The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 13-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Pick
Sean Manaea ($9,000): San Diego Padres (-129) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Unlike yesterday where we had a plethora of strong pitchers on a smallish slate, today’s huge slate is relatively sparse with top arms. That makes Manaea the clear top option on Tuesday. Last season was a bit of a breakout year for Manaea, but he’s carried that success into 2022. He has a 3.70 SIERA and 25.5% strikeout rate. Both strong — but not elite — numbers.
Fortunately, he also has one of the better matchups on the slate. The Diamondbacks are one of the worst offenses in the league, ranking 27th in wRC+ and striking out at the fourth-highest rate. If you aren’t already, you should be at least strongly considering “pitcher vs. Diamondbacks” on most nights for DFS.
The other strong pitchers on the slate have significant question marks today, while Manaea is the best combination of safety and upside. He leads both the FantasyLabs and THE BAT projection systems in median and ceiling. He’ll almost certainly have the highest ownership of any arm on the slate, but I’d rather get unique somewhere else than pass up a clear-cut top arm today.
MLB DFS Value Picks
Erick Fedde ($5,700) Washington Nationals (NA) at Baltimore Orioles
Tuesday’s value plays seem to fit a similar description: weaker pitchers with tremendous matchups. That’s certainly the case for Fedde, who leads the FantasyLabs Pts/Sal projections. His matchup with the Orioles is the key driver to his projections, not his underlying ability.
Fedde has a 4.81 SIERA and 18% strikeout rate on the season, neither of which are great numbers. He’s been fairly boom-or-bust from a fantasy standpoint, with at least 10 points in nine of his 13 starts, including at least 18 points three times. While calling those “boom” games is a bit of a stretch, at $5,700, it counts.
On the other hand, he’s scored in the negatives three times, including a ridiculous -14.41 point game against the Mets. A complete meltdown is always a possibility, but so is an awesome (price-considered) score. The chances of the latter are obviously higher against a team like Baltimore.
We don’t have Vegas lines for this one yet, which could shift the projections a bit. At the moment, he leads the FantasyLabs projections for Pts/Sal.
Rich Hill ($7,200) Boston Red Sox (-210) vs. Detroit Tigers
Like Fedde, Hill doesn’t have outstanding numbers on the season or in recent years in general. He has a 4.19 SIERA on the season and a 19% strikeout rate. Those numbers are certainly stronger than Fedde’s, but still not great. The matchup is even stronger than it is for Fedde against the historically bad Tigers offense.
Of course, we’re paying an appropriate premium for both of those factors. Detroit has also gotten hot (in a manner of speaking) since the call-up of top prospect Riley Greene, scoring 23 runs in the past three games. That’s obviously a tiny sample size, but Vegas is showing the Tigers some respect with a four-run implied total.
This is certainly a winnable matchup for Hill but far from a slam-dunk. He’s one of the top Pts/Sal options in THE BAT’s system.
MLB DFS GPP Picks
Nestor Cortes ($10,400) New York Yankees (NA) at Tampa Bay Rays
Cortes is a bit pricey for his likeliest outcome here, as he takes on a competent Rays offense. He arguably has the most upside on the slate, though, with a strikeout rate of at least 27% in each of the last two seasons. That means he should come in at an ownership discount, so he’s an interesting leverage choice.
Fitting both Cortes and Manaea is obviously a challenge but should be a unique build in GPPs. As is pivoting from Manaea to Cortes, though that doesn’t feel optimal. Cortes has four games of at least 30 DraftKings points this season, so the ceiling is certainly there.
My biggest concern with Cortes is some potential regression. His 1.94 ERA is significantly lower than his SIERA, and his 10.2% swinging-strike rate doesn’t really support the number of strikeouts he’s picked up. In a non-threatening matchup, his “good luck” could certainly continue, so he’s worth a look. He trails only Manaea in median projection in both systems.
Kevin Gausman ($10,200) Toronto Blue Jays (-130) at Chicago White Sox
Gausman is in a similar spot to Cortes, with very strong but not elite numbers. He also has an average matchup, with the White Sox’s 100 wRC+ being exactly average in the MLB. Gausman is a player I’d happily pay $9,000 for on today’s slate, but his price tag makes things a bit more challenging.
For what it’s worth, I slightly prefer Gausman to Cortes here. He has slightly worse fantasy stats on the season, but his underlying metrics are better. His 3.05 SIERA is below his ERA, and his .369 BABIP against is sure to regress positively. His 16.0% swinging strike rate suggests a strikeout rate higher than his current 26%.
The Vegas data is concerning, with Chicago implied for 4.4 runs and Toronto only slightly favored. That should keep ownership down, making Gausman a +EV pivot on Tuesday’s slate and my favorite GPP option provided ownership projections look the way I’m anticipating.
He trails only Cortes and Manaea in median and ceiling projections in the FantasyLabs set.
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 Boston Red Sox:
- Jarren Duran (1) ($3,300)
- Rafael Devers (2) ($5,500)
- J.D. Martinez (3) ($5,100)
- Xander Bogaerts (4) ($4,600)
- Alex Verdugo (5) ($3,300)
The Red Sox lead the slate with a 5.7-run implied total as they take on the Tigers and rookie Beau Brieske ($5,800). Brieske is — on paper — one of the more exploitable pitching matchups on the slate. He has a 4.70 SIERA on the season while striking out just 16% of the batters he’s faced.
Our projected lineup for the Red Sox has them loading up on left-handed hitting, with Duran, Devers, and Verdugo all having the platoon edge against the right-handed Brieske. This stack is also exceedingly cheap considering the implied total, with a total cost of only $21,800.
I have my concerns, though, with the rookie pitcher looking much improved in his last few starts. In his last three outings, he’s allowed just two runs while striking out 15 in 18.2 combined innings against the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rangers. With a veteran arm, I’d write that off as just noise, but it’s possible that it’s a genuine improvement from such a young player.
Still, the Red Sox can make even experienced arms look bad, so they’re likely the correct side here. The value they provide is also crucial to fitting in two of the higher-priced pitchers on the slate, which is an added benefit today.
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 Toronto Blue Jays:
Toronto is implied for 4.8 runs, one of the highest totals of any road teams. That’s a bit of a cautious line from Vegas, as the Blue Jays are a top-five offense in the big leagues but have a relatively difficult pitching matchup against Dylan Cease ($9,800) of the White Sox.
Cease has a 3.29 SIERA on the season and a strikeout rate over 30%. I wouldn’t expect most DFS players to be targeting stacks against him today, making the Blue Jays a solid leverage play.
Cease is averaging just over five innings per start as well. That means Toronto could conceivably see half of their at-bats against the White Sox bullpen, which ranks bottom-10 in the majors in ERA. That’s another reason to be on the Blue Jays tonight, especially if they can work the count and get Cease out of there on the earlier side.
The price point does make Toronto a bit tricky, at an average cost of $4,900. There’s value elsewhere in the lineup, though, with Ramiel Tapia ($2,500) expected to bat sixth. He has the highest Pts/Sal projection on the team, though less upside than some of their power hitters.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
Shohei Ohtani 1B/OF ($5,600 DraftKings; $3,500 FanDuel) Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals (Jonathan Heasley)
Ohtani and the Angels haven’t really had it together lately. Los Angeles hasn’t scored more than four runs in any of their last nine games, and Ohtani (the hitter) has scored seven points combined in his last four. Things could turn around today, though, with one of the softest pitching matchups on the slate.
Jonathan Heasley ($6,100) of the Royals has a 5.43 SIERA on the season, in line with the 5.51 figure he posted last year. He struggles both at missing bats and keeping the ball on the ground, a dangerous combination against Ohtani and the Angles.
Full Angels stacks are a bit pricey on tonight’s slate, but Ohtani and/or Mike Trout ($5,500 DraftKings; $4,300 FanDuel) stand out. I prefer Ohtani since he’s also first base eligible on DraftKings. There are a lot of outfielders I’m interested in tonight.
He’s also significantly cheaper on FanDuel, with projections between the two nearly identical.
Javier Baez SS ($3,800 DraftKings; $2,700 FanDuel) Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox (Rich Hill)
Baez’s first season in Detroit has been a disaster, with the shortstop hitting just .200 with a .561 OPS on the season. However, he’s also ran extremely bad. His .250 BABIP is roughly 80 points lower than his career mark, and he’s actually striking out at his lowest rate since 2016.
The positive regression that Baez is due may have already started. In the last three games, he’s 4-12 with a walk, two doubles, and a home run. Baez’s free-swinging nature makes him a volatile play, but I like the matchup for him. Baez infamously struggles with Sliders, but Hill throws them just 12% of the time.
Baez has also had success against lefties in his career, with a .294 batting average and a 150-point boost to his OPS.
Juan Soto OF ($5,200 DraftKings; $4,200 FanDuel) Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles (Jordan Lyles)
Jordan Lyles ($6,000) is one of the more exploitable pitchers on the slate, with a 5.10 ERA on the season. He hasn’t just had a bad run either, his ERA last season was 5.15, and in 2020 it was over seven. Unfortunately, the Nationals lineup doesn’t provide many options to attack that matchup — outside of Soto.
Soto is having a down year, hitting just .218 on the season. The power has been there, though, with 14 home runs through 68 games. He’s a major regression candidate. He’s only striking out 15.3% of the time but has a BABIP of just .213. That’s more than 100 points below his career average, and absurdly low from a player of his speed. That means he should be hitting about 85 points higher — or .293 — on the season.
His power and speed combination also provides major upside, with Soto picking up five steals so far this season. That number would also be higher if he were getting on base more, which he should very soon. He’s a solid “buy low” play on Tuesday.
Byron Buxton OF ($5,700 DraftKings; $3,900 FanDuel) Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Guardians (Aaron Civale)
Buxton was the positive regression candidate for a while, and it finally hit. In his last 10 games, he has seven home runs and at least 19 fantasy points in half of them. That hot streak could continue tonight, with Aaron Civale ($6,400) on the mound for Cleveland.
Civale had a 7.84 ERA in 2022 before being sent down to the minors. He’s back in the bigs tonight, though, and Minnesota is implied for 5.2 runs against him. Buxton leads THE BAT’s hitter projections on DraftKings, regardless of position.