MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Strategy Overview – Saturday 7/22/23

The Saturday evening main slate gets underway at 7:05 ET and includes six games on DraftKings and seven on the FanDuel slate, where the Mets at Red Sox game is a reality. That game will not appear on the DraftKings slate with the continuation of last night’s suspended game happening in the afternoon on Saturday. The slates are both deep for pitching, there are no true clunker starters on the mound with very few easy targets making for a very interesting slate that will demand nailing the correct pitching selections with an unforgiving margin for error.

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

We are off from shows for Saturday, returning Sunday morning

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 – 7/22/23

San Francisco Giants (-187/4.98) @ Washington Nationals (+171/3.63)

The visiting Giants are pulling in a 4.98-run implied total that is one of the higher marks on the board and they are flashing significant potential for power in our home run model in a matchup against righty Josiah Gray. The starter has been far more reliable on the mound this season, he has gotten his home run problem under control for the most part but is still susceptible to mistakes and has enough in his track record to lend a bit of upside to the Giants’ hard-hitting lineup. Gray has made 19 starts and thrown 105.1 innings this season, he has a 3.59 ERA and a 4.82 xFIP that is more revealing, his 3.24% home run rate is a major improvement on the 5.86% from last year and 6.19% from the season before but he has dipped from 23.7% strikeouts last season to just 20.3% with a 10.4% walk rate this year. Gray is a flawed option on the mound, he has good games in spots and he does project well in our pitching model, with more logic behind it than yesterday’s Jake Irvin projection that we ended up wishing we had trusted. Gray costs $8,600/$6,900, he is both a target for Giants bats and a reasonable option on the mound for a discount on a very deep pitching slate in a both-sided situation. The Giants lineup has four hitters with better than a 10.0 in our home run model, starting with leadoff lefty LaMonte Wade Jr. who has been stuck at nine long balls for the season for several weeks. Wade has a spectacular .405 on-base percentage and is an excellent leadoff option and a correlated scoring piece for DFS purposes for $4,200/$2,900. Joc Pederson has a 14.01 to lead the team in the home run model, the lefty slugger has hit nine on the season with a .192 ISO in 233 plate appearances and had 23 homers in 433 attempts last season. JD Davis slots in third, the righty has been better against same-handed pitching this season, he has a 9.91 in the home run model and is slashing .267/.347/.439 with a .172 ISO and 116 WRC+ as one of the team’s more consistent everyday players. Davis is cheap at $4,300/$2,900, his power has been on and off throughout the first half of the season but he has plenty of upside for run creation in the heart of the lineup. Michael Conforto and Mike Yastrzemski have big-time left-handed power at the plate, they have 13 and 11 home runs respectively and have created runs six and four percent better than average on the season. Conforto has a 12.10 in the home run model and Yastrzemski sits at a 12.34. Patrick Bailey is slashing .264/.297/.442 with a .178 ISO and five home runs and has been rapidly coming back to Earth after a hot start. Blake Sabol has 11 home runs in 244 plate appearances, the lefty is the better of the two catcher options for DFS purposes on this slate. Brett Wisely and Casey Schmitt round out the lineup as mix-in options with a 48 and 56 WRC+ respectively on the season.

The Nationals draw premium righty Logan Webb, who has aa 3.11 ERA and a sparkling 2.91 xFIP with a 25.5% strikeout rate and 4.4% walk rate this season. Webb has been mostly excellent over his 20 starts and 133 innings, a total that makes him the league innings leader. Webb has thrown 2.2 more innings than the next-highest total which is held by Zac Gallen who has made 21 starts, the San Francisco righty is a terrific option for depth and clean innings and he has a strong shot at a win and a quality start bonus. Webb is one of the top pitching options on today’s slate for $10,600/$10,800, he is easily worth the salary investment on both sites, even if he is a popular public play. The Nationals lineup is low-end when facing right-handed pitching, they do not strike out much in the split, but they are not good for run creation with just an 87 WRC+ collectively against righties. CJ Abrams has been coming on of late from the top of the lineup, he is up to a 95 WRC+ with nine home runs and 19 stolen bases and costs $3,400/$2,900 at shortstop. Lane Thomas has 16 home runs and eight stolen bases with a 122 WRC+ as the team’s best player, he is a priority in stacks of Nationals hitters at $5,200/$3,500. Jeimer Candelario has hit 15 home runs and has a 118 WRC+ as the team’s second player who has provided above-average run contributions this season, he is followed in the lineup by Joey Meneses who is slashing .279/.322/.395 with a 94 WRC+ and Keibert Ruiz who has 11 home runs and a .240/.295/.395 triple-slash. Dominic SmithCorey DickersonLuis Garcia, and Alex Call are afterthoughts at the bottom of the batting order. Any of the group can be included when stacking Washington hitters, but they are all well below league-average by WRC+ for the season and only have limited power or point-scoring attributes.

Play: Logan Webb enthusiastically, Giants bats/stacks, Josiah Gray value

Update Notes:

Philadelphia Phillies (-115/4.15) @ Cleveland Guardians (+106/3.94)

The Phillies and Guardians continue their series with a good pitching matchup that has both teams carrying low totals on the board in Vegas, an ongoing theme on this slate. Philadelphia will be facing terrific right-handed rookie Tanner Bibee who has pitched to a 3.32 ERA and 4.36 xFIP with a 23.9% strikeout rate and just a 2.17% home run rate on 6.1% barrels over the first 14 starts of his career. Bibee has a strong arsenal of stuff that has been effective at the Major League level, he has induced a 10.1% swinging-strike rate and has allowed just 37.9% hard hits but has walked a few too many at 8.7% over his 76 innings. The righty projects as a competitive option on the slate, he is a better selection on DraftKings for the lower salary but he is easily playable from the mid-board on both sites. The Phillies can be played back at Bibee as well, this is another both-sided scenario in which the star-studded Phillies lineup is drawing playable projections. Kyle Schwarber leads the team and is among the slate leaders with a 14.51 in the home run model, he has 26 in 432 plate appearances in 2023 but has otherwise underwhelmed and is only two percent above the waterline for run creation. Trea Turner has been shaky at best this season, his counting stats are OK with 10 home runs and 21 stolen bases but far more is expected from the star shortstop who sits at just 84 WRC+ for $5,700/$3,100. Turner’s price can be averaged down with the still-cheap Nick Castellanos who has a .286/.328/.472 triple-slash with 14 home runs and a 114 WRC+ on the season but still costs only $4,400/$3,300. Bryce Harper made an outstanding defensive play in his first base debut but still does not have positional eligibility at that spot on DraftKings, which would be an asset. Harper slides into that position and his typical outfield spot on the FanDuel slate, he is a priority option on both sites when stacking Phillies. JT Realmuto is a strong catcher who has 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in another productive season and costs $5,000/$3,000. Bryson StottAlec Bohm, and Brandon Marsh is our preferred configuration of the bottom of this lineup, the three players have provided strong hit tools, mid-range power, and speed for the Phillies all season. Edmundo Sosa is a playable mix-in from the bottom of the lineup.

The Guardians have been more productive of late, but they are still a below-average club with a 3.94-run implied total facing one of the better right-handed pitchers in the game. Zack Wheeler is on the mound for the Phillies, he has made 19 starts and thrown 111.1 innings as another very good option for reliable depth and a shot at bonuses on both sites. Wheeler has a 4.04 ERA and a 3.49 xFIP this season and has struck out 26.9% of opposing hitters on 12.6% swinging strikes. The righty has yielded just a 2.13% home run rate on 5.4% barrels, a trait that he has sustained over the past few seasons. Wheeler is very good at limiting hard hits and barrels and it is difficult to hit home runs off of him, he has a limiting impact on the already limited Guardians offense, they rank 12th out of 14 teams by collective projections on our stacks board and are not a priority play with Wheeler looking like a good option for $10,300/$9,800 on a deep slate. Cleveland’s lineup starts with now league-average Steven Kwan who has spent the entire first half of the season under 100 WRC+. The light-hitting outfielder is a correlated scoring option if he continues to get on base but he does not provide power or tons of individual output. Amed Rosario has an 82 WRC+ with three home runs and nine stolen bases and gets on at just a .303 clip, he is at least cheap at shortstop for $4,300/$2,800. Jose Ramirez has 14 home runs and 12 steals in 418 plate appearances, his 131 WRC+ is strong, as is the 134 held by Josh Naylor in the fourth spot in the projected lineup. Naylor leads the team in run creation and home runs with 15 and he is outpacing Ramirez in his triple-slash at .312/.351/.520 in what has turned into a very good season at the plate. Andres Gimenez and Josh Bell have gotten their seasons together somewhat in the past couple of weeks. Gimenez is still at just 95 WRC+ but has eight home runs and 15 stolen bases, Bell is up to 11 home runs and has a 104 WRC+ after some positive production at the plate. Will Brennan, Myles Straw, and Bo Naylor are mix-ins from the bottom third.

Play: Zack Wheeler, Tanner Bibee, Phillies bats/stacks

Update Notes:

New York Mets (+113/4.35) @ Boston Red Sox (-123/4.76)

This game is not on the board on DraftKings and may have some funky lineup configurations that we are not accounting for, depending on what happens in the afternoon matchup between the Mets and Red Sox making up Friday’s suspended game. The Red Sox are slated to have James Paxton on the mound, the lefty has normalized somewhat after a very strong start in his return to regular action for the first time in several seasons. Paxton has a 3.51 ERA and 3.59 xFIP overall and has pitched to a 28.8% strikeout rate but his home run rate has climbed to 3.81% on 8.7% barrels and 89.3 mph of exit velocity. The lefty is inducing a very strong 13.9% swinging-strike rate and has been in control in most games with just a 7.2% walk rate and 1.03 WHIP, he has been mostly very good this season but is coming off of his worst start, a three-inning six-run four-strikeout three-walk meltdown against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Paxton is a fair bet to return to form against the Mets tonight, Vegas has no issues with the spot with New York carrying just a 4.35-run implied total and the Red Sox favored in Fenway Park, the southpaw is a FanDuel option for $9,900. At the same time, the Mets lineup is in play and is flashing power potential with Francisco LindorPete Alonso, and Francisco Alvarez all over the “magic number” in the home run model. Brandon Nimmo is close to that level for individual power as well, he has a 9.44 in the model with 15 home runs on the season and a .189 ISO on 46.4% hard hits and a 9.9% barrel rate. The lefty leadoff man is an excellent option for run creation and correlated scoring, he costs $3,300 in the outfield and is at least $200 too cheap. Lindor has a 12.49 in the home run model, despite a lousy triple-slash this season he has hit 19 home runs, stolen 14 bases, and posted a run-creation mark 14% better than the league average. Lindor costs $3,500 as a strong shortstop option ahead of Jeff McNeil, who relies on his hit tool and on-base skills for production, and Alonso who leads the entire slate with an 18.58 in our home run model. Alonso has slumped badly over the past few weeks, he is down to .202/.302/.469 and has been sitting on 26 home runs for some time. He still has all-world power, a .267 ISO, and a 114 WRC+ but the Mets need their star slugger to turn sooner than later if they are going to get back in the race. Alvarez is a spectacular rookie behind the plate, he has 19 home runs and a .281 ISO and has created runs 26% better than average, the second-highest mark on the team behind Nimmo. Mark Canha is a playable veteran in the later part of the lineup, Brett Baty and Mark Vientos are a pair of cheap rookies with highly regarded bats who are hiding in the final third for just $2,600 and $2,000 respectively. Vientos has hit just one home run in 49 plate appearances in the Show but he has 16 in 264 opportunities in AAA and is a power-focused bat. Luis Guillorme is more of a defensive infielder than an asset at the plate.

The Mets have righty Max Scherzer on the mound which one may not expect when the Red Sox are carrying a 4.76-run implied team total. The veteran righty has made 17 starts and has a 27.4% strikeout rate over 94.2 innings but has pitched to a 3.99 ERA and 4.11 xFIP and has had major issues with home runs all season. Scherzer has allowed a 4.62% home run rate and a 10.2% barrel rate with 21.3 degrees of launch on average, he has been a bit all over the map for results this season. On the right night, Scherzer can still be Scherzer on the mound, but the matchup in Fenway Park against this lineup is not a great one, the pitcher projects into the lower-middle of our board for a $10,100 salary. Boston bats are in play against Scherzer, despite the pitcher’s obvious upside. The Red Sox have a chance to go under-owned in this spot, the team is in a good hitting environment and they have been very productive this season. Jarren DuranJustin Turner, and Masataka Yoshida are a strong trio to open a lineup, they sport terrific hit tools, strong on-base skills, good power, and even a bit of speed. Duran has five home runs and 18 stolen bases with a .364 on-base percentage and a 133 WRC+, he is a great option to lead off for the Red Sox. Turner has 15 home runs with a .288/.356/.475 triple-slash and 125 WRC+ and multi-position eligibility for $3,500. Yoshida has been the best of the group with a .315/.376/.500 triple-slash, 11 home runs, seven stolen bases, and a mark that sits 38% above-average for run creation. Rafael Devers and Adam Duvall have major power from both sides of the plate, Devers has a 51.6% hard-hit rate and 14.1% barrel rate and Duvall has a 13.8% barrel rate with seven home runs in 147 plate appearances, both players are well above average for run creation this season. Alex Verdugo and Triston Casas are quality left-handed hitters later in the lineup, they are both skilled at getting on base with Verdugo offering the stronger hit tool and Casas having far more power. They are a good tandem to follow the team’s power core and they can be rostered together in late lineup stacks int his configuration. Connor Wong and Yu Chang are playable mix-in options at the bottom of the lineup.

Play: Mets bats/stacks, Red Sox bats/stacks, either pitcher is OK with obviously long track records of success but bad matchups

Update Notes:

Atlanta Braves (-136/5.15) @ Milwaukee Brewers (+125/4.46)

The Brewers are home underdogs with the Braves pulling in the second-highest implied team total of the day and a slate-leading, yes again, mark for average fantasy point marks for the projected lineup. Atlanta will be facing veteran righty Adrian Houser who has a 3.79 ERA but a 4.70 xFIP which is the more honest number overall. The righty is limited on the mound, he has a 15.5% strikeout rate over 10 starts and 57 innings this season and was at 15.2% over 102.2 innings in 21 starts last year. Houser is adept at keeping the ball in the yard, he has a 2.39% home run rate on 5.2% barrels this season and was at 1.76% on 5.6% barrels last year with a two percent mark and five percent barrels in 2021. Houser is not a bad pitcher but the soft-tosser is in the worst matchup in baseball against the outrageously good Braves. Houser looks to be in trouble on the mound in this matchup, he costs $5,000/$6,700 but will be offering up far too much contact to the Braves power hitters. Ronald Acuna Jr. has a $6,600/$4,800 salary and we just can’t stop getting to him. The entire Braves lineup is a priority once again, even against a pitcher that tends to check home runs, but Acuna is far and away their best overall player. The superstar outfielder is slashing .328/.406/.579 with a .251 ISO, a 15.1% barrel rate, and a 56.4% hard-hit rate on the season to set the trend from the leadoff role on a daily basis. Acuna has created runs 63% better than average this season while hitting 23 home runs and stealing 44 bases, he is easily worth his salary. Ozzie Albies is a star second baseman, he has 22 home runs with a .243 ISO and has created runs 15% better than average over 410 plate appearances. Austin Riley has been surging back to form after an extended slump and now has 21 home runs with a .215 ISO and a .270/.332/.486 triple-slash on 11.8% barrels and 48.8% hard hits. Riley costs $5,800/$3,600 at third base, the Braves are very high priced at the top of the batting order but their projected production (and actual production) have outpaced the maximum costs to this point. Matt Olson has hit 32 home runs and has a ridiculous .323 ISO with a 149 WRC+ on the season. The slugging first baseman has an 18.8% barrel rate and 56.5% hard-hit rate to lead the team in both categories, he is worth the $6,400/$4,300 on both sites. Sean Murphy is one of the best catchers in baseball and MLB DFS, he has created runs 54% better than average in a massive season so far and he has 17 home runs while slashing .290/.386/.563. Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario have gone back to their high-caliber output in 2023, both players have had excellent seasons in years past and suffered downturns for a variety of reasons last year but have come surging back this season. Ozuna has 18 home runs with a 102 WRC+ and a .234/.309/.451 triple-slash and Rosario is at .247/.298/.470 with a .223 ISO and has created runs two percent ahead of the curve from late in the lineup. Orlando Arcia now makes it eight of the nine hitters in the everyday Atlanta lineup with 10 or more home runs, he is an excellent shortstop at a fair price for $4,100/$2,700 and helps roster stacks of Braves. Michael Harris II has nine home runs, he will no doubt hit his 10th very soon. Harris costs just $4,300/$2,900 despite turning his season around in style over the past few weeks.

The Brewers are facing right-handed rookie Allan Winans who costs $6,000/$6,500 on this slate and is expected to make a traditional start in his MLB debut. Winans is not a ranked prospect, he will turn 28 on August 10th and has never reached the Show, but he has been pitching well in AAA and has a reasonably good projection for cheap prices on this slate. Winans has a 4.06 xFIP and 2.81 ERA with a 22.3% strikeout rate and 6.3% walk rate in 102.2 innings in AAA this season, he made 13 starts and worked 18 games total prior to his promotion. The right-hander has a decent sinker and a good changeup that should give him a chance to be effective as a low-strikeout option in the Show. For his discounted prices on both sites, there is a bit of realistic upside for the right-handed rookie. Of course, the Brewers hitters are also very much in play in this situation. Winans is not known as a pitcher that blows hitters away with his stuff, there should be plenty of opportunity for contact and there are a few good options in the flawed Milwaukee lineup. Christian Yelich is the team’s star, he is slashing .287/.374/.480 in a strong season and has 14 home runs and 21 stolen bases while creating runs 32% better than average. Yelich is cheap for that level of production at $5,300/$3,800, particularly when everyone else in the lineup is inexpensive and helps average down the cost of the star outfielder. William Contreras has 10 home runs and a 120 WRC+ as an affordable catcher, Willy Adames slots in with 17 home runs to lead the team but his underwhelming .211/.292/.410 triple-slash and 89 WRC+ are already a flaw in this stack. Jesse Winker has been awful this season and was not good at any point last year after looking like he was on the verge of stardom in a great 2021 season in Cincinnati. Winker slashed .305/.394/.556 with a .251 ISO, a 148 WRC+, and 24 home runs in 485 plate appearances that season, he has one home run and is slashing .198/.318/.247 in 192 opportunities this year. Owen Miller has been OK this season, he has an 88 WRC+ with five home runs and is slashing .270/.313/.385. Miller is cheap at $3,600 at first base on DraftKings and he offers triple-position eligibility on FanDuel at second, third, or first base. Raimel Tapia is a moderate power and speed option who has done very little at the plate this season, Andruw Monasterio has a 115 WRC+ in 90 plate appearances this season and checks in with three positions on FanDuel and two on DraftKings for just $2,500/$2,400, and Brice Turang and Joey Wiemer round out the lineup with playable parts in low-end form. Turang has tools on the field and has stolen 11 bases but is slashing just .203/.272/.302 with a 56 WRC+ and Wiemer is at .207/.292/.386 with an 84 WRC+ but has hit 12 home runs and stolen 11 bases.

Play: Braves bats/stacks, Brewers bats/stacks, Allan Winans value

Update Notes:

Chicago White Sox (+121/3.79) @ Minnesota Twins (-131/4.30)

The Twins are part of yet another good pitching matchup with their high-strikeout lineup pushing a strong total in the direction of right-handed strikeout artist Dylan Cease and with their own Sonny Gray pulling in a healthy projected total of his own against the underperforming South Siders. Gray costs $9,600 on both sites, he has a 23.8% strikeout rate this season with a 3.16 ERA and 3.82 xFIP over 19 starts and 105.1 innings this year. Gray has allowed just a 0.67% home run rate this season, which amounts to just three long balls to 445 hitters he has faced. While that is neither predictive nor sustainable, it is a noteworthy accomplishment and Gray has been very good this year on the whole. The righty is worth shares on both sites, if he is lower-owned than some of his peers he can be rostered more aggressively, which is also the case for Cease on the other side with a higher strikeout ceiling. The White Sox right-hander has a 27.4% strikeout rate over 107.2 innings and 20 starts this season. Cease has posted a 4.18 ERA and a 3.98 xFIP with a 13.8% swinging-strike rate this year and has given up just 2.55% home runs. The Twins power hitters came to life last night and will have a shot against Cease, despite the righty’s good home run rate he has allowed a 45.5% hard-hit mark and 91 mph of exit velocity on average with a 14.7-degree average launch angle. Cease costs $8,600/$9,400, he is a good option against a Twins projected lineup that has a 26.7% strikeout rate on the season, even with Minnesota checking in as favorites in the contest.

Andrew Benintendi is up to 103 WRC+ over 384 plate appearances but still needs to get on base more from the leadoff spot. The outfielder’s .352 on-base percentage is certainly good, but he was at .373 last year and is paid to set the table for the bats that follow him. Tim Anderson is at 53 WRC+ in what continues to be a down season but he has shown a bit of life in his EKG if not a true pulse at the plate just yet, Anderson is an All-Star when things are going well, they just have not been going well at all for the shortstop in 321 opportunities over which he still has zero home runs and nine stolen bases. Luis Robert Jr. has 28 home runs and 10 steals, Eloy Jimenez has 12 home runs in just 267 plate appearances, and Jake Burger has hit 21 home runs but is just a .217/.275/.517 hitter with a 33% strikeout rate outside of that power surge. Yasmani Grandal is an OK option for a fair price at catcher, he has any-given-slate power and a bit of on-base skills though the latter has not been on display as often this season. Gavin Sheets and Oscar Colas add the of power from the left side but the results have been shaky over 216 and 119 plate appearances, Sheets has eight home runs but a 78 WRC+ and Colas has hit just one homer in his career so far and sits at 35 WRC+. Zach Remillard closes out the lineup for the White Sox, he is a playable part in abundance of Chicago stacks but the spot is not strong and the focus hitters are higher up the batting order. Minnesota’s lineup is similarly not in a great spot but has some upside for power with good players in the batting order. Carlos Correa is cheap for his talent as a $4,400/$2,900 shortstop. Despite his underperformance this season Correa has 12 home runs and a .177 ISO with a 95 WRC+ he has not been entirely lost at the plate. Edouard Julien has been fantastic over the past few weeks and is up to an excellent 167 WRC+ in 179 plate appearances. The second baseman has nine home runs while slashing .318/.399/.565 with a 16.7% barrel rate and 45.1% hard-hit rate. Alex Kirilloff has a strong triple-slash with eight home runs and has created runs 36% better than average over 231 plate appearances. Max Kepler costs just $2,600/$2,800 in the outfield despite hitting 14 home runs with a .210 ISO in just 259 plate appearances. Byron Buxton showed up for last night’s game with a massive performance, he has 17 home runs and a .229 ISO with a 94 WRC+ over 324 opportunities this season and was in a long slump prior to the two-homer outburst on Friday. Buxton is a star when things are going right, a return to form would be welcome and he is a bit discounted at $5,500/$3,000. Matt Wallner costs the minimum on both sites in the outfield, he has a .303/.452/.424 triple-slash and a 160 WRC+ over his first 42 plate appearances this year. Donovan SolanoJoey Gallo, and Christian Vazquez are playable parts through the end of the lineup.

Play: Dylan Cease, Sonny Gray, Twins bats/stacks, White Sox bats/stacks as lower-mid (ranked 9th & 10th out of 14 by projections) options

Update Notes:

Houston Astros (-181/4.65) @ Oakland Athletics (+166/3.44)

After an underwhelming five-inning performance by their ace in a win last night, the Astros check in as big favorites on the road in Oakland once again on Saturday. The team was boosted by a monster three home run performance from Kyle Tucker, who of which came against starter JP Sears to ruin the lefty’s night. Tonight Oakland will have serviceable veteran Paul Blackburn on the mound, the righty has a 22.3% strikeout rate with a 5.48 ERA but a 4.31 xFIP this season. Blackburn has been effective in the right spots throughout his career and can provide decent fantasy scores on the right slate, he has a 7.6% walk rate this season but has gotten a bit unlucky and has an elevated 1.59 WHIP. He has checked power effectively this year, keeping hitters to just 2.03% home runs and 5.9% barrels in the tiny 42.2-inning sample over his eight starts. Blackburn made 21 starts and threw 111.1 innings last year with a 19.1% strikeout rate and 3.21% home run rate while pitching to a 4.28 ERA and 3.89 xFIP. At just $5,500/$6,900 Blackburn is worth a few value darts, he projects surprisingly well in our pitching model where he looks like the best extreme discount option at SP2 on the DraftKings slate. The Astros have a 4.65-run implied total, we would love that mark to be a bit lower when rostering the pitcher, it makes for a both-sided situation for MLB DFS purposes with several Astros bats having some appeal. Mauricio Dubon has an 85 WRC+ with four home runs and six steals in 335 chances, his performance has been diminishing the longer he has had to play an everyday role in the absence of Jose Altuve. Dubon is cheap in a good lineup position and he has three-position eligibility on the FanDuel slate, but he is a fairly low-end performer who needs help from his friends in the lineup on most occasions. Alex Bregman has 15 home runs with a 113 WRC+ and a .164 ISO, the third baseman is a priority option in stacks of Astros at $5,400/$3,100. Tucker slots in third, he has 17 home runs and 17 stolen bases with a .214 ISO for $6,200/$3,800 and is the only star currently available in the lineup at justifiable prices. Jose Abreu follows in the cleanup role, he has eight home runs and a 77 WRC+ with a .110 ISO and just a 6.9% barrel rate with a 41.2% hard-hit rate, the team would do better to put Tucker in that spot with Abreu hitting fifth and Chas McCormick moving to the third spot behind Bregman. McCormick has 12 home runs and 10 stolen bases with a .285/.370/.525 triple-slash in just 228 plate appearances and has created runs at a team-leading 49% better than average, he is a very good outfielder who is still inexpensive on DraftKings at $4,200/$3,600. Yainer Diaz has a stout 9.43 in our home run model with 10 on the board and a .216 ISO on 13.3% barrels and 46.2% hard hits this season. Corey JulksJeremy Pena, and Martin Maldonado are mix-in options from late in the lineup with Julks carrying the highest WRC+ mark at 94.

The low-end Athletics put four runs on fantastic Framber Valdez last night, but they were in no way a must-have for MLB DFS purposes, which is frequently the case. The Oakland lineup is facing righty Cristian Javier who is affordable at $9,000/$8,800 in a great matchup. Javier went through a bit of a rough patch prior to the break but righted the ship in his most recent start against the Angels in a five-inning seven-strikeout performance in which he did allow three runs and a home run, but pitched more effectively than in the three starts immediately before the break in which he gave up a total of 18 runs and struck out only six while lasting 2.1, 4.0, and 4.1 innings. Javier is a very good pitcher when things are going right, he has a 4.39 ERA but a 4.91 xFIP this season however, and his strikeout rate has dipped from a fantastic 33.2% last year to just 22.1% this season. The righty still projects well in our model and has a significant ceiling for MLB DFS scoring in this matchup, but he has been far from reliable throughout most of this season and is allowing a 3.48% home run rate on 9.9% barrels that could play up a bit of the Athletics middling power. Tony Kemp is not a strong option in the leadoff spot, he has 11 stolen bases this season and gets on at a .306 clip while creating runs 20% below average. JJ Bleday hits from the left side, he has seven home runs and a .171 ISO on just 5.1% barrels and a 33.8% hard-hit rate, he is cheap though. Jordan Diaz has a .243/.285/.417 triple-slash with a .174 ISO and 97 WRC+ with six home runs on the board in 123 plate appearances in the Show this season. Seth Brown is the best power hitter on the team, he is a lefty and he has nine home runs on the season with a .184 ISO and a 14.2% barrel rate with 46.7% hard hits. Brown is cheap at $3,100/$2,500 in the outfield, he hit 25 home runs and stole 11 bases last season and has a realistic upside with an 8.13 in our home run model. The next-most playable options in the projected version of the Athletics lineup are rookies Zack Gelof and Tyler Soderstrom who both project well for their cheap prices and quality positions. Gelof has a team-leading 9.22 in our home run model. Jace PetersonShea Langeliers, and Nick Allen round out the lousy lineup.

Play: Cristian Javier, Paul Blackburn value, Astros bats/stacks

Update Notes:

Pittsburgh Pirates (+167/4.08) @ Los Angeles Angels (-183/5.53)

The Pirates’ active roster has a 91 WRC+ against left-handed pitching that ranks 26th in baseball this season, though that mark is slightly lowered by several players who lack production in only a handful of plate appearances early in their careers. The key hitters for the Pirates are all OK performers against southpaws with Connor Joe leading the way with a 149 WRC+ and .221 ISO in 111 plate appearances in the split this season. Andrew McCutchen has a 114 WRC+ and .189 ISO against lefties in 106 opportunities, Henry Davis is at 106 WRC+ with a .138 ISO and has struck out 26.5% of the time in the split, and Carlos Santana is the final player with above-average run creation against lefties at 101 WRC+ in 99 chances. Bryan Reynolds is at 87 as the next-highest player and the switch-hitter has just a .105 ISO in 102 plate appearances against lefties this season. That group also represents the top five hitters in the projected Pirates lineup against highly-effective lefty Reid Detmers who costs just $7,500/$9,000. Detmers is a major source of value on the DraftKings slate and should be considered the top SP2 option on the board at the discounted price. The lefty has a 28.9% strikeout rate over 91.2 innings in 17 starts this season. Detmers has induced a 13.8% swinging-strike rate while allowing a 2.81% home run rate and limiting barrels to just 5.9% despite pitching to flyball trajectory and allowing 40.5% hard hits and 90.4 mph of exit velocity. Detmers is by no means elite on the mound, he has a nine percent walk rate and a 1.29 WHIP to go with his 4.42 ERA and 3.91 xFIP but he is more than good enough to get through these Pirates and the price is highly appealing on both sites. The bottom of the Pirates lineup includes several rookies with high expectations, which is also true of Davis. All of Davis, Jared TrioloEndy RodriguezNick Gonzales, and Liover Peguero are at the nascent stages of their careers with Davis’s 110 plate appearances leading the group so far and Peguero’s six sitting as the low man. There are high hopes for a resurgence in Pittsburgh over the next few seasons, at least a few of these players will need to be a part of it, but the jury is very much out on their quality. Davis has been good at this level overall so far, Rodriguez is expected to be a quality hitter behind the plate, and Peguero has good raw power and speed as a solid athlete for a cheap price at the shortstop position on both sites.

The Angels are facing left-handed opener Ryan Borucki who is expected to be followed by righty Osvaldo Bido in a bulk relief role. Borucki has not worked more than 1.1 innings this season, he should not be expected to face more than a few hitters before giving way to Bido who has a 5.00 ERA and 5.24 xFIP with a 19.5% strikeout rate in his six starts and 27 innings this season. Bido has walked too many at 9.4% and sits at a 1.52 WHIP to this point but has allowed just 0.78% home runs and a 3.5% barrel rate in his limited sample. There is not a lot of potential on the mound in this situation however, Bido is not in a great matchup and he costs $5,600/$6,100 with uncertain innings. The Angels bats will have Shohei Ohtani back for MLB DFS purposes, the superstar outfielder leads baseball with 35 home runs and a .371 ISO and has a 17.28 to sit second overall in our home run model today. Ohtani is an all-galaxy talent on both sides of the game, he is slashing .305/.400/.676 with a 186 WRC+ this season, the fact that such a good power hitter (and pitcher) also gets on base at a .400 clip is just absurd, he is one of the top assets on any given slate at $6,500/$4,500 and offers eligibility at first base and in the outfield on DraftKings. Ohtani should follow solid leadoff hitter Zach Neto who is inexpensive at shortstop for $3,100/$2,800 as a correlated scoring play. Mickey Moniak is today’s overall home run pick with a 10.79 in our home run model, he slots in third in the projected lineup but that is with Bido as our starter, he may drop in the lineup against the lefty opener but will still remain a significant option for power assuming he plays. Moniak has hit 11 home runs in just 169 plate appearances and has a 10.79 in the home run model today. Taylor Ward may climb in the lineup against the lefty opener, he has a dozen home runs overall this season. Mike Moustakas slots in with nine home runs and a 102 WRC+ in a good performance over 203 plate appearances that was not entirely expected from the veteran who has struggled in recent years. Matt Thaiss has good power at the catcher position from the left side, Hunter Renfroe is a major right-handed power hitter in a bit of an ongoing slump over the past few weeks, and Luis Rengifo rounds out the lineup as a better choice than Trey Cabbage.

Play: Reid Detmers value particularly on DraftKings, Angels bats/stacks

Update Notes:

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