MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slate Summary – Sunday 4/23/23

The DraftKings and FanDuel Main Slates get rolling at 1:30 ET on Sunday afternoon with what looks to be shaping up as an excellent day of MLB DFS pitching options. The slate includes a few of our favorite target pitchers on the mound as well, so there will be (somewhat chalky) spots to fire away with bats in addition to the abundance of available arms. The slate has several apex pitchers at high prices and several viable bargain starters to continue an early-season trend. Today’s column is presented as a short slate summary in the interest of time. Today’s content was written overnight and updates will not be available prior to lock for today’s slate, so pay close attention to confirmed lineups and any breaking news.

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, 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, but lineup changes are not typically updated as lock approaches, so stay tuned to official news for any late changes.

MLB DFS: Game by Game Main Slate Overview – 4/23/23

Detroit Tigers (+155/3.52) @ Baltimore Orioles (-168/4.57)

The Tigers are rounding out their series in Baltimore in a battle of starting pitchers named Rodriguez who are at very different points in their careers. The hometown Orioles will have stud prospect Grayson Rodriguez on the mound to face the Detroit detritus. The prized prospect has made three starts, posting a 29.2% strikeout rate with a 3.24 xFIP that looks significantly better than his surface-level 6.91 ERA. Rodriguez is extremely cheap for his talent level against a team that has made Tyler Wells and Kyle Gibson look like the second coming of Warren Spahn and Sandy Koufax over the past two games. Rodriguez has major potential at $6,000/$8,500, he is an excellent SP2 play on DraftKings that should be highly owned. The Tigers will have Eduardo Rodriguez making their start, the lefty has a 20.4% strikeout rate over 24 innings in his four starts this season. “E-Rod” has had a long track record of being a better pitcher than his results would indicate, so far this season he has pitched fairly well and actually outperformed his metrics for a change, sitting at a 3.00 ERA but a 4.07 xFIP. He has walked just 5.4% so far this season and has a 1.04 WHIP with just a 26.1% hard-hit rate in the tiny sample. This Rodriguez has the talent to get through the young heavily right-handed Orioles lineup a few times, but he will not be ably backed by a team capable of getting him a win bonus reliably, which caps the upside to a degree.

The Tigers are rarely a good play, they could be minorly on the board to score a few runs, but it seems unlikely that they will light up Grayson Rodriguez for a big score. Playable Tigers bats when going to this team would include their quality left-handed hitters, namely Nick MatonRiley Greene, and Kerry Carpenter. Carpenter has been the team’s best hitter in 2023, he had three home runs with a .260 ISO coming into action on Saturday and has a 10.68 in our home run model in the Sunday matchup. Javier Baez has been an infrequent contributor in the early part of the season, but he comes cheap and did manage 17 home runs last year. Spencer Torkelson is a disappointing young player so far in his nascent career, he has a major turnaround to make, it will be interesting to watch but not something we currently want to put into MLB DFS lineups. The balance of the Tigers’ lineup gets worse from there. On the other side of the game, the Orioles look like the better bet for producing offense against a mid-range lefty. The Orioles have been featured in this space throughout the season, they have several premium right-handed hitters who are focus plays in Orioles stacks or as one-offs. The projected lineup leads off with right-handed outfielder Austin Hays who hits in front of Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle. Rutschman may sit in a day game on a Sunday, but if he plays he should be in virtually every Orioles lineup for MLB DFS across the industry. Mountcastle has a 7.60 to lead the team in our home run model for the day, the slugger has a contact profile that rivals the best in baseball. Anthony Santander is a quality bat on both sides of the plate and he hits well against left-handed pitching, Ramon Urias is a cheap under-appreciated mid-range hitter with James McCann and Terrin Vavra slide into the bottom of the projected lineup. Jorge Mateo may or may not play, he has been dealing with a hip injury and was a late scratch on Saturday, but the word was that it was due to field conditions on a rainy day, rather than lingering pain. If Mateo plays he should be included in MLB DFS lineups.

Play: Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles bats/stacks, minor shares of Eduardo Rodriguez

Update Notes:

Toronto Blue Jays (-127/4.53) @ New York Yankees (+117/4.07)

The Blue Jays and Yankees will have to do a lot to top the excellent game they played on Saturday. A 0-0 pitcher’s duel went into the bottom of the eighth where rookie Anthony Volpe seemingly won the game with a two-run home run, only to have Toronto answer back with a two-run shot in the ninth before the Yankees loaded the bases and won on a walk-off pinch-hit single by DJ LeMahieu. The matchup between Alek Manoah and Gerrit Cole was, of course, quite a bit better than the showdown between Kevin Gausman and Clarke Schmidt, at least on one side. Gausman is every bit an ace, but Schmidt falls radically short of qualifying for that role in his short career so far. The Yankees righty has made four starts and thrown 14.1 innings in 2023. He has a 4.86 xFIP with an 8.79 ERA and just a 22.9% strikeout rate with a 5.71% home run rate and a 93.3 mph average exit velocity allowed. On such a deep slate, it is difficult to fathom why anyone would consider rostering Schmidt, even at $5,100/$6,600, let alone actually do it. Gausman is by far the more playable option, though he lands at a $10,000/$10,600 price tag. Gausman has a 29.1% strikeout rate and a crisp 3.16 xFIP over 24.2 innings to start the season. He has carried a 3.88% home run rate on a 10.3% barrel rate with 45.6% hard hits so far this year, but Gausman is excellent at finding strikeouts and pitching deep into games, he is a good play against the Yankees, particularly with the somewhat watered-down versions of their lineup we have seen in recent games.

The Blue Jays are highly playable in most situations, particularly against starters who are not household names. George SpringerBo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – who has been roundly booed every plate appearance during his stay in the Bronx this weekend after reaffirming that he is committed to never playing for the Yankees in his career – are an excellent three-man stack from which any pairing or individual hitter can be drawn for use in any situation. The three hitters are stars, they hit for power, average, and premium contact, and they steal bases and create runs with the best in the business. Matt Chapman has been a member of that excellent run-creation club all season and Daulton Varsho adds a solid left-handed bat to the middle of the lineup. Brandon Belt hit a home run on Friday and has a good shot to display more of his old power in this afternoon game against a middling right-handed starter. Danny Jansen hit the big ninth-inning home run for Toronto on Saturday, his first of the year, he joins Cavan Biggio and Kevin Keiermaier as swappable parts at the end of the lineup. The Yankees lineup is playable but does not look like a great opportunity against a pitcher as good as Gausman. The team will be lower-owned than usual, which is beneficial around stars like Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo. Judge is one of baseball’s best bats in every way, Rizzo is an excellent left-handed power hitter who can get to Gausman. The rookie leading off is in play as a correlation piece more than an individual scorer, though Anthony Volpe hit his second home run on Saturday. Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu are solid bats with good power and well above-average marks for run creation this season. Coming into Saturday’s action, Torres was at a 129 WRC+ and LeMahieu was at 122. The bottom of the Yankees lineup was a mess on Saturday and it does not look much better for Sunday, with Willie CalhounFranchy CorderoOswald PerazaOswaldo Cabrera, and Kyle Higashioka in the projected mix. Higashioka is the best overall bat as a catcher, Cordero has power upside and was off to a hot start, and Peraza is a somewhat well-regarded prospect, but this is a tough spot to go to the bottom of the Yankees lineup.

Play: Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays stacks/bats, minor shares of Yankees bats

Update Notes:

Houston Astros (+115/4.09) @ Atlanta Braves (-140/4.64)

The Astros and Braves series rolls on with a game that is exactly on theme with an excellent pitching matchup. The Braves have lefty Max Fried taking the mound, Fried specializes in limiting hard hits and premium contact, he is typically excellent at keeping the ball in the yard. The lefty has made just two starts and pitched 8.1 innings, he left his first outing with a minor injury and missed time, but should be fully on form for this one. Fried had a 23.2% strikeout rate with an excellent 4.4% walk rate over his 185.1 innings last year while limiting hard hits to 31.9% and home runs to 1.64%. While he is not an apex strikeout option and the Astros are somewhat good at avoiding strikeouts, Fried is in play for his potential to pitch a clean game and get to the necessary bonuses. The lefty costs $7,700/$8,800 making him a strong value option on both sites. The Astros will answer with Cristian Javier, who had posted premium strikeout rates over the past two seasons. Last year the righty had a 33.2% strikeout rate over 148.2 innings in 25 starts, though he has been off to a slower start this year. In four outings, Javier has pitched 22 innings with a 4.56 xFIP and a 20.9% strikeout rate. The righty should round into form as the season continues, if he struggles against the excellent Braves lineup it could be a long short day, but there is good reason to believe in Javier’s talent, and the Braves are not shy about helping pitchers find strikeouts. Javier is an effective option with a high ceiling for a price of just $8,600/$9,200.

Both teams lineups are typically excellent options and they can always be deployed for MLB DFS purposes, but there are better spots than others even for the elite lineups in baseball. Between the two, the Braves are probably somewhat more playable, given the early season struggles and short track record for Javier, plus Fried’s knack for sapping power. The Braves lineup is playable from at least 1-6 in its projected form, with Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley as the obvious stars at the top. The trio has 14 home runs on the young season, they are an excellent group but they will cost $17,800 on DraftKings and $12,100 on FanDuel. Adding Sean Murphy brings the power level up even further, though it does not do much to help the cost, the catcher is at $4,900/$3,400. Eddie Rosario is skippable in the fifth spot, though the veteran will provide infrequent upside, while Ozzie Albies is the better target in the six spot. Albies is a true power and speed threat who comes at a discounted $4,300/$3,100 hitting ahead of Vaughn GrissomSam Hilliard, and Kevin Pillar. The Astros lineup seems more likely to be held in check, but they are every bit as talented with go-to bats including Alex Bregman, Yordan AlvarezJose Abreu, and Kyle Tucker. That excellent core has been up and down to start the year, specifically, Alvarez and Tucker are way up while Bregman has been below average and Abreu has struggled. The group should come around as a whole and the struggles of two of them help the overall cost of stacking the full unit. Adding Mauricio Dubon up top or Jeremy Pena from the heart of the order are both good options for completing the stack. Pena came into Saturday slashing .200/.273/.388 but was a much better bat last year, he is projected to hit ahead of David HensleyJake Meyers, and Martin Maldonado, so Pena can be loosely considered the last “target” bat in the Astros lineup, but again this is not a great spot against Fried.

Play: Four corners in limited shares, Max Fried, Cristian Javier, Braves, Astros in that order in diminishing volume. The Montgomery Brewster “None of the Above” option is also available here.

Update Notes:

Cincinnati Reds (-101/4.26) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (-108/4.34)

The Reds vs Pirates game on Sunday is filled with MLB DFS options that no one really wants to have to roster, the Cincinnati lineup was featured in our Power Index today, and they are in a great spot for home run upside. The Reds are leading the top-6 power index and rank third for the full lineup, largely on the back of an excellent matchup against right-handed starter Vince Velasquez, who has been decidedly bad for some time now. The righty has made four starts and covered 19.1 innings this season, pitching to a 5.63 xFIP with a 19.3% strikeout rate and an 11.4% walk rate. Velasquez is targetable for power, he has a 3.41% home run rate in the small sample, though his contact profile has been somewhat improved in the season’s first few weeks. Last year the starter allowed a 43.5% hard-hit rate with a 13% barrel rate over 75.1 innings, this year he has given up just a 34.4% hard-hit rate with a still-bad 9.8% barrel rate allowed. Not that it has mattered much in the home runs allowed department. Reds righty Hunter Greene makes for a more compelling pitching option on both sites. Greene has a $7,500/$8,600 salary despite striking out hitters at a 30.8% clip so far this season and a 30.9% rate over 125.2 innings last year. He has struggled with premium contact to a degree, giving up a 42.6% hard-hit rate but it has not cost him for power, the righty has a 1.28% home run rate and a 3.58 xFIP despite his 1.53 WHIP. Greene is a highly capable starter against a bad Pirates lineup, there is a compelling upside and a strong ceiling for MLB DFS scoring.

Of course, Cincinnati is not a lineup filled with clones of Aaron Judge and Pete Alonso. The leading current-year home run hitter for the Reds is Jason Vosler, who has three so far with a .220 ISO but just a 50 WRC+. Vosler is projected to hit seventh in the lineup and he is carrying a 9.04 in our home run model that sits third on the team. Leadoff man Jonathan India has one home run and just a .143 ISO on the season, but he has produced spotty power at times. India is carrying an 8.09 atop the projected lineup, slightly ahead of the 8.32 mark in the home run model that projected two-hitter TJ Friedl has. Friedl is cheap at $4,200/$2,900, he has a pair of home runs and is slashing .300/.364/.471 with a .171 ISO and a 121 WRC+. Righty third baseman Spencer Steer also has a pair of home runs in his 67 plate appearances, posting a .179 ISO with a 6.5% barrel rate and 37% hard-hit rate. Steer is inexpensive but the quality is limited, even with the 9.48 that he sports in our home run model to land second-best on this team. Jake Fraley leads the way for the Reds in the home run model, he is the only Reds hitter over the “magic number” at 10.08. Tyler Stephenson is a playable catcher at $4,600/$2,700, but he has yet to hit a home run in 2023. The backstop managed six long balls in 183 opportunities in 2022. Wil Myers has scuffled to just .214/.286/.329 to start the season and he has only a pair of home runs that both came in the same game, outside of that Myers has not provided much but a game against Velasquez is a solid get-right situation. Nick Senzel and Jose Barrero round out the projected lineup. The Pirates gained statistical ground from their stint in Coors Field this past week, but they are off to the best start a Pirates team has seen in years and could be a frisky squad even without star Oneil Cruz for the first half of the season. Pittsburgh’s projected lineup includes Ke’Bryan Hayes, who has scuffled to start his season with just a 65 WRC+ coming into Saturday. Hayes hits ahead of the excellent Bryan Reynolds and Andrew McCutchen, who have both been crushing through the season’s first few weeks. Switch-hitting Carlos Santana has veteran power in the heart of the order, he has two home runs this year and hits in front of productive right-handed bat Connor Joe who checks in with multi-position eligibility for a cheap price of $4,100/$3,300. Lefty masher Jack Suwinski is a solid name to target for just $2,900/$3,200, the outfielder has light tower power and a 24.1% barrel rate with a 55.2% hard-hit rate in his tiny 52 plate appearance sample this year. Suwinski and Rodolfo Castro are the primary targets from late in the lineup when rostering Pittsburgh bats. Ji-Hwan Bae and Jason Delay close out the lineup.

Play: Reds stacks/bats aggressively, Hunter Greene, minor shares of Pirates bats

Update Notes:

Miami Marlins (-103/3.78) @ Cleveland Guardians (-105/3.80)

The Marlins and Guardians square off in better weather on Sunday, the teams will have a pair of lefties facing one another, Logan Allen is making his debut for the Guardians, he costs just $5,000/$5,500 and is going to be fun to deal with when considering that there is another young left-handed pitcher named Logan Allen who is in the Colorado organization. This Logan Allen is a highly regarded prospect who is one of the best young arms in the minors, Allen has a 34.5% strikeout rate in AAA this season and posted a 27% rate last year in 59.2 AAA innings. Allen is a price-based play if nothing else, but pay attention to any discussion of pitch count limitations for the promising rookie. The visiting Marlins will have proven lefty Jesus Luzardo on the bump for a tough showdown with the solid Guardians. The southpaw has a 27.4% strikeout rate with a 3.74 xFIP and a 2.74 ERA over his first four starts this season. Last year he posted a 30% rate in 100.1 innings and 18 starts, he is a high-end starter when healthy but the Guardians are very good at cutting down strikeout potential. Luzardo costs a full $9,700/$9,500 and projects in the middle of the board for pitching options.

The Marlins lineup is in play against a rookie, but they are not a great team and Allen has premium strikeout stuff. Jon Berti is projected to lead off for Miami, Berti is a correlated scoring option with speed who stole 41 bases in 2022, he had four coming into action on Saturday. Garrett CooperLuis Arraez, and Jorge Soler make up a sturdy core, with Arraez’s excellent hit tool and Soler’s massive power combining to create a superstar across two lineup spots. Bryan De La Cruz is projected to hit fifth with Jazz Chisholm Jr. dropping to the sixth spot in the lineup. Chisholm was slashing .235/.297/.412 coming into action on Saturday and needs a bump to get going. Veterans Avisail GarciaJacob Stallings, and Jean Segura are projected to round out the lineup, they are mix-and-match parts at best. The Cleveland lineup is good at limiting the upside for opposing pitchers and they sequence and create runs well, but they lack massive power outside of star Jose Ramirez The slugging third baseman led the team with 29 home runs last year and he has two so far this season. He is joined by mid-range power bats like Josh Bell, who hit 27 long balls in 2021, Amed RosarioOscar Gonzalez, and Andres Gimenez. That group of solid hitters does everything well, they hit for average and create runs and they have mid-range power and speed for fair pricing and typically low ownership. The matchup against Luzardo is the primary concern, this group of players is very good. Leadoff man Steven Kwan is primarily a correlated scoring piece who is very good at getting on base and creating runs in the long term. Kwan always has the ball in play and he makes for an interesting click alongside the team’s best players. The Guardians lineup also features mashers Mike Zunino and Josh Naylor in the lower third, putting two strong power bats on either side of the plate ahead of slap-hit-and-speed outfielder Myles Straw.

Play: Jesus Luzardo, some Logan Allen, very minor shares of Guardians and Marlins bats if any

Update Notes:

Chicago White Sox (+126/3.51) @ Tampa Bay Rays (-149/4.16)

Rays starter Zach Eflin could be a sneaky piece on today’s slate. Eflin made two good starts to start the season, pitching five innings and striking out five while walking one and allowing just one run against the Tigers, then striking out seven Athletics but allowing three runs over six innings in his second start. While both outings came against lousy teams, Eflin has mid-range talent with upside for more and he could post a serviceable start against these White Sox. The righty costs just $7,600/$8,000, putting him on a good value tier on the large deep pitching slate. On the White Sox end, righty Lucas Giolito will be looking to keep his season rolling. Giolito has made four starts and has a 25.3% strikeout rate over 21 innings. The righty has just a 4.4% walk rate and a 2.20% home run rate on 36.1% hard hits this year. Last season, Giolito posted a 25.4% strikeout rate over 161.2 innings in 30 starts, with similar premium contact numbers. The righty has not been at peak form for some time, but he is still a viable starter and he comes at just an $8,000/$8,700 price tag, the primary issue is the opposing Rays rather than the talent in Giolito’s arm.

Tampa Bay’s lineup has been excellent for everything since Opening Day. The Rays have five hitters who are at least 59% better than average at creating runs in their projected Sunday lineup, this team is outrageously talented. Tampa Bay’s lineup should start with slugging left-handed second baseman Brandon Lowe who had six home runs and a 196 WRC+ coming into the weekend, Lowe costs $5,700/$4,200, he is expensive because he is one of the best second basemen in baseball when he has a bat in his hands. Lowe hits ahead of Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena, a pair of toolsy stars with home run potential and speed. Both players had four home runs and three stolen bases coming into the weekend, they cost $6,200/$3,900 and $6,300/$4,000 across sites on Sunday, this is a very expensive stack for a reason. Josh Lowe was slashing .373/.418/.745 with four home runs of his own coming into action on Saturday, Lowe is creating runs 128% better than average over his first 55 plate appearances this season. Isaac Paredes has not turned his contact profile around so far, but he still has three home runs with a .156 ISO so far, Taylor Walls has multi-position eligibility at a low price, and Manuel Margot can come through from time to time for just $3,100/$2,500 in the outfield. Margot has hit two home runs and stolen a pair of bases this year. Vidal Brujan and Christian Bethancourt are mid-range mix-and-match options from late in the lineup. On the White Sox end, the focus is firmly at the top of the lineup where playable hitters like Andrew Benintendi and Andrew Vaughn join stars not named Andrew, including Luis Robert Jr. and Eloy Jimenez, and they all come at fair prices. Robert is off to the best start in the group and justifiably costs $5,000/$3,500, he is arguably too cheap at those rates. Benintendi is inexpensive at $3,700/$2,700, he is a better correlation piece than an individual scorer. Vaugh and Jimenez are both priced down, Vaughn for a somewhat slow start when it comes to power, though not in his run creation which sits 35% better than average so far, and Jimenez for missing time with an injury and scuffling to just a 64 WRC+ since returning. Yasmani Grandal is a playable catcher who is back to himself after a down year last season. The bottom of the lineup has struggled for quality in general, although Jake Burger has found his power stroke in the early part of the year. Burger had five home runs and a .210 WRC+ over his 39 plate appearances on Saturday night. Oscar Colas has been a mix-and-match piece for most of his rookie season so far, Elvis Andrus and Lenyn Sosa are not interesting options late in the lineup. Chicago’s bats play from 1-6.

Play: Zach Eflin value, minor shares of Lucas Giolito, Rays bats/stacks, minor shares of White Sox bats

Update Notes:

Washington Nationals (+205/3.42) @ Minnesota Twins (-250/5.30)

The Nationals vs Twins game has the slate’s other major target for run creation and power in the form of Nationals’ starter Patrick Corbin, who is the prime target for the entire MLB DFS industry at this point. The Twins will have Bailey Ober on the mound for his first start of the season. Ober was good early in the year last year but struggles to stay on the mound. Over his full season, the righty had a 22.5% strikeout rate over 11 starts and 56 innings. Ober yielded a 36.8% hard-hit rate but an 11.7% barrel rate, though he limited home runs to 1.76% in the small sample. He costs just $7,000 on DraftKings and is not a part of the FanDuel slate, the matchup against the Nationals would have Ober in play at that price, barring any word of limited pitch counts. Corbin gives major home run potential to the hometown Twins, who have not been priced up in the great spot. The lefty has allowed a 44.2% hard-hit rate with a 7.8% barrel rate and a 3.13% home run mark over his first 20 innings, last year he had a 44.6% hard-hit rate with an 11% barrel rate and a 3.79% home run rate allowed, and he was worse the season before. Corbin can be targeted with bats aggressively, but the Twins will be extremely popular at these prices.

The Nationals lineup is not overly playable, their best hitters are Keibert Ruiz, a fairly inexpensive catcher, Jeimer Candelario, who is now at a 92 WRC+ for the season, and Joey Meneses who had a great year last year in 240 plate appearances but has struggled significantly so far this season. Lane Thomas is moderately playable late in the lineup and Luis Garcia can deliver in the middle of the batting order and the infield, but there is no Nationals hitter with an above-average WRC+ this season and the projected lineup includes only two hitters who were better than average last year. The Twins, on the other hand, should be the chalk stack du jour in this matchup and at these prices. The average price for the Twins’ projected lineup is $3,300 on DraftKings and $2,600 on FanDuel. Carlos Correa costs $4,600/$2,900, Byron Buxton costs $4,900/$3,000, and Jorge Polanco costs $3,700/$2,800, this team is absurdly priced. Correa and Buxton are stars, and Polanco is a very good everyday player. The infielder missed a good amount of last season, but still managed 445 plate appearances over which he hit 16 home runs with a 14.4% walk rate. Polanco slashed .235/.346/.405 last year and .269/.323/.503 with 33 home runs in 644 plate appearances in 2021. In addition to that excellent three-man group of inexpensive hitters, the Twins lineup is projected to include Donovan Solano in the leadoff role, where he is a strong correlated scoring piece, and Jose Miranda in the heart of the order where he can provide both correlated upside and individual scoring potential. Ryan Jeffers has power potential if he is in the bottom of the lineup as a catcher, he has one home run this season and hit seven in 236 plate appearances last year. Michael A. Taylor is less playable than Max Kepler from the bottom of the lineup but either player could provide a low-owned home run.

Play: Twins stacks/bats aggressively

Update Notes:

Boston Red Sox (+152/3.76) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-166/4.84)

The Red Sox round out their series in Milwaukee with a tough on-paper matchup against ace Corbin Burnes, who has struggled for quality in the early part of the season. Burnes has made four starts and thrown 22.2 innings, posting just an 18.7% strikeout rate with a 4.34 xFIP, numbers which anyone can notice are way down from the 30.5% strikeout rate he posted with a 2.85 xFIP over 33 starts and 202 innings last year. Burnes has lost a touch of velocity to start the season and hitters have been able to square him up somewhat better. He has a 6.2% barrel rate allowed but just a 33.8% hard-hit rate over the first 22.2 innings of his season. Burnes gave up a 34.1% hard-hit rate with a 5.7% barrel rate last year, he is very good when he is on form but there are lingering questions, Burnes was elite in just one of four starts, two more of which qualify as “OK.” For $9,200/$10,000 on a deep slate, it seems like the righty could be under-owned in what is a decent spot against the Red Sox’ struggling lineup. Bello is getting stretched out and is not overly playable, he has 2.2 innings pitched in one start in his return from the IL and could be a factor as the season continues. The righty was good in 57.1 innings and 11 starts last season, pitching to a 3.80 xFIP and a 20.5% strikeout rate, but we cannot count on depth or quality at the moment.

The Red Sox lineup has not been good and even a struggling Corbin Burnes puts a damper on stacking opportunities. Only three of the Red Sox key hitters have been creating runs above average so far this season, they are the three you would expect with Alex VerdugoRafael Devers, and Justin Turner all above a 100 WRC+. Turner was at just 103 coming into Saturday’s action while Devers improved on his 131 during the action on Saturday with another home run, and Verdugo had a 159 going into Saturday’s games. The rest of the lineup has struggled to find quality. Mastaka Yoshida has been disappointing for most of his first 70 or so plate appearances, the outfielder is expected to hit in bunches for Boston, he is the missing ingredient for the team’s top half. The bottom of the lineup should be bolstered by Triston Casas, but he has yet to find his form at the Major League level, putting more of a hole in the lineup than anything. Casas had just two home runs and a 31% strikeout rate coming into Saturday. The bottom of the batting order is filled with journeymen like Enrique Hernandez and young unproven talent like Jarren Duran, this is not a good spot for Boston bats. At the same time, the Brewers’ quality lineup is being projected to be somewhat in check against Bello, who was very good at limiting home runs in his small sample last year. Bello allowed just a 0.37% home run rate over his 57.1 innings, but that is unsustainably low and the Brewers have plenty of quality left-handed bats. The lineup begins with Christian Yelich and Jesse Winker who both remain cheap. The two lefties need to find their form for this team to do anything but they will be key bats to stack against Bello if they play. Shortstop Willy Adames and lefty slugger Rowdy Tellez form a cheap power core in the middle of the lineup at $5,200/$3,300 and $4,200/.$3,600. The bottom of the lineup trails off somewhat, but Brian Anderson and Brice Turang are solid pieces. Turang has two home runs and three steals on the season and is a highly regarded prospect who stole 34 bases and hit 13 home runs in 603 opportunities at AAA last year.

Play: Corbin Burnes, some Brewers bats/stacks

Update Notes:

Los Angeles Dodgers (-138/4.90) @ Chicago Cubs (+127/4.20)

Cubs starter Marcus Stroman checks in at $9,000/$9,700 against the Dodgers, which is quite a bit lower than we saw him for a start against a much lower-end opponent the other day. Stroman has been good starting his 2023 with a 26.9% strikeout rate and a 3.28 xFIP in 24 innings over four outings. The veteran righty has always been able to flash for infrequent MLB DFS scoring upside, but he has typically been a better real life pitcher than a fantasy option, which seems likely to be the case against Los Angeles tonight. Stroman projects in the lower-middle of the pitching board, unlike his opponent, Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw has a 26.5% strikeout rate and the ceiling potential to win a slate pitching against the free-swinging Cubs lineup. The star southpaw has a 3.04 xFIP and just a 4.1% walk rate over the early part of his season, he had a 27.8% strikeout rate with similarly excellent walk and xFIP numbers at 4.7% and 2.83. Kershaw is elite, even at $10,700/$10,400. The Cubs have been good to start the season and it is great to see the Cody Bellinger reclamation rolling on, but Kershaw is not a pitcher with whom one should choose to tangle on such a large slate.

Dodgers bats are in play against Stroman, but they should be taken in small doses, he is good enough to pitch through the lineup cleanly three times and keep this team to just a few runs scored while limiting power. Stroman will face a lineup that is projected to be in its full current form, with Mookie Betts leading off at $5,400/$3,500, the FanDuel price is obviously far too low for a player like Betts, he should never drop below $4,000 on the blue site. Freddie Freeman checks in at $5,500/$3,700 and Max Muncy lands at $5,100/$4,200, the Dodgers top trio is fairly affordable on this slate, even against Stroman that is a group that can be rostered above the field. JD Martinez and James Outman add power to the heart of the lineup, while Jason Heyward had a nice start at the plate. Heyward is a long-since-proven veteran who is not a great bat but can provide infrequent power and run-creation ability while playing fantastic outfield defense, which is really why he is in the league at this point. Miguel Vargas joins a final third that also includes David Peralta and Austin Barnes. On the Cubs’ side there is not much room for bats against Kershaw. The primary targets if one is compelled to click Cubs names are Dansby SwansonIan Happ, and Seiya Suzuki, all of whom have power on the right side of the plate and can connect with Kershaw with their premium contact profiles. Nico Hoerner adds speed and on-base acumen in front of that group, he is a good correlation piece. Patrick Wisdom offers titanic power upside and Cody Bellinger, the former MVP while with the Dodgers just a few years ago, has been on fire to start the season but still costs just $3,500/$3,400 for unknown reasons. Trey Mancini should come around eventually, he has two home runs on the board on Saturday and could be a fairly reliable mid-range power option in this lineup through the Summer. Yan Gomes is a semi-sneaky catcher play against many other pitchers, against Kershaw he and Nick Madrigal should be left at the bottom of the Cubs lineup where we found them.


Update Notes:

Oakland Athletics (+250/2.63) @ Texas Rangers (-312/4.56)

Fortunately for those of us writing the end of this article after 3am on Sunday morning, the final game on the slate sees the pathetic Athletics squaring off against the best pitcher of his generation, halving the number of options that require discussion in this game. If someone beats you in a tournament tomorrow because they rostered Oakland bats against Jacob deGrom, congratulate them and go about your day making snowballs in hell or look to the sky for inbound global-killer asteroids because that is about as unlikely a scenario. deGrom is just too good to drop much to this Oakland team, even when we consider the risk of early departures. At $11,000/$11,100 it could be said that that risk is factored in for this pitcher against this team. deGrom has struck out 40% of opposing hitters in 20.2 innings over his four starts, he has a 2.11 xFIP and a 3.48 ERA and has allowed just a 28.9% hard-hit rate, he is utterly outrageous on the mound and he will carve up this lineup. Texas bats are also in play against starter Kyle Muller, who is not. Muller, a promising left-handed starter, has just a 15.1% strikeout rate and a 9.7% walk rate with a 4.95 xFIP over 18.2 innings this year. The southpaw has allowed a 46.4% hard-hit rate and an 8.7% barrel mark and has given up both power and too many base runners at this level in his brief career. Muller will have to navigate a loaded lineup that went off for a bent score on Saturday and could repeat the trick on Sunday. Marcus Semien has massive power at second base and costs $5,800/$3,900, he can be deployed in stacks or as a one-off second baseman with a high degree of confidence in this matchup. Robbie Grossman is projected to hit second at a cheap price, he is a correlated scoring piece with Nathaniel Lowe and three home run man Adolis Garcia, who came damn near scoring 100 FanDuel points with his monster Saturday night. Garcia is a major power and speed threat, but Saturday’s game was simply an incredible outburst of MLB DFS scoring that was absolutely mandatory for success, which makes it good that he was our home run pick from Texas yesterday. Garcia has Josh Jung behind him in the projected lineup, Jung has been off to a good start and has a highly regarded young bat, and highly playable pieces including Jonah Heim and Ezequiel Duran land in the lower third of the lineup. Duran had a big Saturday as well and he has been a tantalizing power and speed prospect over time. Bubba Thompson and Leody Taveras offer sequencing and speed as low-end wraparound options from the last two projected spots.

Play: Jacob deGrom, Rangers stacks/bats, both enthusiastically. Nothing wearing green and yellow.

Update Notes:

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