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MLB DFS: Model Picks, Value Plays, and Top Stack for August 23

The FantasyLabs MLB Player Models house numerous data points to help you construct your MLB DFS rosters.

They house our floor, median, and ceiling projections for each player, but that’s just the beginning of what you’ll find inside. You’ll also find our Trends tool, stacking tool, and more.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your teams for cash games or small-field tournaments.

Let’s dive into some MLB plays that stand out in our Player Models for today’s main slate.

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Bargain Rating Picks

You might be asking: what is Bargain Rating, and why should I care?

Bargain Rating shows how much of a bargain a player is on one DFS site versus others. If a player is significantly cheaper on one site than the other, they will have a favorable Bargain Rating on the site where they’re more affordable and a poor Bargain Rating on the site where they’re more expensive. It’s a straightforward metric, but targeting players at reduced price tags is almost always a strong strategy in DFS.

Bargain Rating strongly correlates with player value, which you can quickly see with our predictive projected Plus/Minus metric.

Seeing how Plus/Minus helps you project how many points a player is expected to score compared to what their salary implies them to score, this is a good company for Bargain Rating.

MLB DFS DraftKings Bargain Value

Kole Calhoun ($2,000): Outfielder, Texas Rangers

Coming in at the stone minimum on DraftKings tonight is Rangers outfielder Kole Calhoun. This Rangers offense is implied for 5.2 runs as they get the benefit of being the road team playing at Coors Field. This will be Calhoun’s third game back after missing extended time with a heel injury. He has had a relatively tough season, but any time a player is $2,000 at Coors Field, they have to be considered at least in cash games.

Calhoun will also get the platoon advantage against Rockies right-hander German Marquez who is having his worst year in the major leagues since he was a rookie. Marquez has a very low 18.6% strikeout rate paired with a 1.43 WHIP and a 5.05 ERA. His stats take a hit whenever he is pitching at Coors Field, especially against left-handed batters.

This is a perfect situation to find a great value in Calhoun tonight.


MLB DFS FanDuel Bargain Value

MJ Melendez ($2,400): Catcher, Kansas City Royals

THE BAT and our in-house projections both believe MJ Melendez is the best projected Plus/Minus value on FanDuel tonight. The rookie catcher has recorded a positive Plus/Minus in four-straight games averaging 11.7 FanDuel points per game during that time. Melendez also has a great eye at the plate as he leads the Royals by a landslide in walks with 47 and pairs that with a respectable 14 home runs.

Similar to Calhoun, Melendez will get the platoon advantage against Diamondbacks right-hander Zach Davies. Through 19 starts this season, Davies has a 2-4 record and a 3.99 ERA. Generating strikeouts has also been a problem spot for Davies as he has an 18.3% strikeout rate this season.

His walk rate is rather high at 8.4%, making this a great spot for Melendez to find his way on base a few times batting in the lead-off spot.

MLB DFS Ceiling Projection Picks

Pitcher

Robbie Ray ($9,900 DraftKings, $10,600 FanDuel) vs. Washington Nationals

Pitching is very spread out on this slate as there are seven pitchers projected for double-digit ownership, but no pitcher above 23%. Robbie Ray is the highest-owned at a projected ownership for THE BAT at 22.32%. In his first season with the Mariners, Ray leads the team in strikeouts with 166 and has a very impressive 1.20 WHIP. Ray’s 28.5% strikeout rate has helped him get out of a lot of jams on the mound.

Taking the bump against the Nationals is always a profitable spot, especially since their lineup has lost Juan Soto and Josh Bell. They have the worst record in the league at 41-82, and they have the lowest implied total on the slate at 2.7 runs. Ray has recorded double-digit strikeouts in two of his last three starts and should have no trouble mowing down this depleted lineup tonight.

Editors note: Ray’s ownership projection has risen since this article was written. 


Hitter

Ronald Acuna Jr. ($5,600 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel) at Pittsburgh Pirates

The Atlanta Braves continue to roll, winning 12 of their last 14 games and are averaging 6.7 runs during that stretch. Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the Braves in on-base percentage as he will be batting lead-off again tonight. Acuna Jr. has double-digit hits in two of his last four games and in six of the Braves’ 14 games being a key catalyst to their winning streak. He is a dual threat with power and speed, which always provides an upside.

JT Brubaker will take the mound for the Pirates coming off his best outing of the season against the Red Sox, allowing only two hits in seven innings pitched. Much tougher spot for Brubaker against this Braves’ heavy-hitting lineup, which he already lost to earlier in the season. Through 23 starts, Brubaker has a 3-10 record with a 4.19 ERA. He can generate strikeouts here and there, but Acuna Jr. is in a great spot yet again.

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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 within our Player Models.

The top five-man DraftKings stack from THE BAT using median projections in our stacking tool comes from the Texas Rangers. When you load them into our Lineup Builder, you’ll have the option to hand-build the rest of your team or optimize the rest of it.

This 1-5 Rangers stack is the best that THE BAT has to offer tonight. Being the road team in Coors Field will always be a great spot, and the Rangers are implied for 5.2 runs tonight.

The Rangers have won seven of their last 10 games as they enter this mini two-game series against the Rockies. This stack only costs $23,000 on DraftKings, providing plenty of room for pitchers and a solid secondary stack.

Batting lead-off for the Rangers is Marcus Semien, who is having a very average season. He is the second-most expensive option in this stack and has shown some power recently with four home runs in his last 14 games. His bat may be coming around as his hard-hit rate has climbed to 32.6% this season.

Corey Seager is the most popular bat in this lineup. In his first season with the Rangers, Seager has already tied his career-high in home runs and has a .210 ISO. He has carried the momentum of his last two years with the Dodgers into this season with the Rangers. Seager is worth the price tag in this matchup.

Leading the Rangers in batting average, hits, on-base percentage, and projected to bat No. 3 is Nathaniel Lowe. He was also getting the platoon advantage tonight and is performing much better in his second season with the Rangers than last season, as Lowe, too, is one home run away from his career-high.

Batting clean-up is Adolis Garcia, who is the team leader in RBI with 76. He is second in home runs and steals, while he leads the team in triples and doubles. A very well-rounded batter who currently has a 19-game hit streak. Garcia is definitely a must for this Rangers stack giving his upside and lineup spot.

The last batter in this stack is catcher Jonah Heim. There are two minimum-priced options drawing a lot of attention for the Rangers, but Heim fills a catcher position that is always tough to find a good bat. Heim has a career-best 41.8% hard-hit rate paired with a .188 ISO and 13 home runs.

Rockies German Marquez will take the mound looking to have better success at home tonight. Pitching at Coors Field this season, Marquez has a 5.85 ERA and has allowed a .379 wOBA compared to a 4.11 ERA and a .313 wOBA on the road. He is also way more likely to give up a long ball at Coors Field with a 1.87 HR/9 compared to a 0.88 HR/9 on the road. All signs are pointing to the Rangers being a go-to stack for tonight’s 15-game slate.

The FantasyLabs MLB Player Models house numerous data points to help you construct your MLB DFS rosters.

They house our floor, median, and ceiling projections for each player, but that’s just the beginning of what you’ll find inside. You’ll also find our Trends tool, stacking tool, and more.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your teams for cash games or small-field tournaments.

Let’s dive into some MLB plays that stand out in our Player Models for today’s main slate.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models & projections

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

Bargain Rating Picks

You might be asking: what is Bargain Rating, and why should I care?

Bargain Rating shows how much of a bargain a player is on one DFS site versus others. If a player is significantly cheaper on one site than the other, they will have a favorable Bargain Rating on the site where they’re more affordable and a poor Bargain Rating on the site where they’re more expensive. It’s a straightforward metric, but targeting players at reduced price tags is almost always a strong strategy in DFS.

Bargain Rating strongly correlates with player value, which you can quickly see with our predictive projected Plus/Minus metric.

Seeing how Plus/Minus helps you project how many points a player is expected to score compared to what their salary implies them to score, this is a good company for Bargain Rating.

MLB DFS DraftKings Bargain Value

Kole Calhoun ($2,000): Outfielder, Texas Rangers

Coming in at the stone minimum on DraftKings tonight is Rangers outfielder Kole Calhoun. This Rangers offense is implied for 5.2 runs as they get the benefit of being the road team playing at Coors Field. This will be Calhoun’s third game back after missing extended time with a heel injury. He has had a relatively tough season, but any time a player is $2,000 at Coors Field, they have to be considered at least in cash games.

Calhoun will also get the platoon advantage against Rockies right-hander German Marquez who is having his worst year in the major leagues since he was a rookie. Marquez has a very low 18.6% strikeout rate paired with a 1.43 WHIP and a 5.05 ERA. His stats take a hit whenever he is pitching at Coors Field, especially against left-handed batters.

This is a perfect situation to find a great value in Calhoun tonight.


MLB DFS FanDuel Bargain Value

MJ Melendez ($2,400): Catcher, Kansas City Royals

THE BAT and our in-house projections both believe MJ Melendez is the best projected Plus/Minus value on FanDuel tonight. The rookie catcher has recorded a positive Plus/Minus in four-straight games averaging 11.7 FanDuel points per game during that time. Melendez also has a great eye at the plate as he leads the Royals by a landslide in walks with 47 and pairs that with a respectable 14 home runs.

Similar to Calhoun, Melendez will get the platoon advantage against Diamondbacks right-hander Zach Davies. Through 19 starts this season, Davies has a 2-4 record and a 3.99 ERA. Generating strikeouts has also been a problem spot for Davies as he has an 18.3% strikeout rate this season.

His walk rate is rather high at 8.4%, making this a great spot for Melendez to find his way on base a few times batting in the lead-off spot.

MLB DFS Ceiling Projection Picks

Pitcher

Robbie Ray ($9,900 DraftKings, $10,600 FanDuel) vs. Washington Nationals

Pitching is very spread out on this slate as there are seven pitchers projected for double-digit ownership, but no pitcher above 23%. Robbie Ray is the highest-owned at a projected ownership for THE BAT at 22.32%. In his first season with the Mariners, Ray leads the team in strikeouts with 166 and has a very impressive 1.20 WHIP. Ray’s 28.5% strikeout rate has helped him get out of a lot of jams on the mound.

Taking the bump against the Nationals is always a profitable spot, especially since their lineup has lost Juan Soto and Josh Bell. They have the worst record in the league at 41-82, and they have the lowest implied total on the slate at 2.7 runs. Ray has recorded double-digit strikeouts in two of his last three starts and should have no trouble mowing down this depleted lineup tonight.

Editors note: Ray’s ownership projection has risen since this article was written. 


Hitter

Ronald Acuna Jr. ($5,600 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel) at Pittsburgh Pirates

The Atlanta Braves continue to roll, winning 12 of their last 14 games and are averaging 6.7 runs during that stretch. Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the Braves in on-base percentage as he will be batting lead-off again tonight. Acuna Jr. has double-digit hits in two of his last four games and in six of the Braves’ 14 games being a key catalyst to their winning streak. He is a dual threat with power and speed, which always provides an upside.

JT Brubaker will take the mound for the Pirates coming off his best outing of the season against the Red Sox, allowing only two hits in seven innings pitched. Much tougher spot for Brubaker against this Braves’ heavy-hitting lineup, which he already lost to earlier in the season. Through 23 starts, Brubaker has a 3-10 record with a 4.19 ERA. He can generate strikeouts here and there, but Acuna Jr. is in a great spot yet again.

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Sign up and deposit up to $100

Your deposit will be fully matched

New users only

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 within our Player Models.

The top five-man DraftKings stack from THE BAT using median projections in our stacking tool comes from the Texas Rangers. When you load them into our Lineup Builder, you’ll have the option to hand-build the rest of your team or optimize the rest of it.

This 1-5 Rangers stack is the best that THE BAT has to offer tonight. Being the road team in Coors Field will always be a great spot, and the Rangers are implied for 5.2 runs tonight.

The Rangers have won seven of their last 10 games as they enter this mini two-game series against the Rockies. This stack only costs $23,000 on DraftKings, providing plenty of room for pitchers and a solid secondary stack.

Batting lead-off for the Rangers is Marcus Semien, who is having a very average season. He is the second-most expensive option in this stack and has shown some power recently with four home runs in his last 14 games. His bat may be coming around as his hard-hit rate has climbed to 32.6% this season.

Corey Seager is the most popular bat in this lineup. In his first season with the Rangers, Seager has already tied his career-high in home runs and has a .210 ISO. He has carried the momentum of his last two years with the Dodgers into this season with the Rangers. Seager is worth the price tag in this matchup.

Leading the Rangers in batting average, hits, on-base percentage, and projected to bat No. 3 is Nathaniel Lowe. He was also getting the platoon advantage tonight and is performing much better in his second season with the Rangers than last season, as Lowe, too, is one home run away from his career-high.

Batting clean-up is Adolis Garcia, who is the team leader in RBI with 76. He is second in home runs and steals, while he leads the team in triples and doubles. A very well-rounded batter who currently has a 19-game hit streak. Garcia is definitely a must for this Rangers stack giving his upside and lineup spot.

The last batter in this stack is catcher Jonah Heim. There are two minimum-priced options drawing a lot of attention for the Rangers, but Heim fills a catcher position that is always tough to find a good bat. Heim has a career-best 41.8% hard-hit rate paired with a .188 ISO and 13 home runs.

Rockies German Marquez will take the mound looking to have better success at home tonight. Pitching at Coors Field this season, Marquez has a 5.85 ERA and has allowed a .379 wOBA compared to a 4.11 ERA and a .313 wOBA on the road. He is also way more likely to give up a long ball at Coors Field with a 1.87 HR/9 compared to a 0.88 HR/9 on the road. All signs are pointing to the Rangers being a go-to stack for tonight’s 15-game slate.