MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Target Spencer Strider and the Atlanta Bats Today (April 1)

Saturday’s MLB DFS action gets an early start with the featured slates locking at 2:10 p.m. ET on DraftKings and FanDuel. Yahoo is electing to roll with a 12-game slate that includes all of the matchups after 4:05 p.m. ET. Now onto our MLB DFS picks.

Before you lock in lineups, there are several Stokastic tools that can help identify daily MLB DFS Top Stacks, key pitchers and MLB DFS picks player projections and popularity for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups, including Spencer Strider and the Atlanta offense in their matchup against the hapless Washington Nationals.

MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks

Spotlight Pitchers

Primary Pitching Target: RHP Spencer Strider at Washington Nationals — 3.4 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,700 | FanDuel $10,800 | Yahoo $57

Spencer Strider is the deluxe option for Saturday’s main slate and he is likely to be near the top of the fantasy projections every time he takes the mound. The 23-year-old fireballer announced his presence with authority racking up an eye-popping 202 strikeouts in 131.2 innings. This was accompanied by a 2.67 ERA, 1.83 FIP and a ridiculous 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Strider picked up where he left off with a strong spring training, notching 21 whiffs in 16 innings while allowing just three runs.

There is bad, really bad and then the Washington offense. Over the last two seasons, the current Nationals roster has cobbled together an 88 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus is an advanced metric that neutralizes park factors and creates a league-wide scoring baseline of 100). This is the lowest of any team in the league and indicates that they are creating runs 12% less efficiently than average. The team also projects for the worst power numbers in the league against right-handed pitching, which is not particularly helpful in the loaded National League East.

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Secondary Pitching Target: LHP Justin Steele vs. Milwaukee Brewers — 3.4 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $6,000 | FanDuel $8,600 | Yahoo $38

Yikes! That is the first word that comes to mind when looking at the projected Milwaukee lineup this afternoon. Yes, the top of the order is solid with Willy Adames, Christian Yelich, Luke Voit and catcher William Contreras, however, the rest of the hitters are well below replacement level and likely to lead to some quick innings.

Lefty Justin Steele posted a strong season in his first MLB campaign as a full-time starter. In 24 appearances, he logged 119 innings with a stellar 3.18 ERA and 3.20 FIP, allowing a mere eight home runs while striking out just over a batter per inning. Target Steele as a streamer in your season long leagues today as well as a discount dandy SP2 on DraftKings and FanDuel.

Late Slate Pitching Target: RHP Logan Gilbert vs. Cleveland Guardians — 3.3 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,100 | FanDuel $9,800 | Yahoo $42

Hopefully the Guardians used up all their runs last night in a 9-4 drubbing of Robbie Ray and the Seattle bullpen. It is going to be cold in the Pacific Northwest tonight with game-time temperatures in the mid-40s, which should be a boost to pitching.

Logan Gilbert was one of several bright spots for the Mariners last season as they ended a playoff drought that began in 2002. Gilbert answered the bell 32 times and posted a solid 13-6 record with a 3.20 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings. The soon to be 26-year-old looked good in 16.2 spring innings with 18 strikeouts and a sub-4.00 ERA.

Cleveland sets up well against right-handed pitching, however, one of the best things about Gilbert is sustained success against opposite-handed batsmen. If he is able to mitigate the damage from switch-hitters Jose Ramirez and Josh Bell, along with the light tower power of Josh Naylor, he should be able to find fantasy success.

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Top Stacks

Main Slate Target: Atlanta Braves at RHP Josiah Gray — 5.1 implied runs

This is a “prove it” season for Josiah Gray who was part of the return package from the Dodgers, when the Nationals moved Max Scherzer and Trea Turner at the 2021 trade deadline. Though he has strikeout upside, he also allowed a league worst 38 home runs last year. Over the last two seasons, Gray has allowed 1.82 home runs per nine innings to righties and a WHOPPING 3.08 to opposite-handed hitters.

Matt Olson and Michael Harris II are the obvious core options, with Austin Riley, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Marcell Ozuna rounding out full-stacks. We will not be alone in this assessment, but there are plenty of ways to find lineup differentiation this afternoon.

Jonathan India, Wil Myers and catcher Tyler Stephenson profile well against venerable veteran lefty Rich Hill who celebrated his 43rd birthday last month. Similarly the top of the Twins batting order is in a strong spot against Jordan Lyles, who has allowed the second most round-trippers in the league over the last two seasons. Finally, for a little differentiation, the Mets are carrying hefty salaries on DraftKings, which should in turn keep their popularity in check as they face the enigmatic Edward Cabrera.

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Late Slate Target: San Diego Padres vs. RHP Jose Urena — 5.2 implied runs

While Jose Urena is not a bad pitcher, he is not particularly good either. More often than not, he relies on inducing groundballs just over 50% of the time and generally letting his defense do the heavy lifting. However, when he is not clearing the bases via double plays, things can get a little spicy.

Last year only four times in 21 starts did the journeyman allow more than four runs, but in that quartet of outings, the opposition plated 32 runners. Similarly in 2021 he allowed more than four runs on half a dozen occasions, resulting in just over six runs in these tilts.

Batters swinging the stick from the left side of the plate have the biggest advantage, but same-handed hitters have performed solidly too. Xander Bogaerts has slotted in nicely to his new team and it looks like he will be hitting cleanup against righties and first or second against southpaws. Juan Soto, Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth all profile well in this matchup and if Matt Carpenter sees his name on the lineup card, he makes for an intriguing punt option, particularly on FanDuel and Yahoo, where he won’t take up the first base slot.

Trent Grisham is likely to be promoted to the leadoff slot and there is a good chance that David Dahl makes it into the lineup against his former team. This gives plenty of mixing and matching opportunities, which will be key as this is likely to rival the Dodgers right-handers as the preferred stack on the three-game late slate.

Final Thoughts for Saturday, April 1

In a bit of a twist, DraftKings and FanDuel have elected to start their featured slate with the early afternoon games. In prior years, they would have pushed this to the games in the four o’clock hour, so get in the contests early or you will miss out.

Be sure to get all the updated information on the Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show, at 1 p.m. ET, brought to you by Bet365.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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