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MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Stacks, Home Runs & Weather Today 4/11/22

Terry McBride



The Monday MLB DFS main slate features seven games and very little confidence in the group of available pitchers. After Sunday’s rousing slate that featured high scoring and home runs in every corner, fantasy baseball gamers may find themselves in for another strong night of offensive production across the industry. Five of the slate’s seven games are carrying run totals of either nine or 9.5, a fairly high mark for this early in the season. Those matchups include a Blue Jays – Yankees game in the Bronx that could turn into a slugfest, a similar game between the Mets and Phillies 90 miles south, as well as major home run hitting teams like the Braves, Twins and Angels all in action against questionable pitching. Getting to a mix of under-owned stacks and underused combinations of hitters within those stacks will be key to lineup building once again. Differentiating by using a full stack with a partial second stack and a one-off player can help to find unique lineup constructions while maintaining lineup upside, but it is important to focus on not using the most popular hitters as those one-offs when also using the most popular stacks or starters. Ultimately, correlation is still king, finding the right combination MLB DFS picks today with hitters from two teams in the same lineup sends lineups rocketing to the top of MLB DFS scoreboards.

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Best MLB DFS Tournament Strategy & Picks Today

Top Home Run Options

Home runs are the holy grail when making MLB DFS picks. Finding the right combination of sluggers who will knock one, or better two, out of the park to drive in the teammates you stack with them is critical to winning GPPs. Identifying the likely home run hitters is trickier than just looking at the big names. Using a model of my design, based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup, I will give each team one of the top choices. However, it will not always be the absolute top-ranked player, particularly when there is an obvious star in that spot every day.

Home Run Ratings

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Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great

Atlanta Braves: Adam Duvall — 13.09

Los Angeles Angels: Jo Adell — 12.51

Miami Marlins: Jesus Sanchez — 5.02

Minnesota Twins: Miguel Sano — 6.89

New York Mets: J.D. Davis — 2.41

New York Yankees: Joey Gallo — 8.27

Oakland Athletics: Seth Brown — 8.66

Philadelphia Phillies: Rhys Hoskins — 10.89

San Diego Padres: Wil Myers — 4.55

San Francisco Giants: Brandon Belt — 11.81

Seattle Mariners: Jesse Winker — 8.49

Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe — 13.65

Toronto Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — 15.76

Washington Nationals: Juan Soto — 11.18

Power Index

This is intended to capture the full range of home run upside for each team. It is not meant as a stack ranking and does not account for pricing or popularity — only home run potential. The first column is the average rating for the full projected lineup and the second is for the top six hitters in the projected lineup.

Best MLB DFS picks today Monday 4/11/22 Daily Fantasy Baseball Rankings Projections Home Run predictions DraftKings FanDuel

MLB DFS Weather Update: Postponements & Risk Assessment

There are no serious weather scenarios for the afternoon slate.

MLB DFS Picks Today: Pitchers, Best Stacks & Low-Owned Plays

This section will feature a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays on DraftKings and FanDuel. Ensure to check out the Awesemo Ownership Projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.

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On the Hill

Monday’s pitching slate falls well short of spectacular, in fact, solid might even be a stretch with the limited options available for MLB DFS lineups. The top of the board on both sites in the Top Pitchers Tool is Toronto’s Alek Manoah who has a tough task but many potential strikeouts ahead in facing the loaded Yankees lineup. The top of my pitching projections is southpaw Alex Wood of the Giants, who ranks third overall in Awesemo’s probability of being a top-2 starter on DraftKings or the best option on FanDuel. Wood is edged out by Huascar Ynoa, who also ranks second on my board. By any measure, those are the top three pitchers available on this slate, they will be rostered accordingly by the public but getting to large portions of each across a full set of lineups is advisable. The rest of the list includes options like Ranger Suarez, who was fantastic at limiting premium contact last season, Nick Martinez as a value option making his first start at the major league level since 2017, after reshaping his arsenal in Japan’s NPB the past few seasons, and Dylan Bundy as a value alternative with major question marks in his Twins debut. One potentially under-appreciated mid-range option is Miami’s Elieser Hernandez, who will be facing a top-heavy Angels lineup at low ownership.

The Giants will have Alex Wood on the mound against the Padres tonight. Wood had a strong 138.2 innings in 26 starts last season, posting a 26% strikeout rate and just a 6.7% walk rate while pitching to a 3.44 xFIP. The veteran southpaw last reached a strikeout rate that high in 2016, when he pitched to a 25.9% with a 7.8% walk rate while with the Dodgers, but he has reliably been a mid-20s strikeout rate performer throughout his career, with an average 22.6% mark. Wood limited barrels to just a 5.3% rate but allowed a 40.5% hard-hit rate last season. Opposing hitters did not have an easy time elevating to a home run trajectory with just a 7.1-degree average launch angle allowed, and he continued a career-long trend of limiting home runs. Wood’s previous two seasons are skewed by small samples, he allowed 11 home runs in a weird 35.2 innings with Cincinnati in 2019 and two in 12.2 innings in 2020, but every other season in his career checks in well below a 1.0 HR/9 mark, and his career home run rate is just 2.3%, removing 2019 and 2020 drops it to a 2.1% mark. Wood is facing a Padres active roster that is somewhat overrated without superstar Fernando Tatis. The Padres active roster had just a .139 collective ISO against left-handed pitching last season, they created runs 6% below the league average in the split, and their 2.35% home run rate against southpaws ranked 28th overall. Between the limited power against lefties and Wood’s demonstrable acumen for keeping the ball in the yard, this seems like a quality matchup that should at least play fairly safely for the pitcher, which may be enough on this slate. The one hiccup is the 21.4% strikeout rate to which the Padres limited left-handed pitchers last season, potentially capping the upside. On a slate with no clear path to a monster fantasy baseball score on the mound, playing the reliability game with Wood seems like a good approach.

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Righty Alek Manoah comes in looking to pick up where he left off after a strong 20 starts last season. Manoah put up a healthy 27.7% strikeout rate over his first season in the Show. He walked a few too many at 8.7%, but that number is not overly high compared to the average and it stands fine for a young, strong-armed pitcher. Manoah pitched to a 4.17 xFIP and a 1.05 WHIP last season, generating a 12.6% swinging-strike rate and a 28.2% CSW% for the season. The righty allowed just a 5.8% barrel rate and a sparkling 31.2% hard-hit percentage with just an 86.8 mph average exit velocity. Manoah did yield a 16.3-degree average launch angle to opposing hitters while generating just a 38.8% ground ball rate and Yankee stadium can be unforgiving to fly ball pitchers, but the contact numbers are repeatable and should not be ignored, Manoah has electric stuff, but he will be facing a challenging opponent. The Yankees active roster had a 10th-ranked .170 ISO and a 3.61% home run rate that sat eighth against right-handed pitching last season. The team does have a collective 24.9% strikeout rate that was 25th out of the league’s 30 teams, giving Manoah plenty of strikeout-based upside if he can keep the ball in the yard against the homer-happy Yankees. Manoah is projected for mid-level popularity as the most expensive pitcher on both sites.

Atlanta’s Huascar Ynoa is taking on a Nationals lineup that has only three or four quality hitters. Using last season’s numbers, the active roster for the Nationals was 22nd overall with a .156 ISO against righties and they created runs 4% worse than average while posting a 2.98% home run rate that was 24th in baseball. Washington does limit strikeouts, their 21.4% rate in the split puts them 3rd overall, with Juan Soto leading the way with his spectacular 14.2% strikeout rate and 22.2% walk rate against both hands. After Soto, Nelson Cruz, and Josh Bell, there is not much to fear in the contact-based Nationals lineup. Washington may be difficult to strike out, but there is not much of a threat of runs against Ynoa. The young Atlanta righty threw 91 innings in 17 starts in the Majors last year, his first regular action at this level after a couple of brief cups of coffee in years past. Ynoa had a 26.9% strikeout rate and a 6.7% walk rate last year, but he yielded premium contact too frequently. Opposing hitters had a 43.2% hard-hit rate against Ynoa, barreling the ball 9.1% of the time with an average exit velocity of 90.7, though that resulted in just a 3.76% home run rate allowed. Ynoa generated an encouraging 13.2% swinging-strike rate, and he had a 30.6% CSW% last season, both of which are rivaled only by Wood, who had a lower swinging-strike rate but a better CSW%. Ynoa pitched to a 3.40 xFIP and a 1.11 WHIP overall last year, and he is projected for 11.6% ownership on FanDuel and 19.3% on DraftKings at a fair mid-range price on both sites. The field may be a step behind on the talented Atlanta 23-year-old.

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Nick Martinez has not pitched at this level since 2017. He departed the league with a career 4.77 ERA and 5.19 xFIP over 415.1 major league innings. Martinez spent the subsequent seasons pitching in Japan’s NPB, widely regarded as the second-best professional league in the world. Martinez was inarguably effective in Japan in 2021, pitching to a 1.60 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP while striking out 8.8 hitters per nine. Prior to that, however, he posted a 4.62 ERA and a 7.8 K/9 in 2020 and a 3.51 ERA with a 5.2 K/9 in 2018 and did not pitch in 2019. Martinez allegedly reinvented himself as a pitcher more focused on a four-seam fastball and curveball combination, rather than the sinker-slider pitcher he had been previously. While he had a good spring in an extremely limited sample, Martinez remains a sub-replacement level pitcher and a gigantic question mark against a good San Francisco lineup. The righty is facing a Giants team that put together a third-ranked collective .197 ISO and had a 3rd-ranked 3.93% home run rate against right-handed pitching last season. This is a challenging spot for what used to be a bad pitcher, Martinez will have to prove himself in a big way, the Giants bats seem like the better bet.

The final pitcher on the odd Monday MLB DFS pitching board is Elieser Hernandez, who had a middling 51.2-inning season over 11 starts last year. Hernandez posted a 23.6% strikeout rate and had a 4.32 xFIP with a 1.32 WHIP over that short stretch, unimpressive marks in anyone’s eyes. Still, the righty has demonstrated swing-and-miss stuff in his on-and-off career at this level. He had a 24.1% strikeout rate over 82.1 innings in 2019 and a 32.1% rate in a very small sample of just 25.2 innings in six starts in 2020. Hernandez is priced on a tier with Mets starter Taijuan Walker, but he is the stronger pitcher with a better strikeout matchup. The Angels projected lineup had a collective 24.1% strikeout rate overall last season, matching their aggregate rate against right-handed pitching, the 20th-best mark in baseball. The Angels are top-heavy, after the trio of stars at the top of their lineup things get ugly in a hurry, and even those premium bats strike out at nearly a 30% rate. This is an under-the-radar spot for a pitcher with a 1.2% ownership projection on FanDuel and a 10.8% popularity projection in DraftKings MLB DFS lineups, paying up to Hernandez is a stronger option than rostering either Martinez or Dylan Bundy when hunting for pitching discounts.

Los Angeles Angels

On the other side of the Hernandez pitching play coin, the Angels lineup does project for power upside against the righty this evening. Los Angeles benefits from having otherworldly talent in their top two hitters, namely Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, two of the game’s top superstars. Ohtani hit 46 home runs with a .335 ISO while creating runs 52% better than average over his 639 plate appearances last year. Trout missed significant time, but still managed eight home runs and a .291 ISO while creating runs 90% better than average in the 146 plate appearances he was able to manage. Trout is expensive but always worthwhile. Ohtani and Trout are the top-two rated players in my home run model for tonight’s slate, while cleanup hitter Jared Walsh ranks fourth. That trio of hitters and Anthony Rendon make up most of the Angels’ quality against a pitcher who allowed a 90.2 mph average exit velocity against and a 9.7% barrel rate on a 17.6-degree average launch angle last season. Young power-hitting Jo Adell is an interesting and inexpensive option in the middle of this lineup, and Max Stassi is playable where catchers are needed. Stassi had an 11% barrel rate and a 42.3% hard-hit percentage last season, strong marks that the backstop translated into 13 home runs in 319 plate appearances. Other options in the back of the lineup are more contact hitting correlation-based shots in the dark, including Tyler Wade, David Fletcher and Jose Rojas, the premium stacking options are the obvious and wildly popular names at the top of the lineup, which makes it a challenge to roster Angels bats in unique constructions. Los Angeles is ranked third for their probability of success, but they come in at negative leverage on both sites on the Top Stacks Tool, undercutting the field seems appropriate.

Toronto Blue Jays

In case you missed it, superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a 467-foot missile of a home run to the second deck in dead center that could have created a no-fly zone over any territory it wanted. The longest home run (so far) of the young slugger’s career was an absolute spectacle worth a quick internet search, although just watching him with a shot to top it in the homer-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium tonight is a reasonable substitute. Guerrero will lead his squad against the Yankees and starter Jameson Taillon, one of last season’s reclamation projects that stuck for a second go-around with the team in 2022. Taillon posted a 23.2% strikeout rate with a 7.3% walk rate in 144.1 innings last season, but he faltered to just a 4.69 xFIP and a 1.21 WHIP overall while allowing too much premium contact. Taillon yielded an 8.2% barrel rate and a 40.2% hard-hit percentage to opposing hitters last season, on a 20.9-degree average launch angle. He may have significant problems keeping the ball in the yard tonight. The Blue Jays are projected to be at efficient ownership at worst on both sites, they are positively leveraged on the FanDuel slate and there are low-owned targets throughout the batting order. In addition to Guerrero, any combination of stars Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez and George Springer is expensive but viable. Lourdes Gurriel and Matt Chapman bring under-owned power in the middle of the lineup and Alejandro Kirk has upside where catchers are required and Cavan Biggio is a serviceable wraparound play.

Atlanta Braves

The ultra-powerful Braves offense is facing lefty Josh Rogers who does not have much upside. Rogers has compiled just a 12% strikeout rate over his limited 61.2 innings in the Show, and he has yielded a massive 5.79% home run rate to opposing hitters. Rogers is not going to be long for this game, the heavily right-handed Braves bats should chase him quickly before feasting on the Nationals bullpen. The Braves are the top-ranked stack on both sites, but they are drawing significant popularity, making roster construction a major consideration.

Second baseman Ozzie Albies leads off at just $4,000 on the FanDuel slate and $4,800 on DraftKings. He is cheap for his talent on both sites, after all Albies had a 30-home-run, 20-stolen-base season just last year. The excellent infielder struck out just 18.7% of the time and walked 6.9% while posting a .229 ISO and creating runs 7% better than average.

First baseman Matt Olson is pulling in the slate’s third-highest home run rating in my model, with most of this lineup joining him a few spots down the board. Olson is a titanic left-handed power hitter who racked up a 48.4% hard-hit rate and a 12.7% barrel rate while hitting 39 home runs in 673 plate appearances last season. The first baseman had a .269 ISO and created runs 46% better than average. He is expensive at $5,400 on DraftKings, but the price is keeping the public at just 10% ownership, a very targetable number. Olson is far too cheap at $3,800 on FanDuel, where he pulls in 19% popularity.

Austin Riley mans the hot corner and brings another excellent bat to the plate. Riley had a breakout .303/.367/.531 campaign in 2021, hitting 33 home runs and posting a .227 ISO. The corner infielder created runs 35% better than average and had excellent contact metrics, racking up a 13.3% barrel rate and a 45.6% hard-hit percentage. While the strikeout rate is high at 25.4%, Riley is not an all-or-nothing hitter. He has a quality hit tool and can be relied upon to drive the offense in a Braves stack.

Disgraced outfielder Marcell Ozuna is no one’s idea of a good person after his domestic violence suspension, but the outfielder is on the field, and he is a highly productive hitter. Ozuna saw just 208 plate appearances in an ineffective 2021, but Ozuna hit 29 home runs in 2019 and reached as high as 37 in 2016. The outfielder had a .231 ISO and created runs 10% better than average while posting a .241/.328/.472 triple slash in that 2019 season, and he had a fantastic 2020 in the COVID-shortened year. In his first year in Atlanta, Ozuna hit 18 home runs in just 267 plate appearances and posted a .298 ISO. There is major upside in this bat, but he is drawing significant attention in public lineups as well, making him a potential point from which to pivot.

One spot later in the lineup, Adam Duvall brings massive home run upside. The outfielder hit 38 home runs in 555 plate appearances last season, and he has long been one of the better right-handed power threats in baseball. Duvall had a 43.9% hard-hit rate and a 16.1% barrel rate to lead the team last season. He strikes out a whopping 31.4% of the time but still create runs 3% better than average while mashing the ball at a .263 ISO. Duvall is inexpensive for his power, but he will be popular on FanDuel, on DraftKings he is owned at just a 14% rate.

Another dip in ownership comes with Eddie Rosario, another talented outfielder but one who comes at just single-digit popularity. Rosario hit 14 home runs in 412 plate appearances last season, but he has three seasons of 24 or more home runs, reaching 32 in 2019 while with the Twins. Rosario has a career .197 ISO, and he is an effective contact hitter, striking out just 18.5% of the time for his career. At such low ownership, Rosario is an easy way to differentiate lineups. He typically sees a dropoff in power against same-handed pitching, but his hit tool is still valuable and viable in the split, and the lefty the Braves are facing will not be around for long.

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud had a 43.9% hard-hit rate and hit seven home runs in his 229 plate appearances last season. The hard-hit rate ranked him 12th among catchers with more than 200 plate appearances last season. He is an underrated bat at the back of this lineup, though his utility is mostly where the position is required.

Shortstop Dansby Swanson has been mentioned several times in this space over the season’s early days. The underrated hitter blasted 27 home runs and had an 11.4% barrel rate with a 42.4% hard-hit percentage in his 653 plate appearances last year, the hard-hit ranking him 12th among qualified shortstops. With Fernando Tatis Jr. leading the way at 55.6% the board sees an immediate drop to second-place Bo Bichette, who had a 47.5% mark that is already comparable. Swanson’s hard-hit rate slots him between Carlos Correa and Tim Anderson, to far more highly regarded shortstops among the general public. Swanson is worth roster spots when he is cheap and unpopular.

Nine hitter Orlando Arcia is an afterthought in this lineup, though he has three-position eligibility for the minimum price on FanDuel as a potential wraparound play with little to no ownership. Arcia has a career 2.24% home run rate and a .121 ISO. He is a longshot dart throw who should not be widely deployed.

Home Run Prediction Today: Austin Riley — Atlanta Braves

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Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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