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The Deep Dive: MLB DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel | Friday, 8/13

Adam Scherer



ESPN baseball writer Jeff Passan is trending ahead of the World Series game in Atlanta over his take that the Braves' "tomahawk chop" oughta be outlawed

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. 13

Top Pitchers

Zack Wheeler ($10,300 DraftKings/$11,200 FanDuel) has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. He has struck out 29.4% of hitters this season with an excellent 2.77 xFIP and 5.5% walk rate. Wheeler has also averaged 6.8 innings per start and his ability to work deep into games gives him a higher floor than many pitchers. He has a mediocre matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, who are fifth in wRC+ and 22nd in strikeout rate against right-handed pitching this season. The matchup tempers expectations for Wheeler a bit since he is the most expensive pitcher on a 14-game slate, but he is still a strong option if you can afford him.

Robbie Ray ($9,200 DraftKings/$10,700) leads the slate with a 30.2% strikeout rate this season. He has only walked 6.8% of hitters after struggling with his control for much of his career and he has a 3.47 xFIP. The only real issue that Ray has had this season is with home runs as he has allowed 1.59 home runs per nine innings. It is important to remember that the Blue Jays have played their home games in extremely small parks for most of the season and their actual home field in Toronto is also favorable for hitters. Add on that almost every other stadium in the American League East is favorable for hitters as well and there is a good chance that Ray’s home run issues would not be as pronounced if he pitched all of his games in Seattle like he will be tonight. Seattle’s active roster has a 94 wRC+ and 26.2% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching this season. As long as Ray can navigate Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager and Ty France in the middle of the order, he should not have much trouble with the rest of the lineup.

Blake Snell ($8,400 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) has been wildly inconsistent this season but he seems to have figured things out lately. Snell has also thrown over 100 pitches in each of his last two starts, something that he had not done previously since June 4th. For the season, Snell has struck out 28.6% of hitters, giving him a massive ceiling for his price in a favorable matchup against the Diamondbacks. The issue for Snell, and the reason that he is so difficult to trust, is that he has walked 14.1% of hitters this season while also allowing 1.21 home runs per nine innings. Things can get ugly in a hurry for Snell regardless of opponent if he is unable to limit his walks and work ahead in counts.

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Charlie Morton ($8,300 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) has an excellent matchup against the Washington Nationals. Washington’s current roster has an 84 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season, which ranks 24th in the league. They rank 16th in strikeout rate at 23.8%. Morton has struck out 27.9% of hitters this season with a 3.49 xFIP and 0.84 home runs per nine innings. Morton is available at his cheapest DraftKings price point in over a month, just in time for a great matchup against the Nationals.

Shane McClanahan ($7,800 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) seems to be going overlooked a bit on this slate as he is only projected for 4.4% ownership on DraftKings at the moment. He is a tougher sell on FanDuel since he is more expensive, but he has a massive ceiling for his salary and ownership projection on DraftKings. McClanahan has struck out 28.1% of hitters this season while posting a 3.29 xFIP. His workload was an issue earlier in the season, but he has pitched at least six innings in three straight starts and he has thrown at least 86 pitches in eight of his last nine. Minnesota’s active roster has a 94 wRC+ and 24% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching this season. McClanahan looks like an excellent target in DraftKings GPPs tonight.

Adbert Alzolay ($7,600 DraftKings/$6,700 FanDuel) has struck out 24.4% of hitters this season with a 3.89 xFIP. He has drastic splits and has been much better against right-handed hitters while he has struggled with left-handed power. Alzolay has struck out 28.5% of right-handed hitters while allowing a .133 xISO and .262 xwOBA this season compared to striking out 20.3% of lefties with a .410 xwOBA and .292 xISO. Miami’s projected lineup has six right-handed hitters plus the pitcher’s spot and there is virtually no left-handed power on this team. Alzolay also gets a favorable park shift as he pitches indoors in Miami.

Tyler Mahle ($7,100 DraftKings/$8,700 FanDuel) has been overpriced on most slates recently, but that is not the case tonight on DraftKings at just $7,100. Mahle has not cost less than $8,200 in any of his last 10 starts and he has been priced over $9,000 in eight of them. Mahle is a difficult pitcher to price because he has an excellent 28.4% strikeout rate, but he also has allowed 1.31 home runs per nine innings and can struggle with his control at times. If he is priced for his strikeout potential, he ends up being priced around pitchers who are better than him and it makes him difficult to roster. If he is priced for his actual talent level, he sticks out because he offers more upside than the pitchers around him. He has a tough matchup tonight against the Phillies in Philadelphia, but he is projected for less ownership than a couple of similarly priced pitchers.

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Jesus Luzardo ($6,700 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) is one of the similarly priced pitchers who is projected to pull considerably more ownership than Mahle. Luzardo has been disappointing this season dating back to his time in Oakland. He has also struggled since joining Miami, though one of his three starts was against the Yankees, and one was in Coors Field, so he gets a bit of a pass. Luzardo is considered one of the most talented pitching prospects in baseball and he struck out 23.8% of hitters with a 3.88 xFIP in 12 total appearances and nine starts with the A’s last season, so he is not far removed from major league success. He gets to face a watered-down Cubs team that traded most of its good hitters a couple of weeks ago and will also be without Willson Contreras. Luzardo’s salary is too cheap for his upside, though he is getting a lot of ownership and there is still risk based on his struggles so far this season.

Mike Minor ($6,400 DraftKings/$8,000 DraftKings) is basically the definition of a league average pitcher. He has struck out 23.3% of hitters this season with a 4.29 xFIP. He has a mediocre matchup against the Cardinals, who will most likely have nine right-handed hitters in their lineup. Minor has struck out 22.4% of right-handed hitters compared to 27.9% of left-handed hitters this season and he has allowed a .208 xISO to righties. He is not an exciting option, and it is a risky spot, but he is also projected for about 25% of Luzardo’s ownership so he makes some sense as a low-owned value option in DraftKings GPPs.

Top Hitters

Austin Nola ($3,900 DraftKings/$2,500 FanDuel) stands out as a top catcher option as he faces Madison Bumgarner in Arizona. Bumgarner has only struck out 20.8% of right-handed hitters this season while allowing a .186 xISO. Nola has a 120 wRC+ and .177 ISO in 551 career plate appearances.

Freddie Freeman ($4,800 DraftKings/$3,600 FanDuel) is most likely facing Josiah Gray, though a starter has not officially been confirmed for the Nationals. Assuming that it is Gray, Freeman will be facing one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. While Gray is talented, he is still a question mark at this point in his career while Freeman is in the midst of yet another excellent season with a 131 wRC+ and .203 ISO. In his very limited time in the big leagues, Gray has been vulnerable to left-handed power with a .338 xwOBA and .324 xISO allowed. Freeman is relatively inexpensive by his standards and stands out as a top first base option.

Brandon Lowe ($4,600 DraftKings/$3,800 FanDuel) looks like the top second base option tonight as he faces Michael Pineda in Minnesota. Lowe has posted a .399 xwOBA and .292 xISO in 297 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season and he has a 130 wRC+ and .253 ISO overall through the first 288 games of his career. Pineda has allowed a .198 xISO to left-handed hitters while striking out only 17.8% this season.

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Jose Ramirez ($5,700 DraftKings/$4,200 FanDuel) is expensive but he has an excellent matchup against Tyler Alexander and the third base position is relatively weak. Ramirez has a .363 xwOBA and .243 xISO against left-handed pitching this season while Alexander has allowed a .357 xwOBA and .238 xISO to right-handed hitters.

Xander Bogaerts ($5,400 DraftKings/$3,600 FanDuel) will most likely be hitting in the middle of the order for the team with the highest implied run total on the slate. The Red Sox are facing Spenser Watkins and a terrible Baltimore bullpen tonight in Fenway Park. Nothing about Watkins suggests that he is going to make it as a major league pitcher, but he has been especially bad against right-handed hitters so far in his brief career. Watkins has only struck out 12.3% of righties while allowing a .370 xwOBA and .287 xISO. Bogaerts is one of many right-handed power hitters on the Red Sox. He has a .376 wOBA and .217 ISO against right-handed pitching this season.

Jarren Duran ($3,200 DraftKings/$2,500 FanDuel) is one of the best value options on tonight’s slate as he is likely to hit second in Boston’s lineup. While Watkins has been better at limiting damage against lefties so far, it is unlikely that trend continues over a larger sample. Duran is one of the top hitting prospects in baseball. He has been awful through his first 21 games with only a 41 wRC+ and .129 ISO, but he is also facing an awful pitcher tonight, so his slow start is less of a concern.

Hunter Renfroe ($4,000 DraftKings/$3,300 FanDuel) is one of the best home run targets tonight, as this sets up as a nearly perfect matchup for him. Renfroe has struck out 22.1% of the time against right-handed pitching this season with a .316 wOBA and .216 ISO. Since the start of the 2019 season, he has struck out 28.7% of the time against righties with a .301 wOBA and .228 ISO. He has struck out less often this season, but even if he were not, he would benefit from facing a pitcher in Watkins who is virtually incapable of striking out right-handed hitters. Allowing Renfroe to put the ball in play in Fenway Park is a very dangerous proposition.

Nelson Cruz ($4,600 DraftKings/$3,900 FanDuel) gets to face his former team tonight in Minnesota. While Michael Pineda has been worse against left-handed hitters, he has not exactly been good against righties this season either as he has allowed a .327 xwOBA and .186 xISO. Cruz continues to be an excellent source of power with a .354 xwOBA and .224 xISO against right-handed pitching this season.

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Top Stacks

Note: Be sure to check out the Top Stacks Tool to compare a team’s chances of success to their aggregate ownership.

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. Milwaukee Brewers
  3. Tampa Bay Rays

Top Under-owned Stacks: Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres

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Adam "ShipMyMoney" Scherer has been playing and analyzing DFS full-time since quitting law school in 2016. He has qualified for the 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Championship, the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship (3x) and the 2019 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship. You can find him on Twitter at @ShipMyMoneyDFS or by emailing [email protected].

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