The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players. 

Saturday’s main slate differs by site. DraftKings features 12 games, while FanDuel is limited to just nine. Both slates start at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Pitchers

Studs

Three pitchers on today’s slate own a salary of at least $10,000 on DraftKings:

  • Mike Clevinger (R) $11,800, CLE vs. KC
  • Madison Bumgarner (L) $10,400, SF @ OAK
  • Zack Wheeler (R) $10,000, NYM vs. ATL

Clevinger has been limited to just 13 starts because of injuries this season, but he’s been a stud when he’s been able to take the mound. He’s pitched to a 3.11 ERA and 2.47 FIP, while averaging 13.06 strikeouts per nine innings. Only Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale have posted a better K/9 among qualified starters.

Clevinger is in an excellent spot today vs. the Kansas City Royals. Their projected lineup has limped to a .301 wOBA and 28.5% strikeout rate over the past 12 months, giving Clevinger impressive marks across the board. He owns the best Vegas data on the slate, leading all pitchers in both opponent implied team total (3.1 runs) and moneyline odds (-346). Pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have historically been elite options, posting an average Plus/Minus of +4.21 on DraftKings (per the Trends tool).

He’s an elite option across the industry, but he’s a particularly nice value at $11,200 on FanDuel.

Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger (52).

Bumgarner is priced like a stud on DraftKings, but he doesn’t possess many stud-like qualities on today’s slate. He has a brutal matchup vs. the Oakland A’s, who have posted the fourth-best wRC+ against left-handers since the All-Star break. They’re currently implied for 5.0 runs, which is really high considering Bumgarner’s salary. Historically, pitchers with comparable price tags and opponent implied team totals have averaged a Plus/Minus of -3.73 on DraftKings.

Bumgarner also has to face them in Oakland, and he’s been drastically worse on the road this season. He’s pitched to a 2.95 ERA at Oracle Park in San Francisco, but his ERA jumps to 4.76 when pitching on the road. He’s an easy fade on today’s slate.

Wheeler is another tough pitcher to make a case for today. He’s taking on the Atlanta Braves, and their projected lineup has posted a .325 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12 months. They also rank seventh in the league in runs per game and have averaged the same amount of runs per game at home and on the road. Wheeler is merely a slight -105 favorite in this matchup, and his 4.0 opponent implied team total ranks just fourth on the slate.

That said, he does have some upside for guaranteed prize pools. The Braves have posted the ninth-highest strikeout rate against right-handers over the second half of the season, and fellow right-hander Jacob deGrom recorded 13 strikeouts against the Braves on Friday. His ownership should also be modest at best, which increases his appeal.

Values

Kyle Gibson has posted a negative Plus/Minus in each of his past three starts, but he’s in a fantastic bounce-back spot today vs. the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have made mediocre right-handers look like Pedro Martinez all season, allowing them to post an average Plus/Minus of +4.39 on DraftKings. They rank just 28th in wRC+ against right-handers over the second half of the season, and they’ve posted the highest strikeout rate against right-handers over the same time frame.

Gibson unsurprisingly has elite Vegas data in this matchup. His 3.6 opponent implied team total and -304 moneyline odds both trail only Clevinger’s on today’s slate. His salary also makes him $2,800 cheaper than Clevinger on DraftKings and $3,300 cheaper on FanDuel.

Dakota Hudson doesn’t typically stand out from a fantasy perspective given his K/9 of just 6.99 this season. That said, he has pitched to a 3.63 ERA and he has an excellent matchup today vs. the Colorado Rockies. Their offense has struggled mightily against right-handers on the road this season, ranking just 29th in wRC+. Their projected lineup has also posted a strikeout rate of 27.9% against right-handers over the past 12 months, so Hudson has more strikeout upside than usual.

Hudson also enters this contest in strong recent form. He’s limited his past three opponents to an average distance of just 173 feet, which represents a decrease of -17 feet when compared to his 12-month average. He’s a strong SP2 option on DraftKings.

Fastballs

Dinelson Lamet: He has arguably the widest range of outcomes on today’s slate. He has a difficult matchup vs. the Red Sox, who rank fourth in wRC+ against right-handers this season. That said, Lamet has posted a K/9 of 12.07 over the past 12 months, and the Red Sox projected lineup has posted a 31.4% strikeout rate over the same time frame. He has considerable upside.

Nathan Eovaldi: He made his return from the IL in his last start but last just two innings. He should go longer in today’s outing vs. the Padres, and it’s definitely a good matchup. Their projected lineup has posted a .293 wOBA and 27.7% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months.

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. Today’s top five-man DraftKings stack per the Bales Model belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals:

  • 1. Dexter Fowler (S)
  • 3. Paul Goldschmidt (R)
  • 4. Marcel Ozuna (R)
  • 5. Paul DeJong (R)
  • 7. Matt Carpenter (L)

Total Salary: $20,900

The Cardinals present one of the best values today on DraftKings. Their implied team total of 5.3 runs ranks fifth, while their Team Value Rating of 79 is tied for third. Their top stack costs just $20,900 – which averages out to less than $4,200 per player – so they’re an excellent option to pair with an expensive pitcher like Clevinger.

They’re taking on Rockies right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez, who has struggled through 30.2 MLB innings this season. He’s pitched to a 5.87 ERA, and his 6.57 FIP suggests he’s been even worse than his traditional metrics indicate. He’s also averaged nearly as many walks (4.40) as strikeouts (5.28) per nine innings this season and has posted a HR/FB rate of 24.1%. All of those numbers make this a juicy matchup.

Gonzalez has struggled in particular against left-handed batters this season, allowing them to post a .414 wOBA. That bodes well for Fowler, who is very reasonably priced at just $4,000. He enters this contest in excellent recent form, outperforming his 12-month averages in distance, exit velocity and hard hit rate over the past 15 days.

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz (32) and St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler (25)

On FanDuel, the top four-man stack belongs to the Minnesota Twins:

  • 1. Max Kepler (L)
  • 2. Jorge Polanco (S)
  • 3. Nelson Cruz (R)
  • 5. Miguel Sano (R)

Total Salary: $15,300

The Twins lead the slate with an implied team total of 6.5 runs, which will likely make them the most popular stack option. Each of the stacked batters is projected for double-digit ownership, so you’ll need to keep that in mind with your remaining lineup selections.

They have immense upside today vs. Edwin Jackson. He’s pitched better with the Tigers than he did with the Blue Jays earlier this season, but he still owns an ERA of 8.46 over 44.2 innings. He’s also been one of the most HR prone pitchers in the league, allowing 3.02 per nine innings, and the Twins lead the league in HRs per game.

Cruz just recently returned from the IL, but he’s showed no signs of rust. He’s posted an average distance of 252 feet, exit velocity of 98 mph and hard hit rate of 64% over four games, all of which are elite numbers. He’s also one of the best pure values on FanDuel, where his $4,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%.

Other Batters

If you’re looking to target the Twins in a more contrarian manner, consider Jake Cave. He’s projected to bat ninth in the lineup, but he’s also priced essentially at the minimum at $2,100 on FanDuel. His eight Pro Trends are tied for the second most among batters on FanDuel, and he’s hitting the ball well at the moment. He went yard twice on Friday, so he has more upside than the typical No. 9 hitter.

Matt Chapman has done his best work this season at home against left-handed pitchers, posting a wRC+ of 206. He’ll be in that situation today vs. Bumgarner, which makes him an interesting contrarian option with upside. He’s currently projected for just 2%-4% ownership on DraftKings, where his $4,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%. His 10 Pro Trends are also tied for the most on the slate.

Finding value on today’s slate is tougher than usual, but Josh VanMeter stands out. He’s priced very fairly for a leadoff hitter, and he has dual eligibility at second base and the outfield on DraftKings. He’ll also be on the positive side of his batting splits vs. Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams, who has allowed lefties to post a .405 wOBA this season. He’s an excellent option for cash games and has upside for GPPs as well.

Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis.

After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.

Pictured above: Twins DH Nelson Cruz (23)
Photo credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports