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MLB DFS Tournament Picks & Home Runs 5/8/22

Terry McBride

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MLB DFS Lineup Picks Home Runs Tournament Strategy DraftKings FanDuel

The seven-game Sunday main slate features plenty of targetable options both on the mound and at the plate. The day’s run totals all sit below nine, with the 8.5 mark in the Tigers vs Astros game leading the way and an average total of 7.6 across the six games. The Rangers vs Yankees game has an extreme line, with the Yankees coming in as a -232 favorite with their ace on the mound. The Blue Jays are heavily favored over the Guardians, as are the Twins and Astros in their games. With the obvious teams getting some attention on the slate, it pays to shop around for positive leverage in the Top Stacks Tool. There is a relatively thin list of pitchers, with more targets than aces, meaning today will likely be a day where differentiated bats carry the victory in conjunction with commonly used arms. The short-form Sunday version of this column is in full swing this morning, with little time to spare before lock, which now lands at 1:35 ET on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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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.

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Home Run Ratings

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

Atlanta Braves: Austin Riley — 6.81

Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle — 8.11

Cincinnati Reds: Mike Moustakas — 6.01

Cleveland Guardians: Jose Ramirez — 6.81

Detroit Tigers: Javier Baez — 9.16

Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker — 7.36

Kansas City Royals: Salvador Perez — 13.67

Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich — 4.87

Minnesota Twins: Gary Sanchez — 7.48

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge — 8.96

Oakland Athletics: Sean Murphy — 7.33

Pittsburgh Pirates: Bryan Reynolds — 5.47

Texas Rangers: Adolis Garcia — 8.26

Toronto Blue Jays: Teoscar Hernandez — 12.56

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.

MLB DFS Weather Update: Postponements & Risk Assessment

The conditions in the Athletics vs Twins game are the main spot worth monitoring, there is rain in the forecast and cool temperatures could lead to a negative hitting environment, but the game seems likely to play.

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 Sunday pitching slate is a mixed bag of haves and have-nots, with a handful of targetable or unfamiliar pitchers like Konnor “not Karl” Pilkington taking the hill for their respective teams. Fortunately, the bottom end is balanced by a robust top of the board that peaks with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, who will be taking on the Rangers, with Dane Dunning in opposition. Dunning has surprised good teams already this year and he could stand as an interesting option at low ownership in another challenging matchup this afternoon. The Braves will have Charlie Morton on the hill to face the pesky Brewers lineup and Alek Manoah will be looking to continue his run of quality against the Guardians. One of the bigger fantasy wildcards on the board is Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahle. The Reds are facing the lowly Pirates, but Mahle has struggled significantly in the early part of the season, which could lead to low ownership from a public with little faith in the righty. Mahle is cheap and interesting on both sites. With a matchup against the lousy Athletics lineup, Chris Paddack may surprise, particularly in an SP2 role, though his strikeout upside is always a question mark.

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Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has made five starts somewhat below his generally expected form. Cole has a 27% strikeout rate with a 3.37 xFIP and a 1.17 WHIP this season and he has induced a 14.1% swinging-strike rate, all fine numbers for most pitchers. For Cole, those are downgrades. In 30 starts last season, the righty had a 33.5% strikeout rate and a 2.93 xFIP with a 1.06 WHIP and a 14.5% swinging-strike rate. The righty has also yielded more premium contact than last season, allowing a 40.3% hard-hit percentage this season with a 6.5% barrel rate, last year the hard-hit was lower but the barrels were more frequent, an interesting give and take for the starter who typically makes just one or two mistakes per game. Cole has yielded just a 3.0% home run rate this season, he remains an elite option on most slates and he stands above the field for this afternoon in a matchup against a Rangers active roster that has a .086 ISO and has created runs 28% worse than average against righties this season, both dead last in baseball. Cole is the go-to pitching target at any ownership on this slate.

Blue Jays righty Alek Manoah has been excellent over his first five starts of the year, earning his way above $10,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The price may keep some of the public at bay, but Manoah is easily worth getting to for the cost. The righty has a 27.1% strikeout rate with a 6.8% walk rate and a 3.39 xFIP and a 0.84 WHIP this season. Over his 111 2/3 breakout innings last season, Manoah had a 27.7% strikeout rate and an 8.7% walk rate with higher xFIP and WHIP marks, he is showing improvement already this season. Manoah has bumped his swinging-strike rate from 12.6% last year to 13.3% this season and he has limited hard hits to just 32.5%, continuing the quality from last year when he allowed just a 31.2% rate in the extended sample. Manoah is very good at limiting premium contact, opposing hitters have just a 3.9% barrel rate and he has just a 2.5% home run rate this year. Manoah will be facing a Guardians lineup that has been good against righties this season. Cleveland’s active roster has a .172 ISO that ranks sixth and a 2.50% home run rate that sits 14th in baseball. The team has been the league’s best in the split at creating runs, sitting 35% above average this season, and they have a league-leading 17.9% strikeout rate in the split as well, so this is by no means an easy spot for Manoah, but if he provides leverage to other pitching options that the field is getting to, there could be good cause to roster him in the challenging matchup.

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The most challenging spot of the day is Tyler Mahle against the Pirates. Pittsburgh’s active roster sits 24th in baseball with a 25.1% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching this season, they have a collective .114 ISO and a 1.83% home run rate that sit 24th and 23rd respectively, and their run creation sits 6% below average in the split. This is not a good baseball team that Mahle will be facing, but the righty has struggled significantly out of the gate in 2022. Mahle was a popular season-long selection in the top-10 rounds this year, he posted a 27.7% strikeout rate over 180 innings in 33 starts for the Reds last season, pitching to a 3.74 xFIP and inducing an 11.4% swinging-strike rate. This season, Mahle has dropped to a 21.7% strikeout rate and has inducted just a 10.7% swinging-strike rate while pitching to a 4.50 xFIP and an unsightly 1.71 WHIP over 25 2/3 innings so far. The righty has been reasonably good for limiting quality contact, opposing hitters have managed a 36.3% hard-hit percentage and just a 3.8% barrel rate against Mahle this season, and he has yielded just one home run for a 0.8% home run rate to this point. Mahle has been victimized by a .367 batting average on balls in play against this season, he has been very unlucky in addition to the loss of his strikeout upside, which has resulted in the ugly 7.01 ERA, which sits quite a bit higher than his already not great xFIP mark. Mahle has an excellent chance to get right in this matchup, if he does not manage to, you will be able to find him on most waiver wires around the season-long fantasy baseball industry this week, as owners will cut finally cut bait. At his $6,700 DraftKings price and $7,300 FanDuel mark, Mahle is well worth the shot in this matchup at any popularity.


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Houston Astros

The elite Astros lineup is taking on opener Wily Peralta who had a 14.4% strikeout rate over 93 2/3 innings in 18 starts last season. Peralta pitched to a 4.99 xFIP, induced an 8.7% swinging-strike rate and walked 9.5% of opposing hitters. This season he has thrown 8 1/3 innings out of the bullpen and has yet to reach 40 pitches. Peralta will be on the mound for two, maybe three, innings in a good performance today, he seems unlikely to reach that threshold and the Astros will be able to feast early and often on the Tigers bullpen. Houston’s active roster is above average in all of the categories that matter against both hands this year, they are very good and they lead the Top Stacks Tool with slightly negative leverage on both sites. The Astros lineup includes lethal options like Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, both of whom are highly owned, with Tucker priced too low on the DraftKings slate. Leadoff man Jose Altuve is the most popular bat on this team at 22.5% DraftKings ownership and 29.5% FanDuel popularity, Altuve is slashing .255/.359/.473 with four home runs and a .218 ISO while creating runs 53% better than average this season. The combination of Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel provides elite padding around the lefty power hitters in the middle of the lineup, and value can be plucked from the bottom of the order with Jeremy Pena and Chas McCormick, both of whom will be under-owned at low prices. The Astros are exceedingly popular but worth getting to on this slate. Focus on combining them with under-owned second stacks that have solid leverage and probability scores as well as less popular pitching options like Manoah.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays rank second in the probability column on the Top Stacks Tool for both sites, where they will be popular and slightly negatively leveraged but remain extremely playable. The Blue Jays are facing lefty Konnor Pilkington who has a 27.8% strikeout rate in five innings out of the bullpen this season. Pilkington will likely serve as an opener, he has not reached 40 pitches or three innings in any of his outings, but he may get blown up by the elite Blue Jays lineup before the Guardians plans even come to fruition. The Toronto active roster is elite with All-Star talent including George Springer, who has created runs 50% better than average in 115 plate appearances atop this lineup this season, Bo Bichette, who has scuffled out of the gate but has a long leash as a proven young hitter and all-world talent Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The superstar son of the Hall of Famer is slashing .287/.362/.535 with seven home runs over 116 plate appearances so far, creating runs 56% better than average with a .248 ISO. Outfield star Teoscar Hernandez returned to the lineup after missing a few weeks with injuries, adding another lethal bat to the middle of the Blue Jays batting order. Hernandez is followed by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Matt Chapman, both of whom are under-owned in the single digits on both sites. Gurriel and Chapman can provide pop and correlated scoring while offsetting any popularity and cost concerns when stacking Blue Jays. The bottom of the lineup includes Alejandro Kirk, a playable catcher, and overperforming Santiago Espinal. The final three spots are primarily useful for mix and match differentiation.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are facing Charlie Morton who has just a 15.8% strikeout rate over his first 23 2/3 innings of this season. The veteran righty has struggled to a 5.51 xFIP and he has an inflated 12.3% walk rate with a 1.73 WHIP. Morton’s swinging-strike rate dropped from 12.4% last year to just 7.3% this season and he has been targetable for sequential hitting and run creation. The righty has been able to limit premium contact still, he has just a 32.9% hard-hit rate and a 5.1% barrel rate, but there is good reason to look to under-owned Brewers bats on this slate. Milwaukee’s active roster has a .184 ISO that sits second in baseball against righties this year, they have created runs 14% better than average, and they have a 3.46% home run rate that ranks third overall. Milwaukee ranks eighth by their probability of being the top stack, but they are the best leverage situation outside of the Pirates, who are playable in their matchup against Mahle and the weight of his public popularity. As a sneakier option with a far more talented lineup, the Brewers seem like an excellent way to differentiate from the field today.

The confirmed Brewers lineup starts with Kolten Wong, who is inexpensive at second base and single-digit popularity on both sites. Wong is slashing .236/.286/.371 with one home run and four steals to start the season, he has shown far more quality than that over time and he makes for a capable leadoff man in this spot. Wong hit 14 home runs and stole 12 bases in 492 plate appearances while getting on base at a .335 clip and creating runs 9% ahead of the average last season. That is the player to target for shares today.

Willy Adames has hit eight home runs and has a .283 ISO while creating runs 46% better than average, continuing his torrid performance that began on arrival in Milwaukee last season. Getting away from Tampa Bay and the impact the stadium’s batter’s eye had on his ability to pick up pitches has clearly made a difference for Adames, he has excelled but costs just $3,800 on FanDuel where he is picking up only 5.6% ownership. At $5,200 on DraftKings, he is even less popular. Adames belongs in lineups today.

Former superstar Christian Yelich is slowly showing signs of coming out of his extended funk. Yelich is slashing .255/.342/.449 with four home runs and a .194 ISO while creating runs 26% better than average this season. The public is yet to catch up, the outfielder is at less than 3% popularity on both sites for a cheap-for-him price, he is worth including in most Brewers stacks and could even make for a sneaky one-off play.

Lefty Rowdy Tellez has announced his presence with authority this season. The slugger has seven home runs in 97 plate appearances, slashing .270/.330/.596 with a .326 ISO and creating runs 59% better than average. Tellez has a massive 22.4% barrel rate and a 49.3% hard-hit percentage this season, he has been outstanding to this point and stands a chance to shine against a scuffling old righty. Despite the fantastic start, Tellez is projected for just 1.8% popularity at only $4,900 on DraftKings and 1.5% popularity at $3,300 on FanDuel.

Hunter Renfroe has six home runs and a .235 ISO while creating runs 8% better than average this season. Renfroe is slashing .235/.269/.469 this year, he is not a great correlation piece with the lack of on-base skills, but his power is undeniable and he makes for a great base-clearer in Brewers stacks. Renfroe is projected for 1% popularity, he can absolutely be deployed aggressively and with confidence on this slate.

Outfielder Tyrone Taylor has made 56 plate appearances this season, hitting one home run and slashing .208/.250/.396 while creating runs 17% behind the curve. Last season, the part-time player had a .247/.321/.457 triple-slash while creating runs at league average with 12 home runs. Taylor is a playable afterthought from the end of the lineup.

Where the position is required, one could do worse for a catcher than lefty-hitting Omar Narvaez, though his numbers this season are uninspiring over 66 plate appearances. The backstop is slashing .232/.348/.321 while creating runs 2% below average. He has hit one home run and has a .089 ISO so far, but he has flashed minor power in spots in the past and is typically around average for run creation.

Lorenzo Cain and Jace Peterson round out the lineup with two cheap options with underwhelming stat lines and low expectations. The veteran Cain is probably the better choice if forced to roster one from the pair, but he is slashing a miserable .175/.243/.206 while creating runs 66% worse than average this year. Peterson is not much better over 55 plate appearances, sitting at .188/.291/.271 while creating runs 31% worse than average. The quality in the Brewers lineup remains in the top half.

Home Run Prediction Today: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — Toronto Blue Jays


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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 Awesemo.com. 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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