The Triple T: Tim’s Top Three
Welcome back to the 2021 MLB DFS season! As many of you know, MLB DFS is all about stacking so it only makes sense to focus on that in this article. I will list my favorite plays within each stack to make it easier to build a lineup from the recommendations. There may be more guys on team that can be used and salary will certainly dictate that, but the guys I list are my favorites within that team and can be mixed and matched. When we “stack”, that traditionally means that we play 3 to 5 guys from a particular team so that we can have exposure among multiple players throughout that lineup of the runs generated. Stacking could come in the form of a 5/3 stack (five players from one team and 3 from another), a 4/4, or even a 5/2/1 or 4/3/1. My personal favorite is a 3/3/2 as it allows me to get exposure to three of my favorite teams on a slate.
We should note that this MLB DFS season will play a little different then previous seasons as Covid-19 has made for an abbreviated year last year which could change how starting pitchers are used THIS season, how lineups and substitutions are managed, as well as the virus still being around, leading to positive tests and causing players to quarantine. Regardless, I am just happy to have the sport back and it should be a lot of fun. Tread lightly for the first couple weeks as we see how things are shaking out and we get a solid data set to work off!
Use these MLB plays along with your own research! Remember, this is a GPP-style article (outside of the cash cores) so I take some more chances than others. The format for this article is not set in stone so if there is something you want to see or would like me to consider changing, please let me know. After all, this site is for YOU. Let’s dive in!
*Be sure to compare with your own research from our incredible MLB DFS matchup tool!
Any changes or edits will be marked in Red – check back before lock!
Top Three Pitchers
Pitcher (favorite by tier):
Boom-or-Bust: Flaherty, Lopez
Notes: I need to start off with a little disclaimer as it relates to these pitchers…I am getting a little different today. I debated between Bieber and Bauer at the top but ultimately landed on Bieber. Even when the guy is off, he is amazing as seen in his last start when he got touched up by the Tigers and still ended with 6 innings and 12 strikeouts. That’s the benefit to Biebs – even when he is off, he saves you with that 40%+ strikeout rate. Bieber also generated a whopping 22% swinging strike rate which was 7 points ahead of Bauer’s 15% in their first starts. With that said, I don’t think I am making it that high in my primary lineups on FD. Maeda, Ryu, Flaherty, Lopez among others are all cheap with nice 40 point (FD) and 20 point (DK) upside. I will have a Bieber to cover myself but I am debating between Maeda and Ryu in my primary lineup. Ryu is just simply too cheap on DK. I know he isn’t the sexiest name, especially on a slate full of aces but he is a solid pitcher who generates a ton of soft contact and not a lot of flyballs which is what we are looking for. I also think he has a pretty good shot at a win bonus which is always a good thing. Flaherty and Lopez play each other and are a little more volatile so I will limit my exposure to them to large field tourneys if I end up going there. On DK, in my to builds I am leaning Bieber/Ryu and Maeda/Ryu but that is subject to change as we get closer.
Top MLB Team Stacks (both sites, no order)
– I am going to list my preferred player stack, but these aren’t the only guys I would use as there may be some others that offer us salary relief.
– Blue Jays (Bichette/Guerrero/Biggio/Hernandez/Gurriel) – I need to start off by saying that this stack should be the highest owned stack on both sites. Probably rightfully so, but there is something giving me pause. For as bad as Gibson was in his first start, he did not allow a home run, generated a good amount of swinging strikes relative to the amount of pitches he threw and his velocity was good. All those things considered, we still have to factor in that Gibson has a long track record of being garbage so take those metrics I just rattled with a grain of salt. However, since they should be the most popular stack on the board, there is definitely merit to fading in tourneys. Look at Cinci yesterday as an example – their 2 thru 4 hitters were all HUGE chalk on that early slate and the team went off for a football score in runs, BUT those popular hitters all didn’t do anything. If you faded them in tourneys, you had a huge advantage on the field and the team STILL went off. Gallo last night was one of the most popular players of the night and didn’t do much. In baseball, there is always merit to being underweight on big chalk given the volatility of the sport. I will have a Toronto stack in my big-dollar single-entry GPP, but will be underweight in tourneys.
– White Sox (Abreu/Moncada/Grandal/Eaton/Robert) – This is a stack that I think might go under the radar given the later time they play and the lack of Eloy that might turn people off. People also tend to play them against lefties and they’re facing a righty today. Dunn was a dumpster fire last season, ranking at the top of the leaderboards in most statcast metrics like hard hit rate, barrels allowed, batted ball distance, exit velocity allowed, etc. While it is true that he was better to righties, it is only marginally, as he was pretty bad to them too, He allowed over 40% hard contact and 40% flyballs to lefties while allowing 38% hard contact to righties and kept righties to a 1.61 HR/9 while allowing a mark over 2 to lefties but it should be noted that rate to righties is still very bad. The White Sox strikeout a lot to righties but they can also mash them. These five guys all have an ISO of at least .171 to righties while sporting impressive hard contact. Even if you don’t want to play the stack, consider Abreu as a one-off.
– Phil (Hoskins/Realmuto/Bohm/McCutchen/Harper) – Philly has struggled to start the year but last season if there was one area they excelled, it was against left handed pitching. All 8 of the projected batters in this Philly lineup had an ISO of over .200 which is actually pretty incredible when you think about it. Peterson really struggled to righties, allowing an xfip of over 5 to them and then gives way to a below-average bullpen.
Top Boom-or-Bust Stacks
These are stacks that I anticipate will be lower owned but have huge potential. They are usually all-or-nothing stacks that we play shooting for a tourney takedown
– Dodgers (Pollack/Turner/Taylor/Smith/Betts) – Luzardo is pretty good against lefties which is a bummer because that’s where some of the best power on this team comes from but they also have some righties that can do damage against southpaws.
– Twins (Cruz/Polanco/Garver/Sano/Buxton) – If you are a BVP truther, the BVP history does not look good at all on these guys against Boyd. Because of that you may want to stick with a Cruz one-off or a Polanco/Cruz mini stack but either way, I don’t let BVP deter me a ton as it doesn’t tell the whole story.
– Red Sox (Martinez/Bogaerts/Hernandez/Renfroe) – I am really on the fence with this one and wouldn’t mind substituting them with Cleveland (Reyes/Ramirez/Rosario)
Top Three One-Off Plays
– Cruz, Min
– Yelich, Mil
– Ramirez, Cle
Cash Game Foundation
*Since hedging your tourneys with cash games is extremely important in these daily sports like MLB, we have decided to include a cash game (double ups, 50/50’s) section at the bottom of our MLB DFS articles this season. These guys will be my foundation for cash games. I will focus mainly on where I think ownership will be and solid floors more so than who the actual “best” play at the position will be. Some guys have very high ceilings suited best for GPP while also having low floors not ideal for cash games. It is imperative that we play ownership in cash as we just need to beat half the field in these games rather than finish first. We want to pay close attention to where the field is going so if we have a bust at high ownership it doesn’t bury us. I love tourneys because they give me a chance to take some risks, but we want to play it safe in double-ups so I use my cash games to maybe eat some chalk that I may not be particularly high on because, again, we want to play ownership in cash.
***will make an update here at 6:00pm! ***
Fanduel MLB Cash Foundation: Bieber OR Bauer (prefer Bieber), Bichette, Polanco
Other FD Cash plays:
1B: Sano, Abreu
2B: Hiura, Lowe
3B: Ramirez, Biggio
SS: Bichette, Polanco
OF: Lowe, Meadows, Robert, Betts, Pollack, Cruz, McCutchen, Hernandez, Yelich, Gamel
DraftKings MLB Cash Foundation: Bieber OR Bauer, Cruz, Yelich
Other DK cash plays:
P: Flaherty, Ryu
C: Narvaez, Garver
1B: Sano, Guerrero, Hiura
2B: Polanco, Wong
3B: Ramirez, Bohm
SS: Bichette, Bogaerts
OF: Milwaukee, Buxton, Yelich, K Hernandez, T Hernandez, McCutchen
As always, remember to make sure these players are indeed in the lineup, that weather is okay, and keep an eye on Vegas odds. Don’t forget that baseball is by far the highest variance sport but by truly digging in to the numbers and turning over every stone, we can mitigate that variance. Please follow Top Flight Fantasy Sports on Twitter and Facebook if you haven’t already and good luck!