Tuesday is another busy night on the diamonds as Major League Baseball provides another jumbo slate of fantasy baseball action on DraftKings. To give everyone even more ways to get in the game, DraftKings launched a new MLB Snake Draft fantasy format at the start of the season. The new style of play gives you a chance to build a small squad of top hitters, so check out how it works and keep your fantasy baseball draft skills sharp all season long.
Remember that MLB Snake only includes hitters, and the classic format requires two infielders, two outfielders and two utility players. The lowest score of the seven players on your roster is automatically moved to your bench slot if possible, so drafting at least three IF and three OF allows maximum flexibility.
The 11 games on Tuesday set up to provide many different options although there isn’t any game with an over/under of more than 9.0 runs on DraftKings Sportsbook. It does look like a mostly clear night from a weather perspective, so there aren’t any games you have to avoid due to fear of cancelation. The game between the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles is now part of a double-header after their postponement Monday, so the game will be disabled from the Game Set and players listed for that game will not be eligible to accrue points. There are also a few lineups you may want to downgrade due to matchup, with the Rockies facing Trevor Bauer, the Indians facing Lucas Giolito, the White Sox taking on Shane Bieber, the Cardinals facing Stephen Strasburg and the Yankees taking on Hyun-Jin Ryu. Don’t worry, though, there are also a few great matchups to attack highlighted below.
Check out some of the players I’m significantly higher or lower on than their current MLB Snake rank listed below.
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Favorable Early Round Targets
José Altuve, IF, Houston Astros
MLB Snake Rank: 6th
The Astros are in a good spot on this slate as they host the Tigers and take on lefty Matthew Boyd. Boyd has given up 2.1 HR/9 over his 13 starts during the past calendar year, which is the highest mark of any SP on this slate, and he has a 5.54 FIP over that span. In his 12 2⁄3 innings this season, Boyd has only give up two runs thanks to a very high 80% strand rate. He hasn’t given up a ton of hard contact in those two starts but is definitely someone to try to get right-handed hitters stacked up against. Last season, he gave up a .410 wOBA to righties, and 14 of his 15 home runs allowed came against right-handed hitters.
Altuve is looking to put a rough 2020 season behind him and has looked much better in the early going, bouncing back from a .278 wOBA last season to a .376 wOBA in 10 games so far in 2021. He has a 33.3% hard-hit rate so far this season and has been even better against lefties, posting a 40.0% hard-hit rate to help him go 10-for-19 with a .474 wOBA. While those numbers are partly the result of a small sample size early in the season, he has hit lefties very well throughout his career and makes for a good option in the heart of what should be a productive lineup on Tuesday’s slate.
Austin Meadows, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
MLB Snake Rank: 41st
Meadows and the Rays are in a good spot on Tuesday night as well as they take on the Rangers and Kyle Gibson. The first game of the series was a 1-0 Rays’ win, but I expect more runs Tuesday since Gibson has a 5.35 FIP and 1.57 HR/9 over his 14 games in the past calendar year. Gibson has especially struggled against lefties, giving up seven of his 12 home runs to left-handed hitters last season and allowing them to post a .363 wOBA.
Meadows is one of several Rays’ lefties who should be in a good spot to produce in this contest, and he has gotten off to a strong start to the season going 9-for-35 (.257) with three home runs, three doubles and an average of 9.0 DKFP per game. He has a .430 wOBA and .343 ISO, supported by a robust 42.3% hard-hit rate. In addition, Meadows has been hitting in the second spot in the Rays’ lineup against right-handed pitchers, which is a prime spot for run production and getting great pitches to hit with more heavy hitters coming up behind him.
Early Round Player to Avoid
José Ramírez, IF, Cleveland Indians
MLB Snake Rank: 10th
Ramirez always brings a high ceiling with his power-speed combo, but I’m passing on taking him early in this matchup against Lucas Giolito. Ramirez is 5-for-18 in his career against Giolito but only 3-for-12 with three singles over the past two seasons since Giolito has found his form. Ramirez has been getting on base at a good rate this season but is 0-for-10 over his past three games and has only reached double-digit DKFP in two of his 10 contests this season. He only has a 27.6% hard-hit rate so far this season, so taking him against Giolito doesn’t seem like a good strategy in the early rounds.
Late Round Flyers
This section tries to exploit players who are in favorable matchups and should out-produce their rankings even though they are below the threshold for drafted players in some formats.
Shohei Ohtani, IF, Los Angeles Angels
MLB Snake Rank: 70th
Ohtani has hit safely in five straight games, going 9-for-23 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and eight RBI. In his 10 games this season, he now has an impressive .464 wOBA and .410 ISO. He had a 50% hard-hit rate, per Statcast, and has already hit three home runs and added a pair of stolen bases as well.
Even against lefties, Ohtani has been hitting second in the lineup this season, so he should be back in there against Danny Duffy and the Royals. Duffy is usually pretty good against lefties which is why Ohtani is available at a little bit of a discount on this slate. Still, his elite upside makes him worth a late-round selection.
Chris Taylor, IF, Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB Snake Rank: 75th
Taylor has helped the Dodgers offense rolling despite the absence of Cody Bellinger (calf) and Mookie Betts (back). Betts could return Tuesday, but even if he does Taylor will likely stay in an important lineup spot for this matchup against Antonio Senzatela and the Rockies. Senzatela has given up seven runs in 11 1⁄3 innings this season while only getting soft contact on 5.0% of his batted balls allowed. He pitched eight shutout innings against Arizona in his most recent start but was knocked around for nine hits and seven runs by the Dodgers in his first outing of the season.
Taylor wasn’t in the lineup for that game but has a .425 wOBA in his 16 batted balls recorded by Statcast, which includes a 43.8% hard-hit rate. He has at least 5.0 DKFP in seven of his eight games this season and definitely benefits from hitting in good spots in a productive lineup. That should again be the case in this contest, so grab Taylor late to get some good exposure to the Dodgers’ lineup without spending a premium draft pick.
Josh Bell, IF, Washington Nationals
MLB Snake Rank: 215th
Bell made his return to the Nationals’ lineup on Monday and went 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs and 11 DKFP. He hit in the cleanup spot and helped his new team to a 5-2 victory in St. Louis. Bell joined the Nationals hoping to rekindle some of the magic of his 2019 season when he had a breakout campaign with 37 home runs, 116 RBI, a .378 wOBA and .292 ISO in 143 games with the Pirates. Last year was a totally different story for Bell, who struggled to a .138 ISO and .297 wOBA in 57 games during the shortened season.
The 28-year-old switch-hitter was hot in Spring Training, going 8-for-43 (.419) with six home runs and 13 RBI before starting the season on the COVID-19 IL. Now that he’s back he could establish himself as a key power option in the middle of Washington’s lineup. The matchup on this slate isn’t ideal against Jack Flaherty, but the Cardinals’ ace has struggled in his two starts this year, giving up two home runs and six earned runs in 10 1⁄3 innings. The BABIP against Flaherty actually indicates things could have even been worse, and he has give up a 44.4% hard-hit rate in those two outings. Whether you are seriously concerned about Flaherty or not, Bell is an intriguing late-round flier in this matchup and can help round out a roster since he’s well beyond the expected draft order even in the deepest of drafts.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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