MLB DFS Picks and Pivots – Monday July 9

FanDuel MLB: KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 02: Jakob Junis #65 of the Kansas City Royals signs autographs for fans before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on June 2, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
FanDuel MLB: KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 02: Jakob Junis #65 of the Kansas City Royals signs autographs for fans before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on June 2, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /
FanDuel MLB: KANSAS CITY, MO – JUNE 02: Jakob Junis #65 of the Kansas City Royals signs autographs for fans before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on June 2, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/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.

One day, I swear stacking against Jon Lester will win me money. My Lester regression campaign took another L on Sunday, though we did get a home run from Eugenio Suarez and another from Adam Duvall (kind of since it was against the bullpen) but frankly the Reds bats were the least of my concerns. Pairing Suarez and Duvall with Nathan Eovaldi, who had a perfect game heading into the 7th versus the Mets, was quite a strong core around an Indians stack that I assumed (like many others) would feast on Brett Anderson and they did absolutely NOTHING. Sometimes that is MLB DFS and we have to just smile and move on to the next day,

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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.

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!

SAN DIEGO, CA – AUGUST 1: Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on August 1, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Starting Pitching Overview:

We have a nice eight game slate on FantasyDraft tonight which kicks off at 7:10PM EST and before we jump in, please note that the Main Slate removed three games from the schedule including the Yankees/Orioles and Mets/Phillies which will be playing the tail-end of a double-header and the 7:05PM EST Nationals/Pirates contest.

If you have not yet signed up for FantasyDraft, tonight is the PERFECT night to start and you can sign up HERE. FantasyDraft has a $25 tournament on the Main Slate with a $5K prize package to first place which includes two tickets to the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game as well as airfare and hotel accommodations – get in on this one folks!

We have four clear-cut aces at the top of the pricing tier tonight with Clayton Kershaw, Mike Clevinger, Gerrit Cole and Jose Berrios all on the mound with each arm at least a -185 favorite heading into their starts and not surprisingly, their four opponents have the four lowest run totals on the board so picking from any of these top-tier arms is a great bet for your SP1.

For my money however the arm I most want to build around is Jose Berrios, who gets a home start against a Royals team that is striking out at a 26% clip over the last two weeks, which is the third most in baseball. Berrios is one of the easier splits pitchers to break down in that is simply dominant at home and league average on the road as he has an ERA and xFIP 2 runs lower at home, while his K rate of 31.2% dwarfs his 17% road mark while giving up only 0.55 HR/9 versus 2.39 HR/9 away – so basically Berrios is a must start at home and someone you will likely avoid on the road.

Berrios has had two recent home starts against similarly weak offenses in the Rangers and White Sox, where Berrios struck out 12 and 10 batters and racked up 40 FantasyDraft points in each start so the ceiling is simply massive here for the Twins ace and if you are looking to pay up I think he is the clear top option.

If you take a step down into the next pricing tier there are two names that stand out, Chris Archer and Eduardo Rodriguez, but keep in mind that Archer only went 4 innings in his last and per Andrew Chastain of, Archer is likely to be on a pitch count.

"Even though Archer is not fully stretched out, Cash said that the Rays are giving heavy consideration to letting the right-hander finish getting stretched out while pitching in the Majors.“Let’s say it’s 65-70 pitches that he can provide, if we go that route, it’s 65-70 pretty good pitches in theory,” Cash said. ” … If he pitches for us, it will be Monday.”"

Eduardo Rodriguez meanwhile steps to the mound in Fenway as a -210 favorite against a K heavy Rangers team that should make E-Rod a popular SP2 target on this slate. Rodriguez has faced this Rangers team earlier this season in Arlington in a game that showed you the boom or bust nature of the Red Sox left-hander – striking out 10 batters but also giving up 3 HR’s and 5 ER on the night.

Rodriguez from a splits perspective is flat-out nasty against LHB, with a 34.6% K rate as compared to only 22% against RHB but the Rangers can go right-handed heavy, leaving only Gallo, Odor and Mazara in their line-up from the left side and it is worth noting that Gallo knocked Rodriguez for 2 of the 3 HR’s in his last start.

From a value perspective, the arms in the Cubs and Giants game stand out as potential great point per dollar plays in a great pitching environment in AT&T Park. Andrew Suarez will get to face a Cubs team that has to make the flight from Chicago to San Francisco after playing an extra inning game on Sunday afternoon so there could be a bit of jet lag for the Cubs in this first game on their West Coast road trip.

Suarez has been in great form over his last five starts, including a 7 inning, 6 K gem in Coors Field where he only gave up 1 ER and in fact, Suarez has only given up 1-2 ER in each of his last five starts. Over those starts, Suarez has a solid 21% K rate and an elite 60% GB rate and although he is giving up a ton of hard contact (45%), the home ballpark here will mitigate some of that risk.

Suarez in his last three home starts has put up 13, 20 and 27 FantasyDraft points and with his 26% K rate and 0.90 ISO to left-handed batters, he should be able to mitigate some of the more dangerous bats in the Cubs line-up. With this being one of two games to start after 10PM EST, I really hope we have the Chicago line-up before lock as I would be interested to see if any of the regulars get a day-off after the extra inning game and flight to San Francisco late yesterday, specifically Wilson Contreras, who caught the entire game on Sunday.

TORONTO, ON – MAY 12: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by J.D. Martinez #28 after scoring a run in the third inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 12, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Top Hitting Spots:

On a night where we have a handful of top priced arms, we also happen to have some of the most top-heavy offenses available to us with each of the Red Sox, Indians and Astros having 5+ run totals but with the salary needed to pay for pitching, it may be tough to go all-in on the obvious best offenses.

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The Red Sox stand out to me as the clear top choice for bats against LHP Mike Minor in Fenway Park with 85 degree temperatures and 13 MPH winds blowing out to left fied. Minor on the season is giving up a .220+ ISO to hitters from both sides of the plate with a 46% fly ball rate and 43.5% hard contact rate to right-handed hitters with a 1.5 HR/9 rate. The obvious duo of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez stand out as premier plays on this slate and you can round out a three-man stack here with Steve Pearce who has a .232 ISO against left-handed pitchers this season and for you BvP lovers, this trio is 9 for 16 with 3 HR’s (1 each) against Minor in their careers.

If you are not using Rodriguez as your SP2 and want to get leverage over the field in what I expect will be a popular spot, you could game stack this game and use the Rangers offense in similarly strong hitting conditions tonight. The Rangers are a boom or bust offensive option and it is worth noting that E-Rod has limited RHB to only a 24% HC rate this season so it may make sense to use some of the left-handers like Joey Gallo or Nomar Mazara and attack this in a lower owned lefty/lefty spot where Rodriguez has given up a higher ISO, fly ball rate and hard contact rate than his traditional splits versus RHB.

If there is one stack I would suspect will go under-owned on this slate it is the Brewers against Jose Urena in Miami. I actually think Urena could gain some ownership here after his 5 innings, 6 K shutout against the Rays last time out and this ballpark is one we typically look to avoid offenses in but this is a spot where I think the Brew Crew could pay big dividends in tournaments.

Urena this season has struggled with left-handed bats, surrendering a 43% HC rate and .152 ISO and will take on a Brewers line-up that has five hitters in their projected 8 with .190 or higher ISO marks against RHP including Eric Thames, Travis Shaw, Brad Miller, Christian Yelich and Jesus Aguilar.

Urena relies heavily on his sinker (42% of the time) and all five of these hitters mentioned have .170 or higher ISO marks against it with all but Brad Miller having marks above .200, so the power potential profiles well against Urena’s preferred pitch type. The Brewers bats are certainly not going to come cheap and I suspect most, if paying up, will opt for the Red Sox, Indians or Astros, so this could be a low owned stack that really separates you from the field and when you consider this Milwaukee team has hit 23 HR’s the last two weeks (most in baseball), this becomes a great GPP stack that will likely go over-looked considering their run total is only at 4.05, which is well below their season average of 4.4 runs per game.

Note: Unfortunately the FantasyDraft pricing was not available at the time I wrote this article so I am unable to give you a sample line-up today but will update thoughts on Twitter (@2LockSports) as the day goes on and I dig into the salary a bit more. Enjoy your day all!

Next: DFS MLB Game by Game Breakdowns

Best of luck in your MLB DFS contests and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all the latest DFS news and analysis!