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: Wainwright, Walker
Notes: I usually hate listing the three most expensive arms as the top three – I usually like to spread it out price-wise but the difference between the high and low is pretty stark so I will just keep it “safe”. Burnes and Berrios are at the top and if you remember, these two were in an amazing pitching duel last week in their first start. They both have great matchups here today so you can’t go wrong with either one, for me it all comes down to who I think will be higher owned and I’ll go with the other in my primary lineup just to differentiate. I will have exposure to both but this slate is fairly straightforward so just that one slight differentiation could be the difference. I think Burnes could have the higher ownership as he is slightly cheaper on both sites so I’ll be a little heavier on Berrios today. Both matchups are elite as Seattle sports a huge 29% K rate to righties while Stl checks in at 28%. Seattle seems to slightly weaker though in the early going with a paltry .109 ISO compared to Stl’s .161 mark. After those two, it is a little murkier. Lynn is a fine opption but he is too pricy for me on FD and has a little bit worse of a matchup with KC. Wainwright is scary himself after a dreadful outing against Cincinnati but the reason I listed him is his opponent. Milwaukee has an awful lineup outside of two players and have carried over their heavy strikeout ways from the last couple seasons, whiffing at a huge 32% rate to righties, second most in the league. All the pitchers below $8k today have some cons and all carry some risk so if you really want to get crazy, Gray at $7k could be in play as well after just spinning a gem against the much more daunting Dodgers lineup in Coors. It should also be noted that Gray has allowed just one homer over his last two games against Arizona at Coors. It’s not a play I’d run if I am only running one lineup but I am also not ruling it out on DK either if running a few. On Fanduel, I probably won’t be straying much at all from Burnes and Berrios. *Just watch Berrios’ weather as it is shaky at the time of writing which will make Burnes mega chalk on both sites*
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.
– Rockies (McMahon/Blackmon/Story/Hilliard) – This one is robably no secret but it is hard to deny the spot they’re in against Merrill Kelly. Kelly allowed a huge 63% hard hit rate, 94 mph exit velocity and 36% flyball rate in his first start against the Padres, all marks that will get him killed today if he carries it over, even despite how bad the Rockies are. He also relies on a curveball as his “out” pitch which is probably the worst pitch to have to rely on in the high altitude as it doesn’t break as much. Over his last 11 innings at Coors, he has allowed a whoping 10 runs and 3 homers on .604 slugging so he certainly has experience getting crushed at Coors.
– Red Sox (Martinez/Devers/Bogaerts/Verdugo/Vazquez) – I suggested them last week against Harvey and they busted that game so we may be reluctant to go back to that well but maybe I am a glutton for punishment because I am. In looking at that start, Harvey’s velocity averaged just 92.5mph, much lower than the 94 he displayed last year and during Spring and he wasn’t fooling these Boston hitters as he induced a pathetic 5% swinging strike rate while allowing a high 43% hard hit rate. Looking at that swinging strike rate and hard hit rate, I think Boston busting against him last start was more of a fluke than the norm and these Sox are starting to heat up a little at the dish, particularly JD and Xander. It should be noted that they will be huge chalk so when that is the case, there is always merit to fading in tourneys, especially if the rest of your line is also going to be popular (i.e. having Rockies with Berrios or something). Just as Toronto and Minny were huge chalk yesterday and busted, if you didn’t have them, you had a leg up on the field on a small slate.
– Mets (Conforto/Alonso/Nimmo/Smith/Lindor) – At some point they have to break out right? What better day for that to happen when they could be low owned AND when they’re facing a below-average pitcher with no much MLB experience. Neidert had a limited sample last year but it wasn’t good – he allowed a huge 64% hard hit rate and high 95 mph exit velocity with only a 4% swinging strike rate which is pretty bad. The only concerning thing I am seeing is that he induced a lot of groundballs (60% clip) but he didn’t induce them at that high a clip in the minors so I will side with his more established history in that case.
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
– Twins (Garver/Cruz/Buxton/Polanco/Sano) – Shockingly, this team had the lowest ISO to lefties last season which is amazing considering that the year before that in 2019, they led the league in that area. I never like to target Gonzales but Minny is cheap and they do have upside believe it or not if soft-tossing Marco is missing his spots.
– White Sox (Abreu/Grandal/Moncada/Eaton/Mercedes) – This is a situation kind of like the Jays yesterday against Gibson. It looked like Gibson had gotten demolished in his first start but he didn’t allow a homer and it turned out to just be bad luck BABIP. Keller got rocked his first start but he didn’t allow a homer, his velocity was where it normally is, his flyball rate was where it normally is, and the hard hit rate and exit velocity were where it normally is. He just got dinked and dunked all game. With that said, Chicago is a tough draw and could give him the same BABIP fits. Anytime you have a guy that pitches to contact like Keller does, there is a risk of being blown up, particularly against a good offense like this.
Top Three One-Off Plays
– Mancini, Bal
– Bryant, Chc
– Morann, Pit
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: Hard to tell who will be the big chalk here because of a couple of weather issues but I think you want either Berrios, Burnes, or Lynn for cash. I will lean Berrios because of his matchup and his weather seems best. Also, JD Martinez and Story.
Other FD Cash plays:
1B: Coors, Alonso
2B: Coors, Hernandez
3B: Coors, Devers
SS: Coors, Bogaerts
OF: Coors, JD martinez, Yelich, Conforto, Renfroe, Reynolds, Verdugo, Nimmo
DraftKings MLB Cash Foundation: Hard to tell who will be the big chalk here because of a couple of weather issues but I think you want either Berrios, Burnes, or Lynn for cash. I will lean Berrios because of his matchup and his weather seems best. Also, JD Martinez, Hilliard and Story.
Other DK cash plays: Coors will be most popular on both sites
P: Flaherty, Ryu
C: Contreras, Garver, Coors
1B: Coors, Alonso
2B: Coors, Hernandez, M Gonzalez
3B: Coors, Villar, Devers
SS: Coors, Bogaerts, Lindor
OF: Coors, Hilliard, Renfroe, Conforto, Yelich, Garlick
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!