for this team, he combines a fair mix of power and speed at the top of the lineup for $5,400 on DraftKings but just $3,200 on FanDuel. The rest of the lineup is cheap on both sites. Garrett Cooper is a $3,000/$2,700 option, Luis Arraez is a solid correlation piece for just $4,000/$2,800 and Jorge Soler has monster power in any matchup. Soler is second to Chisholm with an 8.50 in our home run model. Jean Segura and Avisail Garcia are worthwhile veterans late in the lineup, and young Jesus Sanchez is worth a swing or two for the extremely low cost and probably no popularity. Jon Berti is an interesting wraparound piece given his speed in this year of the stolen base.

The Fish will be starting left-handed Braxton Garrett, who made 17 starts and threw 88 innings of 3.51 xFIP ball last season. Garrett pitched to a 24.1% strikeout rate and walked 6.4% while yielding average contact, he fits the bill of about a league-average pitcher fairly well, which is why he is bouncing between the back of the rotation in Miami and AAA ball. The lefty could be in for a long day against these Mets, he will have to navigate a lineup that opens with Brandon Nimmo and does not relent for many hitters. Nimmo is an excellent leadoff man who created runs 34% better than average last season while also pocketing 16 home runs, he is a productive individual play and a strong correlation piece. Starling Marte showed off his combination of power and speed over the first handful of games, he hit 16 home runs last year and stole 18 bases while slashing .292/.347/.468, Marte costs just $3,500 on FanDuel, he is a $5,500 player on DraftKings. Francisco Lindor is a star who is priced slightly too low, while masher Pete Alonso has destroyed everything this season. Alonso leads baseball with five early home runs, he is slashing .235/.333/.706 with a titanic .471 ISO over his first 39 plate appearances in nine games. The bottom of the Mets lineup dips slightly in overall quality, but it is filled with capable veteran talents like Mark CanhaJeff McNeilTommy Pham, and Eduardo Escobar. The Mets will also have prized catcher prospect Francisco Alvarez behind the plate. The backstop costs a mere $2,100 on DraftKings where his position must be included, he is less appealing even though he is just a $2,200 play on the blue site. Alvarez hit 27 home runs across AA and AAA last year and 22 in high-A in 2021, he is ready to produce in the Show.

Play: Carlos Carrasco, Mets stacks, limited Marlins stacks

Update Notes:

St. Louis Cardinals (+129/4.18) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-140/4.92)

With Freddy Peralta taking the mound for the Brewers, the pitching matchup in this division rivalry game is somewhat lopsided. The righty had a 27.1% strikeout rate and pitched to a 3.66 xFIP with a 3.58 ERA last season in 17 starts. Peralta has electric stuff when he is healthy and in full form, in 2021 he made 27 starts and struck out 33.6% of opposing hitters, he is a top-end commodity on the mound from time to time. At $9,500 on DraftKings and $9,800 on FanDuel, Peralta is a costly piece of the puzzle in a tough matchup against the Cardinals. There are several quality pitching options in better spots, but the Brewers righty should be considered for at least some shares, as should Cardinals bats, particularly if they end up on the less popular end of the industry’s ownership spectrum. St. Louis is a fixture in this space, their excellent lineup has been featured several times already. The team should have Brendan Donovan leading off, the lefty can drive the ball for individual MLB DFS scoring and he is a solid correlation piece who got on base at a .394 clip last season. Donovan hits in front of fellow lefty Alec Burleson in the projected lineup, the pair can be combined or taken as a one-or-the-other ahead of the team’s star bats. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are a lethal corner combo. Goldschmidt is off to a .357/.500/.536 start with a home run and a 186 WRC+ over eight games, Arenado is keeping pace at .364/.389/.485 with a home run and a 134 WRC+. The duo belongs in virtually any Cardinals stack that gets constructed, Arenado is too cheap at $4,900 on DraftKings, he is a great play. Willson Contreras and Tyler O’Neill are in play any time they are in the lineup, and the bottom two in the projected batting order, Jordan Walker and Tommy Edman, make for strong late plays who can connect back to the top of the lineup. Seven hitter Nolan Gorman has special power that could be on display again today. Gorman costs just $3,300 on DraftKings and $3,100 on FanDuel. The lefty slugger has hit two home runs already this season and he is slashing a solid .350/.480/.700 in his 25 plate appearances over six games played. Do not skip Gorman when stacking Cardinals.

The Brewers should have a shot for a ceiling performance against Jake Woodford, who posted just a 12.8% strikeout rate in his one start and 48.1 innings total last year. Woodford is a contact-oriented pitcher who will be throwing the ball to be hit, he induced just an 8.2% swinging-strike rate and had a 23.8% CSW% last season, though he allowed just a 5.3% barrel rate and a 0.53% home run rate in the small sample. Woodford took one on the chin in his start against Atlanta, getting charged for six runs on seven hits and walking three while striking out just three and coming out in the fifth inning; a similar start could easily be in the cards (dammit) tonight. Milwaukee’s lineup features former MVP Christian Yelich, who is today’s home run pick from this team. Yelich leads off and has struggled to find the home run plane for his swing the past few seasons. This year he is off to a slow start at .200/.351/.233 with a 72 WRC+ and no home runs, but the numbers are coming. Yelich still gets on base at a great clip, he will run and he will create runs, the power is the primary question mark with the player, but that is why he now costs just $4,900/$3,300. Yelich should be combined with fellow lefty Jesse Winker, who sports a strong power bat against a weak righty, as well as Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez, another lefty with an excellent home run chance today. Tellez leads the Brewers in our home run numbers at an 8.53, he mashed 35 long balls last season in 599 plate appearances and 11 the year before in just 325. William Contreras and Garrett Mitchell are the prime names from the second half of the lineup, Mitchell is too cheap for his abilities at $2,700 on DraftKings and $3,000 on FanDuel. The bottom third includes Brian AndersonBrice Turang, and Joey Wiemer, the latter two are a pair of rookies, and Anderson is a replacement-level veteran, and any are fine for differentiation.

Play: Freddy Peralta, Cardinals stacks, Brewers stacks

Update Notes:

Houston Astros (-106/4.06) @ Minnesota Twins (-102/4.02)

Twins righty Tyler Mahle had a good first outing of the year against the Marlins, striking out seven and allowing a lone run on five hits over five innings. Mahle has been a good strikeout pitcher over the past few seasons, but he struggles to keep opposing offenses off of the scoreboard in a lot of his starts. Last year the righty pitched to a 4.03 xFIP and a 4.40 ERA with a 25% strikeout rate in his 120.2 innings in 23 starts. Mahle walks a few too many at 8.5% but the mark is not tragic, he allowed a 3.18% home run rate that does not exploit the free passes, making him a reasonably good starter and one who is in play even against a brutal Astros lineup. Mahle costs $9,000 on DraftKings but only $8,800 on FanDuel, where he looks like a bargain. The Astros bring extra power to bear in any game they play, the team is stacked from top to bottom. Chas McCormick is in the leadoff role in the projected lineup, which makes this writer very happy. McCormick has been a column favorite for his solid contact profile and typically cheap low-owned price. Alex Bregman is a quality veteran with power and run-creation skills galore at the hot corner, while Yordan Alvarez is one of the game’s best overall hitters. Alvarez mashed 37 long balls while slashing .306/.406/.613 and creating runs 85% better than average last season. Jose Abreu joined this team in the offseason, he slots into the cleanup spot for a cheap $4,500 on DraftKings and just $2,900 on FanDuel, while Kyle Tucker is discounted by a few hundred in salary on the DraftKings slate at just $5,400. Tucker is slashing .281/.395/.625 early in the season with three home runs and a stolen base, creating runs 74% better than average. Jeremy Pena is a solid play at shortstop on both sites, he brings star-caliber play for a less-than-star price. The bottom of the lineup can be viewed as mix-and-match pieces, depending on the final form it takes.

Rookie hurler Hunter Brown will be looking to redeem himself in the eyes of MLB DFS gamers after a clunker of a first start at a cheap price and high ownership. Brown checks in at $7,900 on DraftKings and $8,900 on FanDuel today, a price jump for a starter who allowed four runs on six hits and struck out five over just 4.2 innings in his first start of the year as he enters a matchup with a fairly powerful Twins team is an interesting move, it will be fun to see how the public reacts. Brown is an elite pitching prospect, he should quickly find his form and he may rack up bonus strikeouts against this Twins lineup, he is very much in play today. Minnesota bats make this a potentially four-corners affair, Byron Buxton sits below only Aaron Judge in the home run model for the entire slate today at a 16.27, he is an excellent play any time he takes the field and he is priced at a “cheap” $5,900 on DraftKings and just $3,600 on FanDuel, where all of the Twins are far too cheap. After Buxton, the average FanDuel salary in this lineup is just $2,500. On DraftKings, that number is $3,300, making this an interesting value stack overall. Shortstop Carlos Correa is pulling in an above average home run mark in our model as well. The two stars at the top of the lineup can be stacked with lesser hitters including Trevor Larnach, an all-or-nothing lefty power bat; Jose Miranda, a righty with a strong hit tool and mid-range power; and Nick Gordon, who created runs 11% better than average last season. The bottom of the lineup falls off, but Ryan Jeffers may be productive and sneaky. Jeffers had a 13.2% barrel rate and a 42.4% hard-hit rate that turned into seven home runs in 236 plate appearances, if he is today’s backstop there are worse cheap unpopular catcher plays.

Play: Four corners game, Tyler Mahle, Hunter Brown, and both teams are stackable. Astros bats are better than Twins bats and the lineup runs far deeper, Twins should be taken somewhat lightly with a focus at the top.

Update Notes:

Texas Rangers (+101/4.24) @ Chicago Cubs (-108/4.34)

The final game on board today features an interesting mid-range pitching matchup between the Cubs’ Jameson Taillon and Jon Gray of the Rangers. Taillon is the lesser of the two starters and he will be facing the better lineup, the righty had a 20.7% strikeout rate over his 177.1 innings last season, but he walked only 4.4% and pitched to a quality 3.79 xFIP. Taillon is more a reliable real-world pitcher than a fantasy asset, but he has the ability to cover six clean innings with a few strikeouts while booking a quality start on the FanDuel slate today, putting him in play at a low price and what should be a near-total lack of popularity. The righty costs just $8,400 on DraftKings and the same price on the blue site, where he is probably a better play. Texas presents a stiff challenge at the top of the lineup of course, Marcus SemienCorey Seager, Nathaniel Lowe, and Adolis Garcia are one of the better power-hitting four-man groups in baseball. That collection of talent can be stacked in a straight line, with additional pieces including undercooked prospect Josh Jung, and veterans Robbie Grossman and Brad Miller.

With Jon Gray on the mound, the Cubs are not the best play in the world, but they could provide sneaky power and cheap upside as a value-based play if Gray is not on his game. The righty had a 25.7% strikeout rate with an 11.6% swinging-strike rate last season, pitching to a 3.46 xFIP with a 3.96 ERA. He allowed just a 3.26% home run rate for the season, putting up a nice year from end to end in his 24 starts. Gray costs just $8,600 on DraftKings, where he is a great play against this Cubs lineup. For $9,600 on FanDuel, it is a tougher ask, but one that will potentially keep public ownership at bay, making Gray an appealing tournament option. The Cubs lineup starts off with Nico Hoerner, who can provide a fair amount of speed when he gets on base. Hoerner stole 20 bags in 517 plate appearances, adding 10 home runs and creating runs six percent better than average last year. The righty hits in front of always underrated Dansby Swanson, who costs just $3,300 on FanDuel but is a $5,800 investment on the DraftKings slate. Ian Happ and Cody Bellinger can provide power from the left side of the plate, though neither is the most reliable hitter in the league. Veteran Trey Mancini and Patrick Wisdom provide equivalent home run upside from the right side in this matchup. The bottom of the lineup should include options like Eric Hosmer and Tucker Barnhart, who can be mixed and matched to offset any pricing or popularity concerns on what is already a cheap unpopular stack.

Play: Jon Gray, minor shares of Jameson Taillon (better on FanDuel for the QS potential), Rangers bats, minor shares of Cubs bats

Update Notes:

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