FanDuel MLB Daily Picks and Pivots – Friday September 1

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 02: Manny Machado
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 02: Manny Machado /
FanDuel MLB
BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 02: Manny Machado FanDuel MLB /

Welcome to the Friday 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 DFS action!

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!

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Thursday’s winning GPP scores were right below our season average as it took 257.9 FanDuel points to take down a tournament! Over the first 145 slates of the FanDuel MLB season, the average winning score to take down a GPP has been 260.4 points. 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.

Over the first 145 slates of the FanDuel MLB season, the average winning score to take down a GPP has been 260.4 points.

First off – welcome to September DFS baseball. If you have made it this far in the season then you should feel proud you made it through the daily grind of a baseball season in DFS! As the calendar flips you will see more and more focus on the NFL which gives those willing to put in the time for MLB a decided edge. We need to remain diligent in our lineup research and pre-lock preparation and last night was the PERFECT example of that.

All day long I was locked into Madison Bumgarner as my pitcher and frankly never even considered moving off him. Roughly 20 minutes before lock I got an alert that he had been scratched and with that I was left scrambling to find a new pitcher! The easy move would have been to go to Gio Gonzalez but as many folks I interact with on Twitter know, I am about as big a Gio hater as there is in DFS so I let others go that route and instead I opted to go with C.C. Sabathia based off his track record of success in Boston and Kyle Hendricks frankly based off the fact the wind was blowing in aggressively at Wrigley Field.

Frankly, none of that mattered all that much as the only decision that was important for me was plugging in Kendrys Morales as my first baseman when Justin Smoak was given the day off and I watched him hit THREE home runs and rack up 76.3 FanDuel points. On a completely ugly slate that got way uglier when MadBum was scratched, I consider myself very lucky to walk away with a nice profit on the night thanks to the Toronto slugger!

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
MIAMI, FL – JULY 09: Jack Flaherty /

FanDuel MLB – Top Starting Pitcher Pick:

As I do each day, I open up the slate with fresh eyes and simply start to write down my top plays at pitcher, look through the pitchers I want to attack and then work through my initial roster build. The elephant in the room on this slate is the return of Clayton Kershaw ($12,100) who gets to take on the San Diego Padres in what would normally be a slam dunk match-up but Dave Roberts has already confirmed that Kershaw will be on a “loose” 5 inning, 75 pitch limit in this outing. Take the random guideline at face value – here is what I know – I am not paying over $12k for a pitcher that is on ANY pitch limit, especially not one coming off injury and playing for a team with no reason to push him.

After Kershaw there are some arms I am intrigued by including Mike Clevinger ($8,500) who is top three on this slate in terms of K rate and swinging strike rate and will now face a Tigers team that just traded away their best hitter in Justin Upton.

All things being equal, I would have stopped at Clevinger as he gives me the kind of K upside and match-up I normally look for when selecting my pitcher and the price is reasonable enough to where I can still field a solid top to bottom roster. The issue is I want offense tonight, a lot of it, and it is expensive – so can I pay down even further?

Jack Flaherty ($5,800): What if I told you there was a pitcher on this slate at essentially minimum price who has put up over a 25% K rate in each of his last two minor league seasons, will face one of the worst offenses in all of baseball and get to start in perhaps the single best pitcher’s park on the slate?

Enter Jack Flaherty, a top prospect out of the Cardinals system who will get his first start with the departure of Mike Leake and becomes a play I am very intrigued by. This write-up by Baseball America does a fantastic job of outlining what we can expect from Flaherty so I encourage you to take a read through it for some additional detail.

"Flaherty, 21, began the year at Double-A Springfield and dominated, striking out 25 percent of batters he faced and walking just 4.5 percent, a career low as a pro. He has been almost as good through 15 starts at Triple-A, with a 2.74 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 85/24 strikeout-walk ratio in 85.1 innings. via"

The biggest takeaway for me was this is a pitcher who as he matures is adding velocity, adding 4-6 MPH on his fastball while showing impeccable control at the last two levels in the minor league system.

Vegas is always an interesting indicator for me and the fact that the Giants have one of the lowest team totals on the board may not shock you but consider that Flaherty is a road favorite in his first MLB start against Johnny Cueto has to raise some eye brows.

Last night we saw a bargain priced Michael Wacha become very popular in this match-up and he delivered with a solid 31 FanDuel points and I see no reason to think that Flaherty could not have a similar outcome with some added upside due to his strikeout ability.

On a night with a limited Kershaw and a ton of risk behind him, dropping down to the bottom of the salary grid not only allows us a monster hitting line-up but we can attack one of the worst line-ups in baseball with a high upside strikeout arm! Sign me up!

FanDuel MLB
MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 25: Giancarlo Stanton /

FanDuel MLB – Top Hitting Stacks:

Baltimore Orioles versus Joe BiaginiEven with a game in Coors Field, the Orioles are the team to stack right now in DFS as they remain red-hot and will take on a mediocre arm that has shown blow up potential this year giving up 5 or more ER’s in three of his last five starts.

From a metrics perspective the left-handed batters see a spike in hard contact rate at 34% but frankly right now the entire Orioles offense needs to be considered even at their inflated prices. Over the last month, five batters in the starting line-up have an ISO over .240 which considering that the best team in baseball this season (Astros) has only a .200 ISO on the year shows just how hot and powerful this offense has been.

Chris Davis ($3,700) is the lone left-handed power bat we can target here but the real appeal for me is in the 2B-SS-3B stack that loads up our infield with home run power in Jonathan Schoop ($4,100), Manny Machado ($4,200) and Tim Beckham ($3,700). Very simply, I believe in hot streaks when it comes to baseball and how to approach DFS and I cannot imagine fading this Baltimore offense right now especially against a pitcher like Biagini!

Miami Marlins versus Nick PivettaOne of the reasons I want to pay down at pitcher is that I want to not only be able to afford the Orioles but also the desire to pay up for my secondary stack! The Marlins will take on Nick Pivetta and some amazingly scary splits this season – giving up 3 HR/9 with a 45% hard contact rate to right-handed batters on the season.

So Pivetta gives up hard contact and struggles with the home run ball to righties and he takes on a Marlins team with Giancarlo Stanton ($4,900) and Marcell Ozuna ($3,900), where do I sign? Outside of the big two, adding on J.T. Realmuto ($2,800) allows you to further stack in this spot and correlate your catcher with one of your stacks with is a great strategy if you opting to pay up at catcher!

Padres get the Kershaw discount: One thing to note, the Padres are all getting the Kershaw discount on FanDuel today with their prices all $2.4k or lower and in come cases below the normal $2k! Now normally we would not want to attack Kershaw but coming off the D.L with a pitch limit, this might be the time to do it! Matt Sczur ($1,700) has actually handled Kershaw well in his career going 3 for 6 with 2 doubles and a home run so if I am punting a position tonight I want a guy who has the confidence in his previous success against the Dodgers ace!

FanDuel MLB
PHOENIX, AZ – AUGUST 09: Pitcher Clayton Kershaw /

FanDuel MLB – Sample GPP Line-Up and Slate Overview

Please Note: This is NOT an optimized line-up, it is simply illustrative to show the type of roster build we can have using the logic previously laid out in Picks and Pivots. My actual line-up may differ from the line-up shown here. 

More from FanSided

P: Jack Flaherty ($5,800)

C: J.T. Realmuto ($2,800)

1B: Chris Davis ($3,700)

2B: Jonathan Schoop ($4,100)

3B: Manny Machado ($4,200)

SS: Tim Beckham ($3,700)

OF: Giancarlo Stanton ($4,900)

OF: Marcell Ozuna ($3,900)

OF: Matt Szczur ($1,700)

Slate Overview: As much as I hated last night’s slate leading up to lock, I could not love a slate more from a GPP perspective than I do this one as I think the roster possibilities are fascinating if you are willing to shoulder some risk! I would expect the ownership on Kershaw to be as low as we will ever see it so the pitching slate becomes somewhat wide open and the fact we have a game in Coors will almost always drive ownership that way. With so much offense on the board I think you need to prioritize bats on this slate and by taking a shot on a guy like Jack Flaherty, we can get all the bats we want tonight!

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