MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Strategy – Monday Main Slate 4/1/24

And we are on to the second series of the baseball season leaguewide after a great stretch of games that began last Thursday. There is not much to be gleaned from such a small sample in baseball, which is why we wait to inject current season statistics into modeling until there is a larger sample size. The overall takeaway is that baseball is back and, potentially, better than ever with the abundance of stars around the league, high-quality rosters where they are typically expected, and several exciting up-and-coming squads that are on track to contend and dethrone some of the usual suspects, potentially as soon as this season. For MLB DFS gamers, the lesson is always that baseball is going to baseball and it is a game of swings and variance. Projections and analysis saw several strong highs and a few total misses over the past few days, which will be the case throughout the year. With most teams at the bottom of their rotations for today’s slate, there is a logjam of mediocrity on the pitcher board and several interesting hitting situations for premium squads.

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 Overview – 4/1/24

Detroit Tigers (+122/3.54) @ New York Mets (-132/4.04)

  • Left-handed starter Sean Manaea takes the hill for the Mets tonight. Manaea worked just 10 starts last year but threw 117.2 total innings with 27 appearances out of the San Francisco bullpen. The veteran managed a 4.44 ERA with a better-looking 4.01 xFIP and 3.83 SIERA in the hybrid role and he is back in a rotation role with the Mets. Manaea had a good 25.7% strikeout rate last season, he has always been able to find fantasy points from Ks. The lefty allowed a 2.81% home run rate with 8.7% barrels and an 89.4 mph average exit velocity against, only moderate success in limiting power and premium contact but the numbers were better across the board than they were in 2022. Manaea allowed a 4.32% home run rate with significant contact that season and worked to a 4.96 ERA but a 3.96 xFIP over 158.0 innings in 28 starts. The lefty projects as a good option on this slate, the improving Tigers are not a pushover but several of their key hitters are left-handed and Manaea has the strikeout upside to support a game in which a few runs are scored. For $7,400/$7,800 he is playable on both sites.
  • The Tigers have a bit of juice this year, between the emergence of right-handed slugging former first overall pick Spencer Torkelson and lefty counterpart Riley Greene, they have a foundation from which to build and several intriguing young prospects. For tonight’s game, the Tigers projected lineup leads off with Andy Ibanez, a cheap multi-positional righty who had a .312 on-base percentage overall and a .297 mark against lefties last season. Ibanez is an easily replaced option ahead of the Tigers’ quality, but he potentially limits correlated scoring opportunities for Torkelson and Greene if he is not getting on base, the team would do well to have veteran righty Mark Canha, projected to hit fourth, jump to the leadoff role. Canha got on base at a .355 clip overall last year and a .361 mark against southpaws. Torkelson is cheap for a player who hit 31 home runs at just $3,200/$5,000, Greene lands at $3.000/$4,600 in the third spot in the lineup. Greene slashed .279/.333/.360 and created runs seven percent worse than average against same-handed pitching last season, a notable dip from his .288/.349/.447 with a 119 WRC+ overall. Canha is a minor play from anywhere in the lineup, he has a bit of pop left in his bat and he is a correlation piece with the on-base skills. Matt Vierling did fairly well against lefties last season but is not a special option overall. Rookie Colt Keith is just finding his footing in the Show, he has one hit in his 13 plate appearances so far but is expected to mash once he gets going. Keith is a lefty however, this may not be the ideal spot to roster him. Jake Rogers hit 21 home runs in just 365 plate appearances, he is a decent source of cheap catcher power and our home run pick from this team at 7.05 in the model. Javier Baez is a former star who has been mostly disinterested for the past few seasons, he is 2-13 to open the 2024 campaign but still has raw skills on any given slate. Parker Meadows wraps things up as a high-upside left-handed hitter in a weak spot at the bottom of the batting order against a lefty.
  • Right-handed hurler Reese Olson quietly had a good campaign over 18 starts and 103.2 innings last year. The 24-year-old posted a 3.99 ERA and 3.91 xFIP with a 4.06 SIERA while striking out 24.4% of opposing hitters. Olson allowed a 3.32% home run rate, which is fine for a rookie, but his 10.5% barrel rate, 42.1% hard-hit rate, and 90.8 mph of exit velocity allowed could be problematic in a full sample in the new season; Olson will need to limit contact further to succeed in earnest. Olson had a solid run through his last six starts of the 2023 season, posting strong fantasy scores to close out the year on a high note, he has a chance to get started on the right foot against an average Mets lineup. For $8,700/$8,200, Olson is on the board with a strong projection on this slate on both sites.
  • The Mets are off to a typical Mets start, losing baseball games and fights and finding themselves unable to even retaliate with hit batsmen without screwing up. New York’s projected lineup features the usual configuration of hitters at the top, where the quality lies. Brandon Nimmo is an excellent left-handed leadoff hitter, he makes strong contact and can hit for power on his own and he gets on base to set the table for sluggers who follow. Nimmo had a 47.5% hard-hit rate with 24 home runs and a .363 on-base percentage while creating runs 30% better than average last year. He is followed by star sluggers Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso, who exited the 2023 campaign with a combined 77 home runs while both were 21% better than average for run creation. Light-hitting Jeff McNeil is an odd option for a traditional cleanup hitter, but if his batting average on balls in play holds up he is at least re-setting the table for the bottom of the lineup. McNeil is cheap for his spot in the lineup compared to other teams, but he does not bring the MLB DFS quality with power and scoring that the fourth spot typically implies. Starling Marte has mid-range power and excellent speed with something to prove in 2024, he is 3-12 with a home run over the first handful of games after a messy 2023 season. DJ Stewart is a lefty who could see action against Olson tonight, Stewart has a 7.05 in our home run model and could play as a sneaky pairing with the team stars for just $2,400/$3,100 in the outfield if he is in the final lineup. Francisco Alvarez ruined the day for discount dandy DL Hall over the weekend with his prodigious power, Alvarez blasted 25 homers last year but has a lot of growing to do as an overall hitter, some of which has been on display for the better early in 2024. Brett Baty is another prospect bat trying to finally land in the Show after a couple of false starts, he hit nine home runs and was 32% worse than average creating runs over 389 chances last year. Harrison Bader is something of an afterthought in the ninth spot, he has minor power and speed when healthy but is not a high-priority play.

Play: Reese Olson, Sean Manaea, minor shares of hedge stacks

Toronto Blue Jays (+126/4.21) @ Houston Astros (-137/4.89)

  • The Astros have right-handed Ronel Blanco on the mound with the Blue Jays carrying a 4.21-run implied total on the road. Blanco made seven starts and threw 52.0 innings last season, posting a 23% strikeout rate with a 4.50 ERA and 5.12 xFIP while allowing a 5.31% home run rate on an 11.8% barrel rate in the tiny sample, he is targetable with bats and does not look like a strong option for pitching points even at $6,500 on both sites.
  • The Blue Jays top-heavy lineup has several options for almost any slate. George Springer hit 21 home runs and stole 20 bases in a down season last year, he maintains strong upside for a 25-25 campaign or better from atop the lineup. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a rough 2023, hitting “only” 26 home runs and dropping to “just” 18% better than average for run creation, he is discounted slightly at $3,700/$5,500 for his talent. Bo Bichette has been banged up over the first few games, missing an outing over the weekend. Bichette slashed .306/.339/.475 while creating runs 25% better than average last year, the three-hitter is always in play for shortstop shares when he is in the lineup. Justin Turner has had a good start to his run with Toronto. The veteran hit-specialist has always had good power for about 22-25 home runs on top of his tremendous bat-to-ball skills. Turner is cheap at $2,800 with first and third base eligibility on the blue site but he remains positionally blocked against Guerrero for $4,500 at first base on DraftKings. Daulton Varsho is the last truly appealing candidate for shares in this lineup. The lefty dropped to 20 home runs and 16 stolen bases after a 27-16 campaign the season before in Arizona, he is a contender for power with a 7.03 in our home run model tonight and is the only good lefty bat in this lineup. Alejandro Kirk is a playable catcher in stacks of Blue Jays, Kevin Kiermaier, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Cavan Biggio are spare parts to close out a lineup, Biggio is probably the most appealing of the trio as a wraparound play.
  • The Blue Jays will counter Blanco with their own largely anonymous pitcher. Righty Bowden Francis threw 36.1 innings of relief last season, posting a 1.73 ERA but a much worse 4.17 xFIP with a 25.7% strikeout rate and 5.9% walk rate. Francis is making his first career start and he costs $6,800/$7,000 in a brutal spot against the excellent Astros lineup. This is not a good spot for MLB DFS pitching points on either side.
  • The Astros are flashing a bit of power in the home run model today, Jose Altuve lands at 8.53, he hit 17 homers and stole 14 bags in just 410 plate appearances last year and had a 28-18 campaign over 604 chances the year before. Altuve is a $3,800/$5,300 star at second base, he connects beautifully with superstar Yordan Alvarez, today’s overall home run pick at 13.10 in the model, and Kyle Tucker, who has a 9.84 for home run potential tonight. The two lefties are a dynamite combination in the batting order, Alvarez excels at every aspect of hitting and Tucker is not far behind, they are well worth the $4,200/$5,600 and $3,600/$5,500 salaries in this matchup. Alex Bregman hit 25 home runs and created runs 25% better than average last season and is playing for a new deal in 2024 as the odometer rolls over to age-30. Bregman is cheap for his talent and position in a killer lineup at just $3,300/$4,800 at third base. Chas McCormick hits everything hard, he had a good breakout last year with 22 home runs and 19 steals in 457 plate appearances after being a late lineup darling for DFS purposes. Yainer Diaz is a very good hitter for a catcher, had a 12.2% barrel rate with a 43.9% hard-hit rate and mashed 23 home runs in only 377 plate appearances last season. Jose Abreu dips to seventh in the projected batting order but could hit fifth in a swap with McCormick. Abreu had an abysmal 18-month stretch between the end of 2022 and the first two-thirds of 2023 but he righted the ship late in the season and finished with 18 home runs and a strong playoff push. The veteran first baseman is 0-13 with a walk to start his 2024. Jeremy Pena and Jake Meyers are correlation plays that can help average down star prices from the bottom of the lineup, each has a touch of individual upside but are nowhere near ideal one-off candidates.

Play: Astros bats/stacks. Blue Jays bats/stacks.

Cleveland Guardians (-108/4.08) @ Seattle Mariners (-100/4.00)

  • Righty Emerson Hancock is filling in for Seattle with a late camp injury to Bryan Woo, who will miss a few weeks. Hancock worked just 12 innings over three starts in the Show last season, posting a 12.2% strikeout rate and 4.50 ERA with a 5.07 xFIP against Major League competition. The righty was promoted directly from AA for those three starts, he had 20 outings at the minor league level, throwing 98 innings with a 4.32 ERA and 4.42 xFIP while striking out 26%, which is not the stuff of a Major League-ready impact arm. Hancock is another low-end option on a short pitching slate, he is not likely to work deep into the game and he is overpriced at $7,600/$8,000.
  • The Guardians do not project like a very strong option but the hit-tool-oriented team could take advantage of a pitcher who is not expected to be heavy on strikeouts in this spot with hits adding up to runs adding up to DFS points. Cleveland has light-hitting Steven Kwan ahead of Andres Gimenez and Jose Ramirez in the typical first three spots. Kwan is a correlated scoring play only, he can get on base with his bat-to-ball skills and he is capable of adding steals but needs help to deliver more. Gimenez went 15-30 last year and 17-20 the season before, he is a former top prospect who still has room to grow and, while his 97 WRC+ was disappointing last season he had a terrific 140 WRC+ over 557 plate appearances in 2022. Ramirez is an established star for $4,000/$5,900 at third base, he hit 24 home runs and stole 28 bases last season and is off to a good start in the tiny 2024 sample to date. Josh Naylor hit 17 home runs and stole 10 bases while excelling at the plate last year, he has potential for more power from the left side and he lands at 7.89 to sit behind only Ramirez for home run potential in this lineup tonight. Will BrennanRamon Laureano, and Bo Naylor are a mixed bag of quality in the middle of the lineup, Naylor is a playable young catcher with power upside for a fair price, while the two outfielders can contribute unreliable counting stats. Estevan Florial may just be a quad-A talent but he is getting a regular shot early in the season and he comes cheap, while Brayan Rocchio rounds out the projected batting order.
  • Right-handed Triston “Dr. Sticks” McKenzie is back in action after making just four starts and throwing 16 innings in 2023. McKenzie started 30 games for Cleveland the season before, pitching 191.1 innings of quality with a 25.6% strikeout rate, a 5.9% walk rate, 13% swinging-strikes, a 2.96 ERA and 3.77 xFIP and a sparkling 0.95 WHIP. McKenzie has lights out stuff on the right day, his depth of start is a question mark in his first outing of 2024 but he leads the slate in our pitching projections in a good matchup for strikeouts at $9,200/$9,000.
  • The Mariners are a bit of a mystery to start the season. The team has an established star in Julio Rodriguez, who went 32-37 while creating runs 26% better than average last year and 28-25 with a 146 WRC+ as a rookie in 2022. Rodriguez hits second behind regular shortstop JP Crawford who hit 19 home runs and created runs 34% better than average in a career year last year. Crawford is not a star but he is a sturdy option from the top of the lineup and provides strong correlation with Rodriguez given a .380 on-base percentage last season. Jorge Polanco is a new face for Seattle but not MLB DFS gamers. The oft-injured Polanco still has a good power bat when he is in the lineup but he is one of many aggressive free swingers who strike out at high rates on this team and his best days are possibly behind him. Mitch Garver and Cal Raleigh have tremendous power but they are both catcher-only plays on both sites, making them a difficult proposition for rostering in MLB DFS when they appear in the lineup together. Garver hit 19 home runs with a 138 WRC+ over 344 chances last year while Raleigh had 30 and a 111 over 569 chances. Mitch Haniger was a great power bat for this team in 2021 but has had two mostly lost seasons in between, he struck out at a 28.4% rate last year and 26.3% the year before in around 500 total plate appearances across both seasons. Ty France joins Crawford as one of the two players who were below 20% strikeouts last year, France led the team at 17.6%. Unfortunately, the first baseman is only a moderate talent for DFS scoring, he is a better hitter than he is a power bat, he finished last season at just .250/.337/.366 with 12 home runs and a 104 WRC+. Luke Raley and Luis Urias provide a bit of pop but also feature more strikeouts at the bottom of the batting order. McKenzie could have a strong day for strikeout-based scoring and has a chance to dominate this team if he can get through the top two hitters cleanly three times.

Play: Triston McKenzie, Guardians bats/stacks as a mid-level option

St. Louis Cardinals (-106/4.06) @ San Diego Padres (-102/4.02)

  • Righty Matt Waldron made six starts for San Diego last season, breaking into the Majors for the first time at age 26. Waldron posted a 4.35 ERA and 4.79 xFIP over 41.1 innings while allowing a 5.20% home run rate (nine homers in 41.1 innings) on a 10.8% barrel rate. Waldron struck out just 17.9% of opposing hitters with an 8.0% swinging-strike rate and a lousy 24.8% CSW%. This is another pitcher who is a long shot to provide any MLB DFS quality on the mound tonight.
  • The Cardinals look like a good stacking option against Waldron. St. Louis features Brendan Donovan with triple-position eligibility on FanDuel for $2,600 in the leadoff role, he is an outfield-only option for $3,500 on DraftKings. Donovan has good on-base skills, had a .365 on-base percentage over 371 plate appearances last year, and sits in a terrific spot in the lineup ahead of the team’s power core. Donovan was flashing home run ability before his injury last season. Paul Goldschmidt has an 8.97 in tonight’s home run model, landing behind the 10.66 carried by lefty second base slugger Nolan Gorman but ahead of the 8.60 that fellow veteran Nolan Arenado holds down at third base tonight. The trio has strong upside for both power and correlated scoring and they are all fairly priced on both sites. Goldschmidt costs $3,500/$4,800, Gorman $3,300/$4,000 with eligibility at second and third on FanDuel, and Arenado is a $3,000/$4,700 option. Catcher Willson Contreras is another veteran with a quality stick, particularly for his position. Contreras slashed .264/.358/.467 with a 127 WRC+ and .203 ISO over 495 plate appearances last year while hitting 20 home runs on a 12.2% barrel rate and 46.3% hard hits. Alec Burleson and Jordan Walker are a playable lefty-righty combination later in the lineup that can help average down pricing. Walker notably had a good season after a lot of rookie hype last year, hitting 16 home runs while creating runs 16% better than average and slashing .276/.342/.445. Victor Scott has speed to burn, he stole more than 90 bases across two levels of the minors last season with one already in the books and three runs scored over his first 15 plate appearances in the Show so far in 2024. Masyn Winn lands as a bit of an afterthought as a cheap nine-hitting shortstop.
  • Veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson is on the bump for St. Louis tonight. Gibson had a 19.5% strikeout rate with a 4.73 ERA and 4.13 xFIP over 192.0 innings in 33 starts last season, he was better across the board the year before but he has never truly reached any version of the pitcher that some analysts expected. Gibson costs a fair $8,400/$7,900, he has potential on a very short pitching slate and he could be a playable number two against the top-heavy Padres in their pitcher-friendly park, but he lands in the middle of the lightly projected options on both sites.
  • Xander Bogaerts is affordable at $3,500/$4,800, he has eight hits over his first 26 plate appearances of the season and he has finally added second base eligibility while hanging on to shortstop on DraftKings tonight, he is still only a shortstop on FanDuel. Fernando Tatis Jr. is a star with a terrific blend of power and speed for $3,900/$5,700, he leads the team with a 9.70 in our home run model tonight. Jake Cronenworth is back to the third spot in the projected lineup, he is not a strong hitter and does not have a lot of power, he is miscast in this role on the team but he is at least cheap to help straight-line DFS stacking at $2,900/$3,900. Cronenworth loses additional DraftKings value with his relegation to only first base, he is a first or second base play on FanDuel. Manny Machado and Ha-Seong Kim are better options than Cronenworth in most scenarios. Machado still has tremendous power potential on any slate, he lands at a 7.79 in our home run model against Gibson tonight while Kim offers both mid-range pop and stolen base upside with good bat-on-ball sills. The toolsy Kim has triple-position eligibility on FanDuel for $3,000 and slots in at either middle infield spot for $4,500 on DraftKings tonight. Jurickson Profar is a skippable part in this lineup, Luis Campusano has good power upside for his position, he hit seven home runs with a strong triple-slash in 174 plate appearances last year and is off to a good start hitting everything hard in 2024. Graham Pauley and Jackson Merrill add interesting young bats with a bit of power upside to the bottom of the lineup, potentially providing more balance as the season continues, both are playable in stacks.

Play: Cardinals bats/stacks, Padres bats/stacks in smaller doses, Gibson if needed to fill out SP shares but he is not a priority

Boston Red Sox (-145/4.41) @ Oakland Athletics (+133/3.69)

  • Oakland has Joe Boyle starting tonight’s game. The righty worked three starts and 16 innings in the Show last year, striking out 25% of the hitters he faced while posting a 1.69 ERA but a more telling 4.59 xFIP. Boyle pitched primarily in AA last year, making 19 starts at that level with Cincinnati and another three after coming to Oakland’s system, he had a mid-4s ERA and xFIP with a 30+% strikeout rate in that sample. Boyle will be facing a mid-level Red Sox lineup in a pitchers park, he has a bit of buzz for strikeout upside around the industry tonight and lands with a mid-level projection in our model for $6,200/$7,500, if he were lower-cost on DraftKings he would be more compelling as an SP2 but with few options available he is at least on the board. He is a cheap option on FanDuel and there is a clear path to success but we are somewhat skeptical of Boyle’s ability to sustain the success he showed in his first three outings in last year’s cup of coffee. Boyle is a dice roll on either site.
  • Jarren Duran leads off ahead of Rafael Devers for Boston, Duran is toolsy with mid-teens power and upside for 30 stolen bases in the right season. He got on at a .346 clip while going 8-24 in 362 plate appearances last year, posting a 120 WRC+. Devers missed a game on Friday and has lingering soreness but was back in the lineup to finish out the weekend. The star third baseman hit 33 home runs with a .229 ISO and a 124 WRC+ last season and he is affordable at $3,600/$5,400 with the balance of the Red Sox lineup landing cheaply around him. Trevor Story costs $2,800/$4,200 and has potential for a return to form if he can manage to stay healthy. Story’s tenure in Boston has been almost entirely lost to injury, but he is still just 31 and is playing every day, the infielder is 3-18 with a walk and a stolen base to start 2024. Triston Casas is a lefty slugger coming off of a breakout campaign that saw him hit 24 home runs with a .226 ISO and 129 WRC+ last year, he has an 8.71 in our home run model to sit behind only Devers in tonight’s matchup and he is a $3,000/$4,900 first baseman in cheap stacks of Sox. Masataka Yoshida is another quality left-handed hitter facing the inexperienced righty tonight. Yoshida slashed .289/.338/.445 with a 109 WRC+ over 580 opportunities last season and lands at $2,900/$4,100. Tyler O’Neill has excellent power with sneaky-good speed for stolen base upside. O’Neill is off to a good start in Boston, he is another player who needs to stay healthy for a full season to remind the DFS community of his strong skills. Cedanne Rafaela is a high-caliber rookie with multi-position eligibility on FanDuel and a fair price across the board, he rounds out the 1-7 stacking core of Red Sox, with Enmanuel Valdez and Connor Wong projected in the bottom two spots in the batting order. Wong has a bit of quality for premium contact in the ninth spot as a cheap catcher option where the position is required.
  • Tanner Houck is a good candidate for pitching shares on both sites against the weak Athletics lineup. Houck costs $8,300/$8,400 and is carrying one of the stronger projections on the weak slate. The righty made 21 starts and threw 106.0 innings last season, working to an uninspiring 5.01 ERA but a much better 4.06 xFIP while striking out 21.4%. Houck is not a primetime strikeout pitcher, but he is capable of posting clean innings while keeping the ball on the ground and in the ballpark, particularly against this team. Houck allowed a 3.02% home run rate last year but limited average launch angle to just 6.5 degrees, in relief work in 2022 he had a 1.21% home run rate on a 4.5-degree launch angle. The righty has been adept at missing barrels over the past few seasons, if he can thread that needle tonight he could pick up a few bonus strikeouts and find a path to a quality start bonus on the blue site and a win on DraftKings. Houck pairs well with his teammates for a Boston onslaught where possible.
  • The Athletics do not have a good lineup but there are a few playable parts. Esteury Ruiz stole 67 bases in 497 plate appearances last year but did everything else poorly, he must develop as a hitter or at least for on-base skills to provide any value. JJ Bleday slashed .195/.310/.355 with a .160 ISO and 92 WRC+ and 10 home runs in 303 plate appearances last year, so naturally he is the team’s two-hitter. Bleday is a lefty and he walks a bit but there is very little DFS appeal. Zack Gelof is a true talent, the second baseman hit 14 home runs and stole 14 bases in just 300 plate appearances as a rookie last year, he is a good upside option surrounded by a lack of quality. Gelof costs just $2,800/$4,900 and has the speed to beat out hits on ground balls but that is not ideal for DFS scoring potential, if Houck cuts the power cable for Oakland they will be adrift for scoring tonight. Seth Brown has a decent lefty bat with power, JD Davis has hit everything hard his entire career, including obliterating a pair of home runs on Friday night against a lefty, but this is not a great spot for home run upside or his diminished skill against same-handed pitching. Ryan Noda hit 16 home runs and created runs 23% better than average with a terrific on-base percentage and walk rate last year but he is also a high-strikeout lefty who relies on home runs or help from his friends. Shea Langeliers is only a home run option, he does not play well in this configuration of the slate, nor do late lineup options Lawrence Butler and Nick Allen.

Play: Tanner Houck, Red Sox bats/stacks, cheap dice roll shares of Joe Boyle with strikeout upside are fine but he is nowhere near a sure thing

New York Yankees (-119/5.24) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (+110/4.87)

  • Righty Ryne Nelson was not good at all in 27 starts last year. Nelson threw 144.0 innings with a 15.5% strikeout rate, a 5.31 ERA, and a not-at-all-better 5.30 xFIP in 2023. He had a 1.42 WHIP, a limited 8.8% swinging-strike rate, and an anemic 23.6% CSW%. The righty also allowed power, giving up a 3.88% home run rate on an 11.6% barrel rate, 42.6% hard hits, and 90.8 mph of exit velocity on average, and if that does not have you thinking “Yankees bats” right now we are speaking different languages.
  • New York stacks are going to be an ongoing thing as long as both Juan Soto and Aaron Judge are in the lineup. The team does not end with those two superstars, who are playable at any price on any slate in any matchup. The team includes excellent second baseman Gleyber Torres, who hit 25 home runs and stole 13 bases while cutting strikeouts from 22.6% to 14.6% and creating runs 23% better than average last year, Anthony Rizzo who has averaged 32 home runs for most of his career but had a bad season that has cut his MLB DFS pricing because of undiagnosed post-concussion syndrome last year, and all-world power hitter Giancarlo Stanton, who managed 24 homers in 415 plate appearances despite slashing .191/.275/.420 for the season. Stanton was not good at anything but power in the small sample last year, his WRC+ was 11% below average, but he is a good candidate for DFS shares at just $3,100/$4,800 in the outfield and can blow up any slate with two home runs and a gigantic score given the quality RBI spot in the lineup. Alex Verdugo is a lefty hitter who was brought in to provide a bit of contact-based upside but he was also once the gem in the Mookie Betts trade to Los Angeles, there is a bit of untapped potential that may come out as a lefty in Yankee Stadium this season. Anthony Volpe has counting stat upside and has looked like a far more polished hitter early in the 2024 campaign. He costs just $2,800/$3,700 at shortstop, which is probably too low for last season’s version of this player and is certainly cheap if he has developed a more discerning approach at the plate. Austin Wells is a young catcher with power upside and a fair price around the industry. Oswaldo Cabrera has been on a roll to start the season but he is much more the hitter who went .211/.275/.299 with five home runs over 330 plate appearances last year, he is not a priority in this high-priority lineup.
  • Luis Gil is affordable to start the season. Gil is not in a good matchup against the Diamondbacks but he projects in the middle of the board tonight. The righty made six starts for the Yankees in 2021, posting a terrific 29.5% strikeout rate but an ugly 14.7% walk rate with a 3.07 ERA but a 4.85 xFIP that is far more honest. Gil missed most of the last two seasons, throwing just 29.2 innings between AAA, MLB, and A-ball over 2022 and 2023 combined. Throwing him into the fire against this Arizona lineup in Arizona seems like an unfair starting point but the Yankees are short on pitching options. Gil looks like a bit of a trap spot at his price and OK projections around the industry.
  • Corbin Carroll stars for the Diamondbacks in the leadoff role. Carroll finished an outstanding 2023 at .285/.362/.506 with a .221 ISO and 133 WRC+ while hitting 25 homers and stealing 54 bases. The multi-category star is slightly too cheap at $3,800/$5,800. Ketel Marte created runs 27% better than average from the second spot in the lineup last year. The second baseman costs $3,900 on FanDuel but just $5,200 on DraftKings, he pairs very well with Carroll in this spot. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is a quality hitter across the board, he regained his power last season with 24 home runs after dipping to just five long balls in 2022 and he is an affordable three-hitter between Marte and slugging first baseman Christian Walker. At just $3,600/$5,000, Walker is another Diamondbacks star who is not at full price against a targetable starter tonight. Walker hit 33 home runs last year, had a .239 ISO, and a 120 WRC+ and struck out just 19.2% of the time while barreling the ball at an 11.2% clip, he is a star at first base by any measure. Joc Pederson has a 5.93 in our home run model and has excelled at hitting for power against middling righties his entire career. Gabriel Moreno is too cheap for his talent at $2,800/$3,900, particularly where catchers are required he could make for a strong option on this slate. Eugenio Suarez is off to a good start to 2024, the power hitter is cheap at third base for $3,200/$4,600 but the seventh spot in the lineup will cost him plate appearances in the long term. Jake McCarthy and Geraldo Perdomo are cheap playable options to wraparound to the top of the lineup. The Diamondbacks play gets even stronger if Gil pulls any popularity on this slate.

Play: Yankees bats/stacks, Diamondbacks bats/stacks, small doses of Gil are just OK

San Francisco Giants (+179/3.57) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-197/5.04)

  • The final game of the night features a California coastal matchup between the Giants and Dodgers and one of the better pitching targets on the slate in veteran southpaw James Paxton. The lefty made 19 starts and threw 96 innings last season, putting up a 24.6% strikeout rate with a  4.50 ERA and 3.99 xFIP and he is in a good matchup for strikeout upside at $8,100/$8,600. Paxton missed all of 2022 and most of 2021 but before that he was a high-end starter who worked between 28-32% strikeouts in several seasons in his prime. Paxton could get hit in his first start of the year, he was good-not-great last season but has a path to a resurgence this year that could get underway tonight against a Giants squad with a 25% strikeout rate collectively.
  • Jung-Hoo Lee is 4-19 with three singles and a home run to start his MLB career after starring for the Kiwoom in the KBO. Lee is regarded more for his hit tool than his power, he is expected to be an on-base machine who hits for average ahead of the team’s power bats. For $2,900/$4,500, Lee is playable, but the Giants do not stack up well around him, he looks more like a Paxton spoiler than a DFS play on this slate. Austin Slater slides up the lineup against lefties, he hit five home runs and stole two bases in 207 opportunities and has good splits against southpaws overall but he is not a fearsome hitter by a longshot. Wilmer Flores has always hit left-handed pitching well, the righty made 454 total plate appearances last year and hit 23 home runs with a .225 ISO and 136 WRC+ for the full campaign and he is one of the only low-strikeout options in the Giants lineup. Jorge Soler has immense power from the right side of the plate, the cleanup hitter blasted 36 home runs last season and is the true threat to ruin this start for Paxton and those who roster the hurler. Soler is the linchpin of any reasonable hedge stack of Giants hitters. Matt Chapman is another strong right-handed power bat, though his early season surge ended and he tailed off badly though the second half of the year in 2023. Michael Conforto is a lefty who used to be a good hitter with a bit of power, he is struggling to find his way back to that form but is off to a decent start for 2024 after slashing .239/.334/.384 with 15 home runs over 470 plate appearances last year. Thairo Estrada is a toolsy infielder with moderate power and decent wheels, he hit 14 home runs and stole 23 bases last year. Patrick Bailey and Nick Ahmed are lower-priority options at the end of this lineup.
  • Keaton Winn is facing the Dodgers tonight, which is about all one needs to know to decide his fate for this slate. The righty made five starts and threw 42.1 innings in the Show last year, posting a 20.3% strikeout rate with a 4.68 ERA and a 3.49% home run rate that came on 10.5% barrels, 47.6% hard hits, and 92.4 mph of exit velocity on average last season. Winn is not an option at $7,200/$7,300 on this slate.
  • The Dodgers are an All-Star team and they rank as the most highly projected stack of the day while landing second to only the Yankees for implied runs at 5.04. Los Angeles features three superstars to top the lineup in Mookie BettsShohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman who can all be rostered together, stacked with more affordable teammates, or utilized as elite expensive one-off options in this matchup. The trio hit 112 home runs with 57 stolen bases and averaged 70% better than average for run creation last year. Will Smith is a tremendous option at catcher and he is discounted compared to the stars above him in the lineup. Smith hit 19 home runs and created runs 19% better than average last season, but everyone in the projected Dodgers lineup was above average for run creation last year. Max Muncy and Teoscar Hernandez strike out plenty in the heart of the lineup but they both have multi-home run upside in most matchups. Muncy lands at 8.78 in the home run model tonight with Hernandez at 8.29. James Outman is a cheap lefty with mid-range power and good speed, Jason Heyward has a bit of veteran pop from the left side, and infielder Gavin Lux rounds out the trio of lefties with power and speed of his own. This lineup is playable in any combination from 1-9 in this matchup.

Play: James Paxton, Dodgers bats/stacks

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