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MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Leverage, Home Runs, Optimal Picks | Today, 4/27/21

Terry McBride



MLB DFS Tournament Strategy Optimal Lineup Picks Today DraftKings FanDuel Home Runs

Tuesday’s gargantuan 13-game slate is loaded with quality MLB DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups. Today offers up a wealth of quality pitching options who all project well from various ranges of salary, as well as several very strong-looking spots for high-end bats and some viable home run candidates. Several of the stacks in play at the top of the board were major letdowns just last night, some have been throughout the season. There is good reason to explore the way that stacks fit together on this slate. Combining highly projected and properly leveraged stacks with different pitchers and examining the changes you’re able to make to combinations of players within those lineup stacks is an important part of the construction process, particularly on a large MLB DFS slate like this one.

The Awesemo team will be here for all the action with daily fantasy baseball advice on the morning Strategy Show – which you can find on YouTube or your favorite podcast network and The Deeper Dive at 3 p.m., taking you through the main slate. We will constantly be updating all the tools and content. Speaking of tools, if you aren’t visiting the Top Stacks Tool regularly, you’re just making your MLB DFS picks incorrectly. The Top Starters Tool is every bit as important in deciding who takes the hill for your daily fantasy baseball lineup.

Be sure to find all of our MLB FanDuel picks today, including cheat sheets, articles and expert data.

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MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Top HR Options

Home Run Ratings

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 own design, based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup, I will give one of the top choices from each team. However, it won’t always be the absolute top-ranked player, particularly when there is an obvious star who would be in that spot every day.

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

Arizona Diamondbacks: Wyatt Mathisen — 10.88

Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr. — 20.56

Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini — 10.98

Boston Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec — 6.13

Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez — 1.79

Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu — 10.60

Cincinnati Reds: Mike Moustakas — 13.98

Colorado Rockies: C.J. Cron — 12.58

Detroit Tigers: Jeimer Candelario — 5.25

Houston Astros: Yordan Alvarez — 10.02

Los Angeles Angels: Anthony Rendon — 33.59

Los Angeles Dodgers: Will Smith — 13.38

Miami Marlins: Adam Duvall — 8.24

Milwaukee Brewers: Avisail Garcia — 4.35

New York Mets: Michael Conforto — 8.14

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge — 22.53

Oakland Athletics: Mitch Moreland — 12.85

Philadelphia Phillies: Andrew McCutchen — 14.61

San Diego Padres: Manny Machado — 12.69

San Francisco Giants: Evan Longoria — 6.94

Seattle Mariners: Evan White — 11.26

St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill — 7.68

Tampa Bay Rays: Randy Arozarena — 11.11

Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo — 8.19

Toronto Blue Jays: George Springer (Q) — 9.87

Washington Nationals: Josh Bell — 11.60

Power Index

This is intended to capture the full range of home runs 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 (pitcher bats not included in non-DH games), and the second is for the top six hitters in the projected lineup.

MLB DFS lineup picks daily fantasy baseball DraftKings & FanDuel tonight Tuesday April 27


MLB DFS Optimal Stacks & Leverage Plays

This section will feature a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays here. Make sure to check out the ownership projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.

If you need more fantasy baseball picks today, check out our DraftKings and FanDuel cheat sheets, Spotlight Pitchers and Spotlight Hitters & Stacks for Tuesday, April 27.

On the Hill

Tonight’s slate of MLB DFS pitching picks is a superstore full of options. Luxury shoppers can browse high-end arms like Walker BuehlerLucas Giolito and Max Scherzer, while bargain hunters have selections like Jose Quintana, Adrian Houser, Frankie Montas and more on the board. With money to spend from paying down to the mid-range pitching options, gamers can roster bigger bats, but the stack pricing has been so weak and pitching so strong that it seems to pay to spend on arms this year.

Looking at the top tier of options, the matchup for Giolito stands out as a better spot than the others in his price and talent range. The Tigers active roster ranks 26th out of baseball’s 30 teams with a 27.5% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching so far this season. They have a respectable team ISO of .169 in the split. That mark ranks eighth overall in baseball so far this season — power is way down against righties, with the top team ISO currently .204 and only two teams over .190 — but extended back to the start of 2019, the active roster is worst in baseball with a .146 ISO in the split. Despite the modest early power flashes this season, the Tigers create runs 13% worse than the average against right-handed pitching this season.

Giolito is one of the game’s elite arms. He is pricey at $10,600 on FanDuel and $9,500 on DraftKings but well worth the spend-up when only considering points. There will be significant ownership on Giolito tonight, which always has to be considered on such a large tournament slate with many other pitching options. Giolito is the top-ranked starter in both the site’s rankings and in my personal model. There is a lot to like in his 32.1% strikeout rate, which is basically in-line with the 33.7% he had last year and the 32.3% the year before. Giolito has major strikeout upside and not much of a threat on the other side. He is in good position to put up a monster start and is probably good chalk, though rostering him at 20-25% and leaving shares for others is a viable approach.

Buehler is in a much more difficult spot, taking on the Reds and their high-quality lineup. He is striking out just 22.1% of hitters so far this season, a significant drop from the 28.6% and 29.2% marks of the past two seasons. Buehler appears to be getting fewer swinging strikes early in the season, putting up a 10.7% mark where he was reliably at 12.0% or more the past few years. This could be an early season small sample blip, or it could be a cause for concern. Buehler’s average velocity is down about two miles per hour from last year’s numbers, though his spin rate has been steadily excellent on his primary pitches. Ultimately, he could be slowly rounding into form for the season. Buehler will be popular on both FanDuel and DraftKings tonight despite the tough matchup. The Reds active roster is eighth-best in baseball with just a 23.2% strikeout rate and they are the league-leader with a .204 ISO against righties this season. The team has created runs 13% better than average so far this year, and they are a dangerous offense against any pitcher. This combined with the recent downturn adds narrative to Buehler’s current ranking in the top stacks tool, which is good but not at the very top of the board where he would normally be.

The Angels bring major value from both sides of the MLB DFS game today. Quintana is a major pitching value on both sites. He costs just $6,700 on FanDuel and $6,500 on DraftKings and is in a great matchup against the Texas Rangers tonight. The Rangers have been better avoiding strikeouts on this side of splits, but their 24.9% rate is still high and ranks in the middle of a league struggling in the category. The Rangers are worse at everything else against lefties. As a team, Texas has created runs 24% worse than average in the split while posting just a .109 team ISO and hitting only eight home runs so far. In the extended split, the Rangers are second-worst in baseball since the start of 2019, putting up a 26.0% strikeout rate against lefties. There is significant upside in the matchup, and Quintana will not have to do much to pay off the salary on either site. Quintana has spiked to a 31.5% strikeout rate over his first 10 innings this season, though he has a 4.2 xFIP and a ridiculous 2.30 WHIP, giving up 12 hits and 12 runs (10 earned) in the small sample. Opposing hitters are out to a ridiculous .462 batting average on balls in play against him, but there should be significant regression to the norm here. Quintana is an excellent value play across the industry tonight. On the single pitcher sites he helps unlock the major-upside bats.

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Los Angeles Angels 

The Angels are exploding through the ceiling of my home run model, rocketing through the stratosphere and picking up speed on their way to Mars, which is where some of the balls they hit off of Mike Foltynewicz could land tonight. Foltynewicz has struggled to remain relevant in the league after getting laughed out of Atlanta in a sudden and significant downturn. He is off to an improved start this season, putting up a 4.25 xFIP and a 1.23 WHIP with a 24.2% strikeout rate, but the home runs are the issue. In 22.0 innings over four starts this year, Foltynewicz has already yielded a league-worst eight home runs. In his 3.1 innings last year he allowed three long balls, which is not a fair sample but is still relevant. In 2019, when these troubles began, he threw 117.0 innings, giving up 23 home runs, a 1.77 HR/9 mark. There is major upside for offensive production in the Angels power bats tonight.

Utility man David Fletcher leads off for the Angels and provides a highly reliable hit tool and on-base skill for the sluggers behind him. Fletcher has struggled out of the gate this year, putting up just a .258/.278/.269 triple slash in his first 98 plate appearances. However, Fletcher was at .319/.376/.425 last season over 230 opportunities and .290/.350/.384 the season before in 653 tries. Fletcher has almost no power in his bat, however, keeping his upside tied to the production of his teammates on most slates.

Shohei Ohtani has major power upside in this spot, hitting from the left side of the plate. This is assuming that Ohtani is in the lineup the night after making a start on the mound, which should be the case. He is fully healthy and off to a strong start. He has a .300/.341/.675 slash to start the season, putting up a whopping .375 ISO with seven home runs in just 85 plate appearances. He stands a strong chance to add one, if not two, to that total before the night is over.

Mike Trout is Mike Trout. You know what to do.

As if on cue for this series, the Angels reactivated Anthony Rendon from the IL and reinserted him into the lineup. Rendon hits cleanup behind Trout and delivers with a reliable upside. He had a .281/.390/.497 slash in his 232 plate appearances last year, hitting nine home runs and posting a .212 ISO. He is an excellent option and he is underpriced after missing time.

Jared Walsh brings another powerful left-handed bat to the lineup. He is inexpensive on both sites but will not be overly popular on this slate despite major power upside as an added bonus. In 108 plate appearances last season, Walsh blasted nine home runs and had a monster .354 ISO. This season he has hit four home runs in just 81 plate appearances and has mashed his way to a .236 ISO with an excellent .319/.395/.556 to boot. Walsh should absolutely not be left out of Angels stacks.

Outfielder Justin Upton still has power in his bat despite the decline in his triple slash numbers through the last few seasons. Upton has seen a slight uptick in those marks so far this year, coming into tonight with a .239/.304/.479, he makes lineups due to his power and his power alone. He has a .239 ISO so far this season, well up from the .218 he posted last year and the .201 from 2019. He has hit five home runs in just 79 plate appearances and is another lower-owned Angels bat with upside and a low price tag.

Albert Pujols is off to just a .222/.279/.460 start, but he is another bat who is here for his power and that skill never truly left. Pujols has crushed five home runs already this year, in just 68 plate appearances. He has a .238 ISO and just an 11.8% strikeout rate, making steady contact and driving the ball with authority. In fact, Pujols’ triple slash would look far better were it not for a .180 batting average on balls in play.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias and catcher Kurt Suzuki round out the bottom of the Angels projected lineup. Suzuki costs just $3,300 on the DraftKings slate and could be a sneaky option for DraftKings lineups despite the low spot in the batting order. He has been a strong option for power in the past. In 2019 he made 309 plate appearances and hit 17 home runs while going .264/.324/.486. Iglesias is an underrated bat as well. He had a .373/.400/.556 slash in 150 plate appearances last year, hitting three home runs and creating runs 60% better than average. In 2019 Iglesias made 530 plate appearances and put up a .288/.318/.407 slash with 11 home runs, though he had just a .119 ISO and created runs 16% worse than average that season. Either works as a mix-in option for differentiation, with Suzuki pulling more value on the DraftKings slate.

HR Call: Albert Pujols — 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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