The MLB DFS Deep Dive is back! This article is intended to give you an in depth look into the top MLB DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel on the day’s fantasy baseball slate. It is recommended that you use this article in conjunction with Awesemo’s MLB projections, ownership projections and the Top Stack tool.
MLB DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | Aug. 11
Corbin Burnes ($10,300 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, and he takes on a weak Cubs team that traded away most of its best hitters a couple of weeks ago. Burnes leads the slate with a 35% strikeout rate and 30.3% strikeout-walk rate. His 2.59 xFIP is also the best on the slate, and he has allowed just 0.40 home runs per nine innings this season. There are some weather concerns tonight at Wrigley Field, both in terms of rain and favorable hitting conditions.
Kevin Gausman ($9,900 DraftKings/$10,300 FanDuel) is having the best season of his career, as he has finally committed to throwing his splitter more. It has always been a devastating pitch, but for much of his career, he has refused to throw it nearly as much as he should. This season he has thrown it 38.2% of the time to left-handed hitters and 33% of the time to right-handed hitters. The pitch has generated a 28.7% swinging-strike rate against right-handed hitters and a 25.3% swinging-strike rate against lefties. He has struck out 30.2% of hitters this season and has a 3.37 xFIP and 0.82 home runs per nine innings. Arizona’s active roster ranks 28th with an 80 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season, and they have the fifth-highest strikeout rate at 25%.
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Adam Wainwright ($9,400 DraftKings/$9,600 FanDuel) is relatively expensive for a pitcher with a modest 22.8% strikeout rate, but he has a favorable matchup against the Pirates. Pittsburgh’s active roster has just an 83 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season, with a 23.3% strikeout rate that ranks in the middle of the pack across the league. While Wainwright’s strikeout numbers are about average, he has been a good pitcher overall this season. He has a 3.77 xFIP and a respectable 6.5% walk rate. He does not offer the same upside as Burnes or Wainwright, but he also will not pull as much ownership.
Alek Manoah ($9,100 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) has shown excellent strikeout stuff in his rookie season. Manoah has struck out 28.2% of the hitters that he has faced, which is the third-highest strikeout rate on the slate. He has an elevated walk rate at 8.9%, and he has allowed 1.20 home runs per nine innings and a 4.13 xFIP, so there should be some poor outings from time to time. He has a favorable matchup tonight against the Angels, however, as Shohei Ohtani is the only truly scary bat that is likely to be in the lineup. The Angels have recently called up two of their top hitting prospects, Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell, which increases their average strikeout rate; Marsh has struck out 36.4% of the time through his first 23 games, and Adell has struck out 39.1% of the time in 45 games since the start of last season.
Frankie Montas ($8,700 DraftKings/$9,100 FanDuel) is an interesting option in tournaments tonight, as he is projected for less ownership than the pitchers listed above him. Montas enters the game with a 26.3% strikeout rate and 3.67 xFIP this season. There is also reason to believe that his strikeout rate could increase going forward. Montas has struck out 31.3% of left-handed hitters this season compared to 21.7% of right-handed hitters. Last season, Montas struck out 28.9% of right-handed hitters compared to only 21.6% of lefties. He has increased his splitter usage to left-handed hitters this season, which likely explains the increase in strikeouts against lefties, but his pitch mix against righties is about the same as it was last season. It would not be surprising if Montas continues to strike out lefties at an excellent rate but also increases his strikeout numbers against right-handed hitters based on what he has done in the past. Over his last 10 starts, he has struck out 32.2% of lefties and 28.2% of righties. Tonight he faces the Indians, who have a 92 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season.
Tyler Anderson ($7,600 DraftKings/$7,400 FanDuel) has a favorable matchup against the Rangers, so he is worth SP2 consideration on DraftKings. Anderson is not a particularly exciting pitcher, but he is also probably better than many people give him credit for because he has spent a large part of his career pitching his home games in Coors Field. Anderson has split this season between the Pirates and the Mariners, striking out 19.6% of hitters and posting a 4.44 xFIP in 20 starts. The Rangers’ implied run total is lower than every other team on the slate except for the Diamondbacks.
Tarik Skubal ($6,300 DraftKings/$8,600 FanDuel) is the preferred pay-down option on DraftKings, especially if he continues to be projected for less ownership than Anderson, as is currently the case. Skubal is the fifth-least expensive pitcher on DraftKings, but he has the fifth-highest strikeout rate on the slate at 26%. Skubal has allowed 2.06 home runs per nine innings, and he will be pitching at Camden Yards, a hitter-friendly park, in favorable hitting conditions. There is plenty of risk here, but Skubal is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, and he has elite upside for his salary. He also benefits from the absence of Ryan Mountcastle, one of Baltimore’s most dangerous right-handed hitters.
J.T. Realmuto ($4,400 DraftKings/$3,700 FanDuel) stands out as one of the top catcher plays on DraftKings, and he is also playable on FanDuel because he is an actual good hitter, not just a good hitter for a catcher. Realmuto has a relatively difficult matchup against David Price, who has struck out 22% of right-handed hitters while holding them to a .297 xwOBA and .127 xISO this season. Still, Realmuto has a .378 wOBA and .229 ISO in 313 plate appearances against left-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season, and he will be facing Price in a favorable park for hitting.
Brandon Belt ($4,200 DraftKings/$3,000 FanDuel) was extremely expensive on DraftKings when he first returned from the injured list, but he has become inexpensive very quickly. Belt is one of the most underrated hitters in baseball, as he would put up absurd numbers if did not play his entire career in San Francisco. He will be facing Merrill Kelly, who has only allowed a .309 xwOBA and .132 xISO to left-handed hitters this season. Belt has a .365 wOBA and .237 ISO against right-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season, offering tremendous upside for his salary despite a mediocre matchup.
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Kolten Wong ($4,200 DraftKings/$3,300) has a favorable matchup against Jake Arrieta in excellent hitting conditions in Wrigley Field. Wong only has a .326 wOBA and .129 ISO against right-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season, but Arrieta has allowed a .407 xwOBA and .248 xISO to left-handed hitters this season. The second base position is relatively weak, and Wong is underpriced for a great matchup with the wind blowing out on a warm night in Chicago.
Jeimer Candelario ($3,900 DraftKings/$2,800 FanDuel) stands out as one of the best values at third base as he faces Matt Harvey and the Orioles. Harvey has pitched better recently, as he has started throwing more off-speed pitches and fewer fastballs. Still, he is an average pitcher at best, and the bullpen behind him is terrible. Since the start of the season, Harvey has allowed a .334 xwOBA and .196 xISO to lefties while striking out only 15.7%. Candelario is not a great hitter, but he is inexpensive and has produced a decent .324 wOBA and .157 ISO against right-handed pitching over the last three seasons.
Willy Adames ($5,600 DraftKings/$3,200 FanDuel) is expensive on DraftKings, but with a number of other value hitters listed in this article, this is a spot to pay up to be contrarian in GPPs. Adames is one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball, and he is not expected to be popular tonight since there are several less expensive shortstops that project as better values despite not offering Adames’ ceiling or talent level. He will face Arrieta in warm weather with the wind blowing out, and Arrieta has allowed a .333 xwOBA and .201 xISO to right-handed hitters and just a 18.8% strikeout rate. Adames has a .351 wOBA and .196 ISO against righties since 2019.
Robbie Grossman ($3,700 DraftKings/$3,200 FanDuel) does not get a lot of recognition as a good hitter because he does not have massive amounts of power, but he has averaged a 112 wRC+ over the last six seasons. He has been especially good since the start of last season with a 120 wRC+ and .201 ISO. He has also stolen 21 bases over that time to go along with his 25 home runs. Grossman is still priced like the slightly above-average hitter that he was earlier in his career, and he is in a good matchup tonight against Harvey at Camden Yards.
Teoscar Hernandez ($4,500 DraftKings/$3,400 FanDuel) has a high-upside matchup tonight against Dylan Bundy. Hernandez gets a park downgrade going from Toronto to Los Angeles, but Bundy has been extremely home run prone, with 1.78 home runs per nine innings this season. He was recently removed from the Angels rotation, but he was reinstated two starts ago due to injuries and trades. Hernandez has a .335 wOBA and .210 ISO against right-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season. This is a good spot for all of the Blue Jays power hitters, but Hernandez offers a price discount compared to the rest of the home run hitters on the team.
Tyler O’Neill ($3,200 DraftKings/$3,500 FanDuel) was a late scratch last night due to side effects of the COVID vaccine, but he is in the lineup tonight. He will face Wil Crowe, who has only struck out 20.1% of right-handed hitters this season while allowing a .292 xwOBA and .259 xISO. O’Neill has a 31.1% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season, but he typically does damage when he hits the ball as evidenced by a .218 ISO over that time. He is likely to put the ball in play tonight against Crowe. His outfield mates, Dylan Carlson and Harrison Bader, are strong values as well.
Austin Hays ($2,500 DraftKings/$2,700 FanDuel) is in a boom/bust spot tonight against Skubal. As mentioned before, Skubal is one of the best strikeout pitchers on the slate, but he has also allowed over two home runs per nine innings. Against right-handed hitters specifically Skubal has allowed a .371 xwOBA and .256 xISO this season. Hays is near the minimum salary and has a .332 xwOBA and .197 xISO in 178 plate appearances against left-handed pitching since debuting for the Orioles in 2019.
LaMonte Wade Jr. ($3,200 DraftKings/$2,900 FanDuel) is another San Francisco hitter who is just underpriced for an average matchup against Kelly and a weak Diamondbacks bullpen behind him. Wade has been excellent this season, with a 125 wRC+ and .270 ISO. These numbers essentially came out of nowhere, so it is relatively likely that he will drop off a bit going forward, but he does also have a .361 xwOBA and .225 xISO against right-handed pitching this season. While he is unlikely to continue at his current pace with a .392 actual wOBA and .311 actual ISO against right-handed pitching, he still has been a legitimately good hitter this season.
Note: Be sure to check out the Top Stacks Tool to compare a team’s chances of success to their aggregate ownership.
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Toronto Blue Jays
Top Contrarian Stacks: Dodgers, Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds
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