MLB DFS Punt Plays For DraftKings and FanDuel (April 11)

A safe and balanced lineup does not bring the same energy as a gutsy, stars-and-scrubs-type build. In order for us to roster aspirational names like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Yordan Alvarez, we will need to take some shots at the underbellies of the batting order, colloquially referred to as the “punt plays.” This is why we are introducing our MLB DFS Punt Plays series to do just that.

A quality MLB DFS punt play is not only cheap to roster but crucially carries an upside worth pursuing. In baseball, that often translates into an inconsistent batter with power-hitting or stolen base potential. Or it could be a volatile pitcher offering strikeout upside and the ability to pitch deep into ballgames. Whatever the reason, there is enough rationale to believe that punt plays exceed the value of their price tag and recognizing a great punt play is critical to success in MLB DFS.

This article will highlight the top punt plays available on Thursday’s four-game MLB main slate, locking at 12:20 p.m. ET on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

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MLB DFS Punt Plays Today – April 11

Ezequiel Duran – 1B, TEX vs. OAK

MLB DFS DraftKings: $2,700

MLB DFS FanDuel: $2,500

With a left-handed pitcher on the mound for Oakland, that signals another Ezequiel Duran start. Duran was featured here earlier this week as a punt play, and while his price hasn’t really moved, his positioning did, now drawing a first base designation from DraftKings. Duran had a great 2023 campaign, slashing .276/.324/.443 with a 107 wRC+. Still, he’s only getting deployed against southpaw pitchers at the moment, and that’s where Duran really excels, slugging .486 against lefties for his career.

J.P. Sears gets the nod for the Athletics today. He struggled during his first full season in the majors last year, posting a 4.64 xERA and a 5.10 xFIP over 32 appearances and 172.1 innings pitched. Sears is not an awful pitcher, but his results included some ugly batted-ball metrics, like a .448 xSLG and a generous 11.1% barrel rate.

Brett Baty – 3B, NYM vs. ATL

MLB DFS DraftKings: $6,200

MLB DFS FanDuel: $5,900

Brett Baty appears to be figuring out MLB pitching finally. He struggled last season during his first significant big league exposure, generating only a 68 wRC+, but the 24-year-old is slashing .325/.372/.400 through 11 games this season and is likely turning a corner. Baty is a heralded prospect who showcased prolific offensive ability at every level of the minor leagues. He generated a 1.013 OPS across 26 games in Triple-A last season, up from a .943 OPS over 95 games in the minor leagues in 2022. Baty is one of the better value plays on the slate today, underscored by his 15.49% home run probability.

Allan Winans takes the bump for the Braves today. He’s only on the MLB roster because Spencer Strider hit the injured list several days ago, and expectations aren’t particularly high. Winans started six games for the Braves in 2023, posting a 5.29 ERA and 4.24 xERA over 32.1 innings. That’s the extent of his MLB experience, and left-handed hitters slugged .595 against him in that brief sample size.

Jon Gray – SP, TEX vs. OAK

MLB DFS DraftKings: $6,500

MLB DFS FanDuel: $7,400

None of the punt pitchers look fantastic today, and they rarely do, but Jon Gray stands out as the most playable among this group. While Gray is almost certainly beyond his prime, he’s only 32 years old and has a background as a reliable arm. Over 10 seasons, Gray has produced a respectable 3.86 xFIP. He posted a 4.36 xFIP and 4.48 xERA across 29 appearances in 2023, which was statistically one of the worst seasons of his career – the reason his price has dropped so low. Still, Gray remains a solid pitcher with middling strikeout production and the ability to pitch deep if he’s going well.

It’s probably obvious, but the main reason we like Gray today is for the matchup. The Oakland Athletics have one of the weaker offenses in baseball. They are scoring just three runs per game on the season, including a 91 wRC+ and a generous 27.1% strikeout rate. This matchup is a big part of why Gray has the second-highest value score among pitchers today.

Editor Note: If you’re looking for the best MLB DFS picks daily, we got you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something with more of a gambling tilt, our friends over at OddsShopper can get you going by teaching you how to bet on home runs.


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