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MLB DFS Tournament Picks Today & Weather Updates 4/25/22

Terry McBride



The Monday MLB DFS slate presents a dramatically different setup from site to site tonight. DraftKings is starting early to capture a seven-game slate that starts at 6:10 p.m. ET, while FanDuel is taking a more traditional approach with a five-game slate that starts at 7:07 in the East. The DraftKings slate picks up several useful pieces in the Brewers ace starter, a strong SP2 consideration on the mound for Philadelphia and those same Phillies bats as an interesting stacking opportunity. The games that are on both slates include a solid list of pitching options, with a few under-owned targets that can be deployed aggressively alongside some of the premium arms that rank among the best in baseball. The stacking situation is similar as well, one of the better offenses in baseball to start the season is looking significantly under-owned in a good hitting spot, and a few of the chalkier bats are somewhat easily avoided. This is a strong tournament slate despite the numerous difference in structure from the DraftKings to FanDuel slates tonight. Below, we’ll analyze some of the best MLB DFS picks today for GPPs and tournaments.

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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 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 based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup, this 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.

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Home Run Ratings

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

Arizona Diamondbacks: Daulton Varsho — 6.48

Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers — 9.06

Cleveland Guardians: Franmil Reyes — 6.12

Colorado Rockies: Ryan McMahon — 5.76

Houston Astros: Alex Bregman — 5.93

Los Angeles Angels: Jo Adell — 5.38

Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger — 7.88

Milwaukee Brewers: Hunter Renfroe — 13.65

New York Mets: Pete Alonso — 11.54

Philadelphia Phillies: Kyle Schwarber — 10.95

San Francisco Giants: Brandon Belt — 2.59

St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill — 10.57

Texas Rangers: Nate Lowe — 3.51

Toronto Blue Jays: Matt Chapman — 5.40

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.

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MLB DFS Weather Update: Postponements & Risk Assessment

Monday’s weather forecast looks safe leaguewide. The only place where there is potential for rain in the forecast is playing indoors. There are solid hitting conditions around the league with warming temperatures in the West, though the early games in the East are a bit cooler and looking at overcast conditions.

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. Be sure to check out the Awesemo MLB DFS Ownership Projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.

On the Hill

The Monday pitching slate is loaded for bear on both sites, though the two additional games on DraftKings make that slate far more robust. Last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes will be on the mound facing the talented but likely overmatched Giants lineup, while one of the better SP2 options on the slate comes in the form of Philadelphia’s Kyle Gibson who will be facing a Rockies lineup that struggles both against right-hand pitching and away from Coors Field. From the games on both sites, New York’s Max Scherzer is facing a heavily right-handed Cardinals lineup that should yield plenty of strikeouts and a big spot for the electric ace. Shane Bieber will take the mound for Cleveland against a power-packed, strikeout-heavy Angels lineup while Walker Buehler is under-owned on both sites by comparison to the other top options. From the risker pool, Nathan Eovaldi is facing a loaded Blue Jays lineup, while Jose Berrios is inexpensive on the other side of that contest, and Framber Valdez will bring his absurd ground ball rate and low strikeout upside to the mound against the Rangers. Additional value pivots include Dane Dunning and Michael Lorenzen, neither of whom has a strong probability of being a top-2, but they both have talent and a near-total lack of popularity to exploit for price.

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FanDuel gamers can skip on to the next section, they will not have the luxury of rostering the elite Corbin Burnes on this slate. Burnes picked up right where he left off in last year’s elite numbers, over his first three starts the ace has a 2.37 ERA and a 2.58 xFIP with a 31% strikeout rate over his first 19 innings of the season. While that represents a dip from the outrageous 35.6% rate at which he struck out hitters last season, it is still a top-notch mark and one that is targetable for upside against a Giants active roster that struck out 25.8% of the time against right-handed pitching last season, the 29th-ranked team in baseball. The frisky Giants did have a .214 collective ISO that ranked second and a 4.30% home run rate that ranked third, so they are not bereft of potential to ruin Burnes’ day with a random long ball or two, but the odds are strong that Burnes will be a top option on this slate. Burnes ranks first with a 36.4% probability of being a top-2 starter on the DraftKings slate. He is technically at negative leverage with near 50% popularity, but he is worth the weight of public ownership on this slate, despite the presence of popularity offsets in other games.

The Mets have gotten their money’s worth from Max Scherzer over his first three starts of the season. The right-handed ace has a 2.50 ERA and a 3.16 xFIP with a 33.3% strikeout rate in 18 innings. Scherzer does not require much of a sales pitch, particularly when he comes at a cheap-for-him $9,300 on the DraftKings slate. Scherzer had a 34.1% strikeout rate over his 179.1 innings last season and he was very good at limiting hard contact, yielding just a 34.3% hard-hit rate to opposing hitters. The righty is facing a loaded Cardinals lineup, but one that hits almost exclusively from the right side. In matchups against righties last season, the Cardinals active roster had a collective .162 ISO and a 3.23% home run rate, the 22nd and 18th ranked marks in the league. The team was good at limiting strikeouts, holding righties to a 20.5% rate in the split, but not all right-handed pitchers are created equal, Scherzer should have no issues finding his strikeouts in this matchup. For his DraftKings price, the ownership can be safely ignored on Scherzer, while his popularity is probably in-line with his upside on the FanDuel slate. Scherzer ranks second on the DraftKings slate and he tops the board on the blue site, even at negative leverage he is a strong option.

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Houston’s Framber Valdez is ridiculously good at limiting the power upside for opposing hitters by forcing them to drive the ball directly into the ground. Over 134.2 innings in 22 starts last season, Valdez had a negative-5.5-degree average launch angle against and a 70.3% ground ball rate. So far this season, Valdez has a 74.4% ground ball rate and he has yielded a negative-8.5-degree average launch angle. At that trajectory, there are no concerns about the 44.4% hard-hit rate from last season, but Valdez has suppressed that so far this year, with opposing hitters managing just a 33.3% rate of hard contact. Valdez may be able to find a few additional strikeouts against a Rangers active roster that struck out at a 24.4% clip, the 24th-ranked team in baseball last season. The Rangers had middling power in the split, they ranked 17th with a 3.41% home run rate and 15th with a .171 ISO against southpaws last season. Valdez is projected for just a 7.2% ownership share for $8,400 on DraftKings and a 9.5% mark on FanDuel where he costs $8,700.

Shane Bieber is facing an Angels team whose active roster ranked dead last with a 26.4% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching last season. The team did pop for plenty of power in the split, they posted a .198 ISO that ranks fourth and their 120 WRC+ sits atop the board in last year’s numbers, but Bieber is one of the best pitchers in baseball. The righty missed much of last season with an injury, but he has returned on form, pitching to a 27.6% strikeout rate over his small sample in three starts so far. Over 96.2 innings in 2021, Bieber had a 33.1% strikeout rate with a 2.91 xFIP and a 1.21 WHIP while inducing a 16.2% swinging-strike rate and a 33.5% CSW%. Bieber does yield some contact, in last year’s sample opposing hitters had a 9.0% barrel rate and a 43.2% hard-hit percentage last year, so if the Angels manage to connect, they could certainly drive the ball, but the extreme nature of the potential for strikeouts is overwhelmingly appealing at just 18.6% popularity for $9,600 on the DraftKings slate and 15.9% on FanDuel. Bieber can be deployed with confidence on both sites despite the obvious power potential against him.

The final piece of the pitching puzzle comes in the form of Walker Buehler, who has not gotten out of the gate particularly strong to start the season, which plays to the favor of sharp gamers on a slate such as this one. Buehler is dramatically under-owned on both sites tonight, pulling in matching 5.7% ownership shares across the industry. Buehler is a far better pitcher than that and he is in a premium matchup against the lousy Diamondbacks active roster. Buehler threw 207.2 innings in his 33 starts last season, leading baseball with 27 quality starts in 37 tries with the playoffs included. Buehler has a fantastic chance to hit the win bonus with his loaded lineup scoring runs for him against Merrill Kelly and he is likely to hit the quality start bonus for the blue site. Buehler is facing a Diamondbacks lineup that ranked 29th in baseball with a .145 ISO, 28th with a WRC+ 10% below average in run creation and a 30th-ranked 2.24% home run rate. The Diamondbacks struck out at a 23% rate that ranked 16th in the sport last season, Buehler has an excellent opportunity to be a top starter on tonight’s slate and he is not drawing nearly enough popularity on either site. Adding in the discounted price on the DraftKings slate, he looks like a fantastic target for rostering beyond the field.

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Philadelphia Phillies

Where they are available, the Phillies look like a premium stack for today’s slate. The team is popular, but not to a high enough degree, they have positive leverage as the second-ranked stack on the DraftKings slate. Philadelphia has a 12.3% probability of being the top stack on the slate, and they are still pulling in a 1.3 leverage score that can be targeted for a few additional shares. The Phillies are facing limited Rockies starter Kyle Freeland, whose primary attribute is his ability to keep the ball on the ground. Freeland had just a 20.4% strikeout rate over 120.2 innings with a 4.26 xFIP and a 1.42 WHIP last season. Philadelphia’s active roster was better against right-handed pitching in last year’s compiled numbers, but they rank well against both hands overall. The Phillies roster had a .176 ISO that sat 12th against southpaws, while their 108 WRC+ was the 10th-best mark for run creation in the split. They struck out at an aggressive 24.1% clip that sat 23rd, but that is not a major concern against this pitcher. With talent from top to bottom in the lineup, the Phillies are easy to put together on the DraftKings slate, despite some individual popularity and high prices. Jean Segura and Rhys Hoskins are both pushing 15% popularity, but $5,900 Bryce Harper immediately drops a stack’s ownership with his projected 8.5% rank, while Nicholas Castellanos, J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber can all be rostered in a wide range of combinations with the top three hitters in the lineup. Getting less expensive and offsetting ownership with this team is no challenge, Alec Bohm costs just $3,600 and is projected for under 10% ownership, which will be similar to whoever hits at the end of the confirmed lineup for Philadelphia. This should be an excellent spot for offensive upside on today’s slate, rostering Phillies bats alongside slightly less popular options in a second stack and a premium pitching combination has a strong potential to yield tournament upside.

Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians are a pesky team for MLB DFS purposes. They have a fairly strong ability to put the ball in play, particularly with the top-of-the-lineup limiting strikeouts to well below 20%, but a few heavy swing-and-miss power hitters and some less than powerful slap-hitting-and-speed types like Myles Straw can leave holes in a stack. Still, with Michael Lorenzen on the mound, the Guardians are drawing decent power and run creation grades and they rank well as a fairly low-owned potential stacking target. Lorenzen is not devoid of talent, he has a 4.08 career ERA and a 4.24 xFIP over 482.2 innings, but 297 of his appearances have been in relief, while he has made only 28 starts in his career. As a starter, Lorenzen has just a 17.2% career strikeout rate compared to the 21.2% he has posted as a reliever, and he drops from a 4.09 xFIP to a 4.60, while his FIP drops from 3.97 to 5.07. Lorenzen has also walked 10.4% of opposing hitters when pitching as a starter, the low-strikeout Guardians lineup should be able to exploit those rates, and if one of their power bats shows up, they could have a big day. Leadoff man Myles Straw does not strike out much and he has blazing speed, but his utility in DFS is almost entirely as a correlation play in stacks. Straw had just a .076 ISO in 638 plate appearances last season, though he did steal 30 bases while getting on at a .349 clip. Straw is serviceable as a traditional speed and on-base leadoff man. He will be followed in the lineup by more useful hitters, Steven Kwan is banged up and may not play, but Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes add major power potential, while underappreciated post-hype players like Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez can offer talent at cheap prices and low popularity. Other Cleveland bats can be included here and there, infrequent upside flashed by the Oscar Mercado and Owen Miller types are fine to build into stacks when adding multiple groups of Guardians to a full slate of 150 entries.

New York Mets

The Mets are surprisingly low ranked on the Top Stacks Tool today. In the short early start to the season, the Mets reloaded active roster has created runs 34% better than average as a unit against right-handed pitching, and they have only struck out at a 19% clip. The team is facing limited righty Miles Mikolas a pitcher with a respectable 4.05 career xFIP and a 3.79 ERA in his 536 innings, but not one who strikes fear into the heart of any hitter. Mikolas has a 17.8% career strikeout rate. He is currently sitting at a 20.6% mark over his first 15.1 innings in three starts in 2022. Mikolas has a sparkling 1.76 ERA but is immediately betrayed by an xFIP that sits two full runs higher at 3.78. Mikolas is targetable with bats that have this much quality. The Mets have been featured in this space several times in recent days, but they are worthy of review and roster spots once again tonight.

Outfielder Brandon Nimmo should leadoff again tonight, hitting from the left side of the plate. Nimmo’s excellent career .393 on-base percentage was a highlight in the last run-through of the Mets stack. He is an excellent option to leadoff both in real baseball and MLB DFS stacks. The outfielder is off to a .302/.412/.535 start to his season, hitting two home runs and pulling in a .233 ISO that is almost certain to dip as the sample grows. The question comes in how far below the current mark the power will drop in the long term. Nimmo had just a .145 ISO and eight home runs over 386 plate appearances last year, but he hit a matching eight home runs in 225 plate appearances in 2020 while stitching together a .204 ISO. Nimmo amazingly hit exactly eight home runs in 2019 as well, this time in 254 opportunities with a .186 ISO but an inflated 28% strikeout rate compared to the 19.1% in 2020 and 20.5% in 2021. Nimmo’s power over his lone season with more than 500 plate appearances may be the telling number. In 2018, Nimmo saw 535 opportunities and hit a career-high 17 home runs with a .219 ISO but he struck out 26.2% of the time. The outfielder had a .263/.404/.483 triple-slash that year, even when his strikeouts inflate and he tries to sell out for power, Nimmo remains one of baseball’s best on-base options. At $4,800 and 3.4% ownership on DraftKings and $3,600 for 5.6% popularity on the blue site, Nimmo should be a frequent click atop Mets stacks.

Starling Marte is off to a .254/.319/.381 start to his season with two home runs, four stolen bases and a .127 ISO. The power and ratios will come along as the season continues, Marte is a career .289/.345/.450 hitter with a .161 ISO and acumen for swiping bases. Marte stole 47 bags in his 526 plate appearances last year. He is an excellent option for MLB DFS point scoring with both his bat and his speed. Marte has a 19.9% career strikeout rate with a 5.3% walk rate. With less than 3% of the field rostering the outfielder from site-to-site, Marte is an excellent option regardless of his price.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor costs $5,400 on DraftKings and $4,300 on FanDuel, which is suppressing his ownership projections to merely 3.1% and 1% respectively. The former All-Star slashed just .230/322/.412 with 20 home runs in 524 plate appearances last year, but he is back to form with a .313/.408/.563 start over his first 76 plate appearances. Lindor has already hit four home runs and stolen three bases. With no one on him, he is an excellent target for additional shares at a premium position.

Slugger Pete Alonso has hit three home runs and created runs 16% better than average so far this season, barreling the ball 13.7% of the time with a 45.1% hard-hit percentage over 74 plate appearances. Alonso mashed 37 home runs with a .257 ISO over 637 opportunities last year, barreling the ball 14.8% of the time. For such a premium power bat, Alonso does not strike out aggressively. He had just a 19.9% strikeout rate last season, making him a premium hitting option in most situations. The first baseman is a $5,200 option on DraftKings, and he costs $4,100 on FanDuel. He will be owned at less than 4% on both sites, you know what to do with that information.

Infielder Eduardo Escobar provides pop from both sides of the plate at similar levels. As a lefty hitter against a right-handed pitcher, Escobar has a career .180 ISO compared to a .181 mark in the opposite situation. Escobar slashes better against lefties as a righty batter, against right-handed pitching he has a career .247/.306/.427 triple-slash, but we are targeting power with this option when stacking Mets bats. Escobar is not a star-caliber option, but he has neither the price nor popularity of that type of player.

The back end of the Mets lineup is somewhat more nebulous early in the afternoon, but some combination of Robinson Cano, Jeff McNeil, Mark Canha, J.D. Davis or Dominic Smith will be available, with James McCann as the likely catcher. Cano is off to a brutal start after his steroid vacation cost him all of last season. The disgraced star is slashing just .206/.250/.294 with a .088 ISO to start the season. McNeil is a capable hitter whose luck with batting average on balls in play has been featured several times in this space. McNeil fell apart in the BABIP department in 2021. If luck is not on his side, he will have a tough time reaching expectations. Canha is slashing .308/.386/.308 over his first 44 plate appearances in New York. J.D. Davis has a .261/.370/.435 triple-slash with a home run and a stolen base in his 27 plate appearances this season, but he hits from the right side of the plate and may not be in the lineup. Davis hit 22 home runs in 453 plate appearances with a .220 ISO for this team in 2019 while slashing .307/.369/.527 to boot. If that version of the hitter is around, he will be a dynamite addition to this lineup. While Smith may see a platoon-based opportunity to hit against a righty in this game, but he has struggled significantly with a .179/.294/.214 triple-slash to start the season over his first 34 plate appearances, and he slashed just .244/.304/.363 with 11 home runs and a lame .119 ISO in 493 tries last season. Smith is in a prove-it situation, the team has to trim their roster in a few days when baseball returns to 26-man teams, and he is squarely on that roster bubble. McCann can be rostered where catchers are required.

Home Run Prediction Today: Pete Alonso — New York Mets

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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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