MLB DFS Picks and Pivots – Monday August 27

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) /
TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 20: Kendrys Morales #8 of the Toronto Blue Jays circles the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on August 20, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/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 incredibly high-scoring for only a 10 game slate as the Indians, Nationals and Cardinals all went for double-digit runs and Blake Snell made quick work of a Red Sox line-up that was missing both J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi, as he came through as the highest scoring pitcher on the 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!

FanDuel MLB: PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 17: Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin #46 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is dunked with gatorade by Zack Godley #52 and Archie Bradley #25 after pitching a compete game shut-out against the San Francisco Giants the MLB game at Chase Field on April 17, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 1-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Starting Pitching Overview:

For only a seven game MLB DFS slate tonight we have a surprisingly strong number of pitching options to choose from headlined by Gerrit Cole and Patrick Corbin at the top, making for an interesting SP1 decision. Over the last month Cole and Corbin rank in the top 6 across baseball and 1-2 on this slate in K% at 32.3% and 31.8% respectively and although Cole has a strong 12% swinging strike rate, it is nothing compared to Corbin’s league-leading 17.5% swinging strike rate over the last 30 days.

Patrick Corbin ($22.5K) has every bit the strikeout upside of Cole for $800 cheaper on this slate and it would seem his match-up in San Francisco has a much safer floor than Cole at home against Oakland. Corbin has faced this Giants team 5 times already this season putting up 19, 20, 23, 27 and 44 fantasy points with 37 K’s and 32 innings of work  – this is simply an elite match-up for a high K arm and it offers the cash game safety and GPP upside we can build around in all formats tonight.

Now Gerrit Cole ($23.3K) has had success against this strikeout heavy A’s team, including an 11 K, 32 fantasy point performance the last time they faced in July 9 but over the last month this A’s team is simply red-hot, leading the league in ISO (.206) and slugging percentage with 39 HR’s (4th in baseball) and it is that power upside that makes Cole more of a GPP play when you figure most will likely take the salary savings for Corbin which will lead to lower ownership on Cole.

The second and third tier arms on this slate are strong with Jon Gray ($16.8K) standing out as an intriguing mid-tier play outside of Coors Field, pitching on the road against the Angels. Since is return from AAA, Gray has been a totally different pitcher and in fact over the last 30 days is third in all of baseball with a 15%+ swinging strike rate, which speaks to his high K upside. Gray has gone for 20+ fantasy points in all but one of his seven starts since his return mid-July and the only real knock here is the Angels are not a huge strikeout team and they do have Mike Trout back in the line-up.

I try not to simply be a game log watcher, but it is hard to ignore the price and match-up for Sam Gaviglio ($14K) as an SP2 on this slate getting his third start against the Orioles in his last eight games. In his previous two outings against this watered down Orioles squad, Sammy G has gone 7+ innings in each outing with 7/8 K’s, while putting up 20 and 26 FPTS. If you dig a bit deeper, Gavigilio had a 25% K rate and double-digit swinging strike rate in those outings and in fact, he has a 25% or higher K rate in four of his last seven outings.

TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 22: Kendrys Morales #8 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by third base coach Luis Rivera #4 after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on August 22, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Top Hitting Spots:

Honestly, sometimes it feels like the world just dangles the carrot in front of you – showing you a path to success that you just cannot help but jump at – it is so obvious, it all lines up – go for it Brian (or whatever your name is) – GO FOR IT!

I opened up the slate today and looked over the pitching options, seeing my arch-nemesis Jon Lester on the hill in Wrigley and then clicked on the weather to see….oh boy, 16 MPH winds blowing OUT at Wrigley. I am sorry but I cannot beat the Lester regression drum all year-long and then not be all over this spot for the Mets.

Now you may say, but the Mets offense is terrible and looking at the metrics, you would not be wrong in the context of how they have fared over the course of the season but over the last month, the Mets are one of the best offenses in all of baseball. Don’t believe me? In the last 30 days the Mets rank 6th in baseball in runs scored, ahead of teams like the Indians, Dodgers and Braves.

Now the 2018 numbers for the Mets against LHB are admittedly not strong but over the last two years the heart of the order – Wilmer Flores, Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier – have .180, 210 and .245 ISO marks respectively against left-handed pitching. After a series of rough starts for Lester after the All-Star break, he has bounced back with strong road starts against the Pirates and Tigers but now going back to Wrigley where he has a higher ERA, xFIP, HR/9 and HC rate while seeing his K % drop to 16% and his walk rate increase to just under 10% – I simply cannot avoid a spot where the metrics line-up to attack Lester once again.

There is simply no hotter hitter in baseball right now than Kendrys Morales who has seven homeruns now in his last six games and will now head to Camden Yards to take on arguably the worst pitcher on the slate in David Hess. In 2018, Hess is giving up a .243 ISO to LHB and a .207 ISO to RHB with a 2.39 HR/9 to lefties and a 1.57 HR/9 mark to right-handed hitters.

Hot streaks are a thing and when they coincide with a fly ball pitcher who gives up a ton of power – I am not sure how you fade Morales here today. Hess throws a fastball at 92 MPH nearly 63% of the time against LHB this season and Morales like most MLB hitters has strong numbers against an underwhelming heater like that – sporting a .381 ISO against that pitch type in 2018. Justin Smoak has a .355 ISO mark while Randal Grichuk has a massive .621 ISO mark and considering that Hess relies so heavily on one pitch that the Blue Jays mash, there is no question as to why Vegas as them with a 5+ run total.

Smoak, Morales and Grichuk all have .247+ ISO marks against RHP this season while Billy McKinney in limited sample size (25 AB’s) has a .409 ISO sitting atop this Blue Jays line-up. The Blue Jays never seem to be popular and even the red-hot Morales was only 10% owned in GPP play yesterday so let others be scared off by the inflated price and pretend like hot streaks do not exist – this would be a smash spot for Morales and his teammates regardless of the heater he is on and they make for my favorite stack on the day.

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 10: Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets celebrates with Jose Reyes #7 after he hit a two-run home run during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees during a game at Citi Field on June 10, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/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: Patrick Corbin ($22.5K)

SP: Sam Gaviglio ($14K)

IF: Kendrys Morales ($9.7K)

IF: Justin Smoak ($8.2K)

IF: Wilmer Flores ($7.2K)

OF: Randal Grichuk ($8.3K)

OF: Billy McKinney ($7.4K)

OF: Michael Conforto ($6.3K)

UTIL: Todd Frazier ($8.1K)

UTIL: Juan Soto ($8.3K)

Slate Overview: First off, this looks like a strong pitching slate so I think paying up for Cole/Corbin is a must and the fact you can get cheap SP2’s like Gray and Gaviglio with 20+ FPT upside makes this a relatively easy build depending on which bats you want. The Blue Jays and Mets bats are relatively inexpensive when you consider the match-ups and I am sure once the Wrigley total is released it will be the highest on the slate which could/should drive ownership towards the Amazin’s hitters. No better way to start off a work week than with a Jon Lester day – man I love Mondays.

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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!