Heads-up before we dive deep into pitching analysis and game stacks: FanDuel and DraftKings feature different start times and different games in their MLB DFS main slate offerings. FanDuel starts at 12:35 ET, and DraftKings starts at 1:05 ET.
Also, the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies play a doubleheader, meaning the game will only last seven innings. That matchup is on the DraftKings slate but not the FanDuel slate.
Don’t say you were not warned.
There are big names on the pitching slate today, including a season debut. There are also price discrepancies between FanDuel and DraftKings to exploit. Here are the top-priced pitchers for FanDuel’s main slate on Sunday:
- Jacob deGrom (R) $11,100, NYM vs MIA
- Sonny Gray (R) $10,800, CIN @ MIL
- Stephen Strasburg (R) $10,000, WAS vs MIA
- Lance Lynn (R) $9,400, TEX vs LAA
- Brandon Woodruff (R) $9,100, MIL vs CIN
Mets ace Jacob deGrom has more-or-less picked up where he left off in 2019. DeGrom is striking out batters at the highest rate (11.65 strikeouts per 9) and walking batters at the lowest rate (1.59 walks per 9) of his career. He faces the Miami Marlins on Sunday as they attempt to field a competitive lineup after double-digit positive COVID-19 tests. Miami’s offense ranks 12th in strikeout rate and 22nd in walk rate, both of which play to deGrom’s strengths.
DeGrom has the highest rating and highest projected ceiling score on FanDuel and DraftKings today. Stats aside, do you really trust the Marlins to get to Jacob deGrom? I sure don’t. Fire up deGrom with confidence.
Sonny Gray has been electric to open the 2020 regular season, and I believe his hot streak will continue against the Brewers in Milwaukee. He is averaging a career-high 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings while also reporting his lowest walk-rate since 2015. Gray is also keeping flyballs in the park and generating a 52.9% groundball rate.
Gray is the only FanDuel pitcher with a Bargain Rating of 100% on the Bales Model, and his 71% consistency rating is the best on the slate. The Brewers rank among the bottom-six teams in batting average and slugging percentage. Milwaukee also reports a middling on-base percentage and the third-highest strikeout percentage in baseball.
Based on both the metrics and the eye test, this appears to be a fantastic matchup for Gray. He is particularly appealing on DraftKings, where you can roster him at a $1,400 discount.
Stephen Strasburg is making his 2020 debut this afternoon, but I will not be rostering him and I advise you to do the same. Strasburg grades out as a middle-of-the-road option on the Bales Model and is projected to score fewer than 30 FanDuel points. Furthermore, he will likely be on a pitch count, which decreases his probability to notch a Quality Start and the subsequent bonus points.
He is also coming off of a nerve issue in his hand, which is particularly disconcerting. Hard pass.
Note: Strasburg is on FanDuel only today.
I have never understood how Lance Lynn has remained relatively consistent during his career, but here we are. He has never been a liability regarding home runs allowed, and his career walk rate is decent (3.39 per BB/9), but he may be getting lucky so far. Lynn has a sterling 0.49 ERA that is disguising a 3.52 Expected Fielder Independent Pitching (xFIP). On top of that, Lynn has somehow allowed zero baserunners to score this season, which feels unsustainable to say the least.
He faces an Angels roster that ranks third in home runs, fourth in walks and eighth in runs. Lynn’s saving grace is that the Angels’ bats have gone quiet since arriving in Texas. Los Angeles has been held to three runs or less in consecutive games for the first time this season. I expect the Angels to reverse that trend in a higher-scoring contest this afternoon, which does not bode well for Lynn as a fantasy start.
Brandon Woodruff may be one of the best pitchers in the game, but he is stuck in a small market with minimal national exposure. He is walking 1.56 batters per nine innings, his ERA and xFIP don’t set off any alarms, and his soft contact percentage is 31.7%. Woodruff’s only blemish this season has been the long ball, as he has allowed 18.2% of flyballs to leave the park.
Next up for Woodruff is Gray and the Cincinnati Reds. Cincinnati has the fourth-highest walk percentage in MLB and ranks sixth in homeruns. His matchup is certainly less-than-ideal, but Woodruff may be talented enough to overcome that handicap. He is a solid pivot option off of Gray, offering higher strikeout upside, potentially depressed ownership, and extra salary cap flexibility. Woodruff is $900 cheaper on DraftKings.
Jose Berrios is $1,100 cheaper on FanDuel than DraftKings. He is the SP6 and SP2 on their respective sites as well. He toes the rubber against Kansas City and their league-worst 5.1% walk percentage. Berrios has the second-highest Leverage Score on the Bales Model at 84% based on projected fantasy points and ownership. The Twins are -167 Moneyline favorites on the road, as well.
Spencer Turnbull has been impressive in two starts and draws the Pittsburgh Pirates in their series finale. The Pirates have the second-worst offensive WAR in baseball, and count me as someone not shocked to see that. Pittsburgh’s .206 batting average is tied for fourth-worst in baseball. The Bales Model does not feel strongly about this pick, in large part because innings pitched and playing in Pittsburgh weigh against Turnbull. His projected ownership is between 2% and 4% on FanDuel.
Nate Eovaldi is not walking batters in 2020, and the Toronto Blue Jays are not taking free passes. Eovaldi could be a cost-saving pitcher with upside for a quality start and even the win.
Andrew Heaney rates highly on the Bales Model for FanDuel and DraftKings. He projects to score 4.4 points per $1,000 (best on the slate) with a 5% to 8% projected ownership against Texas. The Rangers have the fourth-worst offensive WAR rating (-15.1) in 2020.
If you squint hard, Asher Wojciechowski is palatable for those rostering deGrom in two-pitcher DFS formats. The Washington Nationals have the second-lowest walk percentage in MLB and carry a -10.1 offensive WAR. Wojclechowski’s xFIP is a full run lower than his ERA, so there is room for positive regression. If you’re betting that the Nationals won’t touch their projected run total of 5.2, Asher could be a surprise play today.
The Boston Red Sox lead the projected four-player stack for the Bales Model.
- Rafeal Devers (L)
- Xander Boegaerts (R)
- J.D. Martinez (R)
- Alex Verdugo (L)
Projected Salary: $13,200
Verdugo has the highest player rating on the Bales Model for FanDuel and DraftKings, and all four of the players listed rates among the top-12 in projected ceiling score. The Red Sox face Matt Shoemaker of the Toronto Blue Jays. He rates as the lowest-rated pitcher on DraftKings and second-lowest on FanDuel.
Boston also reigns supreme with the top-rated stack on DraftKings, but the Minnesota Twins are the second-best stack and could pair well with Berrios as a team stack.
- Jorge Polanco (S)
- Nelson Cruz (R)
- Eddie Rosario (L)
- Max Kepler (L)
Projected Salary: $18,400
Kepler and Polanco rate second and third, respectively, on the Bales Model player rater, while Kepler and Cruz are top-12 in projected ceiling score. Brady Singer of the Royals has the task of slowing down the Twins. The Bales Model does not think he will excel in that role, rating Singer as the slate’s third-worst pitcher on FanDuel and only slightly ahead of Shoemaker on DraftKings.
Yandy Diaz has been hitting leadoff for the Tampa Bay Rays and faces James Paxton and the New York Yankees today. Paxton has been so bad that he has not pitched more than three innings in either of his starts in 2020. Diaz is the 11th-rated player on the FanDuel slate according to the Bales Model, has a low ownership projection and boasts a 90% Leverage Score.
Jonathan Schoop has seen his medium- and hard-hit ball percentages improve this season and will look to continue that upward trajectory against Pirates lefty Steven Brault. Schoop gets to hit at PNC Park, the layout of which benefits him greatly. As a right-handed hitter that pulls the ball 45% of the time, Schoop will likely get to avoid PNC’s left field wall altogether. He also gets bonus points for hitting second in the Tigers lineup, a salary drop of $500 or more the past month, and a Bargain Rating over 90%.