The midweek main slate looks like an outstanding opportunity for tournament play on this side of Wednesday’s lock. The slate features a deep pool of pitching, with ownership concentrated around only a few highly popular options, which will leave plenty of leverage on some of the top pitchers of the night. With a few gas cans on the mound for their respective teams and good hitting situations in several parks across the country, there should be no shortage of upside for run creation and the board is showing quite a bit of power on display across the full slate this afternoon. Differentiating at the pitcher spot from site to site while including some of the popular bats in good situations is a fine approach to this slate, there are no ownership situations that are out of control around most of the available stacks, and several pitchers are low owned enough to offset most concerns. The excellent tournament slate should be appealing to anyone looking to mass enter with a diverse portfolio of options tonight in MLB DFS tournaments on both DraftKings and FanDuel. A two-hour strategy show in the morning and a lot of behind-the-scenes action through the day have us in a short-form mode for tonight’s main slate, but highlights from the day’s pitchers and stacks will be provided in lieu of the usual in-depth look.
Best MLB DFS Tournament Strategy & Picks Today
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
Baltimore Orioles: Austin Hays — 10.84
Boston Red Sox: Enrique Hernandez — 10.34
Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ — 11.45
Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu — 11.97
Cincinnati Reds: Tommy Pham — 4.00
Detroit Tigers: Jonathan Schoop — 9.89
Los Angeles Angels: Max Stassi — 6.38
Los Angeles Dodgers: Freddie Freeman — 9.71
Milwaukee Brewers: Rowdy Tellez — 9.38
Minnesota Twins: Gary Sanchez — 11.46
New York Yankees: Anthony Rizzo — 11.97
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jack Suwinski — 5.07
Seattle Mariners: Mike Ford — 10.85
Tampa Bay Rays: Brett Phillips — 5.17
Texas Rangers: Corey Seager — 10.03
Toronto Blue Jays: Teoscar Hernandez — 6.64
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
The weather in the New York area could be better for baseball this evening. The forecast calls for an extended block of rain from right around game time into the early morning hours, putting the possibility of postponement on the table. The Angels are in town for one more day, so a shift to a Thursday double-header would be an easy pivot. The forecast in Boston is far less grim, between the two that seems like the far more likely game to play in full, though an in-game delay or shortened contest cannot be completely discounted as possibilities.
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 Wednesday pitching slate is not as deep as last night, but there are a number of viable options, including several extremely negatively leveraged premium arms from the top of the board. The overwhelming popularity of Nestor Cortes and Robbie Ray are concerning factors in rostering either of those two talented arms. Ray has had ups and downs throughout the season, but he remains a strong strikeout option at a fair price on both sites. Cortes has been outstanding, but he will be challenged by the superstar hitters in the Angels lineup and could potentially be hampered by weather in the New York area. Tigers lefty Tarik Skubal lands third and sits at an excellent positive leverage score with single-digit raw popularity. The lefty is facing a Twins team loaded with power, but one that also has a fair number of strikeouts available for him, at low ownership he is a major differentiation piece on both sites. Righty Garrett Whitlock checks in at a very low price and fair popularity on both sites against a middling to bad Reds lineup, Whitlock is probably not popular enough for his talent in the matchup, he sits at slightly negative leverage from site to site, but he is easily playable tonight. The list of pitching options also includes standout rookie Hunter Greene and other young less-known starters like Jeffrey Springs and Kyle Bradish, as well as Bailey Ober and Mitch White, all of whom check in at low prices and similar probabilities. Mixing and matching the pitching options while focusing on leverage and raw ownership is a great approach to this slate.
At the top end of the board, Robbie Ray offers a 27.1% strikeout rate with a 3.62 xFIP but those marks are both inferior to what he posted in a dynamite year last season, with his walks rising in the early part of the season as well. Ray has gotten his season in check to a degree, he is sitting at an 8.4% walk rate with a 3.62 xFIP but a 4.75 ERA to this point in the season, and he has always been targetable for premium contact. While that may not lead to an overwhelming number of Orioles stacks, it at least makes sense to hedge against the pitcher if utilizing him around the public’s projected ownership. Getting to a lot of Ray, while shaving shares off of the field’s mark, is the suggested approach, shares for the under-owned pitchers of the day can be drawn from this source. Similarly, Nestor Cortes has been outrageously good for the Yankees this season, performing far better than any expectations even after last year’s sterling 93-inning output that saw him post a 27.5% strikeout rate. This year, Cortes has somehow improved despite what still looks like a middling arsenal. The southpaw has a 30.2% strikeout rate with a 5.9% walk percentage, and he has allowed just a 1.98% home run rate. Facing a team that includes Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout is never safe, but the underwhelming bottom of the Angels lineup will play in Cortes’ favor if he is able to navigate the stars three times. Cortes can also be undercut, but he looks like the better option among the top-two pitchers.
Tigers lefty Tarik Skubal is the premium name on a long list of young starters taking the mound for their teams today. As featured recently, Skubal has made major strides with his contact profile, walk rate and home run rate this season, while increasing his excellent strikeout output. Skubal walked 7.4% last year and he allowed a 5.52% home run rate on 45.1% hard-hit and 13.9% barrels. The lefty has improved to a 0.99% home run rate with a 41% hard-hit percentage but just a 5% barrel rate, he is no longer the power target that he was as a rookie, and he bumped his strikeout output from 25.9% to 27.1%. At single-digit FanDuel ownership and a highly playable 14.7% rate on DraftKings, Skubal is an excellent target against the Twins. Garrett Whitlock is owned at a similar rate to Skubal in an excellent matchup, and he is every bit the strikeout option that the Detroit lefty is. Whitlock has a 27.3% strikeout rate with a crisp 3.22 xFIP and he is facing the low-end Reds lineup. On the other side of the same game, Hunter Greene has a nearly matching 27.6% strikeout rate and he will be owned at just a 2.2% rate on FanDuel and a 4.2% mark on DraftKings, despite low prices. Greene is facing a challenging lineup in the Red Sox, it makes sense to draw shares from both sides of the equation, but he is under-owned for the talent at the price.
The group of Bailey Ober, Michael Kopech, Kyle Bradish, Jeffrey Springs and Mitch White can be utilized for low-price plays, primarily where two starters are needed on the DraftKings slate. Among that group, Springs is by far the most popular pitcher, he rises to the level of popularity that veteran Jon Gray is seeing at a similar price point on the other side of the contest, Springs is projected for 25% popularity on the two-pitcher site, while Gray checks in at 28%. Every other pitcher in this group is at positive leverage and low raw ownership. Ober offers a 21.6% strikeout rate and a 3.25 ERA with a 4.29 xFIP against a lousy Tigers team that should yield strikeout upside in a non-threatening matchup. Kopech comes at a high price, and he is facing a tough Blue Jays team, but he has excellent stuff and major strikeout upside, last season Kopech hit a 36.1% strikeout rate over 69.1 innings, primarily out of the bullpen. In a starting role this year, the young righty is at a 24.2% strikeout rate over 42 innings, the truth likely is in between the two marks, but there is upside to come and Kopech is pulling less than 3% ownership across the MLB DFS industry. Bradish has a 23.6% strikeout rate with a 3.86 xFIP for just $5,800 on DraftKings and $6,800 on FanDuel with no one rostering him, he is a thinner proposition than most on the pitching list, but there is talent and a minor amount of upside for the strong leverage situation. In the final game of the night, White will be looking to reclaim the Dodgers’ dignity after the team has been knocked around by the lowly Pirates to a degree the past few days. White has a 22.7% strikeout rate with a 4.10 xFIP in his limited 15.2 innings sample, he is owned at about 10% for just $6,000 against one of the worst offenses in baseball.
Los Angeles Dodgers
From the very peak of the Top Stacks tool, the Dodgers look like a good option at efficient ownership. The team will be popular, but their probability of landing as the top stack of the night against Jose Quintana sits several percentage points ahead of the field. Quintana is a limited lefty with a 20% strikeout rate and a 4.01 xFIP over 46 innings this year, he is targetable with Dodgers bats, but he is not entirely lacking for talent. Los Angeles stacks should include the outrageously good Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner, the unavoidably popular names on both sites. From there, lineups can diverge somewhat with interesting bats like Will Smith, who has hit five home runs with a .154 ISO this season but had 25 with a .237 ISO from the catcher position last year. Smith is an underrated asset on the FanDuel slate, he will be owned by nearly 20% of the field on DraftKings. Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux are targetable from the bottom half of the batting order, while Kevin Pillar and Hanser Alberto are far less desirable in the absence of Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger.
Chicago White Sox
This is not the best version of the White Sox lineup. Chicago will be without injured star leadoff man Tim Anderson, as well as the still ailing Eloy Jimenez, but the team did return Luis Robert to active duty and they look appealing as a highly ranked positively leveraged stack against flawed lefty Hyun-jin Ryu. The southpaw has a 12.4% strikeout rate over 23 innings this season, last year he was at only 20.4% over 169 innings and he allowed a 3.42% home run rate on 41.6% hard-hits and an 8.5% barrel rate. The premium contact has gone up in the smaller sample so far, Ryu has yielded a 44.4% hard-hit rate with a 91.4 mph average exit velocity, well up from the 89.6 mph he allowed last year. The prime White Sox targets are atop the lineup, with A.J. Pollock leading off for just $3,400 and single-digit ownership. Pollock is joined by Andrew Vaugh, Jose Abreu and Luis Robert in the top four in the batting order, they can be stacked together with only Robert drawing attention from the field for his low-for-him pricing. The start outfielder is slashing .285/.319/.438 with six home runs and six stolen bases in 144 plate appearances this season, he is a welcome return to Chicago stacks. The bottom of the lineup is where things fall apart and questions emerge, options like Jake Burger, Leury Garcia and Adam Engel can offer time-to-time MLB DFS ability, but none approaches anything resembling reliability. Reese McGuire and Danny Mendick are even lower on the afterthought list, this is a team that plays primarily from one through five today, with potential mix-and-match upside from Garcia and Engel hitting sixth and seventh.
The Cubs are facing righty Jason Alexander (not that one) who is making his Major League debut at age 29. The non-prospect is a placeholder in the excellent Milwaukee rotation, and he can be targeted even with a limited lineup like what the Cubs bring to most games. Chicago has been better against lefties this season, but the team sits in the middle of the stacks board at positive leverage with individual ownership marks that do not crack the 10% level for any player on either site.
The projected Chicago lineup starts with Christopher Morel, who has made a dent in the MLB DFS industry in his 62 plate appearances. Morel is slashing .283/.387/.491 with a .208 ISO while creating runs 47% better than average in the small sample. He has hit two home runs and added five stolen bases to his fantasy scoring tally in the process. Morel should be rostered more than 4.7% of the time, the second-highest total on this team on DraftKings. He is projected for just 1% popularity at $3,000 on FanDuel.
Catcher Willson Contreras is arguably the best overall bat on this team. The backstop is pulling the highest popularity projection where the position is required, but that sits at an easy 7.5%, on FanDuel he comes in below 2% Contreras has hit eight home runs with a .243 ISO while creating runs an outstanding 56% better than average, he is a strong play in Cubs stacks.
Outfielder Ian Happ hits from both sides of the plate and brings quality contact with a 42.6% hard-hit percentage. Happ has five home runs and three stolen bases while creating runs 17% better than average over his 186 plate appearances as a regular for the Cubs this year, but he is projected for less than 5% popularity from site to site, despite fairly inexpensive pricing.
First baseman Frank Schwindel has struggled with his contact this season. Schwindel has hit six home runs, but he has just a .155 ISO and has created runs 20% worse than average while generating just a 31.6% hard-hit percentage. If he is hitting in the cleanup spot, he will be relevant to stacks, but he is the most missable among the premium Cubs bats.
Patrick Wisdom is not a player who should be skipped when rostering Cubs. Wisdom has a titanic 56.8% hard-hit percentage and a 17.9% barrel rate that chases league-leading power hitters. The right-handed masher has totaled 11 home runs so far this season, posting a .265 ISO over his 180 plate appearances. Wisdom hit 28 home runs in just 375 opportunities last year, his torrid pace of home runs continues, and he is well worth the $4,800 DraftKings price or the $3,500 blue site mark at less than 3% ownership on either site.
The lineup falls off somewhat around sixth hitter Alfonso Rivas, who also occupies first base on both sites, meaning he cannot be played with Wisdom – capital or lowercase “w” in this case – in DraftKings lineups. Rivas is slashing just .200/.310/.318 over 100 plate appearances.
Nico Hoerner has been moderately productive, he has three home runs and has created runs 2% below average over 124 plate appearances, but he is probably the top bat from the bottom of the projected lineup. Rafael Ortega slots in for a low price and no popularity as a low-end outfield play. Ortega has a 100 WRC+ over 137 plate appearances but has not stood out for power or hit tools, though he has added four stolen bases. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons is a good play if defense counts on your site of choice, he is a non-hitter in this lineup.
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