MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Strategy Overview – Thursday 5/18/23

The four-game slate gets rolling early, with a 12:35 ET start on both DraftKings and FanDuel. This should be a fun afternoon of baseball, several of the game’s premium pitching prospects are making starts today and they will all be relevant with only eight pitchers to choose from on the entire slate. The hitting options are somewhat obvious, with a few targetable starters, but this is truly a slate where it will pay to get to a bit of everything, truly anything could happen today. In the interest of time, let’s dive right in.

Note: All analysis is written utilizing available projected lineups as of the early morning, pay close attention to confirmed lineups and adjust accordingly. This article is posted and updated as it is written, so if a game has not been filled in, check back in a few minutes. Update notes are provided as lineups are confirmed to the best of our ability. Still, lineup changes are not typically updated as lock approaches, so stay tuned to official news for any late changes.

MLB DFS: Game by Game Main Slate Strategy Summary – 5/17/23

Los Angeles Angels (+147/3.80) @ Baltimore Orioles (-160/4.80)

The Angels are in Baltimore in a duel of Tylers. Tyler Wells, the Orioles’ starter, is pushing home run upside in the direction of the team’s three big right-handed power bats. Wells has allowed a 4.60% home run rate on 90.3 mph of average exit velocity and a 10.4% barrel rate with a 40.8% hard-hit rate over 47 innings and seven starts. Wells has a 2.68 ERA and 4.40 xFIP on the season, he has not been awful but he has allowed plenty of power and premium contact while striking out a roughly average 22.4%. Wells struck out 18% with a 4.60 xFIP in 23 starts and 103.2 innings last season. Wells is not out of play on such a short slate, even at $9,200 on both sites, there is enough strikeout upside that he could find six clean innings with a handful of MLB DFS points, but he should probably be cheaper as a value play. The projected lineup for the Angels opens with Taylor Ward who has hit four home runs and is slashing just .239/.319/.337 on the season with a .098 ISO while creating runs 16% worse than average. Ward is priced way down based on the underperformance, he costs just $3,900/$2,800 and makes a good correlated scoring option in stacks of Angels hitters. Mike Trout blasted his ninth home run of the season last night, he has a .231 ISO and 138 WRC+ over 184 plate appearances while slashing .275/.364/.506 with a 17% barrel rate and 48.2% hard-hit rate. Shohei Ohtani has nine homers of his own with a .239 ISO and 140 WRC+ while slashing .288/.361/.528 with a 13% barrel rate and 46.6% hard-hit rate, he and Trout are twin superstars in the heart of the lineup. Hunter Renfroe has more home runs than either of the stars with 10 on the year so far. At just $4,600/$3,300 the outfielder is an easy option in the Angels lineup with all that power, he has a .238 ISO with a 48.1% hard-hit rate so far this season. The bottom half of the lineup trails off somewhat, catcher Matt Thaiss has one home run but a 125 WRC+ with a .308/.395/.400 triple-slash in 76 plate appearances; Brandon Drury is slashing just .229/.265/.451 but he has a .222 ISO and seven home runs; Luis Rengifo has two home runs and a .077 ISO after hitting 17 last season; and the lineup rounds out with Livan Soto and Zach Neto.

The Orioles are facing veteran lefty Tyler Anderson who costs $6,700/$7,400 and has a very limited 14.4% strikeout rate with a 10.9% walk rate in 37.2 innings this season. Anderson has pitched to a 5.26 ERA and a 6.03 xFIP, he was much better last season in pitching to a 2.57 ERA and 4.11 xFIP with a 19.5% strikeout rate, but even that was not overly competitive output for MLB DFS purposes. Anderson is facing a solid Orioles lineup, the projected version opens with Cedric Mullins who is slashing .261/.352/.465 with a .205 ISO and six home runs in 181 plate appearances. Mullins is a very good power and speed option who also provides correlated scoring, but he checks in at a high price of $6,000/$3,800 on this slate. Adley Rutschman costs $5,300/$3,100 as a star catcher who is slashing .284/.402/.446 while creating runs 38% better than average over 189 plate appearances. Anthony Santander hits from both sides of the plate, he has six home runs and is slashing .261/.326/.458 with a .196 ISO and 114 WRC+ in a nice turnaround after a slow start. Ryan Mountcastle has a tremendous 16.8% barrel rate with a 48.2% hard-hit rate this year, posting nine home runs with a .225 ISO over 187 plate appearances, and he is back above average with a 102 WRC+. Austin Hays started the season on fire but has cooled somewhat, he is sporting a very good.299/.345/.489 triple-slash with five home runs and he has a 15% barrel rate for just $4,200/$2,700 in the outfield. Jorge Mateo started May slowly after being one of the best assets in fantasy baseball in the season’s first month, he has six home runs and 13 stolen bases on the year with a .209 ISO and 110 WRC+ and costs $5,600/$3,000 with a significant ceiling on any given slate. James McCann slots in with the expectation of the platoon specialist doing the catching against the lefty with Rutschman in the DH role. McCann has two home runs in his 56 plate appearances, he is projected to hit ahead of rookie Gunnar Henderson and Joey Ortiz to close out the lineup. Henderson has a 104 WRC+ with four home runs and a stolen base but has not hit much at the MLB level to this point. Henderson has been almost too discerning at the plate, he is walking 17.9% of the time but striking out at a 30.3% clip while slashing .195/.345/.373.

Play: Angels bats/stacks, Orioles bats/stacks

Update Notes: the confirmed Angels lineup has Mickey Moniak in the leadoff spot, he is a good option at $2,700/$2,000, the minimum price on FanDuel is particularly appealing, Moniak is a former first-overall pick who has not quite landed at the MLB level in a couple of tries, over 13 plate appearances this year he has a pair of home runs and two stolen bases. Ward is out of the lineup, which runs Trout-Ohtani-Renfroe-Drury-Chad Wallach-Rengifo-Neto-Soto. The confirmed Orioles lineup gives Mullins the day off, with Hays moving up to the leadoff spot and getting a bump from the better role. The lineup runs Hays-Rutschman-Mountcastle-Santander-McCann-Ryan McKenna-Mateo-Henderson-Ortiz. The run total is down a half-run in Vegas since earlier this morning at 8.5.

Tampa Bay Rays (-106/4.57) @ New York Mets (-102/4.52)

The Rays are facing Mets righty Tylor Megill who has not been in his best form through the early part of the season. Megill was good in 47.1 innings last year and 89.2 innings the year before, pitching to a 26.1% strikeout rate and 3.92 xFIP in the larger sample in 2021 and a 25.5% strikeout rate with a 3.35 xFIP last year. This season he has dropped to a 17.3% strikeout rate with a 4.02 ERA and 5.31 xFIP over 40.1 innings in eight starts. The righty’s walk rate has doubled from 6.5% to 12.3% and his swinging-strike rate has fallen from 11.6% to 8.9% with a 25% CSW%. Megill has not been lousy for power to this point, but his 7.3% barrel rate and 89.1 mph average exit velocity allowed are not limiting factors. For just $7,200/$7,800 there is probably an upside in rostering Megill for value-based pitching shares, the righty has been good enough in the past to expect him to turn things around and he could be capable of finding enough strikeouts to hit value on a short slate. The Rays projected lineup has been hitting for power from top to bottom, everyone in the batting order is well over a .200 ISO on the season so far, they average a .251 ISO for the season for the lineup. Harold Ramirez is projected to lead off, he is slashing .330/.380/.554 with a .223 ISO and he has created runs 63% better than average over 121 plate appearances. Ramirez has always had a good bat but he is hitting for more power this season yet costs just $3,900/$3,100 at first base. Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe are a powerful pair in the infield, Franco has seven home runs and 14 stolen bases while creating runs 38% better than average, Lowe has a team-leading 13.04 in our home run model for the day, and has eight on the board already this year. Randy Arozarena sits just behind Lowe with a 12.44 in the home run model, he has hit 10 this season and has a .234 ISO with an 18.5% barrel rate and 52.1% hard-hit rate for $5,500/$4,100. Isaac Paredes has six home runs and sits just below the magic number for power at 9.97, he checks in cheap at $3,400/$3,000. Josh Lowe has hit nine home runs and is slashing .300/.364/.608 with a massive .308 ISO and 170 WRC+ over 132 plate appearances in a major step forward so far this season. Taylor Walls has multi-position eligibility in the infield for $3,800/$3,400, he has been playing above his head over 115 plate appearances with seven home runs and a .287 ISO. Catcher Christian Bethancourt is an underappreciated asset where the position is required, he has six home runs and a .261 ISO while creating runs six percent better than average and costs just $3,600/$2,900. Luke Raley hits for power from the left side, he has an 11.29 as a sneaky power option from the end of the lineup.

The Mets will be facing premium rookie Taj Bradley, who has made three starts and thrown 15.1 innings so far this season. Bradley has an absurd 38.3% strikeout rate with a 3.3% walk rate in the tiny sample, he has pitched to a 3.52 ERA and 2.74 xFIP with an 11.5% swinging strike rate. It is fair to say that Bradley made a splash over his first three starts at the MLB level. The electric righty costs $9,100 on the DraftKings slate, he is likely to be extremely popular in the matchup at that price, on the FanDuel slate Bradley is the most expensive player on the board at $10,200. The Mets have been playing well below expectations through most of the season and Bradley is inarguably talented, he warrants ownership at the high price on the blue site as well, but playing the undercut game could pay dividends on a small slate if the popularity gets out of hand. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo leads off as a terrific correlated scoring option for just $4,400/$3,100. Nimmo is tough to strike out, he has an 18.1% strikeout rate for the year and is slashing .299/.385/.421 with a 130 WRC+ this year. Jeff McNeil is projected to hit second, the slap-hitter is another correlated scoring player, he costs just $3,800/$2,700 at second base or in the outfield tonight. Francisco Lindor has scuffled to just .229/.309/.418 but he has a 104 WRC+ and has been a star throughout his career. The shortstop hit 26 home runs with 16 stolen bases with a 127 WRC+ in 706 chances last season. Pete Alonso is our slate leader in the home run model at 17.95, he has 15 already on the season and has been mashing since opening day. Alonso has a .293 ISO with a 136 WRC+ and a 16.4% barrel rate this year. Brett Baty has three home runs with a 105 WRC+ over his first 89 plate appearances this year since his callup as a premium prospect. The Mets lineup continues with Starling Marte, who has struggled badly this season at .238/.301/.287 with a .049 ISO, his 11 stolen bases have been his top attribute this season. Daniel Vogelbach has two home runs with a 119 WRC+ in 103 opportunities but his ISO sits at just .118 and he is paid to hit for power. Vogelbach has a 6.7% barrel rate but he is sporting a 50% hard-hit rate for the year so far, which is solid for $2,300/$2,500. Mark Canha and Michael Perez round out the projected Mets lineup.

Play: Rays bats/stacks, Taj Bradley, Mets bats/stacks, Tylor Megill value shares

Update Notes: the confirmed Rays lineup runs Josh Lowe-Arozarena-Ramirez-Brandon Lowe-Paredes-Walls-Raley-Bethancourt-Manuel Margot, with Wander Franco getting the day off and taking a key bat out of the lineup and one of the top shortstop options off the board on both sites. The confirmed Mets lineup has Lindor hitting second and McNeil third, and Tommy Pham slots in sixth in place of Marte, but neither player has been good this season, Eduardo Escobar is in the lineup hitting eighth, he has also been scuffling this season at .208/.256/.431 with four home runs in 79 plate appearances. The run total is up a half-run in Vegas to 9.0.

Washington Nationals (+133/3.69) @ Miami Marlins (-145/4.41)

Another young potential star takes the mound for Florida’s other team, with Eury Perez making his second Marlins start. The rookie struck out seven while walking two and allowing two runs on solo home runs and four total hits in 4.2 innings in a very good debut. Perez is one of the top pitching prospects in the sport, he had a 35.9% strikeout rate with a 7.7% walk rate in 31 innings at AA this season and jumped directly from that level to the Show. For $7,700/$8,500 Perez is very much on the board against a lousy Nationals lineup, the kid could post the highest total of the day in the cakewalk matchup, but it is important to remember that he is a very young underdeveloped starter in just his second Major League outing. The Nationals lineup is projected to begin with Lane Thomas, who has been the team’s best player at .281/.337/.425 with a 108 WRC+ in 175 plate appearances. Luis Garcia has just an 85 WRC+ and .110 ISO with three home runs and two stolen bases in 159 plate appearances at second base. Catcher Keibert Ruiz costs $3,500/$2,600, he has been up and down at the plate this season with three home runs and a .229/.292/.336 triple-slash and 72 WRC+ in 154 chances. Dominic Smith is cheap at $2,200/$2.600, but he does not warrant much salary with just one home run and a .034 ISO for the year. Smith has been nine percent below average creating runs for the season while slashing .277/.361/.311. Jeimer Candelario has hit four home runs and he has a .158 ISO over 175 plate appearances. Corey Dickerson has made just eight plate appearances, he has hit one home run already and adds a veteran bat with a touch of power upside to this lineup. Alex CallCJ Abrams, and Jake Alu round out the projected Nationals lineup.

The Marlins are facing righty Trevor Williams, who has pitched to just a 4.23 ERA with a 5.02 xFIP and 16.5% strikeout rate in 38.1 innings and eight starts. Williams has been better in seasons past, he struck out 22.6% in 89.2 innings and nine starts last year and 22.2% in 91 innings and 15 starts the year before, and he has been roughly average for premium contact and power over those two seasons. The righty has a bit of sneaky potential on this slate, he can find a few additional strikeout opportunities against a Marlins team that has a 25.1% strikeout rate even when we leave Luis Arraez‘s absurd 5.6% in the sample. If we remove Arraez, the other eight hitters fall to a 27.6% strikeout rate for the year, if we take out struggling Jean Segura’s 16.9% mark the remaining seven hitters are at 29.1% for the year. At $6,400/$7,100, Williams might be able to provide a handful of MLB DFS points while providing access to otherwise unavailable combinations of hitters. On the Marlins side, the primary options are today’s home run pick, Jorge Soler, who has an 11.43 in our home run model and is slated to hit cleanup, and Arraez, with everyone else looking like mix-and-match options. Soler has 11 home runs in the books already this season with a massive .280 ISO and a 126 WRC+. SOler is slashing .240/.321/.520, Arraez is slashing .389/.444/.486 with a 156 WRC+ over 160 plate appearances, he is easily the top candidate to win the batting title and he makes a good correlation play with Soler’s power. Garret Hampson is projected to lead off, he has one home run and a pair of stolen bases in 77 plate appearances. Garrett Cooper has three home runs while slashing .269/.306/.413. Bryan De La Cruz costs $3,400/$2,600, he is slashing .288/.329/.417 with three home runs and a 106 WRC+ over 149 plate appearances, which is decent production for the low price and limited popularity. Jean Segura is slashing just .209/.277/.248 with a .039 ISO and 48 WRC+. Peyton Burdick has a 6.29 in our home run model, he has a .208 ISO over his 27 plate appearances this year and he hit four home runs in 102 plate appearances last season. Nick Fortes and Joey Wendle round out the projected lineup, they have a 38 and a 10 WRC+ in 83 and 33 plate appearances.

Play: Eury Perez, Trevor Williams, Marlins bats/stacks in small doses

Update Notes: the confirmed Marlins lineup has Segura leading off followed by Cooper-Arraez-De La Cruz-Wendle-Burdick-Fortes-Xavier Edwards. Edwards checks in at min-price as a second baseman on both sites, he is a highly regarded hit-tool and speed prospect with extremely limited power, but he is interesting as a wraparound play at the discounted price. Edwards would be a better option than Segura in the leadoff spot right now. The confirmed Nationals lineup runs Garcia-Thomas-Candelario-Dickerson-Ruiz-Smith-Alu-Abrams-Call, the same players in a different order, which won’t help them much, this is still a bad baseball team.

Cleveland Guardians (+126/3.51) @ Chicago White Sox (-137/4.08)

White Sox starter Dylan Cease is the most established premium starter on the board today but he costs $9,700/$9,800 in a matchup against the low-end Guardians lineup in what should be a very good MLB DFS spot. Cease has not exactly been himself early in the season, his strikeout rate is down from 30.4% and 31.9% the past two seasons to just 25.5% this year, his swinging-strike rate has dropped from 15% and 14.8% the past two years to 12.3% this season with a 26.8% CSW%. While he has not been that level of strikeout artist so far this year, and the Guardians’ lone attribute is their ability to limit strikeouts, Cease looks like a strong choice even with his 4.86 ERA and 4.49 xFIP this year. Cleveland’s active roster has been 22% worse than average creating runs against right-handed pitching this season, ranking them 29th out of 30 teams, ahead of only Detroit. The projected Guardians lineup is still without star Jose Ramirez, who will be out through the weekend. Steven Kwan is slated to lead off, he has a 103 WRC+ for the season over 191 plate appearances but he has not been the productive hitter he was last year. So far, Kwan is slashing .276/.363/.362 with a .086 ISO. Amed Rosario has been a letdown at .253/.288/.360 with a 76 WRC+, Josh Naylor has a 76 WRC+ in 142 opportunities with six home runs on the board this year, and Josh Bell has a 97 WRC+ with just three home runs and a .130 ISO. The struggles of those three players represent a large portion of the problems in Cleveland this season, a turnaround from that group is needed badly for this club, but the poor performances have rendered them all very cheap on both sites. Rosario costs $3,800/$2,800, Naylor is at $3,500/$2,600, and Bell lands at $2,800/$2,700. Andres Gimenez is slashing .231/.308/.357 with three home runs and seven stolen bases with an 85 WRC+. Gabriel Arias has made 65 plate appearances and has a 40 WRC+ but he is cheap in the heart of the projected lineup at $2,200/$2,000 with multi-position eligibility. Will Brennan has not been good over his 97 plate appearances this year, Myles Straw has a 78 WRC+ over 153 plate appearances, and Cam Gallagher is sitting at a -49 WRC+ in 42 plate appearances at the bottom of the lineup.

Left-handed rookie Logan Allen is on the bump for the Guardians in his fifth start this afternoon and he looks like a solid buy at $8,600/$9,400 in a matchup against the underperforming White Sox. Allen has a 25.3% strikeout rate with a 7.4% walk rate and a 3.43 ERA with a 3.97 xFIP so far this year. The rookie is a control and command specialist who is finding his form at this level, he has allowed a bit of premium contact in his early outings with a 12.5% barrel rate and 43.8% hard-hit rate, and 89.9 mph of average exit velocity. Chicago’s active roster has a 105 WRC+ against left-handed pitching so far this season and they have a collective .173 ISO in the split, making this one look like a bit of a both-sides opportunity. Among the young upside arms on the slate, Allen is probably the most likely to be low-owned, he does not have the glimmering name recognition that the Bradleys and Perezes of the world do at this point in their young careers. If he is indeed under-owned, Allen could have a tournament-winning upside on the right day. The White Sox lineup has been improved by a few returns to action, Tim Anderson leads off at .264/.304/.311 with just a .047 ISO and 71 WRC+ in 112 plate appearances but that just serves to push his price down, the star shortstop costs just $4,500/$2,800 today. Luis Robert Jr. has a 14.5% barrel rate with 12 home runs in the books and a .292 ISO over 177 plate appearances this year. The outfielder is far too cheap for that level of output at just $4,100/$3,600, he has a 14.37 in our home run model and looks like a star in the matchup. Andrew Vaughn has five home runs with a .182 ISO and 109 WRC+ for the season, he costs $2,900/$3,000 at first base but has not had the major breakout that was expected, though he is sporting a 48.1% hard-hit rate for the year. Yoan Moncada has looked good since rejoining the team after an injury, he is slashing .310/.344/.534 with a .224 ISO and two home runs in 61 plate appearances. Jake Burger has 10 home runs on the year in a mini-breakout over 89 plate appearances. Burger is a Rooker-esque post-hype power prospect who is hitting well in his age 27-28 season, but it is unlikely to be sustained all season. The third baseman costs $2,500/$2,900 however, which is very cheap for a hitter with that much active power on display. Hanser Alberto costs $2,700 at second or third base on both sites, he has three home runs and a .197 ISO in 73 plate appearances but has not been that type of hitter in limited samples in years past. Jake Marisnick and Romy Gonzalez round out the projected lineup for Chicago.

Play: Dylan Cease, Logan Allen, minor shares of bats on both sides with a preference for White Sox over Guardians

Update Notes: the confirmed White Sox lineup runs Anderson-Vaughn-Robert-Burger-Yasmani Grandal-Benintendi-Alberto-Zavala-Marisnick. Grandal is a good option at catcher, he is a productive hitter who gets on base actively, but the lineup loses Moncada for the afternoon in a bit of a downgrade overall. The Guardians lineup loses Naylor and runs Kwan-Rosario-Gimenez-Bell-Brennan-Arias-Brayan Rocchio-Gallagher-Straw. The run total is down a half-run to 7.5 in Vegas.

Follow on Twitter for daily links to all published content.

Share this with...

Content Creator: