MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: SP1 Logan Webb (April 18)

Thursday brings split-slate action with three early matchups and a pair of evening tilts. The main sites of DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo each have their own interpretation of featured slates, so be sure to know the nuances for your site of choice. Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help in identifying today’s MLB DFS stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Ryan Pepiot and Logan Webb as key arms. In a fun twist, their respective teams are also stacks to lean on for their respective slates.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | April 18

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Ryan Pepiot vs. Los Angeles Angels — 3.9 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,100 | FanDuel $9,900 | Yahoo $49

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool has no great answers on whom to “trust” today among the options toeing the rubber. Fortunately, we are all choosing from the same options, so crafting the best lineup is always possible inside any given slate. Veteran RHP Kenta Maeda is the most experienced pitcher, but he has a tough matchup against the defending World Champion Texas Rangers.

Rookie RHP Jack Leiter is making his debut, though also commanding a premium for his salary. For those wondering, yes, Mark Leiter Jr. is his cousin, making Mark Leiter Sr. his uncle and, of course, Al Leiter his father. The youngest Leiter turns 24 next week, and he rates out as the fifth-best prospect for Texas and slides just inside the top 75 on industry lists. Leiter played for Vanderbilt, and he was the second overall selection in the 2021 MLB Draft. He had one appearance for Triple-A Round Rock last season and three this year for 17.1 total innings. This is likely a cup of coffee for one or maybe two turns in the rotation, but expect Leiter to head back down to the minors for more seasoning before the end of this month.

That leaves RHP Ryan Pepiot as the preferred option, though we will not be alone in that assessment. Pepiot rolled up 11 strikeouts in Coors Field two starts ago but had mediocre outings on either side. This afternoon he faces the Angels, who have been decent this season, considering they no longer have Shohei Ohtani in the lineup. Brandon Drury (hamstring) is likely to get a couple days off, which will aid opposing pitchers.

Mike Trout will always be a force at the plate, while Taylor Ward and catcher Logan O’Hoppe are on the upswing. That ends the feel-good comments, as the rest of the lineup is young, old or below replacement level.

Late Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Logan Webb vs. Arizona Diamondbacks — 3.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:45 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,300 | FanDuel $9,300 | Yahoo $40

There is some precipitation risk in Chicago, which could end this slate before it starts, as there will only be one remaining game. By default, RHP Logan Webb is the best option among the four available. He has the most MLB success and will be making his fifth start of the season.

The magic that has been protecting RHP Ryne Nelson is about to wear off. This will be the first start of the season for veteran RHP Jameson Taillon, who is likely to be treated with kid gloves after working his way through a back issue, and his counterpart LHP A.J. Puk is a disaster waiting to happen, with 14 walks in 10.2 innings and a scant eight strikeouts. Any more analysis than this would be wasteful, so it is too bad that the NBA Play-In Tournament is not resuming until Friday.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Tampa Bay Rays vs. RHP Griffin Canning — 4.8 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:10 p.m. ET

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool wonders how many more times we will be seeing RHP Griffin Canning before he is given some time off to “clear his head,” courtesy of a mysterious ailment that sends him to the injured list, or potentially gets demoted to the minors to work some things out, as his first three starts have been disastrous.

He has faced Boston twice and Baltimore once, but there is still a “B” in Tampa Bay, so he may not be out of the woods just yet. In his 13.2 innings, he has only four walks, but that is the end of the good news. He is allowing nearly two baserunners per inning while ceding five longballs on his way to a 9.88 ERA.

Power has clearly been an issue, but with Canning a friend to all opposing hitters, look to the “boom sticks” from either side of the plate this afternoon. Isaac Paredes crushes fellow righties, which does not bode well for Canning, who has allowed a .239 ISO in his last 298 same-handed matchups. This also suits the swing from the heels approach for Jose Siri, making him a terrific one-off on the short slate.

Richie Palacios is the lefty of note, with savvy sluggers Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena at the top of the order. In addition to Siri, Jose Caballero and Harold Ramirez can be considered for full stacks.

Late Slate Primary Target: San Francisco Giants vs. RHP Ryne Nelson — 4.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:45 p.m. ET

It is only a matter of time before RHP Ryne Nelson spontaneously combusts on the mound. He has been a little unlucky per some advanced metrics, but that is likely to reverse course as he logs more innings. He is a fringy prospect who would be better off as a multi-inning reliever. Of course, finding starts is paramount these days, so it does make sense that the Diamondbacks will be giving him a chance to stick in the rotation as, they do not have much outside of their frontline starters, who will need help with the long season ahead.

Even in the minors, home runs were an issue for Nelson, who also saw his strikeout rate drop with each promotion as well as with the increased innings per outing. Lefties will be the primary target, with Michael Conforto, Mike Yastrzemski and LaMonte Wade the preferred options. Jorge Soler, Matt Chapman and Thairo Estrada can also handle themselves against right-handed pitching, so they can be employed in an effort to find some differentiation on this scant two-game slate.

Rookie Jung Hoo Lee has been disciplined at the plate, but the former KBO outfielder does not have much to show for things in the way of power. That could change, but it also makes him someone who is easy to skip over, thus creating a little leverage by omission against other San Francisco stacks.

Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

There is not much to choose from in the early going, with just 10 teams in action. Between pitchers making their MLB debuts or returning from injury, plus weather, the pickings on slim.

However, there is still a home run wager with some potential value as Mark Canha will be facing rookie Jack Leiter with some potential upside in his home run prop. OddsShopper shows this bet has +810 “true odds,” and the +870 line currently available at FanDuel provides a 6.6% expected return on investment (ROI).

Keep in mind, the probability of Canha hitting a home run is around 11%, with most models ranging from 8% to 12% today. That means nearly nine out of 10 times, the home run will not be happening, so be savvy with your bankroll and treat this as an entertainment wager, sprinkling just a few bucks on it for fun.

Last year in the minors, Leiter allowed same-handed hitters to compile a .452 slugging rate, with lefties checking in at .435 for a .444 composite slugging allowed. Over the last 570 same-handed matchups, Canha has a .150 ISO with 20 doubles and seven home runs.

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Final Thoughts for Thursday, April 18 — MLB DFS Picks

Keep tabs on the Miami Marlins squaring off against the Cubs in Chicago. If that matchup is postponed, it will invalidate the two-game evening slate. Be sure to check in with your favorite DFS meteorological resources closer to first pitch.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show at 12:30 p.m. ET, brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $500 first deposit match! Full details here.


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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