The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 12-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Picks
Luis Garcia ($9,500) Houston Astros (-247) vs. Kansas City Royals
There’s some disagreement between the FantasyLabs projection system and THE BAT’s, with Garcia leading the latter but coming in fifth in the former. However, only two points separate Garcia and the top option in the FantasyLabs median projections, making him the best option in the aggregate set.
Crucially, Garcia has the best Vegas data on the slate. The Astros are tied for the biggest favorites tonight, and the Royals’ 3.4-run implied total is tied for the lowest on the board. Those are the type of numbers we want when spending up at pitcher. There are warning signs with the other top arms, making Garcia the safer pick.
He’s a strong combination of matchup and ability. His 3.56 SIERA and 25.6% strikeout rate are both solid, while the Royals are roughly a bottom-10 offense.
Garcia is expected to be near the top in ownership tonight, so pivoting to a less popular option makes sense in large field GPPs. That said, he’s the safest option for cash games.
MLB DFS Value Picks
Yusei Kikuchi ($7,800) Toronto Blue Jays (-187) at Oakland A’s
Kikuchi is only $7,800 tonight, despite having the clear best matchup on the slate. That makes him worth considering, even before we dig into his numbers. Oakland is losing ground to Detroit for the worst offense in baseball, and they’re implied for just 3.5 runs.
Kikuchi isn’t just a pure matchup play, either. His 26.3% strikeout rate is near the top of the slate today. Where he’s struggled is in run prevention — he sports a 4.74 ERA — but that’s less of a concern against Oakland. Additionally, this game has the second-best Park Factor and best Weather Rating for pitchers on the slate. That doesn’t help a pitcher miss more bats, but it can keep runs off the board.
Kikuchi has been inconsistent this year, with five straight DraftKings scores below ten before his 28.5-point performance in his last outing. However, his odds of a higher-end score go way up when he has a matchup like this. He ranks third in ceiling projection in THE BAT, making him an ideal SP2.
MLB DFS GPP Picks
Jeffrey Springs ($9,700) Tampa Bay Rays (+107) at Boston Red Sox
Springs was a must-play in GPPs for a few weeks, as his salary was slow to adapt to him working as a traditional starter. Since the start of May, he’s beat salary-based expectations in eight of nine outings. However, the highest salary in those games was $8,500, and he’s seen a considerable jump today.
The timing is unfortunate because he also has a difficult matchup at Fenway. His numbers are more than good enough to justify his price tag, with a 2.25 ERA and 27.8% strikeout rate — at least in a neutral matchup. Boston is decidedly not that, ranking as a top-five offense this season.
Ultimately it comes down to whether you think good pitching can beat good hitting in this one. Springs ownership is projected to be in the single digits. That makes him worth a flier for tournaments, as he has enough upside to end up with the night’s highest score.
Michael Kopech ($8,800) Chicago White Sox (-125) vs. Minnesota Twins
When looking at statistics over the past two seasons combined, Kopech is arguably the best pitcher on the slate. He has a 3.15 ERA and a strikeout rate over 30% since the start of 2021.
However, he’s been a bit worse this season. His ERA is a solid 2.78, but he has a SIERA of 4.58 and an xERA of 3.62. More troubling, his strikeout rate has dipped to around 23%, with a 10% swinging-strike rate.
That said, he’s an attractive GPP option on Tuesday. $8,800 is a very cheap price tag for a pitcher with his long-term numbers, and the third-year player should be continuing to get better. This feels like a buy-low opportunity both in terms of salary and ownership.
Some of that is due to the difficult matchup. The Twins feature a solid lineup that ranks fifth in wRC+ and seventh in wOBA on the season. Like Springs, Kopech can win difficult matchups, but it’s less likely than when the situation is better. He trails only Springs in K Prediction on the slate.
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 San Francisco Giants:
- Austin Slater (1) ($3,100)
- Wilmer Flores (2) ($4,100)
- Darin Ruf (3) ($3,100)
- Evan Longoria (4) ($4,300)
- Mike Yastrzemski (5) ($4,300)
The Giants don’t often show up as a top team in DFS. That’s mainly due to their home ballpark, which is one of the worst hitting parks in the majors. We get a reprieve from that tonight as they travel to Arizona to take on Tyler Gilbert ($6,900) and the Diamondbacks.
Fortunately, the lack of general interest in the Giants has kept their salaries very low. The first five hitters cost only $18,900, which is extremely cheap for a road team implied for 5.2 runs. This game has a roughly neutral Park Factor for hitters of 51 but the best Weather Rating on the slate.
It’s also a strong matchup for the Giants. Gilbert has bounced back and forth between the majors and minors this season, with a 7.88 ERA at the big-league level. The Giants have a 103 wRC+ against lefties on the year, so they should get the better of this matchup. Slater and Ruf have career OPS numbers more than 100 points better against southpaws, with Flores and Longoria nearing that mark.
Arizona’s bullpen also has a bottom-10 ERA on the season, so the matchup doesn’t get much more demanding if Gilbert gets pulled early. San Francisco will be hard to get away from tonight.
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 Cleveland Guardians:
The Guardians are another road team with a five-run total and very reasonable DraftKings salaries. They’re taking on Drew Hutchinson ($6,000), another pitcher who’s fluctuated between the majors and the minors.
He has a 5.57 SIERA in the bigs this year, and while Detroit features a strong bullpen, these teams played a doubleheader yesterday. That likely impacts the availability of the top relievers, raising Cleveland’s chances of a big score even if Hutchinson exits early.
Dollar-for-dollar, I prefer the Giants, who have better hitting conditions and a cheaper salary. Cleveland is worth considering for GPPs, though, as their ownership projections are relatively low outside of Ramirez, and the stack isn’t expensive by any stretch.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
Kyle Schwarber OF ($5,300 DraftKings; $4,900 FanDuel) Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals (Paolo Espino)
The entire Phillies lineup is in play today, with a 5.4-run implied total that trails only Atlanta for best on the slate. Schwarber might be the best of the bunch, though. He leads all hitters in THE BAT’s median projections while coming in top-five on FantasyLabs.
Schwarber is a boom-or-bust option, with a .215 batting average on the season but 23 home runs. The chances for a “boom” game go up against Paolo Espino ($6,700), a journeyman pitcher who allows fly balls on more than 43% of his balls in play. Schwarber also provides a bit of floor with his ability to draw walks, and his 14.4% BB rate is top five in the league.
I’m also interested in his teammate, 1B Darick Hall ($2,700 DraftKings; $2,900 FanDuel) on DraftKings, a rookie with three home runs in his first five games.
Giancarlo Stanton OF ($5,400 DraftKings; $3,700 FanDuel) New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates (Cal Quantrill)
The Yankees travel to Pittsburgh tonight, where they have a juicy matchup with Cal Quantrill ($8,300). Quantrill has a strikeout rate below 15% and a 4.78 SIERA on the season. He’s also a lefty, which is why I prefer Stanton over his teammate Aaron Judge ($6,300 DraftKings; $4,000 FanDuel).
Stanton has a .994 OPS against lefties in his career, compared to “only” .960 for Judge. When you factor in all of the likely at-bats against right-handed relievers, Judge is probably still the better overall play. However, Stanton is nearly $1,000 cheaper on DraftKings, making him the better pure value.
He’s also expected to come in at slightly lower ownership, a critical differentiator in GPPs.
Josh H. Smith 3B ($3,600 DraftKings; $2,300 FanDuel) Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles (Austin Voth)
Don’t forget about the Rangers tonight. They have a 4.8-run total as they travel to Baltimore to take on Austin Voth ($6,300). Voth has a 7.34 ERA on the season while splitting time between relief work and starts. He’s struggled particularly against lefties like Smith, allowing a wOBA of over .350.
I’m more interested in Smith on FanDuel, where he’s listed as a shortstop and has a 79% Bargain Rating. He hasn’t flashed much power in the majors yet, but he does have some upside on the bases. Lefties in Baltimore also have the best Park Factor on the slate, making this a good time for a potential first-career homer.
He leads all FanDuel shortstops in Pts/Sal projection in both THE BAT and the FantasyLabs projections.