The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday presents a two-game early slate at 2:10 pm ET and an eight-game main slate at 7:05 pm ET.
‘Stud’ is a generous term to describe any pitcher in today’s main slate. Marcus Stroman, who has averaged 9.48 DraftKings points in six starts at Yankee Stadium (per our Trends tool), is the only pitcher who costs more than $10,000 on DraftKings, and Masahiro Tanaka is the most expensive FanDuel main slate pitcher at $9,000. Every team in the main slate is presently implied to score at least 4.1 runs (per our Vegas Dashboard), and the two pitchers with K Predictions higher than 7.0 oppose teams with run totals of at least 4.5. None of the 16 options currently have more than five Pro Trends on either site, and 10 pitchers claim Bargain Ratings of at least 62 percent on FanDuel.
Aaron Nola and Alex Meyer lead all pitchers on the main slate with a +3.30 DraftKings Plus/Minus this season. They also rank in the top-three in K Prediction today. Meyer is on the road, where he’s met salary-based expectations just 37.5 percent of the time, and he’s facing a Twins team presently implied to score 5.3 runs. Nola, on the other hand, opposes a team with a slate-low 4.1 implied run total, and he’s pitched at least 7.0 innings in consecutive starts while accumulating 17 combined strikeouts.
Nola may actually be the safest option on the slate, and he leads all pitchers with an 80 percent Consistency Rating over the past month on DraftKings. He also costs season-highs of $8,800 on DraftKings on $8,300 on FanDuel. None of the hitters in the projected Pirates lineup have a recent batted ball distance greater than 214 feet, and Andrew McCutchen is the only one with a recent fly ball rate greater than his recent ground ball rate. Nola is facing a projected lineup with the third-lowest wOBA on the slate, and he’s limited hitters to a 190-foot batted ball distance and 24 percent hard hit rate over the last two weeks. Home favorites with comparable K Predictions and opponent implied totals have provided adequate value (image below), and in Nola’s case, he’s averaged a +3.18 DraftKings Plus/Minus in three such instances:
Tanaka is one of two pitchers in the main slate who has a batted ball distance differential allowed of at least -32 feet and a hard hit rate differential of at least -10 percent. Prior to back-to-back solid outings, Tanaka had allowed at least one home run in four straight starts and at least five runs in three of those. His salaries aren’t crippling, and he’s facing a Blue Jays team with the fifth-lowest implied total on the slate. Tanaka has made 40 starts in the division since 2014, and he’s been most successful against the Blue Jays:
Tanaka’s modest K Prediction, moneyline odds, and high salaries on both sites will likely lead to reduced guaranteed prize pool (GPP) ownership, which Pro Subscribers can review shortly after lock on our DFS Ownership Dashboard. Since there is no need to spend up on pitching, Tanaka profiles as a GPP option. Even though he’s averaged a better Plus/Minus at Yankee Stadium (+2.60), his average GPP ownership of 6.1 percent is more than 10 percent less than his average ownership on the road.
Stephen Strasburg is the only pitcher facing a team implied to score less than 4.0 runs, and he’s available only in the all day and early slates. He’ll likely be the highest-owned player since Brent Suter is making a spot start, Wade Miley has allowed at least four runs in five of his last seven starts, and Steven Matz opposes Strasburg and a Nationals team presently implied to score 4.9 runs.
Strasburg leads the pitchers on the slate in K Prediction, moneyline odds, Park Factor, and Pro Trends. However, in two starts against the Mets this season, he’s averaged 13.38 DraftKings points — 7.83 points below tonight’s salary-based expectations. Over his last two outings, he’s allowed a 224-foot batted ball distance and 43 percent fly ball rate. Even with the glaring poor recent form, Strasburg offers the highest ceiling and floor on the slate — likely resulting in extremely high ownership in all formats.
Two pitchers cost more than $9,000 on DraftKings, and seven pitchers cost between $8,800 and $7,700 on the FanDuel main slate. You can pretty much select any pitcher and still opt for the stack of your choice.
The Angels have the lowest ISO and fifth-lowest wOBA against left-handed pitchers this season, and since Mike Trout‘s thumb injury, left-handed pitchers have averaged a +6.84 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 75 percent Consistency Rating in 12 outings against them. Adalberto Mejia faced the Angels last month and recorded a season-high 34.0 FanDuel points. He’s likely not on many radars since he rarely pitches more than five innings, but he costs less than $7,000 on both sites and he’s limited hitters to a 174-foot batted ball distance and an 83 mile per hour exit velocity over the last two weeks. Despite handily exceeding salary-based expectations in both starts, his slate-high 74 Recent Batted Ball Luck on DraftKings implies he was even shortchanged on his production.
Jharel Cotton was cruising in his last start, coincidentally against the White Sox, before exiting after 66 pitches because of a blister. He’s rested the past nine days, and he’s now facing a team with the fourth-lowest wOBA against right-handed pitchers this season. The White Sox are implied to score a slate-low 4.1 runs, a mark that has decreased 0.3 runs from its peak, and Cotton has a competitive 6.2 K Prediction despite falling short of that mark in eight of his last 11 starts. Right-handed pitchers have averaged the highest Consistency Rating and GPP ownership on DraftKings against the White Sox this season, and if the Athletics report Cotton is blister-free and without a pitch count, he’ll warrant consideration in cash games.
Carlos Rodon: He leads all pitchers with a 9.8 K Prediction and 79 Park Factor, yet the Athletics are presently implied to score 4.5 runs. Rodon costs only $6,500 on DraftKings, where pitchers with comparable salaries and K Predictions have averaged a +6.20 Plus/Minus. The Athletics rank 28th in wOBA and fifth in strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers.
Andrew Moore: He’s currently facing a Royals team with a 4.3 implied run total, and it’s only his second career start. He costs less than three hitters on DraftKings, creating sufficient cap space as a low-end SP2 to splurge on high-priced hitters.
Even though the Rockies are presently implied to score a slate-best 6.7 runs and lead all teams in Team Value Rating on DraftKings, the Reds, Red Sox, and Cardinals have the highest-rated stacks in the Bales and CSURAM88 Models. All three were covered by Justin Bailey in today’s MLB Pro Model Stacks article, and since the Rockies just endured a nine-game road trip in which they scored more than three runs twice, their Statcast data may not paint them favorably compared to the field. Nonetheless, their DraftKings stack in the Bales Model is the first non-Reds, -Red Sox, or -Cardinals grouping to appear:
Tony Wolters is the only hitter without a negative Recent Batted Ball Luck mark and negative Statcast differentials in all three categories, but, as I just mentioned, that may be a byproduct of the lengthy road trip. The Rockies have historically averaged a +2.29 DraftKings Plus/Minus with a 55.0 percent Consistency Rating when implied for a similar mark. In limited cases, this five-man stack has averaged a +5.06 DraftKings Plus/Minus under similar circumstances. Each hitter in Coors Field possesses slate-best numbers in Weather Rating (90) and Park Factor (100); they’ve averaged a +2.06 DraftKings Plus/Minus in similar spots. Given the lack of high-priced pitching studs today, the Rockies should come with exorbitant ownership levels.
With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters. The highest-rated non-Reds, -Red Sox, or -Cardinals stack in the CSURAM88 Model is a top-of-the-order configuration from the Athletics, a team presently implied to score 4.5 runs:
It’s the cheapest among the top-10 rated stacks by at least $500, but, as mentioned previously, the Athletics have the third-lowest wOBA against left-handed pitchers this season. Franklin Barreto has yet to face a left-handed starting pitcher, but the other three have combined to average a +0.94 FanDuel Plus/Minus against southpaws this season — led by Khris Davis with his +1.59 FanDuel Plus/Minus and 61.1 percent Consistency Rating in 18 contests. Further, the Athletics have the fifth-highest Consistency Rating against lefties this season. Despite the positive metrics, they haven’t offered much upside in such matchups. In this case, they will profile as strictly a contrarian GPP play.
Mike Napoli, Carlos Gomez, and Joey Gallo lead the Rangers with 10 DraftKings Pro Trends. Bill Monighetti recently explored bottom-of-the-order hitters with high Pro Trends, and we can tailor his findings to suit tonight’s projected Rangers lineup. Hitters in the last four spots of the batting order with between eight and 12 Pro Trends and implied to score between 5.1 and 5.7 runs have averaged a +1.33 DraftKings Plus/Minus and a +3.92 FanDuel Plus/Minus. The Rangers lead all teams with 14 trend matches this season, and the trio of Napoli, Gomez, and Gallo has averaged a +8.81 FanDuel Plus/Minus in those situations. Pairing these three with Elvis Andrus will likely result in a contrarian stack given their jumbled batting order. Red Sox starter Rick Porcello has allowed nine stolen bases this season, and Andrus ranks fifth on the slate with a SB/G rate of 0.214.
On a slate with a Coors Field game, Aaron Judge is the most expensive hitter on FanDuel. You could call Judge at Yankee Stadium a solid play:
He’s recorded zero DraftKings points in two home games this season, and his average home DraftKings Plus/Minus improved dramatically from -0.11 last season to +5.35 this year. Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman recently yielded three home runs in consecutive starts before shutting out the Orioles last Wednesday. and when he faced the Yankees in Yankee Stadium, he allowed five runs and two home runs in 3.0 innings, including a home run to Judge.
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: