MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Strategy Notes & Live Show Link – Saturday 7/8/23

A late-afternoon start for the FanDuel Main and DraftKings Afternoon slate has us in “notes” mode for today’s article, with apologies to the DraftKings crowd for missing the earlier start on their slate that included four 1pm games. The short pitching board on a seven-game slate makes this afternoon very interesting, this has the makings of a high-scoring slate that will be won with bats, several teams have inflated run totals above 5.0 in Vegas and there are very strong spots in our Power Index for team stacking.

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

Join us at 2:15 pm ET for the MLB DFS Lineup Card Show and a full game-by-game breakdown:

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 Strategy Notes – 7/8/23

Texas Rangers (-192/5.60) @ Washington Nationals (+174/4.03)

  • The Rangers are carrying a slate-leading 5.60-run implied total against Nationals’ starter Jake Irvin, who has a 4.70 ERA and 5.62 xFIP with just a 16.8% strikeout rate on the season. Irvin is not a good target on the mound at $5,800/$6,800, his path to success is extraordinarily thin against the Texas lineup.
  • Texas leads the board by collective stack projections and they rank third overall in our team home run model, they are also very likely to be crushingly popular on this slate. The talent-laden Rangers lineup includes a pair of stars in the infield in Marcus Semien and Corey Seager who lead things off with 11 and 12 home runs on the season respectively. Semien is coming down in price on the blue site but remains expensive across town with a $6,200/$3,700 price tag, Seager remains a big ticket item at $6,400/$4,200. Nathaniel Lowe is a great price offset early in the lineup, he has a .269/.360/.421 triple-slash with nine home runs this season. Adolis Garcia and Josh Jung are a killer power core in the heart of the lineup, they have 40 combined home runs with Garcia carrying 23 of them on his own. Jonah Heim is a hard-hitting catcher, if Mitch Garver is in the lineup he can be deployed alongside or in place of Heim as a second option for power behind the plate. Ezequiel DuranTravis Jankowski, and Leody Taveras round out the bottom of the lineup in style, Duran and Taveras are two of the top options from the bottom of any batting order around baseball. Duran has 12 home runs with a .226 ISO and 142 WRC+ and Taveras has 10 home runs with nine stolen bases and a 126 WRC+
  • Lefty Andrew Heaney is one of the more highly projected pitchers of the day, the veteran is carrying a 25.1% strikeout rate with a 4.12 ERA and 4.47 xFIP into action this evening. Heaney has known issues with home run power from time to time, he has allowed a 3.95% home run rate on 11.7% barrels and a 90.3 mph exit velocity on average. The Nationals are better against lefties and they flash a bit of power in the split while limiting strikeouts, but Heaney has enough in the tank to get through this lineup and find strikeouts to support his projection. The lefty is a good option at $8,200/$8,800 on the afternoon slate.
  • Washington’s lineup was featured against a lefty in this space yesterday, they managed two runs on a Joey Meneses home run in a matchup against a lower-end lefty in Cody Bradford. The Nationals are not good in the split they are just better than they are against righties, which is not saying a ton. There are several hitters who have excelled in the split in small samples this season, but they are not enough to carry the entire team reliably. Lane Thomas has had a very good season overall and has hit lefties well, on the whole he sits at .301/.348/.501 with a .200 ISO and 14 home runs, half of which came against southpaws. CJ Abrams has seven home runs and 12 stolen bases and is slated in the leadoff spot ahead of Thomas, but he has a 52 WRC+ against same-handed pitching this year. Meneses and Stone Garrett are a pair of righties with upside for power in the middle of the lineup, Garrett has five home runs this season with a .247 ISO and 128 WRC+ against lefties. Keibert Ruiz has been only about average against lefties this year, but Riley Adams has been excellent in limited opportunities, they are both playable in Nationals stacks. Ildemaro VargasDominic SmithAlex Call, and Michael Chavis round out the projected lineup.

Play: Rangers bats/stacks enthusiastically, Andrew Heaney

Update Notes:

Colorado Rockies (+187/3.73) @ San Francisco Giants (-206/5.39)

  • The Rockies are facing opener Ryan Walker who is likely to be followed by Sean Manaea, a veteran lefty with talent. There is a chance that the Giants go in a different direction with their bulk reliever however, they have not announced Manaea and Jakob Junis is also available in the role. Manaea looks like a somewhat playable option as an SP2 on DraftKings for $5,500, he projects competitively if he is given four or more innings. The lefty has a 28.6% strikeout rate and 3.94 xFIP in 57.1 innings and six starts this season, his 5.49 ERA and 11.8% barrel rate with a 42.1% hard-hit rate and 3.17% home runs are only a minor target with the low-end Rockies bats in the unpredictable situation.
  • Colorado’s lineup is rarely a good option outside of Coors Field and there is nothing different about that today with the team at a 3.73-run implied total. Jurickson Profar leads off the projected lineup, though the team wisely had Ezequiel Tovar in that spot, Profar is a low-end veteran with an 80 WRC+ and .136 ISO in 345 plate appearances, Tovar is at least a developing rookie with tools, he has an 84 WRC+ with a .172 ISO and is slashing .266/.303/.438 with nine home runs and four steals on the season. Ryan McMahon has power from the left side, he has 14 home runs on the season and costs $4,200/$3,100, CJ Cron is a power-hitting right-handed first baseman who has seven homers but just a 76 WRC+ in his 178 opportunities, and Elias Diaz has been productive as a catcher option. Randal Grichuk is slashing .294/.361/.457 with a 106 WRC+ and has four home runs on the season, he is not the power hitter that he once was but he has been productive for cheap prices. Elehuris MonteroCoco Montes, and Brenton Doyle are playable young hitters late in the lineup when stacking Rockies, Montero is the most highly regarded in the group but he has not been good so far while Doyle at least has six home runs and 12 stolen bases. Nolan Jones may or may not be in the lineup with the possibility of the lefty bulk reliever, Kris Bryant is missing from the projected lineup but should see action assuming he did not re-injure himself last night.
  • The Giants are a very strong play against Connor Seabold who is not on the board as a pitching option. The righty has a 4.95% home run rate and a 6.62 ERA with a 5.57 xFIP and 16.5% strikeout rate, he is pushing projections strongly in favor of San Francisco bats.
  • The top six hitters in the Giants batting order are all above the magic number in our home run model. LaMonte Wade Jr. opens things atop the lineup with nine home runs and a 137 WRC+ on the season, he gets on base with regularity but has gone through a bit of a power outage in recent weeks. Wade is cheap and has a 12.36 in our home run model. Joc Pederson checks in with a team-leading 16.15 in the model, the left-handed platoon-focused masher has eight home runs on the season in 198 plate appearances, he is cheap for his potential today. JD Davis and Michael Conforto are a good righty-lefty power pair, Davis has an 11.41 in the home run model with 10 on the season and a .166 ISO and Conforto has hit 12 so far this year and has a 13.92 in the model. Mike Yastrzemski is another lefty slugger who crushes bad righties, he has a 14.17 and is our home run pick for the slate, Yastrzemski has hit 10 home runs this season and has a .217 ISO supported by a 10.7% barrel rate and 46.7% hard hits. Patrick BaileyLuis MatosBrandon Crawford, and Casey Schmitt are mix-and-match parts from the bottom of the lineup. Bailey has been productive behind the plate and is showing a good hit tool and some power, Matos is a hit-and-speed focused outfield prospect, the two infielders are lower-end options.

Play: Giants bats/stacks aggressively

Update Notes:

Kansas City Royals (+160/3.70) @ Cleveland Guardians (-175/4.90)

  • Cleveland righty Gavin Williams is one of the top prospect pitchers in baseball. Williams has made three starts and has a 3.79 ERA with a 5.07 xFIP in 19 innings, but he has managed just a 16.7% strikeout rate to this point in the Show. Williams has a plus plus fastball-slider combination that was wiping hitters out in the minors, he is expected to produce far more on the mound over time, he had a 33.3% strikeout rate in AAA and 37.7% in AA prior to his callup. Williams faced these Royals in his second start, he worked seven innings of one-hit ball with six strikeouts and one walk in easily the best of his three outings. The talented righty has a good chance to repeat that performance in terms of clean innings and strikeout upside today, he projects near the top of the board for $7,000/$8,500 which should make him very popular on this slate.
  • The Royals are a low-end stacking option, the team has a bit of pop in the top of the lineup but they strike out far too much and fail to sequence or create runs with anything approaching reliability. Maikel Garcia has a 104 WRC+ as a productive rookie with a good hit tool and a bit of speed in the leadoff spot, he leads into the team’s true core of Bobby Witt Jr. who has 13 home runs and 26 stolen bases but just a 92 WRC+, and Sal Perez who has hit 15 home runs as a top catcher option. Nick Pratto is inexpensive and has a bit of talent for $3,100/$2,800 on the left side of the plate, but he also strikes out 36.9% of the time and puts big holes in the lineup quite often. Edward Olivares has mid-range power and speed, MJ Melendez should have far more power production with his 10.9% barrel rate and 51.2% hard-hit rate but does not, and the bottom third of Drew WatersKyle Isbel, and Michael Massey is uninspiring.
  • The Guardians are in play once again on the back of a great pitching matchup against struggling righty Brady Singer, who has pitched to a 5.52 ERA and 4.53 xFIP this season. Singer has not been good, he has allowed a massive 51.7% hard-hit rate and 9.4% barrels with 91.8 mph of exit velocity to opposing hitters, though he has made two effective starts in a row and was a good pitcher looking to take another step forward at the start of the season. For $6,100/$6,600 a few shares of Singer mixed into a full portfolio of lineups may not be the wildest idea, he projects in the middle of a weak pitching slate and was far better just last year with a 3.23 ERA, 3.30 xFIP, and 24.2% strikeout rate and he is facing a weak lineup.
  • Cleveland has not been a good stack for most of the season, Steven Kwan is their leadoff hitter, his on-base percentage is down almost 40 points from last year and he has dropped from 124 to 93 WRC+, the correlated scorer has been bad all season. Amed Rosario has talent but has not produced the expected home run and stolen base output with just two long balls and nine steals, Jose Ramirez is the team’s star, he and Josh Naylor can be combined for power and run creation expectation from the heart of the batting order at fair prices. Ramirez has 14 home runs on the season and Naylor has 11 with a 121 WRC+ but costs just $4,400/$3,400 at first base. Josh Bell hit his ninth home run last night, he has a 90 WRC+ on the season so there is a ways to go to make up the run creation he has lacked. The same is true for Andres Gimenez who sits at 98 WRC+ with seven home runs and 14 stolen bases. Will BrennanMyles Straw, and Bo Naylor are a weak bottom third, Naylor’s power behind the plate is somewhat interesting if stacks many Guardians builds.

Play: Gavin Williams enthusiastically, Guardians bats/stacks as a mid-level option, Brady Singer value darts

Update Notes:

Oakland Athletics (+208/3.60) @ Boston Red Sox (-231/5.52)

  • Red Sox starter James Paxton is looking like another strong option on the Saturday afternoon slate, he checks in at $10,500/$10,600 and has a 31.1% strikeout rate with a 2.70 ERA and 3.29 xFIP in 50 innings and nine starts. Paxton has been one of the most unexpected stories in a very odd season, the lefty missed most of the last three years with injuries and came back better than ever, he is an excellent option for MLB DFS purposes against one of the worst lineups in baseball. Oakland’s active roster has a collective 75 WRC+ against left-handed pitching this season, the second-worst mark in the league. The team’s 25% strikeout rate and .116 ISO in the split are also encouraging for Paxton shares.
  • The Athletics low-end lineup is carrying a 3.60-run implied total and does not look like a good play outside of the most contrarian of approaches. Oakland’s projected batting order opens with Tony Kemp, a lefty utility man who is slashing .196/.283/.283 with a 66 WRC+ this season. Jordan Diaz has been productive in a small sample with a 103 WRC+ in 94 plate appearances but he is not intimidating, Aledmys Diaz is a low-end utility player and career backup at the end of his career, Brent Rooker had a great season in April and has done nothing else, Ryan Noda has cooled badly in recent weeks but has a 130 WRC+ on the season, and Shea Langeliers provides sneaky pop as a catcher with 10 home runs on the season. JJ Bleday is a low-end lefty from the bottom of the lineup, he is more playable than Manny Pina or Nick Allen
  • The Red Sox will be facing Paul Blackburn and they have a 5.52-run implied total at Fenway Park tonight, they will be wildly popular for good reason once again. Boston’s lineup is drawing good home run totals and projections and they have an impactful batting order that runs seven or eight deep. Blackburn has a 4.50 ERA and 3.96 xFIP with a 24.5% strikeout rate in 36 innings and seven starts this season, he is not inept on the mound but does not look like an overly strong option at $6,800/$7,400. He has a bottom-end projection in the pitching model and falls behind other similarly-priced options on both sites.
  • Boston’s batting order is projected to open in the recent form with Jarren Duran providing on-base acumen and speed in the top spot ahead of the team’s excellent core. Duran costs $3,500/$3,000 in the outfield, he is a good option for DFS when combined with hitters like Justin Turner who has 13 home runs and a 124 WRC+ on the season, and Masataka Yoshida who has created runs 36% better than average to lead Boston in his first season in MLB. Rafael Devers is cheap at $4,900/$3,800, he has 20 home runs with a .241 ISO in the first half. Adam Duvall costs $4,500/$3,000, he has a 13.7% barrel rate but has managed just five home runs, four of which came in the first few days of the season before his injury, but he has been productive nonetheless with a 116 WRC+. Alex Verdugo is a stout lefty hitter with a great hit tool and on-base skills, he and Triston Casas are a nice duo late in the lineup, Casas is a lefty slugger of a first baseman who is primed for a big second half. Connor Wong and Yu Chang are playable late in the lineup.

Play: James Paxton, Red Sox bats/stacks, Blackburn darts are OK but the play is very thin

Update Notes:

Cincinnati Reds (+116/4.56) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-126/5.05)

  • Colin Rea is on the mound for the Brewers, he is pushing big projections and good power marks toward the frisky Reds lineup today. Rea has a 4.40 ERA and 4.57 xFIP with a 19% strikeout rate and 3.48% home run rate this season and has allowed 40.8% hard hits. The righty has made a few good starts, we would not dispute that he is moderately playable on a short thin slate, but $6,200/$7,100 has him below several other options and he has been highly unreliable and more of a target with bats for us this season.
  • The top seven hitters in the Cincinnati lineup are drawing power marks above 10.0 in our home run model today. TJ Friedl has six long balls and 16 stolen bases and is a cheap impactful leadoff hitter. Matt McClain is a burgeoning star at shortstop, he has a .294/.363/.510 triple-slash with a .216 ISO and 129 WRC+ over 226 plate appearances. Jonathan India has 13 home runs and 12 stolen bases, Elly De La Cruz has four home runs and 13 stolen bases, and Jake Fraley has 11 home runs and 16 stolen bases, this has been a productive bunch for DFS, they are priced fairly into the low $5,000s with De La Cruz at $6,000 on DraftKings. De La Cruz is a $4,400 option to lead the FanDuel slate, everyone else is more affordable in the mid-$3,000 range. Joey Votto has been on a tear since his return, he has six home runs in 59 plate appearances with a 20% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate. Spencer Steer slots in with a 12.09 in our home run model in the seventh spot in the batting order, he has 14 long balls on the season and offers flexibility between the outfield and first base on both sites. Tyler Stephenson and Will Benson round out the low-end lineup.
  • The Brewers take on Luke Weaver who is pushing good projections and a 5.05-run implied total in their direction. Weaver has a 6.72 ERA and 4.84 xFIP this season with an 18% strikeout rate and a 6.6% walk rate. The righty has given up 4.73% home runs on 10.5% barrels and a 42.6% hard-hit rate with 90 mph of exit velocity, he is easily targetable with bats, even from the fairly lousy Brewers
  • Christian Yelich has an 8.64 in our home run model, he has knocked 11 long balls over the wall this season and is having a strong year with 21 stolen bases and a 129 WRC+. The star outfielder is affordable at $5,000/$3,700 ahead of options including William Contreras the team’s hard-hitting catcher, Jesse Winker a struggling lefty outfielder who was very good two years ago, and Willy Adames who mashes from the shortstop position and has 14 home runs with a .186 ISO and 12% barrel rate but is highly unreliable. Owen MillerBlake PerkinsBrian AndersonBrice Turang, and Joey Wiemer are mix-and-match options through the lineup, they have all been up and down this season and all currently sit below the waterline by WRC+. Miller has a .288/.329/.404 triple-slash and 11 stolen bases, Perkins has only seen 94 opportunities and has two home runs and an 82 WRC+, Anderson was good to start the year but has cooled dramatically and still has just nine home runs, and the duo of Turang and Wiemer sounds like a coffee shop acoustic guitar setup. Wiemer is interesting with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 297 plate appearances at a cheap price but he does not produce with regularity.

Play: Reds bats/stacks, Brewers bats stacks

Update Notes:

Pittsburgh Pirates (+120/4.27) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (-130/4.82)

  • The Diamondbacks are deploying lefty Kyle Nelson as an opener with an unclear plan behind him. Nelson is not an option for DFS, he is expected to work a single inning or so.
  • The Pirates lineup is showing some quality but the pitching situation after the lefty opener has not been revealed, which makes them somewhat difficult to pin down. The Vegas line has them at just a 4.27-run implied total which is not overly inspiring. The projected Pittsburgh lineup, which does not include Andrew McCutchen or Ke’Bryan Hayes, both of whom were put on the IL ahead of last night’s game, opens with Henry Davis, the team’s premium rookie. Davis has a .258/.329/.348 triple-slash with one home run and two stolen bases in 73 opportunities since his callup and costs $2,700/$2,900. Bryan Reynolds is the team’s nominal star but his production has been moderate at best this season, he has a 112 WRC+ with nine home runs and eight stolen bases, he hit five home runs in the season’s first two weeks. Connor Joe has six homers and a 105 WRC+ after a hot start but he fell off fairly quickly and costs $2,800/$2,400 with first base and outfield eligibility. Carlos Santana has power on both sides of the plate for $3,200/$3,000 at first base. Nick Gonzales and Jared Triolo are middling options in the heart of the lineup, we would be surprised if they actually hit ahead of slugger Jack Suwinski as projected. Suwinski leads the Pirates with 19 home runs and a .284 ISO, he has been very good this season and even has seven stolen bases in his tally but he costs just $3,600/$3,400 in the outfield this afternoon. Rodolfo Castro is far better against lefties, if he sees a plate appearance against the opener it would be to his benefit, but that is a lousy reason to stretch a stack if he hits eighth. Austin Hedges is a low-end catcher option.
  • The Diamondbacks are a good offense that does not strike out much, they will be a challenge for righty Mitch Keller who checks in at $9,800/$10,200 on this slate. Keller blazed his way to strong numbers over his first 10 starts but has cooled somewhat since then. The righty has a 27.3% strikeout rate with a 3.52 ERA and 3.39 xFIP in 110.0 innings and 18 outings so far this season, he has been mostly effective all year even the dip has not come with major blowups, just a few games in which he allowed a handful of runs without striking out quite as many as he had earlier in the year. Keller is a play on this slate but the Diamondbacks could punish him with their ability to avoid the strikeout.
  • Geraldo Perdomo leads off the projected Snakes’ lineup, he has a .274/.381/.416 triple-slash and 119 WRC+ with just a 17% strikeout rate, setting the theme early for this team. Ketel Marte has 15 home runs and a .210 ISO as one of the top second basemen in the game, Corbin Carroll is dealing with an ailing shoulder but he is a dynamite option if he makes his way into the lineup, Christian Walker has just an 18% strikeout rate with 18 home runs on the board, he was at just 19.6% while blasting 36 home runs last season and is a strong option on most slates. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has also been very good for power and he has a strong triple-slash over 321 plate appearances with a 119 WRC+ on the year. Emmanuel Rivera has been a quality addition to the lineup in his 164 opportunities, he is slashing .303/.329/.387 and costs just $3,100/$2,600 at third base. Jake McCarthyCarson Kelly, and Alek Thomas are a weak back end with mix-in quality in the speed and moderate power provided by McCarthy and Thomas

Play: Diamondbacks bats/stacks, Mitch Keller

Update Notes:

Philadelphia Phillies (+112/3.63) @ Miami Marlins (-121/3.95)

  • Marlins lefty Braxton Garrett has been good for most of his starts this season, the southpaw has a 27.5% strikeout rate and a 3.61 ERA with a 2.91 xFIP, the one thing he does not typically bring to the mound is reliable depth, though he worked beyond the fifth inning several times since the beginning of June. Garrett has been very good this season, he is facing a Phillies team that has a 104 WRC+ collectively in the split which ranks them just 18th in baseball. The team is a mixed bag with a 25.4% strikeout rate but a .197 ISO against lefties this season, Garrett will have to be on form to avoid trouble, but there is a definite high ceiling for strikeouts.
  • Kyle Schwarber has a 12.27 in our home run model in the leadoff spot to lead the Phillies lineup for power projections, the slugger has 22 home runs and a .245 ISO this season. Trea Turner is up to .250/.302/.386 with nine home runs and 19 stolen bases and is hopefully on his way back to full form. Nick Castellanos remains inexpensive despite being the most consistent high-end player on the Phillies. Castellanos has a 126 WRC+ to lead the team but he costs just $4,400/$3,600. Bryce Harper and JT Realmuto are a pair of stars in the heart of the lineup, Harper has a 111 WRC+ but has not hit for much power with only three homers and a .105 ISO since returning to the lineup. Realmuto is a high-end catcher with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases this year. Josh HarrisonAlec BohmEdmundo Sosa, and Christian Pache represent the weaker bottom-half for this team that rotates three of those players out against righties. Bohm is the high-end option in that group and the only everyday player, he has a 103 WRC+ with nine home runs and three stolen bases while slashing .280/.327/.429 this season.
  • Phillies lefty Ranger Suarez will answer the challenge for his squad, he projects well against the lousy Marlins but will have to avoid the lurking power of Jorge Soler near the top of the batting order. Suarez is typically good at checking home run potential, he has allowed just a 2.13% rate on a 7.6-degree launch angle this season and was similarly good at checking average launch angles over the past two years. Even he cannot entirely limit Soler’s upside against a lefty, the masher has a 13.95 as the only Marlins hitter near the magic number in the home run model. Suarez has a 23.4% strikeout rate with a 3.67 ERA and 3.71 xFIP on the season, he is a typically underappreciated talent in a good spot in a pitcher’s park for $8,700/$9,600 this afternoon and is one of the top three options on our board on a weak day for pitching.
  • Miami’s lineup opens with Luis Arraez who is at .386/.437/.475 as the All-Star break arrives. Arraez and Soler are a top-end pairing for $4,900/$3,100 and $4,800/$3,600, the duo is cheap for their combination of on-base skills and power. Bryan De La Cruz is effective in the third spot, the righty has a 101 WRC+ with nine home runs and a decent triple-slash but he does not hit for much power with just a 6.2% barrel rate and .138 ISO. Garrett Cooper has 12 home runs and a .188 ISO from the right side, his 10.2% barrel rate and 43.8% hard hits are appealing if one is stacking Marlins, but Suarez is not typically a great target for power. Yuli GurrielJean SeguraNick FortesDane Meyers, and Jon Berti round out the lineup. Gurriel is a veteran with a good hit tool but not much else, Segura has been atrocious this season, Fortes has a bit of pop but just four home runs and a .082 ISO this season in 197 opportunities, and Berti was last year’s stolen base later at 41 but has just eight this year.

Play: Ranger Suarez, Braxton Garrett, Phillies bats/stacks

Update Notes:

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