MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Slate Notes – Wednesday Main Slate 5/1/24

The first day of May brings a split afternoon/evening slate for MLB DFS action, our focus will be on the evening main slate that begins at 6:35 ET on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The slate features a strong mix for only seven games, several talented pitchers are taking the mound, and a few remaining arms are easily targeted with stacks on the opposing side. While only the Rangers are above a 5.0-run implied total, the Orioles, Marlins, Astros, and Dodgers all carry weighty totals between 4.73 and 4.91 implied runs. Meanwhile, typically powerhouse teams including the Yankees, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks, as well as the station-to-station Guardians are all limited somewhat by talented opponents on the mound. The Yankees, most notably, carry just a 3.87-run implied total into action against Corbin Burnes and the Guardians are at just a 3.76 in a matchup against veteran ace Justin Verlander. Getting to the right mix of bats, including stacks of the top overall teams on the board as well as identifying a high-end squad or even a one-off that succeeds at lower ownership against good pitching is always a strong path to competing in the top 1% of GPP play, this slate is aligns well for that approach.

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 – 5/1/24

New York Yankees (+138/3.78) @ Baltimore Orioles (-151/4.73)

  • Baltimore ace Corbin Burnes has been sharp to start the season, delivering a 2.55 ERA with a 3.36 xFIP and a 25.6% strikeout rate. Burnes has walked just 5.8% of opposing hitters while inducing an 11.3% swinging-strike rate and generating an excellent 117.28 rating in Stuff+ models for his full arsenal. Burnes remains an elite option on most slates, his $10,600/$9,400 price tag makes him one of the more expensive options on the slate but the DraftKings price is a bit of a discount for his talent. The opposition is stiff, but Burnes has the Yankees’ stout bats relegated to just a 3.78-run implied total, he projects near the top of the board on both sites tonight.
  • New York bats are always going to be in play, tonight they could be low-owned in addition to being low-cost for the players involved, given a bit of a matchup discount. Only Juan Soto and Aaron Judge are expensive on either site, and they are both well worth the $4,300/$6,300 and $4,100/$6,000 asking prices. Soto is slashing .325/.438/.581 with a .256 ISO, eight home runs, and a 191 WRC+ over his first 144 plate appearances as a Yankee. Judge has pulled himself out of a rough start over the past week, he is now slashing .207/.340/.414 with a .207 ISO and six home runs while creating runs 18% better than average. Everyone else in the Yankees lineup is below $4,700 on DraftKings and $3,200 on FanDuel. Anthony Volpe represents both of those high points for salary in the leadoff role, the shortstop is a worthwhile option when stacking Yankees at reduced popularity, he has three home runs, seven stolen bases, and has created runs 24% better than average over 136 plate appearances, though some of his bad habits from last year have crept back into the picture in spots. Giancarlo Stanton has a 7.05 in the home run model with six on the board over 108 plate appearances this year. The sluggers costs $3,100/$4,600 across sites, he has also created runs 18% better than average in a good start to the season and he continues to have one of the highest “any given slate” ceilings, given his raw power at the plate. Anthony Rizzo is back up to .258/.321/.417 with five home runs and a 115 WRC+ after a concerning dip through mid-April. Rizzo looks locked in for $3,200/$4,000 at first base. Gleyber Torres is scuffling at just .220/.295/.254 with a 66 WRC+, he has been the weak point among everyday Yankees but it is still early and Torres is a tremendous hitter for a very cheap price at second base when things are going right. Oswaldo Cabrera has a 93 WRC+ and his triple-slash and overall production have begun to normalize, he is not the hitter who was on fire through the early part of April but he is cheap at the bottom of the lineup. Jose Trevino and Trent Grisham round out the lineup as playable parts in a bad spot against one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Yankees are playable in the sense that they are a very good lineup facing a pitcher who will probably but their ownership in check, if they get to Burnes they will be high-scoring at reduced popularity, but that is a big “if”.
  • Yankees starter Luis Gil has excellent strikeout stuff which carries him to a fairly strong projection at a value price, even against a tough Orioles lineup. Gil has not been pitching deep into ballgames, the ability to reach a quality start bonus on FanDuel is shaky in this case but the righty comes with a terrific 32.4% strikeout rate over his first five outings and 24.2 innings. Gil walks far too many hitters, his 17.6% walk rate is entirely unsustainable even with the strikeout numbers but a bit of that comes from a terrible seven-walk performance against the Blue Jays in the small sample. Gil struck out six and walked just two but allowed a pair of homers and five earned runs on six hits over 5.0 in his most recent start at Milwaukee. The righty will be up and down throughout the season but there is appeal in his strikeout potential for just $7,800 on either site. Gil has also been good at checking power so far, with just a 26.4% hard-hit rate, 88.2 mph of exit velocity on average, and a 5.7% barrel rate amounting to just a 1.85% home run rate. His ERA sits at 4.01 with a very similar 4.15 xFIP, he is a talented pitcher with some issues. Gil’s biggest challenge will be depth, he has pitched in the sixth inning only once, a 5.2-inning gem against the Rays in which he struck out nine while walking three and allowing an unearned run on two hits.
  • The Orioles will be looking to put the ball in play while limiting Gil’s strikeout potential, the projected Baltimore lineup has a collective current-year strikeout rate of just 19.7%. Baltimore opens with star shortstop Gunnar Henderson who has 10 home runs with a .333 ISO and a 175 WRC+ over his first 132 plate appearances. Henderson is slashing .291/.356/.624 with six stolen bases to boot, he is a full-fledged star and is priced like it at $4,500/$6,100. Adley Rutschman is one of baseball’s best catchers for DFS, he hits second in the everyday Baltimore lineup and he is a tremendous hitter, not just “for his position”. Rutschman is slashing .322/.362/.449 with four home runs while creating runs 36% better than average and striking out at just a 16.5% clip. Ryan O’Hearn has a ridiculous 9.3% strikeout rate with a 10.7% walk rate, the left-handed hitter is a prime candidate to ruin Gil’s evening. O’Hearn has four home runs with a .254 ISO and has created runs 66% better than average over 75 opportunities this season, he costs just $2,900/$4,400 because no one is paying attention. Anthony Santander is a major source of power when things are going well, he has four home runs and a sturdy .213 ISO but a low-end triple-slash over 121 plate appearances. Ryan Mountcastle also has four home runs, the first baseman is slashing .293/.351/.485 and creating runs 40% ahead of the curve. Only Cedric Mullins and Ramon Urias in the ninth spot have been below average for run creation to this point, Mullins is projected to hit sixth, he has a 99 WRC+ over 107 chances at the plate but his production for DFS has been strong. The former 30/30 star has six home runs and six stolen bases early in the season and his .208 ISO and 40.8% hard-hit rate are encouraging marks for continued production. Jordan Westburg has five home runs, four steals, a .222 ISO and a 154 WRC+ while Colton Cowser checks in with six home runs, three stolen bases, a .329 ISO and a WRC+ mark that sits 83% better than average over his first 86 plate appearances in the Show. Urias rounds out the lineup with a 28 WRC+ and a bit of sneaky power potential at cheap pricing but he is their least appealing bat by far.

Play: Corbin Burnes, Orioles bats/stacks, Luis Gil value shares, contrarian Yankees bats

Colorado Rockies (+128/4.19) @ Miami Marlins (-139/4.91)

  • Righty Roddery Munoz will be on the mound for Miami for $5,500 on FanDuel and $6,500 on DraftKings. Munoz is making his second start of the season, he worked five innings against the Cubs on the 20th, striking out seven while walking one, allowing two earned runs on just a pair of solo home runs, and facing 18 hitters over 5.0 innings. Munoz made three starts and four appearances at AAA this season, working 15.2 innings with an 8.62 ERA and an 8.41 xFIP with a highly limited 11.7% strikeout rate and an 18.2% walk rate. He worked around a 22% strikeout rate with a 15% walk rate over a larger sample in AAA in 2023. Despite the surprisingly solid start against Chicago, Munoz looks like a weak option even against a weak Rockies team. He is at best a value dart.
  • The Rockies could be in play for value hitting against a pitcher who has not seen much success in the minors. Colorado is a bad baseball team but they are pulling a 4.19-run implied total and they have a few interesting bats off to good starts. The Rockies will likely be the lower-owned of these two bad teams, the Marlins will draw popularity at a high run total against a similarly bad starter. Ezequiel Tovar has three home runs, two stolen bases, and a strong triple-slash to start the season, he has created runs two percent below average but the counting stats and the spot in the lineup are good for DFS. Brenton Doyle is slashing .311/.355/.485 with three home runs and four stolen bases. Doyle was moderately productive for counting stats from the bottom of the lineup last year and has put things together early in 2024, he is a compelling option when stacking the Rockies for just $3,200/$4,200 if he is hitting second. Ryan McMahon has four home runs and a .321/.397/.495 triple-slash in 127 plate appearances, he has a team-leading 136 WRC+ in an excellent start to the season. Elias Diaz is three percent below average for run creation but he is a cheap catcher with a good bat against a bad pitcher in the heart of a lineup, making him an interesting DFS fit. Diaz is slashing .293/.350/.402 with two home runs and an 18.4% strikeout rate, he costs just $4,200 on DraftKings and can stack as a pretend first baseman on FanDuel. Charlie Blackmon is more contact-oriented at this stage of his career and he has not done that well over his first 95 plate appearances this year, Elehuris Montero leads the team with a 7.50 in the home run model, he has two on the season in 95 plate appearances and has not put bat on ball well so far, and the lineup concludes with weak options in Brendan Rodgers and Jake Cave. Rookie call-up Jordan Beck is projected to hit ninth, he is currently unavailable on both sites.
  • Dakota Hudson is not worthy of your consideration for DFS shares. Hudson has a 6.57 ERA with a 5.08 xFIP, a 13.8% strikeout rate, and a 12.9% walk rate and he is pushing the mediocre Marlins up to a 4.91-run implied total. Hudson costs $6,900/$5,300, there are almost certainly better value options on the board. The righty struck out four while walking four and allowing six earned runs on six hits in just 3.1 innings against the Padres in his last outing, he managed just 4.0 with one strikeout and five walks against the free-swinging impatient Mariners in the previous start. Hudson did work 6.0 innings twice with another start that lasted 5.1 innings, he allowed five earned runs in one of the six-inning starts and three in the other, and his strikeout high for the season is five. This is not a good pitcher, even against a bad team for contrarian reasons this does not seem like a sharp option, a successful day for Hudson means 6.0 innings with four or five runs allowed and four to five strikeouts, those are not likely to be slate-winning numbers even at the price.
  • The Marlins will be popular for a good reason, they are facing a terrible pitcher and are very affordable. That does not necessarily push the team to the top of the board however, something must be said for avoiding or undercutting public ownership of bad teams when they become popular plays. Luis Arraez is up to .299/.350/.370 with a 107 WRC+, the excellent singles hitter should deliver strong on-base and run creation marks throughout the season but he needs help from his friends to provide true DFS value. Bryan De La Cruz has five home runs, a stolen base, a 105 WRC+, and a strong premium contact profile with 11.8% barrels and 43% hard hits in a small sample of batted ball events. Jazz Chisholm Jr. is the team’s best player and costs just $3,300/$5,300 tonight. Chisholm has four home runs and five stolen bases with a 106 WRC+ but his .239/.331/.394 triple-slash needs work. The outfielder has a terrific 14.7% barrel rate to support the power output, despite a .156 ISO result. Josh Bell and Jesus Sanchez have solid power in the heart of the lineup but neither is an overly reliable hitter. Bell is slashing .181/.269/.284 with a 62 WRC+ while Sanchez sits 29% worse than average for run creation with a .229/.280/.314 triple-slash. Emmanuel Rivera has a 56 WRC+ over 67 chances at the plate, Nick Gordon has hit three cheap home runs but sits below the Mendoza line and 50% worse than average for run creation over 72 plate appearances, Vidal Brujan has a 99 WRC+ but zero home runs or stolen bases in 44 chances, and Nick Fortes is slashing .125/.169/.161 with a -6 WRC+ 60 plate appearances into his campaign.

Play: Discounted bats on either side are OK but these are bad teams comprised of mostly mediocre to bad players, the Marlins will be more popular between the two.

Chicago Cubs (-122/3.96) @ New York Mets (+113/3.62)

  • Mets starter Jose Butto has a 2.86 ERA but a 4.17 xFIP that is probably the more honest number over four starts and 22.0 innings this season. Butto allowed just three earned runs over his first three starts, facing the Tigers, Royals, and Dodgers before he coughed up four earned runs on four hits including two home runs to the middling Cardinals in his last outing. The righty has an arsenal that is not highly regarded by Stuff+ metrics but he has managed to induce a 12.4% swinging-strike rate with a 27.8% strikeout rate while also walking 13.3%. Butto has allowed some premium contact as well, his average exit velocity against sits at exactly 90.0 mph and he has given up a 50.0% hard-hit rate on a flyball trajectory, he has been lucky to allow just a 2.22% home run rate (only the two long balls against St. Louis). Butto is inexpensive at $8,200/$8,100 but the Cubs are a talented team with good on-base skills in addition to a bit of power, this is not an easy matchup. Butto qualifies as playable with a mid-level projection but he is not a high-priority starter and there are better value options, leaving him stranded somewhat in the middle.
  • Cubs bats are playable against this pitcher. Butto’s production seems somewhat fortunate so far, this is a team that can exploit both his high walk rate and the significant amount of quality contact the starter is yielding. Nico Hoerner gets on base with fair regularity, he is slashing .261/.336/.342 with just a 98 WRC+ and one stolen base this year but went .283/.346/.383 with 43 stolen bases and a 102 WRC+ last season. Mike Tauchman has been solid over 92 chances for Chicago, he is slashing .307/.435/.520 with a .213 ISO, three home runs, and a 174 WRC+, the ability to get on base so frequently has been terrific to start the season and the outfielder costs a mere $2,700/$3,500. Ian Happ is slashing just .216/.333/.314 with a .098 ISO and 93 WRC+, he has more power and more on-base acumen that he has shown this season. Christopher Morel is heating up at the plate, he has four home runs and two stolen bases after a slow start but that has his price at a manageable $3,200/$4,200. Morel leads the Cubs with a 9.29 in the home run model tonight. Michael Busch has a 5.89 in the home run model, he walloped six home runs in his first few days in the Show and is now sitting at .266/.333/.500 with a .234 ISO and 132 WRC+ over 108 plate appearances. Dansby Swanson has three home runs and three stolen bases with a track record of production in both categories, the shortstop is cheap for his talent ceiling at $3,100/$4,000 in this matchup. Matt Mervis has zero home runs in 21 chances, but he has very cheap power at first base for $2,100/$2,200. Mervis had a 13.8% barrel rate and 50% hard hits over 99 chances at the plate in a cup of coffee last season. The premium contact resulted in just three home runs and a near-total lack of production in the Show, but Mervis hit 22 long balls in 441 AAA plate appearances and the availability of raw power is clear. Miguel Amaya has a 73 WRC+ and is mostly an afterthought at catcher but Pete Crow-Armstrong is an interesting option for $2,500/$2,700. The high-end prospect has made 19 plate appearances, he has a .222 ISO and 117 WRC+ with a home run in the meaningless sample.
  • Shota Imanaga has been one of baseball’s best starters early in 2024. The lefty has made five outings, working 27.2 innings with a 0.98 ERA and a 3.22 xFIP to go with a microscopic 2.8% walk rate and a 25.9% strikeout rate. Imanaga has induced a 13.5% swinging-strike rate but his 25.7% CSW% could use work. The starter has also allowed a bit of premium contact with 90.6 mph of exit velocity on average and a 42.9% hard-hit rate but his 6.5% barrel rate allowed has been effective in the small sample and he has kept home runs in check at 1.85%, though both of those homers came in his last two starts. Imanaga worked 6.1 innings and faced 26 Red Sox in his last start, he gave up a home run and his third earned run of the season in that outing while striking out seven, walking just one, and allowing five total hits. The lefty’s first two earned runs against came the start before, a 6.0-inning affair against the Marlins in which he struck out five and yielded two earned runs on a home run and five hits. Imanaga worked 15.1 clean innings, giving up just nine hits while striking out 16 against the Rockies, Dodgers, and Mariners to start his MLB career, he is as good as advertised and worth the $10,300/$9,800 tonight. Imanaga is our most highly projected pitcher today.
  • The Mets have a collective 20.6% strikeout rate with some power in the lineup but they have not been great for sequencing or run creation this season. Francisco Lindor is projected to lead off, with Brandon Nimmo out of the lineup against a lefty. Lindor is slashing just .197/.280/.359 with an 88 WRC+ but has five home runs and four stolen bases with more than enough upside for more going forward. Starling Marte has hit four homers and stolen six bases in a nice return to form, the outfielder is a $3,300/$4,200 option in a bad matchup. Pete Alonso leads the Mets with a 12.47 in the home run model, he is a candidate to take advantage of some of the premium contact that has crept in around the edges for Imanaga. Alonso has launched eight homers and has a .243 ISO with 11.2% barrels over his first 127 plate appearances. JD Martinez checks in for $2,800/$4,300, which seems cheap for a player who hit 33 home runs just last season. Tyrone Taylor has a 6.23 in the home run model, he is a sneaky source of power production against left-handed pitching and would be a playable part for a low price at $2,700/$3,100 when stacking Mets, we prefer the Imanaga side of the coin. Taylor has a pair of homers with two stolen bases and a 106 WRC+ over 70 chances this year. Jeff McNeil is a correlated scoring option who relies on BABIP and help from his teammates most nights, Brett Baty has not been good early in 2024 with an 89 WRC+ and he was disappointing despite a good hard-hit rate last season, while Tomas Nido is a defense-first catcher to round out the lineup.

Play: Shota Imanaga, Cubs bats/stacks, a few contrarian Mets shares are fine, focus on righty power with Alonso-Martinez-Taylor, Marte and Lindor make fine additions from up top, Butto can succeed in this spot but he is not at a good price point on this slate

San Francisco Giants (+113/3.87) @ Boston Red Sox (-122/4.22)

  • Over 33.1 innings in six starts, Boston righty Kutter Crawford has been electric. The starter has a 1.35 ERA but a more honest 3.91 xFIP with a 24.6% strikeout rate, 11.4% swinging strikes, and he has limited premium contact to just 26.1% hard hits and 85.9 mph of exit velocity on average. Crawford has yet to allow a home run this season and he is drawing above-average marks via Stuff+ for the full arsenal of pitches. Crawford threw 129.1 innings over 23 starts last year, pitching to a 4.04 ERA with a 4.32 xFIP and a 25.6% strikeout rate, the performance this season is a nice step forward that is not entirely baseless. For $9,700 on FanDuel and particularly for $8,600 on DraftKings, the righty is a very interesting option against a Giants team that can provide hefty strikeout totals on the right night.
  • San Francisco’s projected lineup sits at a collective 22.7% strikeout rate so far this season, the same group of hitters was at 24.4% for the full year in 2023. Jung Hoo Lee is helping bring down this season’s average, he was not in MLB last year but is currently sitting at 8.3% strikeouts with an 8.3% walk rate. Lee has two home runs and two stolen bases and has gotten on at a .322 clip that could use improvement. His 95 WRC+ will climb if he reaches first base more frequently atop this lineup. LaMonte Wade Jr. is a good source of on-base skills with mid-range power, he has a .333/.450/.444 triple-slash with a 162 WRC+ over 80 chances this year and he got on at a .373 clip with a 122 WRC+ over 519 last year. Matt Chapman has a good contact profile with four home runs and three surprising stolen bases early this year, he is cheap at third base against a good pitcher. Michael Conforto has cooled slightly after a hot start but his .266/.304/.459 triple-slash, 118 WRC+, and five home runs are nice to see after 115 plate appearances. Patrick Bailey has a bit of power behind the plate for a cheap price but not nearly as much as Jorge Soler, who is scuffling a bit at the plate but does have five home runs and a 108 WRC+ after 121 opportunities. Thairo Estrada is a mid-range power and speed option with positional flexibility for a fair price on FanDuel, he is a cheap second baseman on DraftKings. Mike Yastrzemski and Nick Ahmed round out the projected batting order, Ahmed is an afterthought but Yastrzemski has some lefty pop for a cheap ticket.
  • Daulton Jeffries has the Red Sox looking like an interesting option in projections, despite just a 4.22-run implied team total on the Vegas board. Boston is inexpensive for the upside that several of the team’s hitters possess against a pitcher like this. Jeffries is a minor leaguer who has not done well in a few stops in the Show. Pitching in AAA at age 28 this season, the righty has a 3.44 ERA but a 5.30 xFIP with a 22.7% strikeout rate and a 6.7% walk rate over 18.1 innings in two starts and four total appearances. Jeffries was obliterated in an MLB start against the Padres on March 31st, he worked just 2.0 innings and allowed five earned runs and nine total runs on nine hits with two home runs allowed and just one strikeout. This pitcher is a target for Boston bats.
  • Jarren Duran brings a .268/.338/.386 triple-slash with one home run and nine stolen bases to the leadoff spot for $3,000/$4,700, an affordable start to stacking Red Sox hitters. Rafael Devers has three home runs with a .183 ISO while slashing .282/.407/.465 and creating runs 46% better than average over 86 plate appearances, the third baseman is completely fine but his price has dipped to just $3,200/$5,000, take advantage. Tyler O’Neill has been one of the best players in the game over the first 90 plate appearances of his season. The outfielder has created runs 107% better than average while blasting nine early homers on 20.8% barrels and a 45.3% hard-hit rate. O’Neill is a strong option for power at the plate against this pitcher, he has a 7.88 in the home run model for $3,400/$5,500 and that may be underrating his power. Wilyer Abreu is slashing .316/.391/.526 with a .211 ISO and 155 WRC+ over 87 plate appearances. The outfielder has a sturdy 44.6% hard-hit rate and is walking at an 11.5% clip to help offset a 24.1% strikeout rate. Abreu has been good for Boston this season and was productive in a cup of coffee last year, he is a playable option for just $3,200/$3,900, the DraftKings price is particularly cheap for a left-handed hitter against this pitcher. Connor Wong has been mashing to start the season. Over 71 plate appearances Wong has five home runs with a .239 ISO and 163 WRC+, he has gone from sneaky power to potentially regular power behind the plate but his price remains very low for the ceiling, Wong has always been good at finding barrels, the power output is not a big surprise but sustainability is still in question, it is still very early. Enmanuel ValdezRob Refsnyder, and Ceddanne Rafaela are mix-and-match parts from the bottom of the lineup while Bobby Dalbec should see a start at first base after Garrett Cooper was injured last night. Fate seems to be pushing Dalbec into the lineup for Boston whether they want him or not, the powerhouse righty hitter is highly inconsistent in MLB results but he has the ability to make tremendous premium contact while drawing walks as a prime “three true outcomes” hitter. Dalbec carries some pinch hit risk, but the bench has thinned for Boston and he has seen four plate appearances in each of his last two starts. He costs $2,100/$2,200 at first or third base with a 6.53 in the home run model tonight.

Play: Kutter Crawford, Red Sox bats/stacks

Washington Nationals (+165/3.88) @ Texas Rangers (-180/5.22)

  • Veteran lefty Andrew Heaney has a 21.6% strikeout rate with an 8.8% walk rate and an 11.2% swinging-strike rate over five starts and 23.0 innings and that is where the good news ends. The southpaw has allowed a 4.90% home run rate on 92.0 mph of exit velocity, a 45.6% hard-hit rate, and 11.8% barrels in the small sample, which is fairly in line with how bad he has been for both contact and home run power over the past few seasons. Heaney costs just $7,200/$6,000 against a Nationals team that has not been good against left-handed pitching so far this year. Washington was very good against lefties last year but they rank 19th with a collective 90 WRC+ while slashing .222/.301/.370 as a team against lefties. Heaney is not in a good spot, Washington’s projected lineup has a 16.5% strikeout rate for the season, but their lack of production against southpaws forces this into something of an analytical draw. No Nationals hitter is above 7.54 in the home run model against a starter who regularly pushes hitters above the “magic number.”
  • CJ Abrams has seven home runs and seven stolen bases with a terrific 171 WRC+ this season and he has been terrific against same-handed pitching with a .406/.441/.875 triple-slash and 261 WRC+ in 34 plate appearances. Abrams has hit three of his home runs against fellow lefties, a massive improvement from last year’s struggles in the split. Nick Senzel is slashing .250/.357/.833 with two home runs in 14 plate appearances against lefties and .214/.283/.595 with five home runs in 47 chances overall, he is a playable part in Nationals stacks and carries a 5.46 in the home run model. Jesse Winker has three home runs, three stolen bases, and a 132 WRC+ but he has been mostly lost in 42 chances against same-handed pitching this season. Joey Meneses has a WRC+ that sits 90% worse than average with a .129/.229/.161 triple-slash over a meaningless 35 plate appearances against southpaws this year. Illdemaro VargasTrey LipscombKeibert Ruiz, Alex Call, and Jacob Young are mix-and-match options going down the lineup. Vargas has been good over 57 plate appearances but he is a mid-level hitter at best, Lipscomb has a home run and five stolen bases in 81 chances but sits at 95 WRC+, Ruiz puts the ball in play with regularity but the results are mixed, Call is better against lefties but that results in just a 101 WRC+ for his career in the split, and Young provides speed as a capable wraparound play from the ninth spot.
  • Trevor Williams costs $7,300/$6,300 in a brutal matchup against the Rangers. Williams has Texas at the highest implied run total on the board with a 5.22 tonight, he looks far more like a target than an option on the mound. Over 26.2 innings in five starts the righty has worked to a 2.70 ERA but a 4.14 xFIP with a limited 18.8% strikeout rate on 7.9% swinging strikes and a 25.6% CSW. Williams is yet to allow a home run in 2024 despite yielding 41.9% hard hits on a 14.2-degree average launch angle. Last season the pitcher gave up a 5.16% home run rate on 10.2% barrels, 16 degrees of launch, 88.4 mph of exit velocity, and 38.2% hard hits, so he has gotten very lucky to limit power early in the season. That should change this evening. Williams does not project well and Texas is the top team in the model with three players above the “magic number” for home run power.
  • Marcus Semien is priced at $3,600/$5,300, which is too low for his quality, matchup, and spot in the batting order. Semien has a 117 WRC+ with five homers and a stolen base early in the season. Corey Seager has been scuffling over 119 plate appearances, he has two home runs and a .075 ISO with an 80 WRC+ in the tiny sample and his premium contact numbers are far off of last year’s terrific output. Seager is a superstar shortstop at a discount for $3,400/$5,500, he should be deservingly popular tonight for the cheap pricing. Seager is our home run pick of the day at 12.54 in the model, the second-highest on the entire slate. Semien sits at 10.68 in the home run model and cleanup hitter Adolis Garcia draws a 10.93. Between Seager and Garcia, one should expect to encounter inexpensive first baseman Nathaniel Lowe. Both sites seem to have forgotten what a good hitter Lowe is, he is far too cheap at $2,800/$3,900 and gamers should take advantage while it lasts. Lowe hit 17 home runs while slashing .262/.360/.414 and creating runs 14% better than average over 724 plate appearances last season and posted a terrific 2022 with a .302/.358/.492 triple-slash, 27 home runs, and a 143 WRC+. At the discounted price, this is not a hitter to skip frequently in stacks of Texas bats. Garciahaseighthomeruns, four stolen bases, a .292 ISO and a 159 WRC+, he is a star outfielder for $4,000 on FanDuel and only $5,400 on DraftKings. The entire top-four is underpriced on DraftKings tonight. Evan Carter has five home runs and a 118 WRC+ but a .220/.314/.462 triple-slash to start his season, the outfielder is cheap for the power potential and the hit tool should round into form, he is another cheap bat for the talent and matchup. Josh H. Smith has overperformed early in 2024, he has a .317/.417/.500 triple-slash with a 164 WRC+ over 96 plate appearances but we have enough track record to believe that he is not fully that hitter in truth. Smith has multi-position eligibility for fair prices on either site, he has not been pushed up for the strong start so he remains playable but we do not want to be there when he turns back into a pumpkin. Wyatt Langford is a prized rookie hitter off to a slow start, he has an 80 WRC+ but loads of talent. Jonah Heim has major power at the plate, he has a 6.52 from the eighth spot in the lineup in the home run model. Leody Taveras has been cold to start the season after a reasonably productive 14 homers and 14 steals last year.

Play: Rangers bats/stacks, some Nationals bats/stacks but they may be deceptively lower-end 

Cleveland Guardians (+152/3.76) @ Houston Astros (-166/4.84)

  • Veteran Justin Verlander has been solid over two starts, working 10.1 innings and pitching to a 1.74 ERA and 3.85 xFIP with a 26.8% strikeout rate. In real terms that amounts to 6.0 innings with four strikeouts and two earned runs on a home run and four hits against the Nationals and 4.1 shutout innings with seven strikeouts but four walks and three hits against the Cubs. Verlander’s stuff grades out significantly above average in early returns via Stuff+, he has always been elite but it would not be unfair to expect diminishment for the 41-year-old, instead he has simply looked like himself in the brief outings. Verlander should be expected to have a shot at six innings if things go well, but the Guardians are a difficult opponent that is terrific at limiting strikeouts and finding base hits to frustrate even the most talented pitchers. Cleveland’s projected lineup has a 19.9% strikeout rate to start the season and the same group was at just 18.4% last year. Verlander has a good-not-great projection for $10,000/$9,200, he is a much better buy on DraftKings.
  • Steven Kwan is a contact-based player who has a .350/.395/.483 triple-slash with three homers and three steals in a great start over 129 plate appearances. Andres Gimenez has a home run and four steals while slashing .280/.347/.374 with a 113 WRC+, the second baseman is inexpensive in a tough matchup against Verlander. Jose Ramirez is a star at third base, he has a 102 WRC+ with five homers and four steals in a bit of a slow start but he is a priority when stacking Guardians. Josh Naylor has seven home runs with a .272 ISO while creating runs 55% better than average in a tremendous start that has him priced up to $3,600/$5,000, which still seems cheap for the talent. Will Brennan is an affordable outfielder with a 47.6% hard-hit rate and three home runs early in the season but his WRC+ sits at just 81. Tyler Freeman was once a top prospect for Cleveland, he is getting an everyday chance in center field and has multi-position eligibility at second or third base for just $2,800 on FanDuel. Freeman has good bat-to ball skills with some speed and mid-range power, he has three home runs and three stolen bases in 96 chances but the bat has not arrived in the Show at just .205/.302/.361. Estevan Florial has three homers and a 137 WRC+ over 56 chances, Bo Naylor and Brayan Rocchio sit at 76 and 74 WRC+ marks but Naylor has cheap catcher power late in the lineup.
  • Triston McKenzie has a 4.91 ERA with a 6.11 xFIP, a 17.7% strikeout rate, and a 16.7% walk rate this season and has pitched in the sixth inning just once and the fifth inning twice in his five starts. McKenzie looked better in his two most recent outings, he struck out six Athletics while walking three and allowing a solo home run and three hits then struck out seven and walked two but allowed two earned runs on six hits and came out after just 4.0 innings. McKenzie is difficult to recommend against an elite (despite their win/loss record) Astros lineup but it is not difficult to see potential upside if he can find strikeout form and make it through five innings at $7,200 on DraftKings. This is not a strong endorsement but there is a bit of bargain bin quality in the option.
  • The far greater preference is for Astros hitters, the top of the lineup is underpriced for their quality. Jose Altuve has seven home runs, four stolen bases, and a 189 WRC+ in the leadoff spot, the second baseman is a true star who always belongs in stacks of Houston hitters. Alex Bregman had a good day at the plate that will hopefully spark a turnaround, he is slashing just .216/.283/.294 with a 69 WRC+ over 113 plate appearances. Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker are left-handed stars in the outfield. Alvarez has seven home runs with a .211 ISO and 129 WRC+ while Tucker has also rocked seven homers and adds five stolen bases with a .255 ISO and 176 WRC+ over his 132 chances. Jeremy Pena and Yainer Diaz are both off to strong starts, each player has hit three home runs and Pena adds four stolen bases. The shortstop costs just $3,000/$4,500 while Diaz is a prime catcher option at $2,900/$4,300. Joey Loperfido went 1-5 in his first game, the rookie call-up had 13 AAA home runs already this season, he is expected to produce immediately. Jon Singleton has not done much at the plate, the lefty has a home run but just a .109 ISO and Mauricio Dubon is a mix-and-match utility player.

Play: Astros bats/stacks, Justin Verlander, cheap Triston McKenzie darts, cheap Guardians bats if very low-owned as a contrarian angle.

Los Angeles Dodgers (-137/4.89) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (+126/4.21)

  • The buzz around the Diamondbacks is that Jordan Montgomery will get the ball tonight after bumping from last night’s start for fairly hilarious reasons. Montgomery is a good pitcher who is better on the field than for DFS purposes. He typically works deep into games and produces solid run numbers without getting beat badly very often but his strikeout output is limited in the low-20% range and he is in a brutal matchup against the very low strikeout Dodgers, making it more difficult to make up points via innings pitched. Montgomery could book a quality start while still not providing an exceptional DFS performance in this one, but he is also a good candidate to keep the elite Dodgers somewhat in check, Vegas has Los Angeles at a 4.89-run implied total. This is a spot in which either side could succeed but it might be the best approach to not roster either for the probability that both will hit simply mid-level output for DFS scoring.
  • Mookie BettsShohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman, of course, remain playable against anyone. The outrageous trio has a collective 181 WRC+ to start the season, they are all hitting above .300 with on-base percentages between .399 and .477, and they have power and speed on the bases. Will Smith is a premium catcher who hits cleanup on a daily basis, he offers a very low strikeout rate, regular premium contact, home run potential and a terrific triple-slash over the long-term. Smith has three homers with a .362/.403/.543 triple-slash and a 164 WRC+ he is every bit the star that the three players above him are. Teoscar Hernandez strikes out aggressively but hits for major power, he has six home runs on the season and is followed in the projected lineup by Max Muncy who has five dingers and a .222 ISO but will be facing a quality same-handed pitcher. Enrique Hernandez and Miguel Rojas are afterthoughts later in the lineup but Andy Pages is very interesting, the rookie has two home runs and a .220 ISO with a 135 WRC+ after his first 55 plate appearances in the show, his 47.6% hard-hit rate is in-line with expectations for power based on a solid minor league track record.
  • Yoshinobu Yamamot0 will face the talented Diamondbacks lineup, he has them in check at just 4.21 implied runs this evening. Yamamoto was one of the big investments for the Dodgers in the offseason, he has delivered a 3.54 ERA with a 2.65 xFIP and 31.9% strikeout rate over six starts and 28.0 innings and seems to have found his form on the MLB mound. Yamamoto’s production includes a rough first outing in which he lasted just 1.0 against the Padres in the Seoul Series, allowing five earned runs on four hits to nine batters. Since that start, the righty has allowed a total of six earned runs across five starts, with three performances in which he gave up no runs. Yamamoto is a prime option on the mound tonight but the Diamondbacks are not a pushover, the team has a 19.3% strikeout rate for the projected lineup, they will challenge the righty to be at his best for $9,000/$9,600 tonight.
  • Jake McCarthy was productive in 2022, less so in 2023, and is off to an OK start this season, he is expected to leadoff again in the reconfigured Arizona lineup. McCarthy has three stolen bases with a 99 WRC+ he is a correlated scoring play atop the lineup. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has five homers and two stolen bases while creating runs five percent better than average, he is a cheap option for his upside on the right night at $3,400/$5,000 but this is not a good matchup. Ketel Marte is a star second baseman in a bad spot, he has five homers, a .202 ISO, and a fantastic 52.4% hard-hit rate to start the season. Christian Walker is a powerhouse first baseman with seven home runs and a tremendous .284/.394/.496 triple-slash, a .212 ISO, and a 152 WRC+. Walker is the antithesis of an all-or-nothing power hitter, he is typically good at limiting strikeouts, drawing walks, and hitting for average while getting on base. The first baseman is underpriced at $3,400/$4,900, the DraftKings number is particularly low. Joc Pederson is off to a good start, Eugenio Suarez is not. Both players have projectable power but Pederson is the better hitter, while Suarez is the everyday player, they both come cheap with positional upside. Gabriel Moreno is a talented catcher at a cheap price late in the lineup, Corbin Carroll has been relegated to the eighth spot after a frigid start to the season, he has a 62 WRC+ with a .053 ISO and a .193/.292/.246 triple-slash. Blaze Alexander is an interesting option at a low price from anywhere in the lineup, he is slashing .311/.400/.541 with three home runs and a .230 ISO over his first 70 big league plate appearances. The Diamondbacks are likely to be a contrarian play with Yamamoto on the mound, they are not in a good spot but they are capable of beating the pitcher. Similar to the Yankees in the first game, there is some appeal in taking good teams when they land at lower-than-usual ownership, regardless of who is on the mound.

Play: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers bats/stacks, limited Diamondbacks contrarian stacks

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