MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Strategy Summary – Friday 5/12/23

A huge 13-game Friday slate has us in top gear summary mode for today’s article or we’ll be writing up until lock after a late start. The slate includes a wide range of options both on the mound and at the plate, there are aces hanging out at the top of the pitching board as well as a few potentially hidden gems throughout at a variety of prices, the slate includes a Coors Field game and a contest at Fenway Park that is keeping pace for run totals in Vegas, as well as several very good lineups going against either young or low-end pitchers. Covering as much ground as one can while making wise selections for combinations from among the most likely spots for success is the approach tonight.

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, simply 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 – 5/12/23

Pittsburgh Pirates (+135/4.13) @ Baltimore Orioles (-147/4.98)

The Pirates and Orioles will square off for an interesting series in Baltimore, Pittsburgh is facing righty Kyle Bradish, who projects in the lower-middle of the board tonight. Bradish has a 19.4% strikeout rate with a 4.45 xFIP in his 19.2 innings and five starts this season, he was a 21.8% strikeout rate pitcher with a 4.01 xFIP in 117.2 innings last year. Bradish can be effective at times, as evidenced by a good 11% swinging-strike rate, but he has been dinged by premium contact, so far allowing a 10.9% barrel rate with 91.8 mph of average exit velocity, 51.6% hard hit and a 3.23% home run rate. At $6,600/$6,200 Bradish is potentially an SP2 dart throw on DraftKings, but the Pirates are not the pushover that they have been in years past. Ke’Bryan Hayes leads off the projected lineup for $4,400/$2,800, he is slashing just .246/.309/.362 with a .116 ISO and 84 WRC+, adding a home run and five stolen bases to his MLB DFS scoring sheet for 2023. The right-handed hitter should be better than this however, he has a 47.9% hard-hit rate for the year and strikes out at just a 13.2% clip but he has just a .280 batting average on balls in play to this point. Hayes’ luck will turn eventually, he is a capable leadoff man in Pirates stacks. Bryan Reynolds is slashing .297/.338/.522 with a .225 ISO and a 127 WRC+, which makes it somewhat weird that he still has the same five home runs he seemingly had in the first week of the season, a quick check confirms that the outfielder has not gone deep since April 7th, but his numbers are still strong for MLB DFS even at $5,700/$3,600. Andrew McCutchen has a 130 WRC+ and .236 ISO with seven home runs after a hot start on his return to Pittsburgh, he hits third ahead of veteran switch-hitter Carlos Santana who has two home runs with a .135 ISO in a down season so far. Santana is cheap at $3,300/$2,900, but McCutchen is the better option at $4,200/$3,300 if filling a utility spot. Connor Joe is slashing .274/.374/.538 with a .264 ISO and 146 WRC+ in his 123 plate appearances this season and he has eligibility at first base and in the outfield on both sites for $4,000/$3,000. Jack Suwinski has a 7.78 to lead the team in our home run model tonight. The outfielder is another cheap bat at $3,800/$3,000, he has a .280 ISO and seven home runs this year. Tucupita Marcano slots into the projected lineup with one home run in 58 plate appearances this year. The cheap infielder hit two home runs and had a 57 WRC+ over 177 plate appearances last year, he is not much of an option. Ji-Hwan Bae is slashing .240/.298/.333 with a 75 WRC+ over his 106 plate appearances but has contributed for our purposes with two home runs and 14 stolen bases. Austin Hedges rounds out the lineup as a low-end catcher.

The Orioles match up with righty Johan Oviedo tonight. The pitcher costs $6,300/$7,300 in a tough spot against a good Baltimore team that is carrying nearly a five-run implied team total in Vegas. Oviedo has a 5.59 ERA and 4.41 xFIP on the season but is seemingly better than that on the mound. The righty has induced a 12.5% swinging-strike rate and has a 29.4% CSW% so far this year, and he has kept barrels to just 5.6% and home runs to 1.72% on a 38.1% hard-hit rate and 87.8 mph of average exit velocity. Oviedo has struck out just 19% of hitters however, last year he was at 22.3% in eight starts and 56 innings. There could be minor upside for this pitcher, but on a slate of this size in a bad matchup it does not seem like the ideal place to make a stand. The Orioles side of the equation looks like the more ripe spot for MLB DFS points. Cedric Mullins costs $5,100/$3,600 in the projected leadoff role, he has four home runs and 12 stolen bases this season. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle are fixtures in the Orioles lineup and DFS stacks with this team. The young power duo has a combined 13 home runs, with five going to Rutschman and eight for Mountcastle. Switch-hitting Anthony Santander slots in between the pair in the projected lineup, the outfielder costs just $4,000/$3,000 after an extended slump to start the year, but Santander has crept up to .265/.324/.470 with a .205 ISO and five home runs while creating runs 18% better than average overall, he is a strong play who also has a stout 10.4% barrel rate and 53.1% hard-hit rate, the latter mark leads this team so far in 2023. Mountcastle hits cleanup at a cheap $4,600/$3,200 to fill in first base before getting to Adam Frazier and Austin Hays in the projected lineup. Frazier is cheap with eligibility at second base and in the outfield on DraftKings, he has three home runs but a 94 WRC+ in 121 plate appearances this year. Hays costs $4,200/$2,900 in the outfield, which is cheap for a player with a 15.7% barrel rate and 47.4% hard hits. Gunnar Henderson is slashing just .175/.344/.320 with a 95 WRC+, he costs $3,600/$2,700 with third base and shortstop eligibility on FanDuel. Jorge Mateo and Kyle Stowers are good options late in the lineup. Stowers is yet to hit this year, he is slashing an ugly .083/.185/.083 in 27 plate appearances with a 29.6% strikeout rate, but he hit three home runs in the show in 98 opportunities last year and had an 11.3% barrel rate and 50% hard hits in the tiny sample. Mateo is sitting at .282/.327/.515 with a .233 ISO and 130 WRC+ with six home runs and 12 stolen bases after a cooler week.

Play: Orioles stacks/bats, Pirates stacks/bats in small shares, maybe some value Kyle Bradish in very small doses

Update Notes: the Pirates lineup was confirmed as expected, as was the Orioles lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays (+161/3.69) @ New York Yankees (-176/4.91)

The Rays are facing righty Gerrit Cole, the Yankees ace who comes at a premium on both sites tonight. Cole costs $12,000/$11,300 and is worth the investment on both sites despite stiff competition and a not-great hitting environment. Cole projects near, but not at, the top of the pitching board today, he has a 28.6% strikeout rate with a 3.43 xFIP and 2.09 ERA for the season, but both his strikeout rate and his swinging-strike rate, and subsequently his CSW%, are down notably for the season. Cole had  32.4% strikeout rate with a 14.3% swinging-strike mark and a 31.9% CSW% in 200.2 innings last year, this season the swinging-strike rate is just 10.9% and the CSW% has dipped badly to 28.1%. Cole’s numbers will course correct somewhat as the season goes along, but a variety of factors over the past two seasons are probably impacting the dip in real ways to at least some degree, so this is one to watch at the high asking prices. The value in the extremely high cost and bad matchup is potentially getting Cole at a low ownership total that does not match his upside. Of course, the Rays have been very good, but the 3.69-run implied team total is roughly half their typical output for run-scoring this year, Vegas has Cole keeping this lineup in check, which diminishes their appeal even as a lower-owned hedge stack. Key Rays bats could just be a list of anyone in the confirmed lineup, the team has been that collectively good this year, but the primary focus should remain in the 1-6 range, with names like Yandy Diaz, Randy Arozarena, and Brandon Lowe all looking like stars. The team is likely to be without Wander Franco who suffered an injury last night and is not projected to play, however, which cuts into the upside of the top-end to some degree. Of course, Diaz has nine home runs and a 182 WRC+, Lowe has seven home runs and a .230 ISO, and Arozarena has nine home runs, a .246 ISO, and a 169 WRC+, so they may not even notice the star teammate’s absence. Luke Raley slots into the cleanup role with eight home runs and a .326 ISO in 98 left-handed plate appearances, he has an 8.13 in our home run model and looks like a good bet for power if one is selecting from the Rays. Harold Ramirez has been excellent this year but is playing above his head for power as has been featured in this space in recent days, his home run total already matches last year’s output in four times as many plate appearances. Taylor Walls has also hit above his talent levels this season, his six home runs are just two shy of the eight he hit last year, and his WRC+ has skyrocketed from 66 last season to 154 so far this year. Isaac Paredes has four home runs and light-tower power on the right night, he is cheap at $3,800/$2,800 with first and third base eligibility on the blue site. Josh Lowe has eight home runs and is slashing .314/.369/.637 with a .324 ISO and a 181 WRC+ in 111 plate appearances, but $5,000/$3,500 is a bit of a tax this late in the lineup if he drops a plate appearance. Christian Bethancourt is an underrated catcher who is always cheap and never popular enough. The backstop has six home runs and a .291 ISO in 86 plate appearances but costs just $3,900 where the position is necessary.

The Yankees are facing right-handed Trevor Kelley who checks in at $4,000/$5,500 and is making his first start in an opener role. Kelley is 30 years old and has made 33 appearances in the Show, all in relief, he should not be expected for more than an inning or two, but the top of the Yankees lineup is aligned to do some damage against the righty early before getting to a long reliever like Josh Fleming. Tampa Bay pitching is not on the board tonight, but Yankees bats should be a significant consideration on a slate of this size, particularly after the return of their superstar home run hitter this week. Leadoff man Anthony Volpe is slashing .199/.292/.338 with a .140 ISO and 79 WRC+ in 154 plate appearances, but he has shown signs of life driving the ball recently and has four home runs with a 9.7% barrel rate and 44.1% hard-hit, Volpe is in consideration for individual upside and has good correlated scoring reasons for being in a Yankees stack. The shortstop has a 12.80 in our home run model tonight. Aaron Judge is taking the top off of the home run model this evening and looks set to mash. He has six so far this year with a .233 ISO and a 22.4% barrel rate with a 62.7% hard-hit rate, Judge is an all-world home run hitter who costs $6,200/$3,800. Anthony Rizzo is our overall home run pick for the night, slotting in at a 20.97 in the home run model. The left-handed first baseman has a 42.7% hard-hit rate with a 9.1% barrel rate and six home runs on the season, he should be aligned well to target the right-field seats tonight. DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres have held up the Yankees lineup during the absences and slumps of some teammates, LeMahieu is creating runs 26% better than average, Torres 25%. they have a 10.12 and 16.04 in the home run model respectively tonight and both make dynamite options in stacks of Yankees bats at $4,000/$3,000 with multi-position eligibility for LeMahieu and $5,300/$3,000 for Torres. The Yankees are cheap on the whole on the FanDuel slate tonight. Harrison Bader costs just $4,000/$3,500 he has three home runs and a 249 WRC+ with a .433 ISO in his 32 plate appearances since returning from injury and has been a catalyst for the Yankees offense for the past week. The bottom third falls off around Isiah Kiner-FalefaJose Trevino, and Oswaldo Cabrera, better home run options in those spots would include Jake Bauers and Kyle Higashioka.

Play: Yankees stacks/bats, Gerrit Cole, Rays bats in small contrarian/hedge doses

Update Notes: Wander Franco is in the Rays lineup after all, which is a bump to their already significant upside, Walls sits and the rest of the lineup is as expected. The Yankees lineup bumps Volpe down to seventh with Torres leading off ahead of Judge-Rizzo-LeMahieu-Bader-IKF with Trevino and Cabrera behind him, downgrade to Volpe, minor downgrade to Yankees stacks but 1-5 remains intact.

New York Mets (-116/4.68) @ Washington Nationals (+107/4.42)

Nationals starter MacKenzie Gore has made seven starts and thrown 37 innings this season and he seems to have found the form that once made him a top prospect. Gore has a 30.4% strikeout rate with a 3.65 ERA and a 3.24 xFIP on the season. He has walked too many at 12% and has a 1.43 WHIP that needs significant improvement, but it is safe to say that Gore has been the primary bright spot in a bleak Washington season. The lefty costs $8,700/$10,200, he is a better buy as an SP2 on DraftKings, but at presumably very low ownership he could make an interesting expensive dart throw on the single-pitcher site. The issue with the matchup against the Mets is their typically patient approach at the plate, which may not combine well with the pitcher’s walk rate. The projected lineup for the Mets has an average walk rate of 9.3% with the top-6 hitters in the lineup walking at a 10.4% clip, and they are very good at avoiding strikeouts, the full lineup has just a 20.4% strikeout rate collectively this season. Brandon Nimmo is a good leadoff man even in a same-handed matchup, he loses power but is still good at getting on base and creating runs against fellow lefties at just $4,500/$3,100. Struggling Starling Marte costs $4,400/$2,700, he has one home run and nine steals with a 65 WRC+ in 133 opportunities this year but is a premium option for speed when he gets on, at the very least. Francisco Lindor is priced down at just $4,800/$3,400, he has six home runs and four stolen bases at shortstop and is a cheap star-caliber option. Pete Alonso has 13 home runs and a .298 ISO this season but costs just $5,400 on the DraftKings slate. The first base masher is a $4,000 option on the blue site, he has a team-leading 8.35 in our home run model today, but that mark falls well short of the top of the board, Gore has been good at limiting power and launch angle to this point in the season. Tommy Pham has made 68 plate appearances in a part-time outfield role, the veteran has three home runs and a 97 WRC+ with a .186 ISO. Jeff McNeil was featured in this space for the dip in BABIP that is once again impacting the slap-hitter’s overall numbers. McNeil is affordable and has a mix-and-match correlation value. Mark CanhaEduardo Escobar, and Francisco Alvarez round out the projected lineup. Canha has an 85 WRC+ in 132 plate appearances and has not been as good as in years past at the plate; Escobar has been worse with just three home runs but an unsightly .159/.206/.365 and a 55 WRC+ in losing his full-time role to Brett Baty, who is not in the projected lineup; and Alvarez reminded everyone of why he is one of baseball’s top prospects with a big power display the other night and is now sitting four percent above average by WRC+ with a .197 ISO and three home runs in his 65 plate appearances.

New York has Tylor Megill on the mound against the lowly Nationals lineup, which has Lane Thomas at 104 as the only player above average by WRC+ in the projected lineup. Megill struck out 25.5% of opposing hitters in 47.1 innings last season and 26.1% in 89.2 innings the season before but he sits at just 17.3% with an 11.5% walk rate and a 5.45 xFIP under a 4.33 ERA in 35.1 innings this year. Megill is someone who would be interesting at $8,000/$7,800 in the form that we have seen in the past, he has delivered sneaky MLB DFS starts before, but there are some concerns around his struggle for quality, particularly with a dip from 11.6% and 12.1% swinging-strikes the last two seasons to just 8.2% with a 24.4% CSW% in early returns this year. Megill has a good get-right opportunity against this lineup, there are not many playable Nationals and he projects well enough for the money to earn himself a few shares in our pool of lineups, but it would likely not be overly costly to skip him on such a deep slate. The Nationals lineup is the low-end selection from the four options in this game. Thomas has been good for run creation in the leadoff role and is slashing .281/.333/.415 with four home runs and three stolen bases, his 9.48 is third on the team in our home run model tonight. At 10.81, cleanup hitter Joey Meneses leads the home run model for the Nationals, with Stone Garrett checking in second at 10.05 from the seventh spot in the projected lineup. Everyone in between is relatively weak for power in our model this evening. Luis Garcia has a 91 WRC+ in 132 plate appearances, Keibert Ruiz has an 84 in 133 tries but is an OK catcher option at just $3,000/$2,600 where the position is needed. Meneses has two home runs and is now slashing .288/.314/.373 with a .085 ISO this year, Dominic Smith has one home run and a 92 WRC+ in 144 opportunities. Smith is now slashing .270/.361/.310 but has just a .040 ISO with a 2.9% barrel rate and 29.8% hard-hit for his extremely cheap $2,100/$2,600. Garrett has one home run and a 98 WRC+ in 65 opportunities and is slashing .288/.333/.390 with a 50% hard-hit rate. CJ Abrams and Ildemaro Vargas round out the projected lineup with a “who?”; Abrams has two home runs and a 79 WRC+ in 126 plate appearances and was once a premium shortstop prospect, Vargas is a veteran utility man with a .125 ISO and 98 WRC+ in his 26 plate appearances this year, he had a 92 WRC+ and four home runs in 222 opportunities last year.

Play: MacKenzie Gore, Mets bats/stacks, maybe a few value Megill shares as an option that probably isn’t cheap enough

Update Notes: the Mets have McNeil hitting third between Lindor and Alonso with Marte sliding to sixth between Pham and Canha. The Nationals lineup includes Jake Alu in the ninth spot, he is a $2,000 outfielder on DraftKings at third base on FanDuel, he is not related to the famous baseball family who have an “o” in their last name.

Atlanta Braves (-154/4.75) @ Toronto Blue Jays (+142/3.84)

Veteran righty Chris Bassitt is on the mound for the hometown Blue Jays in a fun matchup in Toronto. The loaded Braves lineup is favored in this matchup, particularly with the team’s ace going tonight, and Atlanta has a 4.75-run implied team total. Bassitt has made seven starts and thrown 40 innings in 2023, he has a 19.6% strikeout rate and a 4.28 ERA but a 5.13 xFIP. The righty has walked 11.9% and his swinging-strike rate is sitting at just 7.7% with a 25.6% CSW% in the small sample, all big negative changes from where he was in years past. Bassitt has not been completely inept on the mound, he reliably pitches deep into ballgames and his numbers are still bent by an awful 3.1-inning first start in which he was charged with nine earned runs and gave up four home runs. He has pitched at least six innings, with three outings pitching in the seventh, in five or his next six starts, only a five-inning start against Seattle was ugly after the first outing, he was charged with four earned runs while walking four but did strike out seven in that start. Bassitt could deliver innings and a handful of strikeouts tonight, but the slate-winning score is more likely to come from the Atlanta side. The Braves star-laden lineup opens with one of baseball’s best players, Ronald Acuna Jr. who costs $6,300/$4,600. Acuna is slashing .347/.438/.576 with a .229 ISO and has created runs 72% better than average in his 69 plate appearances. Acuna can do it all on his own, but he is a terrific correlated scoring piece with Matt Olson following in the lineup. Olson has 11 home runs and a .293 ISO with a 143 WRC+ this season, he is one of the top first basemen in the game for just $5,500/$4,300, DraftKings has him priced too low. Austin Riley has slumped badly over the past few weeks, but that has driven down his price and popularity, which is great for MLB DFS purposes. The third baseman has six home runs and a 101 WRC+ this year, he hit 38 home runs with a 142 last year and 33 with a 135 the season before, Riley will be fine, take the discount. Sean Murphy is another player among the elite at his position in all of baseball. The catcher is slashing .288/.428/.613 with a .324 ISO while creating runs 79% better than average, but somehow he costs just $4,900 where catchers are a thing. Murphy can be deployed as if he played first base on FanDuel, even at $4,400. Eddie Rosario is a cheap bat if he hits in the middle of the lineup as projected. Rosario hits from the left side for just $2,800/$2,500, he has three home runs with a .156 ISO and is up to .257/.296/.413 through his early slump still has his WRC+ at a below-average 89. Star second baseman Ozzie Albies would hit second or third on a team with lesser options in the lineup, he is an excellent play at just $4,500/$3,200 and is rarely as popular as he should be. Albies has nine home runs with a .825 OPS and a .245 ISO while creating runs 16% better than average this season. Marcell Ozuna hits baseballs very hard when he makes contact, but he is slashing .151/.263/.372 and has been problematic for run creation overall. Michael Harris II has a home run and four stolen bases in a slow start since rejoining the team after an early-season injury, but he is a good buy at just $3,600/$2,700, Harris hit 19 home runs and stole 20 bases in just 441 opportunities last season. Orlando Arcia is a cheap underrated bat rounding out the lineup in the infield.

If Spencer Strider is not currently the best starter in baseball, he is on a very very short list for that title. Strider has been outrageous since his debut last year. In 2022 he posted a 38.3% strikeout rate over 131.2 innings as a rookie with a 2.67 ERA and a 2.30 xFIP, this year he has been better. Strider has somehow taken his already elite 15.5% swinging-strike rate to an otherworldly 19.1% with a league-leading 36.1% CSW%, and he has a deGromian 42.4% strikeout rate for the year. The righty has a 2.70 ERA with a 2.58 xFIP over 40 innings this year, he is the elite of the elite at this point, but he is facing a very good lineup at a very high price on both sites. The hope has to be that the matchup, depth of options, and hefty price tags keep the public somewhat at bay on the pitcher tonight. He is a significant asset on this slate, even against the Blue Jays, and should be rostered at higher-than-the-field rates where possible. Toronto’s lineup is normally one of our favorites from which to draw bats, but tonight’s matchup has them hamstrung with just a 3.84-run implied team total. George Springer has four home runs and five stolen bases and is still mired in a bad slump, slashing just .209/.272/.302 with a .094 ISO and 62 WRC+. Bo Bichette is a great option on most slates even at $5,700/$3,800, the shortstop has eight home runs and is slashing .329/.369/.538 with a .209 ISO and 153 WRC+, starring alongside first base superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who is slashing .312/.392/.522 with a .210 ISO and seven home runs on the board in 2023. Guerrero costs $5,800/$3,800 ahead of lefty Daulton Varsho who has bounced along the bottom for most of the season, and righty masher Matt Chapman who has been excellent for most of 2023. Varsho has five home runs and is slashing .233/.311/.398 with a .165 ISO and a 99 WRC+, Chapman has five home runs – and has been stuck there for a minute like Bryan Reynolds – and is slashing .338/.425/.579 with a .241 ISO and 180 WRC+. The third baseman’s numbers have cooled somewhat after a supernova start, but he is still a great buy in most matchups. Brandon Belt has come to life somewhat and now has a .169 ISO and two home runs with a 97 WRC+ as a cheap alternative at first base. Alejandro KirkCavan Biggio, and Kevin Keiermaier round out the projected lineup, Kirk is a playable cheap catcher with power upside, the other two are less appealing for MLB DFS. Overall, this is more of a Strider spot than a Blue Jays spot.

Play: Spencer Strider, Braves bats/stacks, a few Bassitt shares and some contrarian Blue Jays hitters are not mistakes, but the path to success is thin

Update Notes: The Braves have Travis d’Arnaud in for Ozuna with Murphy at DH and d’Arnaud behind the plate in a two-catcher configuration, this is at worst a lateral move for the lineup as a whole and makes the team a more dynamic stacking option. The Blue Jays lineup is as anticipated.

Los Angeles Angels (+116/4.08) @ Cleveland Guardians (-126/4.52)

The Guardians have a wealth of talented young pitching that has either just arrived or is about to, one such arm will be taking on the Angels in Cleveland tonight. Lefty Logan Allen has been very good to start his career, has a 26.8% strikeout rate with a 2.70 ERA and 3.83 xFIP over 16.2 innings and three starts so far, but he has allowed a fair amount of premium contact and is taking on a heavily right-handed lineup that specializes in hitting for power. Allen has yielded a 14.9% barrel rate with a 46.8% hard-hit rate and 91.1 mph of average exit velocity so far, amounting to a 2.82% home run rate, or two home runs allowed to 71 hitters total in three starts. The Angels are drawing near to the top of the Power Index today, it will be fun to watch the rookie deal with the likes of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, Allen is a tough buy at $9,100 on FanDuel, he probably offers more value and upside at $7,800 as an SP2 who will probably not be very popular on DraftKings. The Angels are a target for power on this slate, four of their hitters are pulling numbers north of the 10.0-mark in our home run model. In addition to the obvious Trout and Ohtani pairing, who lead the way at 16.30 and 14.42 in our home run model, leadoff man Taylor Ward slots in at 10.09 and projected fifth-hitter Hunter Renfroe has a 13.04 as our Angels home run pick of the day. The collection of hitters can be rostered together at fair prices on both sites, the struggling Ward is a great option to average down pricing of the stars around him, he costs just $3,500/$2,800, and Renfroe is not fully priced at just $4,400/$3,400. Anthony Rendon hits cleanup in the typical lineup and is frequently skipped by MLB DFS gamers for a perceived downturn that was far more injury-driven than gamers may allow for in making that decision. Rendon has a 40.5% hard-hit rate this season and he has been 26% better than average for run creation while slashing .292/.418/.354, by virtue of getting on base and involved in run scoring alone, Rendon can be played at $3,300/$3,100. Brandon Drury is the least key bat in the lineup, the infielder is cheap at $3,700/$2,800, he has seven home runs with a .248 ISO this season and was a big source of cheap under-owned power in his breakout last year. Gio UrshelaChris Okey, and Zach Neto round out the projected lineup.

The Guardians have not been nearly as good as advertised this season. The team has struggled to create runs and get on base, two of their typical specialties, and they have hit for no power. Only superstar Jose Ramirez is above average by WRC+ at 107, the rest of the projected lineup sits at an average of 20% below average for run creation so far this year. This plays in lefty Tyler Anderson’s favor, but he is not a great option for MLB DFS regardless. Anderson has just a 16.3% strikeout rate with a 5.40 ERA and  5.94 xFIP this season in six starts and 31.2 innings. He was better overall last year with a 2.57 ERA and 4.11 xFIP while striking out 19.5% and walking just 4.8%, but the two-run gap between ERA and xFIP was telling, and this year the starter is walking 10.9% and has allowed more premium contact. Anderson kept the ball in the yard despite being a flyball pitcher because he yielded just a 28.5% hard-hit rate and 4.9% barrel rate last year, amounting to just 1.98% home runs on 85 mph of average exit velocity, but this year barrels are up to 8.7% on the back of a higher hard-hit rate at 36.5%, and he has allowed a 4.08% home run rate. This is not to say that the Guardians have much appeal, they seem likely to produce around the 4.52 implied runs that Vegas sees for them tonight. Ramirez is a star who can always be played, he is slashing .270/.350/.433 with four home runs this season, all of which are down badly for the third baseman in a slow start. Leadoff man Steven Kwan has not produced his usual on-base or run-creation skills early in 2023, but he is avoiding strikeouts and keeping the ball in play at just $4,700/$2,900. Amed Rosario is slashing .234/.275/.328 with a .094 ISO and a 65 WRC+ in 138 opportunities. Josh Bell hits from both sides of the plate and costs a mere $3,100/$2,700 but is slashing just .219/.336/.359 with three home runs and a .141 ISO. David Fry slots in with six plate appearances under his belt but he is a third baseman on DraftKings, where you would not play him over Ramirez, and he is a catcher which is unnecessary on FanDuel. Andres Gimenez is slashing .214/.288/.317 with a .103 ISO and 70 WRC+ in a big disappointment to start the year. Gimenez hit 17 home runs with a 140 WRC+ in 557 plate appearances last year, he is cheap for the believers at just $4,400/$2,700. Mike Zunino has as much power as anyone in baseball when he connects, it is that key connection that tends to elude him, the catcher has just two home runs this season. Gabriel Arias and Myles Straw round out the projected lineup.

Play: Angels bats/stacks, value shares of Logan Allen on DraftKings, $5,500 Anderson as an SP2 isn’t crazy but is low-end and unlikely, minor shares of Guardians bats as a very low-end option

Update Notes: the Angels lineup is as expected with the exception of Matt Thaiss in the eighth spot instead of Okey. The Guardians lineup is as expected, though Arias climbs to sixth with Zunino sliding to eighth.

St. Louis Cardinals (+103/5.46) @ Boston Red Sox (-112/5.67)

And now for something completely different… or maybe shockingly familiar. The Cardinals are in Boston tonight in a game with run total that matches what Vegas has on the board in Coors Field tonight. The puzzle comes into focus when one takes note of the starters for tonight, lefty James Paxton is making his return to the Majors after not pitching in any significant fashion since 2019. Paxton threw 1.1 innings before getting hurt in 2021 and has not been seen since, he threw just 20.1 innings in five starts in the short strange 2020 season, which makes the 29 starts and 150.2 innings that he threw for the Yankees in 2019 his last major MLB marker. The southpaw has made five starts and thrown 21.2 innings rehabbing in the minors, so he should be stretched out, but it is important to note that Paxton’s AAA xFIP sat at 5.29 with a 6.23 ERA while posting a 26% strikeout rate with a 16% walk rate. Again this was in AAA this year. The Cardinals are deadly-good against lefties, the team is implied for 5.46 runs tonight, they should be a strong source of MLB DFS scoring at the plate, but they are also likely to be fairly popular in this spot. The confirmed lineup opens with Tommy Edman at $4,100/$2,700, he has five home runs and three steals so far while creating runs one percent better than average. Paul Goldschmidt is another top first baseman, he costs just $5,700/$3,900 and has seven home runs with a .238 ISO and 158 WRC+ for the year. Goldschmidt is slashing .306/.389/.544 and even has four stolen bases, he does a bit of everything for this team. Willson Contreras checks in as the DH with catcher eligibility, he is slashing .266/.345/.391 with a pair of home runs and a 108 WRC+. Nolan Arenado is still cheap for hist struggles, he has made 158 plate appearances and has just three home runs with a .233/.285/.336 triple-slash and a .103 ISO this season. The star third baseman hit 30 home runs with a .241 ISO and 151 WRC+ just last year, we continue to believe in the talent over the long term. Juan Yepez is a sneaky-good option against lefties who is hitting fifth with eligibility at first base and in the outfield on both sites. Yepez costs just $2,900/$2,200 and will be a critical bat in building Cardinals stacks tonight, the outfielder hit 12 home runs in 274 plate appearances last year and has one in 20 tries this season. Dylan Carlson has scuffled so far in 2023, he has just a 72 WRC+ in 100 plate appearances. Paul DeJong has three home runs and is slashing .364/.417/.646 with a .273 ISO since returning to the lineup 48 plate appearances ago, he is a cheap shortstop at $2,700/$3,000 but has done better for his career in reverse-splits, he has a .206 ISO and 104 WRC+ against righties and just a .165 ISO and 83 WRC+ against lefties over time. Lars Nootbaar has a good chance to do damage against Paxton and will get righties out of the bullpen, the lefty masher is cheap late in the lineup at $3,900/$3,300 and will likely not be a popular option. Andrew Knizner closes out the lineup with an unnecessary second catcher.

The Red Sox are pulling in a higher implied team total than the visitors in their matchup with another aging starter who just made his return to action last week. Righty Adam Wainwright has made one start this year, he threw five innings and struck out five Tigers but yielded eight hits and four earned runs in the outing against a bad baseball team. Boston’s lineup is far better than what is fielded by Detroit on any given day, they could put a crooked number up on the veteran starter early tonight. Over 191.2 innings and 32 starts last year, Wainwright was rarely an impactful MLB DFS starter, he had just a 17.8% strikeout rate with a 4.10 xFIP and 3.71 ERA but was good at keeping opponents in check for the most part, which may be his role over five innings tonight. The Red Sox lineup is the approach to this matchup as well, the confirmed version of the batting order takes a familiar form with excellent leadoff man Alex Verdugo at just $4,900/$3,500 leading the way. Verdugo is slashing .308/.380/.500 with a .192 ISO and 140 WRC+. Masataka Yoshida is hitting second in the confirmed lineup, he has a 139 WRC+ over 138 plate appearances and he has hit six home runs to this point in his major league career. Yoshida costs $5,200/$3,800 from the left side of the plate tonight, he hits ahead of Justin Turner and Rafael Devers in the heart of the team’s power core. Turner has a 114 WRC+ with three home runs and he strikes out just 13.3% of the time, both Verdugo and Yoshida have been very difficult to strike out this year as well, the top of the lineup could give Wainwright fits tonight. Devers has 11 home runs and a 118 WRC+ with a .290 ISO this season, he costs $5,400/$3,900, putting him a bit lower than similarly talented stars around the league in terms of cost tonight. Jarren Duran costs $4,000/$3,900, he has a stout 10.3% barrel rate and 48.3% hard-hit in his 88 plate appearances and has been a nice surprise for this team early in 2023. Duran has two home runs and six stolen bases while creating runs 76% better than average in the small sample. Triston Casas has not comported himself nearly as well in his first 119 plate appearances, he is slashing just .167/.311/.354 with five home runs and a .188 ISO. Enrique Hernandez and Emmanuel Valdez land in the next two spots in the lineup, Heranndez has a 78 WRC+ in 147 opportunities with Valdez at 122 in just 43 tries. The rookie infielder is slashing .317/.349/.463 with a home run and a 16.2% barrel rate in the tiny sample. Catcher Connor Wong is a sneaky positional option for just $2,800/$2,500. Wong has a 9.3% barrel rate and a 42.6% hard-hit rate this year, hitting three home runs in just 85 early plate appearances.

Play: Cardinals bats/stacks, Red Sox bats/stacks

Update Notes: both lineups were confirmed when this was written originally

Kansas City Royals (+201/3.44) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-222/5.17)

Corbin Burnes is on the mound for the hometown Brewers, the righty looks like a good option tonight against the free-swinging Royals lineup and he has Kansas City in check on the board in Vegas at just a 3.44-run implied team total. Burnes has not been the lights-out version of himself to start 2023, of course, which is why he costs just $9,200/$10,000 in the matchup. The righty has dropped to just a 19.8% strikeout rate with an 11.9% swinging-strike rate and a still-good 30.1% CSW%, all of which are down significantly from the 30.5%, 15.1%, and 32.1% he posted last year, not to mention the even better marks from the season before. Still, Burnes is pitching to a 3.86 ERA with a 4.38 xFIP and has been good at limiting power and premium contact for most of the early part of the season, he projects among the top pitching options on the slate and could be well-aligned for a turnaround tonight at appealing MLB DFS prices and what probably will not amount to enough popularity around the industry tonight. The Royals lineup is not looking like a great play but they have frisky hitters who can be good options on the right slate. Bobby Witt Jr. has been 15% worse than average creating runs but has contributed counting stats for our purposes and costs $5,100/$3,600. Vinnie Pasquantino and Sal Perez are the team’s two best bats, they have 14 home runs combined with an even split, and they have created runs 43% and 27% better than average so far this year. MJ Melendez has a top-notch 14.1% barrel rate and 56.5% hard-hit rate, though that has turned into just four home runs and a .160 ISO at the plate this year. Melendez should be a better power hitter than this over time and his ability to drive the ball plays well in the heart of the order, but the matchup is not ideal for a player who strikes out at a 32% clip either. Edward Olivares and Nick Pratto have found value in spots this season, Pratto is off to a great start while Olviares has been just OK in his 120 plate appearances, creating runs four percent below average with three home runs and three steals. Pratto is slashing .347/.439/.531 with a pair of early home runs and a 172 WRC+, the former first-round pick has been a feature in this space a few times early this year, he remains cheap at $2,800 with outfield and first base eligibility on DraftKings but is getting more expensive at $3,300 with the same positioning on the blue site. Maikel GarciaMichael Massey, and Jackie Bradley Jr. round out the projected lineup.

The Royals have Josh Taylor taking the mound tonight, the southpaw is not an option, regardless of pricing. He has pitched entirely out of the bullpen this year and has a 6.55 ERA but a 2.92 xFIP with a 33.3% strikeout rate. Taylor has not pitched in six days, but it seems unlikely that he is making a full start here, and the Brewers have a good chance to jump on him early, the lefty has allowed a 90.1 mph average exit velocity with a 4.17% home run rate and an 18.5-degree average launch angle in his 11 innings this season, though he was not as bad with power and contact in a larger sample in 2021, the last time he worked Major League innings in relief before this year. Brewers hitters of note include William Contreras, who is slashing .276/.356/.429 while creating runs 17% better than average as a cheap catcher in the heart of a decent lineup; Christian Yelich, who is at a 90 WRC+ and is projected to hit cleanup behind Willy Adames, who has seven home runs and a .185 ISO but just a 101 WRC+; Mike Brosseau who is a right-handed platoon specialist with three home runs in 58 plate appearances this year; and Brian Anderson who has five home runs but has dropped to just league-average run creation in 144 opportunities. Luke Voit and Tyrone Taylor are lower-end power bats who can take any left-handed pitcher deep in rare instances, Voit has zero home runs in 68 tries, Taylor has one in 30 plate appearances. Joey Weimer and Owen Miller are lower-end options, if Miller leads off as projected he can be included, but he has an 83 WRC+ this year and was at 85 in 472 plate appearances last season.

Play: Corbin Burnes, Brewers bats/stacks

Update Notes: the Royals lineup runs Witt-Perez-Melendez-Olivares-Garcia-Pratto with Pasquantino getting a night off and a closing trio of Hunter DozierFreddy Fermin-Bradley that is an overall downgrade to Royals stacks, the 1-6 remains in play with Pratto preferred over Garcia. UPDATE: Sal Perez has been scratched, the Royals lineup now runs: Witt-Pasquantino-Olivares-Melendez-Garcia-Pratto-Dozier-Bradley-Fermin. The Brewers do have Owen Miller leading off, Rowdy Tellez was not in the projected lineup but he will be hitting seventh and adds a strong bat late in the lineup, he has 10 home runs and a massive .301 ISO so far this year.

Chicago Cubs (+140/3.40) @ Minnesota Twins (-152/4.18)

Right-handed hurler Sonny Gray has been good for the Twins early in 2023. The veteran has a 29% strikeout rate with a 1.35 ERA over his first 40 innings and seven starts this season, though his 3.47 xFIP is probably more revealing about his true nature overall. Gray has been somewhat lucky for run prevention this season, but his 12.7% swinging-strike rate and 30.9% CSW% are both the highest they have been in two years. Gray’s walk rate is too high at 9.3% and he has allowed some premium contact with a 40% hard-hit rate and 90 mph of average exit velocity, but he has yet to give up a home run this season in a minor miracle over seven starts. Gray looks like a playable option with the free-swinging Cubs in town, he costs $10,000/$10,800 and is rarely as popular as he should be after some clunker starts for MLB DFS gamers over the last few years. Gray can be deployed against a Cubs lineup that has been good for power and runs in general but has a 26% strikeout rate among its key power hitters. Chicago’s projected lineup can be thrown back the other way at Gray of course, there is plenty of quality to justify getting to Cubs bats and they could end up low-owned on a huge slate against a good pitcher. Nick Madrigal is projected to lead off, he has a 71 WRC+ in 75 plate appearances and is a cheap hit tool and speed option for correlated scoring. Dansby Swanson is an elite shortstop who has hit three home runs and stolen three bases this year while barreling the ball at 11.5%. Ian Happ has a 10.2% barrel rate with four home runs this year while creating runs 48% better than average over 160 plate appearances. Happ had a 120 WRC+ in 641 tries while hitting 17 home runs last season, he is always in play and is rarely expensive or popular enough. Cody Bellinger has seven home runs with a .242 ISO and 139 WRC+ to this point in the year, though his hard-hit rate sits at just 33%. Our usual check-in sees the critical strikeout rate at a still strong 18.7% for Bellinger however, so there are no current concerns about a downturn after the former MVP came roaring back to life early this year. Seiya Suzuki has a 45.6% hard-hit rate but just one home run to show for it so far this season, he is priced down in the heart of the lineup ahead of Eric Hosmer and Matt Mervis. Hosmer is a cheap veteran of limited appeal at the plate, Mervis has yet to do anything of note in his 22 plate appearances but is a top prospect who comes very cheap at $2,200/$2,300 at first base. Patrick Wisdom is an impressive power hitter who has 12 home runs in just 132 plate appearances this season, posting a .368 ISO on a 21.4% barrel rate with a 58.6% hard-hit rate. Wisdom costs $4,500/$3,600 which is cheap for his power upside but is a bit of a tax when he hits this late in the lineup. Tucker Barnhart is a cheap catcher with limited appeal, he has one home run, which came last year, in his last 357 plate appearances.

The Twins are in a good spot against lefty Drew Smyly tonight, several of the team’s key hitters are drawing strong MLB DFS scoring projections with good marks in our home run model. The veteran southpaw has struck out 22.4% in seven starts and 38.1 innings while pitching to a 3.05 ERA and a 4.46 xFIP. Smyly has allowed just a 2.63% home run rate with a 5.6% barrel rate and only 27.1% hard hits, despite being a flyball pitcher he has managed to avoid home runs by virtue of limiting premium contact so far this year. That was not the case the past two seasons, on just 34.5% hard hits and an 8.6% barrel rate last year he gave up a 3.58% home run rate, the year before it was at 4.95% on a 38.6% hard-hit and 10.1% barrel rate, expectations for a downswing in terms of power should be primed, the Twins could get that trend started this evening. Byron Buxton has eight home runs with a .260 ISO with a 14.3% barrel rate and 44% hard hits. The outfielder costs $5,600/$3,500, which is too cheap on both sites. Jorge Polanco is slashing .276/.295/.431 with a 98 WRC+ over his first 78 plate appearances, he has both power and speed and is highly affordable around the industry in this matchup at $4,600/$2,800. Carlos Correa is slashing .191/.272/.374 with five home runs this year, but heh as a 12% barrel rate and 45% hard-hit rate to support the idea of a turnaround. Correa is a twinkling star at $4,300/$2,700. Kyle Farmer slots into the cleanup spot in the projected lineup, he has made just 42 plate appearances but has a stout 11.5% barrel rate and two home runs so far. Donovan SolanoWilli CastroChristian VazquezNick Gordon, and Michael A. Taylor are a weak bottom half of the lineup however, this could have a limiting impact on the top-end hitters, if the Twins are unable to turn the lineup over or extend innings. The lower-end lineup does not change the outlook for Smyly on the mound, he is a low end option at $9,100/$9,800, but it could put a dent in the Twins’ overall upside.

Play: Sonny Gray, Cubs bats/stacks in limited doses, Twins bats/stacks at least 1-5

Update Notes: Chicago’s confirmed lineup has Christopher Morel as a very good leadoff option f0r $4,000/$2,900 at second base and in the outfield on DraftKings and with third base instead of second on FanDuel. Wisdom moves up to sixth in the lineup and will hit between Suzuki and Mervis in an interesting confirmation that leaves Hosmer out and also includes Trey Mancini and Yan Gomes in the final two spots. The Twins lineup runs Buxton-Solano-Correa-Farmer-Polanco-Castro-Taylor-Vazquez-Gordon, it includes all of the expected players but a different batting order that is something of a downgrade, particularly to Polanco who could drop a plate appearance.

Houston Astros (-142/4.66) @ Chicago White Sox (+131/3.93)

The visiting Astros seem likely to ruin young Michael Kopech’s evening. The righty has just a 21.2% strikeout rate in 37.2 innings and seven starts this year, and he has walked 12.9% with a 5.97 ERA and 5.53 xFIP this season. Kopech has not been good, he has given up a 91.9 mph average exit velocity with a 53.2% hard-hit rate and 19.3% barrel rate amounting to a 7.06% home run rate for the season. All of this plays very strongly into the capable hands of the Astros and their fantastic lineup, the team is carrying a 4.66-run implied team total tonight, which feels too low. Kopech is not an option at $7,500/$8,300. The projected Astros lineup begins with Jeremy Pena tonight, the shortstop is slashing .247/.295/.432 with a .185 ISO and 101 WRC+ and is probably a better option in the spot than Mauricio Dubon who has been scuffling in general since a decent start. Pena is cheap at $4,700/$3,000, particularly if he leads off, he hit 22 home runs and stole 11 bases as a rookie last year. Alex Bregman has four home runs but is in a bad slump at .207/.327/.336 while creating runs seven percent below average. Yordan Alvarez has eight home runs with a massive .274 ISO and a 161 WRC+ so far this year, the superstar outfielder has a 14.6% barrel rate and 51.2% hard-hit rate this season and has walked in 11.9% of his plate appearances. Alvarez costs $6,000/$4,200 but is well worth the investment in this cakewalk matchup. Jose Abreu is another badly struggling veteran, he is slashing .218/.265/.261 with a 46 WRC+. Corey Julks and David Hensley are sitting at 71 and 31 WRC+ marks in 98 and 78 plate appearances to this point with three combined home runs, they are not great options but they are cheap late in the lineup, as are Jake Meyers and catcher Martin Maldonado, all of whom have the opportunity to create better than average MLB DFS scoring output in what should be a productive stack with the top end driving most of the scoring.

The White Sox are facing JP France, a right-handed rookie making his second start. France struck out five in his first start while allowing just three hits against the Mariners, but the 28-year-old is not a major prospect. France could find success against an underperforming White Sox team but he projects just in the middle of the pitching board against the confirmed Chicago lineup for $7,600/$8,700, if he were a value play it would be at a better price from site to site. The White Sox are not an ideal stack in this situation either, Chicago’s confirmed lineup does see the return of Yoan Moncada, which should be an overall boost to the team from the cleanup spot. Ahead of Moncada is a capable group including Tim Anderson, who has yet to find his form after missing a lot of the early part of the season and is sitting 26% below average by WRC+. Andrew Benintendi has no home runs and four steals while creating runs 25% worse than average, but he has been a good hit tool and correlated scoring option in seasons past. Andrew Vaughn has hit four home runs in 167 plate appearances and has created runs 19% better than average this season, the first baseman remains cheap at $3,500/$3,000 despite the steady output, he has a 9.7% barrel rate and a 46.9% hard-hit for the year and should not be skipped in Chicago stacks. Moncada is slashing .308/.325/.564 with a .256 ISO in 40 plate appearances, he hit 12 home runs with a 76 WRC+ in 433 plate appearances last season and 14 in 616 opportunities the year before. Luis Robert Jr. has been the team’s best player, he is hitting fifth in the confirmed lineup for just $4,400/$3,200, which is cheap for a player who has eight home runs with a 120 WRC+ and .239 ISO in 2023. Gavin Sheets has hit four home runs in 87 plate appearances while slashing .260/.333/.429 with a 112 WRC+ and is very cheap at $2,800 in the outfield on DraftKings and $2,500 with first base eligibility added on the blue site. Sheets has a 9.95 in our home run model. Seby ZavalaElvis Andrus, and Adam Haseley round out the lineup, Haseley is our favorite of the three lower-end options at $2,200/$2,100, and the former highly regarded prospect has a good hit tool and could function as a wraparound play.

Play: Astros bats/stacks, White Sox bats/stacks, minor shares of JP France value but he should be cheaper

Update Notes: Dubon returns to the top of the Astros lineup, which runs mostly in its typical fashion with Pena hitting sixth and Kyle Tucker climbing to the cleanup spot between Alvarez and Abreu in an interesting twist. The White Sox lineup was confirmed when this was written.

Philadelphia Phillies (-128/5.87) @ Colorado Rockies (+119/5.24)

There are two pitchers taking the mound at Coors Field tonight, Taijuan Walker for the visiting Phillies and Austin Gomber for the hometown Rockies, neither is reliable enough to be played in this situation, even at $6,700/$7,500 and $5,200/$6,000 there is simply not enough upside for two pitchers who tend to get dinged. Between the two, Walker is the better option but, just, no.

The bats are the play at Coors Field tonight. The visiting Phillies are a top option on the board with a 5.87-run implied team total and a terrific lineup against either hand. Trea Turner leads off the confirmed lineup, the star shortstop is up to .261/.305/.408 with four home runs and four stolen bases while creating runs 11% worse than average in 167 opportunities. Turner is a high-end player who has underperformed, he is cheap for him at $5,800/$3,300 in a Coors Field game. Alec Bohm slots in second in the confirmed lineup, he has three home runs with a 100 WRC+ while slashing .270/.338/.387 for $4,200/$3,300 with first and third base eligibility on both sites. Bryce Harper has one home run while slashing .321/.406/.464 with a 141 WRC+ in his 32 opportunities since returning from injury. Nick Castellanos has five home runs and a .203 ISO with a 142 WRC+ in 154 plate appearances, he is now slashing .322/.370/.524 for the year with a 9.7% barrel rate and 41.7% hard-hit percentage and is a strong option at $5,200/$3,900. Kyle Schwarber has eight home runs and does not suffer in the same-handed matchup against this pitcher, he has a .209 ISO but has created runs nine percent below average. Schwarber has a team-leading 13.14 in our home run model tonight and seems too cheap at $5,800/$3,300 for a Coors Field game. JT Realmuto is cheap where catchers are needed at $5,400 for his talent, but overall he is more expensive than a number of quality options and he will be popular at his position tonight. Rostering Connor Wong from the Boston game and grabbing a different Phillies bat in this spot to complete a stack might be an interesting pivot, for example. Realmuto is in play at just $3,300 on FanDuel. Edmundo Sosa is better than people think, he has a 12.1% barrel rate in 92 plate appearances and has hit three home runs this year, Josh Harrison and Daulton Guthrie round out the projected lineup with Coors Field any-given-slate upside.

The Rockies lineup is typically lower-end but also almost always lower-owned than the visiting team, which should be true tonight on the worse side of the pitching matchup. Rockies hitters of note include Charlie Blackmon, who has three home runs and a 106 WRC+ in the leadoff spot in the confirmed lineup, Kris Bryant, who has five home runs and is slashing .301/.380/.451 with a 116 WRC+, and CJ Cron who has six home runs with a .205 ISO in the cleanup spot. Jurickson Profar slots in second despite a 76 WRC+ in 148 plate appearances, he does have five low-cost home runs on the season to justify his existence at $4,200/$3,200. Elias Diaz has been a hot-hitting catcher, he has three home runs in 118 opportunities while slashing .333/.390/.476 with a 123 WRC+ this year. Ryan McMahon and Randal Grichuk are sturdy power bats later in the lineup for low prices and lower popularity, McMahon has four home runs for $5,200/$3,100 in the infield, Grichuk has one home run in 40 plate appearances in the outfield. Harold Castro and Ezequiel Tovar round out the confirmed lineup, Castro can drive the ball infrequently, he hit seven home runs in 443 opportunities last year, Tovar comes with the idea of speed and upside, if not the reality, he has a 56 WRC+ in 130 plate appearances this year.

Play: bats bats bats

Update Notes: the Phillies lineup was confirmed as expected, the Rockies lineup was confirmed in the original version.

Texas Rangers (-160/5.08) @ Oakland Athletics (+147/4.02)

Texas is loaded with upside for MLB DFS scoring against Ken Waldichuk tonight. The lefty has not found his strikeout stuff with regularity at the Major League level, he has a 22.5% CSW% and has induced just an 8.3% swinging-strike rate while striking out only 18.1% of opposing hitters. Waldichuk is not much of an option for MLB DFS purposes against one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, he has the idea of strikeout upside at $6,000/$6,400 and did find seven strikeouts in a good start against the Reds two outings ago. The lefty struck out six Royals in his last appearance but also walked six in an ugly outing, which has become his hallmark early in his career. Target the pitcher with bats. Rangers hitters that should be rostered aggressively include Marcus Semien, who has a 142 WRC+ and a .201 ISO over 172 plate appearances while hitting seven home runs and stealing five bases. Robbie Grossman is a correlation piece if he is hitting second, but he is inexpensive and helps to average down the prices of the stars around him in the lineup. Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia have four and nine home runs with a 113 and 114 WRC+ so far this year, they are excellent options in the heart of the order at $4,100/$3,100 and $5,000/$4,000 tonight. Garcia is the better play given his power and speed, but Lowe is a strong hitter with power upside at a very cheap price for his talent. Josh Jung and Jonah Heim land in the middle of the lineup with power upside as well. Jung has hit eight home runs and is slashing .252/.295/.468, Heim is slashing .316/.378/.553 with a .237 ISO and 158 WRC+ as a $3,800/$3,700 catcher who is never popular or expensive enough for his upside. Ezequiel Duran is the best option at the end of a projected lineup that also includes Leody Taveras and Bubba Thompson. Duran is slashing .293/.327/.455 with a 118 WRC+ and four home runs in 104 plate appearances since the team lost Corey Seager to injury.

Left-handed veteran Martin Perez checks in at just $8,300/$9,200 in a matchup against one of baseball’s worst lineups. Perez has a 17.1% strikeout rate with a 3.86 ERA and 4.60 xFIP in his seven starts and 37.1 innings this season, he has induced a 9.2% swinging-strike rate with just a 26.9% CSW% this year but he has been better in seasons past. Perez has matchup-based upside at these prices against the Athletics, he projects in the middle of the board overall but gains a bit of value on the expectation of upside and a win bonus. The southpaw is a viable option on both MLB DFS sites tonight. The Athletics are rarely a strong option to stack, they come into tonight with just a 4.02-run implied team total in their hometown pitcher-friendly park. Oakland hitters of note do not exist, but the ones in the projected lineup that could offer a touch of value in the right situation would include: Esteury Ruiz, who has 17 stolen bases but a 99 WRC+ in 168 opportunities, Carlos Perez, who is an affordable catcher; Brent Rooker who we reluctantly include despite his glaring flaws; and Jesus Aguilar, who has five home runs in 96 plate appearances this year. Jordan Diaz is cheap at $2,400/$2,700 at second base and third base, he has four home runs in 49 plate appearances, but three of them came in one game the other night against lousy Yankees pitching. Shea Langeliers has hit six home runs and is another cheap catcher, this one has the better bat between the two at this point. J.J. Bleday is one of the more talented options late in the lineup but he hits from the left side of the plate. Kevin Smith and Nick Allen are low-end options late in the lineup, they are both getting on base at sub-.200 clips in 80 and 46 plate appearances respectively and have WRC+ marks sitting at 23 and -18.


Update Notes:

San Francisco Giants (-111/5.14) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (+103/4.96)

A fairly low-end pitching matchup in the desert has the bats in play in the game between the Giants and Diamondbacks as well tonight. The visiting Giants are carrying a 5.14-run implied total with the home team checking in at 4.96, which means we have another game in which we can gain a few crucial minutes by largely skipping past the pitching options. Ryne Nelson is on the mound for the Diamondbacks, he has a 13.9% strikeout rate over 36 innings in seven starts and has allowed a 4.72 xFIP with a 6.00 ERA so far this year. Nelson is a well-regarded pitching prospect overall, but he has not delivered in significant ways this season, last year he had a 23.2% strikeout rate in 18.1 innings and three starts. While Nelson has not completely blown up in any of his starts, he has been reliably mediocre at best, and can be targeted with Giants bats in good hitting conditions. LaMonte Wade Jr. returns to the top of the batting order, he has seven home runs with a .260 ISO and 165 WRC+ in 132 plate appearances so far this season but costs just $3,600/$2,900. Thairo Estrada has hit six home runs and stolen 11 bases, he costs $5,500/$3,600 at second base or shortstop on both sites and is a prime option who has been playing excellent baseball since the start of last year in an unexpected breakout. Joc Pederson mashes from the left side, he has four home runs in 93 opportunities this season and hit 23 in 433 tries last year. Pederson has a team-leadnig 8.28 in our home run model for just $4,100/$2,900 tonight. JD Davis is in play on most slates, he has an 8.8% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate for the season with seven home runs in 127 plate appearances but remains cheap at $3,800/$2,900. Michael Conforto is in play for power against a middling righty, he has five home runs on the season but has been 20% worse than average creating runs in his 128 plate appearances after missing all of last year. Mitch Haniger has two home runs in 51 plate appearances and is cheap for a player who hit 39 home runs two years ago at just $3,600/$2,800. There are several notably inexpensive bats in the top two-thirds of the Giants lineup on the FanDuel slate tonight. Brandon CrawfordJoey Bart, and Brett Wisely round out the projected Giants lineup in lower form.

The Diamondbacks will face opener John Brebbia and the Giants bullpen tonight, Brebbia is effective but will pitch just an inning or so. The Diamondbacks lineup looks like a fair option, though targeting bullpen games is not the play it once was with the number of power arms around the league. Josh Rojas leads off at an affordable $4,800/$2,900 he has zero home runs and a 75 WRC+ in 120 plate appearances this year but hit nine homers with 23 steals and a 108 WRC+ last year. Ketel Marte has a 114 WRC+ with a .218 ISO and five home runs in 150 plate appearances this year, he has barreled the ball in 10.5% of his batted-ball events with a 40.4% hard-hit rate and has been difficult to strike out at just 14.7%. Corbin Carroll is the team’s top overall hitter at .294/.364/.513 with five home runs and 10 stolen bases with a 137 WRC+ for $5,200/$3,400. Christian Walker costs just $4,300/$3,500 with nine home runs and a .254 ISO and is up to .275/.318/.529 at first base. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Pavin Smith are good options in the middle of the lineup, Gurriel is slashing .304/.362/.512 with five home runs in a nice return to form and Smith has a pair of home runs with a 140 WRC+ in 78 opportunities. Gabriel Moreno rounds out the lineup as a cheap catcher along with outfielder Alek Thomas and infielder Geraldo Perdomo. While Moreno has been good and plays a required position at a cheap price on DraftKings, Perdomo has been near-elite in his 94 plate appearances, slashing .359/.444/.551 with a 170 WRC+, two home runs, and four stolen bases for just $3,700/$3,000 at shortstop.

Play: Giants bats/stacks, Diamondbacks bats/stacks

Update Notes:

San Diego Padres (+121/4.26) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-131/4.83)

The final game of the night (thankfully!) features an interesting pitching matchup with Dustin May taking the mound for the home team and Blake Snell starting for the Padres. May has an 18.4% strikeout rate in 40.1 innings and seven starts. He has pitched to a 2.68 ERA but a 4.79 xFIP with just a 6.2% swinging-strike rate and a 23.2% CSW% so far this year. When May is right his stuff can be outrageous, he has fantastic movement and ride on his pitches and he has been pitching deep into ballgames this year. May struck out six in two of his last three outings, pitching into the sixth inning in both of those starts as well, the last one of which was on the road against these Padres. May was good enough to limit San Diego to three hits and no earned runs in that outing, but that is a largely meaningless sample overall. The righty costs $8,500/$9,600 and could be in line for a few tournament darts, but the matchup is not great and the prices could be a bit lower for a true value play. The Padres lineup is top-heavy, as we all know, they have four star-caliber players and a lot of mix and match throughout the lineup. The lineup opens with Fernando Tatis Jr. who has five home runs in just 86 plate appearances since his comeback, with a .232 ISO while creating runs 26% better than average so far. The outfielder still has shortstop eligibility on the blue site and he costs $6,000/$3,700 tonight. Jake Cronenworth is a middling option on most slates but he is a correlated scoring play if he hits second again tonight. Cronenworth has a 38% hard-hit rate and three home runs but he is slashing .222/.346/.394. Manny Machado and Juan Soto are slowly on the upswing, Machado is slashing .250/.295/.403 with a 92 WRC+ and five home runs, Soto is at .256/.414/.474 with a .218 ISO and 146 WRC+ with six home runs. Machado is cheap at $4,700/$2,900, Soto is also far too inexpensive at $5,000/$3,300, both players are off by at least $1,000 in salary, take the discount. Xander Bogaerts is also far too cheap at $4,200/$3,200. The shortstop is slashing .266/.364/.432 with a .165 ISO and 125 WRC+ over 162 plate appearances after carrying the team through the early part of the season. Matt Carpenter has a 7.72 in our home run model tonight, he has three on the board this season but just a 100 WRC+ and .195 ISO in 93 plate appearances, Ha-Seong Kim has a 92 WRC+ in 129 tries, and Trent Grisham is at 104 in his 147 opportunities. Austin Nola closes the lineup as a low-end catcher.

The Dodgers against Blake Snell is a tricky proposition that we just saw play out in its expected frustrating fashion last week. Snell faced the Dodgers and struck out six while walking three and allowing a home run, but pitching six innings of one-hit two-run ball. The southpaw has a 24.8% strikeout rate but an unsustainable 13.4% walk rate that is high even for him. Snell’s ERA is at 4.89 this season with a 4.65 xFIP and a 1.57 WHIP, he has induced a 13.4% swinging-strike rate but has been lousy for premium contact so far this season when hitters have connected. Snell has allowed a 44.3% hard-hit rate with 90.2 mph of average exit velocity and an 11.3% barrel rate that amount to a 4.46% home run rate allowed. The Dodgers bats seem like the better side of the equation once again, the team has several very patient hitters who are difficult to strike out, they can work Snell for walks and pound mistakes from both sides of the plate. The matchup may render Los Angeles under-owned as a stack, they can be rostered from the late-night position, but “hammer” is probably a bit strong of a term in this one. Mookie Betts has seven home runs with a .225 ISO and 125 WRC+ from the top spot in the projected lineup for $5,900/$3,500, he has second base eligibility on FanDuel but plays outfield only across town. Freddie Freeman has a 128 WRC+ and six home runs with five stolen bases while slashing .289/.360/.480 in 172 opportunities this year, he is too cheap at $5,000/$3,600 tonight. Will Smith is an extraordinary hitter as a catcher, he has a .325/.420/.625 triple-slash with a .300 ISO and 177 WRC+ with six home runs in 100 plate appearances this year. J.D. Martinez is back in the lineup, he has four home run with a  .284 ISO in 98 plate appearances while creating runs 22% better than average his first year in Los Angeles. Max Muncy pounds left-handed pitching and should not be skipped with a southpaw on the mound, he has 12 home runs this season with a 21.1% barrel rate and costs just $5,600/$4,100. Chris Taylor has mashed lefties and has seven home runs with a .286 ISO overall this year, Miguel Vargas has four homer and a .211 ISO in 137 opportunities and costs just $2,900/$2,800 at second base, and Trayce Thompson has hit four cheap low-owned home runs in 65 tries with a .222 ISO. Miguel Rojas rounds out the projected Los Angeles lineup, he is a $2,500/$2,100 option at shortstop with second base eligibility on FanDuel but has not done much at the plate this year.

Play: Dodgers bats/stacks, Padres bats/stacks in fewer shares, Dustin May, Blake Snell is not off the board but the play is thin, he comes at a fair $8,100/$8,500 and would not be an outright mistake to play in small doses in large tournaments

Update Notes:

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