A loaded 13-game MLB DFS slate sees all but four of the league’s 30 teams in action, with a number of premium pitchers and stacking opportunities standing out on the board. The pitching slate is topped by an ace returning to form against a team that he just dominated in his most recent start, with a strong list of options following him on the list by their probability of success. The board in Vegas has several inflated run totals that can be targeted for run creation and power, although a 10-run total in the Orioles vs Red Sox game seems like the city in the desert might be overreacting to the recent surge by the Boston lineup. The Dodgers will be facing the Diamondbacks in Arizona in a contest with a more wholly believable 10-run total, while the Nationals vs Rockies game that begins the slate lands at a 9.5. With a few other games carrying totals of 8.5 or 9.0, this seems like a night on which the odds are favoring the offenses over pitching. Spreading out to shares on both sides of the arms vs bats race is the right idea on a slate of this nature. There are several realistic pitching options that are going under-owned, only the few apex arms on the Top Pitchers Tool are drawing significant popularity or negative leverage and, if they slip to even an average start, the broad array of positively leveraged less expensive options could wreak havoc on the slate. At the same time, several of the night’s most highly-ranked stacks and most likely spots for offense are being left on the table by the public. Several of the teams ranked among the most likely to deliver according to the Top Stacks Tool come at either low raw ownership or positive leverage, and in several cases both. Taking a big swing at the 13-game slate of MLB DFS action on both DraftKings and FanDuel should make for a wild Friday night, the slate includes five games starting after 9:30 ET, no lead will be comfortable until the last pitch of the night is thrown.
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Top Home Run Ratings & Predictions
Using a model based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup we will give each team one of the top choices from their projected lineup. However, the pick included below will not always be the actual top-rated player, particularly when there is an obvious star who rates atop his team’s lineup each day. Check out all of Awesemo’s top-notch baseball content and free MLB DFS picks.
Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great
Arizona Diamondbacks: Daulton Varsho — 11.05
Atlanta Braves: Austin Riley — 4.11
Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins II — 4.36
Boston Red Sox: J.D. Martinez — 11.75
Cleveland Guardians: Josh Naylor — 9.21
Colorado Rockies: Ryan McMahon — 2.57
Detroit Tigers: Javier Baez — 5.71
Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker — 6.85
Kansas City Royals: M.J. Melendez — 12.88
Los Angeles Angels: Jared Walsh — 7.24
Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger — 10.56
Miami Marlins: Jazz Chisholm Jr. — 6.58
Milwaukee Brewers: Andrew McCutchen — 5.63
Minnesota Twins: Carlos Correa — 5.74
New York Mets: J.D. Davis — 6.91
New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres — 8.56
Oakland Athletics: Seth Brown — 7.63
Philadelphia Phillies: Kyle Schwarber — 11.56
Pittsburgh Pirates: Michael Chavis — 7.60
San Diego Padres: Manny Machado — 10.13
Seattle Mariners: Jesse Winker — 9.60
St. Louis Cardinals: Juan Yepez — 5.58
Tampa Bay Rays: Mike Zunino — 8.03
Texas Rangers: Corey Seager — 7.45
Toronto Blue Jays: Teoscar Hernandez — 12.28
Washington Nationals: Josh Bell — 8.21
This is intended to capture the full range of home run upside for each team. It is not meant as a stack ranking and does not account for pricing or popularity — only home run potential. The first column is the average rating for the full projected lineup and the second is for the top six hitters in the projected lineup.
MLB DFS Weather Update: Postponements & Risk Assessment
There is some threat of rain for the Guardians vs Tigers and the Phillies vs Mets games, with the contest in Detroit looking like the worse of the two. The game between the Nationals and Rockies might see on and off showers and there is minor potential for in-game delays, but the pitchers are largely unappealing and the bats should not be impacted unless the situation worsens. As always, monitor the probability of postponement projections and the MLB Breaking News channel in the Awesemo Premium Discord to keep up as lock approaches.
MLB DFS Picks Today: Pitchers, Best Stacks & Low-Owned Plays
This section will feature a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Be sure to check out the Awesemo MLB DFS Ownership Projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.
On the Hill
The top two starters on today’s slate are excellent pitchers facing low-end teams. Cleveland ace Shane Bieber leads the Guardians into Detroit to face a Tigers team that is among the league’s worst against right-handed pitching so far this season. With rain in the forecast and a significant amount of the field rostering Bieber in a spot in which he is likely to dominate once again, there are arguments for undercutting the situation on a large slate that warrant consideration. The second-ranked pitcher on both sites is Padres southpaw Sean Manaea who will be pitching at home in San Diego against the Pirates, a team that has been bad on both sides of the platoon split this season, but slightly better against lefties. Manaea is at similar negative leverage to where Bieber can be found, both pitchers are obvious targets who belong in a large portion of lineups, but there are a number of viable options at far lower raw popularity, if not positive leverage. Astros ace Justin Verlander stands third to no pitchers on talent, but he sits at just a 6.9% ownership projection on the FanDuel slate and a 23% mark on DraftKings, while Bieber and Manaea are both above 30% on the blue site and approaching 40% on DraftKings. Verlander is technically at negative leverage, but he is a premium pitcher who can help offset a large share of popularity as a spend-up option in a start against the Mariners. Rangers righty Jon Gray is drawing a massive amount of popularity as the go-to option for value on the DraftKings slate, where he costs just $5,500. Gray is the slate’s most popular and most negatively leveraged pitcher on that site, he lands at minor negative leverage and just a 9.9% ownership projection on the single-pitcher site for $7,100. Gray is facing the Athletics, the third team that is worthy of targeting almost any day they are on the slate. Gray is not an apex pitcher like the first three names on the board, but he is a viable play even with the popularity given his discounted pricing on the two-pitcher slate. Toronto righty Alek Manoah is at a premium price tag in a matchup against the Angels that has him projected for less than one percent popularity on FanDuel and just a three percent share on DraftKings. Manoah is joined by Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Rogers, Brandon Woodruff, Garrett Whitlock, and Ian Anderson as excellent leverage targets on both sites. Several of those starters are in positive matchups, they warrant more shares than the public is affording them, even with some of the day’s best pitchers facing the league’s worst teams.
Guardians’ righty Shane Bieber has thrown 45.2 innings in eight starts this season, posting a 24.1% strikeout rate that is a major dip from the 33.1% that he had running through 96.2 innings before his injury last season. Bieber is inducing a strong 13.2% swinging-strike rate, but that mark is a dip from his 16.2% from last year and his CSW% is down significantly, dropping from 33.5% to 28.7%. Bieber has yielded a 41.5% hard-hit percentage with a 10.8% barrel rate so far this season, but opposing hitters have managed just a 2.09% home run rate, the hard hits are actually down slightly from last year while the barrels are up from an already-high 9.0% last year. As with many aces, Bieber can be prone to yielding contact when he makes a mistake, but he is typically excellent and rarely takes major damage. The righty will be facing a team that is among baseball’s worst at everything in the split. The Tigers have a .101 ISO and a WRC+ 28% below average, both sit 30th out of baseball’s 30 teams. The team’s 1.75% home run rate ranks 29th, and their 24.7% strikeout rate is 25th ranked. Bieber has an outstanding opportunity to post a strong start, he put up 10 strikeouts in seven innings, yielding two early runs, against this same Tigers lineup in his most recent start at low prices and significant popularity, a repeat performance, while not dictated by that outing, is easy to foresee tonight. Bieber belongs in lineups on both sites, getting to the field’s exposure even at negative leverage may not be the worst idea, but a recommended undercut dose would be to include the elite starter in around 20% of lineups on the FanDuel slate and 30% on DraftKings; leaving a few shares to work other pitchers into lineups to take advantage of positive leverage and upside could be a critical decision on both sites tonight.
The posture for Padres pitcher Sean Manaea is similar, though he comes at a higher price than the Cleveland starter in what is potentially a slightly worse matchup. While they are no one’s idea of a good baseball team, the Pirates’ active roster is better against lefties, but “better” is a highly relative term. Pittsburgh has created runs 12% worse than average in the split while striking out at a 22.2% rate that sits 17th. They are near the middle of the league for power, but at low overall marks, the team ranks 18th with a .137 ISO and a 2.34% home run rate against southpaws this season, only five teams have better than a .180 ISO in the split, the sixth-ranked Cubs sit at a .173, the power has been out against lefties leaguewide this year. Pittsburgh is an excellent team to target with a starter of Manaea’s caliber, the lefty had a 25.7% strikeout rate over 179.1 innings last year and he has improved to a 27.6% mark this season. Manaea has made eight starts, delivering 49 innings of reliable depth with a 3.45 xFIP and 1.12 WHIP, though he has yielded a minor amount of power. The lefty has a 42.2% hard-hit rate with a 9.4% barrel rate and a 3.52% home run percentage so far this season, all of which are up somewhat from last year. Still, Manaea is likely to be safe against this team and he brings significant upside for strikeouts with a win bonus and a quality start seeming like realistic possibilities as well. Manaea is as popular as Beiber on this slate, despite far higher prices at $10,000 on DraftKings and $9,700 on FanDuel. With the weight of negative leverage, it makes sense to undercut the Padres starter in this situation, while still including him in a large share of lineups. For the price and slightly better matchup, Bieber seems like the better pitcher to include in lineups at significant negative leverage scores, while he remains a very likely contributor, a larger undercut to the exposure to Manaea seems warranted for MLB DFS tournament play on both sites.
Rangers righty Jon Gray is a pitcher in whom many had an interest at the start of the season, given his exodus from the hitter’s haven that is Coors Field. Gray has always been a better talent than his numbers allowed for pitching half his games in Colorado, he has been good but not outstanding in any way so far for Texas. The righty has a 22.7% strikeout rate over his first 28 innings in six starts this season, missing some time in the early part of the year, but he has a 3.72 xFIP hiding beneath his unsightly 5.14 ERA, his 3.32 xERA is even better. Gray is facing an Athletics team that is giving the Tigers a run for their money for worst in baseball in the split against righties. The Oakland active roster has a .107 ISO and a 1.75% home run rate in the split, both rank 28th in baseball. Texas has struck out at a 24.3% rate against righties, the 23rd-ranked rate, and they have created runs a 29th-ranked 26% below average by collective WRC+. This is a bad baseball team and Gray is a talented starter, he makes for an interesting option for just $7,100 on the blue site. Gray will be owned at a 9.9% rate by the public on FanDuel, which is surprisingly low given the cheap price and excellent opportunity. While that is technically still a negatively leveraged play, the appeal of the low raw ownership and the double bat buy that the discounted salary can purchase is strong, Gray should be more popular on the one-pitcher site at that price. The situation is radically different on DraftKings, where the starter checks in at just a $5,500 price tag as the obvious value target of the day. Gray is drawing nearly 40% popularity, joining Bieber and Manaea deep into negative leverage land, playing any other combination of pitchers is a major differentiation point on the site. Gray has excellent utility and strong upside for scoring on both MLB DFS sites, he is a good asset to include in lineups, but this is another situation where the potential gains are limited by the popularity. Gray is the best value option available, focusing on differentiation when rostering him around the field is important going into this slate.
With just 23.3% popularity on DraftKings and 6.9% on FanDuel, Houston ace Justin Verlander is not drawing the respect he would typically warrant in a start against a Mariners club that has been average for power and strikeouts but good for run creation in the split this season. Seattle has a 10th-ranked WRC+ that sits 10% above average in the split, but their .136 ISO sits 20th while their 2.66% home run rate ranks 15th and their 22.1% strikeout rate sits 14th. Seattle is not a bad team, they are not nearly the target that the teams above are, but Verlander is very low owned in this spot and he is always worthy of consideration, it would not be a surprise to see a late-night breakout by Verlander win the slate in the last game of the night. Verlander has a 26.3% strikeout rate with a 3.27 xFIP and a 0.72 WHIP this season, he has walked just 4.8% and yields very few opportunities for run creation or sequencing. The righty has yielded just a 2.15% home run rate with a 37.8% hard-hit percentage and a 5.5% barrel rate, he is a fantastic option for an inflated $10,800 salary and single-digit popularity on the blue site, while his $10,500 is keeping at least some of the field at bay on DraftKings, where he is at least more playable than the two more popular aces. Verlander deserves attention on both sites as a potential late-night hammer, with his teammates looking like a good target for positive leverage at the plate against Chris Flexen, focusing on the nightcap in Seattle could be an interesting angle for short-pool tournaments and large field events on both sides of the game.
Mets righty Carlos Carrasco is drawing strong positive leverage at single-digit popularity on the blue site, where he comes at just an $8,300 asking price. Carrasco costs $9,500 on DraftKings, where he is carrying a popularity projection near one percent. The righty is facing a tough Phillies lineup and he has managed to pitch to just a 20.5% strikeout rate this season, but there is an ignored potential for success in those ownership marks and his probability grades on the Top Pitchers Tool. Carrasco has induced a 13.2% swinging-strike rate so far this season, but his 27.6% CSW% needs improvement, he should find some additional strikeouts as the year progresses, and he has pitched to a 3.56 xFIP with a 3.50 ERA this season. Philadelphia strikes out at a 23.3% rate against righties this season and they have created runs one percent below average with a 2.99% home run rate and a 13th-ranked .151 ISO, surprisingly low marks that could support the idea of a decent MLB DFS score at low ownership from the pitcher. Carrasco does not have to be a major priority, at his ownership it is simple to get well beyond the field without creating a significant exposure to the potential downside, he is worthy of added shares. The same is true for both Trevor Rogers, a lefty with a 20.9% strikeout rate this season but a 28.5% mark last year, and righty Alek Manoah, who has a 22.3% strikeout rate with a 0.88 WHIP and just a 29.9% hard-hit percentage this season. Rogers is facing a Braves roster that plays the same against both hands, they are very good for power and run creation, but they strike out at a 29th-ranked 27% rate so far this season against lefties, leaving Rogers in a great spot if he can find his strikeout form for a night. The Marlins southpaw is projected for less than five percent popularity at $7,400 on the DraftKings slate and under one percent at $8,200 on FanDuel, he is a reasonable target for low-owned value on both sites. Manoah draws an Angels lineup that has similar power against righties, Los Angeles has created runs 18% better than average with a 3.84% home run rate and a .183 ISO that rank first and third in the split respectively. Manoah has been great at suppressing power so far, however, and he has the talent to exploit the team’s 25th-ranked 24.7% strikeout rate in the split, he is another excellent leverage play for tournaments across the industry.
A pitcher with a 29.3% strikeout rate over his last 219 innings in 38 starts is the forgotten man on this slate on both sites. Milwaukee righty Brandon Woodruff is priced under $10,000 on both sites but he comes at just 2.3% popularity on FanDuel and a 6.2% mark on DraftKings. Woodruff has thrown 39.2 innings in his eight starts this season, pitching to a 3.22 xFIP with a 13.1% swinging-strike rate and a 28.7% CSW%, the swinging strikes are slightly up and the CSW% is down several points from last year, but Woodruff has remained strong for strikeouts at 28.7%. He has yielded more premium contact this season, the 40.7% hard-hit percentage and 8.3% barrel rate are both well up from his excellent 32.4% hard-hit and 5.8% barrel rates from last year. Consequently, Woodruff has allowed a higher home run rate at 3.51% so far this season compared to a 2.54% mark last year, which is reflected in his 4.76 ERA for the season. The public can have that number and their reasons for fading the excellent strikeout option, after all, Woodruff is facing a Cardinals lineup that is third-best in baseball with a 19.4% strikeout rate in the split against righties. Along with all of that quality, however, the team has managed just a 2.22% home run rate and a .132 ISO in the split, the 22nd and 21st-ranked numbers against righties this season. The Cardinals have created runs just one percent better than average in the split, they are more vulnerable in this spot than the public seems to believe, and Woodruff has the stuff to find his strikeouts against any opponent, as sneaky aces go this is a very good tournament spot for MLB DFS tonight.
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Los Angeles Dodgers
With very high pricing on DraftKings and a more affordable cost on FanDuel, the Dodgers are in a similar situation to yesterday, when they came in positively leveraged on the former site and negatively on the latter while ranking atop the probability board on both sites. Los Angeles is one of baseball’s most productive offenses, regardless of what certain denizens of internet chats during live baseball shows may think. They are generally better against righties, but the team has created runs six percent ahead of league average this season while striking out at just a 20.9% rate with a .146 ISO and a 2.57% home run rate that land in the middle of the league. The team will be facing veteran southpaw Madison Bumgarner who has a limited 16.2% strikeout rate with a 4.84 xFIP and just a 7.6% swinging-strike rate this season. Bumgarner has limited opponents to a 3.47% home run rate and he has a sterling 2.76 ERA, but the advanced numbers suggest he has been getting quite lucky to this point. While we are not giving up on the lefty in this space, it is difficult to recommend utilizing him on the mound against this team, and the Dodgers are grading out as Awesemo’s most likely stack on both sites. Targetable Dodgers bats include Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Trea Turner on every slate, while the team should feature Will Smith and Justin Turner in the middle of the lineup against a lefty. Smith has a .259/.371/.411 triple-slash with a .152 ISO while creating runs 27% better than average this season, he is typically under-utilized given his catcher position on FanDuel. Turner checks in at single-digit DraftKings ownership for a low price, he is popular into the mid-teens on the blue site, where he costs just $3,000. Turner is slashing .208/.265/.364 and creating runs 21% below average, but the excellent veteran bat remains a good bet for a turnaround. The bottom of the batting order will likely be without a few of the team’s regular lefties, Max Muncy and Gavin Lux may take a seat, or it may be Cody Bellinger who gets a night off, with Chris Taylor and Hanser Alberto slotting into the lineup. Taylor is very appealing on most slates, his multi-position eligibility and typically low price make him excellent for lineup differentiation on FanDuel, and he is less than five percent popular on DraftKings. The righty utility man is slashing .259/.341/.462 while creating runs 25% better than average so far this season. The Dodgers are one through nine targets at positive leverage on DraftKings, the bottom of the lineup helps to offset some of the popularity of stars from higher up the batting order on the FanDuel slate.
Baltimore Orioles vs Boston Red Sox
The Orioles will be playing the Red Sox in Fenway Park on a night forecast to be around 70-degrees at game time with a moderate breeze blowing out toward no man’s land in the outfield. Vegas has chosen to assign this game a 10-run total, despite the presence of talented young pitchers on the mound for both teams. The Red Sox have Garrett Whitlock facing a middling lineup, while the Orioles will answer with Kyle Bradish. Whitlock has posted an excellent 29% strikeout rate over his 32.2 innings with six starts on his ledger so far this year. The righty has pitched to a 3.14 xFIP and just a 2.90% home run rate so far this season. Bradish has a 24.8% strikeout rate in his 26.2 innings over five starts, he has allowed some power with a 5.5% home run rate on 41.1% hard hits and an 11% barrel rate, but he is a somewhat effective young pitcher who is not incapable of posting a decent start in this situation. At worst, Bradish seems likely to post a few strikeouts which could be rally killers and suppress the Red Sox offense, if he manages to avoid home run trouble, a feat he has not accomplished so far this season, allowing at least one long ball in every start. Still, the run total seems inflated artificially in an effort to account for a Boston offense that has scored 16 runs twice in the past three games, with a 12-run performance and several other strong nights on their recent run as well. Both the visiting Orioles and the hometown Red Sox are highly ranked by their probability of success on both sites, with the Orioles stack pulling in positive leverage as Awesemo’s third-ranked stack on DraftKings and significant leverage as the fourth-highest team on the FanDuel probability board. Boston is negatively leveraged from further down the board, their popularity makes more sense than the point at which they are graded for probability at this point in the afternoon, the team stands tall in the power index and they should be rostered in this spot, but getting away from a 15% team total on both sites in favor of a broader spread is a good plan. The Orioles are featured in other articles on the site today, they rate differently in the site’s tools than they do in this space, where the team’s collective .131 ISO and 2.15% home run rate with a 22.9% strikeout percentage and a run creation mark six percent below average in the split against righties appears like more of a target for the pitcher than they do a quality stack.
With so many teams in play, there are a few highly ranked options at positive leverage on both sites. The Rockies look like a quality target once again, the team opens the slate against Aaron Sanchez, who has a 10.7% strikeout rate with a 4.62 xFIP and a 4.10% home run rate over 27.2 innings this season. Everyone from Connor Joe through Randal Grichuk in the projected lineup’s six spot is low-owned on the DraftKings board at very high salaries. On FanDuel, the Rockies are not at Coors Field prices, but they are drawing mostly single-digit playable popularity. C.J. Cron is always a premium power target, Ryan McMahon is a solid bet against a middling righty, and Samuel Hilliard can provide sneaky left-handed upside from late in the lineup. The Marlins, meanwhile, will be facing scuffling Ian Anderson, who has just a 17.1% strikeout rate and a 4.50 xFIP over 42 innings. Anderson was an excellent starter last year, and he has remained good at limiting power with just a 2.21% home run rate and a 3.8% barrel rate this season. Miami has been sneaky-good against right-handed pitching so far this season, the team’s active roster has a 12th-ranked .155 ISO and a 2.67% home run rate that sits 14th overall. Their 22% strikeout rate is the 13th-best in baseball and they have been surprisingly good for run creation in the split, posting a WRC+ 13% better than average that sits sixth overall. Miami includes targetable bats like Jazz Chisholm Jr., Jesus Aguilar, Jorge Soler, Garrett Cooper, and Avisail Garcia toward the top of the lineup. Brian Anderson has created runs 32% better than average over 119 plate appearances this season, he is sneaky in the bottom of the lineup, as is lefty slugger Jesus Sanchez, who has managed just four home runs and a 95 WRC+ so far this season. Miami is under-owned for the situation tonight, no Marlins hitter cracks the 10% popularity mark on either site. Against a few of the low-owned positively leveraged pitchers, the Phillies and Angels look like targetable bats for a both-sides approach. Philadelphia bats that should be more popular include everyone in the lineup from one through seven. Carrasco has been good at limiting power and home run upside so far this season, but not good enough to warrant low single-digit popularity for these players when they are at very low prices on both sites. Philadelphia is a good source of value-based upside as a full-stack. Los Angeles is similarly facing a pitcher who has been good at limiting home runs and power this season, but everyone other than Shohei Ohtani is at single-digit popularity tonight. Ohtani is projected for nearly 15% popularity on DraftKings and more than that on FanDuel, despite high prices for a player slashing .249/.318/.446 with a .198 ISO. Ohtani has been good but not as good as expected at the plate to this point. He has created runs 21% better than average while hitting nine home runs and stealing seven bases, but he is priced for even more production. When Mike Trout comes at just 2.9% popularity on DraftKings and less than 10% on FanDuel he can always be rostered in any format as a part of a stack or as a one-off. The Angels will likely be without Taylor Ward once again, but Jared Walsh, Anthony Rendon, and Brandon Marsh are all playable from the middle of the lineup.
In support of their ace starter in the night’s final game coming from Seattle, the Astros look like an excellent stacking target against Chris Flexen tonight. The Mariners’ righty has a 16.6% strikeout rate and a 4.83 xFIP this season, and he has allowed a 4.81% home run rate on a massive 47.1% hard-hit percentage with a 12.9% barrel rate. The Flexen experiment seems likely to come to an end sometime soon in Seattle, he has simply not been good and he is extremely targetable with this offense. The Astros are baseball’s best lineup against both hands overall. The team has a 3.75% home run rate and a .185 ISO against righties that both sit second in the split while their 21.4% strikeout rate ranks 11th and their 19% better than average WRC+ is third-best for run creation against righties. A gas can like Flexen is potentially in a lot of trouble against this lineup, and Seattle does not have the bullpen to save him from the fire, but the public is largely leaving the Astros bats on the table.
Leadoff man and second baseman Jose Altuve has been the most popular Houston bat on a number of recent slates, which is true again this evening. Altuve’s 7.1% popularity projection on DraftKings is the team-high for Houston tonight, while he sits in a tie for second at just two percent on FanDuel. Altuve costs $4,100 on the blue site and $5,200 across town, but he is worth it at low ownership and with the rest of the team dropped to affordable prices. Altuve is slashing .288/.354/.568 with nine home runs while creating runs 72% better than average, he is an excellent option on any slate and he can be deployed in both stacks and as a premium one-off at second base.
Outfielder Michael Brantley is slashing .279/.363/.408 and creating runs 32% better than average, he is an excellent correlation piece from near the top of the lineup and he will be at very low ownership for cheap prices. Brantley should not be priced at $3,900 on DraftKings or $3,200 on FanDuel, he has too much talent, he hits too high in the lineup, and he is facing a nothing pitcher in an excellent spot for offense. At these prices, the outfielder should be far more popular in stacks.
Third baseman Alex Bregman has just a 36.2% hard-hit rate with a 7.1% barrel rate this season, resulting in just six home runs over 183 plate appearances while slashing .230/.344/.421. Despite the obvious downturn, Bregman has still created runs 30% ahead of the league average and he has a .191 ISO that somewhat defies the lack of premium contact. Bregman is an excellent hitter with a long track record, he is projected for three percent ownership or less from site to site with his price at just $4,800 on DraftKings and $3,500 on FanDuel.
Even slugger Yordan Alvarez is under-appreciated by the public on this slate. Alvarez is carrying a 6.5% popularity projection on DraftKings and he will be owned below five percent on FanDuel. The lack of popularity is not related to price or performance, Alvarez is affordable for a player with a gargantuan 62% hard-hit rate and 16.7% barrel rate, and 12 home runs this season. Alvarez is obliterating opposing pitchers this season, he has struck out in only 19% of his plate appearances while walking at a 14.7% clip and creating runs 64% better than average. At these ownership marks and prices, Alvarez is outstanding in stacks and spectacular for one-offs.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel is slashing .224/.258/.381 with three home runs while creating runs 13% worse than average this season, but he has shown recent signs of life and he is always a good option to put the ball in play and create chaos in the middle of the Astros lineup. Gurriel has struck out in just 14.8% of his plate appearances this season while walking just 3.2% of the time, he puts bat-on-ball with ease and frequency, which is an asset in itself against a contact-oriented pitcher like Flexen.
For $4,700 on DraftKings and $3,600 on FanDuel, outfielder Kyle Tucker should also be far more popular. Tucker mashed 30 home runs and stole 14 bases in 567 plate appearances last year. This season, the lefty has a total of eight home runs and nine stolen bases, and he has created runs 32% better than average largely from the six spot in the lineup. Tucker is an outstanding player at these prices and ownership projections, he has a 19.1% strikeout rate and a 12.1% walk rate, he is always involved in correlated Astros scoring and he has individual upside as a power bat.
Shortstop Jeremy Pena is slashing .293/.347/.504 while creating runs 51% better than average over 148 plate appearances, he is established as a quality option who has filled the absence of former star Carlos Correa quite admirably. Pena has hit seven home runs and stolen three bases with his excellent run creation, and he has a 42.6% hard-hit percentage with an 11.9% barrel rate. Pena joins the rest of his teammates as underpriced and under-owned options on both sites tonight.
Chas McCormick is difficult to land on when building lineups with this team, he does not come up organically when using optimizers, given the outstanding hitters surrounding him, despite always looking like a quality bat at low prices and no popularity. McCormick has a 39.8% hard-hit rate and an 11.4% barrel rate while striking out 22.8% of the time over 127 plate appearances. He has translated the contact marks into four home runs and a .181 ISO while creating runs three percent better than average, he can be rostered in Astros stacks as a discount option on both sites.
Martin Maldonado is the worst hitter on this team in any configuration of the lineup, the catcher has three home runs while slashing .120/.205/.230 and creating runs 68% worse than average this season. Roster him with care if choosing to deploy him as a DraftKings catcher, he is not a strong option on most slates. While he does have a 46.3% hard-hit percentage this season, the lack of contact and a 31.6% strikeout rate are more compelling reasons to skip the backstop in most lineups.
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