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):
Notes: Finally, a main slate that starts at 7pm! After a couple day slates, we get a night main though it is still a small one which is a bummer. The pitching on it is kind of weird – it’s loaded with guys that I don’t necessarily want to roll out but also ones that I don’t really want to stack against either. We have Wheeler sitting at the top and he looked amazing in his first start against Atl. The Braves strike out a ton especially to righties so he is definitely in play but I just don’t think I will make it to that salary on Fanduel. The $8.8 is a little more appealing on DK so I think he is more of a play on that site. It’s the opposite for Plesac – I think he is priced fairly on Fanduel but his DK price is more than I am willing to pay. Plesac is a guy that has decent-to-good metrics but he never really seems to do much for me. Just an average pitcher. However, tonight he has a decent matchup against the Tigers who are a little better than last season but still one of the lesser offenses in the league and on the slate. Plesac did allow a 40% hard hit rate to this same team last week so again, he is not immune to blowing up. Musgrove has been an average pitcher throughout his career but he has been mired in Pittsburgh for much of it and we know what they do to pitchers. I mean, they made Glasnow look like a scrub, derailed Jameson Taillon’s career and ruined Chris Archer so its been tough to tell just how good Musgrove can be. We got a little taste of that in his first start with the Padres where he generated an awesome 16% swinging strike rate. He did allow a 53% hard contact but it was negated by wing-and-miss stuff and exceptional groundball rates, keeping flyballs to just 15% of batted balls. In his first start, he seemed to almost ditch his curve and threw his cutter substantially more than he has in previous seasons so its possible that tweak could be all he needed to take the next step. His DK price is tasty. Mahle is a guy that is really intriguing to me today against Arizona. His matchup is definitely beatable, especially with no Marte in the lineup and the park is a huge upgrade. Mahle is a guy with loads of potential but he has been stuck in Great American Ballpark for his whole career. His home/road splits are evidence of what typpe of pitcher he can be if he played somewhere else. For example, he has allowed a whopping 2.13 HR/9 at his home park but just a 1.09 number away from Great American. He is a flyball pitcher which can get him into trouble and that is why his HR rate is so much better on the road. He did allow a huge 95 mph exit velocity in his first start and he should face a lot of lefties so this play should only be reserved for tourneys and is very risky but Arizona only has three guys that scare me. Morton is also in the category – Philly has some mashers but they also strikeout a ton and Morton looked great against them last start but it is always scary to start a guy against the same team twice in a row. Morton allowed a very high .429 BABIP in his first start which should correct itself, he allowed no homers, had great velocity and allowed a paltry 86 mph exit velocity and 14% hard hit rate. If he carries those marks into tonight, he should be good for the salary. I think on FD, I am going be hanging around Plesac a bunch and on DK, Musgrove will probably be my most exposed.
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.
– Padres (Machado/Myers/Pham/Cronenworth/Hosmer) – The loss of Tatis is huge but this team is still in the best spot of the night against Arihara. Arihara got pounded in his first start, allowing a huge 47% flyball rate, 50% hard contact and 3 barrels. He induced just a 5% swinging strike rate which is pretty bad. This guy isn’t a good pitcher and when (not if) the Padres get to him, he gives way to one of the worst bullpens in the league, a pen that is allowing the third highest ERA in the league so far. They should be the heavy chalk but I will just eat it. There’s plenty of other ways to get creative on this slate.
– Houston (Bregman/Gurriel/Tucker/Altuve/Alvarez) – Manaea just faced these same ‘Stros last week and got destroyed, allowing a 50% flyball rate and 50% hard contact to go with 2 homers in 4 innings. Manaea’s velocity was there and his swinging strike rate was where it should be but he just wasn’t locating his ppitches. He was all over the place. If he is that wild again, it is going to be a long night for him and this A’s ppitching staff. Oakland, like Texas, also has a dreadful bullpen so the bleeding shouldn’t stop much once he leaves.
– Indians (Reyes/Hernandez/Ramirez/Rosario/Naylor) – To say that Julio Teheran is the worst pitcher on the slate is an understatement – he could very well be one of the worst starters in the league. He allowed just about the worst metrics a ppitcher can allow in his first start, giving up a 50% hard hit rate, 3 barrels, a 94mph exit velocity while inducing just a 5% swinging strike rate and huge 18 degree launch angle. The Indians aren’t the greatest offense in the world but even a college team could pound Teheran if he is allowing those kind of numbers. And in keeping with the theme of the night, Detroit also has a god awful bullpen, the worst in the majors and sporting a 7.56 ERA. The Indians shockingly lead the entire major leagues with a 49% hard contact rate to right-handed pitching so far this season.
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
– Toronto (Guerrero/Hernandez/Gurriel/Bichette/Biggio) – The team of former major leaguer’s sons could be popular tonight against Heaney but there is always a question of which Heaney we get. He can allow some god awful metrics which in turn end up being very fruitful for our bats but when he is keeping the ball down, he can be a pretty decent pitcher. His velocity was up in his first start over his career average and he allowed a 3 degree launch angle, a stark contrast from the huge mid-teens and higher marks he’s been putting up in his career. It could be due to increased usage of the slider in that first start and if he keeps that up, it won’t yield much in the way of offense from this Jays squad. However, if he is allowing batters to get under the ball, this Jays team could do a number on him.
– Reds (Suarez/Moustakas/Votto/Castellanos) – Widener shut down the Padres in his first start which I think was shocking for everyone but it isn’t like he had dominant stuff. He did still allow a 60% hard hit rate and didn’t induce a ton of swinging strikes. If the Reds main power hitters were all righties, I would be much higher on them than I am but Widener’s strong suit is limiting righties (a converted righty reliever specialist).
Angels (Trout/Rendon/Upton/Ohtani/Walsh) – This stack could be high on people’s lists tonight but they’re down on mine. Zeuch has a history of being a groundball pitcher and I tend to avoid stacking against those guys. We saw him limit the Yanks and while the Angels are the 5th best team to righties in wRC+, they are less daunting than the Yanks. Zeuch pitches to contact which always makes him prone to blowups and getting BABIP’d to death but his strong suit is limiting righties, keeping them to a .246 wOBA. Ohatni and Walsh could be servicable as mini stack or one-offs but I am hesitant on the full stack.
Top Three One-Off Plays
– Ohtani, LAA
– Olson, Oak
– Moustakas, Cin
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: Plesac or Musgrove, Trout, Rosario, Ramirez
Other FD Cash plays:
1B: Walsh, Guerrero
2B: Semien, Altuve, Hernandez
3B: Machado, Ramirez
SS: Suarez, Correa
OF: Trout, Rosario, Pham, Myers, Ohtani
DraftKings MLB Cash Foundation: Musgrove, Trout, Rosario
Other DK cash plays:
P: Pitcher ownership pretty spread out after Musgrove with McCullers and Wheeler and Plesac highest after that
C: Kirk, Caratini
1B: Ohtani, Walsh, Votto
2B: Altuve, Semien
3B: Ramirez, Machado
SS: Suarez, Bichette
OF: Angels, Roasrio, Pham, Myers, Indians, Grisham
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!