The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday’s main slate features 13 games starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Picks
Justin Verlander ($10,500) Houston Astros (-165) vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Verlander pitched only two innings across 2020 and 2021 but is right back to his old MVP self to start 2022. In 13 innings of work to start the season, he’s struck out 15 while allowing only one run. His four-seamer is averaging over 95 mph, slightly above his career average — very impressive for a 39-year-old.
The Astros are heavily favored at home against the Blue Jays with Verlander on the mound. Toronto’s 3.8-run Vegas total isn’t the lowest on the slate, but it’s still a solidly low total. Verlander is projected for just over seven strikeouts against the Blue Jays while benefiting from slightly positive PArk Factor and Weather Ratings.
There isn’t much that needs to be said about JV, as he should be in strong consideration for your lineups whenever he’s on the mound.
He leads both our in-house projections and THE BAT’s in median and ceiling projections for Friday’s slate.
MLB DFS Value Pick
Chris Flexen ($6,000) Seattle Mariners (-135) vs. Kansas City Royals
Flexen is purely a matchup play on Friday. He’s facing the Royals, who are implied for the lowest team total on the slate at 3.6. Flexen has struggled to start the season, allowing six runs over 10.1 innings across two starts. His SIERA is even higher than his ERA over the past two seasons, suggesting his solid 2021 numbers had a fair amount of good luck involved.
Still, he’s a moderate favorite at only $6,000 on DraftKings. That’s a function of the struggling Royals offense. They’re averaging under three runs per game on the season. They’ve done that despite striking out at a bottom-five rate in the league. That limit’s Flexen’s upside, as his strikeout rate is also one of the lowest on the slate.
That lack of upside makes Flexen better suited for cash games, where going five or six innings and only allowing a run or two would be a solid output at his salary.
He leads (or is tied for the lead) in Pts/Sal in both FantasyLabs and THE BAT’s projection sets.
MLB DFS GPP Picks
Patrick Corbin ($6,700) Washington Nationals (-105) vs. San Francisco Giants
If Justin Verlander has aged like wine, Corbin is aging like milk. For five consecutive seasons (counting the start of 2022), he’s seen a decline in his strikeout rate and an increase in his ERA. However, he’s still only 32 years old and has shown enough ability in his career that he’s worth a look today.
Vegas isn’t expecting a return to form from Corbin. They have the Giants implied for 4.8 runs, one of the highest totals on the slate. Still, he’s near the lead in Pts/Sal today; part of that is based on matchup, as the Giants are striking out at a top-five rate in the league while batting only .217 as a team.
Those struggles are only compounded against southpaws. Against lefties like Corbin, San Francisco strikes out over 30% of the time while hitting only .156. If there’s ever a get-right spot for Corbin, this may be it. I’m willing to allocate a small chunk of my play to Corbin — maybe for the last time.
Michael Kopech ($8,400) Chicago White Sox (-107) at Minnesota Twins
Kopech has been solid so far in his young career, with a 2.85 SIERA dating back to the start of 2021 (78.1 innings). More importantly, his 34.8% strikeout rate in that time frame leads the slate. He’s projected behind only Verlander and Freddy Peralta ($8,900) for strikeouts on today’s slate.
He should also be somewhat under the radar, with less than favorable Vegas data. His White Sox are essentially a pick ’em against the Twins, who are implied for 3.9 runs. Neither of those are bad numbers, but with plenty of other attractive options on the slate, his ownership should be very reasonable.
The matchup with Minnesota shouldn’t scare anyone off, though. Their bats rank top 10 in strikeout rate while batting just .202 to start the season. This game has a favorable Park Factor and Weather Rating for pitchers as well. Bailey Ober ($8,800) of the Twins is also a strong option in this game.
Kopech represents a solid value but more importantly, a high-leverage option for today’s slate. He’s within the top five pitchers in both median and ceiling projections.
MLB DFS Hitters
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 Atlanta Braves:
- Ozzie Albies (1) ($4,600)
- Matt Olson (2) ($4,300)
- Austin Riley (3) ($3,500)
- Marcell Ozuna (4) ($3,000)
- Adam Duvall (5) ($2,400)
Our models like the righty-heavy lineup of the Braves today as they take on lefty Trevor Rogers of the Marlins. Olson is the lone left-handed bat in this group, and while he hits right-handed pitching better, he doesn’t exhibit extreme platoon splits.
Much of this lineup does have significant platoon splits, though, in the right direction for today’s matchup. Albies has an OPS more than 200 points higher against left-handed pitching, Ozuna gets a 50-point boost to his slugging percentage, and both Riley and Duvall have slightly better numbers against left-handed pitching.
Catcher Travis D’Arnaud ($2,200) batting sixth is also a viable option in this stack. While he doesn’t hit left-handed pitching particularly well, he’s insanely cheap. He also allows you to take care of your catcher spot with your stack and fit an additional expensive bat at one of the better hitting positions.
Atlanta is implied for a solid 4.4 runs today. While that’s not among the slate’s leaders, that’s still a solid indicator that they should outperform their meager salaries. They’re an especially strong stack in lineups that feature two of the more expensive pitchers — a build that should be fairly under-the-radar today.
Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X
The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT, when generated by ceiling belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers:
The powerful Dodgers lineup often appears in this section, with some slight variations. (The one-through-five stack including Justin Turner ($4,000) over Will Smith is the second-highest ceiling stack.) The Dodgers trail only the Giants in terms of implied total among road teams, with a solid 4.5.
They also have a juicy pitching matchup against Nick Martinez ($6,100) of the Padres. Martinez has a 4.50 ERA dating back to the start of 2021 and allows hard contact on over 40% of the balls put in play against him. That latter figure is especially enticing for the Dodgers, given the power they feature throughout the lineup.
Of course, the Dodgers come at a premium — both in salary and likely in ownership. While including Smith over Turner will save some ownership, we could save some salary by mixing in Cody Bellinger ($3,100), expected to bat seventh.
After a bad 2021, he’s off to a hot start in 2022. He has a .391 wOBA and a hard-hit rate of 46.4%. We’ve seen his salary creep up steadily throughout the year, and we might not get him this cheap the rest of the season.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
Leury Garcia 2B/SS ($3,800 Draftkings; $2,100 FanDuel) Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (Bailey Ober)
I mentioned Ober as a strong pitching play above, but there’s an angle to playing White Sox against him. Ober has very solid career numbers in just over 100 innings pitched, but he’s struggled heavily with left-handed hitting. Lefties hit .287 against him, compared to just .226 for right-handed hitting.
The White Sox lineup isn’t necessarily set up to take advantage of those splits, with only two pure left-handed bats in the lineup. However, switch-hitting Garcia is a solid option. He hits for a lower average — but more power — against right-handed pitching, making him a solid tournament option.
He’s also projected to bat second, making his $2,100 FanDuel salary far too cheap. He has a 91% Bargain Rating there and one of the best Pts/Sal on the slate.
Austin Slater OF ($2,400 DraftKings; $2,200 FanDuel) San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals (Patrick Corbin)
Corbin is another pitcher mentioned as a possible play, but with a very obvious case against him. It’s quite possible that Corbin is totally washed, which means loading up on Giants is the move today. Slater is projected to lead off and comes at just a $2,200 salary on DraftKings.
Washington is a roughly neutral hitting environment base on Park Factor, but that represents a big improvement for Giants bats. If multi entering GPPs tonight, I’d want to have exposure both to Corbin and the Giants bats. The range of outcomes is incredibly wide.
For single-entry and/or cash game players, though, Giants bats are the move.
They have the highest implied run total of any road team on the slate. Outside of lefties Brandon Belt ($5,500) and Brandon Crawford ($5,100), they also are all fairly cheap.
We probably want to avoid left-handed hitting against Corbin anyway. Slater is second only to teammate Darin Ruf ($2,400) in Pts/Sal projection on the slate.
Mike Trout OF ($5,900 DraftKings; $4,200 FanDuel) Los Angeles Angels vs. Baltimore Orioles (Bruce Zimmerman)
I’ve mentioned in this space that there’s never a bad time to play Trout, only varying degrees of good. With a ton of value to be found in other hitters (primarily from the Giants) today ranks fairly high on the good scale. Trout’s Angels also have a five-run implied total against Zimmerman of the Orioles.
Trout is the leader in median projection on the slate, with teammate Shohei Ohtani ($6,300) having a slightly higher ceiling projection. I prefer Trout today, though. The $400 in salary is a factor, as is the left-handed pitching their facing. Both Trout and Ohtani fare better against right-handed pitching, but the discrepancy is bigger for the left-handed Ohtani.
Either way, Trout is always worth a look if you can find the salary, but especially today. Full Angels stacks are prohibitively expensive, but smaller ones featuring Trout have some appeal.