Welcome to the Wednesday 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.
Raise your hand if you thought Shane Bieber would be the highest scoring pitcher and Joe Mauer would end up as one of the top hitting plays on the board – put your hand down liar. It is funny, looking back at the slate, I felt uncomfortable with basically any pitcher not named deGrom or Foltynewicz, yet looking at the leaderboard, 7 of the top 9 fantasy scores came from pitchers who all scored 26 or more fantasy points 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 – Early Slate Overview:
We get a nice little four game early MLB DFS slate to break up our work week today and as far as short slates go – this one seems to be a really fun one to dive into and get some exposure. This slate is absolutely loaded with top-tier pitching as we have Gerrit Cole, Blake Snell, Carlos Carrasco and to a lesser extent, Jameson Taillon but we also have two offenses in the Astros and Dodgers that have 5+ run totals – so the question becomes where do you plant your flag?
From a pitching perspective – think about this for a second, over the last month here are the pitcher rankings in terms of K % for all of baseball:
So, to say this slate is top-heavy with pitching is an understatement and my guess is most will opt for one of this trio and use the mid-tier price point on James Taillon as their SP2 which allows them access to stack up either the Dodgers or Astros.
With that in mind, I think our goal than should be to find a pivot off that more popular build and do so without getting cute – ie. stack against one of the aces. So, rather than go with only one of the top end arms – what if we pay up for both? If we are paying up for both – why wouldn’t we lock in the top two strikeout arms in baseball over the last month in Snell and Cole?
My guess is Cole, as a 200+ favorite, will be the chalkier SP1 choice today as Snell’s match-up against the Indians is a dangerous one but keep in mind, this is a team he just faced in Cleveland and struck out 9 batters on his way to 29.6 fantasy points. If you opt to go this route, you still have nearly $7K per batter to fill out the rest of your line-up and you can do this while still getting access to the best stacks on the board.
The Astros line-up is the stack I want to plant my flag with (yes I know this is Picks and Pivots so you expected the Dodgers) however the match-up with LHP Daniel Norris is just one this right-handed heavy line-up looks poised to mash in. On the season, Norris is giving up a .265 ISO and 53% HC rate to RHB although interestingly enough, in 2017, in a much larger sample size, Norris was a bit reverse splits, giving up a .274 ISO to LHB so really this becomes a spot where I think you can go all-in regardless of handedness of the batter.
What really makes this stack work is the value you get at the bottom of the order with guys like Marwin Gonzalez, Jake Marisnick and Martin Maldonado who are all $5-6K on FantasyDraft and allow you the ability to wrap-around with the popular top of the Houston order or you could go contrarian a bit and stack from 4-9 with guys like Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White.
As an example – you can roster the following:
SP: Gerrit Cole
SP: Blake Snell
IF: Martin Maldonado
IF: Tyler White
IF: Yuli Gurriel
OF: Marwin Gonzalez
OF: Jake Marisnick
UTIL: Carlos Correa
This roster build as an example leaves you with $6.7K for the last two players and give you the ability to stack 4-9 in the highest projected scoring offense on the slate with the two highest K arms – feels like a chance to get your cake and eat it too on this early slate.
MLB DFS – Main Slate Overview:
Much like the Early Slate, the Main Slate is loaded with pitching options (which makes me scared for what is in store tomorrow and Friday) including Aaron Nola ($21.6K) who has a 35.9% K rate over the last month, third in all of baseball and behind only Snell and Cole during that time period.
Nola has faced this Nationals team four times this season and has been exceptional particularly over the last three outings in which he went 7+ IP in each start, striking out 8+ each time with only 2 ER allowed in total while racking up fantasy totals of 26,36 and 31. The later we get into the season, I am going to find myself siding with elite pitching much like we did earlier in the year and considering we are getting Nola at a $2K price decrease off his recent starts – this feels like a great spot to simply lock in Nola and move on.
The second tier of arms looks strong today as well with Luis Severino ($17.7K) standing out as a high upside, albeit risky, option against the Minnesota Twins. Severino has been up and down in the 2nd half of the season but he continues to flash his upside with 4 of his last 6 starts going for 8 strikeouts or more while putting up 23-25 fantasy points in each of those outings.
It will be interesting to see how people treat Coors Field today as even though it has a slate high game total (10), it also features Patrick Corbin and Jon Gray on the mound, so personally this is not a spot I intend to spend much time targeting. Instead, I will look to pivot to another high-powered offense like the New York Yankees against Jake Odorizzi.
Odorizzi is a fly ball pitcher against a Yankees team that is getting back to full strength with Didi Gregorious and Gary Sanchez back in the line-up and I think now is the time to stack the Yankees while their prices remain depressed due to recent cold spells while the big bats have been out. The first place to attack Odorizzi is with LHB as he is giving up a .220 ISO and a 1.36 HR/9 to left-handed batters which means Didi Gregorious, Aaron Hicks and Greg Bird are all elite plays with .190 or higher ISO marks against RHP this season. Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez each have a .200+ ISO mark against RHP and with Stanton being the only bat here over $9K (at $9.1K), this is a relatively easy stack to build while still paying up for arms tonight.
From a value perspective, there are a few spots that we can utilize tonight including the White Sox against LHP Eric Skoglund. Skoglund is arguably the worst arm on this slate and his .214 ISO and 46% HC rate to RHB, makes him a priority target and while the White Sox big bats like Abreu, Davidson etc are priced up – there is some serious value to be had in this line-up as well. Ryan LaMarre ($6.4K) should hit near the heart of the order as should Wellington Castillo ($6.4K) with the platoon advantage in play for both hitters.
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: Aaron Nola ($21.6K)
SP: Luis Severino ($17.7K)
IF: Didi Gregorious ($8.8K)
IF: Greg Bird ($6.7K)
IF: Gary Sanchez ($8.3K)
OF: Giancarlo Stanton ($9.1K)
OF: Aaron Hicks ($8.9K)
OF: Ryan LaMarre ($6.4K)
UTIL: Wllington Castillo ($6.4K)
UTIL: Jose Fernandez ($5.8K)
Slate Overview(s): Today’s MLB DFS action is really going to be highly pitcher centric as we have so many elite high K arms going and the way you consistently profit in MLB DFS is to chase the strikeout arms. Regardless of which slate you play on, I think I have laid out paths where you can pay up for both pitchers while still stacking two of the top offenses on the slate (Astros/Yankees) so hopefully this gets you a good start to your roster builds today – best of luck all!
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!