MLB DFS: DraftKings Night & FanDuel Main Slate Overview – Wednesday 5/10/23

The annoying split slate on Wednesday has a small four-game DraftKings slate commencing at 7:20 ET tonight, with FanDuel opting for a six-game main slate that begins at 6:35 ET and includes the Tampa Bay vs Baltimore and New York vs Cincinnati games. The pitching board on FanDuel is somewhat thin, with one outstanding option in a bad ballpark but a good matchup and a few capable veterans pitching in a variety of current forms at a range of prices. A few of the young arms on the slate are interesting as well, there are several good values that could create access to otherwise unavailable combinations at the plate for what looks like a very good slate for hitting. The DraftKings pitching slate is thin with only eight options and no Verlander, but there are extreme value prices on a few of the younger starters which should make for interesting lineup construction options on that site as well.

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, if a game has not been filled in simply check back in a few minutes. Update notes are provided as lineups are confirmed to the best of our ability, but 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 – 5/10/23

Tampa Bay Rays (-112/4.90) @ Baltimore Orioles (+103/4.71)

The first game on tap on the blue site sees the Rays in Baltimore to face Dean Kremer, a limited righty with targetable stuff and bumpy numbers so far in his career. Kremer made 21 starts and threw 125.1 innings last season, he had a 17% strikeout rate with a 3.23 ERA but a 4.43 xFIP and a 1.25 WHIP with just a 25.2% CSW%. Kremer allowed a 38.9% hard-hit rate with an 88.4 mph average exit velocity, which is reasonably good for premium contact and resulted in just a 2.15% home run rate. In a smaller sample in 2021 he allowed far more contact with a 6.94% home run rate coming on 45.3% hard hits, a 14% barrel rate, and 93.1 mph of average exit velocity in 53.2 innings. That premium contact has somewhat reared its head in Kremer’s seven starts and 35.2 innings so far this year, he has a 44.3% hard-hit rate with a 10.4% barrel rate allowed, and he has coughed up a 4.49% home run rate in the small sample. Kremer’s issue for MLB DFS on both sides is the amount of contact that is available overall, and if he is getting squared up regularly he could allow a bonanza of fantasy points to opposing offenses. Everything about Kremer plays directly into the Rays’ profile, this could be a very strong spot for a Tampa Bay team that checks in with a 4.90-run implied team total. Kremer costs just $7,400, he projects in the middle of a limited pitching slate and should be a low-owned tournament dart, but the play is thin. Yandy Diaz leads off for the Rays and checks in for $3,900 at first or third base. Diaz is off to a fantastic start, he has nine home runs while slashing .320/.432/.582 and creating runs 87% better than average over his first 148 plate appearances this year. The performance is a major step forward but it is not out of nowhere, Diaz was very good over 558 plate appearances in 2022 as well, slashing .296/.401/.423. The power output is the shocker for Diaz, his nine home runs equal last year’s total, and his ISO has soared from .127 to .262, riding a climb from a 4.8% barrel rate to a 12.9% and a 48.6% hard-hit rate to 55.4%. Diaz is playing like a star, he is well worth the investment against this pitcher. Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena were already stars coming into this season and they have only cemented those reputations so far in 2023. Franco costs $3,800 at shortstop, which is too cheap for a player slashing .310/.365/.556 with a .246 ISO and a 157 WRC+, seven home runs, and nine stolen bases. Arozarena is slashing .321/.396/.575 with a .254 ISO and he has created runs 73% better than average in 154 plate appearances. The toolsy outfielder has three stolen bases and nine home runs with a 20% barrel rate and a 56% hard-hit rate this season. Both Diaz and Franco are difficult to strike out, they sit at 14.9% and 15.4% for the season, Arozarena comes in at 23.4% but there are no safe spots for a pitcher in this lineup, even with Brandon Lowe at a 30.6% strikeout rate. The second baseman is loaded with power, he has a 17.1% barrel rate and a 48.6% hard-hit for the season which he has turned into seven home runs and a .243 ISO. Lowe is creating runs five percent better than average in his 121 plate appearances despite slashing .196/.289/.439 and he costs just $3,400 with a team-leading 9.57 in our home run model. Harold Ramirez costs $3,500, he has six home runs with a .266 ISO and a 171 WRC+ over 103 plat appearances in 2023. The outfielder has always been good with the bat in his hands, he slashed .300/.343/.404 last season but, like Diaz, he has expanded his power output this year and his six home runs match last year’s total in just 25% of the total plate appearances. Taylor Walls and Josh Lowe have been playing above their expectations this season as well.  Walls has a 156 WRC+ and a .277 ISO with six home runs, he had a .113 ISO and eight home runs in 466 plate appearances last year. Lowe hit seven home runs with a ridiculous .312 ISO on the back of a 12.9% barrel rate in his 102 plate appearances so far, he had two home runs in 198 plate appearances last year. Jose Siri has a sneaky 6.13 in our home run model late in the lineup, the outfielder is cheap at $3,000 and he has three home runs with three stolen bases in his 57 opportunities to this point in the season. Siri is always interesting for MLB DFS purposes when he lands in a lineup, he has mid-range power and speed and has been making terrific contact so far with an 18.2% barrel rate and a 48.5% hard-hit mark. Francisco Mejia fills in the catcher role in the projected lineup, he is slashing .200/.262/.327 with one home run and a .127 ISO and has not been a great option at the plate. Mejia hit six home runs in 299 opportunities last year, matching his total in 277 plate appearances from 2021.

The Orioles will be facing opener Jalen Beeks who will then give way to Yonny Chirinos in bulk relief, neither pitcher makes for a strong MLB DFS option in a bad spot. Chirinos has an 11.1% strikeout rate with a 5.15 xFIP but a 1.86 ERA this season, he is a target for Orioles bats, which should be in play even if Beeks takes the first inning off the board. Beeks is unlikely to go more than an inning or so. The Orioles lineup opens with Cedric Mullins who is slashing .248/.353/.426 with four home runs and 11 stolen bases while creating runs 20% better than average. Mullins has just a 5.9% barrel rate and a 35.3% hard-hit rate this season, his power has been a far cry from the 30 home run year he posted in 2021, but he is exceeding last year’s .145 ISO with a .178 mark so far this year, so he may settle in above the 16 home runs he put up in 2022. Adley Rutschman is slashing .273/.399/.424 with a .152 ISO and a 133 WRC+ in 163 plate appearances. The young star catcher got out of the gate very hot to start the season and has settled somewhat, but he is an excellent option for just $3,100 on this slate and he can be used in tandem with first baseman Ryan Mountcastle. At $3,400, Mountcastle is another strong option in this spot, he has eight home runs with a .219 ISO and a 103 WRC+ and an excellent contact profile. The slugger has a 16.5% barrel rate and a 47.9% hard-hit rate so far this season and he has cut strikeouts from 25.3% to 22.2%. Mountcastle has not walked much this year, his 3.1% walk rate cuts into his on-base percentage and otherwise sturdy productivity, he was better at a 7.1% walk rate last year, but we have faith in the turnaround in that department and the power is extremely real with this hitter. Anthony Santander has five home runs and his triple-slash has come around at .266/.326/.469 with a .203 ISO and 118 WRC+ over 144 plate appearances. Left-handed Kyle Stowers costs just $2,100 and is projected to hit fifth in the Orioles lineup, while he has not barreled a ball in 27 plate appearances and has no home runs with a .000 ISO this year, Stowers is interesting with faith that the three home runs in 98 opportunities last year mean something as well. The outfielder had an impressive 11.3% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate in the small 2022 sample as well, for nearly the minimum price there could be something to consider in Orioles lineups. Adam Frazier is projected sixth, he is cheap at $2,700 but is slashing just .225/.325/.353 with a .127 ISO, though he does have three home runs and six stolen bases. Jorge Mateo has been a star in 2023, he costs an appropriate $3,900 and has six home runs and 12 stolen bases on the board. The shortstop is slashing .293/.339/.535 with a .242 ISO while creating runs 38% better than average in 112 plate appearances and is valuable anywhere in this lineup. Gunnar Henderson is a top prospect but he is struggling as much as Anthony Volpe is for the Yankees. Henderson is slashing .179/.339/.326 with three home runs and one stolen base and has been four percent worse than average in creating runs, but that has him priced down to just $2,600 with third base and shortstop eligibility. By the time the bottom of the lineup comes around, Henderson should be facing Chirinos, so there are no concerns about a lefty-lefty unless the Orioles make a terrible decision and hit him higher in the lineup. Ramon Urias is a viable sneaky power bat in the ninth spot, he hit 16 home runs in 445 plate appearances last year but has just one with a .103 ISO so far in 2023.

Play: Rays stacks/bats aggressively, Orioles stacks/bats

Update Notes: the Rays’ hyper-flexible lineup sees some changes, most importantly Randy Arozarena is getting a night off. The lineup runs Diaz-Franco-Brandon Lowe-Ramirez-Luke RaleyIsaac Paredes-Josh Lowe-Christian Bethancourt-Siri. Losing Arozarena is a downgrade in the abstract, but the team has produced in every configuration. Raley costs $3,200 at first base or in the outfield, he has eight home runs in just 89 plate appearances from the left side with an absurd .363 ISO, a 24% barrel rate, and a 54% hard-hit rate. Paredes has four home runs in 122 plate appearances and always projects well for power, and Bethancourt is an upgrade at catcher. The backstop has six home runs in 83 plate appearances with a .303 ISO and 117 WRC+ so far in 2023. The Orioles lineup has the expected 1-5 with Austin Hays hitting sixth ahead of Henderson-Mateo-Ryan O’Hearn. Hays is a good option at the plate, he has four home runs and is slashing .297/.347/.495 with a .198 ISO over 121 plate appearances. O’Hearn hit nine home runs in 254 plate appearances in 2021 in his last relevant output.

New York Mets (-147/4.98) @ Cincinnati Reds (+135/4.13)

The Mets vs Reds game is not available on the limited DraftKings night slate, but it looks like an excellent option on the FanDuel main slate this evening. Cincinnati’s bandbox home stadium plays extremely well for power and the Mets bring plenty of it to the plate in a matchup against right-handed Hunter Greene. The Reds’ hurler has been good so far in his Major League career, he made 24 starts and threw 125.2 innings last year, bursting onto the scene with a 30.9% strikeout rate as a rookie. Greene walked too many at nine percent and he allowed too much premium contact with a 40.1% hard-hit rate and a 9.4% barrel rate on a 20.7-degree average launch angle. The flyball profile and premium contact resulted in a 4.52% home run rate allowed in what was otherwise an excellent season, the righty had a 4.44 ERA and a 3.64 xFIP and induced a 14.5% swinging-strike rate with a 29.2% CSW% for the year, he is very good. Greene has made seven starts this season and he has gotten better basically across the board. The righty has a 31.3% strikeout rate across 33.2 innings, his ERA sits at 3.74 with a 3.67 xFIP and he has pushed swinging strikes to 15.7% in the small sample. Greene has cut his walks by a percentage point in early returns and he has a CSW% that is up slightly at 29.5%, but he is still giving up contact that can lead to loud mistakes, in the event that he makes a mistake at all. Greene’s barrel rate allowed is still sitting at nine percent this season and he has allowed more hard hits, with his rate climbing to 43.8% while average exit velocity bumps from 89.7 mph to 90.5 mph. Even with those contact results, Greene has allowed only a two percent home run rate so far this year, he allowed a homer to Pittsburgh in his first outing, then went five straight without coughing up a longball before yielding two to the White Sox in his last outing. However, it is extremely noteworthy that only one of those five clean starts was a home game in the hitter-friendly park, and Greene came out of that game against the Rays after only three innings when he was struck by a hard-hit ball; the two games in which Greene has allowed home runs were his two other home starts so far this year. New York brings plenty of power to bear, cleanup hitter Pete Alonso alone has a major upside on this slate, checking in at a 16.85 in our home run model tonight. Alonso has 12 homers on the season after reaching 10 with several days left in April. The first baseman costs just $3,800 on the FanDuel slate tonight, he is a significant option both in Mets stacks and as a one-off play at first base. Alonso has a 17% barrel rate and a 43% hard-hit rate for the season while slashing .237/.322/.526 with a .289 ISO. Alonso is not the only worthwhile Mets hitter tonight, is joined by solid options above and below him in the lineup. Brandon Nimmo is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, he is slashing .300/.400/.446 with a 141 WRC+ so far this year and he has hit three home runs with three stolen bases. Nimmo is striking out at just a 17.9% clip with a 12.2% walk rate, and he is achieving premium contact regularly with a 48.6% hard-hit rate, he is an option to frustrate Greene early ahead of the team’s power core. Francisco Lindor has a 10.3% barrel rate and a 43.3% hard-hit rate this season which has amounted to a .224 ISO with six home runs. The star shortstop is priced down at $3,300 on FanDuel tonight, he has an 11.31 in our home run model, putting him above the magic number at a premium position and a cheap price. Lindor seems likely to be popular in that scenario, but individual popularity should not be the primary concern, there are plenty of ways to offset ownership in lineup combinations. Lindor has a .224/.323/.448 triple slash this year, he was a .270/.339/.449 hitter last year and his WRC+ has dipped from 127 to 116 year-over-year, but that just means there is more quality coming at a discount. Jeff McNeil slots in third in the lineup, he is slashing .280/.384/.392 with a .112 ISO while creating runs 25% better than average. McNeil is a hit tool specialist who typically has support from a very strong batting average on balls in play, when he underperforms it is usually directly attributable to a dip in that statistic. For example, in 2021, McNeil’s BABIP dipped to just .280 after three seasons sitting between .335 and .359. That year was the first season he did not hit .300 or get on base at a .380 clip, he slashed just .251/.319/.360 and had a 92 WRC+ after running 136, 144, 131 to start his career. Last year, McNeil came roaring back, posting a .353 BABIP and slashing .326/.382/.454 with a 143 WRC+ but so far in 2023, he has been at just a .297 BABIP. The dip is apparent in his batting average to this point, but he has covered it in his on-base percentage by pushing walks to a career-high 11%. The slap-hitter needs good fortune to be on his side, his lack of premium contact and power makes every potential base hit critical to his numbers. In the words of Crash Davis:

“Do you know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It’s 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at-bats is 50 points, okay?

There’s six months in a season. That’s about 25 weeks that means if you get just one extra flare a week, just one gork; a groundball; you get a groundball with eyes; you get a dying quail; just one more dying quail a week … and you’re in Yankee Stadium.

McNeil is the modern portrait of that exact concept. He is also not a strong option for a home run tonight, but he makes for his typically excellent correlated scoring piece in the heart of the lineup. Alonso hits after McNeil and is one of our favorite overall options for a homer tonight. Brett Baty is hitting fifth in the projected lineup, which should be his home for years to come. Baty has arrived in full form, he is slashing .271/.338/.424 with a .153 ISO and has created runs 15% better than average over the first 65 plate appearances of his career, with two home runs on the board already. Those numbers are likely to go up, the rookie has an 8.84 in our home run model and is one of the team’s capable left-handed bats against Greene. Starling Marte lands in the sixth spot in the projected lineup, but he may hit higher in the batting order. The Mets have relegated him somewhat on the back of a .223/.298/.286 triple-slash. Marte has just one home run this year but he has swiped nine bases to give his MLB DFS relevance a weak pulse. The outfielder is creating runs 29% worse than average so far but he is cheap at $2,800. Daniel Vogelbach costs $2,500 at first base, he is not going to be nearly as popular at the position as Alonso, but there is no universe in which the two are a direct pivot for anything other than popularity. Vogelbach can be deployed in lineups alongside Alonso for his power upside and as that popularity pivot in large field tournaments, but he has just two home runs in 87 plate appearances with a .143 ISO so far this year. The split and the stadium play in Vogelbach’s favor tonight and he does have a 48% hard-hit rate, so there is a nice chance for him to get into one, he has a 9.51 in our home run model tonight. Mark Canha slots in with a 6.66 in the home run model, he has three this season with a .144 ISO and is a lower-end option. Tomas Nido has zero home runs this year, he hit three last year in 313 plate appearances but is more of a defensive catcher, Francisco Alvarez would be the more interesting backstop for MLB DFS purposes. Greene is a viable option on the mound on the back of his strikeouts, he has the talent to get through this Mets lineup, but it will not be an easy task and we are not getting a discount from FanDuel at $9.500. If Greene is projected at low ownership around the industry it would enhance the upside of throwing a few shares his way in MLB DFS tournaments.

And the Reds are facing Justin Verlander.

We could have just left that sentence in place and moved on to the next four games, but to expand somewhat, Verlander will be making his second Mets start, he went five innings the first time around so we should have only limited concerns about a pitch count, with expectations in the 90+ range. The dominant veteran righty coughed up a couple of earned runs on a pair of solo home runs early in his first outing before settling in and ultimately striking out five. The dominant veteran ace should be a strong option tonight, despite the lousy ballpark, he projects as our top pitching option at a reasonable $10,500. Verlander against the Reds, even if he is capped at 90 pitches seems like a better option than Pablo Lopez against the Padres for $100 more, for example. Verlander is a luxury for FanDuel gamers that is not available on the short DraftKings slate, might as well enjoy. The righty had a 27.8% strikeout rate with a 3.23 xFIP and 1.75 ERA last season while allowing just a 34.8% hard-hit rate, he should severely limit the Reds tonight. If one is inclined to play contrarian shares of Reds based on the ballpark quality, they would do well to look at Jonathan India, who is slashing .307/.397/.465 and creating runs 30% ahead of the league-average in 151 plate appearances. India has three home runs and seven stolen bases and would be a key correlated scoring piece if the Reds manage to get to the ace pitcher. TJ Friedl is slashing .325/.370/.496 with a .171 ISO and a 128 WRC+ over 131 plate appearances. He has three home runs and four stolen bases and is a slap-hitting correlated scoring option who has a limited contact profile. Friedl has a 3.1% barrel rate and a 23.7% hard-hit, he was at 4.7% and 29.3% over 258 plate appearances but did manage to hit eight home runs last season. Spencer Steer has four home runs in 135 plate appearances with a .176 ISO and a 101 WRC+ as the last hitter in the projected lineup who has been above-average for run creation this year. Steer seems overmatched on the right side of the plate, he has a 22.2% strikeout rate that is likely to be higher tomorrow with just a 5.6% barrel rate and a 36.7% hard-hit. Jake Fraley leads the team with a 4.50 in our home run model and a 7.2% barrel rate, and he is second with a 41% hard-hit rate this year, this is not a fearsome baseball team. Fraley has two home runs in 105 plate appearances with a .112 ISO and 86 WRC+. Catcher Tyler Stephenson slots in for $2,800 with one home run, a .074 ISO, and 81 WRC+. Nick Senzel is slashing .268/.333/.415 with a 99 WRC+ in 90 plate appearances, the former top prospect is well past his due date at this point, but he does offer three-position eligibility for $3,000. Wil Myers has been disappointing in Cincinnati so far, slashing just .215/.277/.333 with a .107 ISO and 64 WRC+. Curt Casali is another catcher in the lineup at $2,100, he has no home runs and a .000 ISO with a 40 WRC+ in 38 tries this year. Verlander has a great chance to cruise through this lineup for a monster FanDuel score even if he is capped around 90 pitches.

Play: Mets bats/stacks, Justin Verlander, Hunter Greene darts if projected as low-owned

Update Notes: the Mets lineup includes Luis Guillorme instead of Mark Canha at the bottom, Guillorme is more of a defensive asset for the team, he slashed .273/.351/.340 with a .067 ISO and 106 WRC+ in 335 plate appearances last year. Alvarez is in at catcher, which is a bit of an upgrade, the backstop hit a pair of home runs the other night but he has looked somewhat overmatched early in his career. Alvarez is slashing .241/.281/.444 with a .204 ISO and three home runs in 57 plate appearances and he is a top prospect behind the plate overall. The low-end Reds lineup has Henry Ramos and Jose Barrero in the final two spots.

Boston Red Sox (+140/4.54) @ Atlanta Braves (-152/5.58)

Welcome aboard, DraftKings gamers! Your slate begins with a fun game between the Red Sox and Braves from Atlanta tonight, with southpaw Dylan Lee on the bump for the home squad. Lee has 16 innings pitched out of the bullpen this season and will be making his first appearance as an opener, he last pitched three days ago so we cannot expect more than a couple of innings before he gives way to the bullpen, there was originally speculation that Jared Shuster would get this start. Lee has a 29.7% strikeout rate with a 15.8% swinging-strike rate and a 2.81 ERA with a 3.58 xFIP in his relief work, but it is common to see relievers post higher numbers for strikeouts with higher-effort pitches since they do not have to work multiple innings. If Lee is expected to go two or three it will be interesting to watch where he settles. The Red Sox are a strong option on the other side, with mid-range power marks up and down the lineup in our home run model and a lineup that is typically difficult to strike out. Rob Refsnyder is projected to lead off against the lefty, we have also seen Boston deploy him as a three-hitter against southpaws but this is the better configuration of the lineup. The journeyman has hit lefties well the last two seasons, but not for much power. This year he has 65 plate appearances overall while slashing .236/.354/.327 with a .091 ISO and  94 WRC+, he is a correlated scoring piece and not much more. Alex Verdugo is slashing .317/.386/.514 with five home runs and three stolen bases, he has created runs 45% better than average so far this season and is a strong candidate for lineup shares at $5,000/$3,600 regardless of the pitching matchup. Justin Turner costs $3,400/$2,800 with eligibility at first and third base on FanDuel but just first base on DraftKings. Turner is slashing .273/.360/.396 while creating runs nine percent better than average in 161 plate appearances. Turner is a good candidate for shares as well, the veteran is putting the ball in play consistently which should play very well against this pitching matchup in any form. Rafael Devers has 11 home runs with a .294 ISO and a 14.3% barrel rate with a 50.9% hard-hit mark for the season. The star third baseman is worth the investment at $5,800/$4,100, though he has not been nearly the same hitter against lefties for his career with just a .151 ISO and a 96 WRC+ in 960 plate appearances. Enrique Hernandez slots in ahead of Masataka Yoshida, Hernandez is a veteran infielder with a moderately capable bat but he has been lousy over 143 plate appearances to start the season, creating runs 21% worse than average so far. Yoshida is the more interesting hitter, the lefty has been mashing over the last few weeks but the lefty has also been a different hitter against same-handed pitching in his brief career. Yoshida is slashing .321/.376/.560 with a .238 ISO and 152 WRC+ in 93 plate appearances against righties and .273/.415/.394 with a .121 ISO but a still elite 132 WRC+ against lefties in 41 plate appearances. Yoshida is worthwhile in much the same way as Devers, he is capable enough against lefties and has upside for more, it is also worth noting that they both could see plate appearances against righties out of the bullpen. Connor Wong lands in the seventh spot in the projected lineup, the catcher has a decent bat that as been on display over 81 plate appearances early this year. Wong has three home runs with a .203 ISO and 107 WRC+ and he has barreled the ball in 9.4% of his batted-ball events with a 43.4% hard-hit rate. Jarren Duran has had a great start over 84 opportunities, he is slashing .360/.405/.587 with a 166 WRC+ in the tiny sample. Old friend Bobby Dalbec rounds out the projected lineup, if he plays he is a potential asset at $2,700 with third base and shortstop eligibility on DraftKings and as a minimum-priced first baseman on FanDuel. Dalbec hit 12 home runs in 353 plate appearances last year and had 25 in 453 tries in 2021, he is far better than his reputation and has significant any-given-slate upside at these prices.

The Braves confirmed lineup is facing Brayan Bello who has been a bit shaky in his first four outings in 2023. Bello has a 23.2% strikeout rate and has induced a 10.4% swinging-strike rate in his 17.1 innings this year, but his CSW% sits at just 26%. Bello has a rough 5.71 ERA but a better 3.53 xFIP and he is good at keeping the ball down, which is playing against the Braves’ upside for power to a degree today. So far this year, Bello has limited opposing average launch angles to just 1.1 degrees, but he has allowed some power with a home run in each of his four starts and a 51.8% hard-hit rate and 90.5 mph of average exit velocity. Bello limited home runs to a 0.37% rate in 57.1 innings and 11 starts last year, keeping the opponent’s average launch angle to just 5.3 degrees, he is good at capping power and has upside for strikeouts, but the Braves are an elite offense. The starter costs $6,300/$7,300, he has enough upside for strikeouts in the matchup with the potential to keep the Braves in check that he is worth shares on both sites tonight, but Bello is a stronger option on the DraftKings slate at the extreme discount. The Braves are playable on the other side as well, they have significant home run hitters in their lineup despite the pitcher’s acumen for keeping the ball in the yard and they are capable of sequencing and creating runs without hitting the ball over the fence. Ronald Acuna Jr. costs $6,400/$4,500 with 15 stolen bases and six home runs to his credit this year. The superstar outfielder has created runs 67% better than average and is always an option when there is enough salary. Matt Olson hits second in the confirmed lineup, the first base masher has 11 home runs with a titanic .301 ISO and a 149 WRC+ in his 165 plate appearances this year. Olson hit 34 home runs in 2022 and 39 in 2021, he is a terrific power bat who has a 19.8% barrel rate this season and is probably too cheap at $5,400/$4,200. Austin Riley costs $5,100/$3,500, the FanDuel price is too cheap despite Riley’s slump. The third baseman has just a .167 ISO with a 99 WRC+ in 159 plate appearances, he has six home runs but his contact profile has slipped with barrels halving from 15.7% to just 7.1% in early returns. Riley will be fine, take the discount when stacking Braves hitters in a lineup. Sean Murphy costs $4,900/$3,900, he ahs nine home runs and a .336 ISO while creating runs a ridiculous 87% better than average this year, the outstanding catcher is another premium bat who could probably be considered as too cheap despite high price tags. Eddie Rosario is not expensive, he costs just $2,600/$2,700 but for good reason with just an 83 WRC+, three home runs, and a .152 ISO this year. Rosario is slashing .248/.288/.400 and has not contributed much, but his 9.1% barrel rate and 41.6% hard-hit rate have limited appeal in the heart of the order as a way to reduce salary in a stack. Ozzie Albies is a star – yes we will mention this every time we talk about the always underrated second baseman – he has nine home runs and has created runs 22% better than average with a .252 ISO and a 12.5% barrel rate in 2023. Albies costs just $4,500/$3,500, he is too cheap. Travis d’Arnaud is back in the Braves lineup, adding a second stout catcher option to this team. d’Arnaud hit 18 home runs in 426 plate appearances last year and costs just $4,300/$2,700, he is a better option where his position is required but is a good enough bat to be in FanDuel lineups as well. Michael Harris II is slashing just .208/.309/.333 in 55 plate appearances after missing most of the season, he will come around and he is priced way down at just $3,600/$3,000. Harris was the Rookie of the Year last year with 19 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 441 plate appearances, take the discount. Orlando Arcia hit nine home runs in 234 opportunities with a .172 ISO and 104 WRC+ last year, as cheap hitters at the bottom of a lineup with three-position eligibility on FanDuel and shortstop eligibility on DraftKings go, one could do worse in a limited set of lineups.

Play: Red Sox stacks/bats, Braves stacks bats, value-based Bello darts

Update Notes: Boston is giving Devers a day off, which is a big downgrade overall. The lineup runs Refsnyder-Verdugo-Turner-Yoshida-Hernandez-Duran-Triston Casas-Wong-Emmanuel Valdez leaving out Dalbec from the projected version. Casas has been bad at .161/.304/.323 and is in a same-handed matchup, Valdez has made 41 productive plate appearances, he has a 120 WRC+ with a home run and three steals in the tiny sample. The Braves lineup was confirmed in the original draft.

Chicago White Sox (-136/5.15) @ Kansas City Royals (+152/4.20)

The game in Kansas City is looking ripe for offense with Brad Keller on the mound tonight. There are what seem to be overblown concerns about rain in the area on some sites around the industry, expectations should be that this game plays clean with at worst a pop-up delay. The White Sox have one of the highest implied team totals on the slate at 5.15 in a matchup against Keller, who has a 4.67 ERA and 5.81 xFIP in seven starts this season. Over 34.2 innings, Keller has just a 15.8% strikeout rate and has managed to walk a hilarious 17.7% while inducing just an 8.1% swinging-strike rate with a 25.5% CSW%. The righty’s one discernable skill has always been to limit home run upside via checking launch angle, this season he has allowed just a 1.90% home run rate on an average launch angle of 6.7 degrees, last year it was a 2.76% home run rate on a matching angle, the season before it was 2.94% on a 7.9-degree angle. While those are not elite performances, the point is to illustrate that this pitcher could be even worse if he allowed more flyballs, or on days when he is making mistakes. Keller has given up a 90.7 mph average exit velocity and 39.8% hard-hit so far this year, last year it was 89.3 mph with a 41.4% hard-hit and the year before it was 90 mph and 44.3% hard hits. Keller is not good, the White Sox have been bad but have several very good hitters, this seems like easy math. At $5,700 Keller is arguably worth a few darts for SP2 shares on DraftKings, he does not seem viable at $8,000 on FanDuel, but it is baseball and Keller has been not terrible at points in his career. The projected White Sox lineup looks like the far better option. Star shortstop Tim Anderson should be leading off, he missed a chunk of the season and is creating runs 22% below average in his 81 plate appearances, but that will normalize to his typically strong production soon enough. Anderson is a power and speed option with an excellent hit tool atop the lineup, he costs $5,500/$3,100, the FanDuel price is an easier buy, but the cost on DraftKings may keep his ownership too low in a great spot. Andrew Benintendi has been noted a few times in this space for his early struggles this year, not much has changed recently. The outfielder costs $3,400/$2,800, he has been just a slap-hitter with little impact on the lineup to this point, posting just a 2.8% barrel rate and 25.7% hard-hit rate with a 72 WRC+ so far this year. Benintendi has been far better than that in his career, he posted a 122 WRC+ in 521 plate appearances last season and a 106 in 538 the year before. Andrew Vaughn has four home runs and a .188 ISO with a 116 WRC+ as the three hitter in the projected lineup, he is very cheap on DraftKings at $3,500 and costs just $3,200 on FanDuel. Vaughn has a 10.4% barrel rate and 47.2% hard-hit rate this season and checks in with a 6.79 in our home run model to lead the White Sox today. Luis Robert Jr. has eight home runs with a .246 ISO and a 126 WRC+ in 149 plate appearances. The outfielder is slashing .261/.331/.507 with a 12.4% barrel rate but just a 36.1% hard-hit so far, there is upside for more beyond the already terrific performance from this hitter. Gavin Sheets has eligibility at first base and in the outfield for $2,600/$2,700 with four home runs and a 112 WRC+ with a .181 ISO, the cheap power hitter is a good option on both sites in the heart of the order from the left side of the plate tonight. Yasmani Grandal hits from both sides and makes another fine play against Keller, particularly given his acumen for drawing walks. Grandal could get on base three times on the virtue of free passes alone if he brings his eye to the game tonight. If he decides to swing, Grandal has a sturdy bat with a .156 ISO and a 112 WRC+, and three home runs over 123 opportunities this year. Hanser AlbertoElvis Andrus, and Adam Haseley round out the lineup, Haseley is the most interesting option if he plays, the former highly regarded prospect costs just $2,300 on both sites and has a good hit tool.

The Royals draw veteran righty Lance Lynn who projects as a good option on the mound for $7,900/$8,800. The price is too low for a pitcher with a 28.6% strikeout rate against this lineup, regardless of any bumps in Lynn’s early results. The righty has a 6.86 ERA and has allowed a 5.14% home run rate to this point in the season, giving up a 9.2% barrel rate in his seven starts. Lynn has much better numbers under the surface, however, his strikeout rate is supported by a 13.7% swinging-strike rate with a 29.4% CSW, he has a 3.62 xFIP beneath the ERA that is more than three runs higher. Lynn has been unlucky and has given up some home runs early in the season, but otherwise has been on form and pitches reliably deep into ballgames, the Royals’ power hitters could certainly get to him tonight, but there is significant upside for the pitcher to post a big score at these prices, Lynn is a strong option on both sites. The Royals lineup is in play as well, of course, with upside for home runs if nothing else. Lynn has allowed at least one home run in all but one of his starts and nine already for the season. He coughed up three in his second outing and two in his third outing, against the Giants and then Twins, and has allowed a home run and four earned runs in three straight starts. Bobby Witt Jr. leads off as a viable shortstop for $5,000/$3,700, he has six home runs and 10 stolen bases while creating runs seven percent below average in 158 plate appearances this year. Witt was one percent below average last year despite 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases, he is a great option for MLB DFS purposes on most slates and has an 11.2% barrel rate and a 44.8% hard-hit, but needs to boost his walks from a lowly 5.1% (4.7% last year). Vinnie Pasquantino is slashing .287/.376/.529 with a .243 ISO and a 145 WRC+ this season. The first baseman is not expensive for some reason, he costs just $3,700/$3,000 despite seven home runs and a 49.2% hard-hit rate with a 9.2% barrel rate. Pasquantino puts the ball in play regularly and gets on base at a great clip, his 11.4% strikeout rate matches last year’s number and he has a 12% walk rate that is slightly up from 11.7% last season. This is a good player that the sites have not fully caught up to yet, it would be wise to take advantage before they do. Sal Perez is no secret, the catcher has seven home runs and a .214 ISO with a 121 WRC+ and always makes a good play at his position. Perez costs $4,500/$3,500, the DraftKings number is too cheap by a lot. Edward Olivares and Nick Pratto slot in with interesting bats in the fifth and sixth spots, following cleanup hitter MJ Melendez. The group is a playable alternative as a straight three-man stack, it connects with the hitters mentioned above them in the lineup, and every option on the list can be mixed and matched through a variety of combinations. Melendez roared to life early this week and is slashing .211/.290/.382 with four home runs overall but a 15.2% barrel rate and a 57% hard-hit, more big MLB DFS games are coming from the slugger who still has catcher and outfield eligibility on DraftKings at just $3,700, he costs just $2,800 on FanDuel. Olivares hits from the right side, he has two home runs and three stolen bases with a 9.9% barrel rate and 42% hard-hit for $3,000/$2,800. Pratto has a home run and a .158 WRC+ in 49 plate appearances and is a potentially good sneaky left-handed power bat on which we have focused a number of times early this season. The former first-round pick has eligibility at first base and in the outfield for $2,500/$3,000, the DraftKings price is a strong discount. Matt DuffyMichael Massey, and Nate Eaton round out the confirmed lineup with a bit of a thud.

Play: White Sox stacks/bats, Lance Lynn, Royals bats/stacks

Update Notes: the Royals lineup was confirmed in the original draft. The White Sox lineup looks as projected.

San Diego Padres (+116/4.07) @ Minnesota Twins (-125/4.51)

The Padres are at the top of the board partly on the back of a massive total for their superstar in the leadoff role in our home run model this evening. Fernando Tatis Jr. is the rising tide lifting Padres’ boats with a 20.29, doubling up the magic number in a matchup against a good pitcher who has been outstanding so far in 2023. The balance of the Padres lineup has more normal ratings in the home run model, with only Manny Machado and Juan Soto also cracking the 10 mark at 13.17 and 13.67. The trio of stars is playable in almost any situation for MLB DFS purposes and they are joined by capable teammates in the top half of the lineup, including the team’s fourth star Xander Bogaerts, who checks in with an 8.19 in the home run model today. Minnesota starter Pablo Lopez is no slouch, however, the righty has been very good throughout his career, last season he had a 3.75 ERA and a 3.56 xFIP with a 23.6% strikeout rate over 180 innings in 32 starts, he was simply overshadowed by the dominance of his Cy Young Award-winning teammate in Miami. Lopez has been terrific since joining the Twins, he spoke in the offseason about his amazement with the quality of the team’s analytics department and the suggestions they had made in video sessions before he even took the mound in the Spring, the results have been stark to this point. In seven starts and 43 innings, Lopez has a 30.7% strikeout rate with a 5.7% walk rate and a 3.77 ERA with a 3.34 xFIP. The righty has induced a 14.6% swinging-strike rate with a 29.3% CSW% both numbers are well up from last season’s already good 12.7% and 28.1%. Lopez has never been bad with contact, he gave up a 35.1% hard-hit rate with 87.9 mph of average exit velocity and a 2.85% home run rate, this year he is sitting at a 38% hard-hit rate with a 2.27% home run rate on 86.2 mph of average exit velocity. Lopez does allow barrels consistently, this season is at 9.3%, up slightly from 9.0% and Lopez has allowed a single home run in four of his seven starts, zero in the other three. This is an interesting matchup on both sides, the Padres may not be the best option for full stacking, Lopez is more likely to allow a couple of runs with a home run included than he is to get completely lit up by the Padres tonight, despite the individual power that is showing. The Padres do offer plenty of quality options at the plate though, Tatis has four home runs in 77 plate appearances since his return, and leads off with a monster number in the home run model. Jake Cronenworth moved up to the second spot in the lineup last night and is slated to play there again. Cronenworth is more of a correlated scoring play, but he has three home runs in 145 plate appearances this year and he hit 17 in 684 opportunities last year, so he has individual upside as well. Machado got back on the home run board last night and now has five for the season with a .154 ISO and 98 WRC+. Soto has five home runs of his own, he had a nice day at the plate yesterday and pushed his triple-slash to .244/.400/.433 with a .189 ISO while creating runs 34% better than average. Bogaerts has six home runs with a 128 WRC+ and a .174 ISO but has dipped to .273/.366/.447. That group of players is relatively inexpensive for their talents as well, Tatis is naturally the priciest option at $6,100/$3,700 but the FanDuel number is easily a bargain for his talents; Cronenworth is not priced up for the move up the lineup if that is where he hits, he costs just $3,800/$2,800 with eligibility at first and second base; Machado is still cheap for his early struggles at $4,800/$3,000; Soto costs $5,100/$3,500; and Bogaerts is just $4,700/$3.500. After that group the lineup takes a bit of a nosedive, but there are playable parts in Ha-Seong Kim and Trent Grisham, with the possibility that Matt Carpenter gets himself involved if he plays. Kim is slashing .229/.328/.358 with a .128 ISO and three home runs, Grisham has four home runs with a .188 ISO and has posted solid contact with a 16.5% barrel rate. Carpenter is slated to hit sixth, he has a 16.7% barrel rate but just a 29.2% hard-hit rate so far this season, and he has turned the contact into three home runs and a .211 ISO in 87 plate appearances. Brett Sullivan closes out the lineup as a cheap catcher for $2,300/$2,200, he has one home run in 23 plate appearances in the Show.

Padres righty Seth Lugo comes in at $8,200/$9,200 with effective numbers as a starter so far this season. In six outings and 33.2 innings, Lugo has a 3.21 ERA with a 3.74 xFIP and a 21.7% strikeout rate to his credit. The veteran has bounced between the bullpen and rotation throughout his career and he has been effective in both roles, but his strikeout stuff becomes more limited as a starter in the long term. Last year in 65 innings but no starts, Lugo had a 25.4% strikeout rate, he can still dial it up to that level when he needs to and has had a six-strikeout and a seven-strikeout game this year. Lugo will be challenged by the Twins’ hard-hitting lineup, but he projects as a good option on the mound with upside for strikeouts and a shot at a win and quality start in a somewhat even matchup. Minnesota’s lineup has a 4.51-run implied total, they are on the board on a short slate as well. Max Kepler is projected to lead off tonight, the outfielder has five home runs with a .213 ISO while creating runs four percent ahead of the league average in his 104 plate appearances. He has a terrific 14.3% barrel rate and 48.6% hard-hit percentage for the season but costs just $3,900/$2,700 and is not the public’s favorite option because of a .213/.308/.427 triple-slash. Kepler is here for his power upside, the price is a nice discount on a good MLB DFS option. Carlos Correa is cheap and has struggled badly to start 2023. The shortstop is slashing just .185/.261/.363 with a 72 WRC+ in 138 plate appearances and may be suffering from “nobody loves me” syndrome. Correa is a star when things are going right, he is not hurt, he has just underwhelmed after a very weird offseason, he should come around in due time and has very encouraging signs in his 11.6% barrel rate and 45.3% hard-hit rate. $4,500/$3,000 is a discount for this player, focusing on what will ultimately be an extended blip in a fantastic career is not the right approach. Byron Buxton has eight home runs in 140 plate appearances with a .275 ISO and has created runs 33% better than average so far, he is too cheap at $5,600/$3,800, but at least his price has gone back up by $1,000 on the blue site from where he was absurdly listed two weeks ago. Buxton is a superstar hitter, treat him as such. Alex Kirilloff is not a superstar hitter, but he is an interesting left-handed prospect with a well-thought-of bat for power. Kirilloff hit three home runs in 156 plate appearances last year, he had eight in 231 the season before, he has never arrived in full at this level but should see an opportunity in the heart of the lineup for $2,700/$2,200 tonight. Jorge Polanco is a very solid player who has been a star in seasons past. Polanco costs just $4,700/$3,100 at second base, he has a 13.7% barrel rate with two home runs on the board in his 70 plate appearances since returning from injury. Jose Miranda has three home runs from the right side of the plate, and Joey Gallo has seven from the left side but has been in a dip on his typical production roller coaster in recent weeks. The two hitters are cheap later in the projected lineup, they are both viable with Gallo representing the better power option and Miranda as the better hit tool and correlated scoring player. Nick Gordon and Ryan Jeffers have a bit of potential for cheap prices in the final two spots in the projected batting order as well.

Play: Four Corners game: Pablo Lopez, Padres stacks/bats, Twins bats/stacks. Seth Lugo, all as necessary, there is potential on all four sides but it could come out as Vegas is seeing it with just a “good” game for everyone but no standout MLB DFS performances

Update Notes: the Twins lineup sees a bit of a shuffle, with Buxton back in the leadoff spot and Kepler hitting second ahead of Correa-Kirilloff-Polanco-Kyle Farmer-Gallo-Christian VazquezMichael A. Taylor. Farmer has made 35 plate appearances and has one home run to his credit this season, he hit 14 home runs in 583 opportunities last year and slots in as a cheap second baseman or shortstop on both sites. Vazquez and Taylor offer their usual odd-duck any-given-slate upside at extremely low ownership. The Padres have Rougned Odor in for Kim late in the lineup.

St. Louis Cardinals (-110/3.84) @ Chicago Cubs (+101/3.74)

The final game of the short slate on both sites sees dueling lefties with Justin Steele taking the mound for the hometown Cubs on a cool night with a moderate breeze blowing in toward the third base line in Chicago. The conditions should play in favor of both pitchers, which is reflected in both strong offenses checking in with run totals well below 4.0. The Cardinals are typically a good option against left-handed pitching, but Steele has been very effective over his first seven starts and 43.1 innings in 2023. The southpaw has a sparkling 1.45 ERA with a 21.8% strikeout rate, though his 3.92 xFIP is much more telling of the overall quality. Steele has been very good at limiting premium contact in his young career, he allowed just a 33.3% hard-hit rate with a 1.56% home run rate on 87.2 mph of average exit velocity last year while striking out hitters at a better 24.6% clip in 119 innings and 24 starts. This season, Steele has allowed just a 3.4% barrel rate and a ridiculously good 23.3% hard hits with an 84.5 mph average exit velocity and a 1.21% home run rate, his ability to cap power is a sustained trait and a major advantage for the pitcher on the mound. Steele projects among the top pitchers on the board today, but there is not much daylight between him and Lynn, Lopez, or Montgomery, and he is facing a tough lineup despite the struggles the Cardinals have seen so far. Steele is a good option that gets better if public ownership is in check, which seems likely with lofty $9,800/$11,000 price tags. The Cardinals lineup has several excellent right-handed bats, including Paul Goldschmidt who has been off to an outstanding start, and Nolan Arenado who has not. The pair of stars hit in the heart of the order with Goldschmidt carrying a 160 WRC+ in the second spot in the projected lineup and Arenado at just a 67 WRC+ in the cleanup role. The first baseman has seven home runs and a .245 ISO, the third baseman has just three home runs and a .092 ISO and has been scuffling badly, but there is a very long track record that extends Arenado’s leash. Tommy Edman opens the lineup with second base and shortstop eligibility on DraftKings for $4,200, he is a $3,200 shortstop on FanDuel and he makes a good correlated scoring option in the leadoff role. Willson Contreras still counts as a catcher for our purposes, he is a good positional bat at $4,400/$3,000 at worst. Dylan Carlson costs $2,400/$2,600 with a pair of home runs and a .135 ISO over 96 plate appearances. Juan Yepez is in the projected lineup with first base and outfield eligibility for $3,100/$2,200, he is a cheap power bat with a 12.5% barrel rate in his 17 plate appearances this season, he hit 12 home runs in just 274 opportunities last year. Paul DeJong is a capable shortstop against a lefty, the veteran is slashing .350/.409/.650 with three home runs and a 188 WRC+ in 44 plate appearances since his return to the lineup. Lars Nootbaar drops to eighth in the projected lineup with same-handed pitching on the mound, he has three home runs in 100 plate appearances with a 142 WRC+ so far this year, and he has actually been good against lefties in his career, slashing .295/.402/.363 with a .168 ISO and 144 WRC+ in 117 plate appearances. Nootbaar is a potentially sneaky option if he hits late in the lineup. Catcher Andrew Knizner rounds out the projected lineup.

Jordan Montgomery has thrown 41 innings with a 3.29 ERA and 3.75 xFIP so far this year. His 21.7% strikeout rate and 1.14% home run rate allowed have the starter looking an awful lot like the pitcher on the other side of this contest, with similar outlooks for fantasy points, but Montgomery costs far less at $8,400/$9,900 in arguably a better matchup. Montgomery has allowed 88.8 mph of average exit velocity with a 38.6% hard-hit rate and an 8.7% barrel rate however, and he has never been particularly adept at limiting power in truth, but he has upside for strikeouts and can keep this Cubs lineup in check on the right night. The projected starting lineup for Chicago has a 21.6% average strikeout rate, but if we remove the 8.6% that leadoff hitter Nick Madrigal has posted in 70 plate appearances as well as the 11.8% from Miguel Amaya in 17 opportunities and a 25% from Christopher Morel in just four plate appearances from the ninth and eighth spots in the lineup respectively, we are left with a 24.8% strikeout rate through the heart of the order from 2-7. This could play up to Montgomery’s talents if he avoids power and premium contact the way he has been early in 2023, the lefty is a good buy at his pricing around the industry tonight. Cubs bats are not out of play on a short slate, particularly on DraftKings with only eight teams from which to choose bats. Madrigal is slashing .273/.314/.348 and has created runs 17% worse than average, he is a hit tool and speed option as a correlated scoring play but there are better leadoff hitters. Dansby Swanson is a column favorite, he went deep last night and has three home runs with a 126 WRC+ over 161 plate appearances this year. Swanson has been “fine” to start the season but he has actually underperformed expectations, he should be better for power with mid-range stolen base upside going forward. Ian Happ costs just $4,700/$3,000 despite a 147 WRC+ with four home runs and four stolen bases in 155 plate appearances, he is a strong option in Cubs stacks who is always involved either scoring or driving in runs. Happ has power and individual upside and correlates very well with the rest of this lineup. Seiya Suzuki has a 7.41 in our home run model, he has hit just one so far this season in 98 plate appearances but profiles as a better option for just $4,600/$2,800 in the long term. Suzuki may go under-owned in this spot, the righty has an interesting upside in the cleanup spot or any other part of the lineup tonight. Trey Mancini has three home runs wit a 42.2% hard-hit rate but his 4.8% barrel rate has limited production early, he is cheap at $2,600/$2,700 with upside against a familiar lefty. Cody Bellinger checks in with seven home runs and a .252 ISO while creating runs 43% better than average in 145 opportunities. Bellinger has a 7.8% barrel rate and 34.3% hard-hit for the season but has limited strikeouts to 18.6%, which is critical for this hitter. Patrick Wisdom has as much power as anyone in the league on the right side. Wisdom has 11 home runs with a .355 ISO so far this year in 127 plate appearances, he has been mashing when he makes contact with a 19.7% barrel rate and 59.1% hard-hit for the season. Chris Morel returned to the lineup in style with a home run and a stolen base last night, he is a good option for $4,100/$2,400 in the outfield on both sites and at second base on DraftKings and third base on FanDuel. Miguel Amaya rounds out the projected batting order.

Play: Four Corners game: Justin Steele, Jordan Montgomery, Cubs stacks/bats, Cardinals stacks/bats in smaller doses. This game seems to favor the pitching side, it is another matchup that could go in any direction, which may land it squarely in the middle without a standout performance on any side.

Update Notes: the Cardinals lineup is as projected. The Cubs flipped Wisdom and Mancini in a smart move, bump to Wisdom hitting fifth.

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