MLB DFS Picks and Pivots – Monday May 14

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 21: Sean Manaea #55 of the Oakland Athletics gets showered with gatorade and water by teammates after he threw a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on April 21, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Athletics won the game 3-0. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 21: Sean Manaea #55 of the Oakland Athletics gets showered with gatorade and water by teammates after he threw a no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum on April 21, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Athletics won the game 3-0. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 13: View of Dodger Stadium during the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on May 13, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) MLB DFS /

Welcome to the Monday 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.

Sunday’s MLB DFS slate was loaded with pitching and even with studs like Corey Kluber, James Paxton, Jacob deGrom and Luis Severino on the mound it was the mid-tier that ran the slate as Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Bundy, Derek Holland and Sean Newcomb ranked as the top four scoring starting pitchers on the day. The biggest takeaway for me was how dominant Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta looked in Coors Field as he racked up double-digit K’s against the Rockies and shut down the highest projected scoring team on the slate.

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!

OAKLAND, CA – APRIL 21: Sean Manaea /

MLB DFS – Starting Pitcher Overview:

Monday’s MLB DFS slate from a pitching perspective looks like the kind of slate where you may not be able to win with pitching but you sure can lose if you pick the wrong one. Now do not get me wrong, there are some really good arms on the slate and if you want to pay up for Patrick Corbin, Carlos Carrasco, Rick Porcello, Sean Manaea or Lance McCullers Jr. than have at it but my first take is to pay down on this slate and the reasoning is simple – I do not believe any of these arms is in a spot tonight where they are going to put up a “must-have” DFS performance that sets the cash line.

Instead of over-paying at pitcher tonight, I think you can live in the mid-tier and isolate a handful of arms that have strikeout upside and sit at price points that will allow you to spend up on any hitters you want.

Joey Lucchesi ($16.1K) is the first arm that jumps out at me as his 26.7% K rate ranks 17th in all of baseball this season and is second only to Patrick Corbin (34%) on this slate tonight. Lucchesi gets the single best park environment for pitching against a Rockies team with a slate low 3.45 projected run total that he has dominated already twice this season. In two starts against the Rockies this year (one at home and one in Coors), the left-hander has gone 11 innings, striking out 15 while giving up 0 ER and only 5 total hits. Lucchesi will likely be a popular SP2 on this slate but I would argue he has the upside to be an SP1 and it would not shock me if he ended the night as the highest raw point scoring pitcher on the entire slate.

At SP2 there are two cheaper options I have interest in including Junior Guerra ($12.1K) who gets a road start against Arizona and Patrick Corbin. Over the last 14 days, Arizona is striking out at a 27% clip which is the second highest mark in baseball behind the Rangers and they have a 26.4% K mark on the season at home which is also the second highest in baseball.

Guerra started the season out strong with 4 straight quality outings giving up only 2 ER over his first 22 innings while striking out 21 batters and even in games he has gotten hit (4 ER to the Indians) he managed to offset that with a 9 K outing to salvage his fantasy performance. I always love looking to what I think will be the highest owned arms and finding the leverage play and I think with Corbin being the clear ace to pay for it will leave his opponent in Guerra completely over-looked. Guerra has pitched well this season, flashed K upside and will be taking on one of the highest strikeout teams in all of baseball this season which makes him a great value play as an SP2 tonight.

Eric Skoglund ($11K) is an arm I have probably picked on more than rostered this year but today’s match-up with the Rays forced me to look a bit closer. We talk all the time about regression with the advanced statistics we can so easily pull now in fantasy baseball and I think it is worth noting that Skoglund has an xFIP and SIERA nearly two runs lower than his 6+ ERA this season. Now that it not to say there are not red flags as having a 48.5% hard contact this season is kind of terrifying to roster and honestly if he was not facing the Rays would we even have interest?

The biggest reason I am hesitant to use Skoglund though is Dylan Bundy.

Wait, what?

Leading up to lock yesterday I heard the Dylan Bundy buzz across multiple articles, podcasts and tweets and when it came to lock and he was over 30% owned in tournaments on FantasyDraft I was stunned. Yes, I know he pitched well and that is exactly why I see this spot against the same Rays team becoming a popular spot to target today as I believe people will look to target the opponent rather than target the actual pitcher in Skoglund. I could be wrong but my gut tells me Skoglund gains traction today as a punt pitcher and although I do think positive regression is coming, an xFIP of 4.5 and hard contact rate near 50% give me enough reason to stay away if he has any sort of ownership.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 10: Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Boston Red Sox grounds out to short to score Mookie Betts #50 in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 10, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Top Hitting Spots:

I have to say – I am kind of fascinated to see how the DFS world treats the Red Sox bats today against Sean Manaea after they were no hit by him just a few weeks ago. With no team on the slate projected to score over 5 runs it will be very interesting to see where the popular stacks come from but in my mind I am going to be all over the Red Sox as the best pure talent on the slate as they lead all teams in action with 5.56 runs scored per game. It is projected to be 70 degrees with 10-11 MPH winds blowing out to left field and with a line-up of right-handed power bats awaiting Mr. Manaea, I have no issue loading up on the best talent this slate has to offer me.

Mookie Betts ($11.1K) is absolutely destroying left-handed pitching this season to the tune of a .550 ISO which is just a shade higher than teammate J.D. Martinez ($10.1K) who had a .527 ISO against southpaws last season. The raw upside of these two batters is tough for me to pass on tonight in Fenway and I have no issue stacking them up with guys like Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts as even after the no-hitter these are guys who have had success against the A’ LHP in their careers going a combined 7 for 17 with 2 HR’s (both Hanley).

Speaking of talented offenses, the Cleveland Indians will get a match-up with Mike Fiers who is giving up .310 ISO and 36% hard contact rate to left-handed hitters thus far in 2018. No team in baseball is scoring more runs than Cleveland right now as they have scored 95 runs over the last 14 days which is 20 runs more than the next closest team and with a league leading .230 ISO over that time period it is safe to say this is a great spot to stack up tonight. Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley all have .300+ ISO’s against RHP this season with .400+ wOBA’s and in my opinion make for the best three-man stack on the slate tonight.

As much as I respect the Astros and Angels offenses, their match-up against each other with McCullers versus Heaney seems like a spot where I do not want to use the SP’s but I also respect them enough to not want to stack against them. As a result this slate really than boils down to the Red Sox and Indians offenses as the top places to attack and if you are willing to pay down at SP tonight, you can build a two team stack with relative ease.

CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 06: Jose Ramirez #11 and Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate scoring on a hit by Carlos Santana #41 in the first inning as CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees looks on during game two of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 6, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/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: Joey Lucchesi ($16.1K)

SP: Eric Skoglund ($11K)

IF: Xander Bogaerts ($8.2K)

IF: Hanley Ramirez ($7.6K)

IF: Francisco Lindor ($9.8K)

OF: Mookie Betts ($11.1K)

OF: J.D. Martinez ($10.1K)

OF: Jose Ramirez ($10K)

UTIL: Michael Brantley ($8.1K)

UTIL: Khris Davis ($8K)

Slate Overview: Without any must have pitching in my opinion, the idea pf paying down for both SP’s and loading up on bats from the Red Sox and Indians is where my initial builds are taking me. To be clear, I am not saying the top arms are bad plays on this slate but I do not see them as having the upside relative to their price point that makes them worth the investment and I believe there are enough interesting options in the mid-tier that allow you to chase strikeout upside while using your salary savings to stack up the two most talented offenses on the slate. Good luck tonight all!

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