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: Not nearly as deep of a pitching slate or even this afternoon’s slate so I would be hesitant to go “all in” on an of these guys as they all have their flaws. Rogers is the top option tonight for a lot of people but there are definitely some red flags. First, let me start by saying that I do think this kid is good. With that said, I think his first few games painted a bit of a rosier picture than actually is. He was striking guys out at a clip he’d never done before and while that can be attributed to increased velocity since his coming into the big leagues, its not like these guys have never seen a 95mph fastball before. I think a lot of folks are still looking at those first few starts thinking thats what they’re going to get every time they roll him out but we can’t ignore that he is still allowing pretty hard contact and a huge flyball rate. He has come back to Earth over his last 3-4 starts to where he may not live up to a $9.9k tag but on this slate, he might not have to and he could still be the highest scoring pitcher. If we look at his last few starts, we see a distinct change in his pitch mix. He is throwing way more changeups and way less sliders. Over his first three starts, he threw sliders 22% of the time and subsequently induced a whopping 18% swinging strike rate and a 36% strikeout rate. Over his last 4 starts, he cut back his slider usage by more than half, using the pitch just 9% of the time. That resulted in a 30% K rate and a more human-like 13% swinging strike rate. Now, a 13% swinging strike and 30% K rate are still great numbers, they’re just not the eye-popping numbers he was putting up in his first 3-4 games. That much of a decrease in sliders could just be coincidental or it could be a sign of him trying to limit strain on his arm. Either way, I don’t like the trend and if it were ANY other slate with a few more options, I would probably fade. Because of that, I don’t mind getting away from him on Fanduel at $9.9k. He is a little more manageable on DK and especially where we need to run two arms and the pickings are slim but even there, I don’t mind the idea of getting different in tourneys as I do expect him to come in at the most ownership tonight. Javier is a little too expensive on DK for me but I may consider him on FD. Castillo has NOT pitched well to start the year – I am not sure if something is wrong with him or not as his K rate has dropped almost in half from his last couple seasons. The strange thing is that his velocity has remained the same and he is still inducing a high groundball rate. His pitch mix hasn’t changed a ton so we have to think its a location issue. Regardless, he is very cheap on both sites if you wanted to take that risk. You can make the case that he is getting unlucky with a BABIP of .357 and a 54% LOB rate but he isn’t stranding guys because he isn’t striking guys out. He has suddenly become a contact pitcher which is fine and can still be useful, particularly with low flyball rates but just know that he is susceptible to getting dinked and dunked to death especially where he isn’t making bats miss. Logan Gilbert is a young stud arm and one of the Mariners top prospects. This guy has dominated the minors in his short time there and is a legit strikeout pitcher with good control and great stuff. He may experience some growing pains as all arms usually do but I like his prospects in the majors. He is as cheap as Castillo and shouldn’t go more than 5-6 and if it were another matchup, I would be much heavier. I would play him on DK more than FD where he is just $4k but just know that the matchup is a very tough one.
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.
– Reds (Moustakas/Suarez/Winker/Castellanos/Senzel) – One of the best teams in the league to righties facing a very bad one in Coors. Not much else to say. They’ll be the most popular in both cash and GPP – fade at your own risk.
– Yankees (Judge/Stanton/Torres/Voit/Hicks) – Another stack that could be pretty popular against a bad lefty in Hill. Hill isn’t making bats miss and is allowing the 5th most hard contact on the slate. This stack could be high-owned so don’t be afraid to get different by targeting some bats lower in the order like a Hicks or a Frazier.
– Astros (Altuve/Bregman/Alvarez/Tucker/Brantley) – Folty is allowing a huge 40% hard contact rate to go with a very high 44% flyball rate. The Astros strike out among the lowest in the league and Folty has a small 8.5% swinging strike rate so you know this Houston team will be putting a ton of balls in play.
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
– Oakland (Olson/Chapman/Lowrie/Laureano)
– Boston (Martinez/Gonzalez/Verdugo/Devers/Bogaerts)
Top One-Off Plays
– Olson, Oak
– Devers, Bos
– Alvarez, Hou
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: I am hesitant to core a pitcher because I do think Rogers, Javier and Plesac will all have ownership. I’d personally go Rogers in cash out of them. Castellanos, Winker
Other cash plays:
1B: Olson, Chavis
2B: Reds, Altuve
3B: Reds, Bregman
SS: Reds, Correa, Bogaerts
OF: Reds, Alvarez, Judge, Meadows, Stanton, Martinez, Tucker
DK Cash core: I am hesitant to core a pitcher because I do think Rogers, Javier and Plesac will all have ownership. I’d personally go Rogers in cash out of them. Moustakas, Senzel
Other DK Cash:
C: Barnhart, Castro
1B: Reds, Chavis, Olson
2B: Altuve, Senzel
3B: Reds, Bregman
SS: Suarez, Correa
OF: Reds, Hou, Judge, Stanton, Martinez, Kelenec, Hicks, Meadows
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!