MLB DFS Picks and Pivots – Tuesday July 31

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 20, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 20, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 20, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) MLB DFS /

Welcome to the Tuesday 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.

After a whirlwind week of vacation up and down the East Coast with my family and a few days off from DFS and Picks and Pivots, I am itching to get back into MLB DFS and what better day than the MLB Trade Deadline where we could still have some big time names dealt which could impact our decisions and line-ups on this slate.

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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!

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 9: Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning of the game on July 9, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Starting Pitching Overview:

When I first opened this slate and started scrolling through the options it was not the high-end guys that jumped out although you can argue of course to use any of Trevor Bauer, Charlie Morton, Tyler Skaggs or Masahiro Tanaka if you want – but this is looking like a night I attack a strong mid-tier which is headlined by Danny Duffy ($15.4K). 

Duffy gets a road start against the White Sox, the exact same set-up he had on July 14th where he went 7 innings of shut-out ball with 8K’s and 31.55 fantasy points on FantasyDraft. In that game Duffy was simply electric, sporting a 14% swinging strike rate against a White Sox team that strikes out more than any other team in baseball against left-handed pitching at 25.9% and the game performance was a reflection of Duffy’s K ability in the right match-up. The price point is way too cheap on Duffy here today and he should be a lock and load SP2 with the upside to put him in the SP1 conversation based on the opponent.

Jack Flaherty ($17.6K) feels like a guy who will get over-looked today as his price point has him in this awkward no-man’s land and honestly, I expect more people will go to his opponent in Jon Gray than land on Flaherty at home versus the Rockies. Yesterday I landed on Carlos Martinez in large part due to the Rockies K ability away from Coors Field where they strike out at a 24% clip which is the 8th highest mark in baseball this season and Flaherty has the same ability to flourish where we saw Car-Mart last night get 9 K’s in only 4.2 innings (81 pitches) in essentially the same match-up.

Flaherty on the season has a massive 35.7% K rate against right-handed batters in 42 innings of work against them which would rank him behind only Chris Sale and Max Scherzer when looking at pitchers with at lest 40 innings versus RHB in 2018 – decent company right? Now the Rockies can certainly roll out Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez and to a lesser degree Gerardo Parra or Ryan McMahon but this should be a line-up with 4-5 RHB in it at a minimum which sets up quite nicely for the Cardinals right-hander today. In his last two starts against the Cardinals and Cubs (both on the road), Flaherty as a 41.5% K rate with a 14.7% swinging strike rate while throwing 81 and 110 pitches in those outings which speaks to the kind of upside you are chasing here at a discount over the other higher priced arms available to us tonight.

ATLANTA, GA. – MAY 28: Sean Newcomb #15 (blue shirt), Tyler Flowers #25, Freddie Freeman #5, Ozzie Albies #1, and Johan Camargo #17 of the Atlanta Braves wait at home plate for Charlie Culberson (not pictured) after he hit a walk-off two run pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning during game one of a doubleheader against the New York Mets at SunTrust Field on May 28, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. MLB players across the league are wearing special uniforms to commemorate Memorial Day. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Top Hitting Spots:

Like seemingly every non Coors Field slate, the Yankees and Red Sox top the Vegas projected totals but there is nothing about their match-ups that screams must play to me so my initial reaction was to fade those offenses and instead look to the Atlanta Braves at home against RHP Dan Straily. Now Straily has actually pitched quite well against Atlanta this year in two starts, going a combined 12 innings with 11 K’s and only 2 ER so the game log watchers may be hesitant to go here based off his early season success but there are a few metrics that makes this a very intriguing stack spot for Atlanta, specifically the lefties.

On the season, Straily is giving up 42.1% hard contact to LHB (44% to RHB also), with a 15% walk rate and 1.5 HR/9 rate and will have to face a loaded Braves line-up that has now acquired some extra fire power in Adam Duvall. Against LHB this season, Straily relies heavily on his 90 MPH fastball (47% of the time) which not shockingly has a .289 ISO against it this season and if you look at Ozzie Albies ($9.8K) you will see this is a pitch he has an absurd .556 ISO against this season. Albies also happens to be 4 for 10 off Straily with 2 bombs which would seem to indicate this pitch type for Albies is one he can destroy.

With the high walk rate for Straily against lefties, this is a spot where I would be more inclined to stack the Braves with the top of the order – including Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Ronald Acuna Jr. in hopes that Straily loses his control and gets touched up for crooked numbers but would prioritize Albies and then Freeman if selecting only a handful of high-priced hitters from Atlanta.

Another day, another slate I want to stack the Dodgers – so is life. The fact that they were single digit owned last night as a stack and under-performed, would leads me to believe they will be every bit as ignored tonight. Now I am sure you all expected to come to Picks and Pivots today and see my scream JON LESTER REGRESSION from the mountains but I actually think LHP Wade Miley is the regression lefty we need to be attacking here today. On the season, Miley has a pretty little 2.05 ERA which most certainly does not align with his 5.07 xFIP or 5.17 SIERA and the fact he is giving up 41% HC to RHB and 50% HC to lefties would seem to further prove this is a pitcher who is primed for a blow up spot.

Now Miley is an extreme ground ball pitcher so when selecting Dodgers bats, we want to focus on the fly ball hitters and let’s see here – well, this Dodgers line-up is loaded with fly ball hitters who smash lefties. Let’s take a look at the top 5 projected hitters in the Dodgers order – Chris Taylor, Manny Machado, Matt Kemp, Enrique Hernandez and Max Muncy – who have ISO’s of .205, .225, .310, .192 and .290 versus LHP this season and every single batter has a 46% or higher fly ball rate versus southpaws. If this stack is going to be under-owned again tonight, than I would go right back to it here against Miley in a match-up they look to be primed to smash.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 30: Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is announced for his first at bat against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/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: Jack Flaherty ($17.6K)

SP: Danny Duffy ($15.4K)

IF: Freddie Freeman ($9.4K)

IF: Ozzie Albies ($9.8K)

IF: Manny Machado ($8.6K)

OF: Max Muncy ($8.2K)

OF: Matt Kemp ($8.4K)

OF: Chris Taylor ($8.1K)

UTIL: Kike’ Hernandez ($7.2K)

UTIL: Justin Smoak ($7.3K)

Slate Overview: With a strong mid-tier of high K arms available today, I like the idea at first glance of paying down at pitcher and loading up on either a Dodgers or Braves stack at the core of my builds. Also, it is Jon Lester Day and he will face a Pirates team that knows him well and has put up 4 ER in two of their three starts against him this season so feel free to pick out a few bats from the Pirates and attack Cy Fraud. Man it feels good to be back.

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