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MLB DFS Picks, Top Stacks & Pitchers: Blue Jays & Astros Stacks & Shane McClanahan (Wednesday, August 24)

Eric MacPherson



Free MLB DFS picks today from Stokastic fantasy baseball projections and rankings. The best lineups & value targets for DraftKings & FanDuel

Wednesday, Aug. 24, is providing wall-to-wall baseball, with half a dozen afternoon games leading to an eight-game featured slate beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks today for pitchers and stacks for DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.

DraftKings & FanDuel MLB DFS Picks Today (8/24)

Main Slate: Blue Jays at RHP Brayan Bello — 5.5 implied runs

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool is wondering what rookie Brayan Bello did to deserve facing the Blue Jays in his return off the injured list. Bello suffered a groin strain on Aug. 3, which kindly allowed the Boston brass to send him back to the minors for a couple rehabilitation starts. Across 17 innings in The Show, the talented 23-year-old ran into a buzz saw of major league bats. In his five outings, he suffered an 8.47 ERA while allowing 2.29 baserunners per inning. To his credit, he has yet to allow a home run, but issuing 11 walks with only 13 strikeouts is a recipe for disaster at any level of baseball.

In two rehabilitation starts, one each at Double-A and Triple-A, Bello threw 48 and 80 pitches and struck out 11 across eight innings. Hopefully, this helps him reset and find his footing, but Toronto is not going to make that an easy task.

Though they have not posted the same gaudy numbers as the Yankees and Dodgers, the Jays have one of the deepest batting orders in the league. They have a nice mix of power from both sides of the plate and should have no issues dispatching Bello if he does not bring any swing-and-miss stuff.

George Springer has been nursing a variety of injuries this season, but he should be leading off and he is one of the most complete hitters in the game. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, of course, have the baseball lineage, but they would all easily stand out with no names on the back of their jerseys. Lourdes Gurriel, Teoscar Hernandez and Matt Chapman are far from household names, but they are the glue that keeps this offense humming and the unsung heroes of DFS stacks.

Late Slate: Astros vs. RHP Dylan Bundy — 5.4 implied runs

Though the Astros disappointed their DFS supporters yesterday, they are back in the mix again tonight. Dylan Bundy has had uneven performances all season, and while his three August starts have been successful, with a 1.88 ERA and only one home run allowed in 14.1 innings, the nine strikeouts are incredibly disappointing and do not portend for smooth sailing tonight.

Bundy has posted a career-worst 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings, which is 1.5 fewer than last season and down dramatically from his career high of 9.9 in 2020 when he pitched in Anaheim. Similar to last night, we should go right back to the core four of Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve. The bottom of the order will once again be a source of differentiation, with Trey Mancini, Jeremy Pena and Chas McCormick being the trio to target.

Early Slate: Mariners vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez — 4.9 implied runs

The Stokastic Top Batters Tool acknowledges that the Coors Field Extravaganza is the game to target, with game-time temperatures in the 80s and a shaky pitcher on the mound in Jose Urena. Keep in mind that Martin Perez is a ground ball specialist who should survive in the thin Denver air. However, he gives up his fair share of line drives, which can be problematic with the spacious outfield in the Mile High City.

Seattle, on the other hand, is at sea level and, even with the humidifier in play, still a pitching-friendly venue. It will be unseasonably warm in the Jet City, with game-time temperatures in the low-80s for this 1:10 p.m. local start.

Anibal Sanchez has had a long and storied career, and while it is impressive that he is gamely taking the mound every five days in his age-38 season, we should not mistake that for effectiveness. Instead, we need to realize this is because Washington is so desperate for pitching, they brought Sanchez back after he was out of the league last year. Over 18 starts since the beginning of the abbreviated 2020 season, the well-travelled veteran has a 6.55 ERA, 2.3 home runs per nine innings and a not-so-nice 69 strikeouts in his 88 frames during this period.

Seattle has been an above-average team against right-handed pitching this season, and with everyone healthy, they have a surprisingly deep lineup filled with tough outs. Former Reds Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez are on the short list, along with rookie wunderkind Julio Rodriquez and veterans Mitch Haniger and Ty France, who are finally available at the same time after each has dealt with injuries.

Best MLB DFS Pitchers

Primary Target: LHP Shane McClanahan vs. Angels — 2.7 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $10,900 | FanDuel $11,200

Though there are only a few standout pitching options on the featured slate, as compared to the early action, that also means we have a nebulously target rich environment for offenses. It will just take a little sleuthing and some savvy strategy in large-field tournaments to gain that ever-elusive edge.

Even with Mike Trout (back) returning after missing significant time and Shohei Ohtani gamely doing everything he can both as the best pitcher and best hitter for the team, the Angels are dreadful against southpaws. Second-year super sophomore Shane McClanahan has slowed down from his torrid pace, and while he has slipped from his Cy Young-frontrunning performance, he still has the fifth-best ERA (2.29) and second-best WHIP (0.86).

The 25-year-old has recorded a career-high 141.1 innings this season in 23 starts. This easily outpaces his 123.1 innings in 25 starts last year when the Rays were being judicious with his usage, and with the 2020 MiLB season curtailed by the pandemic, it is not a surprise that we have seen a bit of a slowdown in his fantasy production. That said, McClanahan is easily the most talented option on the main slate, and given his advantageous matchup, he should be a primary building block in all formats.

Secondary Target: LHP Framber Valdez vs. Twins — 3.1 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $10,400 | FanDuel $10,700

It will be interesting to see how many gamers are willing to pay full freight for Framber Valdez, considering the Twins can hold their own against southpaws. The thing that makes Valdez unique is that he is an extreme ground ball pitcher who also gets more strikeouts than we typically see from this pitching profile. Over the last two seasons, the 28-year-old leads the league with a 69.4% ground ball rate, accompanied by a negative-4.9-degree launch angle. During this stretch, he has made 45 starts, allowing six runs once, five runs twice and four runs five times, with the other 37 starts ending with fewer than three earned runs.

Early Targets: Loaded with Outstanding Choices

The afternoon MLB DFS action is teeming with tremendous throwers, and aside from the Coors Field Extravaganza, each of the early matchups features an above-average hurler pitching with an advantage. There is a strong argument that mixing and matching different options on the two-pitcher sites is going to be the savvy strategy. Today we will be breaking from our standard format to rank the various options.

LHP Blake Snell vs. Cleveland Guardians — 3.4 implied runs: Arguably the best upside of all the afternoon options; the Guardians are far from pushovers, but the back end of their lineup has a dramatic drop in talent. While Snell carries the best strikeout upside — which, of course, is the best way to rack up the fantasy production — he also has the highest salary.

RHP George Kirby vs. Washington Nationals — 2.8 implied runs: The Nationals are an anemic offense filled with aging veterans and replacement-level players. Kirby is outpacing all expectations as a rookie, and the only concern is that Seattle wants to limit his workload, as they are counting on his arm if they manage to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2001.

Additional Opportunities

Lucas Giolito has a 4.5 strikeout prop for his matchup against the Baltimore, and the Stokastic MLB Player Props Tool has him for 5.6 strikeouts and a 65% chance of failing to record the five whiffs it will take to surpass the over. We are laying heavy juice at -150 on the under, which does suppress the expected ROI with the higher likelihood of success. So this wager is best utilized as part of a same-game or straight parlay to create a better payout. In the event this strategy feels a bit risky, you can still navigate things at an advantage with a RISK FREE BET up to $1,000 on BetMGM.

Other Hitting Options

  1. Texas Rangers at RHP Jose Urena (All Slates with Coors Field)
  2. Nick Castellanos vs. RHP T.J. Zeuch (Main)
  3. Rafael Devers vs. RHP Jose Berrios (Main)
  4. Ian Happ vs. RHP Miles Mikolas (Late)

Latest MLB DFS Content

Final MLB DFS Thoughts & MLB Weather Notes

The weather looks surprisingly good across the venues hosting Wednesday action. Of course, things could change with late summer rainstorms popping up, but at first glance there are no obvious trouble spots.

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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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