The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
DraftKings and FanDuel have a 15-game all-day slate and starting at 1:05 p.m. ET, along with a six-game early slate (DraftKings) at 2:10 p.m. ET and four-game early slate (FanDuel) at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Both eight-game main slates begin at 7:10 p.m. ET.
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On FanDuel, there are four pitchers who cost more than $10,000:
- Jacob deGrom (R) $11,300, NYM vs. MIA
- Trevor Bauer (R) $11,200, CLE @ OAK
- Gerrit Cole (R) $11,000, HOU vs. TEX
- Max Scherzer (R) $10,800, WSH @ LAD
deGrom hasn’t consistently hit fantasy value this year, but he’s still pitching to a 2.97 xFIP and massive 33.5% strikeout rate. He also couldn’t be in a better spot than he is on Saturday against the Marlins. Their projected lineup carries a 25.8% strikeout rate and weak .275 wOBA. Oh, and they rank dead last in wRC+ against righties this season.
Even more impressive: The Mets are -283 on the moneyline and the Marlins have an implied total of just 2.4 runs. We have 80 instances in our Trends tool where pitchers have faced a team with an implied run total under 2.5. Those pitchers have historically dominated, averaging a +8.90 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 71.3% Consistency Rating. If you’re opting to pay up for pitching over expensive bats on the main slate, deGrom should be the guy.
Bauer is an easy fade on FanDuel considering deGrom costs just $100 more. While Bauer’s 7.7 K Prediction leads DraftKings’ early slate by 1.6, the matchup isn’t the best against an A’s team with a 22.7% strikeout rate and .334 wOBA. That said, he still stands out on the early slate, considering the other options leave much to be desired.
Except for Cole Hamels, Bauer’s median projection is the highest mark by nearly seven points. Despite the subpar matchup, Bauer’s an elite pitcher, and the Indians check in as -135 moneyline favorites while the A’s are implied for a meager 3.7 runs.
Cole would be more intriguing if deGrom wasn’t in an absolute smash spot. You can still make a strong case for Hamels, as the projected Rangers lineup has a 25.9% strikeout rate, resulting in a 9.3 K Prediction. However, there’s still some risk with the Rangers ranking 10th in wRC+ and fifth in team ISO against right-handed pitchers this season. I’d lean Cole as more of a tournament pivot off deGrom.
It’s rare to see Scherzer being anything but the most expensive pitcher on the slate. On Saturday, he checks in as the fourth-priciest pitcher. I’d view Scherzer as more of a tournament option with the spot deGrom is in, especially since the Nationals are slight underdogs. Scherzer is in a tough spot, as the Dodgers’ projected lineup has a middling 25.8% strikeout rate over the past year and this season they have a top-four offense in team ISO and wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.
Value options aren’t great on Saturday with most of the solid pitching either checking in on the top-end or more in the mid-range.
Miles Mikolas is more of a value on FanDuel’s early slate with his 77% Bargain Rating. He’s not a high strikeout guy so his upside is limited, but he tends to grind out six-to-eight inning games. The Pirates’ 3.8 implied run total is among the lower marks on the early slate and the Cardinals are the second-largest favorite on the early slate.
Anthony DeSclafani: He’s been solid this season, averaging a +5.78 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 63% Consistency Rating. Overall, DeSclafani is an intriguing option against a projected Giants lineup that has a high 27.2% strikeout rate and mediocre .287 wOBA. The matchup for him could set up well with his 28.6% strikeout rate this year. At the time of writing, the Giants’ 3.6 implied run total is one of the lower marks among all pitchers on the main slate.
Walker Buehler: I wouldn’t expect him to carry much ownership in tournaments with him pitching opposite of Scherzer. While Buehler has shown some signs of life over his past two starts with 14 combined strikeouts, he still possesses some worrisome Statcast data, allowing opposing hitters to average a 235-foot average distance, 95-mph exit velocity and 45% hard-hit rate. I wouldn’t use him in single or three-entry tournaments, but you could mix him in with some MME lineups.
Update: Cole Hamels is also in play DraftKings’ early slate. He leads our median projections for that slate and carries the second-highest K Prediction.
With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. The top early-slate four-man DraftKings stack from when generated by projected points in our Models belongs to the Minnesota Twins.
- 1. Max Kepler (L)
- 2. Jorge Polanco (S)
- 3. Nelson Cruz (R)
- 4. Eddie Rosario (L)
Total salary: $19,500
The Twins’ 5.4 implied run total at the time of writing is one of the higher totals on the early slate. They’re slated to square off against right-hander Spencer Turnbull. He owns a 2.31 ERA this season, but his 4.27 xFIP suggests he’s been a bit lucky thus far.
The switch-hitting Polanco has demolished right-handed pitchers over the past year, hitting them to the tune of a .404 wOBA and .214 ISO. He’s also in good form as his 15-day/12-month differentials all exceed his year-long average. Additionally, Cruz is generating an absurd amount of hard contact over the past two weeks, evidenced by his 97-mph exit velocity and 54% hard-hit rate — both of which exceed his 15-day/12-month averages by 4-mph and 10 percentage points.
The top non-Coors stacks on FanDuel when generated by projected points belongs to the Atlanta Braves.
- 1. Ronald Acuna (R)
- 2. Dansby Swanson (R)
- 3. Freddie Freeman (L)
- 4. Josh Donaldson (R)
Total salary: $14,800
The Braves will square off against Kenneth Kelly, who got wrecked in his last start, allowing seven earned runs to the Rays across four innings. As a result, Kelly has abysmal Statcast data, allowing hitters to average a 235-foot average distance, 95-mph exit velocity and 44% hard-hit rate over his past two starts.
His poor Statcast data could bode well for this Braves stack considering all of them have exceptional batted-ball data. The entire stack has averaged exit velocities of 93-mph or higher, along with hard-hit rates 43% and above.
On the early slate, it’s hard not to get exposure to the Angels again. They’re currently sporting a 5.8 implied run total against Dylan Bundy, who has a 45% fly-ball rate over the past year. That could bode well (again) for Mike Trout, who has a 44% fly-ball rate, along with a .475 wOBA and .318 ISO over the same time frame. Trout also carries a 75% Bargain Rating on DraftKings.
To try and get to some of the more expensive pitching options or Trout, you may need someone like Jason Kipnis, who costs just $3,200 on DraftKings and $2,300 on FanDuel. He has a respectable .350 wOBA and .195 ISO against righties over the past 12 months, and his +37 Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL) suggests he could be due for some progression.
Ian Kinsler could be cheap exposure to Coors Field. He carries the second-highest median projection in our models, but he’s priced outside the top 10 among the second baseman on DraftKings and is eighth-most expensive second baseman on FanDuel.
Cheap hitters are the theme Saturday with Coors Field and expensive pitching options on the slate. Niko Goodrum fits that mold. He’s expected to be the leadoff man for the Tigers, and he has a top-two Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
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: Jacob deGrom
Photo credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports