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MLB DFS Early Picks Breakdown (Thursday, May 19): Where is the Value on the Early Slate?

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

Tuesday features a 4-game main slate starting at 12:35 p.m. ET.

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MLB DFS Pitching Picks

MLB DFS Stud Picks

Chris Bassitt ($10,500) New York Mets (-162) vs. Saint Louis Cardinals

Bassitt is certainly priced like a top pitching option for Thursday’s early main slate. His $10,500 price tag is almost $2,000 more than any other pitcher as he takes on the Saint Louis Cardinals. The Vegas data supports that as well, with Bassitt having the lowest opponent implied total and the second-best moneyline odds on the slate.

His projections are fairly strong as well, at least in the context of this slate. He’s the leader in median projections in THE BAT’s system while coming in less than half a point below the leader in FantasyLabs Models. On the other hand, thanks to his salary, he’s one of the worst Pts/Sal options on the slate. He ranks ahead of just one pitcher in the FantasyLabs Pts/Sal projections.

Part of that is due to the difficult matchup. St. Louis is one of the best offenses in baseball in 2022. They rank inside the top 11 in wOBA, wRC+, and offensive WAR as a team. They also strike out at the lowest rate in the majors, as one of just four teams with a sub-20% rate.

Bassitt is also due for some regression, with an xERA and a SIERA both nearly a run higher than his ERA on the season. His swinging-strike rate of 10.8% is also fairly low relative to his 26% strikeout rate. While all of his secondary numbers are good, they all suggest a bit of regression is incoming,

Between the above factors and his outsized ownership projection, I’ll be staying away from Bassitt in GPPs. He’s still a strong cash game pick, though, and is the safest pitching option on today’s small slate.


MLB DFS Value Pick

Jordan Montgomery ($7,800) New York Yankees (-215) at Baltimore Orioles

Montgomery has similarly strong Vegas data as Bassitt while checking in at nearly $3,000 cheaper. His Yankees are the slate’s biggest favorites as they take on the struggling Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore is implied for just 3.3 runs.

Baltimore is clearly a much better matchup for pitchers than St. Louis. The Orioles strike out at a top-ten rate while ranking in the bottom ten in wOBA and wRC+ on the season. For what it’s worth, they’re also (slightly) worse against left-handed pitching than righties, which is another advantage to Montgomery.

Montgomery has solid numbers, with a 3.70 SIERA and 13.8% swinging strike rate on the season. His strikeout rate is just 20%, but compare those numbers to Bassitt’s. Montgomery has a three percent edge in swinging-strike rate while trailing by six percent in strikeouts. Those numbers should balance out over a big enough sample size.

Montgomery is the leader in Pts/Sal projection in both the FantasyLabs and THE BAT’s projection systems. Thanks to his outstanding matchup, I’m willing to eat the chalk on him in all contest types.


MLB DFS GPP Picks

Yu Darvish ($8,700) San Diego Padres (+101) at Philadelphia Phillies

Darvish, like Bassitt, is a strong pitcher with a difficult matchup on today’s slate. Normally I wouldn’t have much interest in a pitcher at $8,700 who’s a slight underdog with an opponent implied total over four. However, with only four games and eight pitchers in play today, Darvish is worth considering.

He has the best SIERA and strikeout rate of any pitcher available on the slate dating back to last season, though his numbers have dipped a bit at the start of 2022. Most of that is due to an absolutely dreadful second start of the season, though. The Giants shelled him for nine runs in less than two innings, but he’s been mostly strong otherwise.

His SIERA and xERA are both well below his actual ERA, and his fastball velocity is one of the best marks of his career. Darvish should be fine and isn’t showing any major signs of decline. While the matchup gives me some pause, he’s still a relatively safe choice today.

He ranks just slightly behind Montgomery for the lead in median projections in the FantasyLabs system. All three pitchers mentioned are within half a point of each other, though, so salary and ownership projections are important. Darvish is expected to be the least popular of the three (though still heavily owned), making him a strong GPP option.

MLB DFS Hitters

Notable Stack

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups.

The top DraftKings stack in the FantasyLabs MLB Tournament Model when generated by rating belongs to the Chicago White Sox:

  • Tim Anderson (1) ($5,200)
  • Yoan Moncada (2) ($3,600)
  • Luis Robert (3) ($4,300)
  • Jose Abreu (4) ($4,300)
  • Gavin Sheets (6) ($2,800)

The White Sox are a fairly obvious choice for Thursday’s slate. They have the best implied total of any team and are playing on the road at Kansas City. They’re facing Royals righty Carlos Hernandez ($5,300), who sports a SIERA north of five dating back to last season and a 4.97 ERA.

While Kauffman Stadium is decidedly a pitcher’s park, much of that is mitigated by the outstanding weather today. With temperatures in the 80s and wind blowing out to left, hitters have an 83 Weather Rating. While this stack features the sixth hitter Gavin Sheets, catcher Yasmani Grandal ($3,700), batting fifth, also has strong projections today.

Of course, the White Sox won’t go overlooked on today’s slate, thanks to their excellent Vegas data. Mixing in back-of-the-lineup Sox can mitigate that a bit, or using smaller Sox stacks in conjunction with a less popular team. Either way, they’re the best bet for production on a fairly ugly slate overall.


Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X

One of the great features of being a FantasyLabs Pro member is the option to purchase additional items in the FantasyLabs Marketplace.

A new addition to our MLB projections is THE BAT from Derek Carty of RotoGrinders. With this purchase, you can use his projections alone or create aggregate projections in our Player Models.

The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT, when generated by ceiling (outside of the White Sox), belongs to the New York Yankees:

 

The Yankees have a 4.9-run total as they travel to Baltimore to take on Bruce Zimmerman ($7,200) and the Orioles. Zimmerman is a lefty, which is a big edge for some of the Yankees bats. Stanton, in particular, destroys left-handed pitching with a career OPS of .995.

Torres, Donaldson, and Judge all see noticeable boosts to their OPS against southpaws as well. Rizzo struggles a bit but should come in fairly low owned thanks to the perceived disadvantage. Using the two through six hitters will also be a leverage play to a degree, though my guess would be the most popular stack is the first six hitters minus Rizzo.

Besides the platoon edge, the Yankees benefit from playing in a very hitter-friendly park and also have a Weather Rating of 70 for bats. While they’re far from a sneaky play on today’s slate, our ownership projections have them as somewhat less chalky than the White Sox. That makes them a solid GPP option.

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Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks

Brandon Nimmo OF ($4,400 DraftKings; $3,300 FanDuel) New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Dakota Hudson)

Nimmo is the top-rated outfielder in our Tournament Model, thanks to his single-digit ownership projection for Thursday’s slate. The powerful lefty is on the correct side of his platoon splits, with Hudson allowing a .315 wOBA in his career to left-handed bats. He’s also batting leadoff while coming in cheaper than the projected top outfielders (Judge, Stanton) on the slate.

He’s a nice leverage play on a small slate.

Bobby Witt Jr. 3B/SS ($4,500 DraftKings; $3,200 FanDuel) Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox (Vince Velasquez

Witt has been up and down during his rookie season. He’s hitting just .224 on the season while striking out over 26% of the time. However, he also has an ideal mix of power and speed, with four homers and five stolen bases already. His BABIP is only .280, and a player with his speed should settle in over .300 once variance sorts itself out.

Velasquez is also a plus matchup for the Royals. He has a 5.53 ERA on the season while striking out only 20% of the batters he’s faced. That should help Witt put the ball in play, giving him a chance for a big day on the basepaths. Outside of Witt, Whitt Merrifield ($4,900 DraftKings; $3,400 FanDuel) also stands out as a strong play for Kansas City.

Robinson Chirinos C ($2,400 DraftKings; $2,100 FanDuel) Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (Jordan Montgomery)

If fading the popular Montgomery, one way to gain leverage is to roster a Baltimore bat or two against him. My favorite choice is Chirinos, thanks to an overall weak catcher position today. If he doesn’t get it done, a goose egg from a catcher is a lot more tolerable than at other spots.

Chirinos is also super cheap and has much better career numbers against lefties (.826 OPS). With him getting the day off yesterday, he should be fresh for today’s game as well. He’s not an exciting pick, but he leads the position in Pts/Sal projection for the slate.

 

 

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

Tuesday features a 4-game main slate starting at 12:35 p.m. ET.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

MLB DFS Pitching Picks

MLB DFS Stud Picks

Chris Bassitt ($10,500) New York Mets (-162) vs. Saint Louis Cardinals

Bassitt is certainly priced like a top pitching option for Thursday’s early main slate. His $10,500 price tag is almost $2,000 more than any other pitcher as he takes on the Saint Louis Cardinals. The Vegas data supports that as well, with Bassitt having the lowest opponent implied total and the second-best moneyline odds on the slate.

His projections are fairly strong as well, at least in the context of this slate. He’s the leader in median projections in THE BAT’s system while coming in less than half a point below the leader in FantasyLabs Models. On the other hand, thanks to his salary, he’s one of the worst Pts/Sal options on the slate. He ranks ahead of just one pitcher in the FantasyLabs Pts/Sal projections.

Part of that is due to the difficult matchup. St. Louis is one of the best offenses in baseball in 2022. They rank inside the top 11 in wOBA, wRC+, and offensive WAR as a team. They also strike out at the lowest rate in the majors, as one of just four teams with a sub-20% rate.

Bassitt is also due for some regression, with an xERA and a SIERA both nearly a run higher than his ERA on the season. His swinging-strike rate of 10.8% is also fairly low relative to his 26% strikeout rate. While all of his secondary numbers are good, they all suggest a bit of regression is incoming,

Between the above factors and his outsized ownership projection, I’ll be staying away from Bassitt in GPPs. He’s still a strong cash game pick, though, and is the safest pitching option on today’s small slate.


MLB DFS Value Pick

Jordan Montgomery ($7,800) New York Yankees (-215) at Baltimore Orioles

Montgomery has similarly strong Vegas data as Bassitt while checking in at nearly $3,000 cheaper. His Yankees are the slate’s biggest favorites as they take on the struggling Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore is implied for just 3.3 runs.

Baltimore is clearly a much better matchup for pitchers than St. Louis. The Orioles strike out at a top-ten rate while ranking in the bottom ten in wOBA and wRC+ on the season. For what it’s worth, they’re also (slightly) worse against left-handed pitching than righties, which is another advantage to Montgomery.

Montgomery has solid numbers, with a 3.70 SIERA and 13.8% swinging strike rate on the season. His strikeout rate is just 20%, but compare those numbers to Bassitt’s. Montgomery has a three percent edge in swinging-strike rate while trailing by six percent in strikeouts. Those numbers should balance out over a big enough sample size.

Montgomery is the leader in Pts/Sal projection in both the FantasyLabs and THE BAT’s projection systems. Thanks to his outstanding matchup, I’m willing to eat the chalk on him in all contest types.


MLB DFS GPP Picks

Yu Darvish ($8,700) San Diego Padres (+101) at Philadelphia Phillies

Darvish, like Bassitt, is a strong pitcher with a difficult matchup on today’s slate. Normally I wouldn’t have much interest in a pitcher at $8,700 who’s a slight underdog with an opponent implied total over four. However, with only four games and eight pitchers in play today, Darvish is worth considering.

He has the best SIERA and strikeout rate of any pitcher available on the slate dating back to last season, though his numbers have dipped a bit at the start of 2022. Most of that is due to an absolutely dreadful second start of the season, though. The Giants shelled him for nine runs in less than two innings, but he’s been mostly strong otherwise.

His SIERA and xERA are both well below his actual ERA, and his fastball velocity is one of the best marks of his career. Darvish should be fine and isn’t showing any major signs of decline. While the matchup gives me some pause, he’s still a relatively safe choice today.

He ranks just slightly behind Montgomery for the lead in median projections in the FantasyLabs system. All three pitchers mentioned are within half a point of each other, though, so salary and ownership projections are important. Darvish is expected to be the least popular of the three (though still heavily owned), making him a strong GPP option.

MLB DFS Hitters

Notable Stack

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups.

The top DraftKings stack in the FantasyLabs MLB Tournament Model when generated by rating belongs to the Chicago White Sox:

  • Tim Anderson (1) ($5,200)
  • Yoan Moncada (2) ($3,600)
  • Luis Robert (3) ($4,300)
  • Jose Abreu (4) ($4,300)
  • Gavin Sheets (6) ($2,800)

The White Sox are a fairly obvious choice for Thursday’s slate. They have the best implied total of any team and are playing on the road at Kansas City. They’re facing Royals righty Carlos Hernandez ($5,300), who sports a SIERA north of five dating back to last season and a 4.97 ERA.

While Kauffman Stadium is decidedly a pitcher’s park, much of that is mitigated by the outstanding weather today. With temperatures in the 80s and wind blowing out to left, hitters have an 83 Weather Rating. While this stack features the sixth hitter Gavin Sheets, catcher Yasmani Grandal ($3,700), batting fifth, also has strong projections today.

Of course, the White Sox won’t go overlooked on today’s slate, thanks to their excellent Vegas data. Mixing in back-of-the-lineup Sox can mitigate that a bit, or using smaller Sox stacks in conjunction with a less popular team. Either way, they’re the best bet for production on a fairly ugly slate overall.


Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X

One of the great features of being a FantasyLabs Pro member is the option to purchase additional items in the FantasyLabs Marketplace.

A new addition to our MLB projections is THE BAT from Derek Carty of RotoGrinders. With this purchase, you can use his projections alone or create aggregate projections in our Player Models.

The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT, when generated by ceiling (outside of the White Sox), belongs to the New York Yankees:

 

The Yankees have a 4.9-run total as they travel to Baltimore to take on Bruce Zimmerman ($7,200) and the Orioles. Zimmerman is a lefty, which is a big edge for some of the Yankees bats. Stanton, in particular, destroys left-handed pitching with a career OPS of .995.

Torres, Donaldson, and Judge all see noticeable boosts to their OPS against southpaws as well. Rizzo struggles a bit but should come in fairly low owned thanks to the perceived disadvantage. Using the two through six hitters will also be a leverage play to a degree, though my guess would be the most popular stack is the first six hitters minus Rizzo.

Besides the platoon edge, the Yankees benefit from playing in a very hitter-friendly park and also have a Weather Rating of 70 for bats. While they’re far from a sneaky play on today’s slate, our ownership projections have them as somewhat less chalky than the White Sox. That makes them a solid GPP option.

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New users only

Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks

Brandon Nimmo OF ($4,400 DraftKings; $3,300 FanDuel) New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Dakota Hudson)

Nimmo is the top-rated outfielder in our Tournament Model, thanks to his single-digit ownership projection for Thursday’s slate. The powerful lefty is on the correct side of his platoon splits, with Hudson allowing a .315 wOBA in his career to left-handed bats. He’s also batting leadoff while coming in cheaper than the projected top outfielders (Judge, Stanton) on the slate.

He’s a nice leverage play on a small slate.

Bobby Witt Jr. 3B/SS ($4,500 DraftKings; $3,200 FanDuel) Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox (Vince Velasquez

Witt has been up and down during his rookie season. He’s hitting just .224 on the season while striking out over 26% of the time. However, he also has an ideal mix of power and speed, with four homers and five stolen bases already. His BABIP is only .280, and a player with his speed should settle in over .300 once variance sorts itself out.

Velasquez is also a plus matchup for the Royals. He has a 5.53 ERA on the season while striking out only 20% of the batters he’s faced. That should help Witt put the ball in play, giving him a chance for a big day on the basepaths. Outside of Witt, Whitt Merrifield ($4,900 DraftKings; $3,400 FanDuel) also stands out as a strong play for Kansas City.

Robinson Chirinos C ($2,400 DraftKings; $2,100 FanDuel) Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (Jordan Montgomery)

If fading the popular Montgomery, one way to gain leverage is to roster a Baltimore bat or two against him. My favorite choice is Chirinos, thanks to an overall weak catcher position today. If he doesn’t get it done, a goose egg from a catcher is a lot more tolerable than at other spots.

Chirinos is also super cheap and has much better career numbers against lefties (.826 OPS). With him getting the day off yesterday, he should be fresh for today’s game as well. He’s not an exciting pick, but he leads the position in Pts/Sal projection for the slate.