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 Pitcher (no order, both sites):
Boom-or-bust: Cease, C Smith
Notes: It is kind of a rough pitching slate today on both sites but we do have two top aces at the top in Burnes and Bauer. Bauer is a beast but his matchup is just a tad tougher against the Braves than Burnes’ against the D-Backs. On the flipside, Bauer is a horse and seems to go deeper into games so you know he isn’t getting pulled unless he is really getting crushed which gives him a solid floor. Burnes does have the advantage in swinging strike rate by 5% but really, both are good options today if spending way up. They both have immense K upside which gives them both a pretty solid floor even if they “bust” so to speak. Alcantara and Cease are also on the slate and while they are a tad high for my liking on DK, they are priced nice on FD. Both have dangerously low floors but their ceilings are both 60 and they both have great matchups so a ceiling game for both isn’t out of the question here. Double spend-up is always an option on DK and could be a contrarian type build today so I don’t hate that route in tourneys if you can make it work salary-wise
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.
– Royals (Merrifield/Benintendi/Perez/Santana/Dozier) – Could be a popular stack today with a high team total but it could be warranted against Ober. Ober wasn’t bad in the minors in 2019 and this season so he is a wildcard but he did get roughed up in his first major league appearance earier this season, allowing 2 homers in four innings and a high 91.5 mph exit velocity. He does have four pitches in his arsenal though they are all about average. He is a flyball pitcher which could get him in tourble in a hot stadium with a wind blowing out.
– Chicago (Eaton/Moncada/Anderson/Mercedes/Grandal) – Don’t know what this stack’s ownership will look like but hopefully they go a little under the radar. Urena started the year off good, allowing very low flyball rates and in turn, not a lot of homers. In fact, over his first five starts, he allowed a flyball rate over 16% just once but over his last five, he has allowed over 25% flyball rate every start so he is trending in the wrong direction. He also isn’t making any bats miss, inducing a paltry 4% swinging strike rate in his last three starts and if you can’t make these White Sox bats miss, they can make you pay. As I write this, Abreu isn’t playing today which is a little bit of a downgrade but it does make the stack a little more affordable.
– Hou (Bregman/Gurriel/Alvarez/Correa/Altuve) – On the surface, Matz has looked pretty decent, but if you look a little closer, he has been beating up on bad teams while pitching well against good ones. I call this the “Trevor Bauer effect”. I ran his splits and against bottom-15 teams to lefties this season, he is allowing a .314 wOBA, 1.1 HR/9, and a 25% strikeout rate. However, against top-10 teams to lefties (which Houston is), he is allowing a huge .444 wOBA, 2.6 HR/9, and just an 18% K rate.
Top Boom-or-Bust Stacks
– Twins (Larnach/Kirilloff/Polanco/Cruz/Gordon) – Singer hasn’t been bad this season but he is very vulnerable to lefties. Singer allowed 8 ERs total through his first five games but over the last three has allowed 13 ERs. His fastball has dipped a little in velcoity since his first start so that is something to watch. I don’t expect this stack to have much ownership and frankly, I wish they had more good lefties to roll out because that is how you make Singer pay. He has a huge 5.12 xfip to lefties while sporting just a 2.93 to righties. He has allowed a big .343 wOBA too lefties and just a .267 number to righties while giving up 35% hard contact to lefties but just a 13% mark to righties. So even with that, I don’t mind a lefty mini-stack here rather than a full team stack.
– Rays (Lowe/Meadows/Wendle/Arozarena) – Like with Singer, Dunning is much worse to lefties than he is righties and TB has a few that they can roll out and like Minny, I don’t even hate a Lowe-Meadows mini stack.
– Nationals (Bell/Schwarber/Soto/Turner) – Velasquez has been decent this season outside of last start but I have a feeling it is more a mirage than real life. He is trending in the wrong direction, allowing a huge 58% hard hit rate over his last three starts.
Top One-Off Plays
Guys who I like but don’t necessarily want to play a full team stack of their respective team
– Harper, Phi
– J Ramirez, Cle
– 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: Bauer or Burnes, Bregman, J Ramirez
Other cash plays: Cease
1B: Goldschmidt, Gurriel, Hoskins
2B: Altuve, Lowe, Merrifield
3B: Bregman, Ramirez
SS: Correa, Adames
OF: Harper, Soto, Lowe, Alvarez, Betts, E Rosario, Merrifield
DK Cash core: Burnes or Bauer (need at least one), Pollack (will be owned at min price), J Ramirez, Correa
Other DK Cash P: Cease, Alcantara
C: Realmuto, Grandal, Maldonado (I would just pay down here and save loot in cash)
1B: Gurriel, Bell
2B: India, Altuve, Taylor
3B: Bregman, Ramirez
OF: Pollack, Alvarez, Harper, Winker, Soto, Tucker, Castellanos, Edman, Dozier
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!