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Ahead of the Count: MLB DFS plays for Monday (6/21)




What’s up, everyone! Welcome, or welcome back to, Ahead of the Count. This article is going to cover my thoughts on the slate, top to bottom. My goal is going to provide you with as much analysis, strategy, and advice as possible on a daily basis to help you guys not only make winning lineups, but learn, develop, and dial in on a process of your own.

As far as content coming from me, I will have my main slate preview article Monday-Friday, as well as my projections. My projections are currently loaded into our brand new FTN optimizer on the site, but make sure you’re checking back and not setting lineups too early as my projections will often change once starting lineups are confirmed.  My player-rater system and ownership projections will also be integrated into the optimizer as well as available here.

Be sure to check out the rest of our FTN MLB DFS content as we have you covered with anything you could look for. Also, please be sure to check for spotty weather and to confirm the starting lineups for each person I write up to ensure they made the starting lineup that day.


Expensive tier

  1. Yu Darvish


  1. Frankie Montas
  2. Julio Urías

Value tier

  1. Kyle Gibson
  2. Jake Odorizzi

Pitcher rankings

  1. Yu Darvish
  2. Frankie Montas
  3. Julio Urías
  4. Kyle Gibson
  5. Jake Odorizzi (punt)


  1. Cincinnati Reds
  2. Houston Astros
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. Baltimore Orioles
  5. Milwaukee Brewers

Here is the stack rater for today:

HR Rater for today, this number looks to indicate the pitchers most likely to give up power:

Slate strategy

Today’s slate has a lot of volatile spots that are picking up significant amounts of ownership. The first spot is Jake Odorizzi on DraftKings. I have him at 25% projected ownership, and while I understand some of the appeals, he is under $6k, the Orioles strike out a fair amount, and his team is favored to win. However, Odorizzi has the fourth-highest xFIP on the slate and has really struggled with power prevention over the last two years, as he has allowed a 40% hard-contact rate combined with just a 34% GB%. He does have some reverse splits over the last two years, but you can still use LHHs. Against RHHs since 2020, he has allowed a .350 wOBA and a .315 ISO while having an abysmal 26% GB%. Baltimore is going to be a very interesting leverage stack option with Odorizzi being volatile chalk.

Kyle Gibson is also going to be fairly popular, and while he has the tougher matchup than Odorizzi, he has been the much better pitcher of the two so far this year. So while I don’t think he is as volatile as Odorizzi, and I would rather roster Gibson, the A’s are still in play as a leverage stack as well.

I also have seven Brewers hitters projecting for 10% ownership or more, which leads me to think they’ll be a fairly popular secondary stack option. If you have been following me long enough, you know that I don’t think Merrill Kelly is a good pitcher at all, especially for DFS. However, if you are looking to get off of chalk, going to Kelly instead of Gibson or Odorizzi makes sense. Kelly has also been a reverse splits pitcher, which could actually play into his favor today, as there are five LHHs in the projected starting lineup, and while he is not striking out LHHs as much as he is RHHs, he is allowing a sub-.300 wOBA and just a .136 ISO against LHHs so far this year. He does still give up tons of hard contact and struggles to keep the ball on the ground, so he is not totally safe, but he is going to be half the ownership of Gibson and Odorizzi, who also have their flaws today.

Quick hits

Favorite value hitter – Chas McCormick
Favorite value pitcher – Kyle Gibson
Favorite one-off hitter – Byron Buxton
Favorite contrarian pitcher – Julio Urías
Favorite contrarian stack – Minnesota Twins
Favorite value stack – Baltimore Orioles
The Bleacher Report (HR calls) – Byron Buxton, Matt Olson, Yordan Alvarez, Eugenio Suárez

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