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):
Gray/Ryu (Ryu DK-only)
Boom-or-bust: Brubaker, Happ
Notes: Nice little Sunday slate here with a couple of weird games – SD and Was will play a “second” game after they resume their game from yesterday and Toronto and Texas will play a doubleheader. Burnes headlines both sites against the Reds and while I am a Burnes fan in general, I don’t think our hand is forced to pay his price today. He is more of a luxury than a necessity. He has been good lately but not as dominant as in the beginning of the season so I do think the $10k tag is overpaying a little. Wheeler also hasn’t been as dominant as early in the season but he is cheaper than Burnes and has a much better matchup against Miami in a much better park. He is my top pitcher of the day but I also don’t think that is reinventing the wheel as I expect everyone else to feel the same. Because of that, it DOES make Burnes a contrarian tourney play if that is what you’re looking for. Ryu is interesting on DK as that is a shortened game so we always have the possibility of a complete game bonus. Texas has surprisingly hit lefties really well over the last month – like one of the best in the league – so it does come with risk but I do like his price and potential bonus opportunities (he has gone 7 innings three times this year). Gray is coming back from injury but it was a short stay so I don’t expect him to be on any limit but be cautious anyway. He has been great, allowing his traditional soft contact and low flyball rates. Over his last four starts, he has a real nice 13.5% swinging strike rate and his reverse splits (over 30% K to lefties) will come in handy against guys like Yelich, Narvaez, Wong and Peterson. It might shock you to see Happ on here and frankly, I don’t think I will get that low unless I am multi-entering but I did notice something interesting in his logs. He threw his splitter 23% of the time in his last start out where he went 7 innings only allowing 3 runs (against this same Detroit team). Why is that notable? Because it was the first time he threw his splitter in double digit percentages since the 6th game of the season where he didn’t allow more than 2 ERs in his first five starts. In this first five starts, he averaged a 13% usage on the pitch while after that, when he was getting shelled, he averaged single digit usage on the pitch. He also didn’t throw his curve once last start while he also barely used it through his first five. If he sticks with the pitch mix that he used to start the season which was the pitch mix he used last game, he can have success in this start. If he gets back to the pitch mix that he used before last start and through the middle of the season, he will get shelled again.
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 (Santana/Perez/Merrifield/Soler/O’Hearn) – Death, taxes, and bats against Matt Harvey. I hate the stadium but KC should still rake here regardless. Harvey has allowed more than 5 ERS in 7 of his last 11 starts and is by far the worst pitcher on the slate.
– Braves (Riley/Swanson/Freeman/Albies/Heredia) – Rich Hill isn’t a guy you immediately think to target but truthfully there aren’t a lot of guys like that on this slate. This slate is full of guys that I don’t necessarily want to play at pitcher but also guys that I don’t really to target with bats either. Hill has been struggling lately, sporting the highest xfip on the slate over the last month while allowing a high 1.83 HR/9 in that time and isn’t making many bats miss. The Braves are a little watered down without Acuna and Ozuna but they can still do some damage in the right situations, as evidenced by last night.
– Twins (Cruz/Polanco/Kirilloff/Larnach/Kepler) – Peralta has actually held his own but I think it is a bubble that is waiting to burst. His 4.37 xfip is significantly higher than his 2.08 ERA and his 5.5 strikeouts per nine innings isn’t conducive to a run of success. Minny can roll out a bunch of good lefties and that’s not good for Wily as he is allowing a huge 45% hard contact to them. He is getting by on inducing low flyball rates but if Minny can get under some of these pitches, their lefties could have a good day. This team should maybe be more of a “boom-or-bust” play but frankly I feel that way about every team on the docket today!
Top Boom-or-Bust Stacks
– Giants (Ruf/Yaz/Slater/Flores/Solano) – The stadium is pretty awful but so is Wade Leblanc. Leblanc comes in allowing an xfip over 5.7 to both sides of the plate while striking out under 15% to both sides of the plate in his small sample so far. I wish the Giants had some of their guys like Longoria or Posey which would certainly upgrade them but Longo is on long term IR, though Posey could be back any day. If Posey is back, they may get bumped up a little for me.
– Tigers (Haase/Cabrera/Schoop/Grossman/Candelario) – We talked above how Happ looked much better in his last start against this same Detroit team and how his pitch mix has changed. If he gets back to the pitch mix that he was getting shelled with, this offense could payoff. I have the suspicion that the Tigers are VERY popular today. That fact alone makes me lean towards fading them, at least in my primary lineup. Think about it…is there anything less appealing that Detroit Tigers chalk? We have seen some pretty talented offenses bust as chalk so if they are indeed popular, think of the leverage you would have on the field if they busted…and all you’d have to do is something you probably do daily – fade Detroit! If it looks like they won’t be owned, then they are a little more appealing to me.
– **DK ONLY** Toronto (Guerrero/Bichette/Springer/Hernandez/Semien) – DK has this game and I need to tell you that it is only SEVEN innings, hence why the Jays are in this section. If they are ahead, that means they will only get 6 innings worth of AB’s since they’re the home team. They get Allard, a lefty, and the Jays have been murdering lefties so six innings may be all we need on this lackluster slate to pull through. They’re intriguing because these teams with 7-inning gaes always go underowned so it could be a chance to get a few low-owned homers. If you are on FD, consider Baltimore or Tampa in their place!
Top One-Off Plays
Guys who I like but don’t necessarily want to play a full team stack of their respective team
– Mullins, Bal
– Arozarena, TB
– Abreu, CWS
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 around 12:30pm! ***
FD Cash Core: Wheeler Donaldson Benintendi
Other cash plays:
1B: Perez Santana schoop
2B: arraez merrifield Polanco
3B: Donaldson dozier diaz
SS:Franco Polanco Tatis
OF:KC, Minny, yelich, ruf
DK Cash core: Wheeler
Other DK Cash P: Burnes, Ryu, Musgrove
C:Perez, Realmuto, Rogers
1B: Kirilloff, Cabrera, Sanatna
2B: Arraez, Merrifield, Polanco
3B Arraez, Dozier, Donaldson
SS: Franco, Uruas, Polanco
OF: KC, Minny, Yelich, Hays, Grossman, Mullins, Cruz, Arozarena, Gamel
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!