MLB DFS Picks and Pivots – Monday June 25

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: Fans attend a baseball game between San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: Fans attend a baseball game between San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 29: Fans attend a baseball game between San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/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 a successful one with one major exception and also a very odd one when you consider how many folks cashed with negative points from one of the more popular pitching choices on the day. Let’s start with the bad – Domingo German – who got lit up by the Rays and lasted only 3 innings while leaving us with negative points which would normally mean your day is over but the rest of our core was somehow able to salvage this day with monster games. Jose Berrios continued to dominate at home with a 12 K outing against the Rangers, putting up the second most fantasy points of anyone (just behind Chris Sale) and the Dodgers stack against the Mets in a bullpen game delivered BIG time with SEVEN home runs and if you stacked up the bats for LA here you likely had yourself a day. It is crazy to step back and think that I am happy I basically broke even on a day where my SP1 went for 12 K’s and 40+ fantasy points and my all-in stack hit 7 HR’s but we all can thank Domingo German for those revised expectations. Oh well – on to another slate we go!

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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.

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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 – JUNE 14: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the third inning at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on June 14, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Starting Pitching Overview:

When I opened this slate initially the one thing that jumped out to me was how over-priced the pitching felt on this Monday MLB DFS slate. We have six pitchers at $19.6K or higher on FantasyDraft and here are some of the options – Mike Foltynewicz in his first start off the DL after a triceps injury, Mike Clevinger who after two double-digit K outings against the White Sox has seen his price skyrocket and now he has to face the Cardinals, J.A. Happ against Houston’s right-handed heavy all-star team, Blake Snell versus a healthy Nationals team or Cole Hamels at nearly $20K.

No seriously, go ahead and talk yourself into paying $20K for Cole Hamels – yeah look at those pretty game logs and its the Padres so you know people will go there. I hate to say it, but the mid-tier is not that much better which means paying up for Justin Verlander ($24.3K) might be the best route for us to take here at home against Toronto. Of all the pitchers on the slate, Verlander comes into this game as a massive -240 home favorite and has the highest K rate of any arm over the last month at 29% and the Blue Jays have a slate low 2.62 row total which makes Verlander the cash game SP1 and if you can afford him, the right play in GPP’s as well.

This slate is less about “needing” to pay up for Verlander and more about can we afford him with the bats we want and I think that is an important distinction. To be clear, I do not love Verlander in this spot – I did not open ip the slate and click him in as the first guy in – I worked backwards and I suggest you try something similar to see if you can build a roster you like with the best arm on the slate and avoid the rest of the SP1 landmines available to us.

Vince Velasquez ($12.7K) is an intriguing SP2 choice as a result of his K upside as he ranks second among all arms on this slate (behind Verlander) with a 28.5% K rate over the last month and gets a very boom or bust match-up against the Yankees in Philadelphia. Velasquez is very much a splits dependent pitcher who dominates right-handed bats but struggles with lefties as his 29.2% K rate and mere .100 ISO versus RHB would indicate when compared to a .266 ISO versus LHB this season. The Yankees will lose their DH tonight going to Philadelphia so it will be interesting to see which bat takes a seat tonight (but any bat you remove for the Yankees is a boost to the opposing SP) and if the Yankees go right-handed heavy than I would certainly look to get some exposure to VV as an SP2 in GPP play due to his massive K upside relative to this price point.

Dan Straily ($9K) is appealing his suspension after getting tossed after only 1.1 IP last time out so he is expected to pitch tonight at home against Arizona as an intriguing SP2 punt play on this slate. Now Staily on the surface has some troubling metrics – a fly ball pitcher with a 50% hard contact rate is not exactly someone we want to target often but tonight he gets to pitch in his massive home ballpark and his 10.5% swinging strike rate could offer some upside against a K heavy Arizona team. On the season, Arizona strikes out at a 25% clip against RHP which is 7th highest in baseball and although they have certainly gotten hot with the tear that Paul Goldschmidt has been on, this is still a line-up with 5 projected batters that have a 25% or higher K rate over the last two weeks.

As a first look, I really struggle to talk myself into any pitcher on this slate and maybe that will change as the day goes on but I am finding myself with the mindset of “settling” for Verlander, getting the bats I want and then simply living with whatever SP2 that leads me to. There is more risk than reward for many of these mid-tier arms and the pricing seems aggressive on arms in bad spots so this could be a night where you simply play it safe with your SP1 and hope the bats you stack can lead you to victory.

CINCINNATI, OH – APRIL 24: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with Kurt Suzuki #24 after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 24, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 9-7 in 12 innings. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Top Hitting Spots:

With only one team projected to score 5+ runs (Rangers versus San Diego in Arlington), this may not seem like a slate where the bats can carry the day but there are a few spots that I love and can be stacked rather easily with Verlander and a cheap SP2.

The Braves get an awesome spot for their left-handed power line-up with a home match-up against Tyler Mahle and the Reds today. Mahle on the season is giving up a massive .295 ISO, 47.7% hard contact and 2.95 HR/9 and will have to pitch in a park designed specifically for left-handed power in 80+ degree temperatures with the wind blowing out. Freddie Freeman ($10.7K), Ozzie Albies ($9K) and Nick Markakis ($8K) make for a core three man stack on this slate when you consider Mahle’s splits on the season. Mahle counts on a 92-93 MPH fastball nearly 70% of the time and against that pitch type Albies (.488 ISO) and Freeman (.359 ISO) simply crush that offering and if I had to prioritize any bat on this slate it would be Freeman – the spot is just that good!

Let’s see – we have a slate with the Dodgers on it, going against a minor league arm with mediocre stuff – if you read Picks and Pivots at all you know this is the team I stack more than probably any other and tonight is one of my favorite times to stack them. The Dodgers are at home, playing the only 10PM EST game, starting two hours after the rest of the slate which by default will lead to lower ownership but I would make sure you have at least a 2-3 man stack as your late night hammer tonight.

The Dodgers are taking on a pitcher named Duane Underwood Jr., a RHP pitcher with a 20% K rate in the minors who is making his major league debut. The book on Underwood is that he has a live arm with high 90’s velocity but his fastball is “flat” and lacks the movement to get Major League hitters out with any sort of consistency. The fact that he has only a 20% K mark in the minor leagues, counting on pure velocity means he will likely struggle when he steps up in competition and as we have seen with this Dodgers team, they can hit homers in bunches. This Dodgers team has a handful of hitters who crush RHP with Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal, Yasiel Puig, Max Muncy and Matt Kemp all sporting .200+ ISO’s against RHP this season. With so many options, you can pick and choose the Dodgers that work within a Verlander and Braves stack with ease – just make sure you are watching for the Dodgers line-up right before lock as we will not have confirmation until shortly before line-ups are locked for the night!

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 24: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his eleventh inning home run against the New York Mets with his teammates in the dugout at Citi Field on June 24, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/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: Justin Verlander ($24.3K)

SP: Dan Straily ($9K)

IF: Freddie Freeman ($10.7K)

IF: Ozzie Albies ($9K)

IF: Justin Bour ($6.5K)

OF: Nick Markakis ($8K)

OF: Yasiel Puig ($8K)

OF: Matt Kemp ($8.1K)

UTIL: Cody Bellinger ($8.5K)

UTIL: Yasmani Grandal ($7.7K)

Slate Overview: With this being a weak pitching slate, my goal is to pay up for the “safety/upside” of Justin Verlander while stacking my two favorite spots for hitting in the Braves and Dodgers and then simply filling in around them. If the Yankees go overly right-handed heavy against Velasquez, I may look for some value to get from Straily up to Velasquez and shoot for the higher K upside. Overall, this seems like a solid slate and if I come across any other interesting nuggets I will surely share them on Twitter @2LockSports. Have a good day all!

Next: DFS MLB Game by Game Breakdowns

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