MLB DFS Punt Plays For DraftKings and FanDuel (April 8)

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 Shohei Ohtani, 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 Monday’s nine-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 8

Miles Mikolas – P, STL vs. PHI

MLB DFS DraftKings: $5,300

MLB DFS FanDuel: $7,000

There are numerous solid pitching options on this slate with much higher upside, so don’t mistake this highlight as an endorsement. That said, there are some great hitting spots to spend up for today, and if you absolutely need to slot in a punt-priced pitcher, then Miles Mikolas might be your guy.

Mikolas is the only pitcher on the slate with a positive value score. His advanced metrics are undeniably ugly, but the results are salvageable at his price tag. Mikolas generated a 4.76 xFIP last season, up from a 4.15 career mark. His lifetime 3.96 ERA suggests that Mikolas may simply be the type of pitcher that analytics hate yet can be counted on to regularly outperform the data. Last time out, Mikolas surrendered two runs with four strikeouts over six innings against the San Diego Padres. If he can accomplish something similar today, he will be a strong value play.

On paper, the Philadelphia Phillies lineup is loaded. In real life, they’re struggling to generate offense. Through the first part of the season, the Phillies are scoring just four runs per game. That includes an awful 71 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers, alongside a .277 wOBA and a generous 25.4% strikeout rate. It’s a small sample size, but baseball is a rhythm sport, and so far the Phillies hitters haven’t found their rhythm.

Justin Foscue – 2B, TEX vs. HOU

MLB DFS DraftKings: $2,000

MLB DFS FanDuel: $2,300

Justin Foscue was featured here last week, though he ultimately was only deployed as a pinch-hitter. He has gone 1-for-2 off the bench in his brief MLB career, and he has done enough to impress Rangers manager Bruce Bochy. Bochy already stated that Foscue will be in the starting lineup tonight, so we aren’t just speculating this time around.

Foscue is the fifth-ranked second base prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. He generated an outstanding .864 OPS over 122 games in Triple-A last season. That included 18 home runs, 31 doubles, and a gratuitous 15.1% walk rate. Foscue offers elite plate discipline that should allow his offensive approach to translate quickly to the next level and above-average power to create a worthwhile fantasy ceiling. At the flat minimum price, Foscue is the highest-graded value play on the DraftKings main slate today.

Framber Valdez isn’t an ideal matchup, but he is more hittable than some believe. Last season, Valdez posted a strong 3.45 ERA over 31 starts. The results were worthwhile, though his 4.33 xERA undermines the success. That included an ugly 45.6% hard-hit rate and 91.5 mph average exit velocity. Valdez’s exceptional ground ball rate usually keeps the ball in the yard, but he’s absolutely hittable, and Foscue doesn’t need to do a lot to pay off his price tag.

Alec Burleson – OF, STL vs. PHI

MLB DFS DraftKings: $2,500

MLB DFS FanDuel: $2,500

Alec Burleson isn’t the flashiest name, but he does have the second-highest value score among all players today. In 2023, Burleson posted a middling .244/.300/.390 slash line, though the underlying numbers were much more encouraging. The lefty generated a .337 xwOBA, .277 xBA, .449 xSLG, and a 36.6% sweet-spot rate, while only striking out at a 13% clip. Burleson is due for significant positive regression.

Furthermore, the 25-year-old showcased a productive stroke in the minors. Across 109 games in Triple-A in 2022, Burleson put up an impressive .331/.372/.532 slash line with 20 home runs and a 137 wRC+. His MLB tenure is only 132 games deep, and it feels like only a matter of time until that translates better at the top level.

Spencer Turnbull is one of the more enigmatic pitching matchups today. Due to injury, he’s pitched only 36 total innings since 2021. He finished with a 6.12 xERA and 5.21 xFIP following seven starts in 2023 and threw five shutout innings during his first appearance of this season. For his career, Turnbull has a 4.48 ERA and 4.40 xFIP, so it’s unlikely he’s suddenly come back a better pitcher at age 31.

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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