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!
Fanduel Top Pitcher (no order):
Boom-or-bust: Mills, Smith
DraftKings Top Pitcher:
Darvish * see below
DK Boom-or-Bust: Mills, Mize
Notes: So we are in a little bit of a conundrum tonight at the top of the price range on both sites. Darvish is the most expensive on Fanduel and one of the most expensive on DK. His tag over $11k is one that I am fading on Fanduel because it is hard for me to believe in him at this point. Since MLB’s “crackdown” on foreign substances, Yu has allowed four ERs in three of his five starts after allowing that many in just two of thirteen before that. He has also allowed a 92+mph exit velocity in three of those last five starts, well above his season average of 87 mph. With that said, his strikeout rate and swinging strike rates are still extremely high and the braves are very watered down so the potential is definitely there. His DK price is worlds better than his FD price so it makes a little more sense there, particularly on a two-pitcher site but beware, there are red flags galore with him. The conundrum is that there really isn’t much else to choose from. Gausman has been great this season but the matchup is less than ideal against the Dodgers so I am not thrilled with paying for him either. That leaves me with Kyle Gibson probably being my most exposed arm on both sites. I am figuring that will actually be the case for a lot of people but I will just accept it on this slate in my small single-entries. He gets the Tigers who have been better than earlier this season but also still sport the second worst ISO to righties over the last month and are still striking out at a moderate clip to them. Gibson has the third best xfip and third lowest barrel rate over the last month so while he doesn’t have world-breaking upside, he should be solid enough for us on this slate. Ohtani is also a little bit of a wildcard but he gets a favorable stadium to pitch in and a lineup with a lot of righties which he is better against (36% K to them compared to 25% to lefties). His 15% swinging strike rate over the last month ranks third on the slate behind Muller and Darvish. He is another that I lean toward using on DK a little more than FD. Mills has been good since joining the rotation but he does it a little differently than Ohtani and Darvish. Mills relies on heavy groundball rates to get guys out as he has only allowed one homer in his last five but with that approach comes a possible BABIP attack. With guys that pitch-to-contact, they rely on a lot of batted ball luck. If balls are finding their way through holes, it could be a long night so keep that in mind, but luckily that hasn’t happened and he does get a very favorable stadium situation. I listed Gonsolin for FD but just know that he may be limited to about 80-85 pitches as they still try and build him up but still remain cautious. He is one of the most talented pitchers on the slate in terms of raw skill but with him it just simply comes down to how long he can go. He is efficient enough where 80-85 pitches could still be a QS but he more realistically goes 5 innings so temper expectations. Any other slate and he probably wouldn’t be in play but on a slate like this, a 30 may be all we need, particularly for his FD price.
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.
– Astros (Alvarez/Tucker/Brantley/Gurriel/Altuve) – Should be the most popular stack on the slate and rightfully so. Mejia has allowed 6 ERs in three of his last four starts with five homers allowed in that time. He gets the third best team in terms of wOBA against righties so things aren’t going to get any easier for him here tonight.
– Blue Jays (Guerrero/Bichette/Hernandez/Biggio/Springer) – Speaking of good teams against righties, Toronto comes in with the highest ISO to righties this season and gets Pivetta who they have already hit to the tune of 10 ERs and 4 homers in 10 innings this season. Sahlen Field isn’t the greatest hitting environment but this is still one of the most potent offenses in the league, nevermind the slate.
– Reds (Winker/Votto/Naquin/Suarez/Stephenson) – Kind of a bummer that we don’t have Casty in the lineup but Eickhoff is still pretty bad to both sides of the plate and the hitting conditions are ripe tonight in Coors-East. Eickhoff is allowing a whopping 50% hard contact, 45% flyball rate and ISO of .630 to lefties. He is a little better to righties but that isn’t saying much, allowing a 33% hard contact and 40% flyball rate to them and striking out both sides of the plate less than 10%. His 6.11 xfip is the third highest on the slate and his 21 degree launch angle is the highest on the slate and not at all conducive to pitching in a park where the ball flies.
Top Boom-or-Bust Stacks
– Red Sox (Verdugo/Devers/Martinez/Bogaerts/Hernandez) – Stripling has held his own for much of the season but he comes in allowing 8 homers over his last six and his reverse splits are just the kind of thing that the righty-heavy Sox will be licking their lips over. The Sox biggest issue is the K’s and that isn’t much of a threat from Stripling.
– Mets (Nimmo/Alonso/McNeil/Conforto/Smith) – The underrated part of that Reds game in Great American will be the Mets side. The Mets have been absolutely awful but this stadium against Gutierrez could be the remedy. Gutierrez is allowing the 2nd highest barrel rate and 4th highest xfip on the slate while also allowing the 4th most hard contact.
– Rays (Meadows/Lowe/Choi/Wendle/Arozarena) – The Rays can hit but their biggest issue, especially to righties, has been the strikeout, ranking near the top in that category. Tonight that shouldn’t be a problem agaianst Spenser Watkins who has a history throughout the minors of not making bats miss and that has carried over into the majors.
Top One-Off Plays
Guys who I like but don’t necessarily want to play a full team stack of their respective team
– Hayes/Reynolds mini, Pit
– Soto, Was
– Escobar, Ari
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: Not going to core a pitcher tonight as I think it is fairly spread out. Weather in Atlanta COULD affect Darvish ownership or else I think he’d be highest owned. Y Alvarez, Guerrero, Winker
Other cash P plays: Gibson, Darvish, Yarbrough, Greinke
1B: Guerrero, Votto, Diaz, Choi
2B: Lowe, Altuve, McNeil
3B: Vlad, CNeil, Diaz, Hayes
SS: Semien, Bichette, Suarez, Rojas
OF: Tor, Lowe, Winker, Meadows, Calhoun, Naquin, Arozarena, Reynolds, Alvarez, Brantley
DK Cash core: Not going to core a pitcher tonight as I think it is fairly spread out. Weather in Atlanta COULD affect Darvish ownership or else I think he’d be highest owned. Lowe, Winker, Naquin
Other DK Cash P: Darvish, Gibson, Yarbrough, Mills, Smith
C: Stephenson, McGuire, Plawecki
1B: Guerrero, Votto, Aguilar
2B: Lowe, Altuve, Rojas
3B Hayes, Biggio, Suarez (this position should be spread out so you can get creative in cash if you like someone better)
SS: Bichette, Tatis, Turner
OF: Lowe, Winker, Calhoun, Meadows, Naquin, Alvarez, Tucker, Springer, McCormick, Nogowski, Reynolds
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!