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)
1. Corbin Burnes – One of the front-runners for the National League (NL) Cy Young has seen a recent price dip due to injury, and yet he is still that same, dominant pitcher. Tonight, Burnes will square off against a Royals team that has struck out at the 11th lowest rate versus right-handed pitching (RHP), but they also rank below the league average in multiple other categories: wOBA (.303), wRC+ (92), ISO (.149) and hard hit rate (30.4-percent). Despite having already faced multiple teams that rank in the bottom 10 of K rate against RHP, Burnes has yet to register fewer than nine strikeouts in any start this season. Amazingly, he struck out double-digit Padres, who have whiffed at the second-lowest rate, behind only the Astros. If Burnes can reach double-digit Ks in that matchup, he can do it against anyone, including this underwhelming Royals lineup. UPDATE: Weather here is looking questionable.
2a. Jack Flaherty – Speaking of underwhelming lineups, the Pirates currently rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against RHP while having only walked at an 8.3-percent rate in the split. Of all those numbers, the ISO one is the most applicable here since Jack Flaherty heavily relies on fly ball outs (35.5-percent ground ball rate in 2021) to retire opposing hitters and only sports a 6.4-percent HR/FB rate. With very little power in the Pirates lineup, they will likely not be able to exploit his main weakness (which is typically allowing the long ball), and that leaves Flaherty as one of the top pitching options on the slate. Add in the fact that the Pirates’ 3.1-run implied total is second lowest on the slate, and it is easy to see why a sub-$10,000 Flaherty finds himself in tier one on this massive slate. The only downside to the matchup is the Pirates’ measly 21.8-percent K rate, but their lack of Ks could simply lead to him pitching deeper into the game than usual. UPDATE: Rogers has moved ahead of Flaherty for me as the day has gone on.
2b. Trevor Rogers – If looking for a superior strikeout matchup to that of Flaherty, look no further than Trevor Rogers against a Phillies team whose active hitters have struck out at a massive 29.5-percent clip in the split. In fact, only the Tigers and Rays active hitters have struck out at higher rates than the Phillies, and the Phillies walk at the seventh-lowest rate in the split, as well. Why does this matter? Well, Rogers has improved his control ever-so-slightly comparatively to last year but still sports a 9.7-percent BB rate. Since the Phillies are a quite impatient ball club versus southpaws, his Achilles heel is unlikely to be exploited either. Given the 32.6-percent K rate for the season and quality starts in three of his last five games, Rogers possesses a sneaky-high ceiling on this slate, especially with him flying under the radar given all the other big names set to toe the mound.
Tier 2: Not Quite Core Pitchers
1. Max Scherzer – Death, taxes and Max Scherzer being a legitimate DFS option on days where he is playing a mostly right-handed lineup are the surest things in life. Joc Pederson has launched just one homer as a member of the Cubs, and he is struggling mightily. Additionally, Anthony Rizzo left yesterday’s game with back tightness, so he is no lock to make the lineup either. Oh, and Ian Happ is hitting .192 with a .343 SLG and .300 wOBA so far, and Jason Heyward’s numbers are even worse. Are these lefties scaring you yet? Yeah, me neither. Fire up Scherzer with confidence, especially if Rizzo is out.
2. Logan Gilbert (DK) – If needing a pure punt at the position, Logan Gilbert is priced at $4,700 and facing the lowly Tigers lineup in one of the best pitching environments in the league. Thus far, the Tigers have struck out at a 27.6-percent rate versus RHP, and they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA and wRC+ against the handedness, as well. The 2018 first-round pick was underwhelming in his first career start, but he struck out five in 4.0 innings, and his minor league numbers at every level were spectacular. Bet on the talent here and go back to the well with a pitcher that sported near 30-percent K rates at every level.
3. John Means – The Rays bats went crazy yesterday, and yet today’s Rays/Orioles game opened with just an 8.0-run over/under in one of the most power-friendly parks in the league (especially for right-handed bats). By now, nearly everyone has realized Means’ revamped throwing motion has led to a massive uptick in K rate and overall effectiveness, including a career-best 2.77 xERA. Meanwhile, the Rays are one of two teams that have struck out at a rate above 30-percent against left-handed pitching (LHP) and own a wRC+ of just 85. Vegas seems to be telling us the scoring today should be underwhelming, and we should listen (especially with a borderline ace like Means holding it down).
LATE ADD: Charlie Morton was always going to be the chalk but this Mets lineup is so terrible that he has to be included.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Pitchers
1. Zach Eflin – Struggles in the split against lefties, and two of the four lefties that could make the Marlins lineup are Sandy Leon and Magneuris Sierra.
2. Corey Kluber – Owns superior numbers versus lefties than righties dating back to 2019 and possesses solid strikeout potential for a pitcher priced below $8,000 on DK.
3. Clayton Kershaw – Diamondbacks opened with a slate-low 2.8-run implied total, but they have raked against lefties in 2021, and Clayton Kershaw is priced similarly to Burnes.
Tier 1: The Core Stacks
1. Los Angeles Dodgers – The Diamondbacks just announced Riley Smith will start tonight’s game, and Smith is a well below-average right-hander (which means we all should automatically have interest in the Dodgers). Through eight appearances, Smith owns a brutal 6.40 xERA, 5.79 SIERA, 9.1-percent K rate and 8.3-percent BB rate (0.8 K-BB rate). With Corey Seager out, there are plenty of cheaper pieces in the offense, including the likes of Matt Beaty ($2,100 on FD), Gavin Lux ($2,800 on FD) and Lucas Raley ($2,000 on FD). With all that salary relief, it is possible to both stack the Dodgers and play an ace, which sounds like an amazing proposition versus Smith and an atrocious Diamondbacks bullpen (4.31 SIERA).
2. Boston Red Sox – On a 12-game slate, it feels weird to focus on a single game stack, but why not, given the 9.5-run total? After yielding a 6.49 xERA through 12 appearances last year, Ross Stripling’s 4.72 xERA this season is not much better, and his ground ball rate continues to plummet. Unsurprisingly, the tanking ground ball rate has led to an exploding HR/9 rate over the past two seasons, including a 1.69 HR/9 rate this year. Stripling throws a straight four-seam fastball, and that has led to righties specifically feasting against him for quite some time (.369 wOBA allowed to righties since the start of 2019). In other words, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts are the building blocks here, and Christian Vazquez/Bobby Dalbec are two of my favorite under-the-radar plays on the entire slate.
Tier 2: The Not Quite Core Stacks
1. Seattle Mariners – Opposing starter Tarik Skubal is 0-6 so far to go along with a 7.16 xERA, 40.2-percent hard hit rate, 18.6-percent barrel rate and 26.7-percent GB rate. To put that differently, Skubal has looked like one of the worst pitchers in the entire league. Enter the Mariners, who rank just outside the top 10 in ISO against LHP and are also a patient bunch (8.8-percent BB rate). Even beyond the quality of contact issues, Skubal has been wilder this year than ever before, walking 11.2-percent of opposing hitters and sporting a career-worst (at any level) 9.2 K-BB rate. Mitch Haniger is the outlier lefty masher on the team (.367 wOBA, 142 wRC+ since the start of last season), and Kyle Lewis/Kyle Seager are not far behind. Once Skubal is done, the Tigers bullpen is amongst the worst in the league, so the fun should continue throughout.
2. Toronto Blue Jays – Since the start of the 2020 season, the Blue Jays own the sixth-best xwOBA against right-handed sliders, a pitch that Garrett Richards throws 24-plus percent to both lefties and righties for his career (including 38-percent of the time to righties this year). Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads the team with a .380 xwOBA against the pitch type during that span followed by Bo Bichette (.350), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.336) and Randal Grichuk (.332). By comparison, the league average versus right-handed sliders over that time period is just .276, so the Blue Jays are loaded with well above-average mashers. Once the starter leaves the game, the Red Sox bullpen has pitched extremely well (fifth-best xwOBA and SIERA), and that is the risk to the matchup. Still, the stadium in Dunedin, FL, has played as one of the most hitter-friendly in the league, and Richards is allowing line drives at well above his career average rate for the third straight year. On paper, lefties have fared better against Richards dating back a few seasons (Cavan Biggio looks appealing), but do not be afraid to include the righties, as well.
3. Washington Nationals – Jake Arrieta is both susceptible to power and speed, which creates the potential for a high upside stack against him any time he toes the bump. Lefties have hit him especially hard, which is great news for a Nationals lineup that includes Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber hitting 2-3-4. Prior to those guys, Trea Turner leads off, and Arrieta is one of the worst starters in the league at holding runners due to his high leg kick. Essentially, the top of this lineup stack features as much upside as any team on the slate, and they are unlikely to be overly popular.
4. New York Yankees – My love for the Yankees is going to be less than that of the field, given their negative park shift and the fact Hyeon-jong Yang has done a nice job limiting hard contact. The one piece of data that could change my mind would be the Rangers opening the roof in Globe Life Field as that would enhance the hitting environment quite a bit. Otherwise, Giancarlo Stanton is missing, and Gary Sanchez/Gleyber Torres are hurting, which limits the depth of the lineup outside of D.J. LeMahieu/Luke Voit/Aaron Judge (who are all fantastic plays in their own right).
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Stacks
1. St. Louis Cardinals – Only a 7.5-run total in this game, but that is mostly due to Jack Flaherty pitching against the Pirates. The weather in St. Louis is expected to be hot and sticky, which means the ball should be flying.
2. Houston Astros – Frankie Montas is not a bad pitcher, but he is susceptible to the long ball, and the Astros very rarely strike out (which should lead to more contact than usual in his starts). This will be the second time the Astros have seen him this year, and Kyle Tucker specifically is heating up.
Top MLB GPP Players By Position
- Christian Vazquez
- Tom Murphy/Luis Torrens (whomever starts)
- Omar Narvaez
- Luke Voit
- Rowdy Tellez
- Nate Lowe
- Cavan Biggio
- D.J. LeMahieu/Chris Taylor
- Enrique Hernandez
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- Rafael Devers
- Kyle Seager
- Xander Bogaerts
- Trea Turner
- Bo Bichette
- Mookie Betts
- Aaron Judge/Juan Soto
- J.D. Martinez
- Mitch Haniger
- Kyle Schwarber
- Yordan Alvarez
- Kyle Lewis
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
- Randal Grichuk
Highest Scoring Hitter
Highest Scoring Pitcher
Highest Owned Pitcher(s) by Me
Corbin Burnes/Trevor Rogers
Biggest Bust Hitter
Biggest Bust Pitcher
Top Value Play
Kyle Lewis/Christian Vazquez (FD)
Hit me up on Twitter @RSandersDFS or visit the MLB Chat Room with any lineup questions!