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MLB DFS Picks Breakdown (Friday, Aug. 26th): The Stars are Aligning for Gerrit Cole

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.

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MLB DFS Pitching Picks

MLB DFS Stud Picks

Gerrit Cole ($10,700) New York Yankees (-235) at Oakland A’s

Cole has a case for being both the best pitcher on the slate and has the best matchup. While the latter is a bit shaky — the Tigers are playing, after all — it’s hard to argue with the former. There are only three qualified starters with higher strikeout rates than Cole on the season, and none are in action tonight.

Cole’s 3.41 ERA is a bit on the higher side for a frontline starter, but he’s been better than that would indicate. His FIP, xERA, and SIERA are all lower than that. Additionally, playing in a division against four other teams that are above average offensively means he’s had tougher matchups than many other pitchers.

The A’s, of course, are far below average offensively. They rank ahead of only the Tigers and Pirates in wRC+ against righties. Oakland has an implied total of just 2.8 runs today, the lowest on the slate. Their park also features an outstanding Park Factor score of 79 for pitchers, and tonight has the second highest Weather Rating as well.

The stars have aligned for Cole tonight, making him a near must-play even on a 14-game slate.

He leads both THE BAT and FantasyLabs projections for median and ceiling on Friday.


MLB DFS Value Picks

Glenn Otto ($6,200) Texas Rangers (-162) vs. Detroit Tigers

As alluded to in the Cole writeup, Otto fits a very important criteria on today’s slate: he’s a right-hander facing the Tigers. That’s been enough of a qualification to ensure success on most slates, regardless of the quality of the pitcher.

Otto is having a somewhat disappointing sophomore campaign, with a 4.66 ERA and a 17.1% strikeout rate. All of his advanced metrics are worse than they were in his brief big-league stint last season when his strikeout rate was a much better 25%.

Still, he’s had his moments in 2022. He’s met or exceeded salary-based expectations in his last four starts, despite facing much tougher matchups than he has tonight.

Otto’s limited strikeout upside is unlikely to take down a slate for you, but his tremendous matchup is very likely to provide a decent score relative to his salary. That makes him a strong cash game play, at the very least, with some outside consideration for tournaments.

Otto leads THE BAT’s PTs/Sal projections while coming in third in the FantasyLabs set.


MLB DFS GPP Picks

Chris Bassitt ($9,900) New York Mets (-345) vs. Colorado Rockies

New York’s other starting pitcher is also in an excellent spot tonight. He’s the slate’s biggest favorite as the Mets host the Rockies at Citi Field. Colorado is a bottom-five offense against right-handed pitching when looking at park-adjusted metrics, setting up Bassitt nicely.

Bassitt has solid numbers on the season, with a 3.26 ERA and 3.20 xERA. While he’s not as dominant as a pitcher like Cole, his 23.8% strikeout rate ranks in the top 25 amongst qualified starters. He’s flashed tremendous upside as of late, topping 30 DraftKings points in two of his last five outings.

With that said, it’s hard to make a case for Bassitt as a better play than Cole. His ownership should be roughly half of Cole’s, though, so he’s worth a swing or two if making multiple lineups.

Pairing Cole and Bassitt together is also a strong strategy — particularly for cash games. Both New York starters have opponent-implied totals below three; they are the only pitchers on the slate who can make that claim.

Bassitt trails only Cole in median and ceiling projections in the FantasyLabs and THE BAT models.

Shane Bieber ($9,100) Cleveland Guardians (-114) at Seattle Mariners

Bieber is one of the more talented arms on the slate but has a difficult matchup tonight against the Mariners. Seattle boasts a top-10 wRC+ on the season. However, Vegas is giving Bieber a lot of respect, with the Guardians as slight favorites and Seattle implied for just 3.5 runs.

Much of my interest in Bieber lies in his strikeout upside. While his 24.7% rate is solid, he’s also due for some positive regression in that department. He ranks 18th in strikeout rate on the season but seventh in swinging strike rate. The former tends to regress towards the latter, so he’s due for an uptick in strikeouts.

Additionally, the Mariners strike out at a slightly above-average rate, so tonight is a good time to target Bieber. He’s an uncomfortable play, given the difficulty of the matchup, but he has a ton of upside.

His ownership projection is outside of the top three in both THE BAT and FantasyLabs projection sets, making him an excellent GPP option.

MLB DFS Hitters

Notable Stack

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 Chicago White Sox:

  • AJ Pollock (1) ($3,400)
  • Luis Robert (2) ($5,000)
  • Eloy Jimenez (3) ($3,900)
  • Jose Abreu (4) ($4,000)
  • Elvis Andrus (6) ($2,500)

The White Sox are once again significantly underpriced on DraftKings. This five-player stack checks in under $19,000 in total salary, but they’re one of just five teams on the slate implied for at least five runs Friday night.

They’re hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are starting rookie southpaw Tommy Henry ($6,900). Henry has a 3.59 ERA through three starts but is due for some regression. Both his SIERA and xERA are in the mid-to-high fours.

The White Sox have also been excellent against left-handed pitching on the season. As a team, they have a 119 wRC+, the third best mark in the league. Their right-handed hitters also have a 65 Park Factor tonight, trailing only Detroit lefties (66 Park Factor) for best on the slate.

Chicago is simply too cheap to pass up tonight, which comes in handy given the number of expensive arms on the slate.


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 in our Player Models.

The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT when generated by ceiling belongs to the Philadelphia Phillies:

Unlike the White Sox, it’s hard to argue that the Phillies are underpriced on Friday. However, they still look like an excellent stacking option. Their 5.8-run implied total leads the slate as they host the in-state rival Pirates.

Pittsburgh is starting Bryse Wilson ($5,800). Wilson features ERA and xERA numbers both in the mid-fives and is one of the more attackable pitchers on the slate by nearly any measurement. He could be in for a tough night against a tough offense like the Phillies.

Their offense should be even better with the return of Bryce Harper to the lineup. Harper was hitting .318 with a .985 OPS when he went out with a broken thumb. That should inject new life into a Phillies lineup that was already one of the league’s better units.

With most lineups tonight likely to feature two pricier pitchers, Phillies stacks could go slightly overlooked tonight. That makes them a great GPP option.

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Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks

Alejandro Kirk C ($4,400 DraftKings; $2,400 DraftKings) Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels (Reid Detmers)

Kirk was mentioned in this space yesterday but ultimately ended up getting the night off save a pinch-hit appearance. As is generally the case on DraftKings, that means his price was reduced by $100 — though it went up on FanDuel.

Kirk is in a similarly good spot today against Reid Detmers ($8,800) of the Angels. Detmers is a solid pitcher, but he’s also left-handed putting Kirk on the plus side of his platoon splits. With Toronto implied for five runs tonight, he’s a solid option from the cleanup spot.

Kirk is the top-rated catcher on DraftKings in the FantasyLabs tournament model.

Yandy Diaz 3B ($4,100 DraftKings; $3,200 FanDuel) Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox (Michael Wacha)

While Diaz is the headliner, all of the Rays righties are worth considering tonight. They’re on the road in Boston, which features a strong 62 Park factor for right-handed hitters and winds blowing out to left. They also draw a matchup with Michael Wacha ($8,500).

Wacha has an excellent 2.28 ERA through 15 starts this season, but that belies his true ability. Both his SIERA and xERA are at least two full runs higher, making him one of the luckiest pitchers in baseball. The Rays have a good chance of proving that point tonight, and it starts with leadoff hitter Diaz.

Kevin Newman 2B/SS ($3,300 DraftKings; $2,600 FanDuel) Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies (Bailey Falter)

The light-hitting Newman — who hit his first home run of the season on Wednesday — isn’t the most exciting option on Friday, but he’s still a solid choice. He’s set to lead off for the Pirates, making him one of the cheaper leadoff hitters on the slate.

Additionally, he’s a solid contact hitter with a strong floor for cash games. At least today, against Phillies lefty Bailey Falter ($6,700). Newman is hitting a respectable .267 overall in 2022, but that number jumps to .343 against southpaws. He has similar — though less extreme — splits throughout his career.

Newman’s value is predicated on him indeed leading off, though, so be sure to keep an eye on our lineups page once lineups begin to be confirmed.

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.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models & projections

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

MLB DFS Pitching Picks

MLB DFS Stud Picks

Gerrit Cole ($10,700) New York Yankees (-235) at Oakland A’s

Cole has a case for being both the best pitcher on the slate and has the best matchup. While the latter is a bit shaky — the Tigers are playing, after all — it’s hard to argue with the former. There are only three qualified starters with higher strikeout rates than Cole on the season, and none are in action tonight.

Cole’s 3.41 ERA is a bit on the higher side for a frontline starter, but he’s been better than that would indicate. His FIP, xERA, and SIERA are all lower than that. Additionally, playing in a division against four other teams that are above average offensively means he’s had tougher matchups than many other pitchers.

The A’s, of course, are far below average offensively. They rank ahead of only the Tigers and Pirates in wRC+ against righties. Oakland has an implied total of just 2.8 runs today, the lowest on the slate. Their park also features an outstanding Park Factor score of 79 for pitchers, and tonight has the second highest Weather Rating as well.

The stars have aligned for Cole tonight, making him a near must-play even on a 14-game slate.

He leads both THE BAT and FantasyLabs projections for median and ceiling on Friday.


MLB DFS Value Picks

Glenn Otto ($6,200) Texas Rangers (-162) vs. Detroit Tigers

As alluded to in the Cole writeup, Otto fits a very important criteria on today’s slate: he’s a right-hander facing the Tigers. That’s been enough of a qualification to ensure success on most slates, regardless of the quality of the pitcher.

Otto is having a somewhat disappointing sophomore campaign, with a 4.66 ERA and a 17.1% strikeout rate. All of his advanced metrics are worse than they were in his brief big-league stint last season when his strikeout rate was a much better 25%.

Still, he’s had his moments in 2022. He’s met or exceeded salary-based expectations in his last four starts, despite facing much tougher matchups than he has tonight.

Otto’s limited strikeout upside is unlikely to take down a slate for you, but his tremendous matchup is very likely to provide a decent score relative to his salary. That makes him a strong cash game play, at the very least, with some outside consideration for tournaments.

Otto leads THE BAT’s PTs/Sal projections while coming in third in the FantasyLabs set.


MLB DFS GPP Picks

Chris Bassitt ($9,900) New York Mets (-345) vs. Colorado Rockies

New York’s other starting pitcher is also in an excellent spot tonight. He’s the slate’s biggest favorite as the Mets host the Rockies at Citi Field. Colorado is a bottom-five offense against right-handed pitching when looking at park-adjusted metrics, setting up Bassitt nicely.

Bassitt has solid numbers on the season, with a 3.26 ERA and 3.20 xERA. While he’s not as dominant as a pitcher like Cole, his 23.8% strikeout rate ranks in the top 25 amongst qualified starters. He’s flashed tremendous upside as of late, topping 30 DraftKings points in two of his last five outings.

With that said, it’s hard to make a case for Bassitt as a better play than Cole. His ownership should be roughly half of Cole’s, though, so he’s worth a swing or two if making multiple lineups.

Pairing Cole and Bassitt together is also a strong strategy — particularly for cash games. Both New York starters have opponent-implied totals below three; they are the only pitchers on the slate who can make that claim.

Bassitt trails only Cole in median and ceiling projections in the FantasyLabs and THE BAT models.

Shane Bieber ($9,100) Cleveland Guardians (-114) at Seattle Mariners

Bieber is one of the more talented arms on the slate but has a difficult matchup tonight against the Mariners. Seattle boasts a top-10 wRC+ on the season. However, Vegas is giving Bieber a lot of respect, with the Guardians as slight favorites and Seattle implied for just 3.5 runs.

Much of my interest in Bieber lies in his strikeout upside. While his 24.7% rate is solid, he’s also due for some positive regression in that department. He ranks 18th in strikeout rate on the season but seventh in swinging strike rate. The former tends to regress towards the latter, so he’s due for an uptick in strikeouts.

Additionally, the Mariners strike out at a slightly above-average rate, so tonight is a good time to target Bieber. He’s an uncomfortable play, given the difficulty of the matchup, but he has a ton of upside.

His ownership projection is outside of the top three in both THE BAT and FantasyLabs projection sets, making him an excellent GPP option.

MLB DFS Hitters

Notable Stack

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 Chicago White Sox:

  • AJ Pollock (1) ($3,400)
  • Luis Robert (2) ($5,000)
  • Eloy Jimenez (3) ($3,900)
  • Jose Abreu (4) ($4,000)
  • Elvis Andrus (6) ($2,500)

The White Sox are once again significantly underpriced on DraftKings. This five-player stack checks in under $19,000 in total salary, but they’re one of just five teams on the slate implied for at least five runs Friday night.

They’re hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are starting rookie southpaw Tommy Henry ($6,900). Henry has a 3.59 ERA through three starts but is due for some regression. Both his SIERA and xERA are in the mid-to-high fours.

The White Sox have also been excellent against left-handed pitching on the season. As a team, they have a 119 wRC+, the third best mark in the league. Their right-handed hitters also have a 65 Park Factor tonight, trailing only Detroit lefties (66 Park Factor) for best on the slate.

Chicago is simply too cheap to pass up tonight, which comes in handy given the number of expensive arms on the slate.


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 in our Player Models.

The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT when generated by ceiling belongs to the Philadelphia Phillies:

Unlike the White Sox, it’s hard to argue that the Phillies are underpriced on Friday. However, they still look like an excellent stacking option. Their 5.8-run implied total leads the slate as they host the in-state rival Pirates.

Pittsburgh is starting Bryse Wilson ($5,800). Wilson features ERA and xERA numbers both in the mid-fives and is one of the more attackable pitchers on the slate by nearly any measurement. He could be in for a tough night against a tough offense like the Phillies.

Their offense should be even better with the return of Bryce Harper to the lineup. Harper was hitting .318 with a .985 OPS when he went out with a broken thumb. That should inject new life into a Phillies lineup that was already one of the league’s better units.

With most lineups tonight likely to feature two pricier pitchers, Phillies stacks could go slightly overlooked tonight. That makes them a great GPP option.

Get Your First Deposit Matched Up to $100!

Sign up and deposit up to $100

Your deposit will be fully matched

New users only

Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks

Alejandro Kirk C ($4,400 DraftKings; $2,400 DraftKings) Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels (Reid Detmers)

Kirk was mentioned in this space yesterday but ultimately ended up getting the night off save a pinch-hit appearance. As is generally the case on DraftKings, that means his price was reduced by $100 — though it went up on FanDuel.

Kirk is in a similarly good spot today against Reid Detmers ($8,800) of the Angels. Detmers is a solid pitcher, but he’s also left-handed putting Kirk on the plus side of his platoon splits. With Toronto implied for five runs tonight, he’s a solid option from the cleanup spot.

Kirk is the top-rated catcher on DraftKings in the FantasyLabs tournament model.

Yandy Diaz 3B ($4,100 DraftKings; $3,200 FanDuel) Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox (Michael Wacha)

While Diaz is the headliner, all of the Rays righties are worth considering tonight. They’re on the road in Boston, which features a strong 62 Park factor for right-handed hitters and winds blowing out to left. They also draw a matchup with Michael Wacha ($8,500).

Wacha has an excellent 2.28 ERA through 15 starts this season, but that belies his true ability. Both his SIERA and xERA are at least two full runs higher, making him one of the luckiest pitchers in baseball. The Rays have a good chance of proving that point tonight, and it starts with leadoff hitter Diaz.

Kevin Newman 2B/SS ($3,300 DraftKings; $2,600 FanDuel) Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies (Bailey Falter)

The light-hitting Newman — who hit his first home run of the season on Wednesday — isn’t the most exciting option on Friday, but he’s still a solid choice. He’s set to lead off for the Pirates, making him one of the cheaper leadoff hitters on the slate.

Additionally, he’s a solid contact hitter with a strong floor for cash games. At least today, against Phillies lefty Bailey Falter ($6,700). Newman is hitting a respectable .267 overall in 2022, but that number jumps to .343 against southpaws. He has similar — though less extreme — splits throughout his career.

Newman’s value is predicated on him indeed leading off, though, so be sure to keep an eye on our lineups page once lineups begin to be confirmed.