The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday’s 10-game main slate starts at 7:05 pm ET.
Four pitchers cost at least $10,000 on DraftKings, and three pitchers exceed that salary on FanDuel.
Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber are the two studs on a slate in which six teams are presently implied to score no more than 3.9 runs (per the Vegas Dashboard). They’ve previously been available on the same slate once, and Kluber held double the average guaranteed prize pool (GPP) ownership at a savings of $700 on DraftKings and close to triple the average GPP ownership at a $500 savings on FanDuel. Coors Field is in the mix this time around, and when two high-priced studs and Coors Field clash on the same slate, the studs typically split ownership close to evenly and average a combined ownership near 50 percent on DraftKings and 40 percent on FanDuel this season. Fewer pitching options available on a 10-game slate could elevate those estimations; Pro Subscribers can access ownership data shortly after lineups lock on our DFS Ownership Dashboard
Both pitchers have extremely similar past-year WHIP, SO/9, and HR/9 rates, and both have averaged over 6.5 innings per start. When pitchers with a comparable elite SO/9 rate have faced the Yankees — Kluber’s opponent — this season, they’ve averaged a +11.18 DraftKings Plus/Minus in seven outings (per our Trends tool). Conversely, those facing the Marlins — Scherzer’s opponent — have supplied a +2.71 DraftKings Plus/Minus in an equal number of starts. Kluber already faced the Yankees this year and posted 11 strikeouts in 9.0 innings while allowing one run. Scherzer has faced the Marlins thrice, exiting after one inning due to neck discomfort in one of those outings. Dating back to last season, Scherzer has averaged 22.63 DraftKings points in six starts against the Marlins with a similar SO/9 rate.
Kluber is cheaper than Scherzer on FanDuel and DraftKings, but he possesses inferior Vegas data on par with that of Luis Severino, who costs $1,600 less on DraftKings and $1,200 less on FanDuel while securing more favorable recent Statcast data.
Kluber has been the best pitcher since the start of June, allowing zero or one run in 10 of 16 starts and leading all pitchers with a .214 wOBA allowed and matching Scherzer with a league-high 13.0 SO/9 rate. During that stretch, the Yankees have averaged the third-highest wOBA against right-handed pitchers. It didn’t prohibit Kluber from registering 66.0 FanDuel points against the Yankees earlier this month, but the long ball has become a concern. Kluber has allowed at least one home run in eight straight starts, and the Yankees have the fourth-highest home ISO against righties this season. Kluber is facing a projected Yankees lineup with the third-highest wOBA on the slate, and, although his recent streak has been outstanding (image below), he isn’t impervious to a mediocre outing:
Scherzer will make his first start since landing on the disabled list with neck inflammation. A pitch count or innings limit has not yet been reported, nor is one expected. He leads all pitchers with an opponent implied total of 3.2 and moneyline odds of -220. His 9.0 K Prediction is the second-highest on the slate, and when pitchers have shared similar traits, they’ve averaged a +3.47 DraftKings Plus/Minus. In Scherzer’s case, he’s matched the trend 13 times :
However, he costs $14,100 on DraftKings. At that salary, pitchers rarely offer much upside — save for Clayton Kershaw. Scherzer cost at least $14,000 eight times prior, and he averaged a -2.95 DraftKings Plus/Minus. His salary will likely limit his GPP ownership, but that’s also the reason to strongly consider rostering him. When Scherzer has had a similar K Prediction, he’s averaged 26.82 DraftKings points in 67 starts, which is 3.45 points above tonight’s salary-based expectation.
To summarize: Kluber costs less than Scherzer, and that makes it easier for the public to side with Kluber, who has consistently induced double-digit strikeouts. Scherzer appears to be the DraftKings pivot, but on FanDuel, their salaries are close enough to spend the extra $300 on Scherzer. Since last season, Scherzer has averaged 47.73 FanDuel points at home with a 73.1 percent Consistency Rating compared to Kluber’s 39.44-point average on the road.
Pro subscribers can also view how other DFS players approached Scherzer and Kluber on the 10-game slate via our new DFS Contests Dashboard.
Mike Montgomery is facing a projected Pirates lineup with the second-lowest cumulative wOBA. In his first start following eight relief appearances, he threw 89 pitches in 6.0 innings. His elite recent Statcast data may be slanted since it includes two relief appearances and one opponent over three games (the Reds). Montgomery has averaged a higher SO/9 rate as a starter this season, and he ranks second on the Cubs with a 58.6 percent ground ball rate. The current Pirates roster has produced the sixth-highest ground ball rate against left-handed pitchers this season, and Montgomery will benefit from the wind projected to blow seven MPH toward the third base dugout. Rain is in the forecast, and since Montgomery may have an artificial pitch count or deal with a delay, his ceiling will be capped. Regardless, he costs $7,100 on DraftKings and has the fourth-highest moneyline odds (-165), translating solidly into a cheap SP2 in tournaments.
Left-handed starters have averaged a 60 percent DraftKings Consistency Rating against the Blue Jays this season, and Drew Pomeranz has been extremely consistent over the past two months. In his last 13 starts, his scoring spectrum has spanned 12.5 to 29.8 DraftKings points and he exceeded salary-based expectations 12 times. He faced the Blue Jays twice during that span and posted 17.3 and 20.2 DraftKings points. He’s an underdog for the fourth time and facing a team implied to score at least 4.4 runs for the fifth instance over the last 13 starts, yet neither circumstance has been detrimental to his productivity. Pomeranz has limited hitters to a 186-foot batted ball distance, 26 percent fly ball rate, and 26 percent hard hit rate in his last two starts, and he’s proven to be a worthy SP2 in cash games.
Luis Severino: Besides allowing eight earned runs and recording 1.0 FanDuel point against the Red Sox three starts ago, Severino has been a model of consistency since the All-Star break. He’s struck out eight or nine hitters in five of his last six starts, including one against the Indians that resulted in 54.0 FanDuel points. Fading Scherzer and Kluber is one way to guarantee low ownership on your SP1, and Severino offers a substantial discount.
Aaron Nola: Among pitchers with at least nine home starts this year, Nola’s +10.44 DraftKings Plus/Minus is the second-highest in our database. He’s exceeded 28.0 DraftKings points and 49.0 FanDuel points in six straight Citizens Bank Park outings, and his SO/9 rate has been over two points higher at home. He’s a bargain at $8,600 on FanDuel, and he’s one potential avenue to spend down at pitching while maintaining upside.
Jhoulys Chacin: He’s been two different pitchers this season:
He’s allowed the fourth-lowest wOBA (.248) at home among qualified starters while registering a 1.01 WHIP. He may get overlooked on DraftKings since Montgomery costs $500 less and has higher strikeout upside. Chacin is facing a less potent offense, and he’s exceeded 100 pitches in three of his last five starts.
With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters. The top-rated FantasyDraft stack in the Bales Model belongs to the Rockies, a team currently implied to score 7.2 runs — an appropriate mark considering they’re facing a pitcher in Jordan Zimmermann who has allowed seven runs in each of his last three starts.
The Rockies have four of the top-five rated hitters in the model, and when they have been implied for a similar Vegas total, they’ve averaged a +1.31 FantasyDraft Plus/Minus with 25.1 percent GPP ownership. However, on this slate, their overall ownership could be significantly reduced due to the available elite and expensive pitching options. Trevor Story, the projected No. 8 hitter, leads the Rockies with an average of 15.71 FantasyDraft points when the Rockies have possessed similar Vegas data, and he also has the highest recent hard hit rate (55 percent). Considering Zimmermann has allowed a 50 percent recent hard hit rate, 54 percent recent fly ball rate, and 233-foot recent batted ball distance, Story should be popular as a stand-alone option should the Rockies stacks receive low ownership.
The Mariners have the second-highest rated stack in the CSURAM88 Model — the first belonging to the Rockies — yet it costs just $1,700 less than the Rockies stack and is the fifth-most expensive stack on the slate:
Orioles starter Chris Tillman has the highest WHIP and fourth-highest HR/9 rate on the slate, and he’s allowed 20 combined runs in his last four starts. He’s not running well, quite the opposite of Yonder Alonso, who has supplied a 260-foot batted ball distance and 53 percent hard hit rate over the last 11 games. Left and right-handed hitters have averaged a +0.89 DraftKings Plus/Minus against Tillman this year, and Tillman has been a punching bag for lefties, allowing a .440 wOBA, an obscene 10.43 BB/9 rate, and a 2.66 WHIP. Righties have posted a higher HR/9 rate against Tillman, and this stack has a solid mix of both handedness.
The Padres are implied to score 3.8 runs, an amount suited to their offensive talent. However, in consecutive starts against the Padres last month, Jeff Samardzija crafted disastrous performances:
Can their aptitude against Samardzija extend one more outing? Samardzija has allowed a 234-foot recent batted ball distance — the second-highest mark on the slate — and his recent fly ball rate allowed is nine percentage points higher compared to his yearly average. The Padres are extremely cheap bats, and they will help your endeavor in potentially rostering both Scherzer and Kluber. Whoever starts between Austin Hedges and Hector Sanchez will warrant consideration as a punt at catcher, and Dusty Coleman is one of the cheapest shortstops on the slate. He also happens to lead his position with a 248-foot recent batted ball distance.
Andrew Heaney has allowed seven home runs in two career starts. The Athletics may be implied to score only 4.2 runs, but Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder, and Khris Davis all have serious upside with ISOs of at least 0.200 against left-handed pitchers over the last 12 months. Davis leads the team with a 253-foot batted ball distance, 55 percent fly ball rate, and 44 percent hard hit rate — marks that lead or rank in the top-10 among outfielders. Pinder has led all three with a +2.02 DraftKings Plus/Minus against lefties this season, including his most recent game against a left-hander in which he homered twice.
Ian Kennedy has the worst recent Statcast data on the slate, and he’s allowed multiple homers in his last three starts as well as half of his last 12 starts. The Rays’ implied total has jumped 0.4 runs since the line opened, and they have received positive reverse line movement. Only two hitters in the lineup have negative batted ball distance differentials and a negative wOBA against righties. The current projected Rays lineup has five left-handed hitters, and Kennedy has a higher HR/9 rate allowed and lower K/9 rate against lefties this season — exacerbated by a 50.9 percent fly ball rate and 45.7 percent hard contact rate allowed. The lefties in the lineup are slightly cheaper on FanDuel, where they’ve averaged a +1.59 Plus/Minus in Kennedy’s starts this year.
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: