Baseball is officially back, and it’s one of the best possible sports for DFS. The scoring is far less predictable than it is in sports like basketball and football, making it ideal for guaranteed prize pools.
This season, I’m going to help walk you through each slate on Tuesday and Friday to help identify some possible leverage spots to take advantage of in guaranteed prize pools.
To help, I’ll be leaning on the vast array of FantasyLabs tools and metrics, including the Player Models, Trends Tool, and projected ownership. I’ll also be utilizing Derek Carty’s BAT X Projections, which are now available as an add-on within our models.
With that in mind, let’s dive into Tuesday’s 12-game main slate.
MLB DFS Chalk Pitchers
- Corbin Burnes ($10,100 on DraftKings, $10,600 on FanDuel)
- Sonny Gray ($6,800 on DraftKings, $8,200 on FanDuel)
Tuesday’s MLB DFS slate should be a good one. There are plenty of quality pitching options to choose from across the pricing spectrum. That said, Burnes and Gray figure to garner the most ownership by a significant amount.
Let’s start with Burnes. Last year’s NL Cy Young has a legitimate claim as the best pitcher in baseball, and he’s off to another strong start this season. He’s pitched to a sparkling 2.26 ERA through his first eight starts, which ranks 11th among qualified starters.
That said, Burnes has been a bit more vulnerable this year. He’s averaged approximately two fewer strikeouts per nine innings, and opposing batters have posted a 41.5% hard-hit rate. Burnes has benefited from better batted-ball luck in 2022 – his BABIP has dropped from .309 last season to .235 – but there’s no reason for that to continue since he’s allowing more hard contact.
Add it all up, and his 3.10 xERA and 3.42 FIP are both significantly worse than his marks from last year.
Burnes does benefit from an above-average matchup Tuesday vs. the Padres, who rank just 23rd in wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers. Burnes also leads the slate with an opponent implied team total of 3.1 runs, and he ranks second in K Prediction.
Overall, Burnes is a pitcher I will have exposure to on Tuesday, but I will likely be underweight to his nearly 35% projected ownership on DraftKings. Spreading the love between Burnes and some of the other top pitchers makes a lot of sense.
Gray is currently projected for 32.5% ownership on DraftKings via THE BAT X, but expect that number to rise over the course of the day. I’d be shocked if he checks in below 40%, and he could realistically eclipse 50% in some of the higher-dollar contests.
His $6,800 price tag is frankly one of the worst of the entire season. To put it in perspective, opposing pitcher Beau Brieske is priced at $7,300 on DraftKings, and he’s pitched to a 5.13 ERA this season. Gray is also a -259 favorite, while Brieske is a +210 underdog. There is no world where Brieske should be the more expensive pitcher.
Gray’s Vegas data is an extreme outlier for his salary. His 3.2 opponent implied team total trails only Burnes on this slate, and pitchers with comparable salaries, opponent implied team totals, and moneyline odds have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.68 and a Consistency Rating of 66.9% (per the Trends tool).
Gray also brings plenty of strikeout upside to the table. He’s racked up at least 10.31 strikeouts per nine innings in each season since 2019, including 10.89 in 2022. The Tigers also own the eighth-highest strikeout rate vs. right-handers this season.
Overall, Gray leads all pitchers in THE BAT X’s median projections. That’s absurd for someone who costs $6,800 and is merely the 18th-most expensive pitcher on DraftKings. There are very few scenarios where it makes sense to be overweight on a chalky pitcher, but I think that’s the case on Tuesday. If you do use Gray – and especially if you pair him with Burnes – make sure to get contrarian with your stacks.