The 14-game Tuesday slate is absolutely loaded from top to bottom. There are league-leading pitching options available and there are several excellent opportunities to grab bats with explosive upside. The slate has some interesting pricing points that create either strong value plays or odd ownership bubbles around certain players, giving MLB DFS GPP players a lot to work with when building lineups. On a full slate with all but two teams in the league in action, it makes sense to build out full stack combinations, looking to capture the most upside from event-based scoring. There is a stronger probability that two teams will put up scores that run of and hide from the field on a slate this size, deploying full stacks from a variety of highly ranked teams is a strong way to capture a broad range of quality outcomes. Fortunately, the Top Stacks Tool is FREE today, make sure to take advantage of the link below.
***Get a SNEAK PEEK with our free premium data, tools and content of the day, the Awesemo Premium MLB DFS Top Stacks Tool.***
MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Top HR Options
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.
Be sure to catch the MLB DFS Deeper Dive & Live Before Lock where we will review all of the games with an emphasis on finding the best stacks and top picks for DraftKings and FanDuel fantasy baseball lineups.
Home Run Ratings
Check out all of Awesemo’s top-notch baseball content and free baseball picks.
Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great
Arizona Diamondbacks: Christian Walker — 4.51
Atlanta Braves: Austin Riley — 7.16
Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini — 7.88
Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers — 9.44
Chicago Cubs: Joc Pederson — 29.98
Chicago White Sox: Yasmani Grandal — 7.30
Cleveland Indians: Bobby Bradley — 13.55
Colorado Rockies: CJ Cron — 7.07
Detroit Tigers: Jonathan Schoop — 7.70
Houston Astros: Jose Altuve — 11.63
Kansas City Royals: Ryan O’Hearn — 8.30
Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani — 12.18
Los Angeles Dodgers: Max Muncy — 12.87
Miami Marlins: Adam Duvall — 15.16
Milwaukee Brewers: Dan Vogelbach — 7.33
New York Mets: Peter Alonso — 8.07
New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton — 9.24
Oakland Athletics: Ramon Laureano — 10.39
Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper — 10.46
Pittsburgh Pirates: Bryan Reynolds — 7.49
San Diego Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. — 11.58
San Francisco Giants: Darin Ruf — 7.33
Seattle Mariners: Mitch Haniger — 11.88
St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill — 19.05
Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe — 8.26
Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo — 8.79
Toronto Blue Jays: Randal Grichuk — 6.36
Washington Nationals: Juan Soto — 4.90
Latest MLB DFS Content
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 Pitchers, Optimal Stacks & Leverage Plays
This section will feature a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays on DraftKings and FanDuel. Ensure to check out the ownership projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.
On the Hill
The Tuesday MLB DFS pitching slate has several high points at appropriate salaries as well as a few extremely intriguing value plays. The board is topped by Gerrit Cole and Lucas Giolito, facing the Royals and Pirates respectively. Following that duo is a pair of premium arms in more challenging spots, Clayton Kershaw will be taking on the Padres, while Zack Wheeler draws the Nationals; both project well and are due for far less ownership than their higher ranked peers. The slate offers up Freddy Peralta at compelling pricing, with Arizona’s Zac Gallen ranking well on the opposite side of what could be a surprise pitching duel. There is a solid plateau of mid-range options on this slate as well, Marcus Stroman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Heaney, Tarik Skubal and Anthony DeSclafani are all at playable points in matchups of varying quality. Of that list of secondary options, Rodriguez is particularly interesting at just $6,400 on both FanDuel and DraftKings in a matchup against a Rays team that struggles against left-handed pitching. Skubal is drawing a steady projection but also yielding strong home run potential to the Cardinals power bats, making him more of a both sides play in my lineups.
At some point during tonight’s game the umpires will likely check Cole’s right hand for foreign substances. After they find nothing he will continue to pitch, likely at an extremely high level. Cole has completed 89.2 innings in his 14 starts this season, providing excellent depth and a strong shot at a win and quality start bonus every time he toes the rubber. The righty has a 34.7% strikeout rate and is inducing a 14.6% swinging strike rate with a sharp 33.1% CSW%. Cole has walked just 3.6% of hitters to this point and has a 0.85 WHIP while pitching to a 2.61 xFIP for the season. Cole gives up hard contact by virtue of the speed at which his 97mph average fastball comes in, but he could likely be better than the 34th percentile in hard hit rate and 36th percentile in average exit velocity against. Despite those marks, and a 46th percentile barrel rate, Cole ranks in the 75th percentile in expected slugging percentage against and all of his plate discipline marks against are excellent. The opposing Royals are not a pushover matchup, the active roster sits tied for fourth in baseball with a 22.1% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching for the season. They have only displayed limited power in the split however, and their run creation is eight percent below average. The .145 team ISO and 2.86% home run rate should help Cole with the quality of contact issues, though there are certainly hitters who could get to him for the traditional solo home run or two that he tends to yield. Regardless, Cole is a premium option and well worth the salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight, though he is highly popular on both sites on a slate with many options.
Giolito brings his 30.9% strikeout rate to Pittsburgh to face a Pirates team that tends to surprise at second-best in baseball with just a 21.4% strikeout rate in the split. That’s where the upside ends for the Pirates, however, they rank last in the league with a .129 ISO against righties and their 2.39% home run rate is second-worst to the Diamondbacks’ 2.30% in the split. This is a targetable lineup despite their ability to limit strikeouts, though they have more quality with a healthy Colin Moran and the addition of Ke’Bryan Hayes to the lineup. Giolito has made 14 starts, completing 81.2 innings so far this season while pitching to a 3.53 xFIP and a 1.10 WHIP. He has induced 15.9% swinging strikes this season, an ability that adds appeal against such a stingy lineup. Giolito comes in at a major discount on the DraftKings slate, where he costs just $9,400. On FanDuel he makes for a strong option despite somewhat heavy ownership and a $10,500 price, but rostering any pitcher over 25.0% on a 14-game slate is a difficult ask when there are this many viable options.
Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler is pricey at $11,400 on the FanDuel slate, but he is drawing extremely limited ownership despite a strong projection. On DraftKings, Wheeler lands at a $10,200 price and is getting just a mid-range amount of attention from the public in early ownership projections. Wheeler has been excellent through the early part of 2021. The righty has posted 96.1 innings in his 14 starts so far, second to just Aaron Civale, who made his 15th start last night but leads by only four outs. Wheeler has delivered 11 quality starts in his 14 opportunities, landing him among the league leaders, his reliable depth is a major MLB DFS asset and he gives a strong shot at wins and quality starts every time out, given the fairly steady offense behind him. With a 31.6% strikeout rate and just a 5.9% walk rate, Wheeler has been excellent in putting together high-end fantasy starts. He is pitching to a 2.82 xFIP and a 0.93 WHIP so far this season, inducing a 13.4% swinging strike rate, though he has just a 29.7% CSW% that ranks around average. Wheeler’s repertoire lends itself to limiting quality contact, he has excelled his way to the 95th percentile in average exit velocity against, the 92nd percentile in hard hit rate allowed, the 82nd in barrel rate allowed and the 90th percentile in expected slugging percentage against. Paired with an 87th percentile ranking for strikeouts and a 68th percentile chase rate, as well as a walk rate that ranks in the 85th percentile, Wheeler has been absolutely lights out. He deserves consideration as a pay-up to be contrarian option, though he is facing a Nationals lineup that stands eighth-best in baseball with a 22.7% strikeout rate in the split. Washington has struggled with power and run creation, posting just a 3.13% home run rate that slips below average, a .145 team ISO and a 90 WRC+, making this a sneaky-good spot for Wheeler.
Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez has yielded earned runs over his last handful of starts, there is no disputing the 32 earned runs he has allowed in his last eight starts, a stretch over which he has completed the fifth inning only three times and has posted neither a win nor a quality start. These are things that the public is overrating as indicators. Rodriguez has been extremely unlucky over that stretch of games, suffering from a batting average on balls in play against of well over .400. The pitcher has posted a steady xFIP throughout as well as several big strikeout performances, despite the limited innings. Rodriguez remains at an excellent 3.38 xFIP for the season, completing 66.2 innings over his 13 starts. He has a 26.8% strikeout rate and walks 6.2% of hitters, with a bumpy 1.47 WHIP that reflects much of the ugly BABIP numbers. Rodriguez has induced a 10.7% swinging strike rate, but has just a 28.2% CSW% that needs to climb if he is to make another leap. The southpaw ranks in the 74th percentile in hard hit rate allowed, the 65th percentile in average exit velocity yielded and just the 12th percentile in maximum exit velocity. His steady walk rate ranks in the 80th percentile and he is around league average at avoiding barrels, landing in the 51st percentile of barrel rate. There are strong positive indicators for the lefty, and he is facing a Rays team that has largely been miserable in the split this season. Tampa Bay strikes out at a 27.9% clip against lefties, fourth-worst in baseball. The Rays have a lowly .128 team ISO in the split, worst in baseball by a wide margin, the Rangers rank second-worst with a .132 before the stat jumps to the Pirates’ .137 and Tigers’ .142. That is a wide delta between worst and just fourth-worst, illustrating how bad the Rays have been for power against left-handed pitching to this point. Tampa Bay has a 2.60% home run rate in the split and they have created runs 14.0% worse than average. Rodriguez should benefit from all of these indicators, he costs just $6,400 on both DraftKings and FanDuel today and is drawing less than 15.0% ownership on the former site and under 8.0% ownership on the blue site. This is the top value pitcher on the board.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants draw Angels’ lefty Andrew Heaney for this contest. Heaney has been effective this season, pitching to a 3.75 xFIP and a 1.23 WHIP with a 28.7% strikeout rate while inducing 13.5% swinging strikes. The southpaw sits in just the 20th percentile in hard hit rate and the 24th in average exit velocity against, as well as the 32nd percentile of barrel rate allowed and the 30th percentile expected slugging percentage against. If Heaney is not striking hitters out he has been yielding premium contact, for a starter with just a 92mph fastball to allow that much exit velocity means that hitters are firmly squaring up his mistakes. Heaney will be walking a razor’s edge against a San Francisco team that has obliterated left-handed pitching this season. The Giants have a league leading 4.91% home run rate in the split as well as a .181 team ISO, while creating runs eight percent better than average. San Francisco has been reliably good at avoiding strikeouts against southpaws over the past few seasons, this year is no different as the Giants’ 22.9% rate ranks around the middle of the league. The Giants are also a highly affordable team across the industry, adding to their significant upside, though the crowd does not seem to be moving in this direction, so much the better. Getting to the right-handed power offered by hitters like Buster Posey, Darin Ruf, and Wilmer Flores is only part of the equation, as the Giants offer quality options for MLB DFS production that include stolen base threats like Austin Slater and premium lefties like Mike Yastrzemski, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt.
The Cubs warrant a quick mention for their matchup against rookie righty Eli Morgan. Chicago is profiling for major power upside in my home run model and they rank as one of the Top Stacks Tool’s best options in terms of probability of success, though they will be exceedingly popular for the opportunity. Joc Pederson leads all hitters in my personal home run model, followed closely by the remaining Cubs power hitters. Strong projections emerge for all of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. Happ and forgotten lefty Jason Heyward can both help offset some of the heavy ownership from the bottom of the lineup, but this will be a very popular team that will come up in many common constructions tonight.
Try Our Awesemo MLB DFS Top Stacks Tool
The Awesemo MLB DFS Top Stacks Tool helps you answer the tough questions when building your MLB DFS lineups. Like what are the highest-projected stacks, what are the probabilities they will hit, and how does that compare to the ownership? This premium tool breaks down the percentage chance a stack is the top stack on the slate, how owned the stack will be and the leverage you get by using it.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are drawing a strong probability of being the best team to roster according to our Top Stacks Tool, which has them ranked fourth out of the slate’s 28 teams. The Cardinals are also drawing a significant power mark in my home run model, as indicated by their second place ranking in the power index above. St. Louis is facing Tarik Skubal, who is also on the board as a potential mid-range salaried pitcher at no ownership. Skubal has a 27.8% strikeout rate this season and is pitching to a 4.46 xFIP with a 1.45 WIHP. He puts too many men on base and has been vulnerable to right-handed power this season, which is an asset the Cardinals have throughout the lineup. Overall, Skubal sits in just the 15th percentile in hard hit rate allowed, the 16th percentile in average exit velocity against, the 15th in expected slugging percentage against and just the third percentile of barrel rate allowed. Those marks are major targets for a team with flashy right-handed pop like the Cardinals.
Leadoff man Tommy Edman is an excellent option for mid-range pop and stolen base upside. He offers multi-position eligibility between second base and the outfield on FanDuel and lands as just an outfielder on DraftKings, where he also costs $5,100. For $2,700 on FanDuel, Edman is mispriced and drawing significant popularity. He is projected for more than 20.0% ownership on the site, one of the more popular Cardinals hitters. On DraftKings, his ownership is roughly one-fifth of that mark. There is upside in the switch-hitter. Edman is slashing .264/.308/.380 with four home runs and 13 stolen bases, though he has just a .116 ISO and has created runs seven percent below average on the season. Edman is a solid option where he is lower owned, and he should not be left out of many stacks in any situation.
Dylan Carlson provides another switch-hitting bat in the two spot, bringing a bit more power with him. Carlson has hit six home runs in his 288 plate appearances this year, putting up a .141 ISO and creating runs 13.0% better than average on the season. He is slashing .265/.351/.406 on the season and costs a mere $2,400 on FanDuel and $3,300 on DraftKings. Despite the discounted pricing, Carlson is not drawing significant ownership, creating a nice opportunity around the player in both stacks and one-off situations as a last click for a low price.
Paul Goldschmidt brings offensive upside from the right side of the plate and costs only $3,300 on FanDuel. He is a $4,800 player on the DraftKings slate and he will be owned in the low teens on both sites. The first baseman is slashing .255/.320/.419 for the season with a .165 ISO, creating runs seven percent better than average. Goldschmidt has hit 10 home runs in his 294 plate appearances this season, the ISO is down from his heyday of mid .200s, but the home run rate is relatively on par with the 2018 and 2019 seasons that saw him hit 33 and 34 home runs respectively.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado has made 291 plate appearances as a Cardinals hitter so far, slashing .271/.320/.502 for the season with a robust .230 ISO. His 123 WRC+ and 13 home runs both rank second on the team so far this season. Arenado is inexplicably priced at just $3,100 on the FanDuel slate, he costs $5,800 on DraftKings which creates a major popularity difference from site to site. On either, Arenado is a good play, but he is a leverage option at around 5.0% ownership hitting in the middle of this stack this evening.
Tyler O’Neill is finally delivering on his ridiculous raw power upside. O’Neill turns 26 today and he has long been scouted with 70-grade raw power ratings, but he was largely unable to sustain quality production over a few cups of coffee in the last few seasons. Seeing around 150 plate appearances in each of 2018, 2019 and 2020, O’Neill never cracked 10 home runs, his nine in 2018, with a .246 ISO, were both peaks prior to this year. So far in 2021, O’Neill has seemingly put it all together. He is slashing a healthy .276/.321/.591 and has a titanic .315 ISO while creating runs 47.0% better than average to lead his team. The righty has hit 15 home runs in just 196 plate appearances and will threaten the league lead before the season is up, assuming health. O’Neill is an excellent upside option for just $2,900 on FanDuel and $3,300 on DraftKings, he will be under-owned despite the misprices.
Veteran catcher Yadier Molina has been playing out his Hall of Fame career in style. With his 39th birthday coming up in mid-July, Molina has been hitting better than he has since at least 2018. The righty catcher has hit seven home runs in his 194 plate appearances this season, posting a .179 ISO and creating runs six percent better than average. He is slashing .263/.309/.441 and makes for an excellent catcher play where the position is required. On that site, Molina costs just $3,600 but is drawing under 10.0% ownership. He has a $2,600 price tag on FanDuel and is in play, despite not needing to roster the position on the site; Molina is primarily a mix-in option for those contests, but he will be almost completely unowned.
Try Our Awesemo MLB DFS Top Pitchers Tool
Our Awesemo MLB DFS Top Pitchers Tool gives you the probabilities that each pitcher will be one of the highest-scoring options of the night. On DraftKings where you get two pitchers, we give the odds of a pitcher being one of the Top 2. The top pitcher percentage is defined as overall points and the value by top points per dollar, according to their respective salaries.
Shortstop Paul DeJong has hit eight home runs in just 175 plate appearances this season, missing time with a trip to the IL. DeJong is slashing just .160/.251/.333 for the season and has a WRC+ 33.0% below average. The veteran shortstop does have significant right-handed power however, despite the struggles in most other aspects of hitting, he has managed at least a .173 ISO, though that falls well below the .211 he put up in 664 plate appearances in 2019, the .193 from 2018 and the .247 from his excellent 2017 debut season. DeJong is a premium power bat when he is going right, in that 2017 rookie season he hit 25 home runs and had a .285/.325/.532 slash, creating runs 23.0% better than average. He saw his largest volume of plate appearances in the 2019 campaign, responding with 30 home runs and a .233/.318/.444 slash, though he created runs at just the league average. There is major power upside on any given slate, DeJong makes a fine shortstop mix-in from later in the Cardinals lineup, his appeal grows if he is hitting closer to sixth than eighth.
Edmundo Sosa is slashing .250/.339/.321 for the season with a .071 ISO and a 92 WRC+, Lane Thomas is at just .104/.259/.125 over his first 58 plate appearances, with a .021 and a 22 WRC+ in the unfair sample. Both players have delivered quality in the minor leagues, Thomas had a 27 home run 17 stolen base campaign across 575 plate appearances between AA (435) and AAA (140) in 2018. Sosa flashed similar upside with a 17 home run season in 496 AAA plate appearances in 2019. Both players are in consideration for mix-in shares at low cost, they are both the absolute minimum on FanDuel, while Sosa costs $2,800 on DraftKings and Thomas lands at a mere $2,200. Neither player is drawing more than 1.0% popularity in afternoon ownership projections.
HR Call: Tyler O’Neill — St. Louis Cardinals
To get even more action down on tonight’s MLB slate, check out the betting markets and Awesemo’s expert MLB betting picks for today.