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The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players within our MLB Player Models.

Tuesday features an 11-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.

MLB DFS Pitching Picks

MLB DFS Stud Pick

Max Scherzer ($10,800) Texas Rangers (-254) at Oakland A’s

While he wasn’t quite vintage Scherzer, the newest Ranger showed why Texas acquired him in his first start with his new team. He struck out nine batters in six innings against the White Sox, though he also allowed three runs. That was an encouraging sign — particularly in the strikeout department, where Scherzer had taken a step back this season.

He has a similar matchup tonight in Oakland against an A’s team that ranks slightly ahead of the White Sox in run production but strikes out at a higher clip. Yesterday, Dane Dunning managed to punch out six A’s in six innings, and his strikeout rate is more than 10% lower than Scherzer’s.

That makes Mad Max an extraordinarily obvious play tonight. He has the best Vegas Data on the slate with Oakland implied for just 3.0 runs, as well as the highest K prediction — by a comfortable margin — in our models. Of course, that will come with corresponding ownership.

Still, I’m willing to eat the chalk on Scherzer. He projects as far-and-away the best pitching option on the board, leading both the FantasyLabs and THE BAT projections. Furthermore, while his salary is high it’s not in the astronomical range we sometimes see with aces, so we can still build strong lineups around him.


MLB DFS Value Pick

Wade Miley ($7,000) Milwaukee Brewers (-212) vs. Colorado Rockies

I’ve covered the Rockies’ struggles against left-handed pitching extensively here, and they continue to get worse and worse as the season rolls on. Partially due to trading two of their best hitters at the deadline, which is still yet to factor heavily into their overall numbers.

Regardless, they have the lowest wRC+ in the majors at 67, with a brutal 27.2% strikeout rate. The worst teams in terms of run production aren’t always the most strikeout-happy, making this a relatively rare opportunity for all of the stars to align.

Miley isn’t going to blow anyone away with his numbers, but he’s been rock solid in his age-36 season with a 3.01 ERA. His leading indicators are considerably worse than that, but this isn’t the matchup for that negative regression to hit.

He’s also not a massive upside pitcher, with just a 17.5% strikeout rate. However, that number is likely to be boosted a bit against Colorado. On top of that, we don’t need massive upside from a pitcher at his price point, making him an excellent cash game play who’s also worthy of GPP consideration.


MLB DFS GPP Pick

Framber Valdez ($11,000) Houston Astros (-130) at Baltimore Orioles

Valdez is a clear second-best option to Scherzer tonight. They have similar overall numbers on the season, with Valdez having a slight edge in run prevention (depending on the metric) and Scherzer picking up a few more strikeouts. However, the matchup is considerably more difficult for Valdez, as the Orioles rank 10th in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.

I’m of the opinion that the quality of the player matters more than the matchup. However, given how little there is between the two in terms of their own ability, paying an extra $200 for Valdez tonight is a tough pill to swallow. He’s been an intriguing option at a discount.

Of course, we’re getting him at a discount in one sense: ownership. THE BAT currently has Valdez at roughly one-fifth of Scherzer’s projected ownership, so a one-in-five chance of topping Scherzer’s score is enough to make him a plus-EV play. That’s a fairly safe projection, making Valdez firmly in the conversation for larger-field GPPs.

MLB DFS Hitters and Stacks

Notable Stack

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 300 lineups.

The top DraftKings stack in the FantasyLabs MLB Tournament Model when generated by rating using an aggregate projection set belongs to the Boston Red Sox:

Boston was our recommended stack yesterday, and it was a bit of a good news/bad news situation. The good was that the Red Sox beat their (already high) implied total, scoring six runs. The bad was that their top-five hitters contributed almost nothing to that number, with just two hits and one run scored combined.

That’s obviously a fairly unlikely scenario, though, so it’s worth taking another shot at Boston. Their 5.9-run implied total leads the slate, and they have a soft matchup with Royals righty Brady Singer ($7,400).

The right-handed matchup is better for this lefty-heavy Red Sox stack, and facing a southpaw yesterday could be the reason why their production came from the hitters at the bottom of their lineup. I’m willing to take the chance on that being the case, especially with the somewhat affordable price tags on the complete stack.

Be sure to check out all the pick’ems Boom Fantasy has to offer with promo code LABS for a $100 deposit match.

Other MLB DFS Hitter Picks

One of the great features of being a FantasyLabs Pro member is the option to purchase additional items in the FantasyLabs Marketplace.

In addition to our in-house MLB projections,  THE BAT X from Derek Carty of RotoGrinders is available in our marketplace. With this purchase, you can use his projections alone or create aggregate projections within our Player Models.

For this example, we created a 50/50 blend with THE BAT X and the FantasyLabs projections to pinpoint some hitters that stand out.

Josh Palacios OF ($2,300 DraftKings; $2,200 FanDuel) Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves (Yonny Chirinos)

I’m not one to look a $2,300 leadoff hitter in the mouth, especially when they’re setting the table for a lineup implied for a solid 4.5 runs tonight. We’ll take the viable salary savings when we can get them, and tonight that’s Palacios.

His numbers won’t blow you away, with a .234 batting average on the season. To his credit, his .260 BABIP is pretty low for a player with his speed, though, and he should be somewhere in the .250-.260 range if we assume even a league-average BABIP.

Palacios is unlikely to win you and GPPs tonight, but at $2,300, he certainly won’t lose you any, either. Sometimes, that’s all we can ask for.

William Contreras C ($4,800 DraftKings; $3,000 FanDuel) Milwaukee Brewers vs. Colorado Rockies (Kyle Freeland)

Sometimes I forget which of the catching Contreras brothers has the absurd platoon splits against left-handed pitching. Fortunately, our PlateIQ tool makes that an easy question to answer in just a few seconds:

William’s numbers jump off the screen immediately and are backed up by traditional stats as well. He has nearly double the home runs against lefties as he does against righties in less than half the at-bats. He’s also hitting southpaws at a .320 clip on the season.

Those are great numbers regardless of position, but at a historically thin catcher spot, they’re eye-popping. He’s worth paying up for.

Jake Bauers 1B/OF ($2,800 DraftKings; $2,700 FanDuel) New York Yankees at Chicago Whie Sox (Touki Toussaint)

Bauers is another underpriced leadoff hitter who has the added benefit of hitting in front of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees are implied for 5.1 runs tonight, second-best among all visiting teams on the slate.

Unlike Palacios, Bauers has some upside in his own regard as well. He has a very strong .826 OPS against right-handed pitching this season. He’s a free-swinging boom or bust option, with a 30% strikeout rate but solid power. That makes him better suited to GPPs, and his multi-position eligibility helps him fit around most stacks.

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