The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features a 15-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Three pitchers on today’s slate are priced above the rest on FanDuel:
- Clayton Kershaw (L) $11,700, LAD vs. SF
- Patrick Corbin (L) $10,900, WSH @ ATL
- Lucas Giolito (R) $10,600, CWS vs. LAA
Kershaw is coming off a rough start in his last outing, allowing five earned runs over just five innings pitched. That said, he’s still put together a dominant second-half of the season. He has pitched to a 2.73 ERA while increasing his K/9 to 11.89.
Kershaw should benefit from today’s start moving back to Los Angeles. He’s historically been dominant when pitching at Dodger Stadium throughout his career, and he’s pitched to a 2.53 ERA at home this season. He’s averaged 46.0 FanDuel points in six home starts since June 1, resulting in average Plus/Minus of +6.05 (per the Trends tool).
Kershaw is in an excellent spot today vs. the San Francisco Giants. Their offense has struggled against left-handers this season, ranking just 25th in wRC+, and their projected lineup has posted a 26.7% strikeout rate against southpaws over the past 12 months. Unsurprisingly, Kershaw leads the slate in both opponent implied team total (3.1 runs) and moneyline odds (-280). Historically, pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have averaged a Plus/Minus of +6.62 on FanDuel.
Kershaw clearly isn’t the same dominant force that he was in his prime, but he’s still an excellent option on today’s slate.
Corbin has a much more difficult matchup today vs. the Atlanta Braves. They rank seventh in runs per game this season, and they’ve been above average offensively against left-handed pitchers. They’re currently implied for 4.5 runs, which is on the high side considering Corbin’s salary.
Still, Corbin does have his merits. The Braves projected lineup has been strikeout prone against left-handers over the past 12 months, posting a 34.5% strikeout rate. Corbin has posted a K/9 of 10.43 over the same time, which gives him excellent upside. His resulting K Prediction of 8.9 ranks first among today’s starters.
He also enters this contest with strong recent Statcast data. He’s limited his past two opponents to an average distance of 188 feet, which represents a decrease of -19 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Pitchers with comparable distance differentials and K Predictions have historically been strong investments, posting an average Plus/Minus of +2.40 on DraftKings. He’s an interesting pivot off of Kershaw in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Giolito is a much stronger option today on FanDuel, where his $10,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%. Unfortunately, he’s in a brutal spot vs. the Los Angeles Angels. They rank sixth in wRC+ vs. right-handers and have posted the third-lowest strikeout rate against right-handers this season.
Those numbers have dropped off a bit over the second-half of the season, but Giolito relies on his ability to rack up strikeouts for fantasy points. He owns a K Prediction of just 4.7, which makes him an easy fade.
Brendan McKay has struggled as a pitcher through his first 35.2 innings, posting a 5.55 ERA. That said, he has been excellent at generating swings and misses — he’s averaged 10.35 strikeouts per nine innings — and his xFIP of 4.39 is more than a full run lower than his ERA. He’s a candidate for some positive regression moving forward.
Perhaps that will start today vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. McKay owns a 3.8 opponent implied team and -182 moneyline odds, both of which rank fourth on the slate.
The Blue Jays’ projected lineup has also posted a 28.8% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months, giving McKay plenty of upside. His K Prediction of 7.5 ranks second on the slate, and pitchers with comparable strikeout upside and Vegas data have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.22 on FanDuel.
Dylan Bundy isn’t someone who’s typically on the DFS radar, but he has a lot of factors working in his favor today. For starters, he’s taking on the Texas Rangers, who have been anemic offensively over the second half of the season. They’ve posted a wRC+ of 62 vs. right-handers, which is the worst mark in the league by a considerable margin.
Bundy has also seen some improvement over the second half of the season. His 4.11 FIP is more than a full run lower than his FIP from the first half of the year, and his Statcast data from his past two starts in particular is excellent. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 190 feet, exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 26%, all of which represent decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.
He’s one of the better pitching values on DraftKings at just $7,300.
Steven Matz: He’s another strong value on DraftKings, where his $7,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 77%. He’s pitched to a 2.01 ERA at home this season, and his opponent implied team total of 3.6 runs vs. the Philadelphia Phillies ranks third on the slate.
Homer Bailey: He has arguably the best matchup of the day vs. the Detroit Tigers, whose projected lineup has posted a .250 wOBA and 28.2% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months. The result is a 3.3 opponent implied team total and -278 moneyline odds.
Dinelson Lamet: He always has appeal given his strikeout upside, and he leads all pitchers on the slate with a 12-month K/9 of 12.35. He also has a solid matchup vs. the Rockies, who have struggled offensively against right-handers when playing away from Coors this season. He’s an awesome option on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 98%.
- 1. Marcus Semien (R)
- 2. Robbie Grossman (S)
- 3. Matt Chapman (R)
- 4. Matt Olson (L)
- 5. Mark Canha (R)
Total Salary: $21,900
The A’s are currently implied for 5.8 runs, which is the third-highest mark on the slate. Their top stack will also cost you just $21,900, which makes them the perfect target to pair with an expensive pitcher. Their Team Value Rating of 80 is tied for second on DraftKings, and Semien and Chapman each own a Bargain Rating of at least 82%.
They’re taking on Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull, who mediocre at best this season. He’s pitched to a 4.45 ERA, and he’s been absolutely rocked over his past two starts. He’s allowed opposing batters to post an average distance of 250 feet, exit velocity of 99 MPH, and hard hit rate of 57%, all of which represent substantial increases when compared to his 12-month averages.
The A’s should be able to take advantage. They rank sixth in wRC+ against right-handers over the second-half of the season, and they collectively enter this contest in solid form. Among the stacked batters, only Chapman has failed to exceed his 12-month average hard hit rate over the past 15 days.
If you’re looking to spend down at pitcher on FanDuel, consider pairing him with the Houston Astros:
- 1. Jose Altuve (R)
- 3. Alex Bregman (R)
- 5. Yulieski Gurriel (R)
- 6. Aledmys Diaz (R)
Total Salary: $15,100
The Astros are an expensive option today, but they have massive upside. They’re currently implied for 6.5 runs, which is the top mark on the slate by half a run.
They’re expect to see Tommy Milone for the majority of the innings today — its unclear if he’ll start or come out of the bullpen — but it’s a great matchup regardless. He’s pitched to a 5.17 FIP while allowing opposing batters to average 2.11 HRs per nine innings. He’s been even worse over the second half, posting a 6.31 ERA, 6.21 FIP, and 2.76 HR/9.
Each of the stacked batters will have the splits advantage vs. Milone, and Altuve in particular has worn out left-handers over the past 12 months. He’s posted a .466 wOBA and .343 ISO, and he’s posted a 217 wRC+ against southpaws this season.
It’s tough to pass up Yasmani Grandal at the catcher position. He’s reasonably priced at $3,900 on DraftKings, and the Brewers are implied for 5.0 runs vs. Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels. Grandal has also crushed the ball over the past 15 days, posting an average distance of 270 feet, exit velocity of 97 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 57%.
On the other side of the same matchup, Kris Bryant is an appealing buy-low option on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $4,600, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 96%, and the Cubs are currently implied for 5.1 runs. He also has dual eligibility at third base and the outfield, which makes him easier to fit into your lineups.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis.
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Pictured above: Padres SP Dinelson Lamet (29)
Photo credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports