Baseball is one of the best possible sports for DFS. Scoring is much less predictable than in sports like basketball and soccer, making it ideal for guaranteed prize pools.
This season, I’m going to walk you through each slate on Tuesday and Friday to help you identify some possible leverage points to take advantage of guaranteed prize pools.
To help you out, I’ll draw on FantasyLabs wide range of tools and metrics, including player models, trends tool, and projected ownership. I will also be using Derek Carty’s BAT X projections, which are now available to complement our models.
You can also use our Lineup Builder to build your teams by hand, or you can use our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups for large field tournaments.
With that in mind, let’s dive into Tuesday’s main 12-game slate.
MLB DFS Chalk Pitchers
- Justin Verlander ($10,400 on DraftKings, $10,800 on FanDuel)
- Aaron Nola ($8,900 on DraftKings, $9,700 on FanDuel)
- Robbie Ray ($8,300 on DraftKings, $8,800 on FanDuel)
No one stands out as crushing chalk on today’s slate, but Verlander, Nola and Ray are all expected to hold around 30% ownership. Verlander will be on the road against the Twins, while Nola and Ray will face off in Seattle.
Let’s start with Verlander. He’s missed virtually each of the past two seasons as he recovers from an arm injury, but picked up where he left off in 2022. He threw a 1.93 ERA in his first five starts, and he is now one of the betting favorites to win. the AL Cy Young.
However, there are reasons to expect some regression with Verlander going forward. For starters, his withdrawal rate is down from his peak. He has just 8.54 strikeouts per nine innings this season, well below his mark of 12.11 in 2019. This means he has relied more on recording strikeouts on the balls in play, which he did a phenomenal job of. He limits opposing hitters to a .192 batting average on balls in play, which is absurdly low. Verlander has always done a great job of limiting damage on balls in play, but expecting some regression is reasonable.
Conversely, Nola is someone I expect better results from going forward. He was one of the few pitchers this season who struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark. A whopping 21.4% of his fly balls turned into homers, which is much higher than his career rate of 14.2%.
Tracks were really Nola’s only downfall to start the year. He struck out more than 10.6 batters in nine innings and posted a 51.9 percent rushing rate. If he can master the home runs – which is very reasonable given how home runs have gone down this season – he could be set for a huge year.
Finally, Ray was arguably the biggest surprise at the pitcher this season. He was always expected to see some regression – 2021 stands out as a major outlier for his career – but strikeouts were never an issue for Ray. He could run the whole stadium, but Ray has posted a K/9 of at least 11.25 in every season since 2016.
That makes his 7.54 rating in his first six starts this season very concerning. His average fastball speed is also down nearly 1.5 miles per hour, which is a serious issue. It’s too early to write off Ray completely, but if he doesn’t find his form of withdrawal, he’ll be hard pressed to regain fantastic value.
Ray also faces a tough game on Tuesday. The Phillies’ offense hasn’t been as strong as expected to start the year, but they’re still loaded with quality power bats. They also have a ton of good hitters in the right-handed hitting box — Nick Castellanos, Rhys Hoskins and JT Realmuto to name a few — and right-handed hitters have given Ray trouble this season.
Overall, Ray is easily the least interesting pitcher of this trio. There’s a chance I’ll wipe it out completely, but I’ll definitely be underweight compared to the rest of the pack. I will also be underweight on Verlander, with Nola being my preferred option in this group.