MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Slate Notes – Monday Main Slate 4/15/24

The Monday main slate gets Patriot’s Day action going at 7:07 ET on both DraftKings and FanDuel after baseball began the day before Noon in Boston. One of the true annual signs that Spring has sprung brings good weather and warming temperatures to many of the games on board and we have several premium spots from which to draw both pitchers and stacks. Getting to a broad spread of options on a large nine-game slate filled with quality is the recommended approach, gaining coverage is critical for a slate of this nature.

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 – 4/15/24

New York Yankees (-101/4.26) @ Toronto Blue Jays (-107/4.33)

  • The 12-4 Yankees bring their thunder and baseball’s best record so far to Toronto to face righty Chris Bassitt who has a 22.7% strikeout rate with a 12% walk rate over his first three starts and 16.0 innings. Bassitt is a right-handed innings eater when he is going right, he can typically cover a few runs with innings pitched for DFS purposes but his 5.06 ERA and 4.59 xFIP with a 10.4% barrel rate and 4.00% home run rate allowed so far have been concerning. The starter was more on-form in his last outing with 6.2 innings and eight strikeouts with only one run allowed to the Mariners but he also walked four. Bassitt worked 200.0 innings last year, pitching to a 22.5% strikeout rate and a 3.60 ERA with a 4.21 xFIP, he is a dicey proposition against this Yankees squad for $8,200 on either site.
  • New York ranks as one of the top stacks of the day, drawing additional quality from the potential for walks and power. The Yankees’ projected lineup lands in typical form with sophomore shortstop Anthony Volpe in the leadoff spot ahead of the incredible duo of Juan Soto and Aaron Judge. Volpe is a new hitter this year, he has completely changed his approach at the plate and is seeing the rewards early with a .382/.477/.564 triple-slash and a 207 WRC+ over his first 66 plate appearances. Soto has a 197 WRC+ with three home runs in 77 plate appearances, and Judge lands 39% better than average for run creation after a slow start that has him at just .207/.373/.448 with three homers. Anthony Rizzo is a solid left-handed bat for $3,900/$2,700, he is slashing .274/.357/.355 and creating runs 15% better than average though the power has yet to arrive for the season. Giancarlo Stanton offers endless power, he has four home runs and a .288 ISO in 55 plate appearances and looks locked in for $4,800/$3,300. Stanton remains a fearsome right-handed power hitter when he is healthy and playing every day. Gleyber Torres got off to a bit of a slow start, he is yet to homer and is carrying just a 64 WRC+ over 75 plate appearances but he comes cheap for his talent at $2,800/$4,700. Alex VerdugoOswaldo Cabrera, and Austin Wells are all playable parts at the bottom of the lineup, though Wells has not shown much early this season, the young catcher has a 28 WRC+ over 34 plate appearances.
  • Righty Luis Gil costs $8,400 on FanDuel and $7,400 on DraftKings tonight against a shaky top-heavy Blue Jays team. Gil has a 36.8% strikeout rate over two starts and nine innings, working to a 3.00 ERA and 4.05 xFIP but he also has an ugly 18.4% walk rate in the tiny sample. Gil worked 4.2 innings and gave up just one earned run on one hit against the tough Arizona lineup in his first start. The righty struck out six in that short outing but walked three. In his next start, Gil struck out eight but walked four while allowing two earned runs on two hits in 4.1 innings against this same Toronto team. If he can wrangle the walks and work five full innings to qualify for bonuses, Gil could be an interesting option with cheap strikeout upside on this slate.
  • The Toronto lineup typically runs four deep and the four quality players have dipped in cost this season. George Springer leads off for $3,200/$4,600, he has a 99 WRC+ with two homers and two steals so far this season and has a track record for quality at the plate. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has a .194/.306/.371 triple-slash and three home runs with a 100 WRC+ in a rough start that has been part of dragging this team’s offense down. Bo Bichette costs $3,200/$4,900 at shortstop, he has an 81 WRC+ with a .214/.279/.339 triple-slash, one homer, and one steal. Justin Turner hit one home run and is slashing .386/.481/.614 with a .227 ISO and 216 WRC+, he has easily been the Blue Jays best hitter over the season’s first three weeks. Turner is affordable at $3,300/$4,200 with eligibility at both corner infield spots. Cavan Biggio has cheap multi-position eligibility on both sites, he also has a 147 WRC+ as one of the few Blue Jays who has been productive. Biggio has a home run and a stolen base with a .310/.396/.429 triple-slash. Alejandro KirkDaulton Varsho, and defense-first options like Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Kevin Kiermaier round out the lineup as low-end options.

Play: Yankees bats/stacks, Luis Gil value more on DraftKings

Pittsburgh Pirates (+111/4.13) @ New York Mets (-121/4.47)

  • Mets righty Adrian Houser has had a bumpy start to the season. Houser has worked five innings in both of his starts, he struck out three while allowing just one run on three hits against the Tigers but then was crushed for five runs on eight hits while striking out just one against the Braves in Atlanta. Houser is typically adept at limiting launch angle and home run power but he is hittable and pitches to contact, he had a 20% strikeout rate over 111.1 innings in 21 starts last year and a 15.2% strikeout rate in 21 starts the year before.
  • The frisky Pirates have interesting DFS options for fair pricing in this matchup, but Houser saps some of the home run potential from even the team’s true sluggers. Oneil Cruz checks in with three homers and a stolen base but also a 38.2% strikeout rate and a .279 on-base percentage, he is not a great fit in the leadoff role in that form but he has supreme raw talent. Bryan Reynolds has a 111 WRC+ and Ke’Bryan Hayes has a 117 while slashing .290/.400/.371 but no home runs. Rowdy Tellez costs just $2,700/$3,200 at first base, he has a home run but just a .070 ISO this season and he has struck out at a 24% clip. Tellez has a 5.30 in our home run model, joining Cruz, Reynolds, and six-hitter Jack Suwinski at about halfway to the “magic number” tonight. Edward Olivares hits between Tellez and Suwinski in the projected batting order, he is slashing .308/.357/.564 with a 146 WRC+ and .256 ISO with three home runs in 42 chances so far this season. Jared Triolo and Henry Davis are capable toward the bottom of the lineup, Triolo can hit for average and get on base and Davis is a former top prospect off to a slow start. In between, in the eighth spot, Michael A. Taylor has a .318/.347/.386 triple-slash and a 98 WRC+ but has yet to homer this season.
  • Lefty Martin Perez is on the hill for Pittsburgh, he is targetable on most slates but he has pitched well to start the season and is capable of snapping off a string of quality. Perez has a 1.89 ERA and 3.64 xFIP with a 19.2% strikeout rate over 19.0 innings in three starts. The veteran southpaw worked 4.1 innings at Miami in his first start, striking out just two and allowing a run on six hits. He gave up two runs on six hits but struck out six Nationals at Washington over 6.2 innings in the following start and then twirled a gem against the Tigers. In his most recent outing, Perez worked 8.0 innings, striking out seven of 29 Tigers while allowing a run on six hits and walking zero. Perez faces a few quality Mets hitters but it would not be shocking to see him succeed for $8,000/$7,600, he is on the value starter board.
  • The Mets have four hitters in the projected lineup who have been over the league average for run creation by WRC+, Brandon NimmoStarling MartePete Alonso, and Tyrone Taylor are four of the top five hitters in the lineup, the other is Francisco Lindor, who sits at a 32 WRC+ in the third spot. Lindor has been an anchor for the Mets early in the season, dragging them to the bottom in his 72 plate appearances. The star shortstop comes cheap and still has talent, his $2,800/$4,800 is appealing for someone who hit 31 home runs and stole 31 bases just last year. Nimmo has a 132 WRC+ with lefty power and a .382 on-base percentage. Marte has created runs nine percent better than average while hitting two homers and stealing three bases. Alonso has six home runs and a .322 ISO with a 158 WRC+ to start the year off strong. Taylor is interesting in this spot, he specializes in hitting lefties for power. The outfielder has a .286/.333/.429 triple-slash with a 110 WRC+ over 40 opportunities. Francisco Alvarez has tremendous power behind the plate but needs polish as a hitter overall, his 9.01 in the home run model is appealing in this spot for just $2,800/$3,600. Jeff McNeilZack Short, and Harrison Bader round out the projected Mets lineup with spare parts.

Play: Martin Perez value, some stacks on either side are fine but lower-priority

San Diego Padres (-106/4.32) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-102/4.27)

  • Right-handed veteran Joe Ross takes the mound for his third start of the season, bringing a 22.7% strikeout rate but a 13.6% walk rate to the hill. Ross has a 1.80 ERA and 4.32 xFIP and has allowed zero home runs over 10.0 innings. The 30-year-old had not pitched in an MLB game since 2021 before his first start, he worked a handful of minor league innings in 2022 and 2023. Ross threw 3.2 innings in his first start, yielding just two hits and zero earned runs to the Twins while striking out three but walking five. In his second outing, Ross struck out a whopping seven Reds at Cincinnati, pitching 6.1 innings and allowing two earned runs (three total) on five hits. Ross could surprise again against these Padres, he costs $7,400/$7,300 with a mid-range projection.
  • The Padres have a quality lineup with playable DFS parts. Xander Bogaerts is off to another slow start with just a 72 WRC+ and a .212/.297/.288 triple-slash, but the veteran should round into form in the top spot and he costs just $2,900/$4,400. Fernando Tatis Jr. is a star with five home runs and two stolen bases, a .246 ISO, and a 148 WRC+ over 77 chances at the dish this year. Jake Cronenworth has surprised in the third spot in the lineup, he has a 126 WRC+ with three home runs over 78 plate appearances. Manny Machado is up to a 118 WRC+ with four home runs and a solid triple-slash, he is still cheap at $3,100/$4,700 and he offers shortstop eligibility on DraftKings. Jurickson Profar is “kind of irrelevant” but is currently leading the team with a 166 WRC+ over 66 plate appearances this season. Profar has two home runs and a .214 ISO and has been a capable DFS option early this season but we have a long track record of futility that says this is not who he really is. Ha-Seong Kim has two home runs and four stolen bases with a 97 WRC+ but his triple-slash has been weak to start the year, he should round into form soon and has three-position eligibility for $3,200 on FanDuel, Kim is a $3,800 shortstop on DraftKings. Luis Campusano has a home run and an OK average but has dipped for production recently. Campusano is a quality catcher option that can be included in stacks of Padres. Jackson Merrill has been good and he still has shortstop eligibility on the blue site, Tyler Wade is a $2,600 third baseman who is not really on the board on DraftKings, on FanDuel he costs $2,300 and fits into four positions, giving him interesting value flexibility.
  • Joe Musgrove costs $8,300/$8,600 in his fifth start of the season. Musgrove has a 6.87 ERA and 4.74 xFIP over 18.1 innings, striking out 19.8% of opposing hitters while walking 8.1%. The veteran has faced the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, and Cubs, with his only effective start coming against St. Louis. In that game, Musgrove worked 6.0 innings while allowing just one run on five hits and striking out seven. He gave up at least four earned runs in every other start with a strikeout high of five, and he failed to complete six innings each time. Musgrove has a track record, he worked to a 24.3% strikeout rate with a 3.05 ERA and 3.70 xFIP in 17 starts last year and a 24.9% strikeout rate with a 2.93 ERA and 3.47 xFIP over 181.0 innings in 30 starts in 2022. There is quality lurking against a gettable Brewers lineup that is without its best player, Musgrove could pay off cheap salaries tonight.
  • The Brewers are expected to be without Christian Yelich again as he deals with a hurt back, diminishing this lineup greatly. Oliver Dunn has a 97 WRC+ with a home run and a steal in the leadoff spot, William Contreras has four homers and a .375/.455/.661 triple-slash in a terrific start, and Sal Frelick is projected to hit third with a somewhat empty 106 WRC+ over 58 chances at the plate. Willy Adames has three home runs and a .224 ISO with a surprising (so far) .308/.379/.346 triple-slash in the meaninglessly small sample. Adames has power but his production should be expected to come and go as he strikes out more and settles into reality. Jake Bauers has a home run but a 54 WRC+ over 34 plate appearances, Rhys Hoskins has a 6.74 to lead the team in the home run model, he has hit three so far in his Brewers career, and Brice Turang has brought quality to the field this year. Turang has stolen seven bases while creating runs 43% better than average over 51 plate appearances. The toolsy infielder costs just $3,200/$3,800, he makes an interesting late lineup pairing with rookie Jackson Chourio. The prized prospect is off to a weak start, he has homered twice and stolen two bases but his contact profile has been weak over 54 plate appearances and he has struck out at a 29.6% clip while finding his footing. Chourio is a star in the making but his 77 WRC+ shows a young (just 20!) player who may still be a bit over his head on many nights. Blake Perkins rounds out the Brewers lineup.

Play: Either of the Joes are OK for value pitching but either team is playable on a similar OK level against them in response.

Kansas City Royals (-160/4.52) @ Chicago White Sox (+147/3.58)

  • Rookie Nick Nastrini is making his debut for the White Sox, the prospect is not on either site’s slate tonight. Nastrini had a 7.71 ERA but a 2.45 xFIP with a 35.1% strikeout rate in his two AAA starts this season. The righty went from AA to AAA in three stops between the Dodgers and White Sox organizations last season, he has shown effectiveness but could be hit by a quality Royals team.
  • Kansas City stacks will be an interesting play, Nastrini has double-digit walk rates and has allowed power in the minors, the Royals line up well against him but they could be without Salvador Perez tonight. Maikel Garcia has just a 60 WRC+ over 72 plate appearances and is getting on base at just a .222 clip, making him a tough fit for the leadoff spot, the Royals have been highly productive in spite of that performance. Garcia is affordable on both sites to start a stack. Bobby Witt Jr. has four home runs, three stolen bases, and a .364 ISO while creating runs 102% better than average this season. Witt is a star shortstop for $4,000/$6,300, he is worth the premium salary when stacking Royals but it makes him a tougher fit for one-off play. Vinnie PasquantinoMJ Melendez, and Nelson Velazquez are three quality bats that DFS players have gotten to know better early in 2024. Pasquantino has excellent bat-on-ball skills with expected lefty power, Melendez has been rocking everything with barrels and hard hits throughout his career and is seeing results at the plate early this year, he has three homers and a .298 ISO with a 161 WRC+, and Velazquez has two homers and a 143 WRC+ to start the year after an outrageous 17 home runs in just 179 chances last year. Adam FrazierKyle Isbel, and Freddy Fermin are less appealing late in the lineup while Hunter Renfroe needs to find his power and quality at the plate, the veteran has one home run and a 50 WRC+ over 49 plate appearances. The Royals are a playable stack, primarily from 2-5 in the projected lineup tonight.
  • Right-handed Seth Lugo checks in for $9,600 on FanDuel but just $8,400 on DraftKings, making him a better option on the two-starter site against the dead White Sox lineup. Chicago is in a rough situation this year, their two best players are already hurt and they did not have anything beyond those bats. Lugo has struck out just 11.8% of opposing hitters over three starts and 18.2 innings, pitching to a 1.45 ERA but a 4.53 xFIP along the way. The righty had a 23.2% strikeout rate in 146.1 innings with a 3.57 ERA and 3.76 xFIP last season, he has more to offer on the mound but the FanDuel price is difficult. Lugo has completed six innings in each of his three starts, he has pitched well and could climb the board in strikeout potential against a projected lineup with several aggressive free-swingers.
  • The White Sox do not make for a playable stack. The team has a 3.58-run implied total that could actually be a bit high in this spot. Those looking to add White Sox hitters for cheap pricing and zero popularity would do well to focus on Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets as the key hitters. Vaughn has a 46 WRC+ and has yet to homer, Sheets has two of the three home runs in the entire projected lineup. This is a bad baseball team. Top options to stack with those hitters include Don’t, Do, It, Robbie Grossman, and Dominic Fletcher, and Andrew Benintendi clinging to relevance with a WRC+ of SIX (94% worse than average).

Play: Seth Lugo mostly on DraftKings, Royals bats/stacks

Atlanta Braves (-109/5.12) @ Houston Astros (+101/4.99)

  • It is unfair to Spencer Arrighetti that his MLB career should start this way. The righty had a hilariously bad debut against the Royals last week, working just three innings and coughing up seven earned runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out three. Now he has to face the Braves. Arrighetti is simply not an option on this slate, even at $5,500 on DraftKings he is not a play.
  • Atlanta bats are a major option on this slate. Even at high prices on DraftKings they are a play. The FanDuel value is generous, the bottom of the lineup is inexpensive on this slate and Atlanta projects atop the board once again with a lineup that can be played from 1-9 on most slates. Ronald Acuna Jr. is still hunting for his first home run of the season, he has stolen seven bases and has a 104 WRC+ with a .273/.385/.327 triple-slash and a price that has held firm in MVP territory where it belongs. Ozzie Albies has a 135 WRC+ and two home runs, he is one of the best second basemen in the sport. Austin Riley has two homers with a .217 ISO and 116 WRC+, Matt Olson has three homers and a .310 ISO with a 157 WRC+, and Marcell Ozuna has been Atlanta’s best player over his first 63 plate appearances this year. Ozuna has a .373/.413/.780 triple-slash with a .407 ISO while creating runs 113% better than average and he is tied for the MLB home run lead with seven. Michael HarrisOrlando ArciaTravis d’Arnaud, and Jarred Kelenic are four quality options at the bottom of the lineup, they can be played together for a discounted stack or they can average down the cost of the stars above them. Harris is off to a good start with a 133 WRC+ and 25-25 talent with upside, Arcia has been very good to start the season but has yet to homer, d’Arnaud has good power for a backup catcher, and Kelenic is seizing his Atlanta opportunity with a .414/.469/.517 triple-slash over his first 32 chances this year. Stack the Braves, basically until further notice (“…and this day may never come…”)
  • Darius Vines costs $5,500/$7,800 in his season debut. Vines made two starts and threw 20.1 total innings in the Show last season, posting a 3.98 ERA but a 5.58 xFIP with a 16.7% strikeout rate in the tiny sample. The righty had a 20.15 strikeout rate and 9.4% walk rate in 34.1 AAA innings last year and similar numbers in more than 100 AA innings the season before. Vines does not project well, even for the cheap FanDuel price. He is very unlikely to reach the quality start bonus for that cost, and his DraftKings price is way out of line against a premium Astros lineup.
  • Houston can be stacked against this pitcher and most others in baseball, this game looks like a great spot for offense on both sides, the Braves are over a 5.0-run implied total and the Astros are right there as well. Houston features Jose Altuve with a 238 WRC+ and five early season home runs in the leadoff spot. Altuve costs just $3,700/$5,400, he is too cheap for this matchup and for his overall quality. Yordan Alvarez is a $4,200/$5,900 option, his DraftKings price is slightly too cheap. Kyle Tucker is inexpensive at $3,500/$5,700, though it is costly overall to stack all three hitters. Alvarez and Tucker bring tremendous left-handed power and excellent hit tools to the plate against the young righty, they are high-end options tonight. Alvarez has a 13.10 in the home run model to lead the team while Tucker sits at 9.83. Alex Bregman has an 88 WRC+ and zero home runs this season. Yainer Diaz has hit three homers with a .302/.348/.476 triple-slash and a 137 WRC+ over 69 plate appearances, he costs $3,100/$4,200 and should be more expensive where catchers are required. Chas McCormick has not hit a home run and is at league average for run creation early in the season, he is a quality outfielder with a mix of power and speed for fair prices in stacks. Jon Singleton has left-handed power for just $2,000/$2,600, his pricing makes him highly appealing on both sites in place of scuffling Jose Abreu. Shortstop Jeremy Pena has seen a strong start with two homers and two steals and a .348/.386/.470 triple-slash while creating runs 51% better than average. Jake Meyers rounds out the projected lineup as a lightly playable part.

Play: Braves bats/stacks. Astros bats/stacks.

St. Louis Cardinals (-175/4.32) @ Oakland Athletics (+160/3.27)

  • Ross Stripling has not been bad over his first few starts but he has allowed earned runs that crush any DFS quality. In his first outing, Stripling worked 5.0 innings and struck out six against the stingy Guardians, but he allowed four earned runs on seven hits including a home run while walking two. He struck out just three of 26 hitters against the Red Sox but gave up just one earned run on the eight hits that he allowed. In his most recent outing, Stripling was tagged for 11 hits and six earned runs while striking out five and walking three over 6.0 innings, his problems are illustrated by a 5.50 ERA but 3.86 xFIP over his 18.0 innings this season. Stripling has never been a high-quality DFS option, he is a contact-oriented pitcher with a low strikeout rate facing a quality lineup tonight, keeping him mostly out of play.
  • St. Louis stacks offer power and some hit-tool upside in this matchup. All three of the team’s power core are over the “magic number” for home run quality tonight with Paul Goldschdmit at 10.53, Nolan Gorman at 12.53, and Nolan Arenado at 10.10. The trio has five combined homers this season, Gorman has hit three of them. Leadoff man Brendan Donovan has created runs 41% better than average with two home runs on the season, he is a premium option in this role for $3,300/$4,200 and he offers quadruple-position eligibility on the FanDuel slate. Willson Contreras is a high-end catcher with power and a quality bat but his 83 WRC+ has not been good out of the gate in 2024. Lars Nootbaar brings another good lefty bat to bear for St. Louis, he has made just 13 plate appearances but has solid mid-range power and speed at the plate. Nootbaar has hit a home run already. Jordan Walker is out to another rough start, his 52 WRC+ and weak triple-slash are disappointing after a strong finish last year but he is a talented player who should come around. Masyn Winn and Victor Scott close out the projected lineup. Winn has a 122 WRC+ in 47 plate appearances with a good triple-slash while Scott has been very disappointing with a negative nine WRC+ and only two stolen bases while slashing an inept .098/.158/.157 at the bottom of the lineup.
  • Veteran starter Sonny Gray was supposed to be limited in his debut last week but ended up working 5.0 innings while facing 18 Phillies hitters. Gray struck out five while coughing up five hits but pitched a clean five innings and now draws a very high-end matchup. While Oakland has played the early spoiler in some spots this season this remains a very bad baseball team and Gray is a talented starter, there is upside in play. The righty projects well for $9,700 on FanDuel and he looks appealing at just $8,500 on DraftKings. Gray had a 24.3% strikeout rate over 184.0 innings and 32 starts last season while pitching to a 2.79 ERA and 3.65 xFIP, the righty is a consideration in all formats in this matchup but he will probably not work beyond the sixth inning.
  • Oakland offers Zack Gelof at second base for $2,900/$4,600, he is the best player on this team despite an 83 WRC+ and an ugly triple-slash to start the season. Gelof is cheap for his upside but he has little support. Abraham Toro has a 122 WRC+ with one homer and one steal over 45 chances. JJ Bleday, Seth Brown, and Shea Langeliers make up the heart of the lineup at cheap prices, the first two each have one home run and Langeliers has four, three of which came in one game last week. Lawrence ButlerMax SchuemannRyan Noda, and Nick Allen are low-end options to round out the lineup.

Play: Cardinals bats/stacks, Sonny Gray

Chicago Cubs (+126/4.21) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (-137/4.89)

  • Arizona starter Merrill Kelly has been good to start 2024, continuing a strong run of quality that began last year. The righty has a 2.29 ERA with a 3.52 xFIP and a 22.2% strikeout rate with a 5.6% walk rate this season. Over 177.2 innings in 30 starts last year, Kelly posted a 3.29 ERA and 3.84 xFIP with a 25.9% strikeout rate, he is a good option in a tough matchup with a quality Chicago offense on the other side and high prices additionally challenge him at $10,000/$9,400. Kelly is a talented starter with a strong projection but he is not the top overall option on the board with a healthy respect for Chicago’s quality.
  • The Cubs are very good at getting on base and the lineup has power and speed in mixed proportions from top to bottom. Ian Happ costs $3,000/$4,600, he has dipped to just 99 WRC+ and has not hit a home run this season but his .362 on-base percentage makes him a premium investment when stacking Cubs hitters. Seiya Suzuki has three homers with a .220 ISO and 139 WRC+ in a great start to the year, he is cheap at $3,400/$4,700. Cody Bellinger is slashing a disappointing .172/.269/.293 with two home runs but a 46 WRC+ in a slow start after a major bounceback last season. Christopher Morel has hit three home runs and posted a .203 ISO to this point in the season, he is a strong power hitter from the right side. Dansby Swanson is another quality right-handed power bat, he has two homers and a stolen base with a 107 WRC+ over 61 chances this season and costs just $3,100/$4,300 at shortstop. Michael Busch has been rolling, over 56 plate appearances he is slashing .327/.393/.694 and he has five home runs after crushing the ball since late last week. Busch has a .367 ISO with a 184 WRC+ and he costs a mere $3,000 with first and third base eligibility on FanDuel with a $3,400 price tag at first base on DraftKings. Nico HoernerMike Tauchman, and Miguel Amaya round out the lineup with less quality, all three are below the league average for run creation and only Amaya is above the Mendoza Line early in the year. In a tough head-to-head, we lean slightly toward Kelly’s side of the matchup.
  • In his first full start of the season, Ben Brown struck out five over 4.2 innings while allowing three hits and zero earned runs at San Diego, he had no been as good in bulk relief in his first two appearances. Brown worked 4.0 innings and allowed a run on three hits while striking out five of 15 Rockies in his second appearance but he lasted just 1.2 innings, striking out one, walking two, and allowing six earned runs on five hits to 12 hitters against the Rangers in his debut. The talent was more on display in AAA last season, Brown had a 31.1% strikeout rate but his 15.8% walk rate is a major concern, as are the 5.33 ERA and 4.53 xFIP he had in 72.2 innings and 15 starts at that level. Brown is a tough option against a good Diamondbacks lineup, for $6,000/$6,300 we will leave him on the shelf tonight.
  • Arizona hitters seem like a good option to take advantage of what Brown has not done well in his career. The righty walks too many hitters and the Arizona lineup has a collective 10.7% walk rate to start the season while striking out just 17.4% of the time overall. This is a lineup that knows how to put bat on ball and they have a bit of power and speed to pad DFS scoring. Second baseman Ketel Marte costs $3,600/$5,500, he has created runs 24% better than average while homering three times and stealing a base over 72 plate appearances. Corbin Carroll has a home run and five steals but just an 86 WRC+ in a slow start, he was a star last season and should be fine, his price is a bit down at $3,800/$5,700 but he is still an investment. Lourdes Gurriel costs $3,500/$5,300, he has four home runs and a 136 WRC+ with an excellent triple-slash to start the year and he hits in a prime spot ahead of Christian Walker. Walker has three homers to start the season and is slashing .300/.417/.467 despite an uncharacteristic 27.8% strikeout rate. Joc Pederson is a prime lefty power bat against righties, he could find his first homer of the 2024 season tonight with a 5.00 in our home run model. Eugenio Suarez has hit two homers but he has slipped to 97 WRC+ and will bounce up and down for quality at a fair $2,800/$4,400 at third base. Gabriel Moreno is slashing .256/.347/.372 with a 95 WRC+ and costs $2,400/$4,100 which is too cheap for his raw talent. Jake McCarthy is a replacement-level option while Blaze Alexander has shown interesting power and speed with good on-base skills in the minors and is off to a good start with two homers and a stolen base in 39 chances. Arizona is a stack to consider on this slate.

Play: Merrill Kelly, Diamondbacks bats/stacks

Cincinnati Reds (+132/3.23) @ Seattle Mariners (-143/3.84)

  • The Reds are carrying a very low implied total at just 3.23 against righty George Kirby tonight. Kirby has a 19.4% strikeout rate with a three percent walk rate to start the season but his 8.16 ERA and 4.14 xFIP are rough over 14.1 innings. Kirby struck out eight in his first start, working 6.2 strong innings against the Red Sox in which he yielded just two hits and zero runs, he was not nearly as good in the next two starts. Kirby lasted just 3.2 innings as a popular choice against the Guardians, he was a victim of their station-to-station approach, allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits while walking zero and striking out only two but allowing no home runs. Over 4.0 innings in his third start, Kirby was not much better, he struck out three of 20 Blue Jays hitters but allowed another five runs on eight hits including a home run. Kirby had a 22.7% strikeout rate with a 2.5% walk rate and 3.35 ERA with a 3.63 xFIP over 190.2 strong innings in 31 starts last year, he is a high-end starter when he is pitching to form. The righty is in a decent get-right spot, the Reds bring a ton of strikeouts to Seattle tonight.
  • Jonathan India has a team-leading 14.9% strikeout rate this season but he has created runs 11% worse than average while slashing .196/.373/.375, the on-base skills keep India alive for correlated scoring but he has done little else. Will Benson has tremendous raw skills that translate well to DFS scoring, he has hit two homers and stolen four bases in 59 plate appearances but he also strikes out aggressively. Benson had a 31.3% strikeout rate last year and is at 33.9% in the tiny sample this season. Christian Encarnacion-Strand delivered as yesterday’s home run pick, he has a prime spot in the everyday lineup despite some early struggles, his immense power is always in play. CES leads the team with a 7.24 in today’s home run model. Spencer Steer has been very good with three homers and three stolen bases while slashing .346/.477/.673 and creating runs 100% better than average. Jake Fraley has good left-handed power and speed, he has already stolen four bags while creating runs 63% better than average over 35 plate appearances. Elly De La Cruz has four home runs and six steals with a 150 WRC+ as one of the most electric players in the game for $4,100/$5,600, he remains very expensive for a six-hitter. Jeimer Candelario has switch-hitting power late in the lineup for a fair price, Nick Martini has proven himself to be a capable left-handed power bat with three homers in 33 plate appearances, and Tyler Stephenson is a capable DFS catcher on the right day. We lean toward Kirby but hedging any major investment with some Reds stacks is a good idea given his early struggles.
  • The Mariners have pushed quality and strikeout potential in the direction of opposing starters early this season. Seattle’s projected lineup has a collective 28.6% strikeout rate to start 2024, they are a target until further notice but Frankie Montas is not an overly comfortable starter on the other side. The hope is that Montas’ history of disappointments would keep his ownership somewhat lower than it should be at $9,000 on both sites. Montas has a 19.1% strikeout rate over his first three starts of the season, he has pitched somewhat effectively and has a 2.16 ERA and 3.85 xFIP. The righty worked six innings against the Nationals, striking out four and allowing zero earned runs on four hits, in his second start he faced 24 Phillies over 5.2 innings, allowing one earned run on a solo homer and five hits while striking out five but walking three, and he made it through 5.0 against the Brewers, striking out four and walking one while allowing three earned runs and five total on six hits. Montas is hittable but this Mariners team has been very bad, we lean toward the starter in this matchup.
  • In addition to the extreme strikeout rates, the Mariners have been abysmal in the simply getting on base this season. Six of the nine hitters in the projected Seattle lineup are below the Mendoza Line while carrying a collective .240 on-base percentage, this is completely untenable for a baseball team. JP Crawford has created runs 39% worse than average ahead of Julio Rodriguez who has been 66% worse than average to start the season. Both of those players are in the group of bad average/on-base starts. Jorge Polanco is another member of that club at .196/.318/.304 with an 89 WRC+ and two home runs. Ty France has been hitting, he leads the team at .280/.308/.320 but has an 87 WRC+. Mitches Haniger and Garver have two home runs combined, Haniger has been OK and Garver has been bad to start the season, both are power hitters with major strikeout issues. Cal Raleigh has two homers but a 36.7% strikeout rate early this season, Luke Raley has zero home runs with a -19 WRC+ and a 34.8% strikeout rate, he has also not drawn a walk in 23 plate appearances. Josh Rojas closes out a lineup that is very difficult to justify for DFS shares tonight.

Play: George Kirby, Frankie Montas, maybe some contrarian Reds particularly as a hedge to any large Kirby position. 

Washington Nationals (+297/3.01) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-340/5.63)

  • Right-handed ace Tyler Glasnow leads the slate for projection and salary, his $11,000 tag on both sites seems worth it for the offset he provides at extremely high projections against a weak Nationals lineup. Glasnow has a 32.2% strikeout rate with a 2.25 ERA and 2.94 xFIP over 24.0 innings in his first four starts, he is elite. The righty is the best bet on the slate for booking bonuses and he is facing a Nationals’ lineup with a collective 24.4% strikeout rate for the projected batting order. Glasnow is a premium option for a price tonight.
  • Washington is difficult to justify in anything but the most purely contrarian reasons. CJ Abrams is a multi-category star with three home runs and three stolen bases early, he has a 146 WRC+ to start the season and costs a fair $3,400/$4,600 at a premium position. Lane Thomas had a tough first few days of 2024 but he has come on over the last week and now has two home runs with seven stolen bases but his 64 WRC+ is still lacking. Jesse Winker has had a strong start, leading the team at 173 WRC+ with a home run and two stolen bases. The lefty slugger has a .341/.482/.500 triple-slash in a nice early-season return to form. Joey Meneses has been entirely skippable with a 49 WRC+ and no power, his hit tool has also disappeared early, sapping any quality he may have provided. Joey Gallo has three homers and an otherwise Gallo-like stat line, he is cheap for the monumental power potential on any given slate. Eddie Rosario has not been good, he has one home run but a -10 WRC+, Riley Adams is more of a play against lefties, Luis Garcia Jr. and Trey Lipscomb round out a bad lineup in a bad spot.
  • Lefty Mitchell Parker is making his debut against one of the best lineups in baseball and the Dodgers are -340 favorites with a 5.63-run implied team total, sometimes the script writes itself. Parker is a $4,000 starter in trouble on DraftKings, he does not exist on the FanDuel slate. The southpaw worked 113.2 innings in AA last season, pitching to a 4.20 ERA and 3.80 xFIP with a 27.2% strikeout rate but an 11.1% walk rate, he is a target for bats and is only in play for the deeply discounted SP2 price that courts massive failure.
  • The Dodgers are a 1-9 stack that is showing a bit of value on FanDuel with three hitters between $2,200 and $2,300 in the last three spots on the FanDuel slate. Each of Enrique HernandezChris Taylor, and Miguel Rojas fits into three positions for the discount, they are relegated to outfield, outfield, and shortstop respectively for higher relative prices on DraftKings. The Dodgers 1-6 spots are locked in on a daily basis and they are always in play, they are high priority bats where affordable on tonight’s slate. Mookie Betts has a 210 WRC+ with six home runs and three steals, Shohei Ohtani is slashing .338/.386/.662 with a .324 ISO and 175 WRC+ with four home runs in 83 plate appearances, and Freddie Freeman has a 128 WRC+ with a home run and a stolen base with an outstanding triple-slash. Will Smith is a premium catcher option, his 144 WRC+ stands out for the position. Teoscar Hernandez and Max Muncy are an elite righty-lefty power duo in the heart of the lineup for fair prices compared to their teammates. While the top three spots are the priority, the Dodgers can be stacked from four down while and land better than most options on most slates.

Play: Tyler Glasnow, Dodgers bats/stacks

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