Monday throws a curveball at MLB DFS gamers, with DraftKings running a nine-game main slate beginning at 6:35 ET and FanDuel taking the more traditional approach in starting their seven-game action at 7:10 ET. The two slates have radically different makeups, the FanDuel pitching board is far thinner than what is available on DraftKings, leading to a heavy concentration of ownership around the slate’s one true ace and a fair amount of overexposure to flawed or simply bad options. The DraftKings board allows for a far more comfortable spread of shares across combinations, but high prices on a number of the top options are leading a fair amount of the field to utilize compromised options like Michael Pineda for value at significant negative leverage marks. There are far better options available on the slate and there are several stacking options that appear primed to explode for solid run-scoring totals, with power on the board in some of the popular spots as well. Today’s slate seems likely to swing primarily on the pitching decisions, particularly on the FanDuel slate, where taking a slight undercut to the most popular option of the day may be advisable. The run totals remain below nine across all nine games, with an 8.5-run highpoint between the Marlins and Diamondbacks, reinforcing the idea that pitching may be paramount. Avoiding the negatively leveraged over-exposed options at the plate is an easy way to keep lineups away from the risk of duplication, there are premium lineups drawing less attention than they should receive and there is plenty of value available on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Be sure to check out all of the tools Awesemo has to find the best MLB DFS picks today.
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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 will give each team one of the top choices. However, the model will not always promote the 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
Arizona Diamondbacks: Daulton Varsho — 14.99
Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ — 4.29
Chicago White Sox: Luis Robert — 9.89
Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Naquin — 5.39
Cleveland Guardians: Jose Ramirez — 7.40
Colorado Rockies: Randal Grichuk — 5.81
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera — 4.96
Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani — 14.69
Los Angeles Dodgers: Freddie Freeman — 10.18
Miami Marlins: Jorge Soler — 8.20
Milwaukee Brewers: Hunter Renfroe — 6.61
Oakland Athletics: Kevin Smith — 7.37
Philadelphia Phillies: Kyle Schwarber — 9.68
Pittsburgh Pirates: Michael Chavis — 5.68
San Diego Padres: Trent Grisham — 6.21
San Francisco Giants: Wilmer Flores — 6.57
Seattle Mariners: Abraham Toro — 2.23
Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe — 4.34
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.
MLB DFS Weather Update: Postponements & Risk Assessment
The Monday weather forecast does not have postponement risks for the main slate. The games in Detroit and Chicago both have strong wind forecast to be blowing in toward home plate at significant levels, potentially impacting the upside for power hitters in those contests.
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
There are two different pitching slates from site to site today. DraftKings gamers have the luxury of adding Brandon Woodruff, Julio Urias, and for those who do not mind embracing a bit of risk, Luis Castillo. FanDuel gamers are stuck with one premium ace who will be overloaded with popularity and a number of middling or underwhelming options. The ace atop the board on both sites is San Francisco southpaw Carlos Rodon, who is facing the Rockies. After Rodon, gamers will be forced to choose either youth with high ceilings and deep floors in Michael Kopech and Mackenzie Gore or experience with a potentially lower ceiling but a higher floor in Noah Syndergaard. Value picks like Elieser Hernandez and Austin Gomber make it to the board for a generally high-priced DraftKings slate, where they seem like better options than a negatively leveraged Michael Pineda who, in this space at least, makes no sense and stands no chance to succeed. Even against a bad team, it is difficult to have faith in Pineda, particularly when he is owned by 16.9% of the field.
The top pitcher who appears on both sites tonight is Carlos Rodon, who also tops the board by his probability of success. Rodon has a 30.2% chance of being a top-two option on DraftKings and a 14% probability of being the top overall starter on the FanDuel slate. He will be negatively leveraged on both sites, but to much more of an extreme on the FanDuel slate, where he is pulling in nearly 50% popularity. Rodon is a spectacular lefty who is one of baseball’s elite strikeout artists. Over 132.2 innings in 24 starts last season, the southpaw had a 34.6% strikeout rate and a 3.17 xFIP. In 29 innings over his first five starts this year, Rodon has boosted that to 36.9% despite a minor dip in his swinging-strike rate from 15% to 14.2% to this point. Rodon has allowed a 42.4% hard-hit percentage but just a 5.1% barrel rate and 88.1 mph of exit velocity on average, he has a 2.70 xFIP and a 0.83 WHIP despite walking 9% of hitters he has faced. Rodon will be challenged to find those strikeouts by an upstart Colorado lineup that has a thin 16.2% strikeout rate in the split against lefties this season a rate that currently stands as the best against either hand for any active roster in baseball. The Rockies have created runs 28% better than average in the split against lefties but they have not had a ton of power in the split, despite the presence of righty-hitting mashers like C.J. Cron. Rodon is an elite arm, but the weight of popularity for his price tag is dragging him down slightly on this slate. On DraftKings, there are competing options who could logically finish within range of Rodon even in a good performance. On FanDuel, simply undercutting the field by 10 percentage points of exposure or so could make a dramatic difference if anyone approaches Rodon’s fantasy point total. He is well worth rostering by the handful, but capping around 35% against a 45% public exposure seems wise on the blue site.
Both Brandon Woodruff and Julio Urias are in play on the DraftKings slate. Woodruff is facing a Reds lineup that handed him 12 strikeouts in 5.2 innings in his most recent outing. The righty has a 29.8% strikeout rate over his first 24.1 innings this season, basically matching the 29.8% at which he pitched over 179.1 innings in 2021. Woodruff has a sparkling 3.27 xFIP and a 13.6% swinging-strike rate, he has allowed a touch too much premium contact at 39.7% hard-hit and a 9.5% barrel rate, but he was at a 32.4% hard-hit and a 5.8% barrel rate last year and a return to that form can be expected over a longer sample. Woodruff is facing a flatlined Reds lineup. With a 25.7% strikeout rate, Cincinnati’s active roster is dead last in baseball in the split against righties and they have created runs 17% worse than average. Woodruff stands an excellent chance of carving up this Reds team for the second time in as many starts, he belongs in a broad spread of DraftKings lineups even at 30% public popularity. Urias is seeing a 39.4% public ownership mark for his discounted $8,200 in a great spot against the Pirates. The lefty is at an aggressive -23 leverage score but he is difficult to ignore at the list price. Urias has struck out just 20.2% of opposing hitters and has yet to reach 85 pitches in an outing, but he has pitched well and his pitch count limitations have been more due to efficiency in more recent outings. Urias has a 0.92 WHIP and a 34.8% hard-hit rate with a 6.1% barrel rate, but he has not been elite and he is extremely popular against a weak Pirates lineup. It seems easy to roster a lot of Urias while still coming in somewhat below the field in this matchup, it would not be surprising to see him work through this Pirates lineup several times cleanly, but with a general lack of strikeouts against a team that has just a 20.6% strikeout rate against lefties this year.
Reds righty Luis Castillo is making his first start of the season after several rehab starts on his way back from injury. The righty reached 76 pitches in his most recent rehab outing, he should be expected for between 70 and 80 pitches in this outing. Castillo had a 23.9% strikeout rate over 187.2 innings of effective baseball last year. He had a 3.63 xFIP and a 13.1% swinging-strike rate, he has also been a better strikeout pitcher than that over time, leading to his potential upside as his season goes on. Castillo’s pitch count is the primary concern, but he is worth a few dart throws at $8,800 on the DraftKings slate, where he will be rostered at just a 3% clip by the public. Castillo is not a likely option, he is a tournament play only, and even that should be in limited exposures and with reasonable expectations, but it would not be completely surprising to see him find a few strikeouts while getting through five innings against a Brewers lineup that strikes out at a 24.2% pace against right-handed pitching this season. Milwaukee has been very good for power and run creation, however, so it makes sense to draw shares of Brewers stacks here as well.
The Diamondbacks’ active roster has surprised out of the gate against right-handed pitching in 2022. The team has a second-ranked .186 ISO and a 3.48% home run rate that sits fourth in the split against righties this year. They have created runs 5% better than average in the split but they strike out at an aggressive 25.3% clip as well. Looking at last year’s numbers, the team was one of baseball’s worst lineups across the board against right-handed pitching. Arizona’s current active roster compiled an 84 WRC+, 16% below average for run creation, and a 2.25% home run rate that ranks last among 30 teams. The Diamondbacks have over-performed their talents to this point in the split, they should regress as the sample grows. All of that is to say that Marlins righty Elieser Hernandez is probably under-owned at just 1% popularity on DraftKings and 1.3% on FanDuel. Hernandez is a very cheap option on the blue site, where he comes in at $6,900. The field’s hesitation at $8,500 on DraftKings is somewhat more understandable, Hernandez is a pitcher with just a 21.1% strikeout rate and a 4.52 xFIP so far this season. The righty struck out 23.6% over 51.2 innings last year, but had a 4.32 xFIP and a 1.32 WHIP while allowing premium contact. This year, Hernandez has yielded just a 31.6% hard-hit rate, but within that is an inflated 10.5% barrel rate. There is clear risk in throwing an abundance of lineup shares at a pitcher like Hernandez, but he has enough talent to pay off against this lineup more often than would be necessary for a positive expectation in tournament play. Hernandez comes as the most positively leveraged starter on both sites, he will be backed by one of the slate’s more popular stacks as well, the Marlins matchup against Humberto Castellanos should help Hernandez chase a win bonus.
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Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are the leading stack on DraftKings in their ideal matchup against lefty Jose Quintana, who is striking out just 20% of opposing hitters over his first 24 innings. Quintana has had his moments, but he is an unreliable starter who typically puts too many on base and yields opportunities, something that will not play well against a loaded Dodgers lineup that plays one through nine. Los Angeles is popular, but the team’s ownership is efficient in comparison with their probability of being the top stack on the slate. The Dodgers pricey projected lineup includes Mookie Betts, who is off to a strong start this season with five home runs and a 137 WRC+, and Freddie Freeman, who is slashing .323/.400/.525 over his first 115 plate appearances with the Dodgers. Trea Turner and Justin Turner as well as Max Muncy provide a powerful creamy center for the Dodgers’ lineup. Justin Turner has struggled out of the gate, but he has a long track record of success and can be expected to come around. The lineup continues with Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, Austin Barnes or Will Smith catching and potentially Gavin Lux, though he may sit against a lefty. The Dodgers lineup can be combined from top to bottom in DraftKings stacks, they are a go-to target today.
The Marlins are at the top of the FanDuel board and they sit second on DraftKings, they will be negatively leveraged on both sites. The team comes as not only a strong probability of being the top overall stack but also with an excellent value rating on both sites. The Marlins are facing Humberto Castellanos who has a 14.5% strikeout rate and a 4.88 xFIP this season. Castellanos had a 14.8% strikeout rate and a 5.22 xFIP last year, he is not a strong starter though he is reasonably effective at limiting premium contact. The Marlins, meanwhile, have been 6% better than average creating runs against righties so far this season and they are in the middle of the league for power with a 2.52% home run rate and a .145 ISO that both rank 15th among 30 teams. Miami’s 22% strikeout rate in the split sits 13th overall, they are decidedly average in general, but there are several standout players in the improving lineup. Star infielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. is slashing .310/.354/.621 with five home runs and a .310 ISO while creating runs 77% better than average, he is justifiably expensive and extremely popular. Chisholm is pulling in a 23% ownership share on DraftKings and a 32.1% mark as the most popular Marlins bat on FanDuel. He is followed in the lineup by powerful righty bats in Jesus Aguilar, Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia, all of whom can be rostered in a same-handed matchup. The Marlins are likely to include Bryan De La Cruz, Joey Wendle, Garrett Cooper, Jesus Sanchez, Miguel Rojas and Jacob Stallings to round things out. The top of the lineup is where gamers want to find themselves, but the Marlins are popular on that end. Playing the leverage game in lineup combinations is the approach to exploiting the Marlins’ value tonight, they are difficult to combine with the most expensive and popular premium stack and the top overall starters, but they are worth considering for the run creation upside in addition to the salary potential.
The Phillies are positively leveraged on both sites despite facing a contact-oriented pitcher and coming in at affordable prices on both sites. A matchup against righty Chris Flexen should play into Philadelphia’s strengths tonight, Flexen has just a 14.8% strikeout rate and a 4.55 xFIP with a 44.9% hard-hit percentage and a 10.1% barrel rate in 29 innings over five starts this season. The righty had a 16.9% strikeout rate and a 4.56 xFIP last season, though he was better for contact in general. Flexen is targetable on this slate, the Phillies’ active roster has created runs 7% better than average against righties this season and they have an eighth-ranked .167 ISO and a sixth-ranked 3.29% home run rate in the split.
Slugger Kyle Schwarber may not be your grandfather’s idea of a leadoff hitter, but the elite power bat has been excellent for run creation this season and he is historically very good at getting on base. In 471 plate appearances last year, Schwarber hit 32 home runs and reached first base at a .374 clip. So far this season, Schwarber is slashing .211/.318/.474, and he has created runs 26% better than average despite the dip in on-base percentage. Schwarber has a .263 ISO and he has hit seven home runs in his 110 plate appearances. The lefty thumper has a 47.6% hard-hit percentage and a 17.5% barrel rate this year, he is an excellent option for a home run on this slate.
The projected lineup includes young righty infielder Alec Bohm in the two-spot for just $3,400 on DraftKings and $2,900 on FanDuel. Those prices are bargains when the hitter in question comes at just 6.4% popularity on the former and 5% on the latter site. Bohm has hit two home runs and has just a .130 ISO, but he is slashing .312/.360/.442 while creating runs 27% better than average in his 89 plate appearances. Bohm was a highly regarded prospect who is now delivering on his talents, it makes sense to get exposure to the underappreciated option in Phillies stacks tonight.
Superstar Bryce Harper needs very little windup. The outfielder is expensive on DraftKings, but who cares when he comes at a 3.5% ownership projection on the site? Harper costs $3,900 on FanDuel, a discount that is leading to a 13.8% ownership projection that is still easily playable. Harper has six home runs and three stolen bases while creating runs 24% better than average over 119 plate appearances. He is slashing .241/.294/.500 with a .259 ISO, when he starts getting on base more in the neighborhood of .320, let alone the .429 clip he posted last season, Harper will explode for value and upside, for tonight’s slate he should be in most Phillies stacks.
Nick Castellanos is slashing .293/.360/.475 over his first 111 plate appearances for the Phillies. The jewel of free agency for this team has delivered in all respects, Castellanos has hit four home runs and he is creating runs 40% better than average to lead the team in WRC+. The outfielder is inexplicably cheap on both sites, he costs $4,300 on DraftKings and $3,500 on FanDuel, but the field is not projected to be drawn to him. Castellanos is an excellent option on this slate.
Catcher J.T. Realmuto is one of the league’s best bats at his position. The backstop has hit two home runs and created runs 4% better than average this year, but he is better than those marks. Last year, Realmuto saw 537 plate appearances, a significant total for a catcher, and he hit 17 home runs while stealing 13 bases and creating runs 8% better than average. Where the position is mandatory, Realmuto is always in play, but he is a sneaky-good FanDuel option at just 1.8% popularity. Realmuto is worth the roster spots, particularly with multi-position eligibility in play for several players in the Phillies lineup.
Righty power hitter Rhys Hoskins has hit just two home runs this year. Hoskins has made 110 plate appearances and he is scuffling at .189/.291/.347 with a .158 ISO while creating runs 13% below average. Of course, this is a masher who hit 27 home runs in just 443 plate appearances while posting a .283 ISO and creating runs 27% better than average just last season. Hoskins has been squaring up on the ball effectively this season, there is a lot of happenstance in his year-to-date statistics, his 51.6% hard-hit percentage and 12.5% barrel rate show that more production is inbound, a slight boost in launch angle will turn fly ball outs into home runs in short order.
Inexpensive and low-owned infielder Jean Segura has been a longtime source of quality in the infield when needed. Segura is slashing .284/.337/.409 and he has created runs 17% better than average so far this year with three home runs. Segura hit 14 home runs and stole nine bases in his 567 plate appearances last season, he is a capable on-base play who provides correlated scoring and infrequent pop and speed. Segura can be included at the back of stacks, but he would be more effective from higher in the batting order.
Odubel Herrera and Bryson Stott round out the projected lineup. Herrera is slashing .281/.294/.625 with two home runs and a .344 ISO in his 34 plate appearances, but there is a long enough sample to know who the Quad-A outfielder truly is. As the Phillies’ pick in the first round of the 2019 draft, the 24-year-old Stott is the more interesting player if he is in the lineup. Stott did not explode for upside in his brief tenure in the minors, but he is a well-regarded prospect getting a chance. He has yet to deliver much, slashing just .135/.158/.162 with a .027 and a -9 WRC+ over his first 38 plate appearances, but he will eventually contribute and he has no ownership for $3,500 on DraftKings or $2,000 on FanDuel. As a low probability play from the bottom of the lineup the talent could come through on any given night.
Home Run Prediction Today: Christian Walker — Arizona Diamondbacks
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