The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features a 13-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Picks
Max Scherzer ($10,900) New York Mets (-215) vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Scherzer stands above the rest of the pitching field today in terms of projections and salary. His $10,900 price tag is the highest we’ve seen for a pitcher in some time, but it’s well deserved. Since returning from injury in early July, he’s exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his seven starts, including three 30-point performances.
Scherzer brings a 32.3% strikeout rate and 1.98 ERA into the contest. While his underlying metrics are slightly worse, a 2.92 xERA or 2.45 FIP are certainly nothing to sneeze at.
If there’s a hole to be poked in Scherzer today, it’s the matchup. The Phillies are one of the league’s better lineups, ranking 11th in wRC+ on the season. Vegas doesn’t seem to care about the matchup, though, with Philadelphia implied for a slate-low 2.9 runs.
Scherzer leads the FantasyLabs projections for median and ceiling by a fairly wide margin while coming in a close second in THE BAT.
Carlos Rodon ($10,600) San Francisco Giants (-275) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Scherzer ranks second in THE BAT’s projections because of Rodon, who narrowly edges him out for the top spot. Rodon’s numbers on the season are nearly as strong as Scherzer’s: a 31.2% strikeout rate, 2.93 ERA, and 2.77 xERA.
Rodon also has a significantly better matchup with the Pirates. They rank 28th in overall wRC+ at 83 and have been slightly worse against left-handers. They also have a 2.9-run implied total, and the Giants’ moneyline odds are even better than the Mets.
It’s tough to fit Scherzer and Rodon tonight, with the decision ultimately resting on how much to value the matchup for Rodon. Ownership projections are extremely close, so that doesn’t give us much insight. I have a slight lean towards the dominance — and fresher arm — of Scherzer, but both aces will likely put up excellent scores tonight.
MLB DFS Value Picks
Michael Kopech ($7,100) Chicago White Sox (-220) vs. Detroit Tigers
Yesterday, This section was headlined by Zach Plesac, a roughly $7,000 right-handed pitcher taking on the Tigers. He responded with a 23.25-point performance, even with his bullpen costing him the win.
Today, Kopech fits that bill. He’s had an up-and-down season, with roughly average overall numbers across the board. But that’s not the point of playing him. The matchup with a historically bad Tigers offense is, particularly at his reasonable price tag.
Kopech is a perfect complement to Scherzer or Rodon, which frees up some salary to spend on your hitters. His Vegas data is far stronger than we normally see for a pitcher in his price range, as is his 7.85 K Prediction. He’s at least $1,000 too cheap tonight.
He leads the FantasyLabs and THE BAT projections in Pts/Sal and should be a popular choice tonight.
MLB DFS GPP Picks
Luis H. Garcia ($9,800) Houston Astros (-335) vs. Oakland A’s
Garcia is perhaps the most viable pivot from Scherzer and Rodon, thanks to his solid numbers and an excellent matchup. He’s taking on the A’s, whose hitters have outperformed only the Tigers throughout the 2022 season.
Of course, Garcia’s numbers are decidedly worse than the top arms on the slate today. He has a 25.5% strikeout rate and 3.98 ERA. Those are both strong marks but somewhat hard to stomach at his price tag and with the opportunity cost involved.
However, that’s why his ownership should be reasonably low tonight. That’s always worth paying attention to in an excellent matchup such as this one. If his chances of outscoring either of the top arms exceeds his relative ownership, that makes him a strong play.
Additionally, it’s somewhat possible to pair him with Scherzer or Rodon, given the salary discount he offers compared to playing both together. It still eats up a big chunk of salary but should be a fairly unique pairing. I wouldn’t get to him in smaller-field GPPs or cash games, but he’s worth mixing in in multi-entry play.
Jordan Montgomery ($6,800) Saint Louis Cardinals (-166) vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Montgomery has a sneaky-good matchup tonight with the Brewers. Milwaukee has a strong overall offense, with a 105 wRC+ that ranks ninth in the majors this season. However, they’ve been much worse against lefties like Montgomery. When facing southpaws, their wRC+ drops to 88; roughly equivalent to the Reds’ overall mark.
Montgomery has been solid in his own right this season, with a 20.2% strikeout rate and 3.53 ERA. Those numbers are eerily similar to Kopech’s, as is his price tag.
While the matchup for Montgomery isn’t quite as strong as it is for Kopech, it’s still far better than the field is likely to account for. Like with Garcia, it’s not a pivot I’d consider making in smaller tournaments or cash games.
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 Houston Astros:
- Jose Altuve (1) ($5,500)
- Yuli Gurriel (2) ($3,200)
- Yordan Alvarez (3) ($5,800)
- Alex Bregman (4) ($4,900)
- Kyle Tucker (5) ($4,400)
The Astros have the highest implied non-Coors total on the slate as they host the A’s. The A’s are starting Adam Oller ($5,400), who has a 7.63 ERA this season. Oller has split time between the bullpen and starting rotation, and his ERA dips to 8.66 as a member of the rotation.
Given the strength of the Astros lineup, a matchup like that is an attractive one. Houston ranks top-five in the majors in wRC+ coming into Friday night.
The price tag on this stack should keep ownership reasonable on the Astros. Currently, the FantasyLabs projections have only Altuve and Alvarez in the double digits, and they just barely crack that threshold. That makes them a strong tournament option tonight, as they could easily outscore the lesser offenses playing in Colorado.
Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X
The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT when generated by ceiling belongs to the San Diego Padres:
The Padres match Houston’s 5.7-run implied total on Friday, with the added benefit of being the visiting team in their game. The guaranteed at-bats in the ninth inning could prove crucial, as both teams are heavy favorites and likely to be leading by that point in their respective evenings.
They have a similarly strong matchup with Cory Abbott ($5,700) of the Nationals. He’s also been used as a starter and reliever this season, with a 7.27 ERA in his two starts. Against a dangerous Padres lineup that now includes Juan Soto and Josh Bell, that’s a recipe for trouble.
The Padres are a bit pricier than the Astros but feature similar ownership projections. Given the identical implied totals, the choice effectively comes down to how much you’re willing to pay up for the guaranteed ninth inning at the plate. According to our Trends Tool, for teams with an implied total of at least five runs, players on the visiting team average about 0.4 more DraftKings points:
It’s not a major difference, but it’s certainly worth considering.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
Charlie Blackmon OF ($4,800 DraftKings; $3,900 FanDuel) Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Zach Davies)
I’d be remiss not to mention the Rockies in some capacity here, as they have a massive 6.4-run implied total tonight. They’re hosting this game against the Diamondbacks and starter Zach Davies ($6,700). Davies isn’t a bad pitcher by any stretch, posting a solid 4.03 ERA this season. Of course, the thin air at Coors Field makes many an average arm look bad, especially those with only an 18.2% strikeout rate.
Blackmon is projecting as the Rockies’ top option, but full stacks are very viable. The price tags are relatively reasonable across the board, though not quite what I’d consider a discount, even considering the excellent implied total.
Christian Walker 1B ($4,100 DraftKings; $3,800 FanDuel) Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (Antonio Senzatela)
The Diamondbacks are the other half of the game at Coors tonight, with an even better pitching matchup. They’re taking on Antonio Senzatela ($6,000) of the Rockies. He has a very high ground ball rate but is only striking out 13.3% of the batters he’s faced this season.
Walker is my top choice for the Diamondbacks, thanks to his power. He’s hit 26 home runs this season with a robust 45.8% flyball rate. His .212 batting average results from lots of those flyballs turning into long outs, but at Coors Field, they’re far more likely to leave the park.
He’s an excellent value on DraftKings, with a strong 69% Bargain Rating.
Andrew Vaughn 1B/OF ($4,200 DraftKings; $3,100 FanDuel) Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers (Daniel Norris)
The White Sox are another team worth stacking today, as they take on Daniel Norris ($5,000) of the Tigers. Norris was working out of the Cubs’ bullpen before getting cut, but the Tigers are using him as a starter. He has a career 4.55 ERA in that role.
Norris is also a lefty, which is good news for Vaughn. He has a .908 OPS against southpaws in his two-year career, compared to just .703 overall. While it’s unlikely he gets too many at-bats off Norris in this one, he could do damage in the one or two he’s likely to see.
The rest of the White Sox are worth considering as well. They have a solid 4.9-run implied total and pretty reasonable prices on Friday.