The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday features an eight-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Picks
Corbin Burnes ($9,900) Milwaukee Brewers (-162) vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Burnes sits atop the FantasyLabs projection system with a 24.11-point median projection on Monday’s slate. He’s also second in THE BAT, so there’s a consensus on Burnes being a top play. He’s having an excellent season, with a strikeout rate over 32% and a sub-3.00 SIERA.
If anything, Burnes is due for some positive regression, which is incredible for a pitcher averaging over 24 DraftKings points per game in the past season. His 32% strikeout rate is the lowest it’s been since 2019, despite a higher swinging strike rate than he recorded in 2020 or 2021.
However, he has a somewhat tricky matchup with the Cardinals. St. Louis has a top-10 offense by most metrics, ranking seventh in wRC+. They also strike out less than 20% of the time, one of only five teams in the league that can lay claim to that figure.
Vegas is still on Burnes’ side, though, with a 3.4-run implied total for the Cardinals. The more significant concern is how much they limit his strikeout upside. With a few strong options on the slate, we will likely need a massive score out of our pitchers. Burnes still ranks second in K Prediction, but he might not possess as much upside as usual.
Gerrit Cole ($10,500) New York Yankees (-131) at Tampa Bay Rays
Speaking of K Prediction, Cole is the leader in that category today. He’s taking on a Rays team that strikes out about 4% more than the Cardinals, giving him more upside in that department. He has similar numbers to Burnes, with a 30.6% strikeout rate and 2.87 SIERA on the season.
Cole has mixed in a few terrible starts in 2022, though, with three games under 5.4 DraftKings performances. For comparison, Burnes has scored less than nine points just once. For the most part, Cole’s bad outings came against top offenses — the Red Sox and Twins were responsible for two of his bad days, with Detroit being the other.
That’s less of a concern today, with Tampa Bay coming in as a slightly below-average offense. They’re implied for just 3.2 runs against Cole, the second-lowest mark on the slate. Cole trails only Burnes in the FantasyLabs projections while ranking slightly ahead of him in THE BAT’s.
Their salaries make it a challenge to fit both pitchers. The strength of the matchup and Vegas data has me in the Cole camp if I have the extra salary, but I’d be happy to roster Burnes if the additional $600 is impactful to the rest of my lineup. Burnes has the better Pts/Sal projection in both projection systems.
MLB DFS Value Pick
Yu Darvish ($8,100) San Diego Padres (-187) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
While there are other options that lead Darvish in Pts/Sal projection, they’re all bottom-of-the-barrel options. With all of the strong arms on today’s slate, 15 or so points from Lance Lynn ($5,800) is unlikely to win any tournaments.
Darvish is a much better mix of value and upside, as the only pitcher with a 20+ point median projection checking in under $9,000. Along with Cole and Burnes, he has a K Prediction over seven, which is extremely solid at his price point.
He’s also a heavier favorite, with a lower implied run total than Cole and Burnes. It’s hard to ask for much more than that at his salary. However, his underlying numbers aren’t nearly as strong, with a 3.91 SIERA and 20.5% strikeout rate. His strikeout rate has been at least 27% in all nine of his prior big-league seasons.
While some decline is expected from the 35-year-old Darvish, his fastball velocity and his swinging strike rate align with his career numbers. I’m expecting the strikeouts to come back, and that could start Monday against a Diamondbacks team that strikes out at the fourth-highest rate in the league.
MLB DFS GPP Picks
Shane McClanahan ($10,300) Tampa Bay Rays (+110) vs. New York Yankees
The most popular lineup construction today will likely be Darvish and one of Cole or Burnes. That leaves McClanahan as the odd man out despite being the front-runner for the AL Cy Young. The reason for that is clear: McClanahan has an extremely difficult matchup with the Yankees.
The Yankees lead the majors in both wOBA and wRC+ while hitting 10 more homers than the next closest team (Atlanta). Their power can turn starts ugly in a hurry. Betting markets are more or less on McClanahan’s side, though, with New York implied for just 3.5 runs.
That’s thanks to his ridiculous numbers on the season. His 2.28 SIERA is well below the next closest qualified starter, Burnes at 2.68. No other pitcher has topped a 33% strikeout rate on the year, while McClanahan is over 35%. He’s been pretty clearly the best pitcher in the majors.
With good pitching generally trumping good hitting, he’s a very strong choice if his ownership comes in below that of Cole and Burnes. That’s how we’re currently projecting it, making him a top GPP option.
Max Fried ($9,500) Atlanta Braves (-156) vs. San Francisco Giants
Fried is an interesting option today. His underlying numbers are strong, but not to the degree that any of the previously mentioned pitchers are. He also has a reasonable matchup against the Giants, who rank 12th in wOBA and 15th in strikeout rate on the season.
Nothing jumps off the page, making it tough to justify his $9,500 salary. However, that should keep his ownership well below that of the pitchers mentioned thus far.
Fried is a pure game-theory play. His likeliest outcome has him behind the top options today, even from a price-considered standpoint. However, at single-digit ownership projections, he’s likelier than the field is giving him credit for to put up one of the slate’s best scores. He’s worth mixing into some of your lineups.
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 Los Angeles Angels:
- Taylor Ward (1) ($3,900)
- Mike Trout (2) ($5,600)
- Shohei Ohtani (3) ($5,900)
- Matt Duffy (4) ($2,500)
- Luis Rengifo (5) ($2,300)
The Angels stack is insanely cheap for a team with a 5.4 implied team total, particularly Duffy and Rengifo. While the Angels’ struggles are well documented at this point, they’re still a roughly league-average offense and have turned things around a bit. They won four of their five games in Seattle, scoring at least three runs in each win.
They have a dream matchup today with the Royals and Kris Bubic ($6,100). Bubic has a 5.23 SIERA through eight starts, averaging just over three innings per outing. The Royals bullpen shouldn’t make things any more difficult for Los Angeles, with their 4.61 ERA ranking fourth-worst in the league.
Usually, this is a situation where I’d want to pay extra attention to the lefty-mashers on the Angels, but Los Angeles probably takes more at bats against Royals relievers than Bubic. The whole lineup is worth a long look in all contest types given the price point.
Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X
The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT when generated by ceiling belongs to the Boston Red Sox:
While the Angels represent the budget option on today’s slate, the Red Sox are the premium choice. Their 5.6-run implied total leads the slate, as they host the Tigers and rookie Alex Faedo ($7,200).
Faedo has been reasonably effective as a rookie, with a 4.40 SIERA and 4.28 ERA. He’s certainly not a pitcher to avoid, though, and the Red Sox can do a ton of damage even in tougher matchups. While they’re expensive relative to some of the other options on the slate, they’re still a solid value considering their implied run total.
Boston is a top-10 or so offense in the league, with a slightly above-average matchup. The other strong lineups have tougher starting pitchers against them, so it’s easy to see why Boston is a top stack. Duran also makes sense as a one-off — he’s just $3,400 despite leading off.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
Riley Greene OF ($2,100 DraftKings; $2,800 FanDuel) Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox (Josh Winckowski)
Greene will be playing in just his third big-league game tonight. He’s taking on a pitcher also making his third career appearance. That’s a high-variance situation but one that should favor Greene. The former No. 5 overall pick was the fifth-ranked prospect in the majors coming into the season.
He’s lived up to expectations through nine career plate appearances, drawing four walks and recording two hits. He’s already the Tigers’ leader in offensive WAR, though that says more about the awful Tigers offense than Greene. Still, Detroit is implied for 4.1 runs today, and Greene may already be their best hitter.
It also wouldn’t be surprising if he moves up in the order sooner rather than later. He’s a value as the No. 6 hitter but would be even better at the top of the order. Keep an eye on our lineups page to see if that happens tonight. He’s only viable on DraftKings, though, with FanDuel overreacting to his strong performances the last two games and boosting his salary.
Oneil Cruz SS/OF ($2,000 DraftKings; $2,000 FanDuel) Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs (Caleb Killian)
Cruz is another prospect taking on a rookie pitcher on Monday’s slate. Cruz has just been called up to the big leagues and made nine plate appearances in the majors last year, going 3-9 with a homer. Baseball’s seventh-ranked prospect, he has a soft landing ahead of him against Chicago’s Caleb Killian ($5,000)
Killian has two starts under his belt, allowing eight runs over just nine innings. While that’s a minimal sample size, it’s still a good situation for Cruz. He’s a substantial value on both sites today at the minimum salary, with the DraftKings multi-position eligibility being an added bonus.
Willson Contreras C ($4,900 DraftKings; $3,600 FanDuel) Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates (JT Brubaker)
Contreras is easily the top catching option on today’s slate, leading both the FantasyLabs and THE BAT projection systems in median and ceiling. He’s been outstanding this year, with a career-high .927 OPS. That stands out on a thin slate for catchers. It’s not just positive variance for Contreras either; his .317 BABIP is essentially identical to his career .315 number, with his HR/FB ratio in a similar spot.
He’s also in a strong matchup with Brubaker of the PIrates. Brubaker has a 4.50 ERA on the season, with the Cubs implied for 4.1 runs. As the team’s best hitter, much of that should come from Contreras.