Draftkings is offering a two-game MLB DFS early slate today with $20,000 up top to first place. Although a two game slate isn’t appealing to a lot of people, there’s a potential edge due to smaller contests. Throughout this article, we’ll discuss strategy and how to get different with only a couple games to work with.
There’s a few different ways to approach pitching on a small MLB slate. If there’s a lack of elite options, we can crank the randomness up on the pitchers we’re interested in to get different in our lineups. Conversely, if there’s a couple no-brainer pitching options, it might be best to lock them in on a small slate. This will all depend on the conviction you have.
Today’s slate favors the latter of the approaches. We have two all-star pitchers that are playing in the same game – Shohei Ohtani and Alex Manoah. Jefferey Springs is available as a mid-tier option too, which is great if you’re trying to avoid playing pitchers from the same game.
Shohei Ohtani – $10,100 DK
Ohtani will undoubtedly be the most popular pitcher on today’s early slate. He leads all pitching options in strikeout percentage and he’s shown the most upside by a long shot. In terms of recent form, Ohtani’s been pitching great lately with several 30+ fantasy point performances.
It’s important to note that Ohtani has a tough matchup against the Blue Jays. Toronto is stacked on offense, and they can easily give Shohei trouble if he slips up. Based on your conviction, this is either a situation where you lock in Shohei Ohtani to get over the field, or you play under the field and take a contrarian stance.
Alex Manoah – $8,300 DK
Manoah is perhaps a more interesting option than Shohei Ohtani today because of the overall matchup. The Angels strikeout a lot, and Manoah happens to be an above average strikeout pitcher. He’s reasonable priced in the $8k range considering his tendency to post 20+ fantasy points whenever he starts.
Alex Manoah will likely be just as chalky as Shohei Ohtani given the matchup. It’s worth noting that the Angels have Mike Trout back, so the top of LA’s order can do some damage. The Angels also managed to put up double digit runs last night, so consider that the bats might be heating up. This paired with the game being in Toronto could lead to more offense than expected.
Jefferey Springs – $7,000 DK
Springs has been consistent lately, recording at least 19 fantasy points in his last four starts. His consistency combined with his fair salary makes him a solid option on this slate. He will likely be the lowest owned of the three options mentioned, mostly due to Boston’s lineup looking particularly strong today.
Springs tends to pitch around 5 innings each outing, but this is enough for him to get the job done at $7k. Assuming he can limit the walks, Springs has notable upside due to his strikeout rate and low ERA. It’ll be interesting to see where his ownership comes in because his salary allows you to squeeze more studs in your builds.
Starting lineups are not out at the time of writing this article, but it seems like Boston will roll out a powerful lineup. Jefferey Springs will need to silence Rafael Devers, Trevor Story, and Xander Bogaerts if he wants to be successful.
Below you’ll find a rundown of the top hitters for today. These picks have nothing to do with stacking, although you can consider them when building a stack. Keep in mind that lineups are not official yet, so make sure these guys are playing prior to lock.
Yandy Diaz – $4,300 DK
Leading off against Rich Hill should work out well for Yandy Diaz. He’s been on an absolute tear lately, posting double digit fantasy points in 6 of his last 11 games. It’s promising that he hardly ever records a 0, and he managed to put up a whopping 31 fantasy points in yesterday’s game.
Diaz ranks 6th in the league in OBP. His .13 ISO is not astonishing, but his ability to draw walks is elite. With a $4,300 price-tag and a lack of third base options to choose from, Yandy Diaz is certainly worth a look today.
Luis Rengifo – $4,000 DK
Multi-position eligibility is always a plus, and Rengifo always seems to have it. The Angels infielder is playing well as of late, posting 3 double digit fantasy performances in his last 10 games. If we expand his sample size slightly, it’s apparent that he’s been on a hitting very well recently.
Luis Rengifo fits well in lineups despite the not-so promising matchup against Jefferey Springs. His price-tag is fair given his upside, and he’s projected to bat clean-up today. You can play him at either 2B or 3B, a major plus in terms of lineup construction.
Mike Trout – $5,400 DK
Recent injuries aside, a price-tag in the $5k range is ludicrous for one of the best hitters in baseball. Mike Trout can easily be in the same $6k range as guys like Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts. He’s currently riding a streak of three consecutive games with a homer while also being on a 5-game hit streak.
Trout is arguably the highest upside player on today’s slate. He can even be seen as a value play considering how his ceiling compares to his current price-tag. Toronto’s ballpark ranks at the top of the league for home runs, and Trout is in a good spot to hit one in four straight games.
Kevin Plawecki – $2,000 DK
Playing a cheap catcher on today’s slate might be the way to go. Plawecki is projected to be the cheapest option available at the minimum price on Draftkings. Minimum price players are boom or bust by nature, and this is evident looking at Plawecki’s game log. There’s plenty of zeros over the past 15 games, but he’s flashed upside too.
Plawecki recorded 10+ fantasy points in two of his last three games. This is not the norm for him, but he might just be seeing the ball well right now. Note that 7 or 8 fantasy points results in 3.5x-4x value on a min-priced player, so we don’t need much for Plawecki to be optimal on such a small slate.
With only two games to work with, it’s important to get different. The chalk is easy to identify today; Ohtani and Manoah are clearly the best pitchers, while Tampa Bay and Boston have the highest game total. Knowing this, most builds will probably start with these two pitchers and stack the Rays or Red Sox. Full stacking the Angels or Blue Jays could end up being contrarian.
Another way to get different on such a small slate is to not focus on 5-man stacks. The overall player pool is much smaller for two games, so not stacking could prove to be optimal (NOTE: This is only recommended for very small slates).
Lastly, if you’re really worried about ownership, you can try playing a hitter or two against one of your starting pitchers. Again, this only makes sense for smaller slates due to a smaller overall player pool.
Thank you for reading our breakdown of today’s MLB DFS early slate. Remember that fewer games can result in ownership being more concentrated in the theoretical best spots. You can use this to your advantage in large-field GPPs if you have conviction on low-owned players.
As always, we wish you the best of luck with your lineups. If you’re looking to further improve your fantasy baseball skills, make sure to check out our winning strategies.