MLB DFS Picks and Pivots – Tuesday, April 23 2019

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24: Frankie Montas #47 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates clinching a spot in the playoffs after beating the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 24, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24: Frankie Montas #47 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates clinching a spot in the playoffs after beating the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 24, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – APRIL 14: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated by Trevor Story #27 after hitting a three run home run against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at Oracle Park on April 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. The Colorado Rockies defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/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 fantasy baseball 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.

Monday’s MLB DFS slate was an ugly one, filled with unappealing pitching options and seemingly endless hitting options and for the most part, it played out as we expected. Only three arms – Jack Flaherty, Steven Matz and Chris Bassit were able to top 20 fantasy points while a whopping 12 batter hit or exceeded that mark including Nolan Arenado who dropped a 30 spot as one of the highest owned players on the slate in Coors Field.

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.

If you are looking to try out a new DFS site, head on over to FantasyDraft and enter my referral code for 10% rake back on your entries.

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!

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 29: Domingo German #65 of the New York Yankees pitches in the bottom of the first inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 29, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Tuesday Pitching Breakdown:

With Chris Sale pitching the afternoon game in Fenway Park, and Carlos Carrasco getting the start against the Marlins in the 6:10PM EST start, we unfortunately cannot use two of the top options taking the hill today as neither game is on the Main Slate on FantasyDraft.

Now after a rough Monday sorting though pitching, it would have been nice to get some of these arms on the Main Slate and frankly, the options on this Tuesday are not overly appealing either. Kenta Maeda and Jose Quintana are the top two priced arms on the slate, going up against each other with two dangerous offenses in Wrigley Field and when looking at the player pool early on, there is not much to like as you scroll down.

Maybe the answer then is grabbing someone not in the player pool?

OK, not quite, but the Yankees after a 14 inning game which taxed their bullpen on Monday have swapped out Jonathan Loaisiga (the probably pitcher on FantasyDraft) and instead of moved Domingo German ($18.1K) into the rotation for this road start with the Angels.

German has made three starts for the Yankees this season, racking up 17, 22 and 25 fantasy points against the Orioles, Royals and Tigers and has the kind of electric K stuff that could separate us on a slate like this.

German has a 31.1% K rate and 16.4% swinging strike rate so far in 2019 and with 5 projected right-handed batters in the Angels line-up, it sets up perfectly for German who as a massive 33.9% K rate against RHB since the start of 2018. German not only gets a huge ballpark boost in LAA, he also has a favorable pitching umpire in Bill Welke, who has an 8% higher K rate than the league average umpire.

German relies heavily on a nasty curveball, to both sides of the plate nearly 40% of the time that generates a 45% whiff rate and it you look back at last season, German has flashed his ceiling of 30+ fantasy points as a starter with 4 games of 9 or more K’s in his 14 2018 starts. On a slate without a ton of high K arms, and the added benefit of German being a late add to the starting player pool, The Yankees right-hander has the potential to fly a bit under the radar here today.

SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 24: Frankie Montas #47 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates clinching a spot in the playoffs after beating the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 24, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Finding my SP2:

I have been admittedly slow to come around on Frankie Montas ($14.6K) in 2019, anchoring back to a pitcher in 2018 who offered a below 20% K rate with massive hard contact, especially to left-handed batters but there has been a significant change in Montas approach that is driving some early season returns.

In 2018, Montas was essentially a sinker ball pitcher, throwing it well over 50% of the time in an effort to drive ground balls but hardly any swing and misses, as it had only a 4% whiff rate. Jump to 2019 and you will notice some stark changes so far – Montas has cut his sinker usage to 31% while relying more on a developing slider and new splitter that he is throwing for roughly 44% combined between the two offerings.

Those pitches are driving far more swings and misses, which each having a 30-40% whiff rate which has pushed his K rate from 15% in 2018 to 22% so far in 2019.

Take a look at the results so far in 2019 – Montas has gone 6+ innings in 3 of his 4 starts, with 5+ K’s in those outings and two 25 fantasy point outings against the Astros and Angels thus far with the most recent outing against the Astros really standing out.

"“I feel like I’m throwing more strikes and having more command of my fastball in and out of the zone,” Montas added. “The splitter really helped me a lot too.”That splitter is a new addition to Montas’ arsenal, a pitch he sort of stumbled upon this spring.“Honestly, I kind of just started playing with it in spring training,” he said. “I was not really serious about it, but I saw that I could throw it and get good results. I was just trying to get something else for hitters.”Melvin highlighted the importance of the new pitch.“It’s been the key,” Melvin said. “It’s a true third pitch. His slider was really good too. Sometimes it’s tough to tell the difference between the slider and the split. But a mix of pitches like that…he’s a tough guy to hit when he’s ahead in the count and feeling pretty good.” via Ben Ross – NBC Sports Bay Area"

It is that new addition of the splitter that really seems to be making a difference and the change in pitch types, along with an uptick in his fastball velocity to 97.5 MPH, has made him a dangerous arm and one against a K heavy Texas line-up that could pay huge dividends an SP2 tonight.

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 5: Trevor Story #27 of the Colorado Rockies hits a home run off a pitch from Andrew Suarez #59 of the San Francisco Giants in the first inning on September 5, 2018 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

MLB DFS – Building Bats:

Another day and another Coors Field slate with a 10+ game total and temperatures in the high 60’s, a big jump from the low 50’s on Monday. Not only is the temperature going to be significantly different but the Nationals will go from throwing Jeremy Hellickson to Patrick Corbin – which represents quite a change in how we approach the Rockies hitters.

Colorado is incredibly familiar with Corbin from his time with Arizona, as the current Rockies roster has well over 150 plate appearances against the lefty and what really stands out is how FantasyDraft has priced Colorado here.

You are not really getting a huge discount on Nolan Arenado or Trevor Story at $9.8K and $9.7K but the secondary pieces – Mark Reynolds ($7.5K), Ian Desmond ($6.9K) and even Charlie Blackmon ($8.7K).  You can build a five man Rockies stack, in Coors Field, for $8.5K per player which is about the same as it would cost you to stack the Rays at home against Tropicana and it is actually cheaper than stacking the Astros in Houston against Michael Pineda.

While I respect Corbin as a pitcher, he has had significant struggles in Coors over 10 starts, pitching to a 6.55 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, .326 BAA and allowing 10 HR in those starts. With the temperatures warming up, against a pitcher the Rockies are familiar with, taking the savings here and stacking Colorado feels like a great place to start.

The Nationals were without Anthony Rendon for the first game of the series and it seems like with roster moves being made around him, it could signal another missed game for him on Tuesday. The Rockies have not formally announced their starter, but all signs seem to indicate it will be RHP Jeff Hoffman, who has given up 18 runs and 20 hits in 11 innings at AAA – so yeah, a few Nats bats to round out a game stack here makes sense.

Juan Soto ($9.6K) is the clear top spend in this line-up and if Victor Robles ($9.4K) is once again hitting in the #2 hole as he was last night, this 1-2 mini stack is exactly where I would start.  Soto has a .223 ISO mark against RHP since the start of 2018 while Robles has a .264 mark.

Now stacking Coors is not necessarily going to be “sneaky” but I am a firm believer that people over think MLB DFS and try to get cute. In the $25 Home Run GPP on FantasyDraft last night – Ryan McMahon was 11% owned, batting 5th in Coors Field against Jeremy Hellickson while Robles was 13% owned batting 2nd in Coors – not “sneaky” by any stretch but I think once you get past the big name bats, the secondary plays are not nearly as popular as people think they will be.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 16: Juan Soto #22 and Victor Robles #16 of the Washington Nationals pray before playing against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park on April 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. All uniformed players and coaches are wearing number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

 MLB DFS – Sample Lineup and Slate Overview:

Please note – this sample lineup is not meant to be plug and play and instead is meant to be an illustrative example. 

More from FanSided

SP: Domingo German

SP: Frankie Montas

IF: Nolan Arenado

IF: Trevor Story

IF: Mark Reynolds

OF: Charlie Blackmon

OF: Ian Desmond

OF: Juan Soto

UTIL: Victor Robles

UTIL: Chris Davis

Slate Overview: While the pitching at first glance seems unappealing, the more I dug into the slate the more I liked the combination of German/Montas – not only because of the K upside each has, but that their pricing allows you to still comfortable stack up Coors Field.

Without any big weather issues on the horizon and temperatures starting to warm up again, this could be another slate where offense rules and finding two arms with 20 fantasy point+ ceilings could give you the path towards a GPP win.

Good luck all!

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