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!
Boom-or-Bust: Manaea, Morton
Notes: A lot of good arms on tonight’s slate and I am having trouble just picking one. Rodon is a little more than I’d like to pay on both sites, especially for a guy that has control issues. He has been great this season but those control issues are always just waiting to rear their ugly head so I will just choose to go elsewhere tonight. Snell is a little more affordable on FD but the matchup is sneaky tough for him so I may just avoid him altogether if it looks like he is going to be popular. I would list Rodriguez tonight but that game looks pretty hairy weather-wise so I will list others for the purpose of the article. If that game plays, then E-Rod would definitely be in play. Flaherty hasn’t been amazing this season but he has been solid outside of that first start and gets the Rockies out of Coors who haven’t been too imposing. Flaherty is allowing the 7th lowest barrel rate on the slate and Colorado comes in as the 10th best team in ISO to righties but when they’re out of Coors this season, they’re the bottom of the barrel worst team to righties. Urias is priced a little higher than I’d like, especially against an Angels team that doesn’t strikeout much but the Angels without Rendon really only have two bats that scare me. Urias has the third lowest xfip, and fourth highest swinging strike rate on the slate go with a low 28% hard contact. He shouldn’t blow the roof off the slate but I think he ends up okay. Rogers has scared me this season with the amount of hard contact and flyballs that he has allowed so far but there is reason for optimism and to feel comfort with him. Most of that hard contact came in his first few games. I went and looked at his pitch mix to this point and he has pretty much ditched his slider in exchange for increased changeup use. He averaged a 23% slider usage through his first three games but just 9% in the last three. As a result, he is averaging a 16% lower flyball rate and an exit velocity a whopping 9 mph lower over the past three. He is also averaging 2 less walks per game over his last three starts. That switch to the changeup over the slider seems to be paying dividends and has really helped with those hard contact and flyball rates and Milwaukee really isn’t that threatening outside of two guys. Manaea is always a roller coaster but he gets a TB team that comes into this one with the 2nd highest K rate to lefties, 32%. Speaking of strikeout rates, Morton gets Philly who has the 4th highest strikeout rate and 7th lowest iso to righties this season and Morton is allowing the second lowest barrel rate on the slate behind Rogers.
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.
– Twins (Cruz/Garver/Donaldson/Polanco) – To say that Skubal isn’t a major league pitcher might actually be understatement. This guy ranks near the top of almost every category that you don’t WANT to rank at the top of – exit velocity, flyball rate, xfip, barrel rate, avg batted ball distance, etc. It blows that Minny will be without Buxton but these guys should still be able to do some major damage against him, especially with a wind blowing out.
– Cardinals (Carlson/Arenado/Goldschmidt/DeJong/O’Neill) – Not sure how popular these guys will be but they’re actually one of my favorites for tourneys. I don’t think they’ll be that owned and you could argue they’re in the first or second best spot on the slate. I wish the game was at Coors but you can’t have everything you want. Gomber has the second highest xfip on the slate (over 5.00 to both sides) and is allowing the second most hard contact to go with one of the lowest swinging strike rates. I wish he allowed a little higher flyball rate but this group has been among the best in the league to southpaws ranking 3rd in wRC+ and 6th in ISO to them.
– Oakland (Canha/Olson/Chapman/Murphy/Laureano) – I’m trying to think outside the box a little with my stacks tonight as I think Minny, the Dodgers, and Yanks will all be very high and it is a huge slate which is the perfect time to get a little creative and take some chances. We talked about how good Stl was to lefties but Oakland is even better. Oakland sports the third highest ISO to them and Rich Hill hasn’t looked sharp. Hill is allowing a very high hard contact (36%) and flyball rate (39%) to righties along with a bloated 2.18 HR/9 and ISO over .200. These guys have one of the lower totals on the slate so I am perfectly fine with you bypassing them but I do like the ownership/upside.
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
– Yankees (Hicks/Stanton/Judge/Torres/Urshela) – This is the “blah everyone will list” stack so I am inclined to bring them up. I am really going to have to guage the popularity on this one to see if I go heavy or light on them because if they are popular, I am going to be underweight. If they aren’t popular, I might be pretty heavy. With that said, they look like they’re going to be popular on FD just because they are pretty affordable and facing a lefty which people flock to with this Yanks offense. It’s warranted as they are one of the best in the league to lefties, especially of late. I did notice some things with Corbin that give me pause. Or sort of. We all know that he was absolutely brutal in his first couple starts. So much so that we shouted from the rooftops to start him in game 3. Well, if you were with me on that one, you know that the Cardinals busted on our head and Corbin spun a gem and he’s been pretty good since. I looked into whats changed and like Rogers, he is another guy that has completely changed his mix. In his first two starts, he used his slider about 24-25% of the time – coincidentally, his flyball rate was 50% though those first two. Over his next three, he threw his slider a whopping 40% of the time and his flyball rates dropped by almost 20%! He is still a little wild with the ball but if those flyball rates continue to stay down, the Yanks could pull a Cards on us. This is one that wouldn’t shock me to go either way. The Yanks greatness may still win out here but if they completely busted, I would not be shocked in the least.
– Houston (Alvarez/Tucker/Brantley/Bregman/Gurriel) – Stripling should be outmatched here. He has the lowest swinging strike rate on the slate and the Astros strikeout the fewest to righties so you know they’re putting the ball in play tonight. Over the last two weeks they sport the highest wRC+ in the league to righties and gave Cole a run for his money so Stripling will seem like child’s play.
– Boston (Martinez/Verdugo/Hernandez/Bogaerts/Devers) – Watch this game’s weather closely. Harvey hasn’t been bad but the metrics say it’s only a matter of time before we see the real Matt Harvey emerge.
Bonus: Atl (Acuna/Albies/Freeman/Ozuna) – If Boston is canceled, insert Atl in their place. This team shouldn’t have much ownership tonight which is always a good thing as one of the best teams to righties.
Top One-Off Plays
– Muncy, LAD
– Kelly/Escobar, Ari
– Stanton, NYY
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! ***
FD Cash Core: Snell or Flaherty but I predict Snell has the higher ownership. Stanton. Devers.
Other cash plays: Yanks and Sox, Betts, Muncy, Acuna, Trout, Bregman, Cruz, Garver
DK Cash core: Rogers and Flaherty is the most likely cash build. Stanton. Bogaerts.
Other DK Cash: Devers, Judge, Acuna, Freeman, Garver, Sano
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!