Welcome to the Thursday FanDuel MLB edition of Picks and Pivots, a fantasy baseball column focused on helping you find the best core lineup for today’s Main slate which kicks off at 7:10 PM EST!
For those of you finding us for the first time, the concept behind FanDuel MLB Picks and Pivots is to first identify key building blocks that can be used for any roster construction and then identify pivot points to help differentiate your lineup in hopes of a big payday!
Over the first four slates of the year, it has taken 213.6, 246.7, 196.2 and 240.3 FanDuel points in order to take down a GPP! Looking back at last season, the winning GPP lineup on average scored 255 FanDuel points with a typical roster build that allocated 25% of your salary cap to your SP and the remaining 75% to your hitters.
Looking back at last season, the winning GPP lineup on average scored 255 FanDuel points with a typical roster build that allocated 25% of your salary cap to your SP and the remaining 75% to your hitters.
Wednesday’s Picks and Pivots lineup landed above the cash line for the third straight day as Jacob deGrom delivered 40 FD points while two of our punt plays, Chris Owings (33.7) and J.T. Realmuto (31.4) delivered far beyond their minimum price points! As you can see over the first four days there is significant variance in the winning scores so while it is important to use these data points you must also understand the significant variability in MLB DFS which makes it ideal for GPP play!
Each day we will break down our top Starting Pitcher and our top hitting stacks of the day while giving you our thoughts on roster build and lineup construction.
As always, we will look to update our picks and final lineup thought prior to lock on our twitter account @FantasyCPR so make sure to give us a follow for all the late breaking lineup news.
Without further ado, let’s get into today’s slate!
FanDuel MLB – Top Starting Pitcher Picks
The Main slate on FanDuel today features four games however I expect the Atlanta-New York game to be at a high risk of being played as there are significant storms which will dump 2-3 inches of rain throughout the day in the NY area up until 7-8PM EST. Matt Harvey would be a fantastic play on this slate as his velocity appears to be back based off his Spring Training outings but with the rain risk I am starting my day assuming this game is rained out and will focus on the three other games when building my roster.
Marcus Stroman ($7,500) Stroman is coming off a WBC MVP performance and steps into his first start of the season in Tampa Bay where he will take on the Rays. Tampa Bay has the highest strikeout rate (24.2%) of any team on this slate and Stroman gets a one of the best ballpark shifts of any pitchers on this slate moving to Tropicana Field.
Stroman has performed exceptionally well in his career in Tampa Bay going 3-1 over 4 starts while pitching to a 2.89 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, .200 BAA and striking out 21 batters over 28 IP. The fact that Toronto (-130) is also favored on the road tells you that Vegas thinks Stroman is lined up well for the win and on this short slate with very few stand out pitching options, those points may be all it takes to push you past the field.
At the same price point, Joe Musgrove ($7,400) makes for an interesting GPP pivot option as he gets a home start against the Mariners. As I have mentioned before, I love targeting two pitchers at similar price points that allow me to stay with my core lineup construction while differentiating my entries with two different high upside arms.
Musgrove pitched exceptionally well at home last season putting up a 1.75 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, .185 BAA while striking out a batter per inning in 36 innings of work. Musgrove is the largest favorite on the board as well which is a great differentiator when choosing between the mid-range pitching options on this slate!
FanDuel MLB – Top Hitting Stacks
Houston Astros versus LHP Ariel Miranda: Any time we can target the Astros right-handed power at home we should jump all over it as their lineup is loaded with high upside hitters in a favorable hitting environment. Today, Houston takes on LHP Ariel Miranda who surrendered 2.09 HR/9 to right-handed hitters last season with a massive 37% hard contact rate!
The Astros lineup is set up perfectly in this spot for a stack as Jose Altuve ($3,900), Carlos Correa ($3,900) and George Springer ($3,900) all hit left-handed pitching well and for power and are the core stack I will be building my team around today!
San Francisco Giants versus LHP Robbie Ray: It feels like each day we are talking about the Giants offense in DFS and well that is what playing in Chase Field will do for you as I expect we will go back to fading this team when they return home!
The Giants have the second highest team total on the slate and get to face off with LHP Robbie Ray who may have elite strikeout stuff but is also a blow up waiting to happen. Pitching in Arizona last year, Ray gave up 1.48 HR/9 with an absurd 42% hard contact rate which led to a .343 wOBA and a 5.36 ERA at home.
With this match-up on tap I see no reason not to simply plug-in Buster Posey at $3,700 and Hunter Pence at $2,600 who is simply way too cheap considering the park shift he has had to start the season!
Arizona Diamondbacks versus RHP Jeff Samardzija: Arizona has the highest team total on the slate and Samardzija is a pitcher who actually is beatable from both sides of the plate so there is no real obvious stack here. Samardzija gave up over 1 HR/9 to hitters from both sides of the plate with that rate jumping to 1.6 HR/9 for lefties in starts away from San Francisco which puts Jake Lamb ($3,100) firmly in play hitting in the heart of the Arizona order.
Paul Goldschmidt ($4,400) may not seem like the obvious play facing a RHP but the 1B position on this slate gets ugly real fast if you choose to pass on him so I think the opportunity cost is high enough where you need to lock him in so you get an advantage over the field and build a mini-stack with Lamb.
FanDuel MLB – Top GPP Lineup and Slate Overview
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1B: Paul Goldschmidt ($4,400)
2B: Jose Altuve ($3,900)
3B: Jake Lamb ($3,100)
SS: Carlos Correa ($3,900)
OF: George Springer ($3,900)
OF: Hunter Pence ($2,600)
OF: Mitch Haniger ($2,000) Anytime we can lock in a player at minimum price who bats at the top of the order in front of guys like Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz we simply we cannot pass up that value and on this slate he makes for an elite punt play that allows you to essentially so whatever you want across the rest of your roster!
Slate Overview: The Main slate and Early Slate are essentially the same story today – we have to wait on weather and react accordingly. However we can easily build stacks off three high-powered offenses while pivoting across two different pitching options which gives us upside and a bit of a hedge in case either pitcher fails to meet expectations!