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MLB DFS for Monday, April 3: Best Plays on DraftKings and FanDuel

As we pass the opening weekend of Major League Baseball, we are down to most teams’ fourth or fifth starter in the rotation. The options available for pitchers on both main sites clearly show this is the case. This slate will be completely unlike Opening Day when there was a plethora of high-end starters available. On this slate, we will need to find the right value plays at pitchers to be able to afford some of the enticing stacks of teams with implied totals in the 4.5-5.5 range.

If you have any thoughts or recommendations for how we can better cover MLB DFS in 2023, reach out to us on Twitter or send me a message (@KirkseySports). I’m always happy to talk a little DFS throughout the day, and let’s win some slates together! Let’s start by looking at weather issues for Monday as well as the best hitting and pitching environments on the fifth slate of the day.

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MLB DFS Picks and Plays for April 3

Today’s analysis covers the 11-game main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel beginning at 7:05 PM ET.

Weather Concerns:

  • As of Monday morning, there are no games with any significant chance of rain delay or postponement
  • The Braves @ Cardinals game looks to have winds blowing out to left field at around 10-15 mph. A slight bump to hitters.
  • There are 12-14 mph winds blowing out to left at Fenway Park for Pirates @ Red Sox as well.

Best Hitters’ Parks:

  • Great American Ball Park
  • Fenway Park
  • Dodger Stadium

Best Pitchers’ Parks:

  • T-Mobile Park
  • Oakland Coliseum
  • Busch Stadium

DraftKings Top Plays

High-Dollar Pitcher

Nestor Cortes ($9,700) vs. Philadelphia Phillies  – If you compare this pitching slate to the Opening Day slate, for example, the number of reliable pitchers pales in comparison. I don’t even endorse Cortes with supreme confidence, but just note that the potential for strikeouts plus an easy win is on the table. The Phillies’ active roster struck out at the sixth-highest rate in the league last season (23.3%), and they are already striking out 25.6% of the time through three games this season (11th-most this year). Cortes put up a 27% strikeout rate last season which is the third-highest on the slate, but the other two (including one below) have matchup or experience concerns.

Value Pitcher

Hunter Brown ($7,400) vs. Detroit Tigers – Can we reasonably expect five innings out of Hunter Brown (AKA Baby Verlander) in his first start after he missed the end of spring training with back issues? Likely not, but below this salary on DK is a bunch of trash we don’t want in our lineups, plus Brown was flat-out dominant in his 20-inning cup of coffee last season. He was at a 2.87 SIERA, 28% strikeout rate, and a 0.89 ERA last year and now gets the Tigers at home whose roster struck out at the fourth-highest rate in the league last year.

High-Dollar Infielder

Oneil Cruz, SS ($5,300) – Cruz’s salary jumped from $4,600 on Opening Day to $5,300 on this Monday slate after averaging over 15 fantasy points per game in his first three this year. He now gets Kutter Crawford in a game against the Red Sox with the highest implied total on the slate (9.5 runs) and gets about as massive a park upgrade as he can going from PNC Park (league average last three years) to Fenway Park, the third-best offensive environment over the last three seasons.

Value Infielder

Christian Walker, 1B ($3,800) – Lefty-killer Christian Walker gets a matchup up with the Padres’ Ryan Weathers on Monday. This is the same Ryan Weathers who allowed a .410 wOBA to right-handed batters last season and only struck out 14% of them. Walker has the highest wOBA on the team against left-handers over the last year and also walks at a 12% clip against them.

High-Dollar Outfielder

Mookie Betts, OF ($6,100) – The Dodgers have the highest implied team total on the Monday slate (5.5 runs) and they will only get their if Betts is at his best self across his four of five plate appearances on Monday. Ryan Feltner actually gives up a worse wOBA, worse ISO, and worse line drive rate to right-handed batters than lefties over the last year and Betts has a 0.346 wOBA against righties since last season.

Value Outfielder

Adam Duvall, OF ($3,700) – The Red Sox have a lot of cheaper pieces that make this stack look appealing on Monday (more on that below). Duvall isn’t as cheap as he was the first couple of games of the season (under $3,000), but in his first three games, he went 7-for-10 with six extra-base hits and seven RBI. He should man the fourth or fifth spot in the lineup as long as he is healthy and the Pirates are already scraping the bottom of the barrel with Johan Oviedo tomorrow.

Best DraftKings Stack

Boston Red Sox vs. Johan Oviedo – After winning two out of their first three at home, it was clear that the bats were not the problem for Boston, but rather the pitching. Back home again for another set against a bad-on-paper Pittsburgh team, there are several cheap ways we can stack the Red Sox who own the second-highest implied run total of the slate (5.4 runs). Only Rafael Devers ($4,000) is above $3,400 on Monday while lefties Alex Verdugo ($3,400) and Masataka Yoshida ($3,200) look like incredible values as part of this stack. Justin Turner and Kike Hernandez are also hot to start the year so there are plenty of ways to put together a strong stack against Johan Oviedo.

FanDuel Top Plays

High-Dollar Pitcher

Drew Rasmussen ($10,200) vs. Washington Nationals – Rasmussen is actually a much better value on DraftKings at $8,100, but he fits the bill as a player with the right matchup and the right skills to eventually pay off a price tag that gives you a little sticker shock when you see it for the first time. Washington was 27th in slugging and 28th in wOBA with this active roster last season. So far this season, the Nationals’ .286 slugging percentage is bottom-10 among all teams and they strike out almost 23% of the time. Rasmussen’s average 21% strikeout rate is accompanied by an elite 5% walk rate last season to help minimize damage against him.

Value Pitcher

Zach Plesac ($7,400) vs. Oakland A’s – Plesac and his 18% strikeout rate over the last year are not going to blow anyone away, but this is the best matchup if you are going to be a pitch-to-contact kind of pitcher. This rosters for the A’s was 29th last season in both slugging percentage and wOBA. With this game also being in Oakland, Plesac gets a 10-spot park factor boost in order to help with run suppression. Don’t expect many strikeouts here tonight, but a win could be very likely.

High-Dollar Infielder

Freddie Freeman, 1B ($3,700) – Freeman, who absolutely hammers weak right-handed pitching, has a salary less than guys like Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts on this slate, but I prefer Freeman over those guys 100 times out of 100 considering the park, the opposing pitcher, and the run environment. Freeman has a .406 wOBA against right-handers last season and Ryan Feltner strikes out less than 20% of lefties.

Value Infielder

Ketel Marte, 2B ($2,700) – Marte is a switch-hitter so he can pivot to the right side with Ryan Weathers up on Monday (a lot of bad pitchers named Ryan on this slate…). Against righties, Marte is second only to Christian Walker with a 0.345 wOBA and he has the lowest strikeout rate at just 15%. Marte is the same salary as someone like Ramon Laureano which makes absolutely no sense.

High-Dollar Outfielder

Juan Soto, OF ($3,800) – There are eight outfielders with higher salaries than Soto on this slate which I just do not understand. The man has a .400 wOBA against righty pitchers the last year plus he walks more than 21% of the time against them. Soto should be $400 more than he is especially considering San Diego has an implied total of almost 4.7 runs.

Value Outfielder

M.J. Melendez, OF ($2,700) – There is really no other way to say it, but Jose Berrios was plain awful last season, especially against left-handers. They had a .360 wOBA and a .215 ISO against him and he only struck out 17% of that handedness all last year. Melendez is hitless to start the season, which has dropped his salary for this game. But playing at home against a weak right-hander like Berrios could be the remedy to get him going this year. He is just way too cheap for the potential he can bring with the bat.

Best FanDuel Stack

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Ryan Feltner – Two-thirds of the Dodgers lineup is under $3,000 on this slate where they are projected to score 5.5 runs. Only Mookie Betts touches $4,000 with Freeman and Will Smith several hundred below that. With lefties Trayce Thompson and David Peralta playing very well to start the season (both with homers, both under $3,000), you can roster the best offense on Monday’s slate while not breaking the back which will allow for high-salary pitchers and another quality stack.

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