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MLB DFS Slate Breakdown (6/4/21)

This content will be dedicated to providing you with an easy-to-follow breakdown of the elite cash plays, GPP plays, and leverage stacks.

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Max Scherzer- We get a pair of bonafide aces on the hill tonight in Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler, squaring off in Philly. You can make the case for either of them tonight, but I tend to lean with the overall strikeout history of Scherzer. We have a long history of him being a dominant strikeout artist, and that has continued with a 36.5% rate this season. There are a ton of strikeouts in the middle of this Phillies lineup, and I’m not scared of any lefties in their current lineup. We have a big 240 PA sample-size of Scherzer vs this team, resulting in a .245 xwOBA and 34% punch outs. Over the last two seasons, Mad Max is striking out 36% of right-handed batters faced…the Phillies will send seven of them to the plate tonight.

Shohei Ohtani- Ohtani is personally my favorite option tonight, and it’s because he is once again priced at $7,600 on DK. The Mariners are one of the worst offenses in baseball, but they do possess a decent walk rate vs right-handed pitching. That could be cause for concern tonight, but I trust in Ohtani’s strikeout stuff enough that I will always consider him at this price tag. I expect Blake Snell (see below) to be pretty high-owned tonight and I just don’t like that play. You can get a similar pitcher in Ohtani, for much less in salary and it’s actually a better match-up.

Mitch Keller (DK SP2)- Keller has once again had an up-and-down season, but we can certainly consider him for under $6K against the Miami Marlins. Miami is already not a great offense, but they are rolling out a puke-worthy lineup tonight. Since the start of 2020, this lineup owns a laughable .290 wOBA with a 26% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. I wouldn’t call him safe by any means, but he is 100% in play at this price tag if you are attempting to jam in an expensive stack.

Favorite Pivot- Luis Castillo over Blake Snell- Snell is projected to be pretty chalky again tonight, and it’s just tough to roster the current version of him at high-ownership. He walks entirely too many batters, and it aids him in racking up his pitch count early and potentially leading to longer innings. Now, you may argue that I like Ohtani tonight who also has control issues, but we are getting a big price discount by using him on DK. Snell is still priced above $9K there. The Mets offense is getting healthier with Alonso coming back, and they have a double-digit walk rate as a team vs left-handed pitching.

Castillo has not been good at all this season, but he has been one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball with an insane .380 BABIP. The strikeouts have been down, but the fact that his ground balls are still over 50% with that high of BABIP is insane. We know that he will utilize his changeup, and only two batters — Yadi Molina and Nolan Arenado — own a wOBA north of .300 vs changeups since the start of 2017. At only $7,300 on DK, he is worth a shot in tournaments tonight.

Other GPP Targets: Zack Wheeler, Freddy Peralta, Luis Castillo

MLB Top Batters



As always, catcher is typically the last position I fill out in my rosters on DraftKings. There are a few solid spend-ups tonight in Salvador Perez and Sean Murphy. Perez is someone I personally love to roster, and he will be much lower-owned than last night due to the righty on righty match-up. I don’t weight same-handed match-ups as negatively as some, especially since Shoemaker has allowed a .200 ISO to righties in recent seasons. We also have good punt with there being so many games, particularly Tyler Stephenson who is batting clean up for the Reds.


Matt Olson- Olson is the clear top projection here and might be the highest-owned player on the entire slate tonight, in Coors Field against Jon Gray. I don’t love to go overboard on the chalkiest offense on massive slates like this, but it’s tough to argue Olson and it’s pretty much a no brainer in cash game builds.

Jared Walsh- This has turned into a Jared Walsh Stan Account and I can’t get over how far this guy has come in not even a full season. Obviously Albert Pujols is at the end of his HOF career, but the Angels literally cut him so that they could make sure this guy gets in the lineup every night. We know he possesses that slate-breaking power I search for, but he has also been seeing the ball extremely well as of late. Over the last 14 days, Walsh sports a 49% hard contact rate.


Jed Lowrie- Sticking with the chalk stack in the A’s, we can expect pretty large ownership on Lowrie tonight. Attacking Gray with left-handed batters has been the way to go about it in recent years, and Lowrie will be at the top of the A’s lineup owning a massive implied run total of 6. Lowrie isn’t someone like Olson with massive raw power, so I prefer him in cash games or an A’s stack than as a one off tonight.

Jazz Chisholm Jr- “Smooth Jazz” is someone that I was on early this season, and has been great to roster in DFS. He looks to be in full breakout mode for the Marlins, with a solid 42% hard hit rate vs right-handed pitching with 22% line drives. He possesses the power/speed combo we love to target, and Mitch Keller has surrendered a .200 ISO to both sides of the plate this season.


Hunter Dozier- Dozier was locked into my Core Plays last night, and I love him for his price tag again tonight. As I noted with Perez, Shoemaker gives up north of a .200 ISO to both left-handed and right-handed batters, so we want to target the power hitters vs him regardless of handedness. Dozier fits that mold, and even his power has been good in same-handed match-ups this season. He’s too cheap for his power upside again tonight.

Rafael Devers- Devers has fallen below $5,000 on DK, and that is the time to jump on him. He’s cooled off a bit from that torrid start to the season, but make no mistake, he is having an incredible season. Not only does he have power, but he is still third-overall in all of baseball with 11.7% barrels/PA. He’s barreling everything, and his 52% hard hits against righties is the clear tops on this team. He makes for a strong one off option.


Brandon Crawford- This is a tough position tonight, so I’m choosing to write up my favorite overall option. Overall, I think the plan at this position is to spend-up for one of the studs, or save money. Given my interest in high-end pitching I will need some savings somewhere, and that has me focused on Crawford. Jake Arrieta is no longer a good pitcher, and has pitched to a 5.33 xFIP this season. On a smaller slate, I could see this Giants offense garnering some attention as a tournament stack. Crawford has quietly been one of the hottest hitters in baseball — owning a 53% hard contact rate and 46% fly ball rate over the last 14 days.


Christian Yelich- Yelich needs no introduction here, against a right-handed pitcher in Peacock. He hasn’t missed a beat since coming off the injured list, and honestly feels cheap at only $5,100 on DraftKings. He is my top overall spend-up at this position on Friday night.

Seth Brown + A’s- Wrapping up our Coors Field exposure is Seth Brown and his teammates in the outfield. Brown is just $3,400 on DK despite fitting the mold of a lefty vs Jon Gray and being projected to bat clean up. Expect him to be one of the highest-owned value plays on the slate. This is an example of someone that I am looking to play in cash games or stacks, but not necessarily someone I would want to one off in tournament builds.

Greg Polanco- Polanco was once a top prospect for the Pirates, and is one of many that just never lived up to the hype. That being said, his batted ball profile has been extremely solid in 2021, and he’s actually been someone I’ve rostered a few times already. Since the start of the season, we are looking at 39% hard hits with over 46% fly balls. Cody Poteet is mainly fastball/changeup to lefties so Polanco should have an idea what’s coming. He goes to his changeup as a put out pitch vs left-handed batters and that is actually Polanco’s best pitch profile. He is my HR call tonight.


“Team Batting Score” – A metric that quickly highlights overall team batting based on Runs Created (RC+) by team and comparing it to the average and standard deviation of all other MLB Teams
“Opp. Pitcher SP Score” – A weighted metric that evaluates today’s starting pitchers based on xFIP and Games Started (currently using partial end of 2020 data blended with the 2021 season)
“Opp. BP Score” – Similar to SP Score but weights the xFIP for the team’s bullpen

Team Batting vs. Opp. Pitch

DK MLB Stacks

“T2” (and T3/T4/T5) represents the Top 2 projected hitters for the team on the left (not necessarily the top 2 hitters in the batting order)

Stacking is an extremely important element to MLB DFS. In MLB, all of your players are correlated to each other. Outside of solo homeruns, they need each other to succeed. If you look at the top of all of the big GPPs every night you will see stacks dominating the leaderboard.

When using our stacks chart, we want to identify teams that are projecting well but the ownership does not reflect their chance of success.

DraftKings 5-Man Stack Ideas


Semien-Bichette-Vlad Jr-Hernandez-Grichuk




DraftKings 3-Man Stack Ideas

Vlad Jr-Semien-Grichuk



Jose Ramirez-A. Rosario-Harold Ramirez


Hayes-Reynolds-Greg Polanco


Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)

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