MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Slate Notes – Monday Main Slate 5/6/24

The Monday main slate brings a late 7:40 ET start time (Note: the start time for tonight’s slate has been moved up to 7:10 ET on both sites) six compelling games for MLB DFS gamers. The slate features a top-heavy pitching board with only a few ace-caliber options, including the return of Dodgers’ starter Walker Buehler who will face the Marlins in the nightcap. Buehler has made numerous outings in the minors to start the season, he should be on track for a full start and looks like a fair option. Luis Castillo tops the pitching board against the surging Twins, Cole Ragans draws a quality matchup against the middling Brewers, and Yu Darvish takes on the Cubs at a fair mid-level price. The bargain bin and bottom of the board are thinner, Andrew Heaney faces the Athletics but comes with major questions in any given start, even against low-end teams, Simeon Woods Richardson faces the free-swinging Mariners who are drawing power against him in the home run model on the other side, and the other inexpensive starters are in tough matchups. There are clear-cut but popular stacking opportunities on the slate as well, the Dodgers have the highest overall run total and the most star power in their lineup but are very expensive, the Royals are fairly priced in the middle for the second-highest run total at 4.59 implied runs, and the Mariners are sitting at 4.11 with a lot of home run potential showing.

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 – 5/6/24

Seattle Mariners (-110/4.11) @ Minnesota Twins (+101/3.99)

  • Simeon Woods Richardson will make his fourth start of the season against the free-swinging Mariners tonight. The righty has a clean 2.45 ERA with a 4.20 xFIP and a 20.6% strikeout rate over 14.2 innings in his first three starts and he is yet to allow a home run despite some premium contact. Woods Richardson has given up an 8.7% barrel rate and 43.5% hard hits on a home run trajectory, he has gotten lucky and the Mariners are showing power against him in the model. The starter has a limited 85.91 Stuff+ rating for his full arsenal, he is not dealing elite pitches on the mound. Woods Richardson lasted just 3.2 innings in his most recent start, against the lowly White Sox, striking out just two and walking two while allowing an earned run on seven hits in the short start. For just $7,000 on DraftKings, Woods Richardson is in the bargain bin for SP2 shares but he is not an overly strong option on the FanDuel slate even with the scuffling high-strikeout Mariners on the other side.
  • Seattle’s lineup features four players above the “magic number” for home run upside tonight. Leadoff hitter Josh Rojas is not a part of that group, but his .360/.442/.587 triple-slash over 87 plate appearances is appealing as a correlated scoring play and he has a .227 ISO to support the idea of a bit of sneaky power as well. Julio Rodriguez least the team with a 13.98 in the home run model, one of the highest overall marks on the slate. Rodriguez has one home run with seven stolen bases in a slow start to his season but his 48.9% hard-hit rate suggests things may not be far from the turn. Jorge Polanco has scuffled over 140 chances, slashing .193/.314/.328 but he has hit five home runs and slots in at a key second base position for just $2,800/$3,900. Mitch Haniger sits at 10.18 in the home run model, joining the powerhouse club that Polanco just missed with his 9.70. Haniger has four home runs and a 44.2% hard-hit rate with a 9.1% barrel rate in a small sample of 123 plate appearances but he has been inconsistent and has struck out at a 29.3% pace. Cal Raleigh has a 12.21 in the home run model, he leads the team with eight long balls on the season and makes for a strong investment when stacking Mariners. Ty France is slashing .255/.314/.355 with a pair of home runs, he is affordable but there are better options at first base. Mitch Garver and Luke Raley have cheap late lineup power, Garver has three home runs but a weak triple-slash while Raley hit his first home run of the season last night and lands for just $2,400/$3,000. Dylan Moore is a quad-position option for $2,700 on FanDuel and a $3,200 shortstop on DraftKings. Moore has two home runs with five stolen bases and a 104 WRC+ over 84 chances at the plate this season, he is an effective enough wraparound option when building numerous stacks of Mariners.
  • Mariners ace Luis Castillo leads the team’s rock-solid rotation. Castillo has a 3.46 ERA and a 3.02 xFIP with a 28.7% strikeout rate and just a 4.7% walk rate. The righty has induced a 13.4% swinging-strike rate and has a 28.3% CSW over seven starts and 41.2 innings. Castillo has been a dominant starter for years, he is a high-faith play even against a Twins team that has been hitting and rolling in the wins column lately. For $10,200/$9,600, Castillo is the top option on the pitching slate, while doubling as the lone “safe” (a very loose term for MLB gaming) option on the mound.
  • Alex Kirilloff is affordable at $2,900/$4,200 with eligibility at first base or in the outfield, he has two home runs and a .196 ISO with a 108 WRC+ over 103 plate appearances and has generated a 43.7% hard-hit rate. Edouard Julien has hit seven home runs with two stolen bases in his first 123 chances this season. The young second baseman has rapidly become one of the better power options at his position, he is in play for $3,300/$4,700 for those who choose to attack Castillo with contrarian Twins bats. Ryan Jeffers leads the team at 5.22 in the home run model, he has six on the season with a robust .291/.375/.563 triple-slash in 120 plate appearances and has created runs 66% better than average. Over 66 plate appearances, lefty Max Kepler has blasted two home runs and created runs 35% better than average, he is a good bet to finish the season over 20 home runs again, if he can manage 450 or so plate appearances. Carlos Correa is slashing .263/.386/.351 with a .088 ISO but a 122 WRC+ over 70 chances this season, he is affordable for the ceiling at $2,800/$4,600 but the matchup is not a good one. Trevor Larnach has a 9.1% barrel rate with a 54.5% hard-hit rate over 48 plate appearances, amounting to two home runs and a .190 ISO in the tiny sample, he is a cheap source of lefty power late in the batting order. Carlos Santana has found his stroke a bit, he now has four home runs in 123 plate appearances but still sits below the Mendoza line. Willi Castro has been a compelling hitter for the Twins over the past few weeks. After a successful campaign with nine home runs and 33 stolen bases in 409 plate appearances last season, Castro is getting everyday opportunities and is slashing .277/.339/.446 with two home runs and four steals while creating runs 26% better than average. Christian Vazquez has been limited in the last spot in the lineup, as has utility man Kyle Farmer, who was a quality source of cheap pop last season.

Play: Luis Castillo, Mariners bats/stacks, limited Simeon Woods SP2 bargain bin shares on DraftKings

San Diego Padres (-103/3.78) @ Chicago Cubs (-105/3.80)

  • Lefty Justin Steele has made just one start this season, lasting 4.2 innings with six strikeouts before succumbing to a hamstring strain. Steele has worked his way back over the past few weeks but he made just one rehab start in AAA that lasted 3.1 innings and threw a bullpen session on Saturday for additional work. Steele is likely to be a limited depth option in this outing and he is not facing a pushover team, but his talent is clear in the 3.78-run implied team total to which the Padres are projected in Vegas. Steele put up a 24.6% strikeout rate with a 3.06 ERA and 3.32 xFIP while walking just 5.0% over 30 starts and 173.1 innings last season, the southpaw is a good pitcher but his $9,200/$9,000 price tag may be misaligned to the opportunity tonight, particularly where quality starts are important.
  • The Padres pulled a major coup last week, acquiring two-time batting champion Luis Arraez from Miami when the Marlins, a playoff team last year, decided to give up on their season in early May. Arraez delivered immediately for San Diego and he should be a prime asset for correlated scoring for the rest of the season hitting ahead of Fernando Tatis and the team’s core of quality. This move significantly lengthens the Padres lineup, they are now a deep squad with the talent for both sequencing and power at the plate. Arraez is up to .311/.354/.385 with a 114 WRC+ and should go up from here, he costs a mere $2,900/$4,600 which is too cheap for a bolt-on to Tatis, who is also affordable at $4,000/$5,100, the DraftKings price is notably low. The star outfielder has seven home runs and four stolen bases with a .201 ISO and 129 WRC+ over 163 chances this season. Jake Cronenworth has six homers and a .278/.347/.496 triple-slash with a .218 ISO in a strong start to the season, he is cheap at $3,100/$4,300. Manny Machado has a 6.16 in the home run model, he has hit five long balls this season but his ISO sits at a curiously low .152, considering his 12.9% barrel rate and 51.5% hard-hit rate things should trend upward. Jurickson Profar has been inarguably good to start the season. Over 142 plate appearances, Profar is slashing .344/.430/.533 while creating runs 81% better than average. Xander Bogaerts is slashing just .217/277/.294 with two home runs and a 72 WRC+ as the only player in the projected lineup who has been below average for run creation early in 2024. Bogaerts remains a player in whom we have great faith, he is likely but not guaranteed to turn things around as the season continues. Luis Campusano is a quality catcher bat with a 105 WRC+ over 115 plate appearances, Ha-Seong Kim has been limited in the triple-slash output but he has hit five home runs and stolen seven bases in his 154 chances and he comes cheap for the talent, and Jose Azocar rounds out the lineup with a 103 WRC+ in 44 plate appearances.
  • Righty Yu Darvish has made six starts and thrown 28.2 innings this season. Darvish worked exactly 5.0 in his two most recent starts, with a brief IL stint in between. He struck out three and walked zero while allowing three hits but no runs in his most recent start against the Reds, his best outing of the season. Darvish is a high-end starter who was off-form over his first few outings, he has a 3.45 ERA but a 4.07 xFIP and just a 21.0% strikeout rate with a 24.6% CSW. The righty had a 24.6% strikeout rate and 29.0% CSW last season but he has diminished somewhat and sits slightly below average via Stuff+ at 97.94 early in 2024. Still, there is some appeal in the name brand at just $8,500/$8,400 across sites, Darvish provides quality with a true ceiling score potential for a good mid-range value on both sites tonight, the quality start is in play despite the brief outings recently, but the Cubs are a tough opponent.
  • Chicago’s projected lineup opens with Nico Hoerner who is slashing .282/.358/.397 with a 119 WRC+ and four stolen bases. If Hoerner continues to get on base with that much frequency in the leadoff role he should steal more bases and will provide quality correlated scoring for cheap prices in stacks. Mike Tauchman has a .404 on-base percentage over 114 plate appearances with three home runs and a 148 WRC+, he has been surprisingly good to start the season and remains cheap atop the lineup. Ian Happ has been below standard early in 2024, slashing .235/.355/.319 but he has still managed to create runs three percent ahead of the curve. Happ is an on-base machine with power, he is always in play for Cubs stacks. Christopher Morel has a 7.77 in the home run model, he has hit seven long balls and has a .211 ISO with a 111 WRC+ this year. Michael Busch has hit six home runs and has a .226 ISO as an affordable power bat against Darvish, the young power hitter slots in at first or third base for $3,000 on FanDuel and lands as a $4,600 first baseman on the DraftKings slate. Dansby Swanson has an uncharacteristic 86 WRC+ with four homers and four stolen bases after 136 plate appearances, he is reliable for power and speed and comes cheap at shortstop, Swanson remains a good bat in Cubs stacks. Patrick Wisdom has a home run in his 27 plate appearances, he strikes out aggressively and can drop zeroes into a DFS lineup but he has true multi-homer upside on any given slate. Pete Crow-Armstrong has been decent over 37 plate appearances, his run creation mark sits 19% below average but he has a home run and two stolen bases as he finds his footing. Yan Gomes has one home run in 48 chances, the catcher is a mix-and-match option at best.

Play: Padres bats/stacks, Cubs bats/stacks, Yu Darvish mid-level salary shares (Steele is very good but should be limited by innings, he is more in play on DraftKings but the price is high for the question mark)

Milwaukee Brewers (+124/4.00) @ Kansas City Royals (-134/4.59)

  • Note – this game has been moved up by a half-hour to increase the chances of playing a full nine before storms arrive later in the evening, it is not risk-free but seems likely to be OK.
  • Lefty Cole Ragans exited his most recent start with cramping issues in his leg but he is reportedly fine and required no follow-up medical work. Ragans was working in the seventh inning against the Blue Jays at that point, he had struck out nine while walking three and allowing just one earned run on four hits in 6.2. Toronto has scuffled along early in the season but they are a low-strikeout bunch, Ragans has the talent to punch out anyone in baseball. The southpaw has worked to a 28.9% strikeout rate while inducing a terrific 14.1% swinging-strike rate over 36.2 innings in his seven starts this season. By Stuff+ metrics, Ragans sits far above the league average at 112.90 across his full arsenal, and he has been very good at limiting power and premium contact. Opposing hitters have managed just a 5.1% barrel rate with 37.4% hard hits, an average exit velocity of just 87.9 mph, and only one home run, which came in the season’s first game. Ragans is utterly elite on the mound but he lands at just $9,500/$8,800 against the middling Brewers lineup, this seems like an excellent spot for DFS investment even if the starter is popular.
  • Milwaukee is carrying a 4.00-run implied total into action tonight with Kansas City’s 4.59 standing as the second-highest on a limited board. The Brewers seem a bit inflated for a game against Ragans, who has a 3.44 ERA and 3.16 xFIP on the season, they are playable in a contrarian sense, particularly if the lefty gets popular, but they are a mediocre lineup in a bad spot. Milwaukee is not flashing power in the home run model, Rhys Hoskins leads the team with a 6.34, while William Contreras has a 5.31 and Gary Sanchez lands at 5.49. Those three hitters are projected in the top three spots in the Brewers’ lineup this evening but they are positionally blocked on both sites. DraftKings gamers can have Hoskins with either of the two catcher-only players while FanDuel players can connect any two but not all three in a lineup. Contreras has been the team’s best hitter and the best catcher in baseball over 151 plate appearances with a .336/.411/.519 triple-slash, five home runs, three steals, and a 165 WRC+ from the leadoff spot. Hoskins has blasted six home runs and has a .207 ISO with a 120 WRC+ but an up-and-down triple-slash. Sanchez has hit three home runs in 53 plate appearances while creating runs 10% better than average in the small sample. Sanchez is not a consistent hitter but he absolutely mashes when he connects and always has, he is playable at just $2,400/$3,100. Willy Adames is having a strong start with six homers and five steals, he has a .258/.347/.453 triple-slash and has created runs 29% better than average. Blake Perkins has been surprising this season, the former second-round pick has finally found his footing, at least over 109 chances, and has hit four home runs with three stolen bases and a 134 WRC+. Joey Ortiz has a decent triple-slash and a 138 WRC+ over 80 chances and checks in very cheap at third base, Brice Turang has 14 stolen bases with two homers and a .299/.367/.411 triple-slash and Jackson Chourio has shown just flashes of his star-caliber potential early in the season while creating runs 24% worse than average but costs just $2,900/$3,700. Sal Frelick rounds out the projected batting order in a tough lefty-lefty matchup.
  • Righty Bryce Wilson takes the mound in the bargain bin at $6,300 on DraftKings, he has a 22.6% strikeout rate with a 3.00 ERA and 4.09 xFIP over his first three starts this season. Wilson is a $6,200 option on FanDuel, if he can replicate his most recent outing he could provide value at the price but we are landing more on the side of Kansas City bats. Wilson worked 6.0 innings, striking out six of 23 Rays hitters while allowing a lone earned run on four hits. In 4.1 innings the start prior, the righty struck out three, walked three, and gave up two earned runs on a homer and three hits over 4.1 after converting back from a bulk relief role. For the season, Wilson has thrown 24.0 innings and made three full starts and nine total appearances, he has allowed four home runs in the fairly small sample, a 4.30% home run rate early in the season and Stuff+ does not like his makeup with just a 94.64 rating for his full arsenal. Wilson does not draw a strong projection but he is at a playable value price on a slate that is short on extremely cheap pitching options.
  • The Royals’ lineup seems like the stronger choice in the head-to-head against Wilson. Four hitters in the lineup are approaching the “magic number” for power between 8.27 and 10.61, with Bobby Witt Jr. leading the way at 10.61 in the home run model. Witt is the team’s star, he is likely to be popular in stacks but there are numerous Royals hitters who will be under-owned in this spot. Leadoff man Maikel Garcia is slashing .232/.280/.377 with an 82 WRC+ but he has four home runs and eight stolen bases with affordable counting stat upside at $3,100/$4,700. Garcia is a playable third base option on either site if he leads off but he is more likely suited for the five spot in a lineup in the long term. Witt has four homers and 11 stolen bases with a WRC+ mark that sits 56% better than average while slashing .319/.375/.551, he is well worth the $4,100/$6,200 at shortstop. Vinnie Pasquantino has a $2,800/$4,500 salary at first base, he has created runs nine percent better than average over 135 chances at the plate while slashing .230/.333/.407 early in 2024. Pasquantino has a microscopic 9.6% strikeout rate with a 14.1% walk rate and a 46.6% hard-hit rate, all of his numbers are too low for the frequency and quality of his contact at the plate, he is cheap for a player whose needle is pointing firmly upward early in the season and he has a terrific spot in the everyday lineup between Witt and Salvador Perez. The veteran backstop is today’s overall home run pick with a 9.83 in our home run model, he has hit eight already this season and has a .238 ISO with a 164 WRC+, a 17.3% barrel rate, and a 51.0% hard-hit rate. Perez is a dynamite option at catcher and his price is only $3,500/$5,200, which does not reflect the hot start or respect what this hitter has done in the past, he should be more expensive on both sites by now. Michael Massey makes solid contact from the left side when things are going well, he has created runs 18% better than average over 49 plate appearances this season and he has two home runs for a cheap price at second base. Nelson Velazquez has dipped to .215/.284/.344 with a 78 WRC+ and just two home runs, MJ Melendez is down to .186/.252/.363 with a 69 WRC+ and four home runs, and Hunter Renfroe is slashing just .157/.227/.292 with three home runs and a 46 WRC+, as these three hitters go so goes the Royals stack on many nights. Kyle Isbel is cheap at the bottom of the lineup, he has three homers and three steals in 104 chances but has been 31% worse than average for run creation.

Play: Cole Ragans, Royals bats/stacks, a few hedge/contrarian Brewers are just OK, Bryse Wilson low-faith bargain bin shares

New York Mets (+106/3.94) @ St. Louis Cardinals (-115/4.15)

  • St. Louis righty Kyle Gibson has yielded just one earned run in each of his three most recent starts and has worked at least 6.0 innings in every start this season. Over six outings, Gibson has four quality starts with a strikeout high of nine that came against Detroit over 7.0 innings of four-hit ball his last time out. Gibson has worked 38.0 innings with a 3.79 ERA and 4.28 xFIP while striking out 19.1% and walking too many at 9.2%. The veteran has allowed an 11.1% barrel rate and 41.7% hard hits with a 3.95% home run rate, allowing six long balls on the season. Four of those came over Gibson’s first two games this year, he seems to have rounded into form over the more recent starts but the strikeout ceiling will typically be limited to what the opponent will allow. The opposing Mets have a collective 20.2% strikeout rate for the projected batting order, giving Gibson a bit of a believable ceiling on the right night at $8,800/$7,300, though he is most valuable on DraftKings at the cheap SP2 price. Gibson will likely draw shares in that role, he should be far less popular at the FanDuel price and, considering the quality start upside, he is not off the board on the blue site.
  • The Mets have just a 3.94-run implied total as underdogs on the road, they have been up and down throughout this season. Brandon Nimmo is slashing just .221/.375/.369, his on-base percentage is at his typically terrific levels and he has created runs 27% better than average over 152 chances but has been more of a correlated scoring play than an individual producer with three home runs and two stolen bases. Starling Marte is slashing .274/.321/.403 with a 112 WRC+, four home runs, and seven stolen bases in a hot start to his season. Francisco Lindor has six homers and four stolen bases with a 97 WRC+ but things have been otherwise weak at the plate for the veteran shortstop. Lindor is slashing just .207/.280/.393 early but still has 30/30 upside and is not far off given a 43.8% hard-hit rate and just a 16.0% strikeout rate, he will not continue to scuffle much longer. Pete Alonso and JD Martinez offer major power from the heart of the lineup, Alonso has ripped eight home runs with a .214 ISO in 149 plate appearances and Martinez has just gotten his season underway but comes very cheap for a proven power bat that blasted 33 homers last year. Jeff McNeil is a contact hitter who has not been solid at the dish this year, Tyrone Taylor has underappreciated power with some speed, he has hit two home runs and stolen three bases while creating runs 13% better than average, and Brett Baty is also 13.0% better than average for run creation with three home runs and a .269/.339/.375 triple-slash. Omar Narvaez is a mix-and-match catcher at best.
  • Southpaw Sean Manaea is a better option at $7,800 on DraftKings where his lack of depth is not as critical, for $7,500 on FanDuel he comes at a fair price but lacks the upside for a quality start bonus. Manaea has worked 6.0 innings just once this season, in his first outing of the year, and he has a long history of short outings or bulk relief work over the past few seasons. The lefty has a 23.4% strikeout rate with a 3.07 ERA and 4.77 xFIP over 29.1 innings in six starts this year, his 12.2% swinging-strike rate is appealing but he has just a 25.0% CSW and an 86.05 Stuff+ rating for his full arsenal. Manaea has limited power and premium contact, his 7.7% barrel rate is within reason but he has allowed a bit of hard-hit and exit velocity while limiting opponents to just one home run this year. The veteran is in play on either site but his true ceiling is a bit limited by comparison to other higher-priced starters, which could close the value gap in a hurry.
  • Despite a lineup loaded with name brands, St. Louis has been second-worst in baseball with just 118 runs scored in their 34 games. Only the White Sox have been worse, they have scored just 100 runs in the same number of games but are tied with St. Louis at the bottom of the league with just 23 home runs. The Cardinals have been extremely gettable this season, giving Manaea a bit of additional appeal in the matchup, but the team still has hitters who could break out at any moment. Brendan Donovan is projected to hit in the leadoff role despite the lefty-lefty matchup, he has three home runs but an 89 WRC+ over 149 chances this year. Willson Contreras is slashing .275/.398/.539 with six home runs and a pair of stolen bases while creating runs 68% better than average, he has been the team’s best bat this year and he has a high-end spot in the lineup for a catcher. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado have been key parts of the problems at the plate for St. Louis early this year, the first baseman has a 73 WRC+ with two home runs and a .208/.298/.280 triple-slash while Arenado has hit just two home runs but has created runs 18% better than average and seems to be catching on over the past few days. Arenado is up to .287/.352/.395 but his premium contact has disappeared with just 1.9% barrels and a 28.7% hard-hit rate in the small sample. Dylan Carlson returned to the lineup over the weekend, he is an interesting mixer in the middle of the lineup for $2,500/$2,400 if he plays tonight. Ivan Herrera has three home runs but a 76 WRC+, Masyn Winn has been productive at shortstop with five stolen bases but his WRC+ mark has dipped to just 99, and Jose Fermin is a mix-and-match talent late in the lineup. Lars Nootbaar is interesting as a wraparound option if he is relegated to the ninth spot against a same-handed pitcher. Nootbaar has power and speed and, if the Cardinals can chase Manaea early, should see a few plate appearances against righties out of the bullpen at a fair price.

Play: Kyle Gibson or Sean Manaea value on DraftKings, lighter investment on FanDuel, either stack as a mid-level mixer is fine but not high-priority

Texas Rangers (-131/4.03) @ Oakland Athletics (+121/3.55)

  • The talented Rangers lineup is drawing a 4.03-run implied total in a matchup against veteran southpaw Alex Wood, who has a 6.32 ERA and 5.10 xFIP with a limited 19.0% strikeout rate and far too many walks at 11.1% over 31.1 innings in seven outings. Wood has given up 48.0% hard hits with 92.1 mph of exit velocity on batted-ball events this season, he has not been at all good and Stuff+ has him well below average at 74.67. The Rangers implied runs total seems a bit low for this matchup, Wood costs $6,800/$5,500 but he is very low probability even as a bargain bin option.
  • The greatly preferred Texas side of this matchup features underperforming Marcus Semien, who still sits seven percent better than league average for run creation over 159 plate appearances despite slashing just .257/.308/.426 with five home runs and a .169 WRC+. Semien and double play partner Corey Seager are cut down for price at $3,900/$5,500 for Semien and $3,600/$5,400 for Seager. The shortstop is slashing a mere .228/.303/.291 with two home runs while creating runs 31% worse than average to start this season but remains a superstar talent at the plate. Nathaniel Lowe has not received a price adjustment after 60 plate appearances, greatly benefitting anyone stacking this team. Lowe is a tremendous bat who provides solid contact skills and solid power from the left side of the plate, he is a correlated scoring machine with individual upside and he is off to a great start this season. Over 60 plate appearances, the first baseman is slashing .327/.417/.442 with a home run and a stolen base and has created runs 50% better than average in the small sample. Adolis Garcia has a 6.86 in the home run model, he has blasted eight dingers this season and has created runs 41% better than average with a .246 ISO and a 13.8% barrel rate. Garcia is a superstar outfielder with power and speed, he is easily worth the asking price on either site as the team’s most expensive bat. Jonah Heim has four home runs and a 111 WRC+ as an affordable mid-lineup catcher, Josh H. Smith has created runs 52% better than average while drawing walks and limiting strikeouts as a cheap fill-in, and Ezequiel Duran provides quality for $2,300 at four FanDuel positions and $2,700 at either corner infield spot on DraftKings. Duran has made just 56 plate appearances this year, in 439 last season he hit 14 home runs, stole eight bases, and created runs seven percent better than average. Evan Carter is cheap for his ceiling at $3,400/$4,500, the outfielder has five home runs and two steals with a 117 WRC+ despite a dip in quality in his triple slash early this season, and Leody Taveras went 14/14 for homers and steals last year but has struggled so far this season with one home run and two stolen bags.
  • Rangers southpaw Andrew Heaney has a 20.8% strikeout rate with a 5.10 ERA and 4.67 xFIP over 30.0 innings and six starts. Heaney has allowed his typical amount of power, opposing hitters have managed a 9.2% barrel rate with 46.0% hard hits on a 20.6-degree average launch angle and 91.5 mph of exit velocity in a small sample of batted ball events. Heaney has been targetable for power over several seasons, he gave up a 3.59% home run rate last year and a 4.52% mark last season while sitting at a double-digit mark for opposing barrels each year. The lefty allowed two home runs in each of two consecutive starts before a strong outing against the Nationals in his most recent appearance. The veteran lefty does have the ability to spike big games from time to time and he can always chase a healthy strikeout total, particularly against a team of this nature. Heaney struck out just four while allowing one earned run on four hits over 7.0 against the Nationals in his longest outing of the year last week, he struck out seven of the free-swinging Mariners over 6.0 in the start prior but allowed two home runs and four earned on five hits. Heaney is a low-faith value option at $7,700 on FanDuel, his $6,600 bargain bin price must be considered on the DraftKings slate where he is likely to be popular. When rostering shares of Heaney it certainly makes sense to also include shares of Athletics stacks as a hedge in other lineups.
  • Oakland is not a strong team, the projected batting order has a 23.5% strikeout rate so far this season and only the top four hitters have been above-average for run creation. Still, against a highly gettable starter like Heaney, there is a clear ceiling for some of the team’s more interesting hitters. Esteury Ruiz was productive for power at AAA in his brief stint there early in the season, he has a pair of MLB home runs and a .238 ISO with four stolen bases and a 144 WRC+ over 50 chances atop the lineup in the Show. Tyler Nevin has a 138 WRC+ and has regularly been hitting second, his .289/.363/.444 triple-slash stands out on this team and he has four home runs with an 8.6% barrel rate and 42.9% hard hits. Abraham Toro has hit three home runs and stolen a base while creating runs 21% better than average over 114 chances, he is very cheap at $2,700 with eligibility at first, second, or third base on FanDuel and at $3,500 at either first or second base across town. Toro and Nevin both offer cheap positional flexibility, which enhances the value of this cheap stack in a good matchup for bats. Nevin fits in at first or third base and the outfield on FanDuel for $2,700 and he is a third baseman or outfielder for $3,100 on DraftKings. Brent Rooker costs $3,300/$4,000 in the outfield, the slugger is not a good hitter overall but he has boosted his walk rate early in 2024, helping push his on base percentage to .348 and he has collected a few hits in addition to home runs. Strikeouts will always be an issue for Rooker, but if he manages fewer whiffs he will cut down on failure and could find additional upside in the long term, this remains to be seen. The slugger should be viewed as a home run or bust play with a significant ceiling, he has a 19.6% barrel rate and 50.0% hard hits with eight home runs and a monster .359 ISO over 89 chances this season. J.D. Davis has a strong track record against lefties, he hits for power in the split and is typically reliable for excellent premium contact, regardless of the results. Davis has made 62 plate appearances, he has a pair of home runs and a .155 ISO with a sturdy 9.5% barrel rate and 47.6% hard hits. Shea Langeliers has a 19.0% barrel rate and 41.8% hard hits, he has seven homers with a .255 ISO but is slashing just .186/.246/.441 while creating runs eight percent worse than average on the whole. Max Schuemann has made 33 plate appearances, he has a homer and a stolen base, Darell Hernaiz has a 41 WRC+ over 70 chances, and Brett Harris rounds things off with a pair of home runs in his first 13 plate appearances of the year.

Play: Rangers bats/stacks, Andrew Heaney value shares with a significant hedge of Athletics bats/stacks which also make for good value stacks without a Heaney investment on the other side

Miami Marlins (+264/3.14) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-298/5.49)

  • Righty Walker Buehler returns to the mound after a two-year injury absence. Buehler made six rehab starts in the minors this season, working mostly at AAA. Over 19.2 innings and five outings, the righty has a 4.12 ERA with a 5.05 xFIP and a 23.9% strikeout rate. Buehler is a former top-end starter, he has a 27.0% strikeout rate with a 6.0% walk rate and a 3.02 ERA with a 3.64 xFIP, 3.80 FIP, and 3.60 SIERA over 106 starts in his career. The righty should be stretched out, he worked 6.0 innings in his most recent AAA start but the higher stress point and MLB-caliber opposition could limit him to around 5.0 tonight, which is a factor in his cheap $8,300/$9,300 price tag against a low-end Marlins team that got worse over the last few days. Buehler has appeal at the price, if he works 6.0 innings he is likely to exceed a conservative projection in our model.
  • Miami is now without leadoff man Luis Arraez, the team is projected to have Jazz Chisholm Jr. in that role tonight. Chisholm is the Marlins’ star, he has four home runs and seven stolen bases but a weak .234/.319/.383 triple-slash and just a 101 WRC+, he also strikes out at an aggressive clip and could get Buehler off to a good start. Bryan De La Cruz has six homers and a team-leading 115 WRC+ over 156 opportunities, the outfielder is cheap in a tough matchup against a good starter at $3,200/$3,800 tonight. Josh Bell and Jesus Sanchez both have cheap power but neither has been good this season. Bell is stuck at just 79 WRC+ with four home runs and a sub-Mendoza front of his triple-slash at .197/.293/.311. Sanchez has hit two home runs and stolen five bases but his ISO is a disappointing .080 despite 9.0% barrels and 49.3% hard hits. Tim Anderson is continuing his putrid stretch from last season, he is barely playable even at cheap prices at shortstop. Nick Gordon has four home runs but a 76 WRC+ and a lousy triple-slash, Vidal Brujan is cheap with a bit of small-sample production in the infield, while Emmanuel Rivera and Nick Fortes are weak options from the bottom of a bad lineup against a good pitcher.
  • Roddery Munoz surprised in his first two outings, posting seven strikeouts in each start. Munoz faced the Cubs at Wrigley Field and allowed two earned runs on two solo homers but struck out seven while walking just one and allowing no other hits. In a 6.0 inning start against the Rockies last week, the righty struck out another seven hitters while walking two and allowing just one earned run on three hits. Munoz has a 92.39 Stuff+ rating for his full arsenal in the small sample but he has made things work effectively with an 11.9% swinging-strike rate and 28.9% CSW. The righty is not an overly highly-regarded prospect on the mound, in 10 AAA starts last season he had a 6.98 ERA and 5.51 xFIP over 38.2 innings with a 22.7% strikeout rate and a 14.9% walk rate. Munoz bounced from the Braves to the Nationals and was briefly also with the Pirates in the past 12 months before joining Miami, if he had much quality one of those organizations would probably have attempted to hold onto him. Against a loaded Dodgers lineup this simply seems like a skippable spot for DFS.
  • Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani are both above the “magic number” for home run potential tonight at 10.72 and 12.45 respectively. Betts has six home runs and eight stolen bases while slashing .352/.459/.577 with a .225 ISO while creating runs 98% better than average over 170 chances this season. Ohtani has hit 10 home runs while slashing .364/.426/.685(!) with a .322 ISO while creating runs 112% better than average. First baseman Freddie Freeman has been disappointing, but only by comparison to the two fellow superstars above him. Freeman has created runs 45% better than average while slashing .293/.411/.429 with two homers and a stolen base to start the season, his price has dipped all the way to $3,300/$5,800. Will Smith is a tremendous catcher who is slashing .347/.396/.534 with a .186 ISO and four home runs while creating runs 61% better than average in 134 plate appearances. Max Muncy has an 8.78 in the home run model, Smith is at 8.00, and sixth hitter Teoscar Hernandez has an 8.29, they are a tremendous and affordable three-man group in the heart of the projected Dodgers batting order. Muncy and Hernandez both have eight home runs this season, Muncy has a .290 ISO and 157 WRC+ and Hernandez checks in at .216 with a 127. Andy Pages has been as good as advertised over his first 74 chances, slashing .319/.338/.565 with a .246 ISO and four home runs while creating runs 54% better than average, it seems unfair to give the Dodgers such a good bat late in the lineup. James Outman and Gavin Lux are too talented to continue underperforming to the level they have so far, Outman has a 64 WRC+ over 97 chances and Lux is at 39 in 89 tries. Both players are on the board to help pay for a full Dodgers stack, they both offer cheap left-handed power and speed and are playable as wraparound values.

Play: Dodgers bats/stacks, Walker Buehler

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