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MLB DFS Picks Breakdown (Monday, Aug. 15th): Gerrit Cole Tops Pitching Options

mlb-dfs-breakdown-gerrit cole-september 19-2021

The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.

Monday features a 10-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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MLB DFS Pitching Picks

MLB DFS Stud Picks

Gerrit Cole ($10,100) New York Yankees (-230) vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Cole leads both THE BAT’s and the FantasyLabs projections by a wide margin on Monday, approaching 30 DraftKings points in THE BAT and clearing that mark in the FantasyLabs set. He’s taking on the Tampa Bay Rays, who are implied for just 3.4 runs.

The real appeal to Cole isn’t the run prevention; it’s his 9.73 K prediction. Cole ranks second in the majors in both strikeouts and strikeout percentage in 2022. Tampa holds a top-five strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, which is a recipe for a ton of whiffs on Monday.

Cole’s also the heaviest favorite on the slate, so his chances of picking up the four-point win bonus are also high. Despite all that, he’s not even the slate’s most expensive arm, so he’s approaching “must play” territory on Monday.

The one drawback is his ownership, which is projected to top 50%. Still, we can look to differentiate elsewhere; Cole might be too good to fade tonight.


MLB DFS Value Picks

Joe Ryan ($7,300) Minnesota Twins (-198) vs. Kansas City Royals

Ryan leads the FantasyLabs projections in Pts/Sal on Monday, as the second-year player has a solid matchup against the Royals. Kansas City ranks 25th in wRC+ against right-handed pitching on the season.

Ryan also owns a solid 23.4% strikeout rate coming into the game. He allows a lot of flyballs though, at a rate over 50%. The 66 Park Factor for pitchers in this game is particularly beneficial to fly ball pitchers, as is the  62 Weather Rating. Both rank second on the slate.

Reflecting that, The Royals are implied for just 3.7 runs. That’s a fairly low total, especially for a pitcher at Ryan’s price point. He’s an excellent choice to pair with Cole and save some salary tonight. His moderate ownership projections also help take the sting off of eating the Cole chalk.


MLB DFS GPP Picks

Shohei Ohtani ($10,300) Los Angeles Angels (-113) vs. Seattle Mariners

On most slates, Ohtani’s projections would have him standing out as the top option. However, the situation is changed significantly by the presence of Cole. Ohtani trails him by a fairly wide margin in both THE BAT and FantasyLabs projections.

He also lags well behind him in ownership projection, coming in at the mid-teens. That puts him at roughly one-third of Cole’s projection. If you think he has better than a one-in-three chance of outscoring Cole tonight, that makes him the more plus-EV option.

That seems like a reasonably safe bet. Ohtani has the superior strikeout rate, ERA, and xERA numbers on the season. Additionally, the matchups are roughly equivalent: Seattle ranks 12th in wRC+ against righties, with Tampa coming in 13th. Seattle is implied for approximately the same total as the Rays, so Vegas sees this as a close matchup.

Ohtani is an excellent pivot for GPPs of all kinds. Additionally, rostering Cole and Ohtani together should be far less popular than their combined ownership implies. That’s a strong option if you can find some cheap bats to pair them with.

Luis Castillo ($9,200) Seattle Mariners (-106) at Los Angeles Angels

Castillo’s salary puts him in a bit of a dead zone on Monday. He’s certainly not cheap, and he’s close enough to Cole and Ohtani that finding the extra $1,000 for one of them seems like the better option.

However, we shouldn’t overlook him on Monday. He’s been on fire in the second half of the season, with six straight 20-point or better performances on DraftKings. His strikeout rate in the second half is up to 28%, after coming in at 25.5% in the first.

He also has the best matchup of the top pitchers today against an Angels team that ranks 21st in wRC+ against righties. They’re even worse without Mike Trout, who has missed the last month and is still not back for the Angels.

His projected ownership is similar to Ohtani’s, so the math is similar for him. Like Ohtani, pairings of Castillo and Cole will probably be less popular than their ownerships would suggest, so that’s also a strong option for tournaments on Monday. Castillo and Ohtani is another sneaky pairing, though doing so eliminates the chance of picking up two win bonuses.

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 Texas Rangers:

  • Marcus Semien (1) ($4,100)
  • Cory Seager (2) ($5,100)
  • Adolis Garcia (3) ($3,400)
  • Nate Lowe (4) ($2,900)
  • Jonah Heim (5) ($3,700)

Cheap stacks are the key to rostering two expensive pitchers tonight, and the Rangers make a good one. They check in at an average cost of $4,000 per player and could be made even cheaper if you’re willing to fade the expensive Seager.

Texas has a solid 4.6 run implied total on Monday, as they host the A’s and James Kaprielian ($6,500). Kaprielian has a 4.38 ERA, and even that mediocre mark has come with some good luck on his end. His SIERA, xERA, and FIP numbers are all somewhat higher.

Texas isn’t the most prolific offense, but they have a solid pitching matchup and an even better price point. I’ll be looking their way in lineups where I try to fit two of the top arms.


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 Houston Astros:

The Astros’ 4.8-run implied total comes in third on the slate and best among road teams. They’re traveling to Chicago to take on the White Sox and Johnny Cueto ($8,400). Cueto has a sub-3.00 ERA on the season, but that number belies his true ability. His xERA and SIERA are both over four on the season.

The Astros can win any matchup, with the third-best wRC+ on the season. They have correspondingly high price tags but could be worth it on Monday. They could also go under-owned if most of the field pays up for pitchers.

As a bonus, the 65 Park Factor for right-handed bats in this game is among the best on the slate. Cueto pitches to contact with just a 16.5% strikeout rate, so that factor is a bit more important against him than it would be against a high-strikeout pitcher.

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Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks

Gary Sanchez C ($2,600 DraftKings; $2,300 FanDuel) Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals (Kris Bubic)

Sanchez has been unable to reclaim the glory of the early part of his career, with a .730 OPS or below in three straight seasons. However, he still has some pop in his bat and an excellent matchup on Monday. Kris Bubic ($6,700) of the Royals has a 5.02 ERA on the season, with his other pitching metrics in a similar range.

Minnesota is implied for more than five runs against him, so the chances of Sanchez contributing to that total are fairly strong. More importantly, he’s very cheap on a day where salary is tight. No other catcher in his price range provides more upside, so he’s a reasonable choice if punting the position on DraftKings.

Vinnie Pasquantino 1B ($2,100 DraftKings; $2,700 FanDuel) Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins (Joe Ryan)

While Ryan is expected to get the better of this matchup, Pasquantino is still a solid price-considered play on DraftKings. We don’t see many cleanup hitters at his price point, making him a value even if we don’t anticipate there being much to clean up for Kansas City.

Pasquantino is having a solid rookie season, with a .781 OPS and seven home runs through 41 games. Production like that normally costs at least $1,000 more on DraftKings. He has a 98% Bargain Rating, which stands out if trying to fit expensive pitchers.

Austin Slater OF ($3,700 DraftKings; $2,400 FanDuel) San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Madison Bumgarner)

The Giants are hosting their former ace, Madison Bumgarner ($6,900) on Monday. Bumgarner is nowhere near the pitcher he was in his Giants heyday, with a 4.07 ERA and worse FIP, xERA, and SIERA numbers.

That makes the Giants a team to consider stacking, particularly their hitters with the platoon edge against lefty pitchers. Slater stands out in the latter category, with a career OPS more than 200 points higher against southpaws. He’s affordable on both sites but a steal on FanDuel, where he holds a 79% Bargain Rating.

The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.

Monday features a 10-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

MLB DFS Pitching Picks

MLB DFS Stud Picks

Gerrit Cole ($10,100) New York Yankees (-230) vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Cole leads both THE BAT’s and the FantasyLabs projections by a wide margin on Monday, approaching 30 DraftKings points in THE BAT and clearing that mark in the FantasyLabs set. He’s taking on the Tampa Bay Rays, who are implied for just 3.4 runs.

The real appeal to Cole isn’t the run prevention; it’s his 9.73 K prediction. Cole ranks second in the majors in both strikeouts and strikeout percentage in 2022. Tampa holds a top-five strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, which is a recipe for a ton of whiffs on Monday.

Cole’s also the heaviest favorite on the slate, so his chances of picking up the four-point win bonus are also high. Despite all that, he’s not even the slate’s most expensive arm, so he’s approaching “must play” territory on Monday.

The one drawback is his ownership, which is projected to top 50%. Still, we can look to differentiate elsewhere; Cole might be too good to fade tonight.


MLB DFS Value Picks

Joe Ryan ($7,300) Minnesota Twins (-198) vs. Kansas City Royals

Ryan leads the FantasyLabs projections in Pts/Sal on Monday, as the second-year player has a solid matchup against the Royals. Kansas City ranks 25th in wRC+ against right-handed pitching on the season.

Ryan also owns a solid 23.4% strikeout rate coming into the game. He allows a lot of flyballs though, at a rate over 50%. The 66 Park Factor for pitchers in this game is particularly beneficial to fly ball pitchers, as is the  62 Weather Rating. Both rank second on the slate.

Reflecting that, The Royals are implied for just 3.7 runs. That’s a fairly low total, especially for a pitcher at Ryan’s price point. He’s an excellent choice to pair with Cole and save some salary tonight. His moderate ownership projections also help take the sting off of eating the Cole chalk.


MLB DFS GPP Picks

Shohei Ohtani ($10,300) Los Angeles Angels (-113) vs. Seattle Mariners

On most slates, Ohtani’s projections would have him standing out as the top option. However, the situation is changed significantly by the presence of Cole. Ohtani trails him by a fairly wide margin in both THE BAT and FantasyLabs projections.

He also lags well behind him in ownership projection, coming in at the mid-teens. That puts him at roughly one-third of Cole’s projection. If you think he has better than a one-in-three chance of outscoring Cole tonight, that makes him the more plus-EV option.

That seems like a reasonably safe bet. Ohtani has the superior strikeout rate, ERA, and xERA numbers on the season. Additionally, the matchups are roughly equivalent: Seattle ranks 12th in wRC+ against righties, with Tampa coming in 13th. Seattle is implied for approximately the same total as the Rays, so Vegas sees this as a close matchup.

Ohtani is an excellent pivot for GPPs of all kinds. Additionally, rostering Cole and Ohtani together should be far less popular than their combined ownership implies. That’s a strong option if you can find some cheap bats to pair them with.

Luis Castillo ($9,200) Seattle Mariners (-106) at Los Angeles Angels

Castillo’s salary puts him in a bit of a dead zone on Monday. He’s certainly not cheap, and he’s close enough to Cole and Ohtani that finding the extra $1,000 for one of them seems like the better option.

However, we shouldn’t overlook him on Monday. He’s been on fire in the second half of the season, with six straight 20-point or better performances on DraftKings. His strikeout rate in the second half is up to 28%, after coming in at 25.5% in the first.

He also has the best matchup of the top pitchers today against an Angels team that ranks 21st in wRC+ against righties. They’re even worse without Mike Trout, who has missed the last month and is still not back for the Angels.

His projected ownership is similar to Ohtani’s, so the math is similar for him. Like Ohtani, pairings of Castillo and Cole will probably be less popular than their ownerships would suggest, so that’s also a strong option for tournaments on Monday. Castillo and Ohtani is another sneaky pairing, though doing so eliminates the chance of picking up two win bonuses.

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 Texas Rangers:

  • Marcus Semien (1) ($4,100)
  • Cory Seager (2) ($5,100)
  • Adolis Garcia (3) ($3,400)
  • Nate Lowe (4) ($2,900)
  • Jonah Heim (5) ($3,700)

Cheap stacks are the key to rostering two expensive pitchers tonight, and the Rangers make a good one. They check in at an average cost of $4,000 per player and could be made even cheaper if you’re willing to fade the expensive Seager.

Texas has a solid 4.6 run implied total on Monday, as they host the A’s and James Kaprielian ($6,500). Kaprielian has a 4.38 ERA, and even that mediocre mark has come with some good luck on his end. His SIERA, xERA, and FIP numbers are all somewhat higher.

Texas isn’t the most prolific offense, but they have a solid pitching matchup and an even better price point. I’ll be looking their way in lineups where I try to fit two of the top arms.


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 Houston Astros:

The Astros’ 4.8-run implied total comes in third on the slate and best among road teams. They’re traveling to Chicago to take on the White Sox and Johnny Cueto ($8,400). Cueto has a sub-3.00 ERA on the season, but that number belies his true ability. His xERA and SIERA are both over four on the season.

The Astros can win any matchup, with the third-best wRC+ on the season. They have correspondingly high price tags but could be worth it on Monday. They could also go under-owned if most of the field pays up for pitchers.

As a bonus, the 65 Park Factor for right-handed bats in this game is among the best on the slate. Cueto pitches to contact with just a 16.5% strikeout rate, so that factor is a bit more important against him than it would be against a high-strikeout pitcher.

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Your deposit will be fully matched

New users only

Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks

Gary Sanchez C ($2,600 DraftKings; $2,300 FanDuel) Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals (Kris Bubic)

Sanchez has been unable to reclaim the glory of the early part of his career, with a .730 OPS or below in three straight seasons. However, he still has some pop in his bat and an excellent matchup on Monday. Kris Bubic ($6,700) of the Royals has a 5.02 ERA on the season, with his other pitching metrics in a similar range.

Minnesota is implied for more than five runs against him, so the chances of Sanchez contributing to that total are fairly strong. More importantly, he’s very cheap on a day where salary is tight. No other catcher in his price range provides more upside, so he’s a reasonable choice if punting the position on DraftKings.

Vinnie Pasquantino 1B ($2,100 DraftKings; $2,700 FanDuel) Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins (Joe Ryan)

While Ryan is expected to get the better of this matchup, Pasquantino is still a solid price-considered play on DraftKings. We don’t see many cleanup hitters at his price point, making him a value even if we don’t anticipate there being much to clean up for Kansas City.

Pasquantino is having a solid rookie season, with a .781 OPS and seven home runs through 41 games. Production like that normally costs at least $1,000 more on DraftKings. He has a 98% Bargain Rating, which stands out if trying to fit expensive pitchers.

Austin Slater OF ($3,700 DraftKings; $2,400 FanDuel) San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Madison Bumgarner)

The Giants are hosting their former ace, Madison Bumgarner ($6,900) on Monday. Bumgarner is nowhere near the pitcher he was in his Giants heyday, with a 4.07 ERA and worse FIP, xERA, and SIERA numbers.

That makes the Giants a team to consider stacking, particularly their hitters with the platoon edge against lefty pitchers. Slater stands out in the latter category, with a career OPS more than 200 points higher against southpaws. He’s affordable on both sites but a steal on FanDuel, where he holds a 79% Bargain Rating.