MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Two Shades of Gray (June 17)

Monday kicks off a new week with a nine-game featured slate, locking at 6:40 p.m. ET on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help identify today’s MLB DFS stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Sonny Gray and Jon Gray as key arms. San Francisco and Philadelphia are offenses that present the best alternatives to the Coors Field Extravaganza.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | June 17

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Sonny Gray (STL at MIA)

Cardinals at Marlins – 3.2 implied runs
First Pitch: 6:40 p.m. ET
$10,500 at DraftKings
$11,000 at FanDuel
$54 at Yahoo

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool, of course, is impressed by rookie RHP Paul Skenes, but so is the rest of the DFS world, which is pushing his popularity to being on close to half of all DraftKings rosters and one-third of FanDuel lineups. His median fantasy point projection is 10% higher than RHP Sonny Gray‘s, but the savvy veteran is arguably the safer option.

 

There will be countless articles and analysis going towards Skenes today, and he is absolutely in play. However, let me present the case for Gray. This has been another tremendous season for Gray, who is 12 years older and has logged 1,600 more innings in The Show than his younger counterpart.

Since leaving Cincinnati for Minnesota in 2022, Gray has compiled a 2.92 ERA, 2.96 FIP and 3.45 xFIP, with per-nine-inning ratios of 9.45 strikeouts, 2.68 walks and, most impressive, 0.60 home runs. Miami has some pesky hitters in Jazz Chisholm, Josh Bell, Bryan De La Cruz and Jesus Sanchez, but none are overly daunting and the back half of the batting order is below replacement level. Sometimes what’s old is what’s new again — do not overlook Gray.

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: LHP Max Fried (ATL vs. DET)

Braves vs. Tigers – 3.4 implied runs
First Pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET
$9,800 at DraftKings
$10,500 at FanDuel
$48 at Yahoo

Though LHP Max Fried has allowed two home runs in his last nine innings, he has ceded just six on the year in 78.2 frames. His strikeouts are down to 8.01 per nine innings, which is the lowest mark of his career; however, he has increased his ground ball rate to a personal-best 60.7%, and the 0.69 home runs per nine innings are nice for his supporters.

 

Detroit has improved from historically bad the last couple of seasons to merely awful on offense. The Tigers also are better suited to face southpaws, where they are withing hailing distance of league average by most advanced metrics. Strikeouts are still a thing for the Motor City Kitties, with the projected lineup having a collective 25.9% rate over the last two seasons. Truist Park is an upgrade for the Tigers, but not enough to dissuade anyone from rolling with Fried.

Main Slate Wild Card Pitching Target: RHP Jon Gray (TEX vs. NYM)

Rangers vs. Mets – 3.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET
$7,900 at DraftKings
$8,700 at FanDuel
$39 at Yahoo

In his two starts since returning from a groin strain, RHP Jon Gray has thrown 37 and 65 pitches, and with an extra day since his last appearance, something in the 75 to 85 range is a likely workload. That may not be enough to get him through six innings, which makes the 32-year-old less appealing on FanDuel since the bonus points for a quality start are crucial on the blue site.

This is Gray’s 10th MLB campaign, and he is compiling a career season. The 2.17 ERA is his best ever, with his 1.20 WHIP just off his personal high. His strikeouts are also a tick over one per inning, and he had five quality starts before going on the injured list. The worst outing of the season was his first, when he allowed five runs to the Cubs. Since then he has allowed just 10 runs in 58.1 innings.

The Mets are not bad, but they are not really good either. The projected lineup has a 23.9% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching over the last season and change, albeit with decent power (.181 ISO). Most of the extra-base hit risk is at the top of the order with hitting maestro Francisco Lindor, bopper Pete Alonso, elder statesman J.D. Martinez and the always pesky Brandon Nimmo. If Gray can neutralize those bats, he should cruise to a productive outing.

Today's MLB DFS picks, top stacks and pitchers on DraftKings and FanDuel include MLB DFS predictions for key talent like Tanner Bibee...
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MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: San Francisco Giants

Giants at Cubs – 5.0 implied runs
First Pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: RHP Javier Assad
DK Top Stack %: 8.5%
FD Top Stack %: 8.4%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool likes the Giants today, as they will be getting a park upgrade in Wrigley Field, where temperatures are in the upper-80s and there is a 10 to 15 mph breeze out to left field. The renovations to the stadium and surrounding area buildings over the last few years have mitigated the impact of the wind from what was commonplace a decade ago, but these are still favorable conditions.

RHP Javier Assad has outpitched his advanced metrics each of his three seasons, with a 2.98 ERA across 220.2 career innings against a 4.41 xERA and 4.21 FIP. Walks and a high contact rate are what gets him into trouble since he does not have enough strikeout stuff to consistently work out of jams.

San Francisco does not have many daunting bats, but it is a deep lineup, including veterans Jorge Soler, Wilmer Flores, Mike Yastrzemski and Thairo Estrada manning the bottom of the order. Losing Jung Hoo Lee for the season was not great, but LaMonte Wade Jr. could return to action by the end of this series, giving yet another capable option for manager Bob Melvin.

Matt Chapman, Michael Conforto and catcher Patrick Bailey are the preferred trio, though there is merit in selection youngster Heliot Ramos or Brett Wisely from the top of the order. There are literally no bad hitters in this lineup, but the Giants are shy of lacking any All-Star-caliber batsmen.

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Main Slate Secondary Target: Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies vs. Padres – 5.6 implied runs
First Pitch: 6:40 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: RHP Randy Vasquez
DK Top Stack %: 7.8%
FD Top Stack %: 8.4%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool, has assigned the Dodgers a 25% chance of being the most productive lineup on today’s slate, with the Rockies the runner-up at a 10% probability. This game has a 12.5 total, so, of course, it makes sense it is the focus for DFS games. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s see what we can find as another alternative offense.

The Phillies are expected to get Trea Turner back tonight after a six-week absence from a hamstring injury. The team is still without J.T. Realmuto, but getting Turner back is huge. The 30-year-old did not make any rehabilitation starts, so there could be a little rust tonight. On tap is a matchup with RHP Randy Vasquez, who has power, fly ball and strikeout issues — in other words, the triple crown of bad pitching. In his 38.1 innings, Vasquez has a pitiful 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings, and his 1.88 home run ratio is higher than his 1.64 walks per nine. Pretty much everything he serves up to opposing hitters tends to be put in play.

Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber seem all but preordained to hit home runs tonight, with temperatures in the mid- to upper-80s and a 12 to 15 mph breeze out to left-center. Bryson Stott, Brandon Marsh and David Dahl profile well with the platoon advantage, while Alec Bohm and Nick Castellanos round things out from the right side of the plate.

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Picking on RHP Randy Vasquez makes sense in the DFS world, but he is also popping in the OddsShopper model for the under on his 3.5 strikeouts prop. The best line is the +115 currently posted on ESPN and Fliff.

OddsShopper shows this bet has +109 “true odds,” so the +115 line brings a decent 2.7% expected ROI.

We can also see how crucial it is to shop the odds, as sportsbooks tend to vary wildly with their offerings. This can be seen with sharp book Pinnacle all the way down at a punitive -101, which works out to a horrible -6% expected ROI. Be a savvy shopper!

The 48% probability of Vasquez falling below the four-strikeout threshold indicates that we MUST get plus money on this wager to have any sustained success.

In his eight outings this season, Vasquez has three or fewer strikeouts on five occasions. He has the tank to go 90 to 95 pitches, so we need the Philly bats to run him off the mound before he is able to cobble together four strikeouts.

Other wagers are continually popping up and disappearing every few minutes as lineups are being announced, which is why it is key to get an OddsShopper Premium subscription to take advantage of all opportunities.

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Final MLB DFS Picks & Thoughts for Monday, June 17

Once more the games today are seeing the good graces of Mother Nature, with no noteworthy precipitation risks. Though as always, be sure to check in with your favorite MLB Weather Report page closer to first pitch for updates.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show, at 6:00 p.m. ET brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $100 first deposit match! Full details here.

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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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