Sunday features a 10-game MLB DFS slate on FanDuel and an eight-game slate on DraftKings, each of which begin at 1:05 pm. ET. I’ll feature my favorite plays of the slate and identify value options using the FantasyLabs tools and models.
Note: The Coors Field 3:10 ET game between the Rangers and Rockies is not listed on the DraftKings slate.
Max Scherzer (R) $11,100
Max Scherzer is in a tier of his own on today’s main slate as the highest-priced pitcher on DraftKings and FanDuel. In his previous start against the Mets, he did not seem to be affected by the minor hamstring injury that had been bothering him. Scherzer threw 105 pitches and struck out seven batters in six innings to record his first win of the season.
Today, Scherzer takes the mound against the Baltimore Orioles. Although this matchup may appear appetizing for strikeouts, the Orioles have actually been one the best hitting teams in baseball. Baltimore ranks among MLB’s top-five teams in both batting average (.261) and weighted on base percentage (.338).
Nonetheless, there’s ample reason to believe that Scherzer can overcome a tougher matchup. He is projected for 8.2 strikeouts in the Bales Model, which ranks first among the slate’s pitching options. In addition to his strong strikeout projection, Scherzer also boasts the highest ceiling rating of any player on the slate at 70.13.
Scherzer is projected to score a slate-high 42.82 points on FanDuel and owns the second-highest rating of all starting pitchers in the Bales Model at 60.22. Although the Orioles have been a difficult offense for most starting pitchers in 2020, I like Scherzer’s chances to put up solid numbers in this spot.
He sports an elite 35% strikeout rate, and the wind is projected to be blowing in from center field at 10 mph. Presuming that weather forecast holds up, it would significantly reduce the probability of a fly ball leaving the ballpark.
Also working in Scherzer’s favor today is Washington’s heavily-taxed bullpen. The Nationals were forced to pivot to their relievers early in last night’s contest, so they will look for Scherzer to pitch deep into this game.
Scherzer is my favorite pitcher on today’s slate, as his ceiling is unmatched by any other pitcher. Lock him into your lineups with confidence as your Starting Pitcher No. 1.
Prior to locking Scherzer into your DFS lineups, be sure to check weather updates. As of writing, there is a 42% chance of precipitation in the forecast.
Lance McCullers Jr. (R) $8,800
Lance McCullers Jr. was brilliant in his last start against the Giants, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Donovan Solano broke it up. However, inconsistency has been a persistent an issue for McCullers throughout his career, and this season is no exception.
Prior to his dominant start against the Giants, he only lasted 3.2 innings against the Diamondbacks. McCullers allowed seven hits and gave up eight runs before being pulled early in the contest. He will look to build on his recent success as he eyes a divisional matchup against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
This is an exploitable matchup for McCullers as the Mariners have really struggled at the plate this season. They are ranked at the bottom of the league in team isolated power (.136 ISO), weighted on base percentage (.293 team wOBA) and slugging percentage (.361). The Astros come into this game as heavy favorites at -233 with an implied run total of 5.9. So, the betting market seems to support McCullers’ bid to pick up his third win of the season today against Seattle.
McCullers leads all pitchers on the main slate with six ProTrends from the Bales Model and is projected to score 33.97 points on FanDuel. He also sets up as a decent value play with a +3.65 projected Plus/Minus. McCullers’ affordable price tag offers much-needed salary relief in order to roster some of the best bats on the main slate.
Zack Wheeler (R) $8,400
Zack Wheeler faces off against his former team, the New York Mets. At first glance, Wheeler’s $8,400 price tag on FanDuel seems like a screaming value. However, after looking more closely at his 2020 metrics, it appears that the price is somewhat warranted. Although Wheeler has a solid 2.59 ERA, he has had a difficult time missing bats and generating strikeouts (11.1 K%).
Other than his surprisingly low strikeout numbers, many of Wheeler’s 2020 metrics match up to his career numbers. Although he did not miss many bats in his last start against the Orioles, Wheeler has been generating a lot of ground balls (50% GB) and limiting hard contact (26.7% HC) in 2020.
He reports a career strikeout rate of 22.3%, which is a marked improvement over his 11.1% rate thus far. So, given that his other metrics are more-or-less in line with his career averages, perhaps Wheeler is due for some positive regression. I believe that regression could come in today’s matchup against the Mets.
Wheeler is projected to score 32.93 points on FanDuel and has a strikeout projection of 6.06, which ranks third on the slate. Value pitching options are somewhat limited this afternoon, and there are expensive bats that warrant roster consideration. So, I do not hate the idea of pocketing Wheeler’s price discount and banking on some positive regression in the strikeout department.
This is another game where weather conditions could impact starting pitching. Be sure to check out the projected weather forecast prior to lineup lock. If the weather risk is too great, I would suggest pivoting McCullers Jr.
Adam Plutko (R) $6,500
Adam Plutko sets up as a decent value play in his matchup against Detroit. The Tigers lineup reports a 28% strikeout rate, which bodes well for Plutko’s fantasy upside. According to the Bales Model, Plutko boasts the third-highest pitcher rating at 58.67, and he reports a solid Plus/Minus rating of + 5.1. The Indians also have an implied run total of 5.2, so it is likely that Plutko can pick up the win here.
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into your DFS lineups. Today’s top four-man stack on FanDuel according to the Bales Model belongs to the Colorado Rockies:
- Garrett Hampson (R) $3,000
- Trevor Story (R) $4,200
- Charlie Blackmon (L) $4,300
- Nolan Arenado (R) $4,300
Total Salary: $15,800
The Rockies are implied to score 6.6 runs, which ranks first on the slate. They are in a great spot to make good on that projection against southpaw Kolby Allard. Despite Allard’s sparkling 1.00 ERA, he is giving up a lot of fly balls (56.5%) and hard contact (43.5%). Last season, the Rockies crushed left-handed pitching at Coors Field to the tune of a .240 isolated power rating and .383 weighted on base percentage. In your Rockies stacks be sure to include Trevor Story, who has always hit left-handed pitching well (.323 ISO/.421 wOBA). As a result, Story earns the highest ceiling projection in the Bales Model at 52.6.
Today’s top four-man DraftKings stack according to the Bales Model belongs to the Houston Astros:
- George Springer (R) $4,900
- Josh Reddick (L) $3,700
- Alex Bregman (R) $5.400
- Yordan Alvarez (L) $4,400
Total Salary: $18,400
The Astros are implied to score 5.9 runs, which ranks second on the main slate.
George Springer grades out as one of the best plays on the entire slate in his matchup against left-hander Justus Sheffield. Springer is projected to bat in the lead-off spot and has crushed left-handed pitching throughout his career (.237 ISO). Per the Bales Model he owns a solid player rating of 78.05 and is projected to score 9.74 points on DraftKings.
Tyler O’Neil (R) $2,500
Tyler O’Neil grades out as a nice value option on FanDuel today. He is projected to bat cleanup for the Cardinals against left-hander Dallas Keuchel. O’Neill has been hitting the baseball extremely well lately. In the last seven days he sports a .571 ISO and .604 wOBA. According to the Bales Model, O’Neill has a player rating of 60.69 and is projected to score 9.39 points. He doesn’t necessarily jump off the page due to the Cardinals’ relatively low implied run total of 4.1. However, given O’Neil’s recent form and matchup, I like his chances to pay off his $2,500 price tag.
Carlos Santana (S) $2900
Carlos Santana is underpriced and finds himself in a favorable matchup against Michael Fulmer and the Detroit Tigers bullpen. He is projected to bat cleanup for the Indians, who own a solid implied run total of 5.2. Santana grades out as an exceptional value play on FanDuel, where he’s projected to score 11.64 points with a +2.03 projected Plus/Minus rating in the Bales Model.
After reading this article, be sure to check out the FantasyLabs news for injury updates, inactive reports, and lineup changes before the MLB DFS slate kicks off this evening.