Thursday’s MLB DFS afternoon main slate gets rolling at 1:05 p.m. ET and features six loaded games on FanDuel with DraftKings adding the Diamondbacks vs Nationals game at 4:05. The slate includes a handful of talented pitchers with one emerging ace and several quality options at a variety of prices. With no Coors game and no extreme launching pad situations in matchups, no game on the slate is carrying even a nine-run total, making for an interesting setup where quality can be found in a number of different lineups, and stacking hitters with decent pitching is a breeze. With a lack of extreme standout spots, it can be easy to get away from the field even on a short slate. MLB DFS gamers who rostered the Diamondbacks in last night’s contests were rewarded with an unexpected outburst of runs, capturing a low-owned situation like that makes up for a lot of losing in a hurry.
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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, 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.
Home Run Ratings
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Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great
Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle — 11.37
Boston Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec — 7.79
Chicago White Sox: Luis Robert — 10.88
Cleveland Guardians: Franmil Reyes — 10.52
Detroit Tigers: Jeimer Candelario — 5.00
Kansas City Royals: Salvador Perez — 10.57
Minnesota Twins: Max Kepler — 8.44
New York Mets: Eduardo Escobar — 6.07
New York Yankees: Aaron Judge — 10.48
Oakland Athletics: Seth Brown — 8.69
San Francisco Giants: Joc Pederson — 8.43
Toronto Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — 5.50
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 weather around the league for the afternoon slate seems safe across the board. A few locations have minimal chances of precipitation, but none of them are threatened by delays or postponements.
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 short slate features several talented pitchers in good spots. Dylan Cease will be facing a Guardians lineup that has some pop but also plenty of swing-and-miss for his elite stuff. The Mets are taking on a high-quality Giants lineup, giving Carlos Carrasco a tough task, while the Yankees matchup against the young Tigers should benefit lefty Jordan Montgomery. Minnesota’s Joe Ryan and San Francisco’s Anthony DeSclafani are both capable of producing slate-relevant scores, particularly where two selections are required. One of the larger question marks on the board, and for pitching this season in general, is Kevin Gausman, who has a very difficult matchup against the Red Sox, a situation he brought upon himself when he signed with Toronto to return to the AL East that gave him nightmares during his tenure in Baltimore.
White Sox righty Dylan Cease will be facing a Cleveland active roster that compiled a .168 ISO and a 3.30% home run rate against righties last year, the 17th- and 16th-best power marks in baseball. The team created runs 4% below average by WRC+ and they struck out at a 22.6% clip that sat 15th. This is a solid matchup for the top strikeout pitcher on today’s slate, Cease leads the Top Pitchers Tool board on both sites. The righty threw 165.2 innings over 32 starts last season, striking out 31.9% of opposing hitters with a 14.8% swinging-strike rate and a 30.3% CSW%. Cease had a 3.72 xFIP with a 1.25 WHIP. He still walked too many at 9.6%, but his stuff is electric and he is easily the best bet for a massive MLB DFS total today. Cease’s talent and probability marks outweigh concerns about his popularity across the industry. He is easily worth including in lineups at or around the level to which the field is utilizing him.
The second-ranked pitcher on the site’s Top Pitchers Tool is Kevin Gausman, who faces a challenging Red Sox lineup. Gausman has made two starts for Toronto so far, posting a solid nine strikeouts in 5.2 against the Yankees in his last outing. He pitched to a 3.28 xFIP with a 1.04 WHIP and a 29.3% strikeout rate over 192 innings in 33 starts. Gausman allowed some premium contact, however, yielding a 40.9% hard-hit percentage and a 7.1% barrel rate. With the loaded and powerful Red Sox lineup on the other side, the righty is not entirely safe, but on strikeout upside and talent he is easily near the top of the heap on today’s MLB DFS slate. Boston’s active roster had a collective .195 ISO and a 3.68% home run rate, the sixth and 11th best in baseball, while their run creation compiled to a WRC+ 5% above average. Gausman comes at a fair price and efficient ownership on both sites, he is another starter who should be rostered around the field’s level of exposure.
Lefty Jordan Montgomery is not a standout fantasy baseball option on most slates. The lefty is a talented Major League pitcher, but he is not a major source of strikeouts, limiting his overall upside in most outings. Montgomery struck out 24.5% of hitters over 30 starts in his return to action last season. The southpaw made it through 157.1 innings and pitched to a 3.93 xFIP with a 1.28 WHIP. He generated a surprisingly good 13.7% swinging-strike rate which suggests he can find additional swing-and-miss from time to time. That benefit and Montgomery’s knack for keeping the ball in the yard lead to a quality projection on today’s slate, but the pitcher will be popular for the low price at $6,900 on DraftKings. He is owned in the mid-teens on the single pitcher blue site slate. Montgomery is taking on a Tigers team that had just a 2.87% home run rate and a .151 ISO against lefties last season. Detroit’s 23.2% strikeout rate in the split ranked 19th in baseball though they did create runs 2% better than average against southpaws. Montgomery has upside and a somewhat safe matchup by comparison to an option like Gausman. He is worth the weight of popularity as long as there is focus on lineup differentiation when stacking hitters.
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New York Yankees
The frustrating Yankees are at the peak of the Top Stacks Tool on both sites. New York is in Detroit to face Michael Pineda, a righty who pitched to a 19.2% strikeout rate and a 1.23 WHIP with a 4.29 xFIP and allowed a gigantic 46.1% hard-hit rate last season. The targetable pitcher is facing a stacked Yankees lineup that will be extremely popular on both sites. The top six hitters in the Yankees lineup are all projected for double-digit ownership on the DraftKings slate and popularity into the 20-30% range on FanDuel. The Yankees stack starts with leadoff man Aaron Hicks, star outfielder Aaron Judge and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a trio of hitters who are very talented at getting on base, extending plate appearances and driving the baseball. The group is followed in the confirmed lineup by obliterator of baseballs Giancarlo Stanton who hits everything harder than anyone else in baseball. Stanton has a strong home run probability mark in this matchup. He will be followed by DJ LeMahieu and Joey Gallo, the latter of whom has been scuffling to start the season but will come around in a big way eventually. After slap-hitting Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the final two hitters in the lineup are lackluster compared to the usual options, both of Marwin Gonzalez and Jose Trevino can be skipped in most Yankees stacks, although they are the only hitters who will be low-owned in this lineup. Putting together Yankees bats is a good approach to probable points, but they are extremely popular on a slate with other quality targets, an undercut to the total team ownership may be in order, but the Yankees should still be a big part of MLB DFS plans today.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox and Guardians open today’s action and Chicago is looking like a quality source of power and point-scoring upside that is not getting enough attention overall. The White Sox are facing Zach Plesac, who had just a 16.7% strikeout rate and a 4.77 xFIP last season. Plesac yielded a 43.1% hard-hit rate and a 9.4% barrel rate to opposing hitters last season. He is a very targetable starter, particularly when utilizing a lineup as good as Chicago’s.
The confirmed lineup opens with regular leadoff man Tim Anderson, who hit 17 home runs and swiped 18 bases in his 551 plate appearances last season while creating runs 20% better than average. Anderson is an excellent shortstop who costs just $3,900 on FanDuel where he will be pushing 17% popularity. He is a $5,900 option for a 13.6% ownership share on the DraftKings slate, it makes sense to find a way to pay for his salary and the popularity, Anderson is a special player for MLB DFS.
Star outfielder Luis Robert had a 12.5% barrel rate and a 44.4% hard-hit percentage over 296 plate appearances last year, turning in an excellent .338/.378/.576 triple-slash with 13 home runs and a .229 ISO. The young outfielder created runs 57% better than average. He is an under-discussed emerging star for the White Sox, but people are taking note on this slate. Robert is projected for 26.5% popularity on FanDuel and 13.8% on DraftKings, the most popular Chicago bat on the slate.
Leury Garcia slips into the three spot in the lineup today, creating a bit of an odd sequencing flow, but allowing MLB DFS gamers to roster a key hitting position for just $2,200 on FanDuel and $3,800 on DraftKings, with single-digit popularity. Garcia is a switch-hitting infielder with multi-position eligibility. Over 474 plate appearances last year Garcia hit five home runs and stole six bases while slashing .267/.335/.376. There is no power here, but as a correlation play Garcia could pay off in this odd lineup spot.
First baseman Jose Abreu brings the quality back but he lacks popularity on the DraftKings slate, where he is projected for the same ownership as Garcia. Abreu is slightly more popular on the blue site, but he is usable and has major point-scoring upside. Abreu blasted 30 home runs in 659 plate appearances last season, collecting a 10.2% barrel rate and a 49% hard-hit percentage while creating runs 26% better than average and posting a .219 ISO.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal drew a ridiculous 23.2% walk rate last year. He struck out in 21.9% of his plate appearances while barreling the ball 13.3% of the time and generating a 53.2% hard hit rate with 23 home runs and a massive .280 ISO over 375 plate appearances. Grandal has elite upside and can be used on both sites, whether his position is required or not. Grandal costs just $2,700 on FanDuel. He is a $4,100 option on DraftKings, both prices are too low and he should be higher owned than he is projected to be.
Eloy Jimenez is another player in this lineup who barreled the ball at an above-average rate last season, posting a 10.8% mark with a 44.6% hard-hit percentage. Jimenez hit 10 home runs with a .188 ISO in his short 231 plate appearance season in 2021, with injuries hampering him and limiting his playing time. Jimenez hit 31 home runs with a .246 ISO as a rookie in 2019 and 14 home runs with a .263 ISO in 226 plate appearances in the short 2020 season, there is very little doubt about a return to form, taking advantage of low ownership and, on FanDuel, a broken price point should be advantageous.
Gavin Sheets hit 11 home runs in just 179 plate appearances last year, putting the barrel on the ball 9.9% of the time and generating a .256 ISO while creating runs 25% better than average. Sheets slashed .250/.324/.506 in an underrated season. With regular playing time he can deliver power at a cheap price, low ownership and with the benefit of positional flexibility on DraftKings.
Jake Burger and Seth Beer will eventually play on the same team and sell many t-shirts. For now, Burger is a low-end option at the back of the White Sox lineup. The 26-year-old has power for days, but he has not been able to put things together consistently in his career. In 340 triple-A plate appearances last year, Burger hit 18 home runs with a .239 ISO. He is not totally off the board for power, but this is mostly a quad-A type of player.
Ninth hitter Adam Haseley was the Phillies’ eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft, taken with an expectation of quality power and speed. The visions of a 20-20 or better player have not panned out. Haseley has made 360 plate appearances in the Show at age 26, slashing .262/.323/.369 with a .108 ISO, five home runs and four stolen bases. He is fine as a dart throw to bolt onto a popular stack or as a wraparound, but this is not a strong option on today’s slate.
Home Run Prediction Today: Luis Robert — Chicago White Sox
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