MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Slate Notes – Friday Main Slate 5/3/24

The nine-game Friday main slate features a King Kong vs Godzilla matchup with the Braves in Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in the nightcap. The game is carrying a nine-run implied total with both teams under 5.0 implied runs, but the offenses seem primed for fireworks in our model and both sides of the expensive clubs are in play. The slate includes two other games carrying run totals of 9.0, the Padres vs Diamondbacks and Rangers vs Royals games are also both cut very evenly on the Vegas board with all four teams landing between 4.48 and 4.60 implied runs. In what looks like the easiest matchup of the day both at the plate and on the mound, the underperforming Cardinals are drawing a slate-high 4.74-run implied total early on Friday. St. Louis has a chance for success against the lousy White Sox and Cardinals starter Sonny Gray tops a deep pitching board that offers both aces and value options. In addition to Gray, the slate offers Tanner Bibee against a very low-end Angels squad, George Kirby in a tough matchup against Houston, Tanner Houck against free-swinging but high-scoring Minnesota, and Dylan Cease facing the Diamondbacks in another challenging spot. The value board is also somewhat stacked, Kirby costs just $7,800 and Houck is an $8,200 option on DraftKings, JP Sears slots in at $7,900 on FanDuel and just $6,100 on DraftKings in a soft spot against Miami, and Chris Paddack has a shot at $7,300/$6,300 with a few shakier options for dart throwers.

Don’t miss our Hitter Projections, including custom Home Run ratings for each player, and Pitcher Projections for more on the top opportunities 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 Notes – 5/3/24

Detroit Tigers (+142/3.39) @ New York Yankees (-155/4.20)

  • Yankees starter Marcus Stroman checks in with a low run total on the board in Vegas and the Tigers carrying just a 3.39-run implied total. Stroman has been largely on-form to start the season, over his first six outings he has a 3.69 ERA with a 3.74 xFIP and 23.2% strikeout rate. The righty is typically good at limiting premium contact and home run potential, he has allowed a few long balls early in the season with a home run rate sitting at 3.62% in the small sample, but he has yielded just 33.7% hard hits and a 4.5-degree average launch angle. Stroman draws a Tigers projected lineup with a 22.8% strikeout rate, he is not a premium option for whiffs but he is on the board at $8,800/$9,700 for a few shares in any size tournament.
  • The Tigers low run total is uninspiring and leaves the team somewhat short in projections. They are not showing much power against Stroman’s track record of checking home runs, only Spencer Torkelson is projected at even half the “magic number” in our home run model, he has yet to hit one in 128 plate appearances this season in a weak start to 2024. Riley Greene should be in the leadoff spot, the left-handed hitter has seven home runs this year and a reasonable chance to poke one over the short right field fence in Yankee Stadium. Greene is affordable at $3,200/$4,700 but this is not the best spot for stacking other than contrarian shares. Mark Canha and Wenceel Perez follow in the projected batting order, Canha is a veteran hitter who has knocked five dingers and has a 156 WRC+ to start the season, and Perez has hit three home runs, stolen two bases, and created runs 71% better than average over his small sample of 52 plate appearances. Canha costs $3,200/$4,600 and Perez is a $2,500/$3,400 option at second base on FanDuel and in the outfield on DraftKings. Kerry Carpenter is another lefty who could knock one out against Stroman if the pitcher leaves one up over the middle, Carpenter has three homers in 101 plate appearances and he has created runs 18% better than average. Matt Vierling has also hit three home runs, his 115 WRC+ is a solid start to the season. Torkelson is projected to hit sixth with Colt Keith following. Keith broke camps with major expectations but is slashing just .160/.225/.181 with a .021 ISO, zero home runs, and a WRC+ that sits 83% below average, he may need more seasoning in the minors. Javier Baez and Jake Rogers are low-end veteran options who could provide minor outbursts for power on any given slate.
  • Righty Reese Olson has been decent but mostly unexceptional to start the season. Olson got things rolling in his third outing, striking out eight Rangers over 6.1 innings with just one earned run allowed on six hits, he allowed six earned runs in a meltdown against the Pirates over 4.1 innings the start before and his first outing was a middling three-strikeout game in which he blanked the Mets over 5.2. In his most recent outing, Olson worked 7.0 innings of one-run three-hit ball while striking out eight of 27 Royals hitters. Overall, Olson has a 3.18 ERA and 4.21 xFIP with a 21.1% strikeout rate but an excellent 13.3% swinging-strike rate, and he is yet to allow a home run this season. Olson has sneaky potential in a tough matchup for $8,100/$7,400.
  • New York could easily become the first team to homer against Olson this season, there are several fearsome power hitters in the lineup. The Yankees projected batting order is striking out at just a 19.7% clip this season, but several of the more threatening hitters are strikeout targets. Anthony Volpe leads off, the shortstop has three home runs and seven stolen bases with a 22.2% strikeout rate over 144 chances at the plate, he has been up and down to start the season. Volpe has bad habits and swings at too many pitches out of the zone, he demonstrated more patience early in the season prior to moving up the lineup and has since slumped but he remains highly affordable in one of the best lineup spots in baseball. Volpe hits ahead of Juan Soto and Aaron Judge, Soto has been fantastic this season with eight home runs, four stolen bases, a .331/.441/.589 triple-slash with a .258 ISO and a 194 WRC+ while Judge has been very slow getting going in by far his worst March/April. The slugging outfielder has six home runs but a lousy and uncharacteristic .197/.331/.393 triple-slash. Judge remains 11% ahead of league average for run creation and his 13.1% barrel rate and 54.8% hard-hit rate suggest that things are not far off, he is still easily stackable with everyone around the two stars at good prices. Alex Verdugo has been hitting cleanup, the lefty has interesting potential in that spot in the lineup and his four home runs and 134 WRC+ are strong marks for a $2,900/$3,700 option. Giancarlo Stanton has six home runs and a .223 ISO with a 16.2% barrel rate and 50% hard hits, there are few better cheap options in baseball for home run hunting. Anthony Rizzo is a $3,100/$3,900 option and he has been catching on at the plate over the last week after struggling with his timing early. Rizzo has six home runs and a 112 WRC+ over 138 plate appearances. Gleyber Torres finally hit his first home run of the season, he is now slashing .218/.295/.274 with a 71 WRC+ over 140 disappointing plate appearances but things are likely to trend in a positive direction. Oswaldo Cabrera hit his fourth homer and sits at 99 WRC+ after a hot start and Jose Trevino is a mix-and-match catcher at best.

Play: Yankees bats/stacks, Marcus Stroman, Reese Olson value

Los Angeles Angels (+160/3.48) @ Cleveland Guardians (-175/4.61)

  • Tanner Bibee faces a depleted Angels team that is carrying just a 3.48-run implied total into action tonight. Bibee rates as one of the top starters on the board for $9,400/$8,500, his DraftKings price is simply too low. The righty has a 3.45 ERA and a 3.79 xFIP with a 26.3% strikeout rate over 31.1 innings in six starts this season, he has been mostly around the form that led to a 2.98 ERA and 4.22 xFIP with a 24.1% strikeout rate over a larger sample of 142.0 innings and 25 starts last season. The starter has given up a bit more premium contact in the small sample, his barrel rate allowed sits at 10.6% against just 6.1% last season but hard hits and exit velocity are nearly identical, so we are simply seeing small-sample happenstance. Bibee is a high-end selection on the mound against a Troutless Angels team carrying a 21.9% strikeout rate across the projected lineup.
  • The Angels are affordable and they should be unpopular but they are facing a pitcher that is much more talented than their lineup and they are not flashing much power or run-creation potential. Los Angeles is projected to open with Nolan Schanuel, a young left-handed hitter with a .227/.317/.307 triple-slash and a .080 ISO over 102 plate appearances this season. Schanuel is followed by Jo Adell who has been rolling over the past two weeks. Adell is sporting a .290/.338/.565 triple-slash with four home runs, five stolen bases, a .274 ISO, and a 152 WRC+ in one of the best MLB stretches in his career. The outfielder is a bargain at $2,700/$2,900 if he keeps things rolling but there is not much support from surrounding hitters. Taylor Ward is an option, he has created runs 26% better than average with seven home runs in 134 chances and Brandon Drury has power that has been largely missing this season. The infielder has hit just one home run while slashing .176/.245/.235 over 94 plate appearances. Luis Rengifo has a 142 WRC+ with two home runs and a solid line across 94 chances, Logan O’Hoppe has also hit two home runs, he has cheap catcher power where the position is required, and the lineup rounds off with Cole TuckerMickey Moniak, and Zach Neto.
  • Even for $7,500/$7,200, Jose Soriano does not look like a great option against the stingy frisky Guardians lineup. Soriano has a 4.76 ERA with a 4.41 xFIP and a 23.0% strikeout rate over 22.2 innings in four starts. The righty has yielded a 13.6% barrel rate with 42.4% hard hits but his arsenal rates as above-average at 107.57 Stuff+ and he has generated a 10.8% swinging-strike rate. The issue for Soriano is the opponent, the Guardians do not strike out much and they have the talent to exploit the righty’s control issues. Soriano has a 14.0% walk rate in the small sample this year and had a 12.4% mark over 42.0 innings of relief work last season. Cleveland is likely to play their game against Soriano, the team has a 19.7% strikeout rate and 8.4% walk rate across the projected lineup with everyone in the top-five spots in the lineup at or below 15.6%.
  • Steven Kwan has been terrific early in the season. The outfielder has a .349/.396/.496 triple-slash and has created runs 60% better than average. Kwan has a surprising three home runs but just a 3.4% barrel rate, 16.9% hard hits, and a .147 ISO, he is still a contact-based hitter who focuses on getting on base, he plays well for correlated scoring but is not a great one-off option on most slates despite regular scoring. Andres Gimenez costs $4,700/$3,000 at second base, he is slashing .289/.362/.386 with a 121 WRC+ over 131 chances at the plate. Kwan is striking out at just a 7.9% clip with a  6.5% walk rate, Gimenez has a 14.5% strikeout rate with 5.3% walks, and three-hitter Jose Ramirez, the team’s star, has an 11.9% strikeout rate and 5.2% walk rate, everyone up top is putting the ball in play for this team. Ramirez is slashing just .240/.281/.416 with a 95 WRC+ and .176 ISO in a cool start to his season. The third baseman is a $3,900/$5,800 star however, his five home runs and four stolen bases have been signs of life over the 135 plate appearances and we will take the over on what the next 135 look like. Josh Naylor is a $3,700/$5,000 option, he remains too cheap on DraftKings. Naylor is slashing .261/.344/.514 with seven home runs and two stolen bases and has created runs 40% better than average. The first baseman has a terrific 12.5% strikeout rate with a 9.4% walk rate in the cleanup spot, while outfielder Will Brennan has been involved of late with a 15.6% strikeout rate and 5.6% walks over 90 plate appearances. Brennan has hit four home runs and stolen two bases, his 50% hard-hit rate is appealing for just $2,700/$3,400 when stacking Guardians. Tyler Freeman has a highly-regarded hit tool and is playing most days in center field, he maintains second base and third base eligibility on FanDuel for a fair price but is less of a priority than either Gimenez or Ramirez. Freeman has three home runs and three stolen bases over 99 plate appearances but his vaunted hit tool has been missing at just .198/.293/.349. Estevan Florial is cheap, he has three home runs and a stolen base with a 106 WRC+ over 64 chances, Bo Naylor has inexpensive but infrequent catcher power, and Brayan Rocchio is mostly here for defense but does have five stolen bases.

Play: Tanner Bibee, Guardians bats/stacks

Texas Rangers (+101/4.49) @ Kansas City Royals (-109/4.61)

  • Righty Brady Singer has a 2.62 ERA and 3.48 xFIP over 34.1 innings and six starts. Singer has struck out 24.5% of opposing hitters while walking 9.4% and compiling a 31.2% CSW with a 10.9% swinging-strike rate and 1.02 WHIP, he has been good despite below-average Stuff+ ratings for his full arsenal. Singer was less effective last season but was good in 2022, he is not a bad pitcher and could succeed but he seems a bit overpriced at $9,200/$9,100 against the Rangers on tonight’s slate.
  • Texas has a 19.6% strikeout rate and a 9.0% walk rate across the projected lineup, they are a patient hard-hitting bunch with several star-caliber talents atop their deep lineup. Marcus Semien has created runs 12% better than average over 144 chances at the plate this year, he has greatly outperformed double-play partner Corey Seager but it remains extremely early. Seager is slashing just .219/.305/.289 with a .070 ISO and a 70 WRC+, his price has dipped to $3,400/$5,700 at shortstop. Semien is also a bit underpriced for his talent, he has a 7.24 in the home run model and Seager sits at 8.51, they are strong middle infield options on any given slate. Nathaniel Lowe is still far too cheap. The talented hitter costs just $2,800/$4,100 at first base, making it easier to afford the stars surrounding him. Lowe hit 17 home runs last year and had a tremendous 2022 with a solid triple-slash and 27 home runs. Adolis Garcia has a 15.7% barrel rate and 54.2% hard-hit rate over 126 plate appearances, resulting in eight home runs and a .274 ISO. The star outfielder has created runs 56% better than average, he is a critical component in most stacks of Rangers bats. Evan Carter is inexpensive in a bit of a slow start with the bat. Carter is expected to be a better hitter than his .222/.310/.444 triple-slash. His power has been mostly intact, despite a mediocre premium contact profile he has five home runs and a .222 ISO. Josh H. Smith has a sturdy triple-slash and a 166 WRC+ over 104 plate appearances, he remains cheap for the production but this is the best he has been in recent memory, Smith is likely to backslide over time. Wyatt Langford is an interesting rookie hitter at a cheap price, Jonah Heim has inexpensive catcher power from either side of the plate, he has hit three home runs and is slashing .263/.291/.384 over 103 plate appearances, and Leody Taveras is off to a slow start after 14 homers and 14 stolen bases last year.
  • Michael Lorenzen has a 4.24 ERA and 4.41 xFIP with a limited 20.3% strikeout rate and an ugly 13.0% walk rate over 17.0 innings and three starts. Lorenzen worked 5.0 innings with four strikeouts and five walks but just three hits and zero earned runs against the Tigers in his first outing, he struck out seven while walking three and allowing three runs on a homer and three total hits to the Braves, and then struck out just three while giving up five runs on six hits over 6.0 against the Reds. Lorenzen is cheap at $7,500 on DraftKings, he is not without talent on the mound but the Royals have been productive enough to put the option in question even as a value play, at $8,500 on FanDuel the starter is easier to skip.
  • Kansas City has power, speed, a low collective strikeout rate, and quality up and down the lineup. Maikel Garcia has four home runs and eight stolen bases from the leadoff spot but his .226/.274/.379 triple slash is weak for the lineup spot, leading to his 81 WRC+. Garcia is inexpensive ahead of Bobby Witt Jr. who has four homers and nine stolen bases with a .227 ISO and 155 WRC+ in 139 plate appearances. Witt is priced like the star he is at $4,000/$6,200 but everyone else in the projected lineup is cheap. Vinnie Pasquantino costs $2,800/$4,500 at first base, he has four home runs and has created runs seven percent better than average with a 47.9% hard-hit rate and just a 9.8% strikeout rate and 13.8% walks. Pasquantino should improve on a low triple-slash as the season goes forward and his place ahead of Salvador Perez gives him strong value for correlated scoring. Perez has seven home runs and a .236 ISO in a terrific start to the season. The slugging catcher is slashing .355/.418/.591 and has created runs 81% better than average early in the season while defying injuries. Michael Massey costs $2,200/$2,800 at second base, he has two home runs and a .189 ISO with a 10.8% strikeout rate over 37 plate appearances and was effective at putting bat on ball from the left side last season. Nelson Velazquez and MJ Melendez are up-and-down sources of power late in the lineup, Velazquez has two home runs and Melendez has four so far this season. Hunter Renfroe and Kyle Isbel are low-end options late in the lineup. Renfroe has plenty of power over the last few years but has managed just two home runs and a lousy triple-slash in 88 plate appearances this year.

Play: Rangers bats/stacks, Royals bats/stacks

Seattle Mariners (+105/3.95) @ Houston Astros (-113/4.13)

  • Astros starter Ronel Blanco is a tale of two prices this evening. On FanDuel, Blanco slots in at $10,800, the fourth-highest price on a top-heavy pitching board. On DraftKings, the starter is an easy $8,200 option. Blanco threw a no-hitter early in the season, he has a 1.65 ERA but a much more honest 4.21 xFIP that makes more sense next to his 94.42 Stuff+ rating. The righty has induced a 12.9% swinging-strike rate but has just a 26% CSW, leading to a 23.4% strikeout rate but a 10.9% walk rate in his five starts and 32.2 innings this year. Blanco has been terrific at limiting premium contact to this point, he has a 25.3% hard-hit rate and 85.5 mph of exit velocity on 2.4% barrels despite a flyball trajectory. The Mariners are a free-swinging bunch, the projected lineup has a 28.5% strikeout rate and they have fed big DFS games to a few pitchers already this season. The Blanco dice are far easier to roll on DraftKings for the cheap price, he is an effective SP2 option with a clear ceiling for the money on that site but he is a tall order at the price on the single starter site.
  • Despite Blanco’s success at limiting premium contact this season, several of the Mariners’ power hitters are drawing marks above the “magic number” for home run potential in the model, partly based on the pitcher’s 5.31% home run rate allowed over 52.0 innings of relief and seven starts last year. Only two players in the Seattle lineup have been above average for run creation this season, leadoff hitter Josh Rojas, who has a 171 WRC+ over 78 plate appearances, and Cal Raleigh who sits at 111 after 105 chances at the plate. Rojas is slashing .313/.403/.522 in a strong start, he is capable in the leadoff spot ahead of scuffling Julio Rodriguez, who sits at just 90 WRC+ after 129 plate appearances. Rodriguez has one home run and seven stolen bases with a .057 ISO in a cold start. Jorge Polanco has hit four home runs but is slashing .181/.317/.295 while creating runs 11% below average. Mitch Garver has power, he and Raleigh are positional conflicts at catcher on DraftKings. Garver has three home runs in 98 plate appearances but has created runs 33% worse than average to start the season. Raleigh has six home runs but a .217/.305/.413 triple-slash and a 35.2% strikeout rate. Mitch Haniger has four homers and a .217/.278/.368 triple-slash. Everyone from Rodriguez through Haniger has been striking out at more than 31% this season. Ty FranceLuke Raley, and Dylan Moore round out the lineup, France has a good hit tool and two home runs this season, Raley has a bit of lefty power and a 48.7% hard-hit rate but zero home runs over 57 opportunities, and Moore has a bit of speed but a lousy triple-slash. If we remove the 15.4% rate at which Rojas strikes out in the leadoff spot, this version of the lineup has a collective 30.2% strikeout rate, eliminating the 22.2% mark carried by France pushes the remaining seven hitters to 31.3%.
  • Mariners starter George Kirby has started 62 games in his MLB career, he has walked only 45 hitters in those games, those numbers do not typically go together that way. Kirby is a right-handed hurler with fantastic, nearly historically good, command and excellent stuff, he is striking out 28.4% of opposing hitters while walking 3.0% over 32.1 innings and six starts this season. Kirby has a 4.18 ERA but a much better 3.01 xFIP with an 11.7% swinging-strike rate and he has been fantastic at limiting hard hits and home run power over the past two-plus seasons. Kirby has a tough opponent in the Astros, even with the team scuffling for wins several of their more fearsome hitters atop the lineup are not struggling. Kirby will have to be on form but comes at a matchup discount for just $9,600/$7,800, the DraftKings price is particularly appealing.
  • Jose Altuve is slashing .352/.415/.586 with seven home runs, six stolen bases, and a 188 WRC+, if something is wrong with the Astros it is not their second baseman. Altuve is a fine fit in stacks for $4,000/$5,700, he is arguably cheap for his talent at a thin position. Alex Bregman is sitting at the Mendoza line after 122 plate appearances and he has hit just one home run, he may have taken a swig from Jose Abreu’s cursed water bottle and caught whatever ails the big first baseman. Bregman has struggled badly and sits 40% worse than average for run creation but there is still talent in play for what is now a very cheap $2,800/$4,700. Yordan Alvarez has seven home runs with a .195 ISO and 113 WRC, things should trend upward from here. Kyle Tucker has hit eight home runs and stolen five bases while creating runs 74% better than average as one of the team’s top players early in 2024. The outfielder is joined in the heart of the lineup by solid shortstop Jeremy Pena at .333/.375/.467 with a 145 WRC+ and Yainer Diaz is slashing .283/.322/.425 with a 114 mark for run creation in the sixth spot. The bottom of the lineup has not been productive, rookie Joey Loperfido hit 13 home runs before his callup, he has made only nine plate appearances in the Show but has upside for a cheap salary and makes a better option than either Jon Singleton or Mauricio Dubon from the bottom of the batting order. Dubon has been productive in a small sample, over 71 plate appearances he has a 116 WRC+ with a homer and a stolen base and fits into four FanDuel positions for just $2,300.

Play: Four corners game. George Kirby and Ronel Blanco (in that order) are both too cheap on DraftKings, they are playable at more correct pricing on FanDuel. Either team could succeed but the stacks are lower-end than the pitchers. Seattle is showing power but they are wildly unreliable, Houston has major quality against the more talented pitcher.

Boston Red Sox (-102/4.02) @ Minnesota Twins (-106/4.06)

  • Despite one good start against the lowly White Sox, righty Chris Paddack does not look like a strong option tonight. The Red Sox are carrying a limited 4.02-run implied total and the Vegas board seems closer than one would expect, given the talent that Boston is deploying on the mound in opposition. Paddack worked 7.0 innings in the start against the White Sox on the 22nd, striking out 10 while allowing zero earned runs but giving up six hits. That was by far his best outing of the season, in his most recent start the righty struck out just two while walking one and coughing up four runs on eight hits, including a homer, to the lousy Angels lineup. Paddack has a 17.4% strikeout rate with a 5.88 ERA and 4.20 xFIP over five starts and 26.0 innings. The starter has allowed a 9.7% barrel rate and 4.13% home runs in the tiny sample and sits at just 95.47 via Stuff+. Paddack is cheap at $7,300/$6,300, he is not entirely off the board as a bargain bin DraftKings SP2 option but that is as good as it gets.
  • Even with the low total it seems like Boston should be more playable against this pitcher. The Red Sox have scored 150 runs this season, tenth-best in baseball, but their lineup has been badly depleted by injuries, making them somewhat top-heavy for DFS purposes. Leadoff man Jarren Duran is slashing .261/.338/.388 with a 104 WRC+, he has one homer and nine stolen bases over 151 plate appearances. Rafael Devers is back up to .286/.415/.468 with a 151 WRC+, an 11.9% barrel rate, and a 45.8% hard-hit rate, both his ISO and home run total will catch up shortly. Devers is underpriced at $3,200/$5,100, he makes for an interesting one-off at third base even if the Red Sox are not a top-priority stack. Tyler O’Neill has been one of the best hitters in baseball to start the season. The outfielder has created runs 100% better than average with a .309/.429/.667 triple-slash, an outstanding .358 ISO, and nine home runs. O’Neill costs $3,500/$5,600, which is too cheap for the level of production he has provided. This is not an outlier performance, the outfielder has always had talent but has struggled to stay healthy, when he is on the field he is (about) this good. Wilyer Abreu has been excellent over 92 plate appearances, the young outfielder has  .313/.391/.513 triple-slash with a .200 ISO while creating runs 52% better than average and drawing a 12.0% walk rate. Abreu has hit two home runs and stolen five bases and added a spark to the heart of Boston’s lineup, he still costs just $3,200/$3,800, the DraftKings price is notably low. Connor Wong is also very inexpensive for his output this season. Wong is a $3,300 catcher where the position is required and is a playable $2,800 option on FanDuel on a team that lacks reliability at first base. The backstop is a player from whom we have been able to extract a few cheap home runs over the past season-plus, Wong had an underappreciated 9.1% barrel rate in 403 plate appearances last year, leading to nine homers in the medium sample. On just 6.9% barrels this season, the catcher has five home runs and a .243 ISO while slashing .351/.380/.595 over 79 plate appearances. Wong is probably not that caliber hitter over time, but he can knock one out of the park for a very cheap price. Dominic Smith and Garrett Cooper are in the projected lineup with Bobby Dalbec lurking as another option between first base and designated hitter. The team is struggling from the loss of talented first baseman Triston Casas and they are also without Masataka Yoshida. Of the three options, Cooper is probably the most “reliable” while Dalbec has the most raw talent and Smith is just cheap. David Hamilton and Ceddanne Rafaela round out the lineup, Rafaela is a talented prospect who has struggled to just a .191/.220/..345 triple-slash while creating runs 50% worse than average.
  • Righty Tanner Houck should be spectacularly popular at just $8,100 on DraftKings. Houck is an $11,300 pitcher on the FanDuel slate in a hilarious contrast, second to only Sonny Gray facing the White Sox for $11,500. Houck has been terrific over six starts this season, he has a 1.60 ERA and 2.58 xFIP with a 26.5% strikeout rate and a microscopic 3.2% walk rate. The starter has a 12.9% swinging-strike rate with a premium 32.1% CSW and an arsenal that grades out at 107.73 Stuff+. Houck has worked 39.1 innings in the six outings, including a complete game shutout against the Guardians in which he struck out nine and allowed only three hits, an even more terrific performance considering the opponent. Houck failed to complete the sixth inning just once this season, working 5.2 innings and allowing four earned runs and seven total on 12 hits against the Angels in his third start of the year. The earned run and hit totals in that game were season-worst marks, Houck has three appearances in which he did not allow a run, in addition to the shutout he worked 6.0 clean innings against the Athletics and Angels in his first two starts, making the bad start against the Angels in a home game even more confounding. Houck most recently faced the Cubs, working 6.2 innings of one-run ball while striking out nine and walking none, allowing four hits. The righty is in play at the high price on FanDuel with the hope that it will render him under-owned, he is justifiably popular and is playable as a very cheap SP1 on DraftKings, he is spectacular as an SP2 option.
  • The Twins lineup sits in the middle of the league for run scoring for the season but they have been on a tear over the last few weeks. Minnesota leads baseball with 94 runs scored since April 15th and the collective strikeout rate for their projected lineup is just 21.7%, this is not a bad team. Alex Kirilloff has two home runs and a 124 WRC+ over 96 plate appearances, he is inexpensive at $2,900/$4,200 with outfield and first base eligiblity. Edouard Julien is a high-end second baseman for $3,300/$4,500, he has seven home runs with a .268 ISO and 134 WRC+ over 113 plate appearances following up a strong rookie season. Ryan Jeffers has five home runs while slashing .300/.393/.556 with a .256 ISO and a 16.8% strikeout rate, all massive steps forward in the small sample of 107 plate appearances. Jeffers is a highly playable catcher who hits in a good lineup spot for $4,500 where the position is required. Max Kepler has a home run but has not gotten much going in a limited 54 plate appearances, the power-hitting lefty should be fine in the longterm and he is inexpensive tonight on both sites. Carlos Correa is always in play when he is in the lineup, the shortstop has never stopped hitting the ball hard and he has a 133 WRC+ over 58 chances this season. Trevor Larnach has two home runs with a .229 ISO on 11.1% barrels and 51.9% hard hits in a small sample of batted ball events this season, he is cheap for the power upside at $3,200/$2,900. Carlos Santana has broken out a bit for power recently, he has four home runs but sits below the Mendoza line and 25% worse than average by WRC+. Willi Castro is a productive late-lineup hitter with cheap multi-position eligibility and Jose Miranda offers a productive bat for just $2,600/$3,200.

Play: Tanner Houck, very minor Chris Paddack bargain bin SP2 darts on DraftKings if desperate, Red Sox bats/stacks as a mid-level option with upside, contrarian Twins bats as an angle against Houck popularity on DraftKings

Chicago White Sox (+238/2.87) @ St. Louis Cardinals (-267/4.74)

  • The visiting White Sox have a 2.87-run implied total as massive underdogs in St. Louis tonight. Cardinals starter Sonny Gray is correctly the most expensive pitcher on the FanDuel slate at $11,500, and his $10,100 price tops the board on DraftKings. Gray has been tremendous to start the season, the veteran righty has worked to a 1.16 ERA with a 2.10 xFIP that is not far off while striking out a whopping 36% and walking just 4.5% over 23.1 innings in four starts. The tiny sample numbers are far ahead of career performance, but Gray has always been a high-end starter and is facing by far baseball’s worst lineup. Despite a few upstart performances to spoil similar highly-projected DFS spots, the White Sox lineup has been putrid this season and will continue to be. Gray is the top option of the day on the mound, over 184.0 innings in 32 starts last year he had a 24.3% strikeout rate with a 2.79 ERA and 3.65 xFIP while inducing an 11.4% swinging-strike rate and he posted similar numbers the prior season. Gray has faced the Phillies, Athletics, Brewers, and Mets this season, he has three wins and three quality starts and has allowed a total of three runs. The righty worked 5.0 clean innings, striking out five of 18 Phillies in a win in his first outing, the other three were quality starts. Gray frustrated the Athletics over 6.0 innings of four-hit six-strikeout shutout ball, then he posted a monster 12-strikeout game over 6.1 against the Brewers, allowing two earned runs on five hits. In his most recent outing, the veteran starter struck out nine but walked a season-high three and allowed his first home run of the year, giving up just that run on four total hits to the Mets in Queens. Gray is in his best spot of the season, he should be popular on both sites and he has a clear path to success (cue the White Sox 12-run outburst).
  • Chicago is very unlikely to have a 12-run outburst on this slate. The team is bad. They are dead last in baseball with 89 runs scored in 31 games and are next-to-last (ahead of only the opposing Cardinals) with 22 home runs. Chicago’s projected lineup includes only a few options who are appealing even in a contrarian DFS sense. Nicky Lopez is miscast in the leadoff spot, he is slashing .205/.298/.217 with a .012 ISO and 57 WRC+ over 98 plate appearances this season. Tommy Pham is a good player on a bad team, over his first 24 chances since joining this club Pham has a home run and a .208 ISO with a 174 WRC+, he is cheap for $2,900/$3,100. Eloy Jimenez is a star talent who is rarely healthy. Jimenez has three home runs and a .149 ISO with a 98 WRC+ in 73 chances and has already missed a few weeks with an injury this year, he is high-end player in this lineup. Gavin Sheets has been the team’s most productive bat, he sits 33% better than average for run creation over 105 plate appearances this year with a .267/.362/.444 triple-slash and three home runs. Andrew Vaughn and Andrew Benintendi have both been bad this season, they sit at 46 and 49 WRC+ respectively. Danny MendickKorey Lee, and Paul DeJong are low-end options late in the lineup, and yes we know this is a “revenge game” for DeJong, we remind you that there is no such thing, particularly in baseball.
  • The Cardinals are drawing strong marks for quality and the highest implied run total on the board in Vegas against righty Brad Keller, who is set to make a short start tonight. Keller worked 1.2 innings in relief on the 29th, he is unlikely to throw more than three innings tonight and he is not an option on either DFS site. The veteran righty had a 4.50 ERA and 3.85 xFIP with a 20.6% strikeout rate and 8.8% walk rate over three starts in AAA before joining the team this week.
  • The Cardinals continually underperform their talent, the team sits 28th out of 30 teams with just 109 runs scored this season and they have been the worst bunch for power with just 21 home runs in 31 games and 1,159 collective plate appearances. For comparison, the Orioles are second in baseball with 164 runs and first with 48 home runs in 31 games and 1,175 collective plate appearances. Still, this is a terrific upside matchup for any group of hitters, Keller worked to a 14.7% strikeout rate with a 21.3% walk rate and a 4.57 ERA with a 6.41 xFIP over nine starts and 45.1 innings last season and was similarly weak the year before, this is a gettable starter. St. Louis seems likely to be popular, the team continues to offer plenty of name recognition for casual gamers and they come at very cheap prices with plenty of endorsements around the industry. Brendan Donovan plays four positions on FanDuel for $2,900, he is a second baseman or outfielder on DraftKings for $4,300. Donovan is slashing just .222/.309/.368 with three home runs and a 97 WRC+ in a cold start to the season, though the power is good to see. The utility man is a playable part when stacking Cardinals, he has a prime position in the lineup and a good left-handed hit tool when things are going well. Willson Contreras has been the team’s best hitter and one of the better catcher options for DFS this season. Contreras typically hits near the top of the lineup and he has power with five home runs and a .247 ISO over 110 chances at the plate. For $3,300/$5,300, he is the most expensive bat on the team but remains a crucial piece when stacking Cardinals, he is playable in the same lineup as teammate Paul Goldschmidt despite occupying both C/1b and utility in a build on FanDuel. Goldschmidt is slated to hit fifth after a demotion in the lineup, the veteran is off to a cold start at just .230/.320/.310 with an 87 WRC+. Lars Nootbaar and Nolan Arenado should slot in third and fourth ahead of the first baseman, Nootbaar has a home run and two stolen bases but has not gotten things going over his first 76 opportunities while Arenado has been up and down to start the year. The third baseman has a .271/.333/.347 triple-slash with a 100 WRC+ and just one home run in 132 plate appearances. Alec Burleson has been decent over 75 opportunities, the outfielder has a 105 WRC+ with two home runs. Nolan Gorman is another scuffling Cardinals hitter at just .190/.254/.352, his lack of power has been the real surprise. The slugging second baseman has hit four home runs with a .162 ISO and a 35.8% hard-hit rate over 114 chances, though his 11.9% barrel rate is still encouraging. Masyn Winn has been good over 97 chances, he is an interesting option as a cheap shortstop from late in the lineup and he seems likely to be one of the lower-owned Cardinals hitters. Winn is slashing .293/.368/.390 while creating runs 18% better than average, he is an effective wraparound play for correlated scoring value. Michael Siani has a 53 WRC+ in 52 plate appearances.

Play: popular Sonny Gray, popular Cardinals bats/stacks.

San Diego Padres (-101/4.51) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (-107/4.58)

  • Arizona righty Slade Cecconi had a strong start against the Mariners in his most recent outing, striking out eight and walking one while allowing just one run on three hits in 6.0 innings. In his first start of the season, Cecconi struck out just three of 21 Giants hitters, but he allowed only two earned runs on a home run and two total hits over 6.0 and booked the quality start. Cecconi had an 18.0% strikeout rate, a 3.6% walk rate, and a 4.33 ERA with a 4.59 xFIP over 27.0 innings in four starts last season, he is a well-regarded but not extremely high-end starter at age 28, he is not a young prospect. For $10,100 on FanDuel, Cecconi seems wildly overpriced, he is a $6,600 option on the DraftKings slate, which seems like a playable value point against a Padres team carrying a 4.51-run implied total. Cecconi is not carrying a strong projection, but he grades out in the middle of the board at a bargain bin SP2 price, which is good enough on the two-starter site.
  • Padres bats should be stacked as a hedge position against any significant investment in Cecconi lineups, the team has one of the better available implied totals and plenty of talent for fair prices on both sites and this is a gettable starter. Jurickson Profar is still slashing .342/.431/.523 after 130 plate appearances, he has been surprisingly productive with a 178 WRC+ and he has hit four home runs while striking out 15.4% and walking at a 13.1% clip, at $3,100/$3,700 he is underpriced for the production but we are slow to believe in this player. Fernando Tatis Jr. has six home runs and four stolen bases but his triple-slash has dipped to just .233/.324/.426. Tatis’ ISO is low for him at .194 but he has created runs 20% better than average and his priced is down a bit for the ceiling, particularly at just $5,300 on DraftKings. Jake Cronenworth has also surprised a bit this season, he has five early home runs and has created runs 36% better than average from the three spot in the lineup and he remains inexpensive at first base on DraftKings and with compelling second base eligibility added to that on the blue site. Manny Machado is slashing .250/.302/.383 with a .133 ISO and 100 WRC+ with four home runs, he should trend upward as the season continues, Machado is far from finished at the plate. The same is true for scuffling Xander Bogaerts who has been worse at just .217/.284/.287 with a 72 WRC+ and two home runs, he has been too good a player with too strong a track record to struggle much longer. Jackson Merrill has a home run with four stolen bases but has dipped a bit in recent outings and now sits at 97 WRC+. Luis Campusano has a pair of home runs with a 104 WRC+ over 106 plate appearances, Ha-Seong Kim has hit four home runs and stolen seven bases while underperforming overall at the plate, he has a 107 WRC+ but a lousy .218/.329/.387 triple-slash. Tyler Wade is cheap with a bit of speed if he manages to get on, he is a mix-in wraparound value play at best.
  • Righty Dylan Cease carries a strong projection near, but not at, the top of the pitching board tonight. By comparison to similarly priced high-end starters, Cease looks a step behind in a tough matchup against the Diamondbacks, but he shares a similar ceiling with the top options on the slate. For $11,000/$9,300, the pitcher is another player who functions differently across sites. Cease should be low-owned at the hefty FanDuel number, he has his work cut out for him to pay that price off and he is likely to be outperformed by several options. On DraftKings the price is probably a bit too low, Cease should have a bit of popularity while still remaining somewhat underappreciated with a high ceiling, he is an interesting pitcher who could go bust on that site. Cease has a 2.78 ERA and 3.82 xFIP over 35.2 innings in six starts, his strikeout rate sits at 28.8% but he has yielded a 10.1% walk rate and 12.9% barrels. Cease has a tremendous 120.92 rating via Stuff+ and he has induced a 13.7% swinging-strike rate, he is one of the better strikeout pitchers on this slate but the Diamondbacks projected batting order sits at just 19.0% strikeouts this season while drawing a 10.9% walk rate, they seem like a prime candidate to play spoiler even if they do not blow Cease up in this matchup.
  • Arizona will be hard-pressed to beat Cease on the flipside of the matchup, of course. The talented strikeout artist will be facing a lineup that opens with Jake McCarthy in its recent form. McCarthy has gotten on at a .338 clip and stolen three bases while creating runs at league average over 76 plate appearances this year, he was good for on-base skills, steals, and correlated scoring in 2022 but less so in 2023. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has five home runs and a 100 WRC+ but sits at just 15.7% strikeouts after 134 plate appearances. Ketel Marte strikes out at a 17.4% clip this year and was at 16.8% last year, he is slashing .307/.361/.512 with five home runs over 144 plate appearances as one of the top second basemen in the game. Christian Walker is a power hitting first baseman who typically limits strikeouts and draws walks to provide additional quality beyond just home run upside. Walker has a 150 WRC+ and seven home runs on the season despite a jump from 19.2% strikeouts last year to 23.4% in the small sample this season. Joc Pederson is a quality lefty hitter with power, he has two home runs and a solid triple-slash with a 174 WRC+ as a platoon bat in 83 plate appearances this year. Eugenio Suarez has two homers, Gabriel Moreno has zero, and Corbin Carroll has one, Blaze Alexander leads the bottom of the lineup with three long balls but the others should outpace him by season’s end. Carroll’s struggles have been well documented, he should turn things around but his first 134 plate appearances this year have led to a 65 WRC+. The quality in stacking Diamondbacks is primarily from 1-5 but there are playable parts and lurking massive potential late in the lineup as well.

Play: Dylan Cease, Slade Cecconi value on DraftKings, minor shares of bats on either side are OK at lowish ownership

Miami Marlins (+125/3.75) @ Oakland Athletics (-136/4.34)

  • Southpaw JP Sears has a 4.64 ERA and 5.01 xFIP with a limited 17.6% strikeout rate and an 8.1% walk rate over six starts and 33.0 innings but projects very well in a good matchup against the scuffling Marlins. Sears has Miami checked to just 3.75 implied runs, one of the lowest marks on the slate and he has provided good DFS games in similar spots in the past. The lefty worked to a 4.54 ERA and 5.10 xFIP last season but did manage a 21.9% strikeout rate with a high-quality 11.3% swinging-strike rate that sits at a similar 11.0% early this season. His 105.32 Stuff+ rating is also an encouraging mark. In his most recent start, Sears struck out eight of 28 Orioles hitters but allowed three home runs and seven earned runs on eight hits over 6.1 innings. In the prior outing, he faced the Yankees and was far better. Sears struck out seven and walked one, allowing zero runs on three hits over 6.0. The catalog lefty has made three effective starts and three fairly bad starts this season, his first two games of the year both saw him strike out just one hitter while allowing five runs over 3.2 to the Guardians and four runs over 5.2 to the Tigers. Sears should benefit from facing Miami in this matchup but he is in no way a sure, or even moderately safe, option on the mound, which is why he is very cheap on both sites.
  • Miami’s lineup can be played as an angle if Sears gets popular, they are slated for a low run total and they have been bad but this is baseball. Luis Arraez is up to .299/.347/.372 with a 108 WRC+ after a couple of productive weeks righted the ship, he should be reliable for correlated scoring going forward. Bryan De La Cruz has a 107 WRC+ with five home runs in his 143 plate appearances in a strong start to his campaign, he costs just $3,100/$3,900 and has a 7.26 in the home run model against Sears. Josh Bell sits at 8.64 in the home run model, he is also offering a shot at cheap power for just $2,800/$3,800 at first base. Bell has four home runs but sits at just .185/.273/.306 after 140 plate appearances. Jazz Chisholm Jr. leads the team at a 10.08 in the home run model, the outfielder has four long balls and five stolen bases this season. Tim Anderson has been lost to start this season after a lousy 2023, he does not look playable most nights but he comes cheap in the middle of this batting order. Emmanuel RiveraDane MyersVidal Brujan, and Nick Fortes have combined for zero home runs and two stolen bases over a couple hundred plate appearances to star the season,they have not been good, though Myers has only made 12 plate appearances and does have three runs scored with five RBI (a 221 WRC+ in the meaningless sample).
  • Ryan Weathers is a targetable pitcher, he has a 4.55 ERA with a 5.05 xFIP over six starts and 29.2 innings and has struck out just 18.7% of opposing hitters. Weathers is not as talented as Sears on the other side, he is far less interesting as a DFS option despite also facing a low-end team. Oakland has been playing better baseball than some of the other bottom dwellers this season but they remain a relatively lousy squad, so Weathers draws an OK projection for just $7,700/$6,000. The lefty managed just 4.0 innings of six-run ball with three strikeouts against the Nationals in his last outing, he struck out one of 26 Braves hitters over 5.2 innings of three-run ball the start prior and had his best start with 10 strikeouts in 6.0 against the Giants on the 16th. Weathers has only been completely blown up the one time by the Nationals, he allowed three or fewer runs in every other start but he has not worked deep into games and has had up-and-down strikeout results. Weathers has allowed a home run in three straight and four of six starts this season, the Athletics do have a bit of power from the right side to threaten him.
  • Leadoff man Esteury Ruiz is a good fit for anyone targeting low-owned Athletics bats. Ruiz has two home runs and four stolen bases with a 145 WRC+ over 43 plate appearances. Tyler Nevin checks in for a low $2,600 price on both sites, he has four home runs in 88 plate appearances but just a .175 ISO on 7.8% barrels and 40.6% hard hits. Nevin is slashing .325/.375/.500 with a 19.3% strikeout rate in the small sample, he has been productive. Brent Rooker still swings and misses too much but when he connects he can make the ball sail. Rooker has five home runs with a .265 ISO and 124 WRC+ this season and his barrel rate sits at 16.2% with 48.6% hard hits, he is an ideal candidate to take Weathers over the wall with an 11.55 in the home run model. Shea Langeliers has an 8.94 in the home run model, he has six home runs in 105 plate appearances with a .223 ISO on 17.8% barrels and 42.5% hard hits but that is all he does. Abraham Toro has been effective with a 124 WRC+ at a fair price, Max Schuemann has a home run and a stolen base in his first 28 plate appearances, JJ Bleday is the lone lefty late in the lineup, he has three home runs and a .171 ISO with a 107 WRC+ over 116 plate appearances this year. Darrell Hernaiz and Nick Allen are low-end options to round out the lineup.

Play: JP Sears, cheap Athletics bats/stacks, contrarian Marlins bats/stacks in small doses as an angle if Sears is popular

Atlanta Braves (+103/4.46) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-112/4.64)

  • The brawl between two National League titans gets underway at 10:10 pm ET as the last game on the slate with Gavin Stone taking the mound for the home team and Charlie Morton going for the visitors. Stone has a 16.5% strikeout rate with an 11.0% walk rate, a 4.68 ERA with a 4.75 xFIP, and a limited 26.2% CSW for his five starts this season, he is nigh unplayable on this slate for $7,000/$6,900. Morton has worked to a 3.60 ERA with a 3.77 xFIP and a 23.3% strikeout rate while walking 9.2% and working to a 26.9% CSW. The veteran is easily the more playable of these two starters and he comes with a matchup discount at just $8,800/$7,600 but, with so many quality options available, it seems like a bit of a stretch to target the Dodgers’ lineup with a pitcher. Morton does not project near the top of the board against Los Angeles, though he does have a thin path to success.
  • The bats are the story in this matchup. Atlanta’s stellar lineup includes a few discounts for slow starts on players that we know will post incredible numbers by season’s end. Ronald Acuna Jr. costs “just” $4,200/$6,400, the FanDuel price is down $300 from just a few days ago. Acuna has a 106 WRC+ with 13 stolen bases but just one home run and a .070 ISO in a slow start for power. He still slots in at a 14.96 in our home run model tonight. Ozzie Albies has a 10.89 in the home run model with two in the books while slashing .330/.392/.500 over 97 plate appearances. Austin Riley is cheap at $3,300/$5,500 considering his power output over the past two seasons. Riley has two home runs and a .151 ISO this season but his 14.0% barrel rate and 50.0% hard hits say he is not far off, the same is true for Matt Olson, today’s overall home run pick. Olson has managed just three long balls while scuffling in his triple-slash to start the year but he has a 13.3% barrel rate and 58.7% hard hits and his price has dipped to $3,700/$5,700. Marcell Ozuna has a 15.1% barrel rate and 55.8% hard hits with nine home runs and a .303 ISO over 124 opportunities this year, he is now the most expensive Braves hitter on FanDuel and second to Acuna on DraftKings where he finally cracked $6,000. Orlando Arcia has two homers but a 94 WRC+ over 116 plate appearances, the talented shortstop hit 17 homers and he comes cheap in the heart of the lineup. Michael Harris II cost just $3,300/$4,900 despite three home runs and five stolen bases with a 116 WRC+ and a .294/.328/.437 triple-slash. Harris ha sa 45.7% hard-hit rate, he is very cheap for his talent. Travis d’Arnaud has clubbed five homers in 81 chances, barreling the ball at a 13.0% clip with a 50.0% hard-hit rate in the small sample, he has always been a good power-hitting catcher whether starting or working as a backup. Jarred Kelenic has yet to hit for power but has provided a sturdy triple-slash while creating runs 10% better than average for his new team, he is a playable mix-in late in the lineup.
  • The Dodgers lineup is perhaps the only one in baseball that rivals the quality the Braves can provide from top to bottom on the right day. Starting the batting order with Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman is a strong first step in that showdown. Betts has been 115% better than average for run creation by WRC+ this season, he has six home runs and eight stolen bases with a .377/.481/.623 triple-slash and a .246 ISO. Ohtani has seven home runs, a .282 ISO, and a 186 WRC+. Freeman sits 44% better than average for run creation despite a slow start for power and a lower-than-usual .292 batting average after 149 plate appearances. Will Smith is a fantastic catcher who has a 166 WRC+ with a .200 ISO and four home runs in 124 plate appearances. Smith is the everyday cleanup hitter behind the group of stars and he is every bit their equal for talent at his position, he costs $3,700/$5,100 and is underpriced on both sites. Max Muncy and Teoscar Hernandez are a hard-hitting high-strikeout lefty-righty combo in the heart of the lineup, they have 11 combined home runs in 260 plate appearances and they come fairly cheap for the power upside. James Outman is slashing just .173/.256/.284 with a 60 WRC+ in a disappointing start to the season and Gavin Lux has not been much better in his 83 chances. Andy Pages, on the other hand, has been dynamite in 60 chances since his promotion. The rookie slugger has three home runs with a .255 ISO and 140 WRC+ in the tiny sample, he is expected to hit and he costs just $3,600/$3,100 at the bottom of the batting order.

Play: Braves bats/stacks, Dodgers bats/stacks

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