The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday’s 11-game main slate begins at 7:05 pm ET.
Four pitchers cost more than $9,000, and Johnny Cueto is the only one cheaper on DraftKings than on FanDuel.
Clayton Kershaw struck out four hitters in his most recent start, and despite pitching at least 7.0 innings for the seventh time in his last eight outings, he failed to meet salary-based expectations. He had a low K Prediction of 5.8 in that last game, and his 3.3 opponent implied run total was the highest mark he’d seen outside of Coors in over a year. Kershaw’s K Prediction today is only slightly higher at 6.5, but his opponent team total of 2.6 is excellent and he’s coming off five days rest.
Kershaw’s opponent implied run total is 0.9 runs less than any other mark, which means he could be quite chalky in all contest formats today. The Dodgers are presently -290 moneyline favorites, and when Kershaw has pitched with a similar mark in the past, he’s averaged a +11.01 DraftKings Plus/Minus and a +16.04 FanDuel Plus/Minus (per our Trends tool). Kershaw has historically been an automatic investment at home, meeting salary-based expectations close to 80 percent of the time at Dodger Stadium. That said, when the moneyline and Vegas percentile have heavily been in Kershaw’s favor, he’s averaged sky-high 48 percent guaranteed prize pool (GPP) ownership on DraftKings:
Kershaw’s two starts against the Mets last season are notable: He had a combined 23 strikeouts and pitched a complete game shutout at Dodger Stadium against a similarly-constructed Mets projected lineup. His K Prediction is on the low side, sure, but Kershaw always has a massive ceiling. He’ll likely be the chalk pitcher in all formats, and left-handed pitchers have averaged a +3.50 FanDuel Plus/Minus this season against the Mets, who rank in the bottom-five in wOBA and BABIP against lefties.
Pro subscribers can review ownership across various buy-in levels shortly after lock on our DFS Ownership Dashboard.
Corey Kluber will participate in the game with the highest chance of precipitation, almost immediately ruining his cash-game attractiveness. However, the combination of poor weather and Kershaw’s presence in the slate presents an opportunity in GPPs to take the almost $2,000 and ownership savings. In three straight starts since returning from the disabled list, Kluber’s pitched at least 6.0 innings and recorded at least eight strikeouts. He’s allowed a recent hard hit rate of just six percent, and he’s posted a recent batted ball differential of -24 feet. His K Prediction is currently 1.3 strikeouts higher than Kershaw’s.
The Orioles are one of the least disciplined teams at the plate, ranking in the top-four in swing percentage on pitches out of the strike zone and bottom-four in contact on those same pitches. Kluber has ramped up usage of his curveball since returning from injury and has still managed to command the strike zone with a slate-high 68 percent strike rate over the past two starts. The projected Orioles lineup has the third-lowest wOBA of the slate, and they’re implied to score 4.0 runs — the third-lowest mark tonight. Once again, rain may be a determining factor in Kluber’s ownership percentage, but with Kershaw on the slate, Kluber may have been overlooked anyway.
The Cubs are presently -226 moneyline favorites, but the wind is projected to blow nine miles per hour toward right field and a light rain is in the forecast. Jon Lester has a slate-best 9.3 K Prediction, the highest mark for him in our database and the 17th time this season a pitcher has had a mark that high. Lester does have the highest batted ball distance differential on the slate, but he’s facing an inept Padres offense that has struggled against left- and right-handed pitchers alike:
Pitchers of either handedness against the Padres this season lead the league in FanDuel Plus/Minus, and left-handed pitchers have been extremely valuable due to their high Consistency. Lester offers a considerable step down in salary from Kershaw and Kluber, and he’s tied with Kershaw with the most FanDuel Pro Trends. The Padres have a low 3.5 implied run total, and pitchers with comparable K Predictions and moneyline odds have compiled a +7.22 FanDuel Plus/Minus and a +3.76 DraftKings Plus/Minus.
Since joining the starting rotation, Brad Peacock has failed to pitch more than 4.2 innings in four of five starts. However, he hasn’t struck out less than eight hitters in four of those outings, and the Athletics have the fourth-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers this season. The Athletics’ current wOBA of 0.266 is the lowest mark today, and Peacock has the second-highest K Prediction, as well as a park upgrade in Oakland Coliseum. He’s the eighth-cheapest pitcher on FanDuel, and pitchers with similar salaries and K Predictions have averaged a +3.18 FanDuel Plus/Minus.
Scott Feldman is $2,000 cheaper than Peacock on DraftKings, and he’s facing a Rays team with the second-highest strikeout percentage and fifth-highest wOBA against right-handed pitchers this season. Among pitchers on the slate, Feldman has the third-lowest fly ball rate over the past year, and he’s allowed a recent 13 percent hard hit rate. Since Peacock will likely be a popular SP2, pivoting down to Feldman will be one way to create additional cap room while keeping GPP upside. Feldman isn’t a strikeout artist like Peacock, but he’s shown an ability to last into the seventh inning this year.
Gerrit Cole: He has the best recent Statcast data on the slate, and his +95 Recent Batted Ball Luck score on DraftKings is the highest mark, which implies he’s been extremely unlucky. Cole isn’t a traditional strikeout pitcher, but the Brewers have the third-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers, and Cole recorded a season-high eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings against the Brewers last month.
With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters. The Rangers and Indians, two teams with the top stacks in the Bales and CSURAM88 Models, were already dissected in today’s MLB Pro Model Stacks article. Neither team offers a quality Team Value Rating, which may be an important metric when attempting to construct a stack around Kershaw. This Giants DraftKings stack rates in the top-three in the CSURAM88 Model, and it costs less than $20k:
The Giants are presently implied to score 5.2 runs, and their DraftKings 77 Team Value Rating is the second-highest mark of the day. Eduardo Nunez has reached base in 29 straight games, and he’s expected to return to the lineup after missing the past three games with hamstring tightness. Braves righty R.A. Dickey has allowed nine of his 15 home runs at SunTrust Park this year, and his 45 percent recent fly ball rate is the second-highest mark on the slate. The Giants have an ISO nearly 40 points higher and a wOBA close to 30 points higher on the road this season, and when they faced Dickey at AT&T Park last month, they tagged him for six runs in 6.0 innings.
The Dodgers own one of the highest-rated stacks in the CSURAM88 Model on FanDuel today:
The Dodgers are presently implied to score 4.5 runs, a mediocre mark on a slate in which five teams are implied to score at least 5.0 runs. Chase Utley is the only hitter in the stack with negative Statcast differentials across the board, but the other three all have been extremely solid lately: Corey Seager leads all shortstops with a 246-foot recent batted ball distance, Cody Bellinger has homered in five of his last eight games and leads all hitters on the slate with a 64 percent recent hard hit rate, and Justin Turner has positive Statcast differentials in every category.
Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez will make his first start this season, and in 11 relief appearances, he allowed nine home runs — a drastic increase from his career 1.0 HR/9 rate. The Mariners are presently implied to score 5.2 runs, and they have the third-best Team Value Rating on DraftKings and FanDuel. Mike Zunino has recorded a 42 percent recent hard hit rate and a 253-foot batted ball distance, leading all catchers in both categories. He’s also averaged a +7.83 FanDuel Plus/Minus over the last 15 games. However, since he’s at the end of the lineup and catcher is a position that most users punt, his average GPP ownership has been low.
The Cubs rank in the top-five in wOBA and ISO against left-handed pitchers this season, and their cumulative +1.61 FanDuel Plus/Minus against lefties is the third-highest mark on the year. Javier Baez and Kris Bryant are the only hitters in the projected lineup with a fly ball rate higher than their ground ball rate over the past 15 days, which is a concerning factor for the Cubs since they’re facing a pitcher in Clayton Richard with the sixth-highest ground ball rate this season and slate-best 0.839 HR/9 rate over the past 12 months. The wind is presently projected to blow nine miles per hour toward right field, which could be a reason why the Cubs have such a high total at 5.1 currently. Bryant leads all hitters with a 0.486 wOBA, and Baez leads the Cubs with a +1.34 DraftKings Plus/Minus against left-handed pitchers.
Scott Feldman is one of four pitchers on the slate who has allowed at least 10 stolen bases this season, and he is facing a hitter with the fourth-highest SB/AB over the past year in Mallex Smith. Leadoff hitters with a similar SB rate have averaged a +0.87 FanDuel Plus/Minus, and Smith is a cost-effective $2,600 on FanDuel. He’s also recorded a hit and no fewer than 6.0 FanDuel points in 10 straight games since joining the Rays.
Good luck, and be sure to do your own research with the Labs Tools!
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