The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features a 14-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Picks
Shane McClanahan ($10,200) Tampa Bay Rays (-200) vs. Kansas City Royals
McClanahan is the most expensive player on Friday’s slate, and he’s had an excellent season. He’s pitched to a 2.28 ERA and a 2.53 xERA while striking out 11.05 batters per nine innings. His strikeout upside is particularly appealing for fantasy purposes, ranking fifth among qualified starters in K/9.
McClanahan is in an interesting spot Friday vs. the Royals. On one hand, his Vegas data is excellent: He owns the second-lowest opponent implied team total and the third-best moneyline odds. Historically, pitchers with comparable marks have averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.95 (per the Trends tool).
On the other hand, the Royals have been pretty good against left-handed pitchers this season. They rank 15th in wRC+ in that split, and they boast the third-lowest strikeout rate. It should be harder than usual for McClanahan to generate swings and misses in this matchup, which lowers his appeal for fantasy purposes. He also owns the top ownership projection at pitcher, so he warrants some fade consideration in large tournaments.
Blake Snell ($9,300) San Diego Padres (-385) vs. Washington Nationals
Snell has not been nearly as good as McClanahan this season, but he stands out as the superior option on Friday. He gets a juicy matchup vs. the Nationals, who gutted their lineup at the trade deadline. Without Juan Soto and Josh Bell, they may have the worst lineup in baseball.
Vegas is giving Snell and the Padres tons of respect in this spot. He’s a massive -385 favorite, and his 2.6 opponent implied team total is the top mark on the slate.
Snell should also be able to pile up strikeouts. His 12.01 K/9 is actually slightly better than McClanahan’s mark, and his matchup is far easier. The Nationals’ strikeout rate for the season is on the low side, but those numbers include all the games with Soto and Bell. Over the past 14 days, the Nationals have whiffed at the seventh-highest frequency against southpaws.
Snell owns the top projected Plus/Minus in THE BAT X, making him the clear top choice if paying up at pitcher.
MLB DFS Value Pick
Patrick Sandoval ($7,200) Los Angeles Angels (-145) at Detroit Tigers
Picking on the Tigers is almost always a good idea. Their offense has been the worst in baseball this season, and while they’ve been better against southpaws than traditional pitchers, they’ve struggled in that split recently. They own just a 67 wRC+ against left-handers over the past 14 days, which is the fourth-lowest mark in baseball.
Sandoval is also a decent pitcher. He’s posted a 3.42 ERA and a 9.54 K/9 across 100 innings, and he had a 3.62 ERA last year. He’s definitely been a bit lucky this season – his 4.48 xERA is more than a full run higher than his actual mark – but the Tigers are not the type of offense to take advantage.
Overall, the Tigers’ 3.6 implied team total is tied for the fourth-lowest on the slate, while Sandoval is just the 18th-most expensive pitcher on DraftKings. That’s the definition of value.
MLB DFS GPP Picks
Martin Perez ($8,100) Texas Rangers (+125) at Minnesota Twins
What does Perez have to do to get some respect on DraftKings? He’s priced at just $8,100, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%, despite the fact that he has provided outstanding value all season. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.08 in 2022, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in nine of his past 11 outings.
Perez has historically been an extreme groundball pitcher, and he owns a 51.7% groundball rate once again in 2022. However, he’s added a bit more strikeout upside this season, resulting in a career-best 7.92 K/9. Overall, his 2.79 ERA ranks 13th among qualified starters. Not bad for a guy who the Rangers picked up for $4M this offseason.
The matchup vs. the Twins isn’t ideal, but Perez is simply too cheap for how he’s pitched this season.
Marco Gonzales ($6,100) Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
Like the Tigers, picking on the A’s has been a good strategy for most of the year. They rank 29th in runs per game, and they’re just 25th in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.
That give Gonzales much more appeal than usual. He’s pitched to a 4.18 ERA this season, but he had a mark below four in each of the previous three seasons. He doesn’t provide much in terms of strikeout upside, but he does a good job of limiting the damage on balls in play. He grades out as above average in both average exit velocity and hard-hit rate.
Pitching in Oakland should also help Gonzales. They have a spacious ballpark which has been one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in baseball this season. The A’s are currently implied for just 3.6 runs, which is extremely low given Gonzales’ price tag. Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries and opponent implied team totals have averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.41.
MLB DFS Hitters
- LaMonte Wade (1) ($2,400)
- Thairo Estrada (2) ($4,000)
- Joc Pederson (3) ($3,900)
- Wilmer Flores (4) ($3,800)
- Brandon Belt (5) ($2,800)
Coors Field is on the docket on Friday, but apparently, no one told the DraftKings pricing algorithm. The Giants are currently priced like they’re starting a series vs. the Dodgers, not the Rockies.
You can stack the first five hitters in the Giants’ lineup for just $16,900, which is an absolute joke at Coors Field. It’s not like the Giants are even a bad offense: they rank 10th in runs per game!
They’ll be facing an extremely mediocre pitcher in Jose Urena on Friday. The veteran right-hander has pitched to a 4.80 ERA and a 5.80 xERA, and he’s managed less than five strikeouts per nine innings. When pitching at Coors, his ERA jumps all the way to 5.40.
Guys like Wade and Belt are must-plays in cash at their minimal price tags. Urena has been dreadful against left-handed batters this season, surrendering a .399 wOBA when pitching at Coors.
Expect the ownership on the Giants to be out of control, but their Team Value Rating of 110 on DraftKings is quite possibly the highest of the year. They’re going to be tough to pass up.
Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X
The Giants also grade out extremely favorably in THE BAT X, but the top stack when generated by ceiling actually belongs to the Dodgers:
The Dodgers could fly a bit under the radar on today’s slate. Their top stack is more than $10,000 more expensive than the Giants, which should result in minimal ownerships. Smith leads the group at 13.8%, but the other four batters are all projected for single-digit ownership.
The Dodgers are taking on left-hander Jesus Luzardo, who is extremely hit-or-miss. He can have starts where he looks unhittable and others where he’s serving up batting practice. The Braves got to him for seven hits and four runs in just five innings in his last outing, and most of Luzardo’s best starts have come against subpar competition. The Dodgers are certainly not that.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
C.J. Cron ($5,000 DraftKings; $4,100 FanDuel) Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants
The Rockies aren’t nearly as cheap as the Giants on Friday, but they’re still implied for 5.0 runs at Coors Field. They’re facing left-hander Alex Wood, and while that’s not the easiest matchup, it does bode well for Cron. He’s historically feasted against left-handed pitchers, posting a .226 ISO in that split for his career.
He’s increased that figure to .311 when facing a southpaw at Coors Field this season, launching six homers in just 74 at-bats.
Byron Buxton ($6,000 on DraftKings; $3,700 on FanDuel) Minnesota Twins vs. Texas Rangers
It’s rare to see a player like Buxton with such a massive price discrepancy between the two sites. His FanDuel salary is nearly half his DraftKings salary, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%. Buxton draws a tough matchup vs. Perez, but he’s been at his best against left-handers this season. He owns a 161 wRC+, and he’s smoked 10 homers in just 98 at-bats. Buxton doesn’t have a homer in 12 career plate appearances vs. Perez, but he does have two singles, two doubles, and two walks.
That’s good for a 1.100 OPS.
Tyler O’Neill ($4,600 DraftKings; $3,000 FanDuel) St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks
The Cardinals are another offense worth consideration on Friday. They’re facing a left-hander in Tommy Henry, and the start of his big-league career has been mediocre. He’s walked nearly as many batters as he’s struck out, and he owns a 5.86 xFIP. The Cardinals have a bunch of hitters who do damage against southpaws, including O’Neill.
He’s posted a 136 wRC+ in that split this season, and he posted a 171 mark last year. O’Neill also brings a bit of upside on the bases, with eight steals in 69 games this year.