MLB DFS Picks and Pivots – Sunday May 27

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 30: A general view of TurnerField as the Atlanta Braves honor Memorial Day against the San Francisco Giants at Turner Field on May 30, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 30: A general view of TurnerField as the Atlanta Braves honor Memorial Day against the San Francisco Giants at Turner Field on May 30, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
ATLANTA, GA – MAY 30: A general view of TurnerField as the Atlanta Braves honor Memorial Day against the San Francisco Giants at Turner Field on May 30, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) MLB DFS /

Welcome to the Sunday 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.

Saturday’s MLB DFS early slate started off strong as our top pitching picks in Daniel Mengden and Aaron Nola were the top two pitching performers and our YOLO play of Anthony Banda as the Rays reliever/starter was the third overall pitcher from a fantasy point perspective.  With early home runs from Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto combined with 17 total runs from the Brewers made the Mets/Brewers an easy path to cashing on the early slate.

On the Main Slate it was all about hitting as the top 19 fantasy point totals came from bats with Chris Stratton being the only pitcher in the top 20 as the best pitching performance was only 5 IP, 3 ER and 6K’s which tells you everything you need to know about the pitching last night. Jose Altuve and Mike Trout were the key bays to have as they both totalled over 40 fantasy points and Edwin Encarnacion and Christian Villaneuva were not far behind with 30 fantasy points each as offense was the key to cashing on this 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!

FanDuel MLB: WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 15: Stephen Strasburg #42 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the sixth inning during a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Nationals Park on April 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Starting Pitcher Overview:

First things first – there are rain issues up and down the East Coast today with rain expected in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh so keep that in mind before you start digging into your player pool on this Sunday slate. On FantasyDraft, the slate will kick off at 1PM EST with 11 games including the Royals/Rangers and Reds/Rockies at 3PM EST which both have double-digit run totals as the late slate hammers.

The decision on whether to pay up for pitching today will one of the most critical decisions you make in your roster build as we have Stephen Strasburg at Miami, Chris Sale against Atlanta and Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer in a narrative head to head battle.

You can certainly make the case for any of these arms, but in the context of this slate today, I actually think the strong mid-tier of arms is where you should focus your attention. Nick Pivetta ($18.8K) is the last of the higher priced arms on FantasyDraft and my hope is that people will continue to overlook him with this price boost against the Blue Jays today. Pivetta has splits very similar to what we saw from Aaron Nola yesterday as he has a 33.9% K rate versus RHB so it will be interesting to see if the Blue Jays try to max out their left-handed bats here as they did yesterday with 4 of their 8 hitters from the left side. Where Nola had a miniscule K rate in the teens versus LHB, Pivetta actually sits at a solid 22% so there is less dependency on the Blue Jays line-up then we may have had yesterday with Nola. Pivetta has gone three straight starts with 7 strikeouts or more in each outing and has only given up 1 ER in his last 19 innings which makes him a solid SP1 with cash game appeal and GPP upside.

Kevin Gausman ($16.2K) has been quietly putting great fantasy numbers this season with 8 of his 11 starts resulting in 2 or fewer ER’s with 6 of those outings racking up 6+ K’s including his best outing of the season last time out against the White Sox with 10K’s. Gausman will take on a Rays team in Tampa that he has already faced once this season in Baltimore where he went 7 innings, striking out 6 and giving up 2 ER on his way to 21.9 FP. Gausman has a career high 12.5% swinging strike this season and this is a Tampa team he has dominated previously in their building with this last two outings (last season) going 7 and 8 innings with 8 and 9 K’s and only 1 ER allowed over those two outings. As much as I like Pivetta, the rain issues in Philadelphia and the weaker opponent/ballpark may lead me to pivot to Gausman today.

Zack Wheeler ($11K) gets a start in Miller Park today against a team that just scored 200 runs (roughly) against the Mets on Saturday and although there is risk here, I also think there is some opportunity as an SP2. The fact that Wheeler is priced just above James Shields tells you all you need to know about the respect the FantasyDraft pricing algorithm has for the Mets start and frankly, this price is too low when you factor in the Mets right-handers strike out ability.

Take a swing through Wheeler’s recent game logs and specifically his strikeout rates – 34.6% against Miami, 31.8% versus Toronto, 28% against the Reds and 39.1% against the Padres – there is significant K upside with Wheeler that nobody else in this price range has.

There is obviously risk here against a potent Brewers line-up but when you consider the strikeout upside combined with Wheeler’s ability to stifle right-handed hitters – 53% GB rate and only 22% HC rate – he could be a sneaky GPP target against a right-handed heavy Brewers line-up.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 26: A Colorado Rockies camouflaged caps in honor of Memorial Day sits on the bench before the start of their game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 26, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Top Hitting Spots:

After two games back in Coors Field with a 5-4 game on Friday and a 6-5 game on Saturday, we have seen solid run totals but have not yet had that massive Coors Field game that breaks a slate and I think today could be that day. We have temperatures in the mid to high 80’s, in one of the hottest game environments on the slate and we get a Rockies team against Matt Harvey, a pitcher who is giving up a 41% HC rate on the season.

Listen, Harvey has been better since getting ou of New York, only giving up 4 ER in 14 innings but keep in mind these were starts against a struggling Dodgers team and then the Giants and Pirates – not exactly the Rockies in Coors Field level hitting spots. Harvey is giving up a .321 ISO and 45% hard contact rate to left-handed hitters on this season so I am starting my builds today with Charlie Blackmon ($10.6K) and will stack on cheaper secondary options like David Dahl ($7.5K) and Gerardo Parra ($6.5K).

What is interesting about Harvey is that he has relied much less on his fastball since leaving New York, where he was throwing the pitch nearly 70% of the time in his final outings there compared to only 55%-60% in his Reds outings thus far, relying much more on his slider and change-up. Relying on breaking pitches is typically not a recipe for success in Coors Field where the altitude minimizes the impact of those pitches and studies have shown opposing pitchers tend to leave the ball up in the zone more at Coors Field which is a recipe for disaster. In my mind the pitchers who tend to be most successful in Coors are hard throwers and ground ball arms – of which Harvey is neither at this point in his career as Harvey has had a 50%+ fly ball rate in five of his last six starts and his fastball velocity at 93.7 MPH is the lowest of his career – I am stacking the Rockies today and think this is the spot they break out for a massive day.

On the other side of this game we have German Marquez, a pitcher with a 10+ ERA, 1.72 HR/9 and 35% hard contact rate at home this season. In his career it is nor shocking that Marquez’s numbers at home are much worse than on the road, pitching to a 5+ ERA with a 1.5 HR/9 rate with some interesting reverse splits, struggling with right-handed bats which may make Eugenio Suarez ($10K) an interesting contrarian play while everyone else focuses on Joey Votto and Scooter GennettOver the last two seasons, all three of these batters have .200+ ISO’s versus RHP so there is some intriguing game stack appeal here as the Coors fatigue could be setting in after two lackluster outings which gives us the ability to game stack it at a fraction of the ownership we have seen in prior days.

CINCINNATI, OH – MAY 22: Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Tucker Barnhart #16 and Joey Votto #19 after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on May 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 7-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/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: Kevin Gausman ($16.2K)

SP: Zack Wheeler ($11K)

IF: Scooter Gennett ($9.1K)

IF: Joey Votto ($9.2K)

IF: Eugenio Suarez ($10K)

OF: Charlie Blackmon ($10.6K)

OF: David Dahl ($7.5K)

OF: Gerardo Parra ($6.5K)

UTIL: Nolan Arenado ($10.2K)

UTIL: Manny Machado ($9.7K)

Slate Overview: Even with a ton of top end arms available to us today I think the mid-tier is strong enough with high upside K arms that give us the salary savings needed to pay up for bats today. With four teams projected to score 5+ runs on this slate and massive run totals in Coors and Texas, this could be a good day to load up on those game stacks and avoid the damp weather up and down the east coast. Enjoy your Sunday all! See you back here tomorrow for some more MLB DFS action.

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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!