The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players within our MLB Player Models.
Thursday features a five-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Pick
Logan Gilbert ($9,900) Seattle Mariners (-260) vs. Oakland A’s
Logan Gilbert borders on “stud” pitching territory based solely on his own merits. On the one hand, the third-year righty has stepped up his game this season. He has a strikeout rate over 30%, though his swinging strike rate is actually lower than last year, suggesting some slight regression is incoming. On the other hand, his 3.89 ERA is nearly a full run higher than his xERA and xFIP, so he’s been better at preventing runs than his ERA suggests.
The matchup today pushes him firmly into the “stud” category. Oakland ranks 24th in wRC+ against righties and first in strikeout rate. Their 3.0-run Vegas total is the lowest on the slate, and the Mariners are the heaviest favorites.
Of course, those excellent numbers come at an ownership premium, with Gilbert expected to be extremely chalky. That makes him a better cash game option than GPP play, but he still has enough upside to consider in tournaments.
MLB DFS Value Pick
Dylan Dodd ($5,600) Atlanta Braves (-110) vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Finding affordable pitching on this small slate is a major struggle, with Dodd being potentially the best option. The rookie was one of the Braves’ top prospects coming into the season, though he hasn’t quite lived up to that status in the majors. He has a 6.46 ERA and a brutally low 10% strikeout rate through three starts.
Dodd doesn’t project as a big strikeout guy, but his swinging strike rate implies a strikeout rate in the upper teens or lower twenties. That’s not great, but it’s considerably better than we’ve seen so far. His status as a solid prospect also means he should improve in run prevention in the future.
Unfortunately, he draws a tough matchup with the Phillies. They’re implied for 4.6 runs, though it’s a good sign that a $5,600 pitcher has roughly pick ’em moneyline odds. The Phillies have also been far worse against lefties this season, with an 83 wRC+.
He leads both The BAT and FantasyLabs projections in Pts/Sal on Thursday.
MLB DFS GPP Pick
Aaron Nola ($9,500) Philadelphia Phillies (-108) at Atlanta Braves
Of course, Nola is the A side of the Phillies vs. Braves game. Like his Phillies, the opposing Braves are on the wrong side of their platoon splits against Nola, with just a 96 wRC+ against righties and a top-three mark against lefties.
Nola is also the far more proven big-league pitcher, even if he’s having a slightly down year. His 4.31 ERA and 21.6% strikeout rate are his worst marks in a few seasons, but they’re not bad numbers by any stretch. His xERA is still just 3.66, so he’s also been a bit unlucky.
While the strikeouts are concerning, Nola had a strikeout rate of at least 29% in each of the last three seasons. At just 29 years old, I’m inclined to believe he’ll return to somewhere near those marks soon, as he’s still in the prime of his career. That makes tonight a solid buy-low opportunity, both in salary and ownership. The matchup is easier than it looks at first glance, and he’s due for some regression his way.
Nola trails only Gilbert in median projections in both systems, with roughly half the projected ownership.
MLB DFS Hitters and Stacks
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters.
Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 300 lineups.
The top DraftKings stack in the FantasyLabs MLB Tournament Model when generated by rating using an aggregate projection set belongs to the San Francisco Giants:
The Giants are the only team implied for at least five runs today while also playing on the road in Milwaukee. That’s enough information to jam them in regardless of salary, but the price tags are also extremely appealing.
The first five Giants hitters are a ridiculously cheap $17,800, for an average of well under $4,000 per hitter on the team with the top implied total. Using this stack makes getting both Nola and Gilbert easy from a salary standpoint while still leaving room to roster other top hitters.
This one doesn’t require much thought, though I’d consider looking at some “wrap-around” stacks to get contrarian in larger field tournaments.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
One of the great features of being a FantasyLabs Pro member is the option to purchase additional items in the FantasyLabs Marketplace.
In addition to our in-house MLB projections, THE BAT X from Derek Carty of RotoGrinders is available in our marketplace. With this purchase, you can use his projections alone or create aggregate projections within our Player Models.
For this example, we created a 50/50 blend with THE BAT X and the FantasyLabs projections to pinpoint some hitters that stand out.
William Contreras C ($3,500 DraftKings; $2,800 FanDuel) Milwaukee Brewers vs. San Francisco Giants (Scott Alexander)
Anytime the Brewers are facing a left-handed starter, Contreras is worthy of consideration. He’s a career .299 hitter against lefties compared to just .242 against righties, with similar splits this season. At a very reasonable price tag on both sites, he is an excellent play today.
However, Scott Alexander is functioning as an opener today, so Contreras will only get one at-bat against him in all likelihood. He’s hitting in front of left-handed Christian Yelich, though, which could mean a lefty reliever comes in at some point as well.
Even if he faces mostly righties, his price tag and skills at a position of scarcity make him well worth it on Thursday’s slate.
Julio Rodriguez OF ($5,600 DraftKings; $3,400 FanDuel) Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland A’s (JP Sears)
Conversely, a few at-bats against relief pitchers is part of the case for Rodriguez tonight. Oakland starter JP Sears isn’t terrible, but the A’s bullpen is. They have a 6.57 ERA as a team, the worst mark in the majors by nearly 1.5 runs. Getting to them early would greatly boost the Mariners’ hitters.
Rodriguez is slowly returning to his excellent numbers as a rookie, with seven home runs and eight steals through 47 games played. That puts him on pace to at least challenge for the 30/30 club this year. His .222 batting average is concerning, but his BABIP is .60 points lower than last season, a number likely to regress given his excellent speed.
That still makes him a bit of a boom-or-bust option today, but the boom is considerably more likely given the ease of the matchup.
Trea Turner SS ($5,000 DraftKings; $2,800 FanDuel) Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves (Dylan Dodd)
We talked about Dodd’s numbers above, and while Vegas is giving him a chance today, they aren’t good. For that reason, I’m not shying away from the Phillies. Turner’s numbers are a bit down in his first year in Philadelphia, but he’s young enough to trust his track record more than the limited 2023 sample.
The big struggle for Turner this season has been strikeouts. He’s been punched out more than 26% of the time this season, the only time since his rookie season that number has been over 20%. With Dodd not projecting as a high strikeout arm, this is a good matchup for Turner to get things going.
He leads all Phillies hitters in median projections in both THE BAT and FantasyLabs models and should be the focal point of any Philadelphia mini-stacks.
Our PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy simulations table is also bullish on Turner’s prospects: