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

Both DraftKings and FanDuel have all-day and early slates beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET. Their five-game main slates start at 7:10 p.m. ET.


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Pitchers

Studs

On FanDuel, there are three pitchers who cost more than $10,000:

  • Max Scherzer (R) $12,300, WSH @ MIA
  • Gerrit Cole $11,100, HOU @ TEX
  • Jose Berrios (R) $10,400, MIN @ BAL

Scherzer is the highest-rated pitcher of the day in the Bales Model, and he’ll be a tough fade in a pitcher’s park in Miami against a Marlins team that has really struggled offensively to start the year, posting the second-lowest team wOBA in the league. He has struggled to return to value this season in his four starts, but that’s mostly because the Nationals got the win in just one of those. The strikeouts were still there — and they should be today, evidenced by his day-high 10.4 K Prediction — and he’s in line to get a win as a massive -216 favorite. Don’t overthink this one, although he’s available only in the all-day slates.

Cole and Berrios are also huge favorites in their matchups at -232 and -220, respectively. That said, their ceiling projections are really far apart today because of their strikeout projections. Cole is somewhat comparable to Scherzer with a 9.2 K Prediction, while Berrios’ K Prediction of 6.5 is hard to stomach for a pitcher at his salary. The Rangers have a SO/AB rate of .262 given their projected lineup; the Orioles are down at .232.

Cole is also the safer pitcher with his excellent 1.046 past-year WHIP and 0.856 HR/9 allowed mark. He’s likely worth the extra cash on FanDuel, and on DraftKings he’s an even easier target at $100 cheaper than Berrios. If you’re not playing the all-day slates, they’re on separate ones, with Cole playing in the main night one. He’s far and away the highest-priced option in that slate, and you’ll have to decide between him and stacking Coors Field.

 

Values

The value options today are pretty uninspiring for a few reasons, which could make Scherzer and the high-priced guys listed above even more popular.

For example, Aaron Nola, who finished third in NL Cy Young voting last year, is only $8,100 on DraftKings and $7,400 on FanDuel. Of course, he’s at Coors Field — MLB’s hitter’s paradise — and has struggled to get going this season. He’s averaged a terrible -17.54 FanDuel Plus/Minus across his four starts, hitting value in just one of those. My colleague Stuckey broke down this game in full and talked about why Nola has struggled this year; he likes the over of 10.5 in this game, so that’s another concern for Nola in this game. The talent is there, though, and he’ll likely be low-owned.

Another weird guy is Boston’s Rick Porcello, who is really cheap at $7,300 on DraftKings and $7,400 on FanDuel. He’s been absolutely egregious this season, failing to reach double-digit fantasy points in each of his three starts, and he’s currently sporting a laughable ERA of 11.12. That said, his BABIP of .442 is one of the highest marks this season, which suggests he’s likely been a bit unlucky, and his Statcast data is surprisingly decent. Over his last two starts, he’s allowed an average batted-ball velocity of 86 mph. He’s induced ground balls at a 51% clip; a lot of those have just gone for hits and runs. He’s scary, but those reasons are why he’s higher than expected in our models.

Again, there aren’t many surefire value plays; you’ll have to prioritize Vegas odds or strikeout upside.

Fastballs

One guy who might be the best combination of both is Yu Darvish. He finally got on track last start after three rough ones, scoring 41 FanDuel points across 5.2 innings. Of course, that was against the Marlins, but Vegas is projecting another solid outing. The Diamondbacks have an implied total of 3.2 runs, and Darvish’s K Prediction of 7.1 is a top-five mark today.

Sticking with strikeout upside, Luis Castillo is also in the top five in terms of projections today at 7.5, and he has a solid matchup against a Padres team that has a sub-.300 wOBA mark as a team. He’s been very solid this year, and the pitcher’s park in San Diego won’t hurt. He’s a very worthy option in the main slate, although locking him in, especially if you also roster him with Cole, will limit getting in the best bats at Coors Field.

Charlie Morton, opposing Porcello today, also has a solid K Prediction. He had a disappointing fantasy outing last game, not making it to the fifth inning, but the upside and Statcast data are intriguing.

Notable Stacks

With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. The top four-man DraftKings stack from the Bales Player Model belongs to the Detroit Tigers.

  • 1. George Springer (R)
  • 2. Jose Altuve (R)
  • 3. Alex Bregman (R)
  • 8. Tyler White (R)

The Astros have the highest implied team total of the day at 5.9 — yes, even above the Coors Field teams. They’ll go against Rangers righty Adrian Sampson, who has gotten shelled in his three appearances this year. Over his past two starts, he’s allowed a 233-foot average distance, 95 mph exit velocity and 55% hard-hit rate. That seems suboptimal against an Astros team with a top-five wOBA mark and a lineup loaded with brilliant hitters. It will be interesting to see whether this lineup is highly-owned, as, again, there’s a Coors Field game. Speaking of…

The top four-man FanDuel stack by projected points likely won’t surprise you. It belongs to the Phillies, who are visiting the Rockies at Coors Field tonight.

  • 1. Andrew McCutchen (R)
  • 2. Jean Segura (R)
  • 3. Bryce Harper (L)
  • 4. Rhys Hoskins (R)

With a high implied team total of 5.5 at Coors Field, this stack will likely be a popular one, as will stacks of the Rockies. Harper will likely be one of the higher-owned players today, as he’s coming off his first career five-hit game last night. He’ll look to keep things going against righty Antonio Senzatela, who had a good outing in his only start of the season but did so in Petco Park. As mentioned above, there’s a good case that this game could even go over the total of 10.5, which makes it very appealing for stacking purposes.

 

Other Batters

Max Kepler has been down in terms of fantasy performance, failing to hit double digits in any of his last five games. He should be due for regression, however, as his Statcast data suggests he’s making excellent contact. Over the last two weeks, he’s averaged a batted-ball velocity of 93 mph and a hard-hit rate of 45%. At just $3,300 on FanDuel as a leadoff hitter, he’s a solid play against Dan Straily, who has awful Statcast data of his own. The Twins are currently implied for 5.7 runs — the second-highest mark of the day.

Speaking of Statcast data for another leadoff hitter, Matt Carpenter has averaged a stupid exit velocity of 96 mph over the last two weeks, along with a 240-foot average distance and 51% fly-ball rate. He’s mashing the ball right now, and the Cardinals are projected for 4.9 runs against Chris Flexen, who is starting in place of Jacob deGrom today. Flexen gave up five earned runs in six innings in the minors last week, so today could be tough.

Let’s finish with another current Statcast star. Yasmani Grandal, projected to bat cleanup for the Brewers against his former team, has crushed of late. Over his last 12 games, he’s averaged an exit velocity of 99 mph and a hard-hit rate of 68%. The Dodgers are implied for 4.5 runs, which is nice on a regular slate but actually pretty mediocre on this one. As a result, the Brewers, who are fourth this season in ISO as a team, could be very low-owned.

Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis.

After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.

Pictured above: Gerrit Cole
Photo credit: USAToday Sports