MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Seoul Series Game 1 Strategy Overview – Wednesday 3/20/24

The single-game showdown slate from Seoul, South Korea presents a fun opening challenge to sate the appetites of ravenous MLB DFS gamers worldwide. This morning’s game gets underway at 6:05 am ET from the home park of the Kiwoom Heroes, the Gocheok Sky Dome. The park should provide a general boost in home run and extra-base power to hitters while presenting a bit more of a challenge to each starting pitcher during the two-game set. This is by no means a Coors Field environment, but the park did favor power for KBO hitters and the league is generally less power-packed than MLB. The formats for each site are slightly different for single-game slates. FanDuel offers a five-man lineup comprised of hitters, with no pitchers appearing on the slate. There are two point multiplier spots in FanDuel lineups, the MVP takes a 2x bonus and the STAR sees 1.5x, but neither player’s salary changes from the standard UTIL pricing. DraftKings adds the unique strategy of including half of the game by putting pitchers into the mix, albeit at very high prices compared to hitters. DraftKings lineups include six-player selections with a designated Captain spot that receives a 1.5x multiplier to both points and salary, choosing a Captain becomes a critical component in lineup construction on DraftKings.

Don’t miss our Hitter Projections, including custom Home Run ratings for each player, and Pitcher Projections for more on the top opportunities tonight.

(Shows will begin for the full Opening Day slates on 3/28)

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

MLB DFS: Game by Game Main Slate Overview – 3/20/24

Los Angeles Dodgers (-196/5.33) @ San Diego Padres (+179/3.78)

The theme of this year’s Dodgers team was established well ahead of Opening Day, “if at first you don’t succeed…”. Los Angeles famously outspent the rest of the league, and the GDP of several small countries, during the MLB offseason, and two of their prized acquisitions will make their debut in Dodger blue this morning. Tyler Glasnow takes the hill for Los Angeles and Shohei Ohtani will be in the lineup hitting second behind fellow superstar Mookie Betts. Glasnow did not pitch a full season in 2023 but he was fantastic when healthy. The righty worked 21 starts and 120.0 innings, pitching his way to a huge 33.4% strikeout rate with a 7.6% walk rate and a 2.75 xFIP underneath his 3.53 ERA. Glasnow allowed opposing hitters a 2.68% home run rate but yielded an 11.6% barrel rate with 44.6% hard hits and 90.4 mph of exit velocity on average, the home run total was kept low with an average launch angle of just 5.8 degrees. Overall, Glasnow can be nearly unhittable in most circumstances, he is easily the stronger of the two pitching options on this slate and he has the highest overall raw projection of any player available on DraftKings but his $10,600 UTIL salary is also the highest mark on the board. Los Angeles’ projected lineup opens with multi-positional superstar Mookie Betts, who created runs 67% better than average while slashing .307/.408/.579 with a .272 ISO, 39 home runs, and 14 stolen bases in 2023. Betts struck out just 15.4% of the time and walked at a 13.9% clip and he will spend this season hitting ahead of Ohtani. The left-handed masher will forego pitching this season and he is still rounding into form in the outfield after suffering an injury last year but he is ready to go at the plate and on the basepaths. Ohtani hit 44 home runs and had a massive .350 ISO over 599 plate appearances last year while slashing .304/.412/.654 and creating runs 80% better than average, the fact that he also stole 20 bases is essentially an afterthought for one of baseball’s best players and true five-category stars. Of course, the Dodgers run deep this season. Los Angeles will have first baseman Freddie Freeman, who went .331/.410/.567 with a 163 WRC+ and .235 ISO over 730 fantastic plate appearances last season. Freeman is the least expensive member of the trio at $9,200 on DraftKings and $8,000 on FanDuel, one of the three top hitters in the Dodgers lineup seems highly likely to succeed. And we mean every day this season. Los Angeles follows their stars with talent. Catcher Will Smith has both pop and terrific bat-to-ball skills, he struck out just 16.1% of the time and walked at an 11.4% clip in 2023 while connecting for 19 home runs and a .177 ISO and creating runs 19% better than average over 554 plate appearances. Smith saw a dip in premium contact year over year, his 10.3% barrel rate in 2022 dropped to just 6.7% last year, accounting for a slide from 24 home runs in the 2022 season but there is upside for a return to his power form. Max Muncy is a three true outcomes hitter in the extreme, he struck out at a 26.4% rate while walking 14.7% of the time, hitting 36 home runs, and posting a .212/.333/.475 triple-slash with a .263 ISO. As long as Muncy is walking and connecting for power he maintains value both for MLB purposes and for DFS. Teoscar Hernandez struck out even more aggressively than Muncy last year, posting an unsightly 31.1% rate that does not pair well with his 5.6% walk rate. Hernandez did blast 26 home runs but he had just a .178 ISO and a 105 WRC+ over 678 plate appearances while slashing .258/.305/.435. James Outman is a hot candidate for a breakout season. The lefty made 567 plate appearances last year and he managed 23 home runs with a .188 ISO and an encouraging 11.1% barrel rate. Outman struck out at a 31.9% pace but walked 12% of the time to help keep his WRC+ at a robust 118. Veteran outfielder Jason Heyward and infielder Gavin Lux round out the projected Dodgers lineup. Heyward had a resurgent 2023 with 15 home runs and a .204 ISO over his 377 platoon-based plate appearances in the outfield. Lux missed all of the 2023 season but he was originally looked at with breakout potential for mid-range power and some speed on the basepaths. Lux had six home runs and seven stolen bases over 471 opportunities in 2022 while slashing .276/.346/.399.

The nominal home team does feature the game’s only native of South Korea, infield star Ha-Seong Kim who has been a staple in the Padres lineup over the past two seasons after a slow start in 2021. Kim has a big role on this team, he should be in the everyday lineup and regularly hitting fifth behind the core group. San Diego is not as star-laden as the Dodgers but they remain a top-heavy team with a few standout options that eventually trail off to a lesser bottom of the order, though the promotion of top prospect Jackson Merrill may help change things. Merrill is confirmed in the ninth spot in the lineup for this morning’s game, the rookie should hit out of the gate, he posted a .280/.318/.444 triple-slash over 300 plate appearances in high-A last year before a .273/.338/.444 uptick in 211 chances in AA and he had a 15-15 season across the two levels. Merrill won the job with a hot spring, hitting two home runs and stealing two bases while slashing .351/.400/.595 over his 40 plate appearances. At the top of the Padres lineup, leadoff man Xander Bogaerts is recovering from a bit of an up-and-down season that totaled out well in the end. Bogaerts finished 2023 with 19 home runs and 19 stolen bases over 665 plate appearances while slashing .285/.350/.440 and creating runs 20% better than average, but he had a weak 6.1% barrel rate and just a 34.4% hard-hit rate for the season and he has just 34 home runs over the past two seasons combined. Fernando Tatis Jr. is a star once more. Tatis returned to baseball in 2023 and crushed 25 home runs with 29 stolen bases and a 113 WRC+ to go with his .191 ISO. For $8,800/$8,500, Tatis is the most expensive Padres hitter on this slate with good reason, he is expected to do a large portion of the work for San Diego this season. Tatis has an easy upside to 30-30 on the year and he leads the team with an 11.03 in our home run model today, putting him over the magic number and landing him ahead of even Shohei Ohtani for the entire slate. Jake Cronenworth is expected to occupy the third spot in the lineup all season. The infielder hit 10 home runs while slashing just .229/.312/.378 in a disappointing 522 plate appearances last season. Cronenworth is an odd fit for this spot in the lineup if he continues that trend, his .148 ISO does not provide enough power to justify the key situational spot and he was eight percent below average for run creation last season. He was better in 2022 with 17 home runs and a .153 ISO with a 110 WRC+ but his triple-slash was still an undesireable .240/.333/.394 over 684 plate appearances. Cronenworth benefits from the talent around him, a good raw skill set that includes an 18.6% strikeout rate and 8.8% walk rate from last year, and relatively cheap pricing at just $6,800/$6,000, he is a good fit for Padres stacks. Manny Machado slots in with an 8.85 in our home run model today. The third baseman seems to have lost some of his favor with the fantasy community despite still hitting 30 home runs with a .204 ISO over 601 plate appearances last year. Machado is welcome in our lineups at $8,600/$7,500 today. Kim checks in hitting fifth, he had an excellent 17-38 campaign last year and created runs 12% better than average over his 626 plate appearances. Luis Campusano, Tyler Wade, and Merrill fill out the confirmed lineup. Campusano is the team’s catcher, he had seven home runs and slashed .319/.356/.491 over just 174 plate appearances in 2023. Wade is a part-timer getting the start today, he has just 214 plate appearances with one home run and 12 stolen bases over the past two seasons combined and is largely an afterthought mix-in for a low price at $3,400/$4,000. The Padres will be answering the Tyler Glasnow challenge with their ace, Yu Darvish, who is looking to beat back Father Time for a return to form. Darvish was by no means bad in 2023, he had a 24.6% strikeout rate and a 7.5% walk rate but his 4.56 ERA was ugly on the surface. The righty posted a 3.92 xFIP that was more encouraging but his walks and his WHIP were both up by a noteworthy amount year-over-year while his swinging-strike rate was down by about a half-point and he yielded a 3.14% home run rate on 38.2% hard hits. Darvish costs $1,000 less than his counterpart at $10,600 on the DraftKings slate, he is playable but he is running into one of baseball’s most difficult lineups in what could be a somewhat conservative outing from an innings in his first start of the year perspective. Darvish is a shakier play for the money today.

Play: everybody, there’s only one game today! (favorites include the obvious Ohtani, Tatis, Betts, and Freeman. James Outman is today’s overall HR pick. Teoscar Hernandez at a discount on both sites and rookie Jackson Merrill as a cheap option. Manny Machado also just seems underappreciated.)

Update Notes:

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