MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Strategy Key Points & Live Show Link – Tuesday 8/29/23

A huge 12-game MLB DFS Tuesday looks a lot like Monday’s slate with an identical set of 12 games but a bit of a shrunken pitching pool. The Braves are once again pulling a monster total in Coors Field, they look extremely enticing despite ludicrously high prices, but there are numerous high-end hitting situations around the league. The top of the pitching board has several very strong options as well, the middle thins out somewhat but there are playable parts for value and ceiling score potential at a range of prices. Getting to a broad spread of options, while making specific decisions around the weight of Coors Field popularity is the approach to a slate of this nature. We are once again in hurry-up key points mode for today’s coverage.

Don’t miss our Suggested Stacks feature and our Power Index for more on the top opportunities at the plate tonight.

Join us at 4:00 ET for a rundown on today’s slate.

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, so if a game has not been filled in, check back in a few minutes. Update notes are provided as lineups are confirmed to the best of our ability. Still, 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 – 8/29/23

Chicago White Sox (+202/3.63) @ Baltimore Orioles (-224/5.49)

  • Orioles righty Dean Kremer is a member of the mid-priced pitching club that makes up a wide swath of this slate. Kremer has a 21.3% strikeout rate with a 4.31 ERA and 4.43 xFIP that is enough to put him on the board against the lousy White Sox. The pitcher is in play for $7,700/$8,800, though he looks like a better SP2 option on DraftKings than a lone FanDuel starter. Kremer has allowed a 4.12% home run rate on 9.5% barrels and 90.6 mph of exit velocity this season, he is not entirely immune from giving up some power in this matchup but Chicago is carrying a 3.63-run implied total tonight and we need value where it can be found.
  • White Sox hitters have spent the 2023 season underwhelming, with the notable highly whelming exception of Luis Robert Jr. who has been a superstar in the heart of the lineup all season. Robert has 34 home runs with a .287 ISO and 134 WRC+, the team’s next-highest home run total is 16 for Andrew Vaughn, followed by Eloy Jimenez at 15. Vaughn has created runs just one percent ahead of the league average while Jimenez has been seven percent ahead of the curve in his limited 375 opportunities. In addition to leading the team for power, those three are the only above-average run creators in the projected White Sox lineup by WRC+. Tim Anderson leads off with a 60 WRC+ and .287 on-base percentage, Andrew Benintendi is at 95 with a .339 and 13 stolen bases in a lost season, and Yoan Moncada slots in between Jimenez and Vaughn with his 81 WRC+ and .134 ISO in 263 chances. Yasmani GrandalLenyn Sosa, and Oscar Colas are not a high-end bottom third, Grandal is a moderately playable veteran catcher, Colas has projected power but the rookie has delivered just three home runs and a .081 ISO in 225 chances, and Sosa has a 26 WRC+ over 106 tries.
  • Righty Jesse Scholtens has struck out just 16.8% of opposing hitters in 65 innings and seven starts while pitching to a 4.15 ERA with a 5.05 xFIP and a 3.66% home run rate. Scholtens is not a strong option even for $5,200/$6,100, he is more of a target for Orioles bats.
  • Baltimore is carrying a healthy 5.49-run implied total in Vegas and they rank 12th by fantasy point projections in the middle of a tightly packed board while carrying a sixth-ranked home run rating. Catcher Adley Rutschman is a playable option on both sites, he sees more plate appearances than anyone at his position and delivers with regularity, the backstop has a 119 WRC+ over 562 plate appearances this season. Gunnar Henderson has 22 homers and nine stolen bases and has created runs 20% better than average in his outstanding rookie season, he is affordably priced at $5,400/$3,400 with third base and shortstop eligibility on both sites. Anthony Santander has 25 home runs to lead the team, his .229 ISO and 122 WRC+ are high for a player who only costs $4,500/$3,400, Santander is always a good buy in the heart of Orioles stacks. Ryan Mountcastle has major right-handed power, he is carrying an 8.62 in tonight’s home run model and has a team-leading 13.4% barrel rate this year. Ryan O’Hearn adds a lefty bat to the heart of the order for $3,300/$2,600 with outfield and first base eligibility and he continues to overperform his prior talent ceiling by a wide margin. Austin Hays and Cedric Mullins are two very good players in the sixth and seventh spots. Hays has a sturdy bat at the plate and Mullins has star-caliber power and speed from the left side. Ramon Urias and Adam Frazier round out the projected lineup as playable mix-ins.

Play: Orioles bats/stacks, Dean Kremer value

Update Notes: there is a bit of weather in the area but things seem OK to play.

Washington Nationals (+167/3.44) @ Toronto Blue Jays (-183/4.66)

  • Righty Jose Berrios will look to pick up the challenge where teammate Kevin Gausman failed last night. The low-strikeout hit-focused nature of the Nationals got to Gausman who had an OK but not nearly good enough game. Berrios checks in with a 22.8% strikeout rate and a 3.55 ERA with a 4.19 xFIP over 152 innings and 26 starts. The veteran righty has been mostly effective, he has limited power to 3.01% home runs and 88.1 mph of exit velocity, wrangling what was a bit of a premium contact and home runs problem from last season. Berrios is priced at $8,800/$10,100, he is a very different play from site to site. On DraftKings, Berrios is on the SP2 or low-cost SP1 board for the salary, he is an easily playable option against what is still a lousy ballclub. On FanDuel, for the high salary, Berrios loses some luster, even with an anticipated dip in public popularity. The righty is good but not great for strikeouts and the Nationals have been very good at avoiding them on the whole, which could jam up the righty’s path to a slate-winning score for the high blue site salary. Berrios is in play on both sites for talent and matchup, but pricing and popularity are important factors on each site.
  • Washington hitters are only a minor hedge position with a 3.44-run implied total on the odds board. CJ Abrams has been above average for run creation from the leadoff spot but he sits at 94 WRC+ over his full 487 plate appearances this season, from the top spot for $4,900/$3,100 at a crucial shortstop position, Abrams is a must in stacks of Nationals. Lane Thomas has a 7.99 in today’s home run model, he has 20 long balls and 17 stolen bases this season. Joey Meneses has 11 homers and a 104 WRC+ in 538 plate appearances as a middling option at first base. Catcher Keibert Ruiz costs just $4,100/$2,600, he has 15 home runs and a strong bat for the low pricing at a key position, but there is limited support behind him in the lineup for stacking. Dominic Smith has an 87 WRC+ and .082 ISO in 489 chances, Ildemaro Vargas is at 73 in 211 tries, Jake Alu carries a 67 over 83 chances, and Alex Call is at 72 in his 409 opportunities. Rookie Jacob Young slots into the last spot in the projected lineup for $2,000 on both sites, he has speed but is not much of a threat for power at the plate.
  • MacKenzie Gore slots in for $7,400/$8,100 with a lower-middle projection on tonight’s slate. There is a broad board of mid-level pitching options today, Gore is a member of that club but he is not in a great matchup with the Blue Jays pulling a 4.66-run implied total whereas some of the similarly priced options are simply facing lower-end teams. Gore is carrying a 26.8% strikeout rate that has been declining as the season has moved along, his ERA and xFIP have been rising at the same time in a bad combination of factors. Gore has a 4.38 ERA and a 3.95 xFIP, he is not a bad pitcher but he is not overly reliable and has had issues with power all season. The lefty will be facing a threatening Toronto lineup and he comes in with a 4.24% home run rate on 12% barrels and 44.3% hard hits. Gore is in play for value darts, but he is a low-floor option.
  • George Springer blasted his 17th home run of the season and has a 103 WRC+ over 548 opportunities, he has also stolen 19 bases. While the year has not gone exactly as planned for Springer, his price has come down to $4,800/$3,000 in the outfield and he has well-established star-caliber upside with numbers that would be just fine for similarly priced players across this slate. Springer is a strong option in stacks of Blue Jays. Whit Merrifield has 11 home runs and 23 stolen bases with a strong knack for getting on to set the table for power that follows in the form of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who has 20 home runs in 559 plate appearances while creating runs 16% better than average. Davis Schneider slots in next, he has five home runs in just 48 plate appearances with a 15.4% barrel rate and a 6.42 in our home run model, he is an interesting option at second base for $4,300/$2,800 and he adds outfield eligibility on DraftKings. Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen are both in the projected lineup with Brandon Belt taking a seat against the southpaw. Kirk has six home runs and an 89 WRC+, but Jansen has 16 homers in just 293 plate appearances and has created runs 13% better than average. Santiago EspinalDaulton Varsho in a same-handed matchup, and Ernie Clement close out the projected batting order in somewhat low-end form, Varsho is the most playable option in the group.

Play: Blue Jays bats/stacks, Jose Berrios value on DraftKings/upper-mid play on FanDuel, MacKenzie Gore value darts are OK

Update Notes: 

Houston Astros (+108/5.14) @ Boston Red Sox (-117/5.48)

  • Righty Brayan Bello is an $8,000/$9,000 option tonight with the Astros checking in at a 5.14-run implied team total in one of the most offense-oriented games on the board in Vegas. Bello has a 3.56 ERA and 4.05 xFIP but just a 19.5% strikeout rate in his 126.1 innings and 22 starts this season. The righty has a talent for limiting home run power that could eat into the upside for Houston stacks, he has allowed just 6.9% barrels and a 5.9-degree average launch angle this season, but that has amounted to a higher-than-expected 3.18% home run rate on 44% hard-hits, when Bello makes a mistake it tends to travel. Overall, there is enough talent to believe that Bello could succeed against this team, but his price fit is a bit awkward, particularly at the high FanDuel number, and he projects in the lower-middle portion of the board.
  • Astros bats are ranked second by collective fantasy point projections behind the Braves again today, but the team slips to 19th by home run potential in an odd combination of factors based on Bello’s premium contact numbers this year and in a smaller sample last season. Houston is very much in play on this slate, their two premium lefties are sure to garner some attention in the matchup at Fenway Park, but there are numerous quality options up and down the batting order. Jose Altuve is a superstar at a premium position, the second baseman has a 163 WRC+ in his 282 plate appearances with an excellent .322/.415/.529 triple-slash, 10 home runs, and 13 stolen bases in the small sample, he is worth the $6,200/$4,000. Alex Bregman is another good option, the right-handed third baseman has 21 home runs and a 125 WRC+ and he strikes out at just a 13.2% clip while walking 12.8% of the time. The power-hitting third baseman is very good at putting the ball in play, which works well against Bello, he is a good option in Astros stacks for $5,600/$3,500. Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker are the aforementioned lefties, the two excellent outfielders hit for power and Tucker adds stolen bases to the mix for MLB DFS scoring. Alvarez has 22 home runs in 368 chances, and Tucker has 26 with 26 steals in 554 opportunities. Both players are worthwhile but high priced, it is difficult to pair Astros and Braves while also filling every position in a lineup. Yainer Diaz is a salary reliever at just $4,100/$2,600, the talented rookie has 19 home runs in just 319 plate appearances and he slots in at catcher or first base. Chas McCormick has 19 home runs and 14 stolen bases with a 143 WRC+ in a fantastic season and he remains inexpensive at $4,700/$3,400. Jon Singleton is a lefty bat with the idea of power but he is a better story than he is an MLB-caliber hitter, Jose Abreu hit his 11th home run last night and is up to 77 WRC+, and Jeremy Pena has a limited 96 WRC+ in 514 chances with 10 homers and 11 steals for $4,000/$2,700 at shortstop.
  • Boston bats are drawing a 5.48-run implied total against Houston starter JP France, who comes in with a 3.51 ERA and 4.57 xXFIP. France has allowed a three percent home run rate on 7.8% barrels and 37.6% hard hits but he has a limited 17.8% strikeout rate in 110.1 innings and 18 starts. Pitching to that much contact against this heavily left-handed power-hitting Red Sox lineup is a recipe for trouble in this ballpark, France is not projecting well for his too-high prices, the $8,200/$9,200 righty is not much of an option on this slate.
  • Alex Verdugo is a good left-handed leadoff hitter for $4,500/$3,300, he has a .341 on-base percentage with a 109 WRC+ and ties directly to Rafael Devers and Justin Turner at the top of the projected batting order. Devers is looking a lot more like himself at the plate overall, and his power was never out this season. The third base star has a 12.68 in the home run model with 29 in the books and a .242 ISO on the year. Turner has been one of the team’s best hitters all season, he has a .290/.361/.495 triple-slash with 22 home runs from the right side. Mastaka Yoshida has 13 home runs with a .298/.352/.460 triple-slash and just a 12.4% strikeout rate for $4,700/$3,100, he is a very strong option for the money in the heart of this lineup. The same is true for slugger Adam Duvall, who costs just $4,800/$3,000 with a 9.39 in our home run model tonight. Duvall has cranked 17 long balls in just 266 plate appearances and has a .310 ISO on 13.3% barrels, he is a major source of righty power in this lineup. Triston Casas has 21 home runs and a .227 ISO, Luis Urias is cheap with a projectable ceiling for power, Reese McGuire checks in as a value catcher with a limited profile, and the lineup ends with an interesting rookie call-up. Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela is getting a cup of coffee at the end of the season, the highly-regarded rookie has 20 home runs and 36 stolen bases across 485 plate appearances in AA and AAA this season, he costs the minimum on DraftKings but does not appear on the FanDuel slate.

Play: Astros bats/stacks, Red Sox bats/stacks

Update Notes: there is a bit of weather in the area but things seem OK to play.

Texas Rangers (-139/4.64) @ New York Mets (+128/3.96)

  • A lousy Mets bullpen betrayed a surprisingly strong start by Tylor Megill last night, but Jose Quintana seems a bit unlikely to repeat the feat of shutting down the high-octane Rangers offense. Texas has been in a bit of a slide, but they have major power potential and star-caliber options up and down the lineup to throw at a pitcher carrying a 17.3% strikeout rate with a 4.90 xFIP hiding under his seemingly-good 3.73 ERA. Quintana is a left-handed veteran who is fairly adept at limiting power, he has allowed just a 0.58% home run rate in the small sample of 41 innings and seven starts this season, letting hitters barrel the ball just 4.8% of the time with a 33.3% hard-hit rate. Those numbers align well with a full-season sample from last year in which Quintana had a 1.18% home run rate on 5.5% barrels and 35.8% hard hits with a 20.2% strikeout rate. The Rangers’ power is projecting through that and the team ranks well for both home run potential and fantasy scoring on our board tonight. Quintana is, at best, a mix-in value dart on the DraftKings slate for $6,300, he is difficult to justify for $7,700 on the blue site.
  • Marcus Semien has an 8.62 in tonight’s home run model, he has hit 20 on the season and adds 13 stolen bases while creating runs 20% better than average as a strong positional option for MLB DFS. Corey Seager is impossible to keep out of the top quadrant of the home run board, the superstar shortstop has 24 long balls in 402 chances, he is carrying a 12.62 in the home run model to lead Texas tonight. Nathaniel Lowe has a $4,600/$3,300 price tag at first base that helps average down the cost of his teammates while maintaining the run of talent. Lowe has 15 home runs and a 126 WRC+ at first base. Adolis Garcia had a good game but did not find our home run last night, he bounces right back with an 11.96 in the home run model and he has 32 in the books this season with a .250 ISO as the team’s second-best power hitter behind Seager. Mitch Garver has a dozen home runs in only 226 plate appearances, the catcher is a major option for right-handed power. Ezequiel Duran has a 118 WRC+ in 396 chances at the plate and he fills three positions on the FanDuel slate, Jonah Heim is a power-hitting catcher int he same mold as Garver, he hits from both sides of the plate and has 15 homers in 395 chances this year. Robbie Grossman and Leody Taveras are playable mix-in options with DFS value from the final two spots in a 1-9 lineup.
  • Mets bats are drawing major power marks against Jekyll and Hyde starter Andrew Heaney. On a night in which Dr. Andrew takes the mound, MLB DFS gamers have a cheap high-strikeout ceiling option for just $7,200/$7,500, but if Mr. Heaney shows up we are in a great deal of trouble with four Mets hitters well over the “magic number” for power against Heaney’s 4.17% home run rate on 11.1% barrels and 90.5 mph of exit velocity. The southpaw has a 24.1% strikeout rate this season and he has induced an 11.3% swinging-strike rate with a bit of a walks problem at 9.3%. All of those numbers are worse than Heaney has been in recent memory, last year he was exceptional in a small sample with a 35.5% strikeout rate over 72.2 innings and 14 starts, if that pitcher shows up he is a slate winner. Heaney projects well despite the home run issues, he is a strong option for value but there is a thin sheet of cracked ice where the floor should be.
  • The Mets have a very top-heavy lineup these days, all three of Brandon NimmoFrancisco Lindor, and Pete Alonso are high-priority hitters in the projected batting order on a daily basis. Nimmo has 19 home runs and a 122 WRC+ with a .356 on-base percentage, Lindor has 24 homers and 23 stolen bases with a 10.8% barrel rate and 44.7% hard hits, and Alonso has 39 home runs with a .298 ISO as our overall home run pick of the day. Alonso has a monster 18.89 in the home run model, Lindor is at 12.82, and Nimmo carries a 10.10. The fourth man in the 10+ club in this lineup is rookie catcher Francisco Alvarez who has been stuck at 21 homers for some time now after his major power outburst at the peak of the Summer. Alvarez is a deadly power hitter but he is limited in other facets, he has a 14.62 in tonight’s home run model putting him firmly on the board if he is in the lineup. Jeff McNeil is a limited base-hit option for $3,800/$2,800 with strong correlation to the top plays if he hits third as projected. Mark Vientos has projected power from the right side and a decent 7.22 in our home run model but he has managed only two home runs and a .185/.226/.274 triple-slash with a 30.8% strikeout rate in 133 chances. Danny MendickTim Locastro, and Jonathan Arauz are low-end options in the bottom third.

Play: Andrew Heaney, Rangers bats/stacks, Mets bats/stacks in smaller shares with power upside if we get a Mr. Heaney day

Update Notes: 

Cleveland Guardians (+145/3.37) @ Minnesota Twins (-158/4.22)

  • Righty Pablo Lopez is a big ticket item on both sites for $10,800/$11,300. Lopez has an outstanding 29.3% strikeout rate and a 3.69 ERA to go with his 3.40 xFIP and he has limited power effectively for most of the season with just a 3.07% home run rate on 6.8% barrels and 37% hard hits. Lopez has taken major steps forward on the mound this season, he has a 14.5% swinging-strike rate that is up almost two full points over last year’s already good number and he has been a very strong option for MLB DFS in most of his outings, earning the high price against a very low-end Cleveland team that has only one truly threatening hitter.
  • Guardians bats are a low-end low-priority stack, they have a 3.37-run implied total in Vegas and they rank 20th by fantasy point projections on a 24-team slate. Cleveland ranks 17th by home run potential, though they do pull a bit of an interesting rating for points-per-dollar value given some very low-priced hitters. While value pricing is going to be a key to rostering premium bats and expensive pitching, the Guardians may not be the prime option for that purpose against Lopez. They do, however, afford the opportunity to target what will no doubt be a highly-owned pitcher who is one of the key pay-up pieces, which does give them a bit of a winking appeal from a contrarian sense. The option is very low-end, Lopez is almost sure to succeed in this spot but a few darts with priority Cleveland bats including Jose Ramirez are not entirely off the board. Ramirez is pricey but discounted for his talents at $5,400/$3,400 at third base, he has 21 home runs and a matching total of stolen bases. Steven Kwan is a limited option for correlated scoring and speed, he has a 99 WRC+, Kole Calhoun has two homers but a 118 WRC+ in his 77 plate appearances, he has the remnants of left-handed power with a 5.51 in our home run model tonight. Ramon Laureano is a weird choice as a cleanup hitter, he has a matching 5.51 home run mark in the model tonight. Andres Gimenez should be better than his statistical output this season, he has a 93 WRC+ in 504 chances. Will Brennan has a 77 WRC+, Gabriel Arias has a 79 with eight home runs in 258 chances, he is a good source of sneaky power for $2,100 on both sites and he has multi-position eligibility, and Bo Naylor is a cheap catcher with some pop, he hit his sixth home run in just 153 plate appearances last night. Myles Straw is not much of an MLB DFS option.
  • The Twins are lower-ranked than in last night’s matchup but they are still pulling good points-per-dollar values on both sites despite the presence of excellent young starter Gavin Williams on the mound for the Guardians. Williams has Minnesota checked to 4.22 runs, but his Guardians are at only 3.37 as fairly big underdogs, his ability to book a win bonus is a bit in question but he has a strong shot at the quality start on the blue site. Williams has a 3.52 ERA and 4.23 xFIP over 64 innings in 12 starts since his big promotion, he has struck out MLB hitters at a 25.3% clip with a 13.1% swinging-strike rate in an outstanding first few outings. Williams has been good at checking power as well, he has allowed a 2.60% home run rate on just 5.2% barrels and 87.7 mph of exit velocity. The right-handed rookie hurler is our preferred side of this equation, even with the Twins showing decent value scores.
  • Minnesota bats can be rostered in smaller portions for their value in a both-sided situation. Edouard Julien has an 8.34 in the home run model with 11 on the board and a .193 ISO atop the lineup. Royce Lewis had a big knock in last night’s game, he has eight home runs and a 145 WRC+ in 153 chances after his big game. Max Kepler has a 9.19 in the home run model to lead the team, his 21 long balls on the season are also team-leading and he has a 121 WRC+ while limiting strikeouts better than anyone else in the lineup. Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco are excellent sources of veteran power in the infield. Despite his down season, Correa is still a key part of Twins stacks and Polanco has been crushing the ball in his limited opportunities after missing most of the year with injuries. Donovan Solano has value filling three positions for $2,200 on FanDuel, less so as just a first baseman for $3,000 on DraftKings. Solano has an effective triple-slash but lacks power at the plate. Matt Wallner has plenty of power from the left side, he has 10 home runs in 156 chances with an 8.22 in tonight’s home run model. Christian Vazquez is a limited mix-in while Michael A. Taylor has good value upside with 19 home runs and 13 stolen bases from the ninth spot.

Play: Pablo Lopez and Gavin Williams both enthusiastically, minor shares of Twins for value, only a hedge position with Guardians if anything

Update Notes: 

San Diego Padres (-148/4.71) @ St. Louis Cardinals (+136/3.89)

  • Lefty Zack Thompson has a 28.8% strikeout rate with a 3.86 ERA and 3.08 xFIP in 35 innings and three starts. He has made back-to-back starts of five innings and 22 hitters each with amazingly identical stat lines. Against both the Mets and the Pirates, Thompson struck out five and walked one while allowing a home run and two earned runs on six hits. The southpaw made two four-inning appearances against the Rockies and Royals, one as a bulk reliever, to get stretched out prior to the five-inning outings, he was effective both times. Thompson projects in the lower middle of the board but there is a bit of value-based potential given his extremely low $5,600/$5,900 price tags against the top-heavy but limited Padres lineup. Thompson is an intriguing value dart with low expectations for something approaching two-thirds the cost of Ronald Acuna Jr. tonight.
  • Naturally, the Padres are in play against Thompson. The team has too much talent to ever be off the board and they project very well in the matchup, landing fourth in the fantasy points rankings. San Diego has Ha-Seong Kim setting the pace atop the lineup with a 19.3% strikeout rate and 12.4% walk rate to pad his excellent correlated scoring potential. Kim has 17 homers and 29 stolen bases with a 127 WRC+ and he fills three positions on FanDuel for $3,200 and two on DraftKings for a more aggressive $5,000. Fernando Tatis Jr. is down to a .195 ISO with a 117 WRC+ and 20 home runs with 23 stolen bases in a bit of a down-for-him season. The outfielder is still fantastic at the plate and he is not far off the mark in his 509 opportunities, but more was expected overall. Juan Soto costs $5,800/$3,300 as a fantastic value on the blue site, Soto has a 145 WRC+ with 25 home runs and a .223 ISO this season. Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts round out the core of stars, Machado is tied for the team lead with 25 home runs but Bogaerts has been slumping for months and sits at just .260/.331/.395, though he does still have a 105 WRC+ for the season. Garrett Cooper has a bit of sneaky right-handed power, Luis Campusano has been productive with the bat over 99 plate appearances as a cheap catcher, Matthew Batten has two home runs in his 29 chances, and Trent Grisham has a 93 WRC+ but a dozen home runs and steals on the season.
  • St. Louis will be facing righty Seth Lugo who has a solid 23.6% strikeout rate with a 3.70 ERA and 3.64 xFIP while effectively limiting opportunities with a 5.5% walk rate. Lugo has allowed an 8.2% barrel rate with 42.1% hard hits and 90.2 mph of exit velocity but just an 8.8-degree average launch angle that is good for keeping power in check on most nights. The righty has allowed a 3.09% home run rate in 20 starts and 109.1 innings, he projects in the middle of the board tonight but his pricing seems a bit off on the FanDuel slate at $9,600. For $7,900 on the DraftKings slate, Lugo makes a fine SP2 play even against a Cardinals lineup that does have talent despite their lousy season.
  • At just 3.89 implied runs, the Cardinals are not pulling great projections against Lugo, they rank 11th by projections but fourth by collective home run potential on this slate. Tommy Edman has 11 homers and 17 stolen bases with a limited .297 on-base percentage that needs to improve when he is in the leadoff role. Alec Burleson has a .296 on-base percentage from the second spot and we have begun to identify a big part of the St. Louis problem for run creation. The heart of the Cardinals lineup is the spot for value stacking, Paul Goldschmidt has 22 home runs and a 128 WRC+ at first base, and Nolan Arenado has a 119 WRC+ with 26 homers and a 10.64 in our home run model at third base. Arenado outpaces Goldschmidt’s 9.59 in the home run model but falls behind Nolan Gorman’s team-leading 10.67. Willson Contreras adds a stout catcher bat to the lineup, he slots in between Arenado and left-handed Gorman in the projected version and has 13 home runs and a 114 WRC+ on the season. Tyler O’Neill follows Gorman, who has 24 homers and a .240 ISO this season, O’Neill checks in with a .169 ISO that looks disappointing by comparison, but he is loaded with right-handed power potential at the plate for just $3,600/$2,600 in the outfield. Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn round out the projected lineup as playable parts.

Play: Zack Thompson value darts, Padres bats/stacks, Cardinals bats/stacks, Seth Lugo

Update Notes: 

Milwaukee Brewers (+117/3.11) @ Chicago Cubs (-126/3.46)

  • Lefty Justin Steele has a sparkling 2.80 ERA and a 3.62 xFIP with a 23.2% strikeout rate in 138 innings this season. The southpaw has limited home runs to just 1.92% on six percent barrels and 35.7% hard hits, he has been mostly excellent over 24 starts and he projects like a good piece of the puzzle for $9,500/$10,600 against the Brewers tonight. Steele has Milwaukee limited to just 3.11 implied runs in Vegas, though the win is somewhat in question with his team at just a 3.46 against excellent righty Corbin Burnes who has a good mid-board projection of his own for $10,600/$10,300. Burnes has not reliably been himself on the mound this season, his strikeout rate has dipped from 30.5% last year and 35.6% the year before to just 24.9% this season but he still has a 3.65 ERA and 3.98 xFIP that are non-tragic, he works deep into most of his starts with 158 innings in 26 outings, and he has allowed just 2.96% home runs on 5.5% barrels with 32.9% hard hits. Burnes is likely to have a limiting impact on Cubs bats, if nothing else tonight.
  • Milwaukee is a very limited option, they rank 19th by fantasy points tonight. Brewers priorities include Christian YelichWilliam Contreras, and Carlos Santana in the top three spots before the lineup takes a downturn. Yelich is a multi-category star at a fair price, Contreras is one of the more valuable catchers in the game, and Santana has power upside for $3,800/$2,800 from both sides of the plate. Mark Canha is not a cleanup hitter but he is projected fourth in the lineup, he has a 104 WRC+ with eight home runs. Willy Adames has hit 21 home runs but slashes .218/.300/.400. Andruw Monasterio has a 94 WRC+ in 220 chances, Joey Wiemer returns as an interesting late-lineup part for $2,200 on both sites, he has 13 homers and 11 steals but an 80 WRC+ in 385 chances, and Brian Anderson is a low-end option along with Tyrone Taylor from the final spot. On the Cubs side, Mike Tauchman is a playable leadoff hitter with a .356 on-base percentage that provides correlated scoring potential, Nico Hoerner is expensive at $5,800/$3,500 for someone who is only two percent better than average for run creation on the season, Ian Happ is a strong value with power and correlated scoring potential, and Cody Bellinger is a star with 20 homers and 18 stolen bases and a 142 WRC+. Dansby Swanson is an underrated shortstop option, he has 19 home runs and a 107 WRC+ but has slipped for overall power and stolen base potential this season. Seiya Suzuki and Jeimer Candelario are good run creators with a power upside in a bad matchup late in the lineup, and things close out with powerhouse catcher Yan Gomes and defender Nick Madrigal.

Play: Justin Steele, Corbin Burnes – as an aside to further support the lack of offense and the strong pitching play, there is a strong steady wind blowing in toward home plate at Wrigley tonight.

Update Notes: 

Pittsburgh Pirates (+134/3.91) @ Kansas City Royals (-146/4.69)

  • Lefty Cole Ragans seems like the favored play of the day all around the industry at $6,000/$6,600 against the Pirates. Ragans has dazzled with a 28.7% strikeout rate and 13.7% swinging strikes in his 59 innings and six starts, he has a 3.66 ERA and 3.62 xFIP and has limited home runs to just 2.02% on 5.3% barrels. The Pirates have an interesting mix of options with the youth movement well underway in their lineup, but the active roster is carrying just a 94 WRC+ collectively to rank 25th against left-handed pitching this season. Pittsburgh has a .138 ISO with a 24.8% strikeout rate in the split, pushing further upside in the direction of the talented Ragans. The Pirates have a 3.91-run implied total in Vegas, they are a low-end option though they do have a 13th-ranked home run total on a 24-team board and some contrarian appeal against what is sure to be a very highly owned pitcher of limited experience.
  • Priority bats in the Pirates lineup include Ke’Bryan Hayes who has a 49.3% hard-hit rate but a limited .167 ISO and 10 home runs while creating runs three percent below average. Bryan Reynolds is on the priority list, the outfielder has a 108 WRC+ with a 47.7% hard-hit rate and 11.3% barrels on the season for just $5,000/$3,500. Andrew McCutchen gets on base effectively and may wait out the 9.7% walk rate that is one of the starter’s only flaws. Connor Joe has nine home runs and a 113 WRC+ on the season, the righty hitter has power upside at the plate in this matchup for $3,400/$2,400 with eligibility at first base or in the outfield. Joshua Palacios has six home runs but a limited triple-slash and a 66 WRC+ in 192 chances. Liover Peguero has a 6.70 in the home run model ahead of Jack Suwinski who leads the team at 9.96 despite the lefty-lefty matchup, if he plays Suwinski remains a priority in Pirates stacks. Alika Williams and Jason Delay are lower-end options to close out the projected batting order, we would greatly prefer Endy Rodriguez at catcher. The Pirates are a low-end low-expectation dart for contrarian purposes at best.
  • Righty Luis L. Ortiz has made 11 starts and thrown 57 innings with a 14.5% strikeout rate and a 5.37 ERA with a 5.38 xFIP, he is as lousy as it seems. Ortiz has allowed a 4.09% home run rate on 12.1% barrels and 92.4 mph of exit velocity with 50% hard hits, he is nothing more than a target for Royals bats, although they are still a fairly low-end option.
  • Kansas City has Bobby Witt Jr. as a priority bat and not all that much else. The shortstop has 26 home runs and 38 stolen bases in a fantastic year for DFS and real baseball, he leads the team with a 116 WRC+. Maikel Garcia has been 13% below average for run creation over 398 plate appearances but he has a bit of speed in the leadoff role. Sal Perez has 19 homers and a .167 ISO in a disappointing season, MJ Melendez has left-handed premium contact but no statistical power to brag about, and Michael Massey is an even more limited lefty at second base. Nelson Velazquez has eight home runs in just 78 plate appearances, his small-sample 122 WRC+ is technically higher than Witt’s, but we are not awarding that title to the limited free-swinger at this point. Drew WatersMatt Beaty, and Kyle Isbel are a low-end trio to close out a low-end lineup.

Play: Cole Ragans, minor hedge position with Pirates bats, Royals power darts

Update Notes: 

Atlanta Braves (-246/7.46) @ Colorado Rockies (+221/4.71)

  • Play the Braves according to your whims against what will be massive public popularity once again. They are extremely high-priced but poised to dominate the slate once again with a 7.46-run implied total against Peter Lambert, a righty who has allowed a 4.60% home run rate on 44.8% hard hits and 11.4% barrels in a hilarious mismatch. Everyone in the Braves lineup is in play from 1-9 in any form and any combination, they have elite options up and down the lineup.
  • The Rockies are far less playable, the low-end team has a 4.71-run implied total that puts veteran righty Charlie Morton on the cusp of playability himself. Morton has a 25.5% strikeout rate with a 3.37 ERA and 4.14 xFIP and he has allowed just 2.11% home runs on 7.3% barrels this season, if he were less expensive than $8,500/$9,800 at Coors Field this would be a more compelling situation.
  • Priority Rockies hitters would include Charlie BlackmonRyan McMahon, and Nolan Jones, the team’s three premium lefty hitters against the righty. Blackmon has a 114 WRC+ to lead the team despite missing a large portion of the season, McMahon’s 22 home runs are a team-leading power mark, and Jones has been their best overall player with 13 homers and a 113 WRC+ in his 288 plate appearances. Ezequiel Tovar is a mixed-bag of quality with 15 homers and eight steals but just a 78 WRC+ in a full 490 plate appearances. Elias Diaz has power with 13 home runs as a cheap catcher, Brendan Rodgers slots in with potential pop for cheap pricing at second base, Hunter Goodman had 34 home runs across AA and AAA this season before his promotion, he costs $3,000/$2,500 with first base eligibility on DraftKings and catcher on FanDuel. Michael Toglia and Brenton Doyle round out the lineup as mix-ins.

Play: bats Braves bats bats Braves bats bats Braves

Update Notes: 

Oakland Athletics (+259/2.79) @ Seattle Mariners (-292/4.83)

  • Seattle righty George Kirby is drawing an outstanding projection that lands a tick below Pablo Lopez atop the slate. Kirby has made 25 starts and thrown 156.1 innings with a phenomenal 2.3% walk rate and 23% strikeouts while pitching to a 3.28 ERA and 3.55 xFIP this season. The righty has limited power to just 2.75% home runs on 7.6% barrels, he has the potential to take away the only thing that Oakland does well while racking up strikeouts against the free-swinging club. The Athletics are at a slate-low 2.79-run implied total against Kirby, who is sure to be popular but seems well worth the effort for $9.700/$10,800, particularly for the discounted DraftKings number.
  • Athletics bats are really a bad option on this one, Kirby is excellent at limiting opportunities and their home run potential may only amount to a solo shot, if anything. Priority Oakland hitters would include Ryan NodaZack GelofSeth Brown, and Brent Rooker, who all carry very strong double-digit barrel rates and hard-hit marks above 40%. Noda adds very good on-base skills and a strong walk rate but Kirby rarely issues the free pass and is more likely to exploit Noda’s 32.6% strikeout rate. The same problem plagues the rest of the lineup, there are tons of strikeouts on the board for the pitcher tonight. Tony KempShea LangeliersLawrence ButlerJonah Bride, and Nick Allen round out the lousy lineup, Langeliers and Butler are playable for low-expectation power when stacking Athletics in an awful spot.
  • The Mariners are the focus stack in this game, they are a high-priority option against scuffling lefty Ken Waldichuk who has allowed a 4.12% home run rate on 42% hard hits while pitching to a 6.05 ERA and 5.02 xFIP with 11.6% walks and only 21.8% strikeouts over 110 innings and 18 starts. Waldichuk is not an option, even against the aggressively high strikeout expectations for Seattle, there is too much power in the Mariners lineup if they manage to connect and they are pulling a 4.83-run implied total that could honestly be higher.
  • JP Crawford is a dynamite leadoff hitter, he has 12 home runs and a 131 WRC+ with a .384 on-base percentage. Julio Rodriguez is all the way up to .286/.346/.482 with a .196 ISO and 131 WRC+ putting any memories of his struggles well behind him. The outfielder has 24 home runs and 35 stolen bases, he is on the way to outpacing his rookie season after all and he is a tremendous option for $6,200/$4,500. Eugenio Suarez is cheap at $4,600/$2,900 for all the right-handed power he brings to bear in this matchup, he has 18 home runs on the season and a 7.71 in tonight’s model. Teoscar Hernandez has hit 22 home runs as a big part of the Mariners’ surge over the past month or so, he has a 49.3% hard-hit rate and 14.5% barrels on the season. Ty France has been up and down but he is cheap and playable, Cal Raleigh has an 8.69 in our home run model to sit second behind Rodriguez’s 9.02 mark, the catcher has 25 long balls to lead the team so far this season. Dylan Moore has had an odd outburst of premium contact and power at the plate with seven home runs and a .292 ISO in 109 plate appearances, he fills three positions for $2,400 on FanDuel and two for $3,200 on DraftKings. Dominic Canzone and Jose Caballero round out the lineup with playable options, Canzone has a 92 WRC+ in 115 plate appearances and has put bat on ball well with a 10.2% barrel rate and 43.2% hard hits and Caballero gets on base at a steady .364 clip to reset the table.

Play: George Kirby aggressively, Mariners bats/stacks

Update Notes:

Cincinnati Reds (+142/3.39) @ San Francisco Giants (-155/4.20)

  • Righty Alex Cobb will be looking to replicate the outstanding start posted by rookie Kyle Harrison against the Reds last night. Cobb projects extremely well on this slate for a pitcher carrying a $6,800/$7,900 price tag. The veteran has a 20.6% strikeout rate but should pick up bonus strikeouts against a team with a 24.8% collective rate for the projected lineup. Cobb has a 3.74 ERA and 3.50 xFIP on the season and he is typically very good at limiting home run power by checking launch angles. This season, Cobb has allowed just 2.82% home runs on a 1.3-degree average launch angle, which is consistent with his production over the past few seasons with a few extra home runs piled on this year. Cobb is a premium value play, he projects in the top three on the overall pitching board for the extremely cheap pricing on both sites.
  • Reds bats are limited to a 3.39-run implied total with Joey Votto and Matt McLain both falling by the wayside with injuries, they are a more limited option in this form and Cobb is good at keeping things in line even in his lower-end performances. Cincinnati bats are ranked in the middle of the board, priority plays would include Elly De La Cruz who has a 34.7% strikeout rate and just a 90 WRC+ despite all his obvious talent on the field, Spencer Steer who is affordable and talented with a 115 WRC+ on the season, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was raking in the minors prior to his promotion. TJ Freidl is a good pacesetter atop the lineup, Noelvi Marte is a highly regarded but entirely unproven rookie, and Nick Martini is a mix-in from the heart of the order. Things close out around Nick Senzel and Tyler Stephenson who are both of mix-in quality, while Will Benson has proven more interesting than that over his 252 opportunities. Benson has hit eight home runs and stolen 14 bases while creating runs 27% better than average, he would be a good option to hit second today instead of Marte.
  • Giants hitters are facing Brandon Williamson who projects in the lower-middle of the board for $6,500/$7,300 against a targetable team with some strikeouts available. Williamson shut out the Diamondbacks over six innings while striking out six but allowing six hits and walking one in his last outing, a surprisingly good performance against the hard-hitting stingy Arizona squad. The lefty has a 21.3% strikeout rate with a 4.18 ERA and 4.60 xFIP over 92.2 innings and 18 starts this season, he is a low-expectation mix-in play who is not entirely off the board in this matchup.
  • Austin Slater has a 27.5% strikeout rate with five home runs and a 105 WRC+, mostly against left-handed pitching this season. Thairo Estrada has a 105 WRC+ with 10 homers and 19 stolen bases as a reasonable mix-in for $4,400/$3,300. Wilmer Flores leads the Giants with 19 home runs and a .242 ISO and has made a career of mashing lefties. JD Davis has slid badly throughout the second half of the season, he has the same 15 home runs he had in July and his WRC+ has dipped to just 103 with his triple-slash getting worse and worse. Patrick Bailey cooled and normalized after a brief outburst on arrival from the minors, Paul DeJong has good right-handed power with a 7.23 in the home run model today, Casey SchmittHeliot Ramos, and Luis Matos do not offer much at the bottom of the lineup.

Play: Alex Cobb value enthusiastically, Reds bats as a lower-end hedge in small portions

Update Notes: 

Arizona Diamondbacks (+161/3.26) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-176/4.33)

  • Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was limited to two innings in his last start but that was due to rain not injury or underperformance. Kershaw worked five innings in each of his two starts since returning, prior to the rain-shortened outing, but his depth has to be a bit in question and he should probably be expected to work around the same five-inning total on a good night. The southpaw is excellent, he projects well even against a quality Diamondbacks opponent and he has them limited to just a 3.26-run implied total in Vegas that suggests he may work six innings. Kershaw has a 27.1% strikeout rate with a 2.52 ERA and 3.40 xFIP this season and he has been typically excellent across the statistical board.
  • The Diamondbacks lose quality against left-handed pitching, star rookie Corbin Carroll takes a dip in same-handed matchups but he remains expensive with a decent projection at $5,500/$3,900. Ketel Marte has 21 home runs and a .207 ISO with a 7.40 in the home run model against Kershaw. Tommy Pham has right-handed pop, good on-base skills, and speed in the third spot ahead of power-hitting Christian Walker and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. who are joined in the heart of the lineup by fellow righty Evan Longoria for the matchup against the veteran southpaw. All three hitters have home run potential with Walker leading the way at 8.18 in the model with 28 on the board for the season. Longoria has 11 home runs in just 190 chances, he leads into catcher Gabriel MorenoBuddy Kennedy, and Nick Ahmed in a limited-but-playable trio at the bottom of the lineup.
  • The Dodgers draw Merrill Kelly who has a decent ceiling but limited projection against the fantastic squad. Kelly has been pitching very well, he costs $9,100/$10,900 and looks a lot better for value on DraftKings. The righty has a 2.97 ERA and a 3.70 xFIP with a 26.6% strikeout rate over 136.1 innings and 23 starts this season, and he has been effective at limiting power with just a 3.10% home run rate. Vegas is crediting the Dodgers’ excellent lineup a bit with a 4.33-run implied total against the solid righty, we tend to agree and favor the Dodgers side slightly while expecting a more limited across-the-board night in a bit of a pitching duel in the final game.
  • Los Angeles has looked better but both Mookie Betts and Max Muncy are above the “magic number” for home run power at 12.23 and 11.20 respectively, with Freddie Freeman and Will Smith checking in at 8.38 and 9.35. The stars atop the Dodgers’ projected lineup are pricey but worthwhile in any given matchup, but given hefty costs across the slate it is difficult to envision them getting popular and the limited potential against Kelly has them a bit lower than usual on the priority list. David PeraltaJason Heyward, and James Outman are a strong trio of cheap lefty power bats in the outfield, they are joined at the bottom of the lineup by Enrique Hernandez and Michael Busch, who are more limited options in a lineup that plays better 1-7.

Play: Clayton Kershaw, more limited shares of Merrill Kelly

Update Notes: 

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