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: Ray, Lyles, Manning
Notes: These pitching slates recently have not been very great at all lately and tonight is no better. I think we are going to have to overpay for a couple of these guys. McCullers is in a good spot and he has been good this season, only allowing more than 3 ER just once in a start all year but the issue of control remains. He is very inefficient with his pitches, issuing a ton of free passes so it can sap his DK value pretty quickly and on a lot of other slates, I probably wouldn’t pay his $10k+ tag for that reason but there isn’t a ton to choose from here. The Indians haven’t been good and are floundering, sporting the third highest strikeout rate to righties over the last month. I expect Lance to be pretty popular on both sites so a pivot in large field tourneys does make sense as we saw people do with Nola last night. However, in cash and single-entry tourneys, I think we start with him first. Urias is another guy that feels overpriced and his matchup against a surprising Giants team isn’t ideal but he comes in allowing the third lowest exit velocity (86mph) on the slate over the last month. Hendricks lacks the strikeout upside we want for a guy approaching five figures in price, but this is a guy that has gone at least 6 innings in a whopping 13 of his last 14 starts so the consistency is there and the park is favorable. Because he is a pitch-to=contact guy, there is always the chance he gets dinked and dunked to death but on a slate without a lot of options, he is certainly in play. Wainwright and Cease are also in play but it should be noted that Cease has lost among the most average spin rate over the last month during the crackdown as anyone in the league and the Twins, despite missing some guys, do have some guys that can do some damage so proceed with caution if you go there. Wainwright is a little more than I want to pay but he is almost in the same boat as Hendricks – a guy that won’t blow you away with K’s and relies on soft contact. The problem is that soft contact has been hard to come by lately as his 92+mph exit velocity is the highest on the slate. Ray is also a guy that I am on the fence over. He has been amazing over the last month to two months, allowing much less hard contact than he is accustomed to and sporting a great swinging strike rate (highest on the slate). The problem is he gets the Sox who are one of the better teams to lefties in the league and the park is not the greatest for pitching with a wind blowing out. What has made ray so much better of late is that he seems to have almost ditched the curveball over his last nine starts and in that time has allowed just 7 barrels total. Compare that to his first nine starts when he allowed EIGHTEEN barrels in that time while throwing his curve about 15-20% more. I think if he continues to keep the curve out of the rotation he can have success so I don’t mind playing him possibly over McCullers in large field tourneys (or even WITH him) but he carries a much lower floor. Lyles and Manning square off and are both cheap but they are also the most volatile pitchers on the slate. They don’t offer really any K upside to offset any runs they allow so with them, you are just hoping for a cheap 30 FD/15DK and you are happy.
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.
– Jays (Guerrero/Bichette/Springer/Hernandez/Biggio) – Richards is allowing the third most hard contact on the slate over the last month while his swinging strike rate is the second lowest in that time. That is not a good recipe for success in this stadium against the number 1 team to righties in the league.
– White Sox (Abreu/Moncada/Engel/Anderson/Vaughn or Garcia) – Pineda’s 6.1% swinging strike rate is the second worst on the slate behind Manning and his 91.1 exit velocity is the second highest behind Waino. If you’re a BvP truther, you also see that the White Sox have hit him very well over the years so after last night, I don’t mind keeping that White Sox train rolling.
– Philly (Harper/Hoskins/Gregorius/Miller/Realmuto/McCutchen) – Always feels dirty rolling this squad but they have been one of the best teams torighties over the last month in terms of ISO and get the absolutely awful Wojciechowski who could be not only the worst pitcher on the slate, but the worst in the league.
Top Boom-or-Bust Stacks
– Houston (Alvarez/Tucker/Brantley/Altuve/Correa) – The Astros are a top five team to righties and Morgan isn’t good but you never know what you’re going to get with this guy. He can make bats miss a lot (11.6% swinging strike rate), but putting bat on ball is the strength of Houston so if they can do that, Morgan is also allowing the 5th most hard contact on the slate over the last month.
– Boston (Martinez/Hernandez/Bogaerts/Renfroe/Devers) – See above note about Ray in the pitching notes. The hitting conditions will be good at Sahlen and if Ray can’t quit his curveball, the Sox could have a good night. The do strikeout a lot so the potential for a bust is there against Ray – this is one that could go either way.
– Nationals (Soto/Bell/Turner/Escobar/Harrison)
Top One-Off Plays
Guys who I like but don’t necessarily want to play a full team stack of their respective team
– Odor, NYY
– Aguilar, Mia
– 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 around 12:30pm! ***
FD Cash Core: McCullers, Guerrero, Harper
Other cash plays: Waino, Cease, Urias
1B: Guerrero, Hoskins, Abreu
2B: Altuve, Biggio
3B: Guerrero, Biggio, Moncada
SS: Bichette, Semien, Seager, Didi
OF:Alvarez, Harper, Stanton, Soto, Gallo, Tucker, Hernandez,
DK Cash core: McCullers, Harper
Other DK Cash P: Waino, Ray, Cease
C: Realmuto, Sanchez, Maldonado,
1B: Vlad, Hoskins, Lowe, Abreu
2B: Altuve, Segura, Miller
3B Biggio, Harrison (no one popping here so go with your fave guy here without worrying about ownership)
SS: Bichette, Turner, Torres
OF: Phil, Stanton, Tucker, Springer, Hernandez (E and T), Soto, Brantley, McCutchen, baddoo
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!