MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Strategy Overview & Live Show Link – Wednesday 8/30/23

The six-game Wednesday evening main slate gets rolling at 6:40 ET on both FanDuel and DraftKings in order to capture three early games that feature the bulk of the quality pitching options for the entire slate. This is an extraordinarily top-heavy pitching slate, outside of the obvious names atop the board there are only dart throws or bad options available, which should concentrate ownership in fairly extreme ways around only a few pitching options. This creates the ability to differentiate lineups by pushing less obvious stacks in combination with the premium highly-owned pitchers, or by embracing some risk and going to a few of the also-ran value options on the mound. Of course, just rostering a lot of Gerrit Cole and Jesus Luzardo and trying to win with the available hitting combinations is a viable approach as well.

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 – 8/30/23

New York Yankees (-221/4.86) @ Detroit Tigers (+200/3.24)

On a very short pitching slate on which we may be looking to embrace some low-cost risk on the mound, even a lousy option like Tigers starter Joey Wentz (Brendan White is now opening) at least warrants exploration. Wentz has worked 84.1 innings in his 17 starts this season and he has put together a fairly pitiful pitching line with a 6.62 ERA and 5.08 xFIP and just a 19.7% strikeout rate with nine percent walks. Wentz is a lefty, which puts him on the wrong side of splits with the highly right-handed Yankees lineup. For all their flaws, the Yankees’ active roster does have a 118 WRC+ collectively against left-handed pitching this season to rank seventh in baseball, and their .223 collective ISO is second to only Atlanta’s outrageous .241 in the split, though they do strike out at a 23.7% rate. Wentz has yielded a 4.62% home run rate on 10.8% barrels and 42.8% hard hits this season, which plays directly into the Yankees’ power potential at the plate. The lefty was better in seven starts and 32.2 innings last season, he had a 3.03 ERA and a 4.56 xFIP with a 20% strikeout rate and he limited home runs to just 1.48% on 7.4% barrels. In six AAA starts this season, Wentz has a 4.40 ERA with a 4.42 xFIP and a 28.9% strikeout rate. He worked at a 27% strikeout rate over 48.1 AAA innings in 11 starts last season and was always an upper-20s strikeout pitcher through the lower levels of the minor leagues, he is not bereft of talent despite what the results have shown. This is at best a both-sided situation that heavily favors the Yankees, in most situations Wentz would not be on the board at all in this matchup, but the slate is extremely short for pitching and he lands in the middle of the pool with his low-end projection for $6,700/$7,200 against a Yankees lineup that is vulnerable to strikeouts even against lefties and has been extremely gettable on the right night for pitchers.

On the New York side of things, the lineup opens with DJ LeMahieu who has been lousy throughout most of the season and currently sits two percent below average for run creation with a dozen home runs and a 22.7% strikeout rate. LeMahieu struck out at just a 13.1% clip last year in what was otherwise a mediocre season that was disappointing at the time but now looks sturdy by comparison. This season he is slashing .242/.321/.389 with a .146 ISO despite a fair 44.4% hard-hit rate. LeMahieu gains value by hitting ahead of the Yankees’ power core and playing three positions for $2,600 on FanDuel, as a $3,900 first baseman on DraftKings he is more difficult to justify as an individual, but the correlation play is available. Aaron Judge has a 17.34 in our home run model, he is one of the overall slate leaders for power potential and has a .358 ISO with 29 home runs in just 337 plate appearances this season. Judge has a world-leading 27.8% barrel rate and 63.3% hard-hit rate, he is the primary threat to Wentz in this lineup. Gleyber Torres has quietly had a fantastic season for the scuffling Yankees. The second baseman is slashing .271/.339/.455 with a .184 ISO and 22 home runs, he has stolen 12 bases and reduced his strikeout rate from 22.6% to just 14.2% while pushing his walk rate from 6.8% to 9.2%. Torres is only 26, he is still growing at the plate and he has made major strides this season, he should be a crucial part of both Yankees stacks and the team’s plans for the future. Giancarlo Stanton is more of a problem than a solution for this team going forward, but for MLB DFS purposes he is another high-priority hitter when stacking this team. Stanton has massive power potential on any given slate, he has a 15.9% barrel rate and 48.1% hard hits with 19 home runs and a .230 ISO over 330 plate appearances but he pushes strikeouts in the direction of opposing pitchers and does not hit for average or get on base reliably. Anthony Volpe is up to 19 home runs but is still sitting at a 92 WRC+ for the season. The rookie has a long way to go before he is a reliable option, but he makes for a good DFS play from the middle of the lineup at shortstop for $3,600/$2,600. Isiah Kiner-Falefa slots in sixth in the projected lineup and fills multiple positions for $3,300/$2,200, he is a low-end hitter with limited power and an 88 WRC+ over 321 plate appearances. Everson Periera costs $2,400/$2,100 in the outfield, he has done very little in 31 plate appearances but his 13.3% barrel rate and 66.7% hard-hit rate in the tiny sample are at least encouraging and he was raking in the minors as one of the team’s top prospects. Kyle Higashioka has 10 home runs in 232 plate appearances and makes sturdy contact with an 11.7% barrel rate and 47.4% hard-hit rate. Oswald Peraza is another top organizational prospect getting playing time at the end of a lost season, he has a 39 WRC+ in 89 plate appearances with zero home runs and four steals so far.

Right-handed ace Gerrit Cole costs $11,500/$11,100 from the top of the board across the industry. Cole is sure to be crushingly popular despite the hefty price tag on both sites, he is easily the top pitcher on both talent and performance this season, and he has one of the better overall matchups in baseball with the Tigers on the other side of the equation. Detroit’s active roster has a collective 91 WRC+ with a 24.5% strikeout rate against righties this season, Cole has a strong chance to bend the slate tonight. The righty has been the primary bright spot for the Yankees this season, he has a 2.95 ERA and a 3.66 xFIP with a 27% strikeout rate that is down about five points year over year. Despite the dip in strikeouts, Cole has been mostly strong this season, he has wrangled his home run issues to just 2.69% on 8.4% barrels and a 39% hard-hit rate this season. Cole was better for strikeouts last year at 32.4% and he had a 3.50 ERA with a 2.78 xFIP in a reversal of this season’s output, but he allowed a 4.16% home run rate on 9.5% barrels over his 200.2 innings. Despite the popularity, Cole is the top overall pitching option on this slate, he can be rostered at or about the field’s level of exposure, but playing it either over or under that level as a plan is not inappropriate.

The Tigers are a contrarian option on a 12-team slate. There is a bit of power in the lineup and they have a few interesting young hitters who connect together for cheap prices. Cole is an ace and he is highly likely to shut this team down, even if they get to him a total implosion on the mound is unlikely, Detroit is carrying just a 3.24-run implied team total as +200 underdogs for a reason, but for DFS purposes they represent an angle of attack on a wide swath of the field. Akil Baddoo is slotted into the top spot in the Tigers lineup, the lefty has nine home runs and eight stolen bases with an 88 WRC+ over his 291 plate appearances this season. Baddoo is cheap at $3,200/$2,700 in the outfield and he has multi-category potential at the plate but he is a limited option overall who gets by more on the memory of the 13 home runs and 18 steals with a 108 WRC+ that he posted in 461 chances in 2021 than anything he has done lately. Riley Greene has been the team’s best hitter this season. The young lefty has a .286/.347/.450 triple-slash over 404 plate appearances with 11 home runs and six stolen bases. Greene makes high-end contact at the plate, he has a 47.3% hard-hit rate and an 11.7% barrel rate that should eventually amount to more power than he has shown with his .163 ISO, he is a priority bat in stacks of Tigers hitters and has a 6.70 in the home run model. Spencer Torkelson is much better than his reputation, he has established a firm footing against MLB pitching this season and has a ton of room to grown going forward. Torkelson is on our watch lists for season-long drafts next year, he has 23 home runs and a .202 ISO on 14.5% barrels and 51.1% hard hits this season. The first baseman strikes out at a 24.3% clip, which is high but not tragic, and he has pushed walks up to 10.3% this season while creating runs three percent better than average. Torkelson has an 8.07 in the home run model despite the same-handed matchup against a premium pitcher. Kerry Carpenter is a truly talented left-handed power bat in the heart of the lineup for only $4,700/$3,000 in the outfield, he has a 46% hard-hit rate, an 11.5% barrel rate, 20 home runs, and a .246 ISO in just 332 plate appearances this season. Carpenter has a 9.18 in the home run model to lead the team tonight, he is a very good option in Tigers stacks and makes for a functionally good potentially low-owned one-off as well. Matt Vierling has seven home runs and an 89 WRC+ from the right side, he costs $3,800/$2,400 with outfield and third base eligibility on DraftKings but he loses the hot corner on FanDuel. Lefties Zach McKinstry and Parker Meadows slot in late in the lineup at cheap prices. McKinstry has eight home runs and 15 stolen bases with a 90 WRC+ in 429 chances this year, he fills both middle infield spots for $4,000 on DraftKings and adds outfield eligibility to that mix for $2,300 on FanDuel. Meadows is a recent call-up who has a home run and a stolen base in his first 32 plate appearances, and he had 19 home runs with 19 stolen bases in 517 opportunities at AAA this season. Meadows is a sneaky-good option late in the lineup when stacking Tigers. Javier Baez has made 479 disinterested plate appearances this season, he has a 57 WRC+ with eight home runs and 11 steals, the Tigers should put him on waivers and see if a team will bite. Jake Rogers has 15 home runs and a .215 ISO but he strikes out at a 32.2% clip and has an 88 WRC+ overall, he is a limited catcher option for power late in the lineup and he has a 7.88 in the home run model against Cole.

Play: Gerrit Cole, Yankees bats/stacks as good options, Tigers bats/stacks as a contrarian option on a short-slate, Joey Wentz as a low-expectation value dart in small doses

Update Notes: in a minor pivot, the Tigers will use opener Brendan White in the first inning before Wentz takes over, this changes very little

Texas Rangers (-152/5.30) @ New York Mets (+140/4.31)

Mets starter Denyi “Who?” Reyes will be taking the mound at what will apparently be fairly high ownership in a matchup against the suddenly inept Rangers lineup. Texas has been in a bit of a nosedive and they have been lousy in this series against the Mets, but that is no reason to take them lightly and they are carrying a 5.30-run implied team total as -152 favorites in Vegas on the way into this matchup. Reyes has made one traditional start and four total appearances in the Show this season, he worked 4.2 innings on August 12th, striking out four of 26 Braves hitters while walking four and allowing five runs on eight hits but amazingly not giving up a home run. While no team has been as good as Atlanta this season, the Rangers represent a reasonably comparable opponent for the limited non-prospect 26-year-old righty. Reyes has worked 76 innings over 15 starts and 17 appearances in AAA this season, pitching as a 26-year-old against younger developing talents he has managed only a 5.80 ERA and a 5.97 xFIP with a 17.8% strikeout rate and 8.5% walks. While he does cost only $4,000/$5,500 on a slate in which everyone will be desperate to fit Atlanta bats and Gerrit Cole shares into lineups, Reyes is simply not a good pitcher. There is very limited potential, even for cost, but the starter is picking up a ton of popularity because of the lineup constructions that he accesses for the low cost. With the weight of public popularity and a very thin path to any sort of respectable fantasy score in this matchup, Reyes is looking like a questionable plan on both sites, we prefer to find footing outside of beartraps.

Rangers hitters have struggled in two seemingly easy matchups in their visit to New York but they get a third bite at the Big Apple tonight with Reyes on the hill. Marcus Semien has 20 home runs and 13 stolen bases and he strikes out at just a 14.3% clip to set the pace for a strong Texas lineup that will click back into form in short order. Semien is pricey at $6,100 on DraftKings but the star second baseman is a bit discounted at just $3,600 on FanDuel, he is a leading option at his position tonight. Corey Seager has a 17% strikeout rate and a 17.7% barrel rate with 55.8% hard hits, his 12.50 leads the team in tonight’s home run model. The superstar shortstop has been one of the best players in baseball when healthy this season, he has created runs 79% better than average in 406 plate appearances with 24 home runs and a .300 ISO. Reyes should be looking for cover any time the star lefty shortstop is at the plate tonight, Seager has major upside on this slate and the Rangers look like an excellent angle of attack if Reyes is going to be extremely popular. Nathaniel Lowe has 15 home runs and a .282/.373/.449 triple-slash while striking out at a 21.8% clip and walking 12.3% of the time. Lowe is affordable for $4,600/$3,300 at first base, he is a major value in stacks of Rangers. Adolis Garcia is the team’s third star, the outfielder has 32 home runs and a .248 ISO with a 121 WRC+ in 553 plate appearances. While he has stolen only eight bases this season, down from 25 last year, Garcia has been better for power and run creation in 2023, he has a 15.5% barrel rate and 49.9% hard hits and is an elite option for $5,600/$3,700. Mitch Garver is a cheap catcher play for power at $3,800/$3,000, he works on both sites and has a 15.4% barrel rate with 48.3% hard hits and 13 home runs in only 230 plate appearances this year. Garver is a major source of right-handed power in this lineup, he is an easy way to average down the prices of stars ahead of him. JP Martinez and Jonah Heim slot into the sixth and seventh spots, Heim does everything that Garver does at the plate while filling the same position for slightly lower salaries with a slightly lower plate appearance expectation. Martinez has a 67 WRC+ over his first 40 plate appearances but he had 12 home runs and 33 stolen bases in 308 plate appearances in AAA before joining the big club. Ezequiel Duran and Leody Taveras have not been as outrageously productive as they were earlier in the season but they remain high-quality low-cost options from the last two spots in the lineup and Duran fills three positions for only $2,700 on the blue site.

Righty Dane Dunning is the good pitcher in this game. Over 136.2 innings and 20 starts, Dunning has a 19% strikeout rate with a 3.36 ERA and 4.36 xFIP while limiting home runs to just 2.48% on 7.8% barrels and 9.8 degrees of launch angle on average. Dunning has had several very strong MLB DFS performances throughout the season in which he has spiked big strikeout totals, at worst he is easily on the board for the potential of clean innings and depth with a shot at both bonuses for only $7,600/$7,700 on a very short pitching slate. Dunning ranks fourth overall on the pitching board but he sits ahead of the also-ran options by a wide margin and projects far closer to the second-best option than he does the sixth-best. Dunning is a good alternative for value on this slate, while he may not spike the big strikeout total and is not projected to, he is one of the top options for a good-not-great game that will provide the actual value we need when compared to options like Reyes or low-end starters like Angel Zerpa and Andre Jackson for cheap prices.

The Mets are showing limited power marks tonight, outside of star slugger Pete Alonso who still cracks the “magic number” against Dunning and sits at 11.48 in the cleanup spot in the projected batting order. Alonso and shortstop Francisco Lindor are the primary threats to Dunning’s success on the mound tonight, the first baseman has 39 home runs and a .296 ISO with a 129 WRC+ on the season and he makes outstanding contact with a 15.2% barrel rate. Alonso is cheap on DraftKings for just $4,800/$3,900, he is a crucial part of Mets stacks but he is also potentially deployable as a first base one-off option on that site with the low price tag. Lindor has 24 home runs and 23 stolen bases and is a leading shortstop who creates runs 19% better than average this season, he has a good spot in the lineup to correlate with Alonso and leadoff man Brandon Nimmo, the team’s third-best player. Nimmo has a .355 on-base percentage and 19 home runs with a .175 ISO and 121 WRC+ over 567 sturdy plate appearances, he has a 21.9% strikeout rate and an 11.5% walk rate to set the pace for $4,400/$2,900 in the outfield. Nimmo is cheap on both sites, Lindor is at a discount on DraftKings at just $4,800, he costs $3,700 on the FanDuel slate. The Mets top-end is a better buy overall on DraftKings, Jeff McNeil slots into the third spot as a limited correlation play for $3,700/$2,800 with second base and outfield eligibility on both sites. Daniel Vogelbach begins the decline for the Mets lineup, he has 12 home runs and a 104 WRC+ in a shaky season at the plate but still makes sturdy left-handed contact with a 48.3% hard-hit rate and nine percent barrels this season. Francisco Alvarez has an 8.56 in the home run model with 21 on the season but he has cooled significantly as the season has progressed. DJ Stewart has cheap left-handed power potential with seven homers and a .317 ISO in his limited 96 plate appearances, Mark Vientos is a mix-in who delivered thunderous power in the minors but has yet to fully land in the Show, and Rafael Ortega is of mix-in quality in the last spot in the lineup, he has an 84 WRC+ in 88 plate appearances.

Play: Rangers bats/stacks, Dane Dunning value, Mets bats in small doses, Denyi Reyes looks like an over-owned trap spot but he has a very low price, proceed with caution.

Update Notes:

Tampa Bay Rays (-123/3.96) @ Miami Marlins (+113/3.62)

This game is carrying the lowest run total on the board in Vegas at 7.5 and is the only game in which both teams are under 4.0 implied runs and both teams are starting an effective potentially slate-winning pitcher. Jesus Luzardo takes the hill for the hometown Marlins, the outstanding lefty has a 27.9% strikeout rate with a seven percent walk rate and 1.25 WHIP on the season. Luzardo has made 26 starts and thrown 143.1 innings in a solid season to date, he has a 3.77 ERA and 3.71 xFIP with a terrific 14.1% swinging-strike rate and 30.1% CSW%, though he has allowed a bit of premium contact on a typically fly ball trajectory. Luzardo’s home run rate sits at a manageable 3.51% on 10.7% barrels and 90 mph of exit velocity with 41.9% hard hits. The Rays are a good lineup but they have been diminished since their outrageous start to the season, Luzardo is not entirely safe in this matchup by any means, but he projects into the third spot on our board with one of the more obviously high ceilings on the slate. For $9,600/$9,200, Luzardo is a relative bargain compared to Cole, who has been performing at very similar levels but lands in a far better matchup.

The Rays are in play against the contact that Luzardo offers up, but they are just a mid-level stack given the 3.96-run implied team total in Vegas. Tampa Bay ranks fourth by collective fantasy points and sixth by home run potential on a 12-team slate, they will most likely be fairly low-owned against a premium starter that the field will need in lineups. Yandy Diaz has an 8.14 in the home run model with 17 in the books and a very strong .327/.403/.506 triple-slash over 496 plate appearances in a breakout season. Diaz fills first base on DraftKings and picks up additional eligibility at third on FanDuel, he costs $5,500/$3,700 as an excellent starting point for Rays stacks. Randy Arozarena follows with 21 home runs and 18 stolen bases as the mold for what this team tries to do offensively. Arozarena has created runs 31% better than average but his ISO has dipped to just .176 despite 12.8% barrels and 48.4% hard hits. Harold Ramirez has nine home runs and a good triple-slash, the line-drive hitter’s early season homer output was a bit uncharacteristic but his .300/.343/.434 triple-slash and 118 WRC+ are on form and he is a cheap option at $3,200/$2,800 in the Tampa Bay outfield. Isaac Paredes has a $4,500/$3,300 price tag with eligibility at second or third base on DraftKings and adding first base to that mix on FanDuel, he has 27 home runs in 461 chances at the plate this season and has created runs at pace 44% better than league-average. Osleivis Basabe has a 40.6% hard-hit rate with one home run and a 111 WRC+ in his first 48 plate appearances since joining the team to replace Wander Franco. Basabe is a cheap piece at a premium position and he fills a good spot in the lineup with the potential to create runs at low ownership. Jose Siri has 24 home runs and a .280 ISo in 327 plate appearances, his 107 WRC+ is a bit low for the power output but he is a threatening bat late in the lineup with a 10.83 to lead the team in the home run model tonight. Vidal Brujan has a 39 WRC+ over 68 plate appearances, Josh Lowe has been productive late in the lineup, he has 18 home runs and 25 stolen bases with a 129 WRC+ in a strong 399 plate appearances, and Christian Bethancourt is a mix-in catcher play for $2,800/$2,200, he has eight home runs in 289 chances.

The Marlins will be facing Zach Eflin who has had a good season overall with a 3.50 ERA and 3.20 xFIP in 144.1 innings and 25 starts. Eflin has been effective for MLB DFS purposes in many of his outings, he works reliably deep into most of his starts and he has a 25.7% strikeout rate with a fantastic 3.5% walk rate and a 1.04 WHIP this season. The righty has allowed just a 2.79% home run rate on 34.9% hard hits and 87.1 mph of exit velocity. For just $9,700/$10,000, Eflin slots into the second spot on our board by raw fantasy point projections in a decent spot against a Marlins team that is without their major power source with Jorge Soler out with an injury. Eflin seems likely to slip to lower ownership than the other starters at the top of the board and, apparently, Denyi Reyes, which gives him a fair amount of additional value on this slate, Eflin is a very good option for lineups that choose to skip Gerrit Cole for some savings from the top of the board.

Miami stacks are ranked ninth by fantasy point projections and 11th by home run potential on this slate, adding to Eflin’s appeal, they are a low-priority stack. Luis Arraez is slashing .350/.392/.447 with a .098 ISO and 128 WRC+ after cooling significantly at the plate. The talented base hit artist is still valuable atop the lineup, his on-base percentage and correlated scoring potential alone are worth the $4,600/$2,900 in stacks, but his overall output is somewhat capped on most nights and even that is diminished by the absence of Soler in the lineup. Jake Burger moves into the second spot in the absence of his fellow right-handed masher, despite 27 home runs and a .273 ISO over 422 plate appearances this season, Burger is no Soler at the plate. The righty third baseman does have an 11.49 to lead the Marlins by a fair margin in the home run model tonight and his 17.4% barrel rate and 48.3% hard-hit rate are appealing, but Eflin has been adept at checking home run power and Burger has a 28.9% strikeout rate that the pitcher can exploit. Josh Bell has a 10.5% barrel rate and 41.6% hard hits on the season with 19 home runs in the books and a 107 WRC+ in a nice turnaround since leaving the dead Cleveland lineup, he is a worthwhile investment when stacking Fish against Eflin at just $3,600/$2,900. Jazz Chisholm Jr. has 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases with a 99 WRC+ and .196 ISO in his 271 plate appearances, it would be fun to see him over a full season at some point. The talented outfielder has an 8.90 in our home run model for just $5,000/$3,000, there is plenty of room for him when stacking Marlins in a not-great matchup. Bryan De La Cruz costs $3,500/$2,700, the right-handed outfielder has 16 home runs with a .256/.307/.416 triple-slash this year, he has been a sturdy but unspectacular presence in the Miami lineup all season. Jesus Sanchez is another player we need to see more of, in 306 plate appearances that were interrupted in the middle by a long injury absence, Sanchez has a .195 ISO and 10 home runs with a 111 WRC+. Yuli Gurriel has a .253/.311/.362 triple-slash and three home runs in 293 chances, Joey Wendle has a 57 WRC+ over 268 tries, and Nick Fortes has a 53 in his 269, they are a low-end trio that supports upside potential for Eflin.

Play: Zach Eflin, Jesus Luzardo, mid-level shares of Rays bats/stacks, Marlins top-end is fine but low-priority

Update Notes:

Pittsburgh Pirates (-106/4.57) @ Kansas City Royals (-102/4.52)

With low-end pitchers on both sides facing two lousy lineups, this game is the opposite of the contest in Florida. Both home starter Angel Zerpa and Pirates pitcher Andre Jackson project in the lower-half of the short pitching slate. Zerpa is a lefty with a 17.3% strikeout rate over his two starts and 17.1 innings in the Show, he has a 7.27 ERA and 4.94 xFIP with a 4.94% home run rate on 45.8% hard hits in the tiny sample and he was similarly ineffective in 11 innings last year and five the year before. Jackson has also made two starts but he has thrown 36.2 total innings, the righty has a 23.1% strikeout rate with 5.1% walks and a 4.91 ERA but a better 3.98 xFIP. Jackson has allowed a 4.49% home run rate on 10.8% barrels and 45% hard hits with 91.2 mph of exit velocity in his small sample at the MLB level this year, he posted better numbers for contact in small samples each of the past two seasons with similar overall numbers. When looking at minor league numbers for both starters things do not get much better. Zerpa has worked 26.2 innings in AAA this season with a 4.73 ERA and 5.54 xFIP and only 19.7% strikeouts. He had a 24.8% strikeout rate in 64 AA innings in 13 starts in 2022 that provide a bit of encouragement, but overall things do not look good for the 23-year-old lefty. Jackson has a 28% strikeout rate across 38.1 innings in AAA with the Pirates and Dodgers this season, he had a 21.4% strikeout rate in 75.2 AAA innings and 19 starts last season with a 5.00 ERA and even uglier 6.12 xFIP as a 26-year-old in AAA. These are two very low-end starters at low prices against bad baseball teams, while they do not have individual upside on their own, the low-end opponents support the idea of a few value darts being in play, as does the requirement to find salary on this slate and the extremely high ownership expectation on a similarly bad starter in the Mets game. Zerpa and Jackson are low-priority low-end value darts with significantly limited potential for fantasy scoring on this slate, but they are not out of the pool.

With implied run totals sitting at 4.57 and 4.52, the Pirates and Royals are both in play as semi-obvious value stacks against bad pitching. Neither lineup is overly reliable and both teams have limited hitters in several spots in their batting orders but there are a few good options on both sides. The Pirates have a developing bottom half with a sturdy veteran top end. Ke’Bryan Hayes leads off with a .269/.310/.442 triple-slash and 11 home runs with a 99 WRC+ over 413 plate appearances, he has been delivering on his excellent contact of late and he makes for an intriguing option at third base again tonight. Hayes costs $4,300/$3,100, he is positionally cheap and he has a good matchup against the limited lefty. Bryan Reynolds has 18 home runs and 10 stolen bases in an average season at the plate, he needs to do more as the team’s star but for MLB DFS purposes he is fully functional at $4,900/$3,500 in the outfield. Reynolds has an 11.2% barrel rate and 47.5% hard-hit rate and he has been better in seasons past. Andrew McCutchen has a good 43.8% hard-hit rate on the season and he draws 15.6% walks to support his 109 WRC+. Connor Joe has nine home runs and an effective .250/.347/.431 triple-slash from the right side for just $3,300/$2,400 at first base or in the outfield on both sites. Joe has a 3.54 in our home run model tonight but he is an interesting option when stacking Pirates. Johsua Palacios has a .160 ISO and 65 WRC+ over 196 plate appearances in which he has managed six home runs and stolen three bases. Liover Peguero remains cheap at second base or shortstop for $2,900/$2,600, he has six home runs and a 97 WRC+ with a 7.2% barrel rate over 112 MLB plate appearances since his call-up. Jack Suwinski loses most of his power against left-handed pitching, but just like yesterday he is in play if the team manages to chase the lefty early, and this lefty is no Cole Ragans. Alika Williams and Jason Delay round out the lineup as limited options, we would once again greatly prefer premium catcher prospect Endy Rodriguez behind the plate.

On the Royals side of things, leadoff man Maikel Garcia has 19 stolen bases and a very good 49.8% hard-hit rate over 402 plate appearances but he has been limited to just an 85 WRC+ overall. Garcia correlates directly with the team’s stars and he has speed with an OK hit tool, putting him in play, but he is a flawed option at third base for $4,400 on DraftKings, he fills shortstop or third base for $2,600 on FanDuel where he is slightly more interesting. Team star Bobby Witt Jr. slots in second in the projected batting order for $6,000/$4,000 tonight. Witt has blasted 26 home runs and swiped 38 bags in his 572 plate appearances in a second outstanding season, he has a 115 WRC+ and is a prime choice positionally who can be deployed as a one-off on both sites. Salvador Perez has been limited to just 19 home runs this season after hitting 23 last year to follow up his grand 48-homer campaign from 2021. Perez remains a high-end catcher option, particularly on a limited slate, and he has a huge any-given-slate ceiling with a 9.67 to lead the team in tonight’s home run model. Perez is cheap for his upside at $4,100/$2,500, particularly where catchers are a requirement. MJ Melendez strikes out 29% of the time and has a lousy .233/.302/.387 triple-slash with a limited 84 WRC+ and a .154 ISO despite his excellent contact, he is a low-end mixer early in the lineup. Nelson Velazquez has a 17.9% barrel rate and 46.4% hard hits in his 82 plate appearances, resulting in eight home runs and a monster .351 ISO in the limited sample. Velazquez has clear power at the plate but he has a 25.6% strikeout rate with a 4.9% walk rate to go with the pop and he has gotten on base at just a .280 clip. Drew Waters is cheap with a 12.5% barrel rate over 263 plate appearances in which he has also hit eight home runs. Waters is a lower-end option than Velazquez when it comes to actual power potential at the plate and he is similarly underwhelming when it comes to hit tool and strikeouts, he has an 85 WRC+ on the season. Michael Massey hits left-handed and fills second base for $3,100/$2,200, he has a 41.5% hard-hit rate with 10 cheap home runs in 378 plate appearances with a 63 WRC+ and .131 ISO telling the truth of the situation, he is a low-end hitter in a bad lineup in a good matchup. Matt Beaty could be described similarly, as could Kyle Isbel in the final spot in the lineup, they are both cheap left-handed mixers for value in a good matchup against a bad righty.

Play: Pirates bats/stacks, Royals bats/stacks, but in smaller shares than one might expect and also value pitching darts on both sides, all four corners of this game are lousy but on the board

Update Notes:

Atlanta Braves (-224/8.23) @ Colorado Rockies (+202/5.45)

There is no Charlie Morton available at Coors Field tonight, the 13.5-run implied total and massive potential for offense on both sides turn a 12-pitcher slate into a 10-pitcher slate, Kyle Freeland and Darius Vines in his unfair MLB debut are both targets for bats. Vines has not pitched much in 2023, amassing only 43.1 innings, with 28.1 in AAA after a rehab stint, he has a 2.86 ERA but a 4.90 xFIP and a limited 21.7% strikeout rate. In 107 AA innings in 2022, Vines had a 3.95 ERA and 3.89 xFIP with a 28.5% strikeout rate, he does not look like a bad prospect but this is a tough spot to throw him into, even for $6,100/$5,800.

If he can work five OK innings, Vines does have the potential to book a cheap win at the low prices, which is not nothing on a slate of this nature, but it is probably not exactly enough either. The support comes from a lineup behind him that rides a season-high 8.23-run implied team total into battle tonight. The Braves have obvious and massive power potential at the plate again tonight, five of their nine hitters are carrying home run marks over the “magic number” with backup catcher Travis d’Arnaud not far behind at 8.11. d’Arnaud is the best backup catcher in baseball, the team loses very little at the plate when he steps in for elite backstop Sean Murphy, d’Arnaud has nine home runs and a .186 ISO on 44.2% hard hits and a 9.6% barrel rate this year and he costs just $4,100/$3,400. Ronald Acuna Jr. leads off with an 11.93 in the home run model for $7,000/$5,200 as a major investment who costs more than half the pitchers on the DraftKings slate. Ozzie Albies is a star second baseman for $5,900/$3,800, he is too cheap for the situation. Albies has 28 home runs and a .241 ISO with a 118 WRC+ in 521 plate appearances, he should be extremely popular for the pricing. Austin Riley has an 11.24 in the home run model and Matt Olson checks in with a 15.01 from the left side against same-handed Kyle Freeland. Olson loses nothing in this matchup, he has 43 home runs and a massive .322 ISO to follow Riley’s 31 homers and .229 ISO from the right side, the corner infield duo is one of the top pairings in the game. Marcell Ozuna has a 10.42 in the home run model and now has 30 on the season in an impressive return to form. Ozuna has a .262 ISO in 465 plate appearances and he has created runs 30% better than average yet he costs $5,200/$3,700 in this spot. Orlando ArciaKevin Pillar, and Michael Harris II round out the lineup in terrific form. The veteran Pillar is the lowest-end option and he has potential for just $3,500/$2,900 in the outfield. Pillar has a bit of pop at the plate but he has managed only a 68 WRC+ in his 156 plate appearances. Arcia has a 110 WRC+ with 15 home runs mostly from the bottom of the batting order and Harris is a multi-category star with 12 homers and 20 stolen bases and a 112 WRC+ after an icy cold start to the year.

Colorado is pulling in a 5.45-run implied total against Vines, who does not look like an inept young starter. The Rockies are difficult to trust, even with a high run total at Coors Field against a rookie hurler, they have been lousy all season including in home games and their lineup is limited. The priority bats for Colorado include lefties Charlie BlackmonRyan McMahon, and Nolan Jones, who are the team’s three best overall players in its current form. Blackmon is cheap at $4,400/$3,400 in the outfield, he has a .377 on-base percentage and has created runs 14% better than average in 302 injury-marred plate appearances. Ezequiel Tovar slots in between Blackmon and McMahon, the right-handed rookie shortstop has 15 homers and eight stolen bases but he has gotten on base at just a .292 clip while striking out 26.9% of the time and walking at just a 4.3% pace, he has a 76 WRC+ on the season. McMahon leads the team with 22 home runs and a .209 ISO in 533 chances, he has a sturdy 12.8% barrel rate and 45.4% hard hits and costs just $4,600/$3,700 with eligibility at second and third base on FanDuel. Elias Diaz has 13 home runs with a 40% hard-hit rate for $4,000/$3,200 at catcher, he is a viable mix-in option at worst, particularly on DraftKings. Jones has 13 home runs in just 292 plate appearances over which he is slashing .271/.353/.488 with a .217 ISO. The lefty slugger strikes out at a 33.9% clip but he has walked at a 10.6% pace and has a track record that looks similar in the minors. Jones has a 14.4% barrel rate with 41.3% hard hits, his terrific contact costs just $4,500/$3,500 tonight. Brendan Rodgers has not been good in 84 plate appearances, he has zero home runs and an 84 WRC+ but he fills second base for just $3,300/$2,800 and he has realistic power upside. Rodgers hit 13 homers in 581 plate appearances last year and 15 in 415 chances the year before. Hunter Goodman has 34 minor league home runs this year and zero in the Show over his first 12 plate appearances, he is a good $2,900/$2,500 option late in the lineup. Michael Toglia and Brenton Doyle have both been limited but could provide cheap counting stats at low ownership tonight, they have a 25 and 33 WRC+ and both sit below the Mendoza line in limited samples, buyer beware.

Play: bats

Update Notes:

Arizona Diamondbacks (+158/4.15) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-172/5.45)

Dodgers starter Ryan Pepiot is an intriguing inflection point for this slate. At $8,500 on both sites, Pepiot is not exactly a value play, and he has a potentially limited ceiling with his pitch count up in the air but likely to fall somewhere in the 85-90 range. Pepiot has worked just 22.2 innings in AAA and nine in MLB this season after suffering an injury in Spring Training. The 26-year-old righty has never fully landed in the Show, he made seven starts last year and posted a 3.47 ERA but a 5.31 xFIP and had a 26.3% strikeout rate but a 16.9% walk rate. In 91.1 innings at AAA last year, he posted a 2.56 ERA and 4.51 xFIP with a 30.9% strikeout rate. Pepiot is know for his plus-plus changeup and he has a solid arsenal of MLB-caliber pitches, he is expected to produce for this team if he ever lands the full time role and was ranked as their seventh-best prospect coming into the season. Pepiot has a touch of upside, his normally mid-level projection ranks in the top-half of the extremely limited pitching pool but the matchup against the Diamondbacks and his limited innings are not an ideal combination. Arizona has been good at limiting strikeouts all season and there is high-end power in the lineup.

Corbin Carroll hit his 23rd home run from late in the lineup last night, he has 40 stolen bases to go with the power and he makes for a tremendous leadoff option for $5,700/$4,000 when stacking Diamondbacks. Carroll has a 19.3% strikeout rate and a .362 on-base percentage, he has created runs 37% better than average in a fantastic breakout. Ketel Marte is another power-hitting second baseman and he will fall to much lower ownership than Albies on this slate. Marte has 21 home runs and a .205 ISO with a 125 WRC+ this season and he strikes out at just a 16.3% pace with a 10.6% walk rate that could cause problems if Pepiot does not bring his best stuff, there are plenty of hitters in the Arizona top-half who are good at drawing walks in addition to their other qualities. Tommy Pham has a 9.6% walk rate and 22.6% strikeout rate as a bit of an outlier on this team, but those are still effective not-bad numbers and Pham is a multi-category weapon with 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases in the books for just $3,600/$2,800 in the outfield. Pham has an 11.1% barrel rate and 48.8% hard hits over 363 plate appearances in a strong reclamation of his previous form. Christian Walker has an 11.5% barrel rate with 40.6% hard hits and a .251 ISO, he has hit 28 home runs while striking out just 19.2% of the time and crating runs 30% better than league average to lead the team. Walker is a terrific option who is rarely as popular as he should be at first base for just $4,700/$3,600. Alex Thomas has mid-range power and speed for $2,400/$2,200 in the outfield, his results have been mixed with seven homers and seven steals in 301 tries and just an 84 WRC+. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has 20 home runs and a .204 ISO for $3,900/$2,900, he is another strong source of underappreciated value in this lineup. Gurriel is another low-strikeout power bat, he has a 17.1% strikeout rate but he walks at just a 5.6% pace which limits his overall contributions more than they should be, he has a 101 WRC+ despite the power at the plate. Gabriel Moreno is a sturdy catcher for a cheap price, he costs $2,600 where catchers are needed and $2,100 where they are not and he is slashing a very strong .283/.327/.409 with a 99 WRC+, six home runs, and four stolen bases in 294 chances. Jace Peterson is a left-handed mixer with six home runs and a .100 ISO in 381 lousy plate appearances, Geraldo Perdomo is a better option for $3,600/$2,700 with eligibility at both middle infield spots on both sites, he has a .371 on-base percentage with a 113 WRC+ and makes a good wraparound option.

Arizona righty Brandon Pfaadt has the Dodgers looking like a sharp option on this slate. Pfaadt costs $6,500/$6,700, he has a 5.91 ERA but a 4.68 xFIP over 67 innings in 13 starts while striking out 20.8% of opposing hitters. Pfaadt has had issues with power over his 13 rookie starts, he has allowed a 5.21% home run rate on 11.2% barrels and 45.1% hard hits with 90.6 mph of exit velocity, and he is facing the deadly Dodgers tonight. Pfaadt has been undeniably better in August, over five starts he has a 25.6% strikeout rate with a 3.03 ERA and 3.83 xFIP in 29.2 innings that are far better than the 23.2 innings he threw in May to create most of the remaining sample. Pfaadt is a highly-regarded young starter who was supposed to be more like the August version we have seen than the May version who was so bad, it is difficult to put him in play against the Dodgers, but on an extremely limited slate and for a very cheap price he is at least a value dart along the lines of a Reyes, Zerpa, or Jackson, and he has much more talent in a vacuum than any of those three starters.

Dodgers bats are a big option on this slate, the odds are firmly that they obliterate a limited young starter, they are expensive but worth stacking and they are easier to reach at the high end than the Braves. Mookie Betts costs $6,500/$4,500 with triple-position eligibility on FanDuel and filling second base or the outfield on DraftKings. Betts is an MVP contender with 36 home runs and 10 stolen bases, he has a .298 ISO, he strikes out just 15.6% of the time and he walks at a 13% rate, he has a 13.8% barrel rate and a 49.4% hard-hit rate, and he has created runs 74% better than average over 576 outstanding plate appearances. Freddie Freeman has been almost as good this season. The terrific first baseman is also an MVP contender, he has created runs 67% better than average by slashing .337/.412/.579 with a .241 ISO, 24 home runs, and 17 stolen bases. Freeman has an 11.7% barrel rate and he strikes out at just a 16.4% pace while walking 9.9% of the time, he is phenomenal for $6,400/$4,100. Catcher Will Smith checks in for $5,400/$3.400, he is a major source of value on the FanDuel slate and he is probably too cheap where his position is necessary. Smith has a 15.7% strikeout rate and 12% walk rate to fit in with the team theme set by his two superstar teammates. The backstop has 17 home runs and a .189 ISO over 451 plate appearances and has created runs 26% better than average as a positional leader. Max Muncy is our overall home run pick of the day at 13.32 in the model, he ranks second on the team behind Betts at 14.51 and sits ahead of Freeman’s 9.96 and Smith’s 8.91. All four of the top options are terrific plays against Pfaadt if he shows up in May form, they remain strong plays even against the better version of the young righty. David Peralta is slashing .275/.309/.401 with a 92 WRC+ from the left side, Jason Heyward is at 123 WRC+ in 294 plate appearances with a .261/.347/.470 triple-slash and 12 home runs with a .209 ISO, and James Outman is the best in the trio of lefty outfielders with 17 home runs, 14 steals, and a 120 WRC+. All three options are good plays in any combination with the top four hitters in the lineup, more than one can be utilized to offset pricing while maintaining correlated scoring potential and power. Enrique Hernandez and Michael Busch round out the projected lineup as low-end infield mixers.

Play: Dodgers bats/stacks, Diamondbacks bats/stacks in smaller portions, Ryan Pepiot mid-level with a probable pitch limit, Brandon Pfaadt value darts

Update Notes:

Follow Us on Twitter. Join us in Discord. Subscribe to the YouTube Channel.

Share this with...

Content Creator: