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!
Notes: Max and Giolito had rough starts last time out for their respective teams but I didn’t see anything in their metrics or pitch types that leads me to believe we should abandon ship on them. Admittedly, they are both priced a little higher than I want to pay on Fanduel, but on DK they are much more reasonable, particularly Giolito. He would be in play for me on DK but I think on Fanduel, he is kind of in no-man’s land in terms of pricing. Max has been shaky to start the year, allowing the highest flyball rate of his career, a whopping 57%, to go with 40% hard contact. This has translated to one of the longest average batted ball diatances in the league. Because of this, I wouldn’t blame you for fading him. In fact, if it were any other other matchup I probably wouldn’t even have him listed. The reason I do is because its a tourney article and I don’t think he will be that highly owned (on FD). Because of that, he could provide a nice tourney play with upside and the good thing about Max is that even when he “busts”, he still makes up for it with strikeouts and ends with a decent score (albeit not one you really wanted when you paid $12k). I think I will go elsewhere in my primary FD line but I’d definitely have a lot at $9.7k on DK. Trevor Rogers continues to baffle me. He wasn’t THAT good in the minors, wasn’t THAT highly touted of a prospect and has made the jump from single-A and double-A to the majors and come on like gangbusters. He did struggle a little last year, especially with the longball, but he added almost 2mph to his fastball and it seems to have made a huge difference, especially with keeping the ball in the yard. With that said, he is still allowing a high flyball rate (42%) and high hard contact which always makes me nervous. His 17% swinging strike rate is elite and if he continues to display that kind of whiff ability, he will be a true ace in this league. I am baffled by his ability to limit the longball given his hard hit rates and flyball rates but I am just going to go with it and not question it anymore because its working.
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.
– Yankees (Stanton/LeMehieu/Torres/Urshela/Hicks) – Like Friday, this should be one of the highest owned stacks so we should expect to be with the field on this one. What we did Friday was get creative within the stack by bypassing some of the bigger names batting high in the order like DJ and Torres and shifted to a couple guys lower in the order and it worked. I am going to suggest that route again. We will need to wait until lineups come out to see what we’re working with but don’t be afraid to target some bats between 6-9 in the order to separate from the field and get a different build.
– Red Sox (Martinez/Verdugo/Devers/Bogaerts) – Another year, another Mike Foltynewicz problem with the longball. Folty has allowed multiple homer games in half his starts so far (8 in 25 innings) and is among the league leaders in average batted ball distance. I’ve expected the Sox to be popular the last couple slates and they haven’t been so they could go modestly owned here. There is a lot of pitching to pay up for as well as bats that people may favor over the Sox like the Yanks or Braves so it could allow us to get this stack lower than we probably should.
– Braves (Acuna/Freeman/Albies/Ozuna/d’Arnaud) – As of writing, the Jays haven’t named an official starter but Ross Stripling is the most likely candidate. Whoever it is, it won’t be good for a depleted Jays pitching staff going against one of the best teams in the league to righties. I remember 2019 when Stripling had a quick flash of being an abover average pitcher but it seems to be all downhill since. He has allowed 15 homers over his last 57 innings dating back to last year and now has to pitch in this bandbox of a park in Dunedin against the team that sports the top spot in both exit velocity and average batted ball distance.
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
– Astros (Bregman/Correa/Gurriel/Alvarez) – Hill is giving up over 2 HR per 9 innings with 5 given up in 18 innings this season. A 38% hard contact and 36% flyball rate to righties could get him in trouble with this Astros lineup that can do damage to Southpaws. Hill then gives way to one of the higher bullpen ERAs in the league.
– Reds (Winker/Naquin/Castellanos/Votto/Moustakas) – Trevor Williams has held his own this season but how much longer can that last? His swinging strike rate is the highest it has ever been with the changing of his pitch mix but its only a matter of time before he gets figured out. You can put lipstick on a pig but it will still be a pig – the real Trevor Williams will show through at some point, what better time than against one of the best teams to righties in small Great American Ballpark?!
– White Sox (Moncada/Abreu/Mercedes/Anderson/Eaton) – About one of the only things going for Plesac is that he induces a lot of groundballs which saves him from a lot of trouble. In fact, the Sox have had his number already this season, scoring 12 runs in just over 5 innings across to starts against Plesac. Low strikeout guys that rely on contact to get outs are always prone for blowups and I am looking for a real low owned stack here to get different and I don’t expect this high potential stack to get much ownership.
Bonus Stack – Dodgers (Seager/Muncy/Taylor/Turner/Lux) – After writing, the Brewers announced their starter would be Alec Bettinger, a middling prospect with high flyball rates and moderate strikeout rates at single and double-A ball. There may be an unfamiliarity factor working against LA, but they are still at a clear advantage here. There is also a chance they go very underowned with a few other big name stacks on the board.
Top One-Off Plays
– Cruz, Min
– Gallo, Tex
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 12:00pm! ***
FD Cash Core: I am not “core”ing any pitcher today on FD. I think Max is probably highest owned but I don’t think he is “safe”. He gets enough K’s to end up with a decent score so you may want to just play ownership or you can go with who you’re most comfortable with. As for bats, Acuna, Odor, Stanton.
Other cash plays: Braves and Yanks, Martinez, Bogaerts, Gallo, Betts, Muncy
DK Cash core: I think Max/Giolito is the chalk build at P. Acuna, Betts, Odor, Urshela
Other DK Cash: Yanks, Braves, Muncy, Martinez, Bogaerts, Verdugo, Gallo, Moustakas, O’Neill
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!