The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Sunday offers a split slate: There’s a 12-game main slate starting at 1:05 pm ET and a four-game afternoon slate starting at 4:05 pm ET.
Three pitchers on today’s main slate have salaries of at least $11,500 on DraftKings:
The pitching today is questionable, to say the least. Only four pitchers have opponent implied team totals of less than 4.4 runs, and no pitchers have moneyline odds greater than -185. Additionally, not many pitchers offer much strikeout potential, with only two boasting K Predictions greater than 7.1. If there were ever a day to embrace some volatility at pitcher, this would be it.
Chris Archer leads the slate with a $12,300 price tag on DraftKings, and his K Prediction of 8.1 is tops as well. His Vegas data is not as inspiring – he has an opponent implied team total of 4.1 runs and moneyline odds of just -120 – but pitchers with comparable numbers in all three categories have historically returned value (per the MLB Trends tool):
Archer’s Statcast data over his last three starts is unspectacular – 212-foot average batted ball distance, 92 mile per hour exit velocity, 47 percent hard hit rate – but the distance does represent a differential of -3 feet compared to his 12-month average. Pitching in St. Louis also rewards him with a Park Factor of 76, which is one of the top marks on the slate. His DraftKings salary certainly isn’t cheap, especially considering his Vegas data, but his Bargain Rating of 41 percent does make him a slightly better value than the rest of his high-priced counterparts.
Carlos Carrasco leads the slate with an opponent implied team total of 3.8 runs, and his moneyline odds of -155 rank third. Pitchers on FanDuel with comparable marks have historically been average investments:
However, there are two potential issues with Carrasco on this slate. First, his K Prediction of 6.7 is relatively low for a pitcher with his high salary, especially considering his 12-month K/9 of 10.38. This is partially due to a tough matchup against the Kansas City Royals; their projected lineup has one of the lowest splits-adjusted strikeout rates on the slate at 20.6 percent.
The second concern is his Statcast data over his last two starts. He’s posted 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity, and hard hit differentials of +18 feet, +3 miles per hour, and +6 percentage points, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of -1.16 over that time frame. Even though those results aren’t awful, his Recent Batted Ball Luck score of -48 suggests that things likely could have been worse.
Nick Pivetta is relatively cheap at only $7,100 on DraftKings, and he has a couple things working in his favor today against the Cubs. While the Cubs have averaged the seventh-most runs per game this season, they haven’t exactly destroyed right-handed pitching. Their projected lineup has a 12-month wOBA of .316 and a strikeout rate of 27.1 percent against right-handed pitchers, and Pivetta’s K Prediction of 7.1 is tied for third on the slate.
Pivetta has also posted a strong distance differential of -14 feet over his last two starts, giving him a solid combination of recent batted ball profile and K Prediction. Historically, pitchers with comparable distance differentials, K Predictions, and salaries have been consistent on DraftKings:
There’s no Vegas info on this game at the moment, but barring a massive opponent implied team total Pivetta should offer plenty of upside on today’s slate.
Masahiro Tanaka is the largest favorite on today’s slate with -185 moneyline odds, thanks in part to the Yankees’ implied team total of 5.6 runs. Historically, pitchers with comparable odds have been a solid source of fantasy value on FanDuel:
His matchup against the Seattle Mariners is pretty brutal – their projected lineup has a 12-month wOBA split of .341 – and his K Prediction of 5.9 is also pedestrian. He’s allowed a batted ball distance of 223 feet over his last start, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +17 feet. His Vegas data should make him one of the most popular pitchers on the slate, which Pro Subscribers can review using the DFS Ownership Dashboard, but it’s not like Tanaka is without his warts.
Lance Lynn: He checks a lot of the same boxes Pivetta does in terms of K Prediction (7.1) and distance differential (-10 feet), and Lynn has additionally averaged 109 pitches over his last two starts and has a Bargain Rating of 99 percent on DraftKings. Combining all four factors results in a historical Plus/Minus of +3.62, and Lynn will likely have low ownership opposing Archer.
Jimmy Nelson: The pitching on the afternoon slate is pretty brutal, and Nelson has a really tough matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nelson has failed to meet value in three straight starts, but his Statcast data remains strong, posting 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity, and hard hit differentials of -12 feet, -4 miles per hour, and -8 percentage points. His K Prediction of 8.7 is also the highest mark on the slate.
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. We’ve recently incorporated FantasyDraft to our MLB Tools – check out Bryan Mears’ inaugural piece for the details – and they allow you to stack up to six batters from the same team. Today’s top six-man FantasyDraft stack (per the Bales Model) belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays:
Per the Vegas Dashboard, the Blue Jays are fourth on the main slate with an implied team total of 5.4 runs. Their Team Value Rating of 89 ranks first, however, suggesting that they’re a collective value given their Vegas data. They face opposing pitcher Kyle Gibson, who has an ugly past-year WHIP of 1.71. The Blue Jays are also collectively swinging the bat well of late, with four of the stacked batters owning distance differentials of at least +5 feet:
Miguel Montero in particular has raked over his last seven games, and batters with comparable recent distances and implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.40 on FantasyDraft.
On the afternoon slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Dodgers lead the afternoon slate with an implied team total of 5.0 runs, and facing a right-handed pitcher does put the entirety of the stacked batters on the positive side of their batting splits:
The Dodgers will likely be the chalkiest team on the afternoon slate, but stacking them without projected No. 3 hitter Justin Turner could make them slightly more contrarian. You can review the ownership dynamics of a particular stack using our new DFS Contests Dashboard.
Curtis Granderson was highlighted as a part of the Dodgers stack, but he deserves some individual attention. He leads the slate with a massive 13 Pro Trends on DraftKings, which has historically correlated with a Plus/Minus of +2.98. Many of his trends are attributed to his excellent recent batted ball profile, especially his batted ball distance of 268 feet over his last 11 games.
Miguel Cabrera is likely looking at a suspension in the very near future, and at this point not playing would be a significant upgrade for him in terms of his fantasy value. He’s averaged a terrible -2.20 Plus/Minus over his last 10 games, but that hasn’t been due to a lack of good contact. He’s posted an average distance of 267 feet, exit velocity of 97 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 48 percent over his last 11 games, resulting in a Recent Batted Ball Luck score of +81 on DraftKings. Assuming he’s in the lineup, he’s due for some positive regression.
Kevin Kiermaier, on the other hand, has smashed since coming off the disabled list, posting an average Plus/Minus of +6.27 over seven games. His distance differential over that time frame of +49 feet suggests his production has been warranted. He’s currently projected to occupy the leadoff spot for the Rays, and leadoff hitters with comparable distance differentials have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.31 on FanDuel.
Good luck, and be sure to do your own research with the Labs Tools!
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs: