The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 15-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Picks
Gerrit Cole ($10,500) New York Yankees (-230) vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Cole has struggled against good teams this season, a fact I pointed out before his last start. That proved incredibly prescient, with Cole getting blown up for a final DraftKings score of -8.75. Cole has mostly beat up on lesser offenses this season, with the schedule providing him a string of softer matchups.
Today is somewhere in between, with the Rays performing as a roughly league-average offense this season. They’re certainly no Minnesota, but they aren’t bottom-feeders either. In their last matchup, Cole recorded 10 strikeouts for a 28.50-point start.
It’s hard to expect much different today, with Vegas indicating a clear edge for Cole and the Yankees. Tampa is implied for the lowest total on the slate at 3.1 runs, with the Yankees as the second biggest favorite. The likeliest outcome is a big day for Cole, who leads both THE BAT’s and FantasyLabs’ median projections by at least four points.
With that said, it’s probably time to think of Cole as a higher-variance option. He’s had some really bad starts this season and will likely have a few more.
It probably won’t be today, though, making him the top overall option on the slate.
Dylan Cease ($8,800) Chicago White Sox (-186) at Detroit Tigers
Cease ranks second in both projection sets for median today, trailing only Cole. He’s another somewhat high-variance option, with tons of upside but some minor concerns. Cease has a 15.5% swinging-strike rate and 32.7% strikeout rate — both marks are better than Cole’s.
His 3.40 SIERA is outside of what I would consider elite, with Cole’s coming in at 2.88 on the season for comparison. However, his matchup with the Tigers makes that less concerning. Detroit is fairly convincingly the worst offense in baseball.
That makes Cease the better — or at least safer — option today, particularly from a per-dollar standpoint. Detroit is implied for just 3.5 runs, with the White Sox as fairly heavy favorites. Cease is projected for somewhat less ownership than Cole as well.
Playing both of them together is viable, but the salary difference makes Cease my preferred option if rostering one or the other.
MLB DFS Value Pick
Chris Bassitt ($8,200) New York Mets (-155) vs. Milwaukee Brewers
It’s a very tough slate for “value” pitchers; with no arms under $8,000 that I truly feel comfortable rostering (or recommending). Bassitt comes the closest to that salary level, though, at a reasonable $8,200. He has strong numbers on the season, with a 3.65 SIERA and strikeout rate over 25%.
He has a reasonable matchup with Milwaukee, a roughly league-average offense on the season. The Brewers are implied for 3.9 runs — with the Mets as decent favorites — both acceptable numbers for a pitcher in Bassit’s price range. His K Prediction of 6.26 is a top-five mark on the slate, and Citi field is one of the more pitcher-friendly parks on the slate today.
All in all, nothing about Bassitt jumps off the page, but he has solid numbers across the board. With minimal ownership, he’s an interesting pivot if the more popular arms get blown up. He’s also a decent cash game play since salary will likely be at a premium.
He trails only Cole and Trevor Rogers ($6,300) in Pts/Sal projection in the FantasyLabs projections.
MLB DFS GPP Picks
Shane Bieber ($9,700) Cleveland Guardians (-175) at Colorado Rockies
We generally don’t like seeing “at Colorado Rockies” following a pitcher’s name in the heading. Playing at Coors Field is never an easy task, and the Rockies are implied for 4.7 runs against Bieber. We aren’t even getting him at a discount today, with his salary $100 more than his last start.
That’s the bad; now here’s the good: Bieber is arguably the best pitcher on the slate after Cole, matched up with one of the worst offenses. On today’s slate, only Cole, Cease, and Bieber have a 30% strikeout rate since the start of 2021. Bieber sits between Cole and Cease in terms of SIERA as well.
It’s also a sneaky-good matchup, with Colorado ranking 27th in wRC+ on the season. Their offense seems decent when just considering counting stats, but those numbers are inflated thanks to their home ballpark. wRC+ accounts for the ballpark, giving us a better indication of their actual ability.
Of course, Bieber is highly risky today. His fly-ball rate of 26% is the highest of his career, and he’s gotten lucky with only 6.3% of the fly balls against him leaving the park. That’s unlikely to be the case at Coors Field, so he’ll need to keep the ball on the ground — or off of the Rockies bats. For context, that 36% fly-ball rate is still below league average though.
The real appeal is Bieber’s upside combined with near-zero ownership. He’s at worst one of the top few pitchers on the slate while expected to be roughly one-tenth as popular as Cole and Cease. He trails only those two in median projection in the FantasyLabs projections.
Max Fried ($10,100) Atlanta Braves (-225) at Washington Nationals
Like Bieber, Fried is another arm that costs just a bit too much for his likeliest outcome but should come in at correspondingly low ownership. He’s another solid option for large-field tournaments, as players won’t rush to pay five figures for a pitcher implied to give up 3.7 runs.
Fried has a 3.16 SIERA but less strikeout upside than the other top options today. His rate is just 23% on the season, though his 12.5% swinging strike rate could support a bit more than that. Unfortunately, the Nationals strike out against lefties at just a 17.3% rate, so this isn’t likely to be the game he breaks out.
Fried is a pure game-theory play, with the odds that he outscores Cole (and Cease and Bieber) somewhat higher than their relative ownership projections are giving him credit for.
He ranks fifth (FantasyLabs) and fourth (THE BAT) in median projections 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 Cleveland Guardians:
- Myles Straw (1) ($4,200)
- Amed Rosario (2) ($4,100)
- Jose Ramirez (3) ($6,100)
- Josh Naylor (4) ($4,500)
- Oscar Gonzalez (5) ($2,900)
A few years ago, DraftKings would consistently bump prices up on hitters at Coors field to the point where it was very difficult to fit them into lineups. That’s been less the case this season, as evidenced by the Guardians’ No. 1-5 stack coming in at a combined salary of just $21,800.
They’re implied for a massive 6.1-run total on today’s slate and are sure to be the most popular unit by a long shot. It’s a friendly matchup with Rockies righty Antonio Senzatela ($6,000), who has a 4.92 SIERA on the season. His inability to limit balls in play (10.6% strikeout rate) is especially concerning at Coors Field.
While Senzatela has done a good job limiting fly balls at a 26.6% rate, his high line drive rate may be a bigger problem today. Coors is expecting moderate wind blowing in from left field today, which could knock some fly balls down. Line drives will be less affected, and his line drive rate is well above league average.
Keep an eye on our lineups page as we approach lock to make sure to get the top Guardians hitters. They’ll be extra chalky, so consider going a bit off the board with your pitchers if using this stack. Bieber is a good option — his ownership should be minimal, and there’s some correlation between a big Guardians day offensively and him getting the four-point win bonus.
Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X
The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT when generated by ceiling belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers:
With ownership expected to condense around Cleveland — as well as the difficulty in finding salary — it’s a rare opportunity to get the Dodgers at reasonably low ownership. That’s always worth considering, especially with their 5.1 implied run total. There are eight teams implied for at least five runs today though, making that number stand out less than usual.
The Dodgers are taking on Noah Syndergaard ($7,300) of the Angels. While that’s a matchup we would’ve avoided a few years ago, “Thor” is a shell of his former self. This season, he has a 4.38 SIERA and a 15.4% strikeout rate. Both numbers are the worst of his career by a fairly big margin. Syndergaard never really recovered from Tommy John surgery in 2020, with a three mph drop in his average fastball velocity since then.
That makes the Dodgers — a strong team that’s always in play — extra appealing today. It’s tricky to fit the full stack in from a salary standpoint but could pay off in a big way if the rest of the field forgets about them.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
Darin Ruf 1B/OF ($3,700 DraftKings; $2,800 FanDuel) San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals (Kris Bubic)
On a day starved for value, Ruf provides some salary relief. He doesn’t have great numbers, hitting just .218 with five home runs on the season. However, he’s taking on Royals lefty Kris Bubic ($5,400). Bubic has an ERA over nine on the season and a 5.59 SIERA.
In addition to the strong matchup, Ruf also has excellent platoon splits. He has a whopping .929 OPS against left-handed hitting in his career to go with a .285 batting average. His numbers aren’t as good this season (.842 OPS), but he still does most of his damage against southpaws. He’s set to hit second for the Giants, making him a very strong value.
Rob Refsnyder OF ($2,200 DraftKings; $2,000 FanDuel) Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland A’s (Jared Koenig)
If Refsnyder ends up leading off for the Red Sox as he did on Sunday (their last game), he’s a massive value on Tuesday’s slate. He’s priced at or near the minimum salary, despite hitting first for a team with a 5.9-run implied total. Oakland starter Jared Koenig ($5,600) is making just his second career start Tuesday but allowed four runs in as many innings to the Braves in his debut.
Refsnyder doesn’t have major platoon splits but has performed better against lefties in his career. That’s another feather in his cap today, but the real appeal is the salary.
He leads all outfielders in the FantasyLabs projections for Pts/Sal while coming in second in THE BAT.
Note: he’s listed at 2B on FanDuel.
Nolan Gorman 2B ($3,800 DraftKings; NA FanDuel) Saint Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Bryse Wilson)
The Cardinals and Pirates are playing two today, meaning the second game isn’t available on FanDuel. However, Gorman is a solid play on DraftKings. Wilson is set to get the ball in the nightcap of the doubleheader, and he has a 7.53 ERA on the season. This being the second game of the day also means he may get left in a bit longer than usual, with the Pirates bullpen being run down from game one.
All of the Cardinals bats are in play here with their 5.7-run total, but Gorman is the best mix of value and upside. He’s the only hitter projected in the top four of the lineup at under $5,000 in salary. The rookie has an .806 OPS on the season and has big power. He hit 15 home runs in just 34 games at Triple-A last season.