The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s daily fantasy slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 14-game main slate at 7:05 pm ET.
Clayton Kershaw typically dominates slates in terms of pricing and projected ownership. At least the first part of that is true again today:
At $12,700 on FanDuel, Kershaw is a whopping $3,000 more than any other pitcher. On DraftKings, he’s tied for the 25th-highest salary ever at $14,300. You might think that no pitcher can hit value at that price point, but it’s actually common: Of the 25 pitchers who have historically been $14,300 or more — 21 of whom are Kershaw himself — 68.0 percent have hit value (per our Trends tool):
The cohort as a whole has averaged a +6.44 Plus/Minus. This is not uncommon territory for Kershaw, and he does have several strong data points in his favor:
- He’s on the road in San Francisco, which boasts the best pitcher’s park in the league.
- The Giants are implied for a slate-low 2.6 runs.
- He’s a massive -218 moneyline favorite
- He has Adam Hamari behind home plate, who has historically added 1.1 DraftKings points over expectation to pitcher performance.
Those are all encouraging indicators, but there are some notable discouraging factors as well. For example, Kershaw has a K Prediction of just 5.9, which is 13th among 28 pitchers today. Of the 31 times he’s been $14,000 or more on DraftKings, he’s never had a K Prediction lower than 6.8. Why is his K Prediction so low? The Giants strike out infrequently: They rank 28th in strikeout rate this season, whiffing on just 18.8 percent of their at-bats. Several of their guys — notably Eduardo Nunez, Buster Posey, and Joe Panik — all have minuscule SO/AB rates. Kershaw has actually had a K Prediction less than 6.0 just twice in the last four seasons. The results were mixed, and they’re from 2014:
Even if we expand the trend to look at games in which Kershaw had a K Prediction of 7.0 or less, only six historical games pop up. Things get a little more clear at that point, and it’s positive outside of that -9.05-point game against the Diamondbacks:
You might get something of an ownership discount tonight on Kershaw (especially in a Coors Field slate), but maybe not: There are several games with brutal weather, including that Rockies-Nationals game, and paying up for the safety of Kershaw could look enticing come 7 pm.
The trio of Robert Gsellman, Michael Wacha, and Wade Miley will likely be popular in guaranteed prize pools, given their low price points and solid data points. Here’s a breakdown:
- Gsellman vs. Atlanta: $7,000 on DraftKings, 3.4 opponent implied run total, 6.0 K Prediction, 65 Park Factor
- Wacha vs. Toronto: $6,800 on DraftKings, 3.5 opponent implied run total, 6.7 K Prediction, 77 Park Factor
- Miley vs. Tampa Bay: $6,900 on DraftKings, 3.6 opponent implied run total, 7.6 K Prediction, 44 Park Factor
The weather in New York projects to be bad tonight, but thankfully the game starts at 7:10pm; we hopefully will have a better idea of the chance of postponement as lineup lock approaches. If things hold, Gsellman will likely have low ownership given that risk.
For more on Gsellman, see today’s Three Key MLB Players.
Of the three pitchers, Wacha has been the best to start 2017: He’s averaged a +7.41 DraftKings Plus/Minus through three starts with a 100 percent Consistency Rating. Over his last two starts specifically, he’s owned elite Statcast data, allowing a batted ball distance of 202 feet, an exit velocity of 86 miles per hour, and a hard hit rate of just 14 percent. His 6.7 K Prediction is lower than Miley’s by 0.9 strikeouts, but he does have more safety against a Blue Jays squad that ranks 28th in team wOBA this season with a .283 mark.
Miley is a boom-or-bust option: He’s facing the Rays, who rank eighth in team wOBA this season (.326) but also second in strikeout rate (26.8 percent). He dominated last time out, putting up 36.2 DraftKings points and striking out 11 batters across eight innings. Given his stellar performance in his last start and high K Prediction — only Danny Duffy‘s 7.7 mark is currently higher — Miley could be the chalkiest value pitcher of the slate.
Two pitchers with very large price differences between DraftKings and FanDuel are Kyle Hendricks and Vincent Velasquez. At $10,200 and $9,300 on DraftKings, they are the third and seventh in salaries. At $8,500 and $7,500 on FanDuel, they are the seventh and 17th. I’m not sure why the differences are so large, but I would guess it has to do with their recent performance. Both Hendricks and Velasquez have been bad to start 2017, averaging FanDuel Plus/Minus values of -11.50 and -5.16. That said, neither player’s Statcast data is that bad:
Hendricks’ 73 Recent Batted Ball Luck mark suggests he’s been unlucky this year: He’s allowed an elite 178-foot batted ball distance over his last two starts, and yet he’s had awful fantasy performances. His 41 percent hard hit rate is on the high side, but there are encouraging signs for both players moving forward, and it’s not as if they require a hefty investment today.
Danny Duffy: He faces the White Sox, who exploded last night for 12 runs but still rank fifth in 2017 in team strikeout rate, whiffing on 24.3 percent of their at-bats; he has the slate’s highest K Prediction at 7.7.
Marco Estrada: He owns the third-highest K Prediction of the day at 7.0, and he’s in a pitcher’s park in St. Louis; he has elite recent Statcast data, allowing an exit velocity of 86 miles per hour and a hard hit rate of just 12 percent over his last two starts.
With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters. Even though tonight’s slate includes a Coors Field game, it is a Seattle Mariners stack that rates as the highest DraftKings five-man option in the Bales Model:
Seattle is currently implied for 4.6 runs — the fifth-highest mark in the slate — and the Mariners face Detroit righty Jordan Zimmermann, who has allowed 14 hits and 10 earned runs in 10.2 innings over his last two starts. He’s allowed a batted ball distance of 214 feet and a fly ball rate of 56 percent during that time frame. Shortstop Jean Segura is expected back from the DL today and currently projected to bat leadoff (per the MLB Lineups page). The batters in the middle of the order — Mitch Haniger, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager — all have ISO marks of at least .223 against righties. This group has a lot of upside and will likely be low-owned.
On FanDuel, it is a Minnesota Twins foursome that is the highest-rated stack:
The reason the Rockies and Nationals aren’t at the top of the list is pricing: They’re implied for the most runs, but they also by far have the most expensive batters. As a result, the Mariners and Twins are actually superior values. Our Team Value Rating (TVR) metric can help identify value; here’s a definition:
A 0 to 100 grade showing a team’s historical value based on their live implied runs and collective salaries on a given DFS site
The Twins lead all teams on FanDuel with a 79 TVR and are implied for a nice 4.7 runs. Miguel Sano is appealing a one-game suspension but is currently projected to play tonight. Make sure to monitor the MLB News feed for his status update.
Many of the St. Louis batters continue to be unlucky, per our new Recent Batted Ball Luck metric. Here’s that definition:
The difference between a player’s percentile rank in batted ball distance and fantasy scoring over the past 15 days
Take Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter. Here’s their batted ball data from the last 15 days:
- Fowler: 227 batted ball distance, 93 MPH exit velocity, 42 percent fly ball rate, 39 percent hard hit rate
- Carpenter: 265 batted ball distance, 94 MPH exit velocity, 53 percent fly ball rate, 42 percent hard hit rate
And here’s their FanDuel performance (Plus/Minus) over their last 10 games:
- Fowler: -2.12
- Carpenter: +0.96
For reference, Eric Thames, who just went for 50.1 FanDuel points last night on two more home runs, has solid Statcast data:
- Thames: 241 batted ball distance, 94 MPH exit velocity, 38 percent fly ball rate, 50 percent hard hit rate
That’s actually lower than Carpenter’s marks (outside of the hard hit rate), and yet he has a +12.44 Plus/Minus with a 70 percent Consistency Rating over his last 10 starts. While everyone rosters Thames — and it’s hard to blame them at this point — consider the contrarian Carpenter, who is also $800 cheaper.
It will be difficult to rosters Kershaw and Coors Field bats, so I’m curious to see the ownership levels on guys like Charlie Blackmon. He has gone for 22-plus FanDuel points in each of his last four games and owns a past-year ISO mark of .288 against right-handed pitchers. Across 20 games, he has very notable home/away splits, which is to be expected:
He was owned in 33.8 percent of lineups in the $4 DraftKings Four-Seamer last night, but that was a slate without a stud pitcher and Kershaw specifically. What will it be tonight? (Pro subscribers can review ownership on our DFS Ownership Dashboard shortly after lineups lock.)
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: