MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Strategy Notes & Live Show Link – Wednesday 8/16/23

The eight-game slate features an extremely deep pitching pool with four starters projected within two points of the top spot and at least six more options across the 16 total teams at a range of quality and price who look playable. The slate is far more limited at the plate, only 10 hitters land above the “magic number” in our home run model, and ownership will probably be concentrated around several of them and their highly-projected team stacks. We are in hurry-up mode today after a late start and unexpected data delivery issues from Fangraphs’ changes.

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

Join us at 4:15 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 – 8/16/23

Boston Red Sox (-152/5.02) @ Washington Nationals (+139/4.09)

  • Nationals lefty MacKenzie Gore has backslid badly through the Summer and now sits at a 4.62 ERA with a 3.95 xFIP and a 4.19% home run rate allowed. Gore has struck out 26.7% of opposing hitters while walking an ugly 10% and giving up far too much premium contact with 12% barrels, 44.9% hard hits, and 90 mph of exit velocity on average. On a deep slate with the Red Sox in town carrying a 5.02-run implied team total, it is difficult to have much faith in Gore’s potential. At $6,000/$8,200 he is somewhat on the value board as a very cheap SP2 on a slate that is short on them, he is more difficult to trust at the FanDuel price and he projects in the lower middle of a good pitching pool.
  • The Red Sox lineup opens with Rob Refsnyder with a lefty on the mound, he has a 100 WRC+ overall this season but a 149 against left-handed pitching. The journeyman utility player is slashing .330/.455/.418 with a .088 ISO in the split, he is not a power option but he is a strong play for correlated scoring on this side of platoon splits. Justin Turner is having an excellent year, he has 19 home runs and a 124 WRC+ and comes cheap with a mid-range power mark in the home run model. Trevor Story lands at 5.67 in the home run model, he has not hit one in his 24 plate appearances since returning but he has a 137 WRC+ to this point and is a star-caliber player when healthy. Rafael Devers has monster power from the left side, he has 26 home runs and a .245 ISO on the season and he has hit lefties better than righties across the board this year. Adam Duvall has hit 11 home runs in just 215 plate appearances, he has a .267 ISO and a 117 WRC+ from the right side and comes at a discount for just $4,000/$3,000. Masataka Yoshida has been a very good correlated scorer with strong individual potential at the plate from the left side late in the lineup. Pablo ReyesConnor Wong, and Luis Urias are mix-in options, Reyes has a decent hit tool and fills multiple middle-infield positions, Wong has a decent contact profile with six inexpensive unowned home runs in his 298 opportunities, and Urias is the most proven power bat in the trio, he hit 16 home runs last year and 23 the season before and costs $3,000/$2,200 with triple-position eligibility on the blue site.
  • James Paxton is one of the slate-leading pitchers of the day and he comes at a strong discount on the DraftKings board. Paxton is a $10,000 option that is very much in play on the FanDuel slate, with the hope that his ownership may dip at the high price with many premium options also available. On DraftKings, the lefty is a strong value at just $8,200 against a Nationals team that is undeniably better against southpaws for the season. Paxton has been a bit up and down through the season, but overall his numbers are very strong over 15 starts and 80.1 innings. The southpaw has a 27.4% strikeout rate that is the focus for his ceiling potential, while he has pitched to a 3.36 ERA and 3.58 xFIP. Paxton has allowed a bit of premium contact with 3.65% home runs on 8.4% barrels and a 39.5% hard-hit percentage but his 13.4% swinging-strike rate and talent for inducing punchouts has value on this slate.
  • The Nationals have an eighth-ranked WRC+ of 114 against lefties this season and they are very good at limiting strikeouts in the split at just 19.6% as a team. CJ Abrams is in the projected leadoff role, he has not been overly effective against lefties with just a 68 WRC+ in the split while slashing .195/.283/.327 in 129 opportunities. Lane Thomas has been effective overall as this team’s best player all season, against lefties he has a 165 WRC+ with a .261 ISO and eight of his home runs in 154 plate appearances. Joey Meneses has a good hit tool and mid-grade power, he has two home runs and a .287/.331/.426 triple-slash against lefties with a 104 WRC+ this season. Keibert Ruiz has good cheap power at the catcher position, he has a 115 WRC+ in the split but just a .139 ISO and one of his 14 home runs against lefties, Riley Adams may also land in the lineup, he has dominated 56 plate appearances in the split with a 205 WRC+, a .286 ISO, and three home runs. Stone Garrett is another priority position play in the split against lefties in this lineup, he has a 125 WRC+ with six home runs and a .239 ISO in 131 opportunities. Ildemaro Vargas is slashing .277/.309/.523 with a .246 ISO and three home runs in 68 plate appearances against lefties this season, the sample is very small overall but he has gotten involved in the team’s platoon-based production. Alex Call has a 110 WRC+ and .140 ISO in 127 chances against lefties this season and Michael Chavis is still above a .200 ISO for his career in the split.

Play: Red Sox bats/stacks, James Paxton, Nationals platoon-based value stacks

Update Notes: 

Philadelphia Phillies (+130/3.48) @ Toronto Blue Jays (-142/4.11)

  • Kevin Gausman is a premium option on this slate, he projects in the middle of a very tight group of highly projected high-end pitchers atop the board for $10,500/$11,100 despite stiff opposition in the form of the Phillies. Gausman has a slate-leading 32.5% strikeout rate with a 3.04 ERA and 2.91 xFIP this season, he has been mostly tremendous all year. The righty has allowed just 2.49% home runs despite a 10.5% barrel rate and 44.8% hard hits. While he is outpitching his form even from the strong two most recent seasons he has posted, it is easy to trust that Gausman is truly the pitcher we see statistically, he had a 28.3% strikeout rate with a 2.76 xFIP in 31 starts last year and a 29.3% strikeout rate with a 3.28 xFIP in 33 starts the season before. Gausman is easily worth an investment on this slate, at his hefty prices it makes sense to make decisions based on where the field’s ownership will be on the play, but he should definitely be a part of full slates of lineups.
  • The visiting Phillies are relegated to just a 3.48-run implied total despite the talent in their lineup. The projected batting order opens with Kyle Schwarber who has hit 30 home runs but has a 29.5% strikeout rate that will feed Gausman’s upside if he manages to avoid mistakes. Alec Bohm is having a strong year at .284/.337/.426 with a 106 WRC+ and a very sharp 16.2% strikeout rate, he has a chance to kickstart the offense with his ability to put the ball in play. Bryce Harper is an obvious star option for a fair price at $5,500/$3,300, he is a first baseman on both sites and also retains outfield eligibility on FanDuel. Nick Castellanos has 20 home runs on the season and a 4.84 in tonight’s home run model, well short of Schwarber’s team-leading 9.46 in the model, but the second-highest on the team. Bryson Stott has a capable bat with a strong hit tool and correlated scoring ability, Trea Turner has produced counting stats and may be on the rise to some degree, he has an 86 WRC+ for the season and comes cheap for his talent. JT Realmuto is a leading catcher for MLB DFS purposes, he has 15 home runs and 12 stolen bases with a 103 WRC+, meanwhile, Jake Cave and Johan Rojas are mix-in options to round out the low-priority Phillies stack in a bad matchup.
  • Aaron Nola picks up his end of what should be a good pitching duel with the Blue Jays checked to just 4.11 implied runs in a home game. Nola has not been quite as sharp as we have come to expect this season, the righty costs $9,000/$9,300 and projects just below the very top group in the board, while still maintaining a clear path to a slate-winning score. Nola has allowed a 4.28% home run rate, up almost two points from last year’s 2.35% and he has pitched to a 4.49 ERA with a 3.79 xFIP. The righty has a 25.2% strikeout rate and a 5.8% walk rate, he still tends to not get himself in trouble but the premium contact and power have hurt him in spots all year. Nola has an easily playable projection and will hopefully be somewhat under-owned against a middling Toronto team.
  • Toronto is not carrying a strong mark for runs in Vegas, they have underperforming quality players in their lineup but they are a bit of a difficult option against even this form of Nola and they rank ninth by collective fantasy point projections on our board. Whit Merrifield costs $4,500/$3,000 at second base or in the outfield, he has 11 home runs and 22 stolen bsaes with a 117 WRC+ on the season as a solid but unspectacular contributor. Brandon Belt is too cheap at $3,500/$3,400, he has a 131 WRC+ that leads the team over 334 plate appearances and he has managed 11 home runs with a .197 ISO. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has hit just 18 home runs with a .172 ISO but we know where the ceiling is for the player on any given slate and his price is way down at $5,200/$3,300. George Springer has 14 homers and 15 stolen bases in a down season but he is also cheap at $4,800/$3,000. Cavan Biggio has a bit of pop but a weak overall bat, Matt Chapman has a 17.5% barrel rate and 57.7% hard hits for the season and is a good late lineup buy, Danny Jansen is a bit of cheap pop at the catcher position with 15 home runs in 268 plate appearances, and Daulton Varsho rounds out the lineup with Paul DeJong as a lefty-righty power duo of unreliable repute.

Play: Kevin Gausman, Aaron Nola, offenses are mix-in hedge positions in this one.

Update Notes: 

New York Yankees (+190/3.92) @ Atlanta Braves (-210/5.71)

  • Veteran righty Charlie Morton projects just above Nola in the upper-middle of a strong pitching slate, both starters are viable options who may look less-than to the casual gamer while slotting in at good prices for their talents. Morton has the Yankees at just 3.92 implied runs, he has pitched to a 3.71 ERA and 4.37 xFIP on the season while striking out hitters at a 23.9% clip and walking 11.4%. The strikeouts are down about five points and the walks are up about three, but Morton is still an effective right-handed starter on the right night, he has limited home runs to just 2.29% on 38.4% hard hits and 88.6 mph of exit velocity and 7.5% barrels, and he has a good matchup and the best support in the game for the win bonus.
  • New York’s lineup opens with Isiah Kiner-Falefa who is slashing .258/.325/.367 with a .110 ISO while creating runs six percent worse than average, he puts the ball in play and has a low 16.6% strikeout rate while correlating with Aaron Judge in value stacks. Judge has 22 home runs in 285 plate appearances while slashing .282/.418/.621 with a .339 ISO, he is still a superstar and a massive threat to Morton in this lineup regardless of the lack of production around him. Gleyber Torres is a quality option at second base, he has 18 homers and 12 stolen bases with a 112 WRC+. Giancarlo Stanton has monster power potential and has hit 18 home runs in 286 plate appearances with a 15.7% barrel rate and 47% hard-hit rate, both of which are very good but down several points, Stanton is a high-ceiling player on any slate. Jake Bauers has good left-handed power with 11 quick homers in 227 plate appearances this year, he has a 20.6% barrel rate and 50.8% hard-hit rate in the small sample and adds a valuable lefty to the highly right-handed lineup. Billy McKinney may fill this role as well. DJ LeMahieuHarrison Bader, and Anthony Volpe have been bad to inconsistent for most of the year. LeMahieu has a 92 WRC+, Bader a 91, and Volpe has an 88 but the best counting stats of the group with 16 home runs and 20 stolen bases at shortstop. Kyle Higashioka has infrequent power at the catcher spot with seven home runs in 209 plate appearances.
  • Right-handed Randy Vasquez is making his fourth start of the season, over 19 innings he has a 15% strikeout rate with a 5.98 xFIP under a 1.89 ERA, he is not a good option against the Braves at any price.
  • Atlanta’s lineup is confirmed early in the afternoon, Ronald Acuna Jr. is a superstar leadoff hitter who has 27 home runs and 55 stolen bases with a .423 on-base and 168 WRC+ for the season, and Michael Harris II adds a lesser but similar power-speed combination in the second spot in the lineup at a cheap price with Ozzie Albies on the IL. Harris costs just $4,400/$2,900 as a good discount option atop this lineup, he has 11 home runs and 16 steals with a 110 WRC+ over 366 plate appearances. Austin Riley and Matt Olson are the best power options at their positions, third and first base respectively, and they are always in play both as one-offs or in stacks of Braves. Riley has 29 homers and Olson leads baseball with 43, the expensive corner men are easier to average down today with low prices available through the bottom of the lineup and Harris acting as a cheap correlation piece. Marcell Ozuna costs just $4,300/$2,700 despite 24 home runs and a .234 ISO on the season, Eddie Rosario is down to $3,700/$2,800 in a bit of a slump, he has 17 home runs and a .208 ISO but has dipped to just 97 WRC+, Travis d’Arnaud is spelling Sean Murphy at catcher tonight, he offers excellent power as a backup catcher for just $4,200/$2,900 and has hit nine home runs in just 203 chances this season. The lineup concludes with Orlando Arcia and Nicky Lopez once again, Arcia is the preferred option with Lopez as a cheap mix-in value.

Play: Braves bats/stacks, Charlie Morton, minor shares of Yankees value bats

Update Notes: 

Los Angeles Angels (+153/3.97) @ Texas Rangers (-166/5.13)

  • Righty Jon Gray has been less than elite this season. After a strong 2022 that saw him post a 25.7% strikeout rate and a 3.46 xFIP, Gray sits at just 20.8% strikeouts with a 3.65 ERA and 4.33 xFIP over 21 starts and 120.2 innings this season. While he has not been bad he has also fallen short of expectations and is facing a difficult Angels lineup for very different prices from site to site. Gray is a value option who projects in the middle of the board for $6,900 on the DraftKings slate but he is a bit of an awkward fit at $8,600 on the single-starter site. The Angels are flashing a bit of potential again and they have a ton of power to throw at Gray, but they are an underperforming bunch that is carrying just a 3.97-run implied total in Vegas against a pitcher who has allowed an average home run rate of just 3.06% over the past three seasons. Gray is at worst a value dart with a good ceiling, he has a strong projection for the salary on DraftKings and, while he is a bit pricey, he is not off the board on FanDuel.
  • Third time is the charm, right Los Angeles? After a letdown on each of the last two nights, the Angels are grading out as a somewhat interesting stack again, despite the low Vegas total. The team ranks fifth by collective fantasy point projections, second for home run potential, and they have a third-ranked points-per-dollar mark on both sites. Mickey Moniak leads off for $4,200/$2,900 in the outfield, he has 12 long balls with a 121 WRC+ but a 34.5% strikeout rate in his 258 plate appearances and is in a terrific correlation spot with Shohei Ohtani following. Ohtani has 41 homers with a .302/.405/.657 triple-slash and 180 WRC+, he is a fantastic option alone or with his friends in any matchup on any slate at any price. Brandon Drury has 15 homers and a sturdy .209 ISO this year, he blasted 28 long balls with a .230 ISO in a breakout campaign last year and adds good cheap right-handed power at second base on DraftKings for $4,100, he picks up first base also on the FanDuel slate for just $2,700. Mike Moustakas costs $3,200/$2,600 with first and third base eligibility and good left-handed power in a bit of a resurgent season over his 287 chances, CJ Cron has very real right-handed power but an 86 WRC+ in his injury-shortened season, and Luis Rengifo is a sneaky bat with home run potential late in the lineup. Hunter Renfroe will eventually hit his 18th home run of the season, he has been stuck for some time but is a major source of right-handed power with a declining price tag that sits at $3,200/$2,600. Matt Thaiss and Randal Grichuk are two good bats in the eighth and ninth spots, the Angels should be better in real life and for MLB DFS purposes than they have been for most of the season.
  • Texas will be facing quality lefty Reid Detmers, who projects in the middle of the deep pitching slate for $8,000/$7,200 against a tough Texas squad. The Rangers’ active roster has a fourth-ranked 125 WRC+ with a .178 ISO and 21.3% strikeout rate collectively in the split against southpaws this season and Detmers has hit some speed bumps in an otherwise good season of late. Over 21 starts the numbers still look good with 27.8% strikeouts and a 4.08 xFIP, but the lefty’s ERA has spiked to 5.27 over the course of a handful of bad starts. Detmers has allowed 14 earned runs in his last two outings, seven in each, while yielding three home runs and striking out four to the Mariners and another two home runs while walking three and striking out zero in just 2.1 innings against the Astros in his last time out. Detmers had made a few concerningly short starts prior to that stretch and has not pitched a truly good game since late June, his xFIP for July was 4.34 with a 29.7% strikeout rate but nine percent walks, and he is at a 7.73 xFIP with 10.8% strikeouts in the two August outings. Against stiff opposition, Detmers looks like a somewhat high-ceiling very low floor dart throw for value tonight.
  • The Rangers everyday top-end opens with expensive middle infielders Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, who have created runs 28% and 91% better than average this season. Seager would be in the MVP conversation if he had not missed a chunk of the season, his output over 349 plate appearances has been spectacular with 22 home runs and a .315 ISO. Nathaniel Lowe has been good with 14 long balls and a 128 WRC+ while averaging down costs at $4,500/$3,400 at first base. Adolis Garcia has a .2568/.340/.516 triple-slash with 30 home runs this season, the outfielder is a very strong option against Detmers ahead of the team’s pair of right-handed catchers Mitch Garver and Jonah Heim. Both backstops are playable if they are both in the lineup, they can be mixed-and-matched or even played in the same lineup on the FanDuel slate, they feature similar output and power profiles for cheap prices. Ezequeil Duran has a 122 WRC+ with 14 homers and seven stolen bases in a strong year from late in the lineup, JP Martinez is a cheap $2,500/$2,300 option to offset price and popularity late in the lineup, and Leody Taveras is still in play for mid-range power and speed despite a recent downturn.

Play: Rangers bats/stacks, Angels bats/stacks, Jon Gray SP2 value on DraftKings/mid-board mixer on FanDuel, Reid Detmers value darts

Update Notes: 

Chicago White Sox (+144/4.72) @ Chicago Cubs (-157/5.90)

  • Righty Javier Assad has a 3.12 ERA and 4.69 xFIP with an 18.1% strikeout rate in three starts and 60.2 innings this season, he is not an overly strong option at $6,400/$6,000, though he did work seven OK innings at Toronto in his most recent outing, allowing one run on four hits but striking out just two and walking one. There is a touch of matchup-and-innings-based value potential for Assad on DraftKings as an SP2 value dart against the lousy White Sox, but they are carrying a 4.72-run implied total that reveals the nature of the play overall.
  • The White Sox do not look like a strong option against Assad but they come very cheap with a few talented individuals at worst. Tim Anderson and Andrew Benintendi are very cheap at $3,100/$2,500 and $2,800/$2,600 in this matchup. The two underperforming veterans have been a disaster for Chicago’s run creation this season at 55 and 89 WRC+ respectively, neither has provided counting stats but if they are hitting ahead of Luis Robert Jr. and Eloy Jimenez they are playable parts when stacking White Sox. Robert has 32 home runs, 16 stolen bases, and a 140 WRC+ as the team’s best player, and Jimenez has hit 14 long balls in 344 opportunities and has a 110 WRC+ that is one of three above-average marks for run creation on this team. The third of those is Andrew Vaughn who checks in hitting sixth behind scuffling Yoan Moncada. Both players are cheap at $3,000/$2,500 for the third baseman and $3,000/$2,900 for Vaugh at first base, Vaughn leads with a 104 WRC+ to Moncada’s 75. Yasmani Grandal is on the back-end of his productive career, he has a 90 WRC+ with eight homers as a cheap catcher, Oscar Colas and Elvis Andrus have been lousy at the bottom of the lineup. Colas has left-handed power potential but has not delivered this season with only three home runs and a .074 ISO, and Andrus is at a 69 WRC+ with three homers and nine steals in 298 opportunities.
  • Cubs bats are in play once again, the high-quality lineup has a 5.90-run implied total against limited righty Mike Clevinger, who costs $5,700/$7,400 and has a 3.55 ERA but a 5.46 xFIP this season. Clevinger has struck out 19.2% and walked nine percent while allowing 8.1% barrels and a 2.99% home run rate. The premium contact has been kept mostly in check, but Clevinger has a history of allowing more long balls than this, he is difficult to trust against a good Cubs squad with a hefty total and plenty of talent for sequencing along with quality power. Clevinger was OK in his most recent outing, striking out six Yankees over six innings while allowing a lone run on three hits but he also walked three and basically anyone can beat the Yankees these days. Clevinger has not imploded on the mound this season, his peak for earned runs in a game was just six, and that happened only once, but he has been unreliable for allowing runs and making short starts that lack strikeout bonuses and fail to reach innings requirements for additional points, and his expected numbers for what is actually under his control reveal that he has been overperforming his talent to this point.
  • Mike Tauchman has seven homers and five stolen bases with a high-quality on-base percentage and a cheap bat in the leadoff role as a correlation option at worst. Nico Hoerner is a $5,100/$3,600 second baseman with shortstop eligibility on the FanDuel slate, he has nine homers and 30 stolen bases and gets on at a .339 clip this year with a 104 WRC+ ahead of the team’s power bats. Ian Happ has 14 homers, nine stolen bases, and a .363 on-base percentage that keeps the engine turning for Chicago’s offense, he costs just $3,800/$3,300 in the outfield. Cody Bellinger is our overall home run pick of the day at 10.54 as one of only 10 hitters on the entire slate who land above the “magic number” tonight. Bellinger has 18 home runs and 17 stolen bases with a 148 WRC+ in the heart of the lineup. Dansby Swanson is a good power-hitting shortstop who also has 18 home runs on the board, a total that Christopher Morel also matches in the seventh spot in the projected batting order with Jeimer Candelario as a switch-hitter carrying 17 dingers in between. Seiya Suzuki hit his 11th home run of the season last night and is back above the waterline at 102 WRC+ over 405 plate appearances, he has fallen short of expectations but is a good hitter overall and he costs just $3,300/$2,900 as a solid piece of late-lineup value. Tucker Barnhart is a mix-in catcher option with a bit of pop for cheap pricing where required.

Play: Cubs bats/stacks, minor shares of cheap White Sox bats/stacks

Update Notes: 

Seattle Mariners (-195/5.32) @ Kansas City Royals (+178/3.79)

  • The hometown Royals look like a target for Mariners bats again tonight with an opener-follower situation that features righty Alec Marsh as the anticipated primary innings eater. Marsh has a 22.9% strikeout rate with a 12.4% walk rate, a 6.27 ERA, and a 5.37 xFIP with a 6.54% home run rate on 10.5% barrels in 33 innings and six starts this season, he is not a good option in this role even at $5,000/$6,300.
  • Julio Rodriguez is in a good spot leading off for $5,300/$3,800, he has 19 home runs and 28 stolen bases with a 111 WRC+ in his slightly disappointing follow-up season but he has time to round those numbers into form and is carrying a 10.5% barrel rate with 51.7% hard hits. Eugenio Suarez has 17 homers with a .158 ISO and a 30.4% strikeout rate in a bit of a mixed bag of quality. Suarez has hit 31 homers in each of the past two seasons and he is a cheap source of righty power at third base for $4,100/$2,700 with an 8.06 in tonight’s home run model. Ty France has 10 home runs and a 108 WRC+ in a down season overall, his run-creation mark was 27% better than average last year and he has had a better triple-slash each of the last two years. Cal Raleigh did not get our home run on the board in the Mariners outburst last night but he has a 9.50 in the model tonight and comes right back as a strong power play at the catcher spot on both sites. Teoscar Hernandez has 18 home runs and a league-average 100 WRC+ for cheap pricing, Dominic Canzone has shown quality at the plate in a tiny sample of 78 plate appearances with two home runs and a 43.1% hard-hit rate, and Cade Marlowe is a cheap left-handed outfielder who has been involved with a 151 WRC+ over his first 51 chances at the plate. Dylan Moore and Josh Rojas are playable mix-ins with a bit of low-end pop and speed for low prices in multiple positions around the diamond on both sites.
  • Luis Castillo is another of the slate-leading pitching options, he ranks third but projects within a point of the top spot in what is a better matchup than Paxton has against the Nationals. Castillo has a 28.2% strikeout rate with a 3.14 ERA and 3.61 xFIP over 143.1 innings in 24 starts, he is reliable for depth and typically quality and is a very strong buy at $9,600/$10,500, particularly given the lack of power quality in the Royals lineup and the potential for him to skate past the home run issues that have been a blip with 3.99% homers on 10.4% barrels this season.
  • Maikel Garcia is not a power threat in the leadoff role, he has 18 stolen bases and is an OK option for correlated scoring with a .335 on-base but just a 96 WRC+ for the season. Bobby Witt Jr. is a clear threat to Castillo’s clean game, the star shortstop has 23 home runs and 34 stolen bases with a .219 ISO and 118 WRC+ over 516 plate appearances in what has become a terrific season that simply started slowly. Michael Massey is cheap as a lefty second baseman with a bit of pop, he has 10 homers in 327 plate appearances but just a .143 WRC+ on 8.2% barrels. Sal Perez is carrying 19 home runs and a limited .183 ISO that is well below expectations for the powerhouse catcher. MJ Melendez is another cheap lefty who should hit for more power than he does given a strong contact profile, he is a priority in Royals stacks at $2,700/$2,800 but a limited option overall. Nelson VelazquezMatt BeatyDrew Waters, and Kyle Isbel are nothing more than mix-and-match players for cheap salaries to fill out stacks on most nights.

Play: Luis Castillo, Mariners bats/stacks

Update Notes: 

Baltimore Orioles (+158/3.50) @ San Diego Padres (-172/4.59)

  • The third member of a four-man group projected within two points of the top spot, lefty Blake Snell is a strong option against the Orioles tonight. Snell has a 31.3% strikeout rate in 130 innings and 24 outings this season. The southpaw has a 2.63 ERA and 3.62 xFIP that defy his 13.9% walk rate, he is very good at pitching his way out of jams and, while he can run into the occasional issue with efficiency, he has regularly worked fairly deep into games this season. Snell is a premium option against an Orioles team that sits in the middle of the league against left-handed pitchers this season, for $10,100/$10,600 he is among the priority pitchers on both sites on a very deep slate.
  • Orioles bats are in a lower-end spot than we may typically find them, they will have to capitalize on Snell’s walks to deliver tonight and they have a limited 3.50-run implied total in Vegas. Baltimore’s lineup opens with excellent catcher Adley Rutschman who could be a thorn in Snell’s side with his 15.2% strikeout rate and 13.1% walk rate to start things out. Ryan Mountcastle has massive right-handed power and a 7.18 in the home run model against a lefty who typically is not lousy for allowing power. Mountcastle has a .199 ISO and 15 home runs in 364 plate appearances with a 13.9% barrel rate that leads the team. Anthony Santander is a good switch-hitting power hitter for cheap prices in the outfield, his $4,000/$3,200 salaries do not match the 21 home runs and .215 ISO or his historical production. Austin Hays is a quality right-handed bat in the outfield with a 109 WRC+ over 420 plate appearances, Jordan Westburg has been effective with two homers, three steals, and a 104 WRC+ in 126 opportunities, and Ramon Urias has cheap right-handed power. Lefty star Gunnar Henderson is not in the projected lineup but he has seen increasing opportunities against same-handed pitching and would be a good piece if he plays. Aaron HicksJames McCann, and Jorge Mateo round out the projected lineup in low-end form.
  • Dean Kremer is cheap at $7,100/$8,000, he has a lower-middle projection overall on the deep slate but he is a strong piece of mid-range value for his pricing, particularly on the limited SP2 board on DraftKings. Kremer has a 21.4% strikeout rate but a 4.50 ERA and 4.46 xFIP this season and he has allowed 4.46% home runs on too much premium contact. The righty is facing a top-heavy Padres lineup that will force him to navigate several star-caliber bats, but for the pricing, and with limited options, he is on the board for a value play.
  • Ha-Seong Kim costs $4,700/$3,200 and fits into three positions on FanDuel. The infielder has created runs 31% better than average in a big breakout year, he has 15 home runs, 27 stolen bases, and a strong triple-slash with good strikeout and walk rates. Fernando Tatis Jr. is up to 19 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 458 plate appearances, but Juan Soto is outpacing him for power with 24 homers and a .236 ISO while creating runs 49% better than average. Soto has a 57.7% hard-hit rate with a .407 on-base percentage, he is one of the best overall hitters in the entire sport. Manny Machado is a good play for power upside in this matchup, he has a 9.32 in the home run model to slot in third behind Tatis at 10.96 and Soto’s 9.84. Machado costs $5,100/$3,500 at third base, he is still a bit too cheap for his quality. Xander Bogaerts is up to .272/.346/.401 and he has been 10% better than average for run creation with 12 home runs and 13 stolen bases in a season that is rounding back into form, he is also discounted and he fills a key shortstop position with quality in a good spot. Jake Cronenworth has been limited with a 95 WRC+ and 10 home runs with a lousy triple-slash but he is cheap in the heart of the lineup, Luis Campusano has been good over 83 plate appearances, hitting four home runs with a 130 WRC+ overall, and Trent Grisham mixes in with Ben Gamel for cheap lefty bats in the outfield in the final two spots in the projected lineup.

Play: Blake Snell, Padres bats/stacks, Dean Kremer value darts

Update Notes: 

Milwaukee Brewers (+209/3.40) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-232/5.22)

  • Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw joins the group at the top of the board as the fourth of four projected within two points of the slate lead, and he does so on a limited five-inning projection. Kershaw worked five innings and faced 18 Rockies hitters in his return, allowing a solo home run and three hits while walking zero and striking out four. The Rockies are an inept lineup against lefties so that counts as a bit of a letdown, but the five innings were good to see and he has a clear path to success even if he only works about 80 pitches tonight, but things get bumpy given a $9,900/$10,800 price tag. Kershaw can find enough strikeouts and clean innings against a middling Brewers lineup to deliver for those prices but he is probably also the biggest longshot of the top starters and his ceiling is somewhat fixed for the prices. He will surely be low-owned, which is advantageous, but the pricing could be a bit more favorable overall.
  • Limitations on the excellent lefty’s pitch count do not lead to shares of Brewers bats at a 3.40-run implied total, the dominant Kershaw is likely to shut this team down for the first five innings, rostering half a ballgame is rarely a winning approach. Those looking to include Brewers for contrarianhood’s sake should focus on Christian Yelich, the team’s star who has a 128 WRC+, 16 homers, and 25 steals in another strong year, catcher William Contreras who has power and a good triple-slash with fair prices in a strong spot in the batting order for his position, and Willy Adames who is flashing a team-leading 6.53 in the home run model but could easily be a zero over five plate appearances. Carlos Santana is cheap as a switch-hitting limited power option, Mark Canha is a multi-positional veteran with a cheap price tag from the right side of the plate, Andruw Monasterio has a 112 WRC+ over 179 plate appearances, Tyrone Taylor has cheap righty power in limited doses, Brian Anderson is a righty who has not been good in months, and Joey Wiemer returns to the lineup with good counting stats but bad numbers overall.
  • Los Angels bats are in play, Wade Miley is not. There is simply no reason to roster the lousy lefty against this Dodgers squad on such a deep slate, particularly at a $6,600/$7,600 that is not low enough for the talent vs talent matchup in play. Miley has a 2.90 ERA but a 4.78 xFIP which is the true mark for quality, he has a 17% strikeout rate and has allowed 2.88% home runs, which has been his positive trait throughout his past few seasons.
  • Mookie Betts has 31 home runs and a 159 WRC+, Freddie Freeman has 23 long balls, 16 stolen bases, and a team-leading 167 mark for run creation, they are both expensive but well worth it atop the Dodgers lineup. Betts provides excellent versatility on the blue site with his continued triple-position eligibility, he is a second baseman or an outfielder on the DraftKings slate at $6,200/$4,400. Freeman fills first base with excellence at $6,100/$4,300. Catcher Will Smith should have a field day with all of the contact available against Miley, he has a 15.7% strikeout rate and a .194 ISO with a 131 WRC+ this season. JD Martinez is back in the lineup and back to leading the team with an 8.02 in the home run model, he has a 17.7% barrel rate and 55.2% hard-hit rate that are both among the top options on the entire slate. Amed Rosario is a toolsy infielder for just $4,300/$2,800, he fills both middle infield spots on DraftKings but just shortstop on FanDuel. Max Muncy has a 7.76 in the home run model and mashes same-handed pitching, he will likely be under-owned by the field at $5,000/$3,600 at third base. Enrique Hernandez is a mix-in, Chris Taylor has excellent platoon-based power against lefties, and Miguel Rojas has not been good overall this season to close out the lineup.

Play: Dodgers bats/stacks, Clayton Kershaw low ownership darts with awareness of a 75-80 pitch limitation and a capped ceiling

Update Notes: 

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