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.
Honestly, I never thought we would see back to back slates where guys like Erick Fedde and Josh James were chalk value arms but such is life in late season MLB DFS. The combination of James with a high-priced arm like Blake Snell/Corey Kluber was the popular route on this slate so I took the approach in GPP’s of fading James and stacking the Mariners at nearly universal sub 5% ownership levels in hopes the rookie was off his game. Well the Mariners put up a big fat $0 which also ironically is the same amount in my “Currently Winning” screen from last night’s entries. On to the next one.
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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:
Although we do have a three game early slate, the options frankly are a bit underwhelming so rather than chase a slate I do not love, I am going to focus my energy on the 10 game Main Slate for Wednesday Night in MLB DFS. If you do want to play that slate – it is pretty simple for me, I would lock in Jack Flaherty as your SP1, roll with Spencer Turnbull and his 35% plus K rate track record in the minors and stack up the Cardinals against a Braves pitcher who has had significant control problems!
On to the Main Slate where we have a ton of name arms to pay up for but some tricky spots to roll them out in. Walker Buehler ($22.1K) gets a weakened Rockies team with Trevor Story out of the line-up and put up 24 fantasy points against this same Rockies team earlier in the year when they made a visit to LA so there is certainly a floor/ceiling combination worth paying for. Carlos Carrasco gets a match-up with the White Sox he has dominated this year with 33 and 39 fantasy points but both of those starts were on the road where Carrasco historically has much better numbers and this game tonight is in Cleveland. David Price and Luis Severino have name value but with Aaron Judge back in the line-up now you have two of the best offenses, fully healthy and neither of which are teams I want to attack with pitching if I can avoid it.
After watching Jameson Taillon dominate the Royals last night to the tune of a slate leading 35 fantasy points on the back of 11 K’s in 7 innings, be prepared for some massive Chris Archer ($15.7K) ownership today. Archer has failed to reach 20 fantasy points now in 8 straight starts so there is certainly merit to fading him here if he becomes the chalk but we are starting to see glimpses of the Chris Archer we would have paid $20K for earlier in the season in some of his most recent turns.
Over his last four starts, two against Milwaukee and one in Atlanta with his only home start versus Miami, Archer has ticked up to a 26.7% K rate with an 11.5% swinging strike rate and will face off with a KC projected line-up (potentially without Sal Perez again) with a 24%+ K rate against RHP on the season.
What is interesting to me with Archer recently he is has all but abandoned his change-up he was throwing nearly 10% of the time this year and is relying more on his fastball/slider combination while utilizing a curveball now as his primary third offering and with it, he is seeing batters chase more outside the zone. Against a young team like the Royals, this could be the perfect spot to get a team that will chase those offerings outside the zone and help pad his K total at a nice mid-range price point.
Are you pitching against the Giants? Then I will likely have interest. Robbie Erlin ($9.1K) is the cheapest arm on the slate and gets arguably the best match-up on the board (although Joe West is behind the plate in San Diego today) so we simply have to have some interest considering the match-up and price point.
The Giants will likely throw an entirely right-handed line-up out today with their projected line-up sporting a near 24% K rate against LHP this season and Erlin has shown some solid K upside pitching at home in recent starts. In his last two home starts against the Rangers and Rockies, Erlin struck out 6 and 7 batters on his way to 18 and 13 fantasy points which considering the price point here, would be more than enough to return value with a similar outing here today.
MLB DFS – Top Hitting Spots:
As of this writing we have two obvious teams that make for great high dollar stacks with both the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers having 5+ run totals from the early Vegas data. The interesting thing here is that Milwaukee lost both Travis Shaw AND Lorenzo Cain to injuries last night which could mean this Milwaukee line-up loses two of its best bats and frankly makes the stack a little less interesting. Now obviously you can still play the potential NL MVP in Christian Yelich and stack up lefties like Mike Moustakas and Curtis Granderson in this match-up against RHP Matt Harvey, but after that – without Shaw and Yelich, are you really going to go out of your way to build stacks including the fill-ins for Milwaukee?
All this leads me to the Indians as the top stack as from 1-6 this line-up is just absolutely loaded and although Dylan Covey is not as bad as many make him out to be, this is still a pitcher with minimal swinging strike and K ability having to take on of the best offenses in baseball in their home park. Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor are arguably two of the top plays on the board and on a slate where I think paying down for pitching is the ideal route, you can easily afford them both and complete any stack with the Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso, Michael Brantley and Josh Donaldson crew behind them.
The Oakland A’s have a 4.5 run total – nothing flashy, below the big boys mentioned above and playing in Oakland will certainly mean they garner less ownership because of the ballpark but this is a line-up that has GPP winning upside on any slate it is on and the price points are incredibly fair as a secondary stack around the more expensive Indians or Brewers.
Felix Pena is on the hill for the Angels in this spot, a pitcher who relies nearly 50% of the time on his sinker and the rest of the time on his slider – making him largely a two pitch pitcher. Now take a stroll through the Big 3 in the Oakland line-up and how they do against this pitch type:
- Khris Davis – .458 ISO versus sinker and .333 ISO versus slider
- Matt Chapman – .449 ISO versus sinker and .292 ISO versus slider
- Matt Olson – .205 ISO versus sinker and .155 ISO versus slider
Davis and Chapman look like absolute monsters in this match-up and it was no surprise to see that both of his hitters have homered off Pena already this year, with this duo combining to go 3 for 6 with 2 HR’s and a double. Davis and Chapman are arguably my two favorite plays on this slate tonight and with them priced under $9K, you can fit them in to nearly any roster build.
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 Archer ($15.7K)
SP: Robbie Erlin ($9.1K)
IF: Jose Ramirez ($10.1K)
IF: Francisco Lindor ($10.1K)
IF: Matt Chapman ($8.6K)
OF: Khris Davis ($8.8K)
OF: Christian Yelich ($11.3K)
OF: Curtis Granderson ($8.7K)
UTIL: Mike Moustakas ($8.1K)
UTIL: Edwin Encarnacion ($9.4K)
Slate Overview: This looks like a great spot to pay down for pitching tonight and load up on bats and rather than go all-in on one stack, I think it makes sense to mix and match 2-3 man stacks across the Indians, Brewers and A’s power duo on this slate tonight. We should be all clear from a weather perspective so simply keep an eye out on line-ups, especially the Brewers line-up with Shaw and Cain banged up and let’s lock and load some mid-week MLB DFS action.
Best of luck in your MLB DFS contests and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all the latest DFS news and analysis across FantasyDraft, FanDuel and DraftKings.