The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
DraftKings and FanDuel will have a 15-game all-day and four-game main starting at 1:10 p.m. ET. Both site’s main slate begins at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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On FanDuel, there are four pitchers who cost more than $10,000:
- Gerrit Cole (R) $11,700, HOU vs. CHW
- Max Scherzer (R) $11,100, WSH @ NYM
- Jacob deGrom (R) $10,800, NYM vs. WSH
- Luis Castillo (R) $10,000, CIN @ MIL
Cole’s 3.56 ERA isn’t bad, but he’s been much better than that with a 2.32 xFIP — 1.24 runs lower than his ERA. He owns an absurd 38.3% strikeout rate this year, so it’s no surprise he leads the slate with an 8.9 K Prediction against the White Sox. The Astros check in with a massive -313 moneyline against them. Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries, K Predictions and Vegas data have averaged 46.97 FanDuel points per game with a +6.14 Plus/Minus and 65.1% Consistency Rating, per our Trends tool. Cole is a lock for cash games.
Scherzer’s matchup doesn’t stand out on paper as the Mets projected lineup has a middling 24.5% strikeout rate and ranks 16th in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) against righties. However, his 32.1% strikeout rate always gives him a high floor — he hasn’t struck out fewer than seven hitters in a game this season.
That said, it may be tougher for him to get the win as he’s pitching opposite deGrom, making the game almost a pick’em. At the time of writing, the Nationals are slight +102 underdogs.
deGrom got lit up for six earned runs in five innings against the Marlins in his last outing, which marks the third time this year he’s been shelled for five or more runs. The matchup against the Nationals also doesn’t stand out given their projected lineup has a 22.7% strikeout rate against righties over the past year, although they have been mediocre at generating runs, ranking 23rd in wRC+.
His 7.8 K Prediction is slightly lower than Scherzer’s 8.0 K Prediction and the Mets are slight -111 moneyline favorites with the Nationals implied for 3.2 runs. However, since Scherzer and deGrom play each other, I’d reserve them for tournaments only.
The pitching options on the early slate are incredibly underwhelming. Every team is implied for at least 4.0 runs, and only one team has a moneyline higher than -125 at the time of writing. Castillo is one of the best options among them. He’s been solid this season, pitching to a 2.95 xFIP and 31.8% strikeout rate.
That said, he draws a suboptimal matchup against a projected Brewers lineup that has a middling 24.7% strikeout rate and .326 wOBA. They also have the 13th-ranked offense in team ISO and wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season. He’s likely the best option given his projection is nine points higher than everyone else on the early slate, but you’ll pay a premium for him, resulting in an underwhelming +0.57 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel.
Michael Wacha is a better value on DraftKings with his 88% Bargain Rating, but he’s also worthy of a punt on FanDuel if you don’t want to pay for Castillo so you can load up on bats. Wacha owns the second-highest median projection on both sites, but he won’t provide much upside with his 4.6 K Prediction against a projected lineup that possesses a low 22.2% strikeout rate against righties over the past 12 months.
Rich Hill carries a 98% Bargain Rating on FanDuel against a projected Rays lineup that owns a 25% strikeout rate and .309 wOBA against left-handed pitchers over the past year. He’s been decent this season, pitching to a 3.39 xFIP and 27.9% strikeout rate, but the main issue is he doesn’t pitch deep into games since he rarely lasts longer than 90-95 pitches. We’re currently projecting him for a pitch count of 87.6 so he needs to be efficient with his opportunity.
Max Fried: He draws one of the best matchups on the board against a projected Giants lineup that has a 26.3% strikeout rate and .265 wOBA against lefties over the last year. They also rank 29th in team ISO and wRC+ against them this season. His 5.3 K Prediction isn’t great, but the Giants are implied for just 3.4 runs.
Jon Gray: He hasn’t been awful this season, pitching to a 3.66 xFIP and 26.5% strikeout rate. And Gray will have the benefit of having a Park Factor of 83 against the Pirates, who own a pedestrian .284 wOBA over the past 12 months and rank 20th in wRC+ against righties this season.
- 1. Marcus Semien (R)
- 2. Matt Chapman (R)
- 3. Matt Olson (L)
- 5. Jurickson Profar (S)
Total salary: $17,000
While the A’s are implied for a healthy 5.0 runs, they could go lower owned on this four-game slate since the Mariners (6.1), Rangers (5.6) and Cardinals (5.4) all have higher implied run totals. It’s a good spot as Jefry Rodriguez has worrisome Statcast data over the past two weeks, allowing opposing hitters to average a 220-foot average distance and 94-mph exit velocity.
The matchup against the righty will put Olson on the positive side of his batting splits. He’s smashed righties over the past 12 months, hitting them to the tune of a .348 wOBA and .248 ISO. Olson is also in good form, posting a 234-foot average distance, 96-mph exit velocity and 47% hard-hit rate over his past 13 games.
Chapman and Profar will both be on the positive side of their splits as well, owning wOBAs over .334 and ISOs over .231. With the exception of Olson, this entire stack has a Bargain Rating of at least 75% on DraftKings.
One of the top FanDuel stacks on the main slate in the CSURAM88 Model belongs to the Houston Astros.
- 1. George Springer (R)
- 2. Alex Bregman (R)
- 3. Michael Brantley (L)
- 5. Josh Reddick (L)
Total salary: $16,000
Mallex Smith is intriguing on the early slate. He’s expected to hit from the leadoff spot on a team that is implied for 6.1 runs. Per our Trends tool, this has historically been a positive trend for hitters. Since 2012, leadoff hitters with comparable salaries on teams with similar implied run totals have averaged a +1.53 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 52.1% Consistency Rating.
We’ll need some cheap hitters in order to get to Cole in cash games, and Kendrys Morales could be cheap exposure to the Yankees’ massive 6.5 implied run total. The switch-hitter will be on the positive side of his batting splits, posting a .357 wOBA and .189 ISO against right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months. It’s a good spot for Morales as Dan Straily has been throttled over his last two starts, allowing opposing hitters to average a robust 243-foot average distance with a 55% fly-ball rate.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is another cheap option. He’s averaged an exceptional +6.32 FanDuel Plus/Minus over his last 10 games. The Jays’ 4.3 implied run total against Rick Porcello isn’t great, but Guerrero has hit righties to the tune of a .392 wOBA and .269 ISO.
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: Gerrit Cole
Photo credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports