MLB DFS Picks and Pivots – Tuesday April 17

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Wilmer Flores
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Wilmer Flores /
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 15: Wilmer Flores MLB DFS /

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of MLB DFS Picks and Pivots, a fantasy baseball column focused on helping you find the best core lineup for this slate of DFS action!

For those of you finding us for the first time, the concept behind MLB DFS Picks and Pivots is to give you a first look at the day’s MLB DFS slate, including our top picks, plays and pivots, using FantasyDraft pricing as a reference, to help you build your best line-up and win big

Picks and Pivots is not a simple “best plays” column but rather it focuses on slate strategy and roster construction to help give you insight into how I will look to play this slate.

Monday’s MLB DFS slate was dominated by pitching once again as the top three fantasy performers on the night were Blake Snell, Jacob deGrom and Hyun-Jin Ryu and were joined by players with big offensive nights in Yasmani Grandal and Asdrubal Cabrera who each logged 29 fantasy points. The biggest takeaway for me here was ownership and listening to the buzz around the industry as even though I was initially on Blake Snell yesterday, I truthfully pivoted to James Paxton prior to lock because it seemed like every where I looked it was Snell being touted and the fact he was 50%+ owned in GPP’s on FantasyDraft as an SP2 was simply mind-blowing. Now ultimately Snell was the top performer of the night so it worked out but there was a significant edge to be had if Snell struggled so sometimes even though we may like a play, its important to have pivots prepared in the same price range that you can move to for ownership if you feel like everyone else in the industry is on the same guys!

Picks and Pivots is not a simple “best plays” column but rather it focuses on slate strategy and roster construction to help give you insight into how I will look to play this slate. The goal of this article is to dig through the slate, highlight our top plays and help you identify the best slate strategy across your MLB DFS line-ups.

If you are looking to try out a new DFS site, head on over to FantasyDraft and enter my referral code for 10% rake back on your entries.

As always, we will look to update our final lineup thoughts throughout the day 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!


MLB DFS – Starting Pitching Overview:

Let’s start at the top today as we have two elite strikeout arms at the top of the player pool that will determine much of how we opt to build our rosters this evening. Corey Kluber ($23.2K) is the highest priced arm on the slate as a massive -175 road favorite against a Twins team that strikes out at the 9th highest rate versus RHP at 24.9%. Kluber so far this season has a 33% K rate which is in line with his 34% K rate of last season and looks to be the clear top arm to pay up for in cash games and an elite building block in GPP’s due to his strikeout ability.

It may seem like I always harp on strikeout upside with my pitchers but to me it is the single most important criteria in MLB DFS in my opinion because it can mask any sort of warts a pitcher may have on a given night with walks/runs allowed if they can rebound and strike guys out. Look at the leaderboard last night with Snell, deGrom and Ryu – 9, 12 and 9 K’s from each of them and while they all gave up a few runs, it was the K upside that really drove their fantasy totals.

No pitcher has been putting up K’s this season at a greater rate than Shohei Ohtani ($19.7K) who is sporting a 40% K rate, 23% swinging strike rate and delivering a miniscule 4% walk rate this far in the majors. The talent and K upside has been evident in every single start and on most slates I think people would just lock him in especially under $20K but he faces a tough Red Sox team today that I think will give people pause before hitting that button.

The Red Sox strike out at a 16% clip against right-handed pitching, the lowest rate of any team in the entire league and their .360 wOBA is tops in the league so this is a massive boom bust spot for Ohtani. My perspective with him today is this – if the buzz around the industry all day is to fade him because the Red Sox are too tough etc. then you jump on him in tournaments and take advantage of the elite player at low ownership. There is risk here no doubt but there is also some significant strikeout upside and as I have said many times before in Picks and Pivots this season, the book on Ohtani is still being written and it will tak a few times through the league before they have enough tape on him to force him to adjust so I want to attack him early and often in MLB DFS especially tonight if the ownership is going to be low against a tough Red Sox team.

If you need a pure punt option or want to spend up more on bats, look no further than Yonny Chirinos ($9.2K) who is sporting a 23%K rate so far this season while not allowing a run through 14 innings of work and we just saw Blake Snell make quick work of this watered down Rangers line-up last night. After throwing 54 pitchs in his frst start, he went for 75 pitches in his last start and his price tag is cheaper than most of the top hitters on this slate. rostering Chirinos gives you massive salary savings and allows you to roster basically any bats you want!


MLB DFS – Hitting Overview:

The big news yesterday was the postponement of the Royals and Blue Jays due to a whole in the Rogers Centre roof caused by falling ice from a neighboring building that will mean we get a double-header today in Toronto. It looks like yesterday’s scheduled starters – Eric Skoglund and Jaime Garcia will pitch the early game and it will be Danny Duffy versus Joe Biagini in the nightcap. Let me say – bravo to FantasyDraft for including this game in their main slate – I noticed that other sites like FanDuel have opted to leave it off entirely but I am glad FantasyDraft has added it to the player pool.

The Blue Jays were going to be the chalk stack yesterday against Skoglund and will now face Duffy instead and let me tell you, I have every intention of going right back to the Blue Jays hitters today for a few key reasons. First the match-up – this is not the Danny Duffy we have seen in previous years as his velocity is down across every single pitch he throws – his fastball is down over 1 MPH, his sinker down 4 MPH and his change-up down 2 MPH – and with all that we are seeing his walk rate at 12% which is nearly double his mark from last year. Duffy has been hit hard early on this year with a 2.45 HR/9 to RHB so going right back to Justin Smoak ($8.7K), Steve Pearce ($5.7K) and Teoscar Hernandez ($4.5K) as a 1-3 stack is firmly in play today.

Another reason I love this stack is the price points – specifically on Hernandez and Pearce as you can lock them in and it gives you a clear path to paying up for BOTH Kluber and Ohtani if you so choose. Last is more a game theory play as the fact sites like FanDuel have left this game off their slates mean that the game in general will be talked about less around the industry so the buzz on these bats could be/should be far less than we saw yesterday and if you play on a site like FantasyDraft you can lock in elite plays that will be ignored by those only looking at the FanDuel player pool.

UPDATE – FantasyDraft has REMOVED this game from the slate as the start time has moved outside of the start time for the slate. Any and all lineups with players from this game are invalid and you will need to update your lineups!

The Oakland A’s were my top stack last night after the Mets opted to sit both Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce and the ownership on them was far less than I anticipated on a short slate without many great bats. Tonight on a larger slate and the fact they play in the later games should mean suppresses ownership again and with a match-up against RHP Miguel Gonzalez, I want in!

Gonzalez last year have up 1.3 HR/9 to LHB and 1.2 HR/9 to RHB with a 35% and 31% hard contact rate respectively. Gonzalez is a low K arm (mid-teens) who gives up mostly fly balls (45%) and will take on a powerful Oakland line-up that just continues to be priced across the industry at a mid-tier that allows you to easily stack them in any format.

Matt Joyce ($5.7K), Jed Lowrie ($7.5K), Khris Davis ($9.5K), Matt Olson ($7.4K) and Matt Chapman ($7.5K) are all in play for me with Joyce, Chapman, Olson and Davis all sporting .250 + ISO’s against RHP which makes this a high upside power stack that really outside of Khris Davis is reasonably priced and easy to build around.

The Astros right-handed bats have been a let down recently as they are striking out at a higher clip than we have seen in previous years but against LHP Ariel Miranda who gave up 2.2 HR/9 last season to right-handed batters this would seem like a spot we could load up on the Astros bats. Carlos Correa ($9.3K), Jose Altuve ($9.4K) and George Springer ($9K) are an expsensive stack but if you drop down to Chirnos as an SP2, this is a stack you can easily afford alongside Kluber tonight.

Last but not least – the one-off play that will be in every single line-up for me – Wilmer Flores ($6.3K) versus a lefty. At this point we all know that Flores mashes lefties and will take on Gio Gonzalez in Citi Field with winds blowing out at 15-17 MPH. I am still very bitter about the Mets bullpen blowing the game last night and having to hear fellow CPR writer and Nationals fan Matt Rogers text me nonstop during their meltdown but I will go back to Wilmer today in hopes he can save the Mets as he seemingly always does.

BALTIMORE, MD – APRIL 10: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Steve Pearce #28 after scoring on a single hit by Yangervis Solarte #26 (not pictured) in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 10, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS Sample Line-Up and Slate Overview:

The line-up below is meant to be illustrative only to further back-up the logic laid out in previous slides and is not meant to be an optimal line-up or a roster you simply plug and play on your own!

More from FanSided

SP: Corey Kluber ($23.2K)

SP Shohei Ohtani ($19.7K)

IF: Justin Smoak ($8.7K)

IF: Steve Pearce ($5.7K)

IF: Jed Lowrie ($7.5K)

OF: Teoscar Hernandez ($4.5K)

OF: Khris Davis ($9.5K)

OF: Matt Olson ($7.4K)

UTIL: Matt Chapman ($7.4K)

UTIL: Wilmer Flores ($6.3K)

Slate Overview: Initially when I looked over this slate my gut instinct was to find a pivot off Ohtani because of the match-up against the Red Sox and I honestly didn’t think I would like the roster build if I paid up for both elite K arms. Well first off, I think most people’s gut reaction will be to move off Ohtani today and go with Kluber on a one pitcher site and a cheaper option as their SP2 which means we could see Ohtani at lower ownership. Secondly, the Blue Jays and A’s bats continue to just be incredibly cheap and you can stack both teams and use a one-off like Wilmer Flores to complete this build without really having to get too cute. If you want to go a different route, you can pivot off Ohtani and move down to Chirinos which would allow you to easily stack up the stud Astros bats. Enjoy tonight’s MLB DFS slate all!

Next: DraftKings MLB Picks

Best of luck in your MLB DFS contests across FantasyDraft, FanDuel and DraftKings  and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all the latest DFS news and analysis.