The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Thursday features a six-game main slate starting at 7:05 pm ET.
MLB DFS Pitching Picks
MLB DFS Stud Picks
Sean Manaea ($9,700) San Diego Padres (-108) at Milwaukee Brewers
Thursday’s slate is a tough one for pitching, as the better pitchers on the slate have somewhat difficult matchups. That includes Manaea. He has the best numbers of any pitcher on the slate, with a 3.55 SIERA and a 26.4% strikeout rate. Both his SIERA and his swinging strike rates are the best of his career.
Unfortunately, he’s facing the Brewers. They’re a top-12 or so offense depending on what metric you look at and are slight favorites with a 4.4-run implied total. That 4.4 mark is still one of the better lines (from a pitcher standpoint) on the slate, though.
The matchup also might not be as difficult as it appears at first blush. The Brewers rank 27th in wRC+ against left-handed pitching, and their 24% strikeout rate is the seventh-worst mark. With Manaea being left-handed, this may be an advantageous spot.
Either way, on a tough slate for pitching, Manaea is a fairly easy top option. He owns the top median projection on FantasyLabs and THE BAT.
MLB DFS Value Pick
Matthew Liberatore ($7,300) St. Louis Cardinals (-109) at Chicago Cubs
Liberatore has made just two big-league starts in his career. He’ll make his third against the weak-hitting Cubs tonight, who are implied for just 4.1 runs. That’s the third-lowest mark on the slate, making Liberatore an attractive option at his price point.
Liberatore struggled a bit in his big-league debut but looked much better in his last start. It came against the Brewers, whom he held scoreless through five innings while striking out six. Of course, Liberatore is also a lefty, and we’ve already discussed Milwaukee’s struggles against left-handed pitching.
Due to the platoon splits, this is a slightly tougher matchup than his last outing. The Cubs are a roughly league-average team against left-handed pitching, but they do strike out at a high clip. That makes Liberatore a fairly high-variance option.
He should benefit from the conditions at Wrigley, resulting in the best Weather Rating on the slate and a favorable Park Factor. Liberatore is a solid option at his price, and he leads THE BAT’s Pts/Sal projections while coming in 0.1 points from the lead in the FantasyLabs’ set.
MLB DFS GPP Pick
Tony Gonsolin ($9,100) Los Angeles Dodgers (-170) vs. New York Mets
Gonsolin has continued to get better in his major-league career, solidly overperforming his ninth-round draft position. That’s continued in 2022, with a 3.67 SIERA and a strikeout rate over 25%. He’s topped 20 DraftKings points in each of his last five starts, which would be huge on today’s slate given the available pitching options.
However, he’ll face a step up in weight class on Thursday. The Mets have arguably the best lineup in baseball and rank top-three in most major offensive metrics. Their .315 BABIP trails only the Rockies’ mark at .316, and that’s largely a function of all of the Rockies games at Coors. That suggests a bit of positive variance on the Mets side, but that could also be explained by good team speed.
Either way, Vegas is giving Gonsolin a ton of respect in this one. The Mets have the slate’s lowest implied total at 3.8 runs, with the Dodgers as the heaviest favorites on the board. Gonsolin’s ownership should be pretty minimal, too, given the matchup. He’s a bit pricey for the risk he carries, but he makes sense as a GPP option.
MLB DFS Hitters
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters.
Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups.
The top DraftKings stack in the FantasyLabs MLB Tournament Model when generated by rating belongs to the Colorado Rockies:
- Charlie Blackmon (1) ($4,600)
- Jonathan Daza (2) ($3,500)
- CJ Cron (3) ($5,500)
- Ryan McMahon (4) ($4,600)
- Connor Joe (5) ($4,600)
With a game at Coors field featuring an absurd 11.5-run total, it was pretty obvious one of the two teams in that game would be the top-rated stack in our Tournament Model. The Rockies take it this time thanks to fairly reasonable pricing across the board, at least relative to their Vegas data.
They’re taking on the Braves and starting pitcher Ian Anderson ($7,100). Anderson would be an exploitable matchup regardless of the location given his 4.83 SIERA and a flyball rate of 33%. That flyball rate is especially notable at Coors Field, coupled with a strikeout rate below 18%. Anderson allows a lot of balls in play, and of those, most of them are in the air. They should have no problem flying out of Coors tonight.
The Rockies will surely be popular, but probably less so than the Braves. Atlanta is favored, but the Rockies still have a robust 5.4-run total. They’re worth a play in tournaments, particularly if going more contrarian elsewhere.
Top Stacking Pick from THE BAT X
One of the great features of being a FantasyLabs Pro member is the option to purchase additional items in the FantasyLabs Marketplace.
A new addition to our MLB projections is THE BAT from Derek Carty of RotoGrinders. With this purchase, you can use his projections alone or create aggregate projections in our Player Models.
The top DraftKings stack from THE BAT when generated by ceiling belongs to the Atlanta Braves:
Again, no surprises here. Atlanta has the highest team total on the slate at 6.4 runs for their game at Coors. They also have a pitching matchup that would be above-average regardless of location in Colorado’s Austin Gomber ($5,900). The left-handed Gomber has a 4.36 SIERA and a sub-20% strikeout rate similar to Anderson’s. Like Anderson, he also allows fly balls on over 30% of his balls in play.
The top five hitters in Atlanta’s lineup are all expected to be right-handed, furthering their case against the lefty pitcher. They’re also not nearly as expensive as I would’ve anticipated, given the strength of the lineup, pitching matchup, and location. It will be hard to fade the Coors stacks today, though mixing and matching from both teams could be a somewhat unique build. It’s pricey, but going with cheaper pitching options makes it possible.
Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks
Jesse Winkler OF ($3,800 DraftKings; $2,700 FanDuel) Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles (Jordan Lyles)
Outside of the outfielders from the Coors game, Winkler is one of the top options in Projected Plus/Minus at the position. He ranks first in that category in THE BAT’s projections while tying for third in the FantasyLabs set. The options above him from FantasyLabs are all punt-type plays, though, with Winkler providing far more upside.
While Winkler is hitting just .209 on the season, his BABIP is a career-low .241, so some regression is due. He’s in a good spot against Lyles, who has allowed lefties like Winkler to post a wOBA over .350 on the season. This game is also in Baltimore, the best park on the slate for lefties outside of Coors Field.
Winkler is a solid bargain on both sites as the leadoff hitter for a road team with a 4.6-run total. He’s an absolute steal on FanDuel, though, where he leads all outfielders in Pts/Sal projections even with the Coors game considered.
DJ LeMahieu 2B/3B ($4,300 DraftKings; NA FanDuel) New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels (Reid Detmers)
The Yankees and Angles are playing a doubleheader, so this game isn’t included on FanDuel’s main slate. It is on DraftKings, though, and LeMahieu is in an excellent spot for game two. The Angels are likely to start left-handed Reid Detmers in the nightcap. LeMahieu has excellent platoon splits against lefties, hitting .319 in his career.
Detmers could also be left in a bit longer than normal, depending on how the first game goes. If he’s pulled, expect the Angles bullpen to be at less than full strength following the doubleheader. The multi-position eligibility is also big for LeMahieu. He can fit around Coors field stacks much more easily given the flexibility.
Cedric Mullins OF ($4,100 DraftKings; $3,400 FanDuel) Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners (Chris Flexen)
Like Winkler, Mullins is a left-handed leadoff hitter playing in Baltimore. His Orioles have an identical 4.6-run implied total against Seattle. While paying up for the home player — rather than a comparable away hitter — isn’t generally advisable, Mullins is the more productive player on the season. He’s averaged roughly 1.5 more DraftKings points on the calendar year and 2.5 more in the past month.
Mullins isn’t a big power hitter, but he has excellent upside with his legs. He stole 30 bases last season while picking up 11 already in 2022. He has a plus matchup as well, with Flexen allowing a lot of balls in play thanks to a 17% strikeout rate. That’s a benefit to the speedy Mullins, who’s my preferred option to Winkler on DraftKings if you can find the extra $300 in salary.