MLB DFS Punt Plays For DraftKings and FanDuel (April 16)

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 Mookie Betts, 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 Tuesday’s 10-game MLB main slate, locking at 7:07 p.m. ET on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

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MLB DFS Punt Plays Today – April 16

Lawrence Butler – OF, OAK vs. STL

MLB DFS DraftKings: $2,100

MLB DFS FanDuel: $2,600

With a 1.0 value score and a near-minimum price tag on DraftKings, Lawrence Butler is among the top-graded points-per-dollar plays on the slate today. His surface stats aren’t much to get excited about, featuring a .208/.321/.333 slash line with a 101 wRC+. However, Butler’s underlying numbers paint a much different picture. The 23-year-old has a .575 xSLG, 93.7 mph average exit velocity, 14.3% barrel rate, 48.6% hard-hit rate and a .409 xwOBA. Butler has the tools to emerge as one of the Oakland Athletics’ best hitters.

Lance Lynn projects as a very popular pitcher on this slate, making Butler a considerable value play. In his return to the St. Louis Cardinals, Lynn has a strong 2.63 ERA through three starts. Still, the advanced numbers are much less convinced by Lynn’s early success. As a jumping-off point, Lynn has a less-inspired 4.49 xERA, down from his 4.86 mark last season. Furthermore, Lynn led the majors in home runs allowed last season, surrendering a .461 xSLG, which is up to a .472 xSLG in 2024. Left-handed hitters slugged .549 against Lynn in 2023, positioning Butler as an ideal opponent.

Brett Baty – 3B, NYM vs. PIT

MLB DFS DraftKings: $3,000

MLB DFS FanDuel: $2,700

We are still waiting on the power hitting to more meaningfully translate, but Brett Baty is settling in as a major league hitter. He is slashing .316/.371/.386 with a 118 wRC+ through 16 games this season. Given Baty’s minor league production, it feels like only a matter of time until his power stroke arrives. He slugged .625 over 26 games in Triple-A last season, up from the .533 slugging percentage he generated across 95 minor league games in 2022.

Jared Jones is another promising young player who has already flashed some exciting stuff during his brief MLB sample size. That said, Jones has an early problem with the home run ball. He has surrendered multiple long balls in each of his previous two appearances. Opposing hitters have generated a gratuitous 15.9% barrel rate against Jones, alongside a 54.5% hard-hit rate and a 90.8 mph average exit velocity. This appears to be an opportunistic matchup for Baty to reintroduce his home run power.

J.P. Sears – OF, OAK vs. STL

MLB DFS DraftKings: $6,300

MLB DFS FanDuel: $6,700

None of the pitchers at the bottom of the barrel are terribly exciting, though there is a more clearly paved path to success for J.P. Sears today. The numbers aren’t pretty so far, including a 5.23 xERA over his first three starts. Still, Sears is coming off an excellent outing in which he surrendered just one hit over 6.1 scoreless innings against a scary Texas Rangers lineup. There is no way to manipulate Sears’ advanced metrics into him being a low-key ace, but his middling 4.64 xERA over 172.1 innings last season tells us a quality start is always in his range of outcomes. Sears’ 13.8% top-2 value probability agrees.

The St. Louis Cardinals are reputationally full of lefty killers. Names like Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Willson Contreras historically strike fear into southpaws. That’s not the case this season, however, as the Cardinals offense is a disappointment. It is scoring just 3.7 runs per game through the first 17 contests. That includes a weak 88 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers and a .316 slugging percentage.

Sears is unlikely to be one of the top-scoring pitchers on any slate, though he could reasonably be the punt value arm that did enough for you to stack the Los Angeles Dodgers 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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