MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Strategy Summary – Sunday 5/14/23

The eight-game Sunday afternoon slate sees a fairly short list of premium starting pitchers with a wide mid-range and a loaded hitting board. The Power Index is seeing several spots with significant upside for individual home run production, with some of those aligning with the top overall stacks on the board and the highest implied team totals in great matchups. The slate lacks a standout run total with no Coors Field or similar game available, and many of the games are close contests in Vegas on what should be a fun all-around day of baseball. A 12:30 Stokastic show with our Ol’ Pal has us in summary/speed-round mode today.

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 – 5/14/23

Tampa Bay Rays (-121/4.47) @ New York Yankees (+111/4.13)

The Rays and Yankees will close out their terrific series with a good matchup in the Bronx between a pair of quality right-handed pitchers. Clarke Schmidt takes the mound for the Yankees, he has pitched to a 26.2% strikeout rate with a 5.35 ERA but a 3.76 xFIP in 35.1 innings and eight starts. Schmidt has had several good outings this season, but Yankees manager Aaron Boone has a particularly quick hook with the young righty, he has only completed the sixth inning once, in his most recent start, and only pitched beyond the fifth inning twice this year. Schmidt has an effective arsenal including three pitches that grade out as well above average by Stuff+ metrics, the righty is inexpensive at $7,000/$7,800 but the matchup is not a good one against this team on a warm afternoon in Yankee Stadium. For the DraftKings price, Schmidt is most certainly an SP2 viable option in this matchup, he will be low-owned on both sites but the question mark on his ability to reach the quality start could hamper his FanDuel upside. The Rays lineup looks very good as well, and Schmidt has been vulnerable to power for all his qualities. The righty has allowed a 50% hard-hit rate and a 4.88% home run rate on 92.3 mph of average exit velocity and a 12% barrel rate that could play right into Tampa Bay’s power. The projected Rays lineup opens with Yandy Diaz who just will not slow down this season. Diaz is sitting at 10 home runs with a .266 ISO and a 185 WRC+ and has been one of the best hitters in the game since Opening Day, he still costs just $5,100/$3,900 at first base on DraftKings and with first and third base eligibility across town. Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena are stars who costs $5,900/$4,200 and $5.600/$4,100 but they are absolutely worth it in this matchup and they have 17 combined home runs this season with a .228 and .253 ISO. Brandon Lowe mashes from the left side of the plate and has a good mark in our home run model today, the second baseman has scuffled somewhat in his triple-slash the last few weeks, he is down to .185/.287/.403 but he has seven home runs and a .218 ISO. Harold Ramirez checks in for $3,800/$3,200 which is a great price for a hitter with six home runs, a .236 ISO, and a 157 WRC+ in 115 plate appearances. Ramirez is one of several Rays who has been hitting well above his head, particularly for home run power, but he has been undeniably good this season and has a track record of solid contact and a good hit tool. Taylor Walls has six home runs and a 148 WRC+ with a .261 ISO, he is cheap at second or third base on DraftKings and plays three positions on FanDuel, if Walls is in the lineup he is a discounted flexible bat to deploy. Luke Raley should slip into the dynamic Rays lineup against the righty, the left-handed outfielder has hit eight home runs in just 99 plate appearances this season, he has a 22% barrel rate and 57.6% hard-hit rate for just $3,700/$3,000 at first base and in the outfield. Christian Bethancourt is an underrated power-hitting catcher who has six home runs on the season at a cheap $3,600, and Josh Lowe lands in the final spot in the projected lineup but could hit anywhere in the batting order. Lowe has nine home runs and is slashing .318/.371/.654 with a massive .336 ISO, which is safely not a stereotypical ninth hitter.

The Yankees will be facing Zach Eflin who checks in with a 25.9% strikeout rate and a 2.91 ERA with a 3.07 xFIP in 34 innings and six outings. The righty has been very good to start the season, building on a track record of short-sample above-average output from the past few years. In 75.2 innings last year, Eflin had a 20.8% strikeout rate and a 3.81 xFIP with a 4.04 ERA, the year before he threw 105.2 innings with a 22.4% strikeout rate and a 4.17 ERA with a 3.61 xFIP. Eflin will be facing a Yankees lineup that has gotten a shot in the arm with the return of superstar Aaron Judge who hit two huge home runs in yesterday’s contest to keep the team in a great game. Judge is a major threat against any pitcher, he has a 12.97 in our home run model in this matchup with eight in his ledger already for the season and is slashing .264/.359/.536 with a .273 ISO hitting second in the lineup. Eflin is in play, even with Judge back the Yankees lineup is still weakened by several absences and runs only six or seven strong. At $9,200/$9,900 there is no discount on the starter and he will have a challenge posting a clean game, but there should be strikeout upside available for the pitcher this afternoon and he will probably not be overly popular. Gleyber Torres is in the projected leadoff spot ahead of Judge, but the Yankees have also deployed Anthony Volpe in that role and the young shortstop has been coming to life lately, so either could end up here and either would be a good correlated scoring play to start a stack of Yankees hitters. Torres is the better individual bat right now, the second baseman has six home runs and a 119 WRC+, Volpe is likely to hit seventh if he does not land in the top spot, he has five home runs and an 86 WRC+ with 13 stolen bases boosting his MLB DFS scoring average. Anthony Rizzo is a great option at first base, the lefty has eight home runs and is slashing .311/.393/.510 with a .199 ISO and a 154 WRC+ in 173 plate appearances and he has a 9.00 in our home run model. DJ LeMahieu is slashing .269/.342/.454 with a 122 WRC+ and five home runs, he is a $4,000 DraftKings third baseman and slots into three positions for $3,000 on the blue site. Harrison Bader has been highly productive in his 41 plate appearances since returning from injury, he has three home runs with a 194 WRC+ and a .342 ISO in the tiny sample. Jake Bauers is projected to be in the lineup, he has a pair of big home runs in his 25 plate appearances and can drive the ball with major power when he connects. Bauers costs just $2,000/$2,400, he is an outfielder on DraftKings and a first baseman on FanDuel. Jose Trevino and Oswaldo Cabrera round out the projected Yankees lineup on the low end.

Play: Four Corners game: Rays bats/stacks, Yankees bats/stacks, Zach Eflin, Clarke Schmidt are all viable in a variety of share sizes, probably in that order

Update Notes: the Rays lineup runs Diaz-Franco-B.Lowe-Arozarena-J.Lowe-Walls-Raley-Bethancourt-Jose Siri which adds an interesting power/speed bat to the end of the lineup for $2,900/$3,000. The Yankees lineup has a weird twist with Jake Bauers in the leadoff role, bump to Bauers, followed by Judge-Rizzo-LeMahieu-Bader-Willie Calhoun-Volpe-Trevino-Cabrera. Calhoun is not of minor interest, the former top prospect has two home runs in 64 plate appearances and he is cheap in the heart of the order.

Pittsburgh Pirates (+111/3.88) @ Baltimore Orioles (-120/4.20)

The Pirates are facing Kyle Gibson, a veteran right-handed starter who has been functional for eating innings but has not been overly effective otherwise so far in 2023. Gibson has made eight starts and thrown 47 innings, he has a 15.9% strikeout rate with a 4.40 ERA and a 4.59 xFIP. The righty is capable of finding more strikeouts in the right situation, his rates from the past two seasons were around 20% and he is inducing a 9.3% swinging-strike rate but has just a 26.6% CSW%. This Pirates team has been frisky but also can come in completely flat, as we saw just yesterday in their matchup with similarly low-end Tyler Wells. Gibson costs $7,300/$8,000, at price there is probably more general upside in Schmidt from the Yankees game, but Gibson has inarguably the better matchup. The Pirates are playable against the contact-oriented Gibson, he has given up his typical mid-level power and premium contact numbers so far this year and has a 3.08% home run rate allowed on a 9.3% barrel rate with 40.7% hard hits. The Pirates lineup includes Ke’Bryan Hayes, who we have mentioned hits the ball very hard but does not see good results for it with just one home run, a .110 ISO and 77 WRC+ in 160 plate appearances. Hayes is cheap at $4,100/$2,800 at third base. Bryan Reynolds is a star outfielder who has been stuck at five home runs but is otherwise fantastic on most slates and still creates runs 23% better than average. Andrew McCutchen got the day off on Saturday and should return to the lineup in a good spot, the right-handed veteran has a 5.80 in our home run model nad he has been very good in his return to Pittsburgh, hitting seven home runs with a .230 ISO and 127 WRC+ in 138 opportunities. Carlos Santana has not found his power this season, he costs just $3,200/$2,900 at first base and hits from both sides of the plate, but the slugger has managed just a pair of longballs this year and he has a .128 ISO with a 98 WRC+. Jack Suwinski has light tower power in the right spot, the left-handed slugger is on the correct side of splits for this park and has a team-leading 7.21 in our home run model. Connor Joe has been very good for the Pirates in a nice surprise, he has five home runs with a .272 ISO and 141 WRC+ in 131 plate appearances while slashing .263/.359/.535 in early returns. Tucupita MarcanoJi-Hwan Bae, and Austin Hedges close out the lineup on lower-end terms. Marcano has a home run and .154 ISO in 61 opportunities, Bae has stolen 14 bases and has two home runs in 113 tries, and Hedges is a low-end catcher.

Like many veteran fantasy gamers, we have had our dalliances with Mitch Keller in the past. The enigmatic righty has always had absolutely electric stuff on the mound but was never able to truly harness it with any sort of reliability. Keller once again came into last season with the weight of massive expectations after spending the offseason tinkering and refining and seeing great results in the Spring, he fell on his face right out of the gate and spent all season whittling his numbers back to respectability, eventually finishing at just a 20.1% strikeout rate with a 3.91 ERA and 3.99 xFIP over 29 starts and 159 innings. There were a few positive indicators in the performance, critically Keller cut his walk rate from 10.4% in 2021 to just 8.7% last year while boosting his CSW from 24.4% to a still-low 25.8%. With only the passed-out guy remaining on his bandwagon coming into 2023, of course, Keller has been excellent, that is the nature of this starter. The righty has a 27.6% strikeout rate with a 2.72 ERA and 3.41 xFIP in 49.2 innings and eight starts. Keller has cut walks again, he is sitting at a 6.9% walk rate for the season and his CSW% has made a major leap to 29.6% with his swinging-strike rate also jumping from 8.2% and 8.7% the past two years to 10.5% so far this season. Pricing has mostly caught up, Keller costs $9,600/$10,800 in a tough spot against a good Orioles lineup, but between lingering sentiment and current-year performance he has earned our faith, “once more unto the breach, dear friends…”. Of course, the Orioles should be rostered as a major hedge position against Keller. The team is showing lower-end power marks in our home run model than typical, Keller has not allowed much in the way of home runs over the past three seasons with a 2.13% rate in 2021, 2.04% last year, and 1.97% so far this season. Cedric Mullins is the priciest Orioles bat at $5,200/$3,600, he has five home runs and 12 stolen bases with a .204 ISO and 129 WRC+ this year and is on the plus side of his splits hitting as a lefty against the righty. Adley RutschmanAnthony Santander, and Ryan Mountcastle are the team’s sturdy power core. Rutschman has six home runs and has become an elite catcher for MLB DFS, he costs just $4,800/$2,900, Santander has been correcting his path for the season and is up to .254/.321/.449 with a .196 ISO and five home runs, and Mountcastle has eight home runs with a .220 ISO and a 17.1% barrel rate for the year. Santander leads the group with a 6.08 in our home run model, and Mountcastle is second on the team at 5.64 today. Adam Frazier is a lower-end correlated scoring option at a cheap price if he is hitting fifth. Austin Hays and Gunnar Henderson are interesting options having opposite starts to the year. Hays has been very good with four home runs and a 132 WRC+ while slashing .303/.348/.492 in 132 plate appearances but Henderson is slashing just .175/.341/.340 with four home runs and a 97 WRC+, his on-base percentage and ability to draw walks are keeping him afloat but he will eventually hit. Jorge Mateo is slashing .264/.308/.482 with six homers and 12 stolen bases and has cooled somewhat after starting the season as one of fantasy baseball’s best options. Kyle Stowers slots in with power in the ninth spot at just $2,000/$2,100.

Play: Mitch Keller, Orioles bats/stacks, Pirates bats/stacks, Gibson low-level value is not awful in the matchup but there are better strikeout upside pitchers at similar prices

Update Notes: McCutchen is leading off for the Pirates with Hayes sliding to fifth behind cleanup Suwinski, Carlos Santana hits third. Josh Palacios slides into the lineup as a $2,000 option on both sites in the outfield. The Orioles lineup sees Gunnar Henderson move up to third with Rutschman taking a seat in the Sunday day game, James McCann catches and will hit eighth, Joey Ortiz is hitting ninth with Stowers moving up to seventh and Mateo also out of the lineup, which downgrades Baltimore overall and gives Keller a minor nudge.

Atlanta Braves (-101/4.76) @ Toronto Blue Jays (-107/4.84)

One of the better-looking spots for offense and home run power on today’s slate comes in the loaded contest between the Braves and Blue Jays from Toronto. The home team is starting Yusei Kikuchi, who regular readers will know is one of our favored targets for home run hitting. Kikuchi allowed a 5.07% home run rate on 91.6 mph of average exit velocity and a 47.1% hard-hit rate with a 14.8% barrel rate last season in 100.2 innings, the year before he was at a 4.05% home run rate on 91.9 mph of average exit velocity, a 47% hard-hit rate, and an 11% barrel rate. The lefty can find effectiveness, he was a decent strikeout pitcher both of those seasons, posting a 24.5% in 2021 and 27.3% strikeout rate in 2022, but his ERAs were 4.41 and 5.19 with xFIPs of 3.85 and 4.07. This season, the southpaw has pitched to form when it comes to allowing power and his strikeout numbers have dipped badly. Kikuchi has just a 21.6% strikeout rate in 37.2 innings and seven starts, with his swinging-strike rate nosediving from 13.3% to 11% and his CSW% plummeting from 27.6% to 24.2%. He has managed to trim walks so far, but that seems to be more a result of allowing contact than from pitching well. Kikuchi has given up a 5.23% home run rate on 92.2 mph of average exit velocity with a 9.9% barrel rate and 46.8% hard-hit rate so far this year. The Braves have significant right-handed power and their lefties hit same-handed pitching extremely well, this could be a power bonanza. Kikuchi is not entirely off the board for the bold, but at $8,200/$8,800 there are probably better options, he will have to find strikeouts against the free-swinging Braves and completely avoid trouble to reach effectiveness, which seems like a thin proposition in this matchup. Ronald Acuna Jr. has seven home runs with 17 stolen bases and has created runs 68% better than average in 178 plate appearances, he is a superstar who is in play at any price. Matt Olson has 11 home runs this season with a .281 ISO and 138 WRC+, he is one of the game’s top power hitters and an excellent first baseman. Two of Olson’s home runs this year have come against same-handed pitching and he has a .223 ISO and 116 WRC+ against fellow lefties for his career, there are no platoon concerns. Austin Riley is priced down to just $5,000/$2,900 on the back of an extended slump that has him at .240/.326/.393 with a .153 ISO and six home runs, he is a far better hitter than that, take the discount. Sean Murphy is a right-handed masher of a catcher, he has nine home runs and is slashing .269/.404/.571 with an outrageous .303 ISO. Ozzie Albies costs just $4,500/$3,300 despite an 11.6% barrel rate and nine home runs with a .235 ISO while creating runs 10% better than average and a long track record of All-Star level performance at second base. Travis d’Arnaud adds a second sturdy catcher bat with right-handed power upside to the lineup, he costs just $3,900/$2,700 tonight as a cheap pivot on DraftKings, unfortunately, there is no creative way to play all three of Olson, Murphy, and d’Arnaud on FanDuel, we need to get Murph some outfield time! Marcell Ozuna has seven home runs with a .247 ISO and not much else, he can absolutely blast one over the wall against this pitcher and has a 9.58 in our home run model for just $2,600/$2,700 in the outfield. Kevin Pillar and Orlando Arcia round out the lineup, they are both capable hitters – Pillar has three home runs in 67 plate appearances and is slashing .270/.299/.460, Arcia has two home runs and is slashing .317/.368/.492 with a 134 WRC+ in 68 plate appearances – but they are not premium options at the plate, consider them mix-and-match spots that can help with salary without destroying a Braves stack.

The Blue Jays are matched up against a bullpen game that will be led by righty Collin McHugh acting as the opener. McHugh has a 13.8% strikeout rate over 13.1 innings of relief work this year with a 5.21 xFIP and 3.38 ERA. The righty has been far better in years past, he had a 27.6% strikeout rate with a 3.25 xFIP in 69.1 relief innings last year and a 30% strikeout rate over 64 innings that included seven starts in 2021. Depending on how his start unfolds, McHugh could go more than one inning, he is a long relief arm who has been a spot starter in his career, two or three innings of effective work could be in play, but the pitcher has not been himself this season and the Blue Jays are an elite offense. Toronto’s lineup is the focus in this matchup. Slumping George Springer has spent the season’s first month and a half slowly murdering about half of our 30 public season-long teams with his lack of production, the star outfielder is mired in a bad slump and sits at .219/.283/.308 with a .089 ISO and 67 WRC+ over 159 plate appearances, which at least has his price driven down to $4,500/$2,800. He does have four home runs and six stolen bases as well as a 10.2% barrel rate to lean on, but the sample is growing and the numbers have not been trending in the right direction. Bo Bichette has hit eight home runs and is slashing .325/.364/.524 while creating runs 47% better than average at shortstop, he joins Vladimir Guerrero Jr. atop the lineup as the team’s primary run-creation engine. Guerrero costs $5,800/$3,800 and leads the team with a 5.83 in our home run model. The first base star is slashing .313/.392/.528 with a .215 ISO and 156 WRC+ as well as  16.1% barrel rate and 56.5% hard-hit rate for the year. Daulton Varsho has also scuffled along through most of the season, but he has six home runs and six stolen bases in his 159 plate appearances and is up to a 96 WRC+. Matt Chapman has come down in productivity and price, he has a 168 WRC+ and .227 ISO for the year with five home runs and a .326/.410/.553 triple-slash. Chapman will have another hot streak in the coming weeks, he is an excellent bat who still has a 27.3% barrel rate and 65.7% hard-hit for the season. Alejandro Kirk has two home runs in 110 plate appearances this year, he hit 14 in 541 last season and has mid-level upside as a catcher play. Brandon Belt has two home runs and a .173 ISO this year and is slashing just .222/.315/.395 but he could be extremely sneaky as a left-handed power bat for just $2,200/$2,500 at first base. Belt has a 14.3% barrel rate and 45.2% hard-hit rate for the season so far, which should not be ignored, this is a hitter who had 29 home runs in just 381 plate appearances in 2021. Whit Merrifield has low-level power with a good hit tool and speed, Kevin Keirmaier is having a nice year at the plate at .311/.376/.481 with a pair of home runs and four stolen bases, but he is primarily here for defense.

Play: Braves bats/stacks, Blue Jays bats/stacks

Update Notes: the Braves have Michael Harris II hitting eighth which is an interesting power/speed option late in the lineup, but more importantly Sean Murphy will take a seat today in the day game, with d’Arnaud catching and hitting fifth and Ozzie Albies getting a nice bump by sliding up to third in the lineup with Riley hitting cleanup. The Blue Jays lineup is as anticipated.

Seattle Mariners (-173/4.89) @ Detroit Tigers (+158/3.72)

The Mariners bring some of the slate’s best options to the table this afternoon in their matchup against Joey Wentz and the Tigers. The lefty is a low-end option at $5,500/$6,200 which does not seem worthwhile on either site for MLB DFS purposes. Wentz has a 6.09 ERA and 5.04 xFIP with an 18.8% strikeout rate and a 4.86% home run rate allowed in 34 innings and seven starts this season. Last year he had a 20% strikeout rate with a 3.03 ERA and 4.56 xFIP over 32.2 innings and seven starts. Fortune seems to be with the Mariners in this one, they should be a very popular stack, but there are worthwhile bats up and down the lineup who can help create unique hitter combinations. JP Crawford leads off the projected Seattle lineup, he is slashing .243/.379/.339 with a .096 ISO and 116 WRC+ with most of his opportunities coming from the bottom of the lineup early this year. Crawford’s on-base skills should bolster his run-creation numbers and make him a valuable piece of this lineup for just $3,200/$2,800 at shortstop. Ty France is slashing .276/.361/.386 with a pair of home runs while creating runs 18% better than average, he is never expensive of popular and just produces MLB DFS points with regularity with his good hit tool and underrated pop. Julio Rodriguez has moved to third in the lineup if it is confirmed in this configuration, he has seven home runs and seven stolen bases in 168 plate appearances this season but has been creating runs eight percent below average, the Mariners need their star to get engaged in the season, but he is a very nice piece at our prices at $5,700/$3,400, the price on the blue site is notably very low for the player that Rodriguez can be on the right day. Jarred Kelenic checks in fourth in the projected lineup, he has eight home runs while slashing .289/.340/.563 with a .274 ISO this year. Two of his home runs have come against same-handed pitching and he is slashing .333/.371/.636 with a .303 ISO and 180 WRC+ against same-handed pitching in 35 opportunities this year. Eugenio Suarez has three home runs with a .095 ISO and 85 WRC+, he has scuffled along but has a nine percent barrel rate and 41% hard-hit mark that foster some hope of a turnaround for the extraordinary power hitter. Teoscar Hernandez has eight home runs this year with a .190 ISO but is sitting at just a 92 by WRC+, he is priced way down at $3,700/$2,800, joining Suarez in the bargain bin, that is quite a bit of cheap power against a pitcher who should allow plenty of hard right-handed contact today. Tom MurphyAJ Pollock, and Jose Caballero round out the projected lineup, Murphy has sneaky right-handed power as a catcher and Pollock is a capable veteran bat who has four home runs but little else in 77 opportunities in 2023.

The Tigers do not look like a very strong option with Logan Gilbert on the mound today. The righty has been excellent to start his season, he has a 31.4% strikeout rate with a 3.79 ERA and 2.86 xFIP over 40.1 innings and seven starts. Gilbert is another of Seattle’s excellent young control and command pitchers, he has walked just five percent this year with a 0.99 WHIP, last year he was at 6.4% with a 1.18 WHIP in 185.2 innings, and the season before he had a 5.6% walk rate and 1.17 WHIP. That Gilbert has, so far, been able to simultaneously raise his strikeout rate dramatically and lower his already good walk rate and WHIP marks is a major accomplishment if the righty is able to sustain anything close to this level of production. Gilbert’s swinging-strike rate is roughly the same as last year but his CSW% has gone from 25.1% to 28.1% so far this season, meaning he is getting far more called strikes, which is a great indicator. The Tigers are a bad baseball team, their active roster has a 76 WRC+ against right-handed pitching, the second-worst mark in baseball behind the Nationals. Their .109 ISO in the split is tied with the Guardians for second-worst in the league. Gilbert is our highest projected starter by a fair margin on this slate, he has the opportunity to run off and hide from the field with his MLB DFS score against this opponent, at $9,400/$10,100 he should be very popular and worthwhile. Tigers hitters are not much of an option, even with the notion of taking up a contrarian position against a highly-owned starter. Zach McKinstry leads off the confirmed lineup, he has a 110 WRC+ in 99 plate appearances with two home runs and five stolen bases this year, he is one of the three Tigers at or above average by WRC+ this season. Riley Greene is the second name on that list, he sits at exactly league average with a 100 WRC+ while slashing .268/.323/.389 with three home runs and five stolen bases in 161 plate appearances. Javier Baez has a team-leading 6.13 in our home run model, he has three this season but is slashing .256/.315/.368 with a 93 WRC+. Spencer Torkleson has a 76 WRC+ over 154 plate appearances with three home runs and a .121 ISO, he has not been worthy of the first-overall pick in the draft that the Tigers spent on him. Nick Maton is slashing .157/.246/.324 with a 56 WRC+ in 122 plate appearances. Andy Ibanez is the other player in the lineup with an above-average WRC+, but he has made just 42 plate appearances this year. Ibanez has one home run and a .171 ISO in the tiny sample. Akil Baddoo has a 79 WRC+ with no home runs and three stolen bases, Matt Vierling has a 71 WRC+ with two home runs in 128 plate appearances, and Jake Rogers closes things out as a cheap catcher who has five home runs and a .254 ISO in just 80 plate appearances, but has been largely inept otherwise with a 36.3% strikeout rate and a .183/.275/.437 triple-slash.

Play: Logan Gilbert, Mariners bats/stacks, both with enthusiasm

Update Notes: the Mariners include Sam Haggerty in the ninth spot in the lineup, he is a low-end option, Caballero moves up to seventh, the rest of the lineup is as expected. The Tigers lineup was confirmed originally.

Cincinnati Reds (+142/3.84) @ Miami Marlins (-155/4.76)

The Reds are in Miami’s pitcher-friendly ballpark to face lefty Braxton Garrett as fairly heavy underdogs with one of the lowest implied team totals on the slate at just 3.84. Garrett has a 5.97 ERA but a 3.79 xFIP over six starts and 31.2 innings so far in 2023 but he has struck out just 19.3% of opposing hitters and has yielded some power upside. The southpaw has allowed 92.2 mph of average exit velocity with a 9.1% barrel rate, a 49.1% hard-hit rate, and a 4.14% home run rate in the small sample. He has thrown strikes and induced a good 11.2% swinging-strike rate with a 29.2% CSW% and he has been good at limiting walks to just 4.1%, he has been exceptionally unlucky with a .385 BABIP against so far this season, which explains the 1.64 WHIP against such a low walk rate. Garrett had a 24.1% strikeout rate in 88 innings and 17 starts last season, there is upside in the pitcher against a very low-end Reds lineup today, he projects in the middle of the board at an extremely fair $5,900/$6,400 and is in play as a value option on both sites. Reds bats are a low-end option, they are a team without a star or a premium hitter, if we had to choose the team’s best player might be leadoff man Jonathan India, which is not saying much. The infielder has three home runs and is slashing .301/.391/.448 with a 125 WRC+ for the year in his 169 plate appearances, adding eight stolen bases. Nick Senzel is slashing .261/.327/.413 with three home runs and three stolen bases, he hits second in the confirmed lineup and is a cheap bat with three-position eligibility on FanDuel. Spencer Steer has a team-leading 5.71 in our home run model, he has five on the season with a .193 ISO and a WRC+ that sits exactly at league average. Tyler Stephenson has two home runs in 154 plate appearances but just a .088 ISO and 91 WRC+, the catcher is cheap and has a 42.6% hard-hit rate, but he is only a low-end option, even where the position is required. Stuard Fairchild has one home run on the board in 2023, he costs just $2,100/$2,300 in the outfield and had a 9.5% barrel rate with a 41.3% hard-hit rate in 110 opportunities over which he hit five home runs last year, giving us at least the idea of price-based power upside. Henry Ramos hits from the rights side with no power so far, he has zero home runs and a .057 ISO while creating runs 26% worse than average in his brief career to this point. Wil Myers has been a disappointment in Cincinnati so far, he has three home runs with a .110 ISO while slashing .200/.259/.310. Kevin Newman and Luke Maile round out the confirmed lineup with another two low-end hitters, Maile is a $2,000 catcher who has a home run in 30 plate appearances and had three in 206 last year.

The Marlins are pulling a nice implied team total in Vegas with a 4.76 in their matchup against Luke Weaver, a righty who comes in with a 7.36 ERA, a 4.85 xFIP, and a major power problem in 22 innings and four starts. Weaver has struck out 21.9% and walked 7.3% so far this season and has induced a nice 11.3% swinging-strike rate with a 29.2% CSW% but he has collided with far too much premium contact. The righty has given up an 8.33% home run rate on 92.2 mph of average exit velocity with a 52.2% hard-hit rate and 16.4% barrel rate so far this year. Weaver has made four starts, he gave up two home runs while striking out eight Pirates over six innings in his debut, then allowed three home runs in a 5.2-inning eight-strikeout start against the Rangers. He struck out just three the next time out, but managed to escape a 4.1-inning start in San Diego without giving up a home run, then he yielded three home runs while striking out just two Mets hitters over six innings in his last outing. Both three-homer games were in home starts in Cincinnati’s bandbox, which is noteworthy for a pitcher who has found strikeout upside twice this season and is in a far more pitcher-friendly environment today. Weaver is also facing a Marlins team that has just a .133 ISO and an 86 WRC+ as a group against right-handed pitching this season. As a $6,800/$6,900 option against a low-end team in a pitcher’s park, Weaver is not entirely bereft of upside, he is very unlikely to be popular, only a few shares should be enough to get beyond the field’s ownership and he is an easy way to differentiate lineups, but the play is extremely thin. To be entirely clear, this has not been a good pitcher in 2023 and the odds are that the Marlins continue that trend, but there is enough price-and-matchup-based upside that it warrants consideration in large field tournaments. On the Marlins side, both Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jorge Soler land just below the magic number in our home run model at 9.36 and 9.06 respectively. Chisholm has seven home runs with a .174 ISO in 159 plate appearances this year, Soler has nine home runs and a .259 ISO and has barreled the ball in 18.4% of his batted-ball events. The pair of outfielders are affordable at $5,400/$2,800 and $4,900/$3,100, they combine well with hit tool specialist Luis Arraez who has been in a bit of a slide and is now at a .379 batting average with a .435/.470 back end of his triple-slash and a .091 ISO. Arraez has still created runs 51% better than average for the season and is involved in everything, he just seems miscast hitting behind Chisholm and Soler instead of in front of them. Bryan De La Cruz is projected to hit fourth, he has three home runs and a 91 WRC+ with just a .117 ISO, beginning the talent slide for this team that boosts the idea of an OK Weaver start at the price. De La Cruz has not done much at the plate, but he is slashing .266/.307/.383 which is better than Jean Segura’.186/.256/.212 with a .025 ISO so far this season. The veteran infielder has been flat-out bad, he has created runs 77% worse than average and is dragging this team down. Yuli Gurriel won a batting title two years ago then completely fell off the map in 2022, he is slashing .247/.299/.382 in 97 plate appearances playing out the thread with Miami. Joey WendleNick Fortes, and Peyton Burdick round out the projected lineup with a thud.

Play: Marlins bats/stacks, Reds bats/stacks, Braxton Garrett low-end value, Luke Weaver low-end value

Update Notes: the Reds lineup is confirmed as it appears, the Marlins have Jon Berti in the leadoff role where his speed may come in handy for just $3,000/$2,600 with multi-position eligibility, but Jazz Chisholm is out of the lineup. Garrett Cooper hits second with Soler sliding to the cleanup spot after Arraez, which downgrades the Marlins overall. Peyton Burdick is hitting seventh with Garrett Hampson in the lineup hitting ninth.

Chicago Cubs (+103/3.72) @ Minnesota Twins (-112/3.87)

Twins starter Louie Varland checks in at just $7,800/$8,400 with strikeout upside against a free-swinging Cubs team in Minnesota today. Varland has our attention with a 28.2% strikeout rate over his first 16.2 innings and three starts this season. The righty has induced a 14.3% swinging-strike rate at the Major League level this season and has a 31.3% CSW% in the tiny sample. He has pitched to a 4.32 ERA and a cleaner 3.12 xFIP while walking just seven percent, though there have been a couple of bumps with premium contact. In the mostly meaningless three-start sample, Varland has yielded a 41.3% hard-hit rate with a 13% barrel rate and a 5.63% home run rate, but those marks have a long time to normalize. Varland’s arsenal grades out well with two above-average pitches by Stuff+ and a third sitting around league average, and he is facing a Cubs team that strikes out at a 23% clip against right-handed pitching as an active roster this season. Chicago bats are in play frequently in this space, the frisky roster has power, speed, on-base skills, and the ability to create runs in several ways and they are rarely expensive or popular. Three Cubs hitters have multi-position eligibility on FanDuel, but only Nick Madrigal, the lowest-end option, carries two positions on DraftKings. Madrigal is projected to lead off hitting ninth in the just-confirmed lineup, he is slashing .250/.288/.316 with a .066 ISO and 67 WRC+ in 80 plate appearances, he is a contact and speed option for correlated scoring, but there is not much to look at. Christopher Morel leads off the confirmed lineup, he is a great option who remains cheap at $4,000/$3,200 and adds another bat with multi-position eligibility on both sites. Dansby Swanson is a great option for power, he has an 8.38 in our home run model and has hit three home runs already this season. Swanson is a star at shortstop and he costs just $4,200/$3,300 despite a 122 WRC+ and productive numbers across the board. Ian Happ is similarly cheap at $4,300/$3,300 despite a productive year at the dish so far. Happ is slashing .312/.435/.478 with four home runs, four stolen bases, and a 155 WRC+ while posting a 9.6% barrel rate and 40.4% hard-hit rate. Cody Bellinger is projected in the cleanup role, he has seven home runs and has dipped somewhat overall after the hot start, but he is still at a .227 ISO and 123 WRC+ and has a significant bat from the left side for just $4,400/$4,100, his FanDuel price obviously changes the equation, but he is a bargain on DraftKings when rostering CubsSeiya Suzuki and Patrick Wisdom have sturdy power bats, though one has been much more on display than the other this year, Suzuki has just one home run, Wisdom has 12 and a massive .359 ISO. The duo has moved up in the confirmed lineup with Bellinger sitting, Wisdom is hitting fifth behind Suzuki who is in the cleanup role and is followed by Trey Mancini who is also cheap at $2,500/$2,700 with the same first base positioning on the DraftKings slate. Mancini adds outfield eligibility on the blue site, he is slashing .253/.323/.373 with a 91 WRC+ and a .110 ISO with three home runs in 132 opportunities. Matt Mervis has not done much in his 30 plate appearances to this point, but the premium rookie is playing every day and he should hit. Mervis costs just $2,400/$2,300, Yan Gomes hits behind him as a cheap and capable catcher for $3,000/$3,200, Gomes has six home runs in just 79 plate appearances this year and is slashing .324/.354/.581 with a .257 ISO and 152 WRC+. The backstop had a down year at the plate in 293 chances last season, but in 2021 he was a .353/.301/.421 hitter with a .169 ISO and 14 home runs in 375 opportunities, so there is some faith in a lower-end version of this performance being sustainable. Madrigal closes the confirmed lineup.

The Twins are facing Marcus Stroman who is very good at keeping the ball down and limiting home run power in the opposing lineup, an impact which can be seen in the home run model for the typically powerful Twins lineup. Minnesota has a significant strikeout rate as a group, the confirmed lineup is sitting at a 24.6% strikeout rate for the season, if we remove the 13.6% posted by Alex Kirilloff in a nice start but just 22 plate appearances, the average is 26%, if we also remove Nick Gordon’s 10.6% over 85 plate appearances we are at 28.2% across most of the team’s key bats. Stroman can not only keep the ball in the yard against this team, but he could also potentially find unexpected strikeout upside for just $8,500/$9,700, which puts him in play for MLB DFS purposes. The righty has already been better for strikeouts this season, climbing from 20.9% over 138.2 innings last year to 23.7% in early returns over 47.1 innings this season in eight starts. Stroman has a 2.28 ERA with a 3.38 xFIP and 1.06 WHIP and he has kept barrels to 2.4% on a 3.3-degree average launch angle. Twins bats are a lower-end play than one might usually find them in this matchup. The team absolutely could deliver, but they have just a 3.87-run implied team total with only Byron Buxton showing even above an 8.0 in our home run model. Joey Gallo is leading off in the confirmed lineup in a spot that we do love for the power hitter. Gallo has eight home runs and a .360 ISO with a 23.1% barrel rate and 59.6% hard-hit while walking 14.7% of the time but also striking out at a 33.3% clip this year. Kirilloff hits second, he has two home runs in his 22 opportunities so far and is a premium prospect who may be arriving, which would boost Minnesota’s lineup in a big way overall, but he is carrying just a 5.15 in our home run model. The young hitter is cheap on both sites at $2,600/$2,500, he should be in Twins stacks if one is utilizing this team. Carlos Correa and Buxton slot in third and fourth in the confirmed lineup. Correa is back at the Mendoza line, slashin g.200/.276/.400 with a .200 ISO and six home runs. The power and sturdy contact are good indicators of the impending turnaround for the star shortstop, he is on his way out of the dark, getting in early will be important but this may not be the best day for it. Regardless, keep an eye on Correa this week, he has a 13.2% barrel rate and 44.3% hard-hit for the season and costs just $4,000/$2,700 at shortstop today. Buxton has eight home runs and a .254 ISO with a 119 WRC+, he is a star at $5,400/$3,500. Jorge Polanco slots in cheap for his talent at $4,300/$2,800 and has three home runs in hs 87 plate appearances so far this year. Trevor Larnach has power upside but a 35.4% strikeout rate in 127 plate appearances this year, Stroman could have a fun time with the big lefty today. Kyle FarmerNick Gordon, and Christian Vazquez round out the confirmed lineup, any could get involved in a rally but they are low-end options at the bottom of the lineup in a bad matchup.

Play: Louie Varland, Marcus Stroman, minor shares of bats/stacks on both sides with the Cubs preferred between the two

Update Notes: both lineups were confirmed when this was written

Kansas City Royals (+147/4.25) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-160/5.36)

The Royals and Brewers should both be sources of offense in this matchup with a pair of low-end pitchers on the board. The Vegas run totals are favoring the Milwaukee side, but the Royals are showing power in our model against starter Colin Rea who has a 19.8% strikeout rate with a 4.50% home run rate and 90.3 mph of average exit velocity allowed so far this season. Rea has had a few surprisingly effective outings, but he remains targetable with just an eight percent swinging-strike rate and 24% CSW%, the Royals are a potentially sneaky stack with price-based upside. The confirmed lineup for Kansas City has Bobby Witt Jr. in his usual leadoff role at just $4,900/$3,500. Witt remains cheap and has not been great this season, he has just an 82 WRC+ with a .192 ISO and six home runs, with 12 stolen bases to pad his MLB DFS output, but he was a star for counting stats last season and looks like a good buy with a strong mark for home run upside. Vinnie Pasquantino has been one of the team’s best hitters, right alongside Sal Perez. The duo have 15 combined home runs with Pasquantino at a .224 ISO and 134 WRC+ and Perez at a .237 ISO and 133 WRC+, they cost just $3,600/$3,300 and $4,600/$3,100 in this matchup and are looking very strong for power upside and run creation potential. MJ Melendez has a stout bat on the left side of the plate, he is slashing .212/.290/.372 with four home runs and a .161 ISO while creating runs 20% below average, but he has a 13.3% barrel rate and 57.8% hard-hit rate this season when he does connect. Melendez is our overall home run pick for the day with a 14.02 in our model. Maikel Garcia is slashing just .237/.279/.316 with a 58 WRC+ and is hitting fifth, we would prefer Nick Pratto who hits from the left side with first base and outfield eligibility for just $2,700/$3,300. Pratto is a first-round pick and he has a pair of home runs while slashing .351/.431/.544 in a small sample of 65 plate appearances this season. Hunter DozierMichael Massey, and Nate Eaton are low-end options to round out the lineup.

The Brewers side is carrying the highest implied team total on the Vegas board today at 5.36 runs, they will probably be very popular across the industry at significant value pricing on both sites. There is no hitter priced above $4,400 in the confirmed Brewers lineup on DraftKings, with everyone falling at or below $3,100 on FanDuel. The Brewers are very cheap for a team facing a pitcher with a 6.20 ERA and 5.48 xFIP on the season. Jordan Lyles has just a 17% strikeout rate and he has allowed a 6.13% home run rate with a 13% barrel rate over 49.1 innings and eight starts this season, he is here to eat innings regardless of the outcome on a Royals club that will not contend, that is all. Christian Yelich had a big day yesterday and now has six home runs with a .152 ISO and 105 WRC+ for the season, adding eight stolen bases and suddenly looking much better to the casual gamer, while making our faith feel justified. Yelich has a terrific 57.5% hard-hit rate which we have pointed out numerous times and his barrel rate jumped to 8.5% after last night. Jesse Winker should watch and learn, he has zero home runs and a .039 ISO with an 80 WRC+ in the second spot in the lineup today. Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez bring bigtime power to the third and fourth spots. Adames has seven home runs this season and hit 31 last year with 25 the year before, Tellez has 10 on the board in 2023 and hit 35 last year. The duo is inexpensive at $4,400/$3,000 and $4,200/$3,100, but getting both of them and Yelich with no one above $4,500 against this pitcher is borderline absurd. Owen Miller is slashing .318/.343/.439 with a home run and three steals, Victor Caratini is always a sneaky-interesting catcher when he plays, he costs just $2,500 where the position is needed and has two home runs this year after hitting nine in 314 chances last year. Brice TurangTyrone Taylor, and Joey Weimer close out the lineup, Taylor is the preferred option with his power potential, he hit 17 home runs in 405 plate appearances last year and costs just $2,200/$2,500.

Play: Brewers bats/stacks but they should be extremely popular, Royals bats/stacks above the field if they are projected low-owned

Update Notes: both lineups were confirmed when this was written

Houston Astros (-131/4.30) @ Chicago White Sox (+120/3.80)

The final game sees a good pitching matchup and capped run totals on a good lineup and an underperforming lineup. Lucas Giolito has been good so far this season with a 3.59 ERA and a 25.1% strikeout rate with a 4.33 xFIP over 47.2 innings in eight starts. The righty has been reliable to pitch deep into games and chase a quality start, but his team has not been helpful in chasing wins on the whole and they are underdogs in this game. Giolito has the talent to find strikeouts against even a very good Astros lineup and he is cheap at $8,000/$9,500 for a pitcher of his talent level. The matchup is not great, but Giolito has been a good pitcher who has better-than-average strikeout stuff for several years now, he should be more expensive and could be a good option in tournaments if the public leaves him on the basis of the matchup. The Astros confirmed lineup is in roughly its typical form, with Mauricio Dubon as a low-end leadoff man who can put the ball in play with reliability. Dubon has a 12.6% strikeout rate but is slashing just .292/.315/.365 with a .073 ISO and 89 WRC+ overall. Alex Bregman has not been much better with an 87 WRC+ and four home runs while barely hitting above the Mendoza line. Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker are left-handed star power hitters with major upside against most pitchers. Alvarez has nine home runs and Tucker has six so far this season, Alvarez has a .281 ISO and 160 WRC+, Tucker has slipped for power at just .168 but his WRC+ is still 116 and this is a good spot in the lineup for him against the righty. Jose Abreu has struggled badly since last year, he has not hit a home run since last August and is no longer hitting for average or creating runs. Yainer Diaz is a cheap catcher in a surprising spot in the lineup. Chas McCormick is the best second-half bat for the Astros today, he has two home runs and a .205 ISO in his limited 52 plate appearances this year and is never expensive or popular in the outfield. David Hensley and Martin Maldonado close out the lineup, neither has been good this year but Maldonado is always capable of hitting a low-owned slate-bending home run.

Hunter Brown gets the start for Houston today and looks like a strong option against the scuffling White Sox, despite showing some power potential on the other side. Brown has been very good as a rookie, he has a 24.1% strikeout rate with a 10% swinging-strike rate so far this season but has walked too many at 9.9%. The free passes have not hurt Brown badly, however, he has just a 3.23 ERA and 3.80 xFIP. The righty allowed his first home run in his last outing, but still sits at just a 0.60% home run rate for the season, but the 44.7% hard-hit rate and 90.6 mph of average exit velocity suggest he should be allowing more power soon. Brown costs just $8,800/$9,300 and projects as one of the top pitchers on the slate, he is highly playable against a White Sox lineup with just a 3.80-run implied total. Tim Anderson leads off for just $5,100/$2,900, he is a better buy on FanDuel but has not fully engaged in the season after missing several weeks. Andrew Benintendi has been bad and is a slap-hitting correlated scoring piece who is getting on base at just a .321 clip so far this season. Andrew Vaughn has good power potential and a team-leading 11.13 in our home run model. Vaughn has hit four home runs and has a .170 ISO with a 107 WRC+ on the back of a sturdy 9.2% barrel rate and 46.2% hard-hit percentage. Yoan Moncada adds another good bat to the lineup in his return to healthy, he is slashing .319/.333/.574 in his 48 plate appearances. Luis Robert Jr. pairs nicely with his countryman, he has 10 home runs and a robust .268 ISO with a 134 WRC+ as the team’s best player this season. Robert is cheap at $4,100/$3,200 in the heart of the order. Gavin Sheets costs just $2,600/$2,500 with four home runs in the books already this season. Sheets is a first baseman on DraftKings and adds outfield eligibility on FanDuel, the lefty slugger has a 9.96 in our home run model and is a potentially sneaky play when stacking White Sox. Jake Burger has power upside with seven home runs on the season, but there is not much else to love if he is not making contact. Burger has a 31.2% strikeout rate and is slashing .224/.312/.612 with a .388 ISO in 77 plate appearances. Hanser Alberto and Seby Zavala round out the lineup.

Play: Lucas Giolito, Hunter Brown, bats/stacks are less likely but there is obvious talent on both sides

Update Notes: both lineups were confirmed when this was written

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