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
Robbie Ray ($8,900) Seattle Mariners (-210) vs. Los Angeles Angels
After a dominant first half, Ray has cooled off considerably since the All-Star break. In two outings since then, he’s allowed 10 total runs in less than six innings. In his defense, both of those games came against the Astros, a top-five offense by wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Before that, he’d scored at least 19 DraftKings points in seven straight starts, dating back to the last time he faced the Astros. He has a much better matchup tonight against the Angels, who rank 27th in the league against southpaws.
Most of that ranking is based on games where they had Mike Trout, who’s still on the IL with a back injury. The Angels are thus an even better matchup for Ray than they appear on paper, which is evident in their 2.9-run implied total.
Ray also has a ton of strikeout upside, leading the slate in K Prediction. He’s an obvious top choice tonight and the leader in the FantasyLabs and THE BAT projection systems for median and ceiling.
Dylan Cease ($10,400) Chicago White Sox (-180) at Texas Rangers
Cease is pretty clearly the most talented pitcher on Friday’s slate. He comes into the game as a top-three candidate for the AL Cy Young award based on betting lines, with excellent numbers. His ERA is 2.01, and he’s striking out over a third of the batters he’s facing.
He doesn’t have the juicy matchup that some of the slate’s other top arms have, though. He’s taking on a Rangers squad that is roughly league average across the board. They’re implied for 3.5 runs, with the White Sox as solid favorites.
That makes paying his price tag a bit tougher, given the cheaper arms in better spots. Still, it’s hard to ignore his numbers on the year, and he brings a ton of upside. His strikeout prediction trails only Ray on the slate.
Cease Ranks second in THE BAT’s median projections and third in the FantasyLabs set.
MLB DFS Value Picks
Kyle Gibson ($7,000) Philadelphia Phillies (-213) at Washington Nationals
I’ll continue to pick on the Nationals following their trade of their two best hitters, especially when the pitcher against them is cheap. Gibson is just $7,000 today despite having excellent Vegas data as a heavy favorite with an opponent implied team total of 3.5 runs.
His numbers are fairly mediocre this season, with ERA and SIERA numbers in the mid-fours and an 18.6% strikeout rate. His 11.1% swinging strike rate gives him a bit of room for growth in the strikeout department, but he’s otherwise unspectacular.
However, those numbers are derived against the average team. Washington is far below that as currently constructed, and Gibson ranks second in THE BAT’s Pts/Sal projections while coming in fourth in the FantasyLabs set.
MLB DFS GPP Picks
Framber Valdez ($9,900) Houston Astros (-202) at Cleveland Guardians
Valdez is pricey but could potentially pay it off. He comes into this game with a 2.80 ERA that’s more or less supported by his underlying metrics. His SIERA, xERA, and FIP are all in the low threes, so his excellent run prevention should be mostly sustainable.
He’s in an ideal spot tonight against the Guardians, the second-worst team in baseball against left-handed pitching. Their 76 wRC+ against southpaws is roughly equivalent to the Tigers’ overall number, making this an excellent matchup for Valdez.
However, he doesn’t strike many hitters out, making paying off his salary more difficult. His 22.3% strikeout rate is roughly league average, and the Guardians — futile though they may be against lefties — only have a 21.2% strikeout rate.
Still, if he can make it seven or more innings, he can post a big score even with reduced strikeout numbers. With an ownership projection in the single digits, he’s worth a look in GPPs.
Corey Kluber ($8,200) Tampa Bay Rays (-200) at Detroit Tigers
Kluber is not the pitcher he used to be at age 36, with a 4.03 ERA and 21.6% strikeout rate on the season. However, he doesn’t have to be tonight, thanks to a matchup with the Tigers.
Detroit’s offensive struggles are well-documented at this point, as they’re flirting with historical ineptitude on offense. Given that they’re slightly above average against lefties, their numbers are horrific against right-handed pitchers like Kluber. They own a 67 wRC+ in that split, which is the worst mark in the league by a sizable margin.
With his very reasonable salary, Kluber fits well into all lineup constructions. With single-digit projected ownership, he makes a ton of sense for GPPs.
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 Philadelphia Phillies:
- Kyle Schwarber (1) ($5,400)
- Rhys Hoskins (2) ($3,900)
- Alec Bohm (3) ($3,700)
- J.T. Realmuto (4) ($4,900)
- Nick Castellanos (5) ($3,400)
The Phillies were also the top stack yesterday and were off to a strong start before the weather intervened. They scored five runs in four innings — including home runs from Hoskins and Bohm — before the game was called early due to rain.
While there’s the potential for more rain in the area tonight, the likely forecast has it arriving well after game time, making the Phillies a solid stacking choice again. Nationals starter Josiah Gray ($8,500) isn’t a threatening matchup with his 4.59 ERA and 5.30 FIP entering play.
The Phillies are also far too cheap for their 5.4-run implied total, which is the second-best mark on the slate. At under $4,300 per player, they allow a ton of flexibility in lineups, including the ability to play two pricier pitchers. That could be crucial tonight, with a few expensive arms standing out.
Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X
The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT when generated by ceiling belongs to the Houston Astros:
The Astros have a 5.1-run implied total tonight, the highest among any road team on the slate. They’re taking on the Guardians, who are calling up minor-leaguer Hunter Gaddis to get the start tonight.
Pitchers making their big-league debut are generally situations we want to stack against, especially late in the season. That’s because late-season call-ups are generally to fill rotational holes, not because the player was dominating in the minors and warranted the call.
Gaddis was solid at Triple-A this year, with a 2.70 ERA in two starts after spending most of the season in Double-A. However, he was ranked as just the 37th best prospect on the Guardians coming into this year and is a former fifth-round pick.
The star-studded Astros lineup should have no problem getting to him tonight and are somewhat affordable if going with cheaper pitchers.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
Ronald Acuna Jr. OF ($5,100 DraftKings; $3,800 FanDuel) Atlanta Braves at New York Mets (Taijuan Walker)
Acuna seems to be busting out of his slump, as he hit his first home run in nearly a month last night against the Mets. He’ll look to keep things going against Taijuan Walker ($9,100) of the Mets, who’s been one of baseball’s luckier pitchers this season.
Walker has a 2.79 ERA but an unsustainably low 7.3% HR/FB ratio. For a pitcher who allows a lot of contact with a 19.2% strikeout rate, that’s bound to regress at some point. Acuna is still priced well below his usual level, making him a strong play in all contest types.
He’s a top-five overall option in both THE BAT and FantasyLabs median projections on DraftKings.
Christian Yelich OF ($4,800 DraftKings; $3,700 FanDuel) Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds (Robert Dugger)
The Brewers have the highest implied total on Friday’s slate at 5.6 runs against the Reds and Robert Dugger ($5,500). Dugger has a 4.50 ERA in just three big-league appearances in 2022, all coming in relief. As a starter, he has a 6.43 ERA in his career.
Enter Yelich, who should bat leadoff in the Brewers lineup. He’s a tremendous value considering the matchup and has the highest median projection of any hitter in the FantasyLabs models. At just $4,800, he’s hard to ignore as a one-off, and Brewers stacks are also firmly in play.
David Fletcher 2B/SS ($2,400 DraftKings; $2,200 FanDuel) Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners (Robbie Ray)
Fletcher stands out as a potential salary saver on the cheaper end of the spectrum. He’s projected to lead off for the Angels but is priced near the minimum on both sites. Through 20 games in 2022, he’s hitting just .200, but he’s a career .278 hitter suffering from an unsustainably low .196 BABIP.
He’s also on the right side of his platoon splits, with a .755 career OPS against lefties. That’s almost 100 points higher than his .659 mark against righties. He’s not an exciting name to click on Friday, but he can unlock some salary in lineups that fade Ray.