DOMINATE today’s DraftKings and FanDuel MLB GPP contests with these pitchers, stacks and one-off players!
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Tier 1: The Core Pitchers (these are pitchers who will be in majority of my lineups)
- Carlos Rodon – The price point on Carlos Rodon may seem ridiculous across the industry ($11,000 on FD, $9,800 on DK) at first look…but is it? Rodon’s velocity is up 1.5 mph above his career average and over 2.0 mph higher than last season. Additionally, Rodon has induced an extremely impressive 16.0-percent swinging strike rate partially because opponents are not touching breaking balls breaking outside the zone. In a different matchup, this price point would be worth thinking twice about, but not against a Tigers team that is by far the worst hitting team in the American League (AL) against left-handed pitching (LHP): .227 wOBA, 44 wRC+, .078 ISO and a ridiculous 33.5-percent K rate. Basically, no other team in the league is going to swing-and-miss anywhere near as much as these Tigers, so Rodon’s upside is even enhanced here. Paying more for Rodon than Glasnow may seem crazy, but this is the best possible matchup the breakout southpaw could ask for.
- Tyler Glasnow – Of course, if worried at all about Rodon (which I am not), feel free to pivot to Tyler Glasnow in the friendly confines of home. On this slate, only the Rockies are being implied to score fewer runs (3.2) than the Athletics (3.3), and arguably the best breaking ball hitter on the Athletics (Matt Chapman) is slumping badly to start the year. The bad news here is five different hitters in the Athletics lineup have posted above-average xwOBAs against right-handed breaking balls since the start of 2019. Given, two of Glasnow’s three main pitches are breakers (curveball and his newly-developed slider). Also, the Athletics have a lineup full of hitters that have excelled against high-velocity fastballs, with five players owning wOBAs over 60 percentage points above the league average (since the start of 2019) versus 97-plus mph fastballs. Even so, Glasnow’s 97.7mph average fastball velocity thus far would be the best of his career, as would his 16.0-percent swinging strike rate and 34.5-percent CSW (called plus swinging strike) rate. If he is wild, the Athletics are a patient squad, so as you can see, there are way more negatives to the Glasnow matchup than the Rodon one.
Tier 2: Not Quite Core Pitchers
- Alex Wood – On paper, the Rockies look like a challenging offense to face if you are a LHP, but those numbers are inflated due to playing half their games in Coors Field. Tonight’s contest will be played at Oracle Park, which is just about on the opposite end of the spectrum in the sense that it is quite pitcher-friendly (even with the fences moved in). Last game, Wood lasted 90-pitches, which means 100-plus is within the range of outcomes tonight. When healthy, Wood is a decent source of strikeouts, as evident by his 22.1-percent career K rate. Stop me if you have heard this before, but Wood’s velocity is up significantly, and it has led to a steep uptick in both swinging strike and CWS rate. No team is being implied to score fewer runs on this slate than the opposing Rockies and, other than Trevor Story and C.J. Cron, there is not much to fear in their lineup.
- Huascar Ynoa – If the case against Glasnow scares you, do not hesitate to pivot to a cheaper starter like Huascar Ynoa, whose velocity is also up this year (seemingly a theme in this article). After averaging 95.0 mph on his fastball in nine appearances last year, that number has jumped to 97.1 mph in 2021, which is much closer to his 2019 number. Essentially, the K rate bounceback appears to be legit, and he is currently knocking on the door of a 30-percent K rate (29.8). Maybe most importantly, the Cubs are struggling mightily to hit, ranking in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and hard hit rate against right-handed pitching (RHP). Furthermore, only the Rangers and Giants have struck out at higher rates in the split, so Ynoa has a path to flirt with double-digit Ks. The main concern here is the pitch count (has topped out at 82-pitches this year), which is not as much of a concern with the aforementioned Wood. If willing to take that risk, Ynoa is $900 cheaper on FD, which could land you an additional bat.
- Domingo German – Strikeouts are the name of the game in daily fantasy, and Domingo German can miss bats as frequently as almost any pitcher on the slate. In a power-friendly park, it is a scary proposition to see German yielding a career ground ball rate under 39.0-percent, and it is no wonder his career HR/9 rate is massive (1.76 HR/9). In 2021, the Orioles have not hit for much power (.143 ISO versus RHP), and that is at least mildly comforting. Names like Ryan Mountcastle and D.J. Stewart are more powerful than they have shown so far, but Maikel Franco and Trey Mancini are legitimate threats to take German deep. If German can limit the Orioles to one homer or less, a quality start with six-plus strikeouts is attainable, and that would constitute a great per-dollar output from a $7,400 pitcher (on DK).
- Zack Greinke – Mariners strike out at a high rate (25.3-percent) against RHP, but this will be the second time in a few weeks Zack Greinke has seen them (and Kyle Lewis’ power bat is back in the lineup). Still, if looking for an additional bat over what Rodon/Glasnow will allow, Greinke possesses a similarly stable floor to Wood, and the Astros habitually allow him to pitch deeper into games.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Pitchers
- Alex Cobb – Rangers have struck out at the highest rate in the split, but Alex Cobb is extremely inconsistent and has allowed three-plus runs in every start this year.
- Ryan Weathers – Only one run allowed this year but no lock to pitch deep into the game, and the Diamondbacks currently lead the league in wOBA against LHP.
Tier 1: The Core Stacks
- Toronto Blue Jays – Probable starter Erick Fedde has allowed a .363 xwOBA to right-handed hitters (RHHs) since the start of 2020 and has never produced an xERA below 5.41 in any of his four previous MLB seasons. The velocity is up a bit to start the year but, considering Max Scherzer struggled against this Blue Jays team yesterday, it is reasonable to infer that Fedde is in trouble, as well. Unfortunately, Vegas figured it out as well, with the Blue Jays being implied to score the most runs on the slate (5.5), but there are still ways to be different. Vlad Guerrero Jr. is the no-brainer in the stack after three bombs yesterday, but George Springer’s likely return to the lineup will move down some talented bats a spot or two in the order. Therefore, names like Randal Grichuk, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Marcus Semien could be hitting in the lower half of the lineup, in which case they would become locks for single-digit ownership. One outlier strikeout performance is propelling Fedde’s early-season K rate, and the Blue Jays rank in the bottom 10 of K rate against RHP. Balls will be put in play and, given the power in this lineup, a multiple homer game is a likely outcome.
- Houston Astros – Dating back to the start of the 2020 season, opposing lefties have mashed Justin Dunn to the tune of a .371 wOBA and .411 xwOBA while walking at nearly a 20.0-percent rate (19.4-percent). His 7.52 FIP personifies he is simply one of the worst starters in the league in the split, and the Astros are loaded with powerful lefties: Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, Kyle Tucker and even catcher Jason Castro (if in the lineup). In terms of patience, the Astros are a bit lacking, having only walked at an 8.3-percent rate versus righties since the start of last season. When Dunn misses, it usually is not close, and it is comforting to see the lefties (other than Alvarez) are the ones who rank amongst the patient hitters on the team. If this team can rack up baserunners as I expect, then it will take one swing of the bat to blow this game (and slate) wide open. UPDATE: Yordan Alvarez out for health and safety protocols – this knocks this stack down a bit for him. Can see dipping into tier two in single entry now for sure.
Tier 2: The Not Quite Core Stacks
- San Diego Padres – Taylor Widener might be the luckiest pitcher in baseball up to this point given his 47.1-percent hard hit rate and just .234 BABIP. Even last year, Widener enjoyed a ton of luck, allowing just a .196 BABIP. To be fair, the control has improved this season, but Widener is pounding the zone, allowing tons of fly balls (33.8-percent ground ball rate), and still owns just a 2.82 ERA. Of course, the underlying numbers are telling a different story, as his 4.73 FIP, 4.75 xFIP and 5.95 xERA suggest this is a pitcher about to regress. Who better to start the regression process than the red-hot Fernando Tatis Jr. and a Padres offense that scored 18 runs in the final three games of their series against the best rotation in baseball (Dodgers). Merrill Kelly was able to shut them down yesterday, but a lineup that includes Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and company will not remain quiet for long. Behind Widener, the bullpen ranks sixth-worst in terms of FIP this year, so the scoring should continue even after the starter is out of the game.
- Atlanta Braves – Just look at the beatdown the Braves put on Kyle Hendricks 10 days ago: 4.0 innings, 10 baserunners (three BBs), four homers, seven earned runs (ERs) and just two Ks. Context is necessary, given the wind was blowing out in Wrigley Field, but the Braves objectively present an incredibly challenging matchup for Hendricks, who is struggling with his control; only the Yankees and Dodgers have walked at a higher rate against RHP than the Braves, and the team’s .196 ISO in the split ranks second behind only the Reds. Hendricks relies on opponents swinging outside the zone at his changeup, and the Braves are simply not willing to swing outside the zone very often. If Hendricks struggles to get hitters to chase, this could very well be a repeat of the last meeting (beating).
- New York Yankees – A powerful team in a power-friendly ballpark can always lead to fireworks, although this is the chalky team I am most willing to fade. Since joining the MLB in 2020, Kremer has done a solid job limiting hard contact (32.9-percent) and missing bats (27.1-percent K rate). However, he is quite wild (13.5-percent BB rate) and has also been unlucky this year in that balls in play department (.429 BABIP). If his luck improves closer to last year (.306 BABIP), this is a pitcher who can navigate his way to a quality start, albeit with the Yankees constantly on power alert. A 43.3-percent ground ball rate is a bit disconcerting in a park where routine fly balls can leave the yard, but Kremer is a pitcher with a 4.00 SIERA. In terms of starters to target on this slate, he is not in the top 10-percent, and the Yankees are going to be the stone chalk after yesterday. Combine all those factors, and it is easy to see why this is a team in the secondary tier and not in tier one.
- Arizona Diamondbacks – Currently lead the league in wOBA against LHP, and no one is going to play them at home in their more favorable split. Ryan Weathers has stranded 100-percent of runners who have reached base against him, and his BABIP is .097. Before long, Weathers’ ERA is going to be closer to where projection systems have him (around 4.00), and this is an extremely difficult spot for him that virtually everyone is going to overlook. If multi-lineuping, make sure to include some Diamondbacks exposure, especially Carson Kelly, who has yet to K against a lefty this year and has posted a .818 ISO against them in a tiny sample. Note: his career numbers against them are quite good, as well (.381 wOBA, 138 wRC+, .262 ISO).
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Stacks
- St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals are not exactly an offensive powerhouse, but Vince Velasquez is always a threat to allow the long ball (career 1.43 HR/9 rate and 2.25 HR/9 rate this season). Amazingly, Velasquez’s ground ball rate is up, and yet his HR/FB rate is still over 20-percent, so target the power hitters here (Paul Goldschmidt, Paul DeJong, etc.).
- Texas Rangers – Alex Cobb has allowed at least three earned runs (ERs) in every start this season, and the Rangers are an extremely left-handed lineup (so targeting them against righties is definitively the preferred side of the platoon).
Top Players By Position
- Carson Kelly
- J.T. Realmuto
- Jason Castro
- Rowdy Tellez
- Ryan Zimmerman
- Paul Goldschmidt/Freddie Freeman
- Cavan Biggio
- Rougned Odor
- D.J. LeMahieu/Gleyber Torres
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- Manny Machado
- Alex Bregman
- Fernando Tatis Jr.
- Trea Turner
- Bo Bichette/Marcus Semien
- Michael Brantley
- Ronald Acuna Jr.
- George Springer
- Joey Gallo
- Aaron Judge
- Kyle Tucker
- Randal Grichuk
- Trey Mancini
- Randy Arozarena
- Wil Myers
- Trent Grisham/Tommy Pham
Highest Scoring Hitter
Highest Scoring Pitcher
Highest Owned Pitcher(s) by Me
Carlos Rodon/Zack Greinke
Biggest Bust Hitter
Biggest Bust Pitcher
Top Value Play
Rowdy Tellez/Ryan Zimmerman
Hit me up on Twitter @RSandersDFS or visit the MLB Chat Room with any lineup questions!