Welcome to the Friday 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.
Thursday’s MLB DFS slate was paced by some big time offensive performances but it was not from the “chalk” teams like the Yankees or Red Sox and instead was by teams like the Mets, Nationals and Phillies as Nick Williams, Asdrubal Cabrera, Rhys Hoskins and Trea Turner were the bats found at the top of the leaderboards on this night.
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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.
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:
Holy pitching Batman! We get Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greine, Carlos Carrasco and Chris Archer all taking the mound tonight so to say we have a few elite SP1’s to choose from tonight would be an understatement. Not only do we have elite K arms at the top of the pricing but we also have a game in Coors Field and the Yankees and Red Sox both projected to score 6+ runs so there is going to be a tough pitching versus hitting discusssion that sits at the core of your roster build today.
Chris Sale ($26.4K) is simply pitching in another world right now since the calendar flipped to June over 9 starts racking up 93 K’s in only 60 innings of work with a 41% K rate and a massive 16.1% swinging strike rate. Sale has put up 9 or more K’s in each of his last eight starts with 34 or more fantasy points in each of his last five starts and will get a home start tonight against the Twins. Sale steps to the mound as a crazy high -360 favorite while Minnesota has a slate low 2.1 run total which makes Sale THE SP1 to build around in all formats tonight and my recommendation is to simply find a way to make your roster work with him as the first player in it.
Luis Perdomo ($8.4K) is the cheapest pitcher on this slate and when you consider he has only put up double-digit points one time in his 4 starts since coming off the D.L. it is not hard to see why the price is so low. Perdomo has always been an elite ground ball arm with a 60% ground ball rate in 2016 and 2017 but this season that rate has plummeted down to only 40% as his sinker use at 51% is the lowest it has been while he is relying more on his slider and change-up with inconsistent results.
Over his last two starts, Perdomo has put up 5 and 6 K’s against the Cubs and Phillies, relying much more on getting fly ball outs with 14 fly balls versis 13 ground balls which is certainly a much different approach that his sinker heavy, ground ball approach we have seen in previous seasons. In his last start against the Phillies, Perdomo has 10 swinging strikes which is his highest mark of any game this season and tonight he will get the ballpark boost of pitching at home versus Arizona in Petco Park.
The interesting part of this match-up tonight is that the projected Arizona line-up only has two-three lefties in it with Jake Lamb banged up which would suit Perdomo quite perfectly. Perdomo has a K rate 21.5% versus RHB as opposed to only a 13% rate versus lefties while his hard contact rate is down 4% and his walk rate drops 5% so the more righties the better for Arizona in this spot for Perdomo tonight.
MLB DFS – Hitting Overview:
When I first looked at this slate, I thought I would have to decide between Chris Sale OR Coors Field but I think there is a path to get the best arm and attack the game with the 11.5 game total which is the highest on the board.
Oakland goes from an elite hitting environment they flourished in in Arlington to Coors Field and the fact that Matt Chapman ($8.4K) is priced this low in Coors against a lefty in Kyle Freeland is going to be one of the most cost-effective ways to get exposure to this game while still affording Chris Sale as your SP1. At home this season versus RHB, Freeland is giving up 1.5 HR/9 so locking in Chapman and pairing him with the red-hot Khris Davis ($10.2K) is a great way to maximize your exposure to this Oakland A’s offense.
On the other side of this game the Rockies will face-off with LHP Sean Manaea which means Nolan Arenado ($10.5K) becomes the best play on the board at home facing a left-hander. In Coors this season against left-handers, Arenado has a 50% HC rate with an absurd .492 ISO and should be the top bat on this slate if you only have the salary to spend up on one hitter. Ian Desmond ($9.8K) would be my favorite high dollar pairing with Arenado but do not overlook someone like Chris Ianetta ($6.6K) who would have the platoon advantage and give you cheap access to this game.
OK so I have told you to play Chris Sale and stack Coors – yes I am aware there is a salary cap. Paying down for your SP2 with Luis Perdomo was step one in making this build work and I believe the Pirates right-handed batters versus Jason Vargas are the other key to finding the salary to make this work.
Jason Vargas is a pitcher I love to pick on with right-handed batters as they have a 2.6 HR/9 rate against Vargas this season with a 39% HC rate and we can get cost-effective Pirates in our line-ups to attack the Mets left-hander. David Freese ($6.3K) will likely bat clean-up again and is one of my favorite point per dollar plays on the board and can be paired with cheap options like Jordan Luplow ($7.3K) and Francisco Cervelli ($5.9K) to build a cost-effective stack against arguably the worst arm on the board. Vargas relies almost entirely on a sinker/change-up combination against RHB and those two pitches are surrendering a .300 ISO to right-handed batters this season – keep an eye on the Pirates line-up as we have a variety of banged up Pittsburgh hitters including Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson which could give us some additional value bats like Sean Rodriguez and/or Jordy Mercer who both starts against LHP Steven Matz on Thursday.
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!
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SP: Chris Sale ($26.4K)
SP: Luis Perdomo ($8.4K)
IF: David Freese ($6.3K)
IF: Matt Chapman ($8.4K)
IF: Nolan Arenado ($10.5K)
OF: Khris Davis ($10.2K)
OF: Ian Desmond ($9.8K)
OF: Jordan Luplow ($7.3K)
UTIL: Chris Iannetta ($6.6K)
UTIL: Francisco Cervelli ($5.9K)
Slate Overview: I certainly did not think a roster with Chris Sale, Nolan Arenado AND Khris Davis would be possible at first glance but the Perdomo/Pirates plays are an interesting way to get to that build if you so choose. The Pirates have a 5+ run total tonight, fifth highest on the slate, so this is the line-up I will be watching the closest leading up to lock to see what value plays I can mix and match around Sale/Coors and hope we start off our weekend in a big way.
I am back to vacation mode, heading to my next stop with NO WIFI (YIKES) so Picks and Pivots will be off for a few days but stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for our additional MLB DFS coverage each day! Enjoy your weekend!