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MLB DFS Tournament Picks Today & Weather Updates 4/15/22

Terry McBride



The Friday 11-game MLB DFS slate has a little something for everyone. Coors Field? Check. Ace-level pitchers? Check. Standout stacking opportunities… well, you get it, it’s all on the board tonight. There are a number of extremely targetable pitchers making starts for their teams today, leading to some prime spots for hitting opportunities that are not exclusively in Colorado. In fact, with two talented pitchers on the hill in Coors Field, scoring in that game may be more suppressed than expected. The slate is providing a matching game total in the Angels vs Rangers game, for example, and Los Angeles is well ahead of the field on the power index for today in their matchup against troubled career reliever Matt Bush. The Yankees and Astros both also look like excellent targets as positively leveraged stacks in good hitting situations. The slate’s arms click together in combinations with ease for the two-pitcher sites, and there are plenty of strong options to choose from on the FanDuel slate as well. Getting to a spread of the top arms with the positively leveraged standout stacks is the primary approach to the first part of a lineup build on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight. From that point, building in more popular, expensive, or sneaky secondary stacks comes easily and getting away from the field’s most common constructions should not present much of a challenge. So, let’s get into the best MLB DFS picks today for tournament lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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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 — 11.74

Baltimore Orioles: Austin Hays — 6.36

Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ — 6.11

Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu — 5.16

Cincinnati Reds: Jonathan India — 4.68

Cleveland Indians: Franmil Reyes — 7.47

Colorado Rockies: Kris Bryant — 5.15

Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson — 5.66

Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker — 11.22

Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr. — 12.45

Los Angeles Angels: Jared Walsh — 21.90

Los Angeles Dodgers: Will Smith — 10.48

Milwaukee Brewers: Hunter Renfroe — 8.83

New York Yankees: Joey Gallo — 15.22

Oakland Athletics: Seth Brown — 12.20

San Diego Padres: Luke Voit — 10.07

San Francisco Giants: Mike Yastrzemski — 8.65

Seattle Mariners: Eugenio Suarez — 8.71

St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill – 7.32

Tampa Bay Rays: Wander Franco — 5.69

Texas Rangers: Mitch Garver — 9.59

Toronto Blue Jays: George Springer — 12.42

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 home run picks and predictions 4/15/22 MLB DFS Picks DraftKings FanDuel

MLB DFS Weather Update: Postponements & Risk Assessment

The slate looks like it will play cleanly without postponement concerns or rain delays. Temperatures around the league range from the mid-60s into the 80s tonight, there should be quality hitting environments but none that truly stand out or are diminished based on weather 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. Ensure 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

Friday’s slate of MLB DFS action includes a handful of high-end pitchers and a broad base of talented arms who could provide surprising scores. The top of the board features a trio of pitchers who truly broke out last season in Carlos Rodon, Dylan Cease and Freddy Peralta. All three pitchers will be popular, they have similar probabilities of being one of the highest-scoring options by the end of the night and they are all drawing popularity across the industry, though Rodon’s ownership on DraftKings nearly doubles the other two, based on a discounted $9,800 price point, a situation that flips on FanDuel where Rodon is more expensive than the others. The Yankees will have lefty Jordan Montgomery on the mound in Baltimore, he sits fourth on the Top Pitchers Tool, but he is negatively leveraged and facing an Orioles team that is sneaky-good against lefties. Detroit’s Tarik Skubal has ace-caliber stuff; he simply needs to harness it with consistency and he will make a big leap, potentially as soon as this year. Skubal is under-owned for his talent, he is facing a Royals lineup that is underwhelming on the whole, though they can be difficult to sit down via the strikeout. The truly sneaky options on the mound tonight are pitching at Coors Field, the confidence in this space and on the Top Pitchers Tool is more with the Rockies’ German Marquez than the Cubs’ Marcus Stroman, Marquez is the better strikeout pitcher, and he has a long-proven track record in his offensively oriented home park. Finally, at just $5,000 on DraftKings, rookie MacKenzie Gore is worthy of SP2 consideration on DraftKings, he is the top value pitcher on the board at that price, but he is drawing major attention with ownership outpacing his probability of being a top-2 starter by a factor of four.

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Premium southpaw Carlos Rodon has one obstacle between the pitcher he has been and contending for a Cy Young Award, namely the ability to stay on the mound. Rodon threw just 132.2 innings in 24 starts last season, his highest innings total since posting a 165-inning season in 2016. Rodon was a top prospect on his way up and he has demonstrable success against Major League hitting. Rodon dazzled last year, posting a 34.6% strikeout rate while walking just 6.7% in pitching to a 3.17 xFIP and a stellar 0.96 WHIP. Rodon was excellent at keeping extraneous baserunners off the board and he was strong in limiting quality contact as well. The lefty yielded a 6.6% barrel rate and a 36.1% hard-hit percentage with an 89.2 mph average exit velocity. The Guardians’ active roster that Rodon will be facing is not bad against left-handed pitching. Last season, the current roster compiled a .175 ISO, eighth best in the league, and they had a sixth-ranked 3.74% home run rate in the split. Rodon has plenty of strikeout acumen and he will be facing a lineup that struck out 22.6% of the time against lefties, landing in the middle of the league at 15th. Rodon is underpriced on DraftKings, making him the most popular pitcher at 45% ownership, nearly double that of the two more expensive aces on the board and far beyond his probability of landing as a top-2 option on the slate. On FanDuel, Rodon comes in as the highest-priced option, his ownership is far more efficient and in line with the other options and with his probability of success.

White Sox righty Dylan Cease was featured in this space early and often last season, paying off the faith in his elite raw stuff by making major strides in quality on the mound. Cease threw 165.2 innings in 32 starts and struck out 31.9% of opposing hitters, a dominant mark that puts him among the game’s best strikeout options. Swing-and-miss was never the issue with Cease, he struggled with command and control on his way up and he still can improve in those areas. Cease walked 9.6% of opposing hitters and had a 1.25 WHIP last season, minor improvement in the walks department would lead to another big uptick in quality. Cease induced a 14.8% swinging-strike rate and had a 30.3% CSW% last year. The righty allowed a bit too much premium contact when hitters were able to connect, the 9.9% barreled ball rate in particular means that it was usually a mistake pitch when hitters were able to put the bat on the ball. Cease allowed a 38.5% hard-hit percentage and an 89.2 mph average exit velocity against. Cease is pitching at home tonight, taking on a Rays lineup that has deadly power but also plenty of strikeouts to buoy the fantasy scoring. Tampa Bay’s active roster compiled a .193 ISO and created runs 11% better than average by WRC+ against righties last season, the fifth and second-ranked marks in those categories. The Rays were 22nd with a 24.4% strikeout rate however, a pitcher of Cease’s obvious talents can induce added swing-and-miss from a team that is already handing him plenty, there is major scoring upside if he can get through the game mistake-free.

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The Brewers have an embarrassment of riches in their pitching staff. The starting rotation includes a set of aces as good as any in the league, and their bullpen is elite. Milwaukee will be sending Freddy Peralta to the mound to face the Cardinals lineup tonight. St. Louis comes to town touting a heavily right-handed lineup that struggled for power and run creation in the split against righties last season. The Cardinals were good at limiting strikeouts, their 22.2% rate in the split was the sixth best in baseball last season, but every other mark drops well below average. The Cardinals’ created runs 8% worse than average against righties, 17th in the league, and they had just a 3.07% home run rate to land in 19th. Their 146 total home runs were the 12th highest total against righties, but they had a concerningly low .155 collective ISO that drops to 25th out of baseball’s 30 teams. Peralta, meanwhile, was excellent last season. He threw 144.1 innings in 27 starts, pitching to a 3.66 xFIP and a 0.97 WHIP with a dominant 33.6% strikeout rate. Peralta is like Cease, he still walked too many last year with a 9.7% rate, but he managed to dance his way through trouble with the elite swing-and-miss stuff. Peralta had a 14.5% swinging-strike rate and a 31.3% CSW% last season, and he was excellent at limiting premium contact. Opposing hitters generated just a 6.0% barrel rate and a ludicrously low 31.1% hard-hit percentage against the righty last season. Peralta’s 86.6 mph average exit velocity against is nearly 10 mph below what Statcast considers a hard-hit ball, he absolutely has the talent to hold down the Cardinals’ power while finding bonus strikeouts in this lineup. Peralta should be heavily utilized across the industry tonight; he will be justifiably popular, and he comes at a fair price on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Detroit’s Tarik Skubal had a strong first full season in the Majors last year. Skubal, a 25-year-old lefty with filthy stuff, made 29 starts and threw 149.1 innings, racking up a 25.9% strikeout rate in 2021. Skubal walked just 7.4% of opposing hitters and pitched his way to a 4.06 xFIP and a 1.26 WHIP, while inducing an 11.4% swinging-strike rate. Skubal needs to work more in the zone, his 27.4% CSW% is lower than average but his ability to generate swing-and-miss is highly valuable for MLB DFS point-scoring. Skubal also yielded a ridiculous amount of premium contact for a pitcher who is so firmly in consideration for shares tonight. The southpaw had a concerning 13.9% barrel rate and a 45.1% hard-hit percentage last season, allowing an average exit velocity of 90.5 mph, which translated into a 5.52% home run rate against. Skubal can reign these metrics in this season. If he does, he will be a terrific option all year. That did not happen in his first start of the season, a four-inning stint that saw him get tattooed for 16 batted ball events with a 93.8 mph average exit velocity against and a 12.5% barrel rate. Skubal needs to miss more bats when he takes the mound tonight, he draws a Royals team that is not the hardest-hitting squad, but one that is also difficult to strike out on the whole. Kansas City’s collective 19.4% strikeout rate against lefties is the second-best mark in last year’s numbers. Skubal will be challenged tonight, but at relatively low ownership he is an intriguing MLB DFS option with a wide range of outcomes.

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Coors Field

The Coors Field options are a bit different today. Both teams are rostering quality pitchers that knock down the opposing squad’s probability of success but also their public popularity. The Rockies lineup is drawing negative leverage on the DraftKings slate, but they look like a strong positive leverage selection on FanDuel, and the Cubs are a positively leveraged play on both sites. Chicago stands as the third-highest-rated team on the DraftKings slate and the fifth highest on FanDuel, but their collective ownership sits in the low single-digits. Where yesterday looked like a fade of this spot based on the overwhelming popularity, this may be a situation where rostering all sides of this game in a variety of combinations could pay. Both starters are in play and both lineups look like active targets, which is a rare situation at low ownership for this ballpark. Targetable Cubs bats include Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki, Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom, none of whom is projected for more than 7.7% ownership on either site tonight. The remainder of the Cubs lineup can be deployed as needed for correlated scoring. On the Rockies side, the targets are Charlie Blackmon, Kris Bryant, Brendan Rodgers, C.J. Cron, Ryan McMahon and Connor Joe, with Sam Hilliard also sneaking in as a very below-the-radar option. No Rockies hitter is projected to reach even 10% popularity on either site tonight.

Houston Astros

The Astros are in Seattle to take on the upstart Mariners and their middling lefty starter Marco Gonzales. The southpaw posted just an 18.5% strikeout rate last season while pitching to a bumpy 5.16 xFIP and a 1.17 WHIP. Gonzales yielded an 11.4% barrel rate with a 20.6-degree average launch angle but was somewhat spared by just a 37.1% hard-hit rate and an 88.1 mph average exit velocity against. Still, the lefty allowed an inflated 4.96% home run rate, and he will be facing a team that dismantles left-handed pitching on their way to breakfast in the morning. The Astros’ active roster compiled a .178 ISO against lefties last season, the fifth best power mark in the league. They created runs at a league-leading 17% ahead of the average in the split while hitting 72 home runs, the seventh-most in baseball against lefties. Houston’s 3.46% home run rate in the split sat 12th overall, and their eye-popping 18.3% strikeout rate against southpaws was easily baseball’s best mark. Gonzales is going to have his hands full facing a lineup that includes Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel. Three spectacular right-handed bats. Michael Brantley is a hit-tool specialist who went .311/.362/.437 with a 10.4% strikeout rate overall last year, but he slashed just .219/.261/.314 with a .095 ISO against same-handed pitching last season, a ridiculous dropoff from his elite marks against righties. Brantley may or may not be in the lineup, the Astros have Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker as premium left-handed options in this lineup as well, it seems likely that one of the three will sit against a southpaw, though Gonzales isn’t exactly a fearsome lefty to avoid. Alvarez and Tucker both handle lefties skillfully, Alvarez slashed .283/.349/.532 with a .249 ISO against same-handed pitching last season, he has no platoon-based concerns and Tucker is on his heels with a .286/.332/.578 and a .292 ISO over 202 plate appearances against fellow lefties last year, both young bats should stay in the lineup and Brantley should sit, but we are not the ones filling out the lineup card. Regular readers know that Chas McCormick is a potentially underrated and under-owned option from late in this lineup, and rookie Jeremey Pena is not drawing the requisite attention at his cheap prices. The Astros are a premium target on this slate, but no batter in their lineup is above 4% individual ownership, capitalize on the field’s mistake with this team.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are on the road in Texas in a game with a run total that matches the mark for Coors Field tonight. The Angels lineup is top-heavy on talent and the projected ownership is following the quality directly to the team’s two superstars, both of whom will be crushingly popular at more than 20% ownership on FanDuel and 15-20% on DraftKings. Los Angeles is facing Matt Bush, who is making his first appearance starting a game after 142 relief appearances since his 2016 debut at age 30. Bush was drafted as an apex-level pitching prospect, but he had many legal troubles and struggled with getting his baseball career on track. Bush has posted a 4.17 xFIP and a 3.40 ERA with a 23.3% strikeout rate over his relief career, but he should not hit even that level of quality as a starter. Bush will most likely serve as an entry-point to a bullpen game, but he is yielding premium fantasy scoring projections and power metrics to the opposing Angels, and the balance of Texas’ bullpen is not long on talent. This could be a long day in Arlington.

Shohei Ohtani is available as a hitter on tonight’s slate, he has a $5,700 price tag on DraftKings and a $4,200 mark on FanDuel and he is still pulling in 20% popularity or more on both sites. Ohtani mashed last season, he hit 46 home runs and had a gargantuan .335 ISO while creating runs 52% better than average. While he was on and off taking starts as a pitcher, Ohtani delivered 639 premium plate appearances last year, barreling the ball a ludicrous 22.3% of the time with a 53.4% hard-hit rate. The lefty hitter did strike out nearly 30% of the time, but he also walked at a 15% clip, he is an outstanding option anywhere in the lineup and in Angels stacks, regardless of the popularity.

Mike Trout remains Mike Trout until further notice. He will be rostered at around 15% on DraftKings for $5,900 and 25% on FanDuel for just $4,000. Trout is the greatest player of his generation, and he still has plenty in the tank. Trout dealt with injuries last season, turning in just 146 plate appearances, but the quality is still obvious in his .333/.466/.624 triple-slash with a .291 ISO. Trout barreled the ball in 18.4% of his batted ball events, generating a 52.6% hard-hit rate. Trout is like Ohtani in that he will strikeout, but he also draws a significant number of walks, with an 18.5% rate of drawing the free pass. Stats like that helped Trout to run creation 90% ahead of the league average in his minimized number of plate appearances last year.

The dynamic duo is followed by powerful lefty Jared Walsh, who hit 29 home runs in 585 plate appearances last year. Walsh has a strong hit tool, he slashed .277/.340/.509 with a .232 ISO and created runs 27% ahead of the average. Walsh struck out 26% of the time overall last season, but there seems to be little risk of that as this game gets started, he should be putting the ball in play aggressively this evening. Walsh barreled the ball 11.3% of the time last season with a 41.2% hard-hit rate. Walsh is the point at which popularity falls off on DraftKings, he is projected for just 7.0% ownership on the site for his $4,900 price. Walsh and the next hitter are both in the mid-teens for popularity on FanDuel, but they can absolutely be deployed together in Angels stacks.

Anthony Rendon is a bit of a sleeper option on this slate, the third baseman hit 34 home runs his last season in Washington in 2019, racking up a 12.4% walk rate and striking out just 13.3% of the time. Rendon maintained the strong rates last year, he walked 11.6% of the time and struck out 16.5% of the time over his limited 249 plate appearances, but he managed just a .143 ISO and six home runs. Rendon is a much better player than that in his age-32 season, he is fully healthy and can be expected to approach his old form. At just 7.8% popularity and a $4,300 price, he is a strong option on DraftKings and his $3,100 is cheap on the blue site, where the public is rostering him in 13.9% of lineups.

Rendon is followed by Brandon Marsh in the projected lineup. Marsh made 260 plate appearances in the Show last season, slashing .254/.317/.356 with just a .102 ISO, but the 24-year-old projects as a better hitter than that overall and he adds a speed tool to the mix. Marsh does not have massive power, but he has reasonable 15-15 expectations on the back of his obvious speed and his 10.9% barrel rate and 51.7% hard-hit percentage in the Majors last year. Marsh is both cheap and relatively unpopular across both sites, depending on where he lands in the lineup, Marsh is in play for an add-on piece to top-of-lineup stacks.

Catcher Max Stassi is low owned where the position is required. Stassi hit 13 home runs in 319 plate appearances last year, barreling the ball 11% of the time and posting a 42.3% hard-hit rate. Stassi slashed .241/.326/.426 with a .184 ISO last year, he is a potentially sneaky catcher play against this pitcher and he can be deployed in Angels’ stacks.

Bottom of the lineup options Jose Rojas, Tyler Wade and Andrew Velazquez are largely afterthoughts at the end of the order. Wade is interesting for his stolen base ability, he swiped 17 bags in just 145 plate appearances last season while getting on base at a .354 clip, making him the prime target among the three final hitters. Rojas and Velazquez are low-end options with limited upside for MLB DFS tournaments.

Home Run Prediction Today: Shohei Ohtani — Los Angeles Angels

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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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