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)
- Walker Buehler (FD) – 2021 has been a strange year for Walker Buehler so far as he started the year with three consecutive quality starts but only struck out 12 batters in his first 18 innings. Over the course of his past two starts, the K stuff has come back, but he has allowed a homer in three straight starts and is coming off his worst start of the year (five earned runs (ERs) in 6.1 IP versus the Reds). Still, the 19 Ks in his last two games suggest this is still a pitcher with massive upside, and the matchup against the Cubs is quite favorable; thus far, the Cubs have struck out at a 26.7-percent rate against right-handed pitching (RHP), and they rank in the bottom 10 of both hard hit rate and line drive rate in the split. Of course, they do rank just outside the top 10 in wOBA, and rank inside the top 10 of ISO, so a home run (HR) or two is not out of the question. Even so, on FD specifically, Buehler’s price is so much cheaper than the two most expensive guys that he is the clear best investment if looking to pair a high-end starting pitcher with upside bats.
- Shane Bieber (DK) – Since the start of 2020, Shane Bieber has faced the Royals thrice (including once this season) and has posted at least 28.5 DK fantasy points in each outing. In fact, he has struck out nine-plus hitters each time, including 12 Ks on Apr. 4 of this year. Obviously, he is a fantastic play, but the FD price point makes it difficult to pair him with the top stacks. Either concessions will need to be made with the bats, or maybe Bieber is just too expensive over there. On the other hand, DK is a completely different story, as he is barely the most expensive pitcher on the slate, costing just $200 over the next guy. Salary can be saved at SP2 so he is much easier to fit on DK comparatively to FD. Either way, he is my highest projected pitcher on the slate in terms of raw fantasy points, so roster him if you have the funds.
Tier 2: Not Quite Core Pitchers
- Yu Darvish – Naturally, there is nothing wrong with spending for Yu Darvish against the offensively-challenged Pirates either, given the Pirates rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO versus the handedness. The only issue here is the Pirates are striking out at the second-lowest rate against RHP. If Darvish can silence the bats, the strikeout upside could be replaced with longevity upside, meaning he should pitch deep into the game because the Pirates do not put up much of a fight. Due to concerns that he may not reach double-digit strikeouts, Darvish still falls just a tiny bit short of the top tier.
- Freddy Peralta – “Electric” accurately describes Freddy Peralta’s stuff, and always has, but the control continues to be an issue for him. For his career, Peralta sports an 11.0-percent BB rate, and that number is actually higher (12.5-percent) this season. Lack of control is the one reason to fear Peralta, but he has now struck out six-plus batters in all of his starts this year, including seven-plus in each of his last five. Only two of his six starts have resulted in a quality start because he has only managed to pitch six full innings twice (including in his last start). On paper, the Phillies rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO this year versus RHP to go along with a 26.0-percent K rate. He possesses similar strikeout upside to the elites but comes with a much lower floor because of the consistently high pitch counts and the oodles of jams he pitches himself into.
- Martin Perez – Virtually any starting pitcher is viable against the Tigers given their numbers against southpaws (amongst their active hitters): .216 wOBA, 36 wRC+ (!), 0.069 ISO, 6.8-percent BB rate, 25.0-percent hard hit rate and a massive 36.5-percent K rate. Simply put: this team has shown no signs of being able to hit left-handers and is by far the worst team in the league in the split. Martin Perez is no Cy Young candidate, but he might be if he only had to pitch against the Tigers. As a cheap SP2, you could certainly do much worse (and do not sleep on him as cheap option on FD either).
- Brady Singer (DK) – If Brady Singer were fully healthy, we would be saying, “what in the world is this price?” Since he left his last start early with a heel issue, the conservative nature of the pricing is a little less outrageous, but it is still too cheap. To this point, the Indians rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA (.300) against RHP, rarely walk (7.8-percent BB rate) and have struck out at a top 10 rate (25.7-percent). At just $5,500, Singer does not need a quality start to pay off, but rather just an average start. Through five starts, Singer’s 26.3-percent K rate is a career-high, and he is simply focusing on his best two pitches (sinker and slider), even more so than last year. $7,400 on FD is a bit of a stretch given the health unsurety, but the DK price point more than takes that into consideration.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Pitchers
- Robbie Ray – Athletics rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against left-handed pitching (LHP), and Robbie Ray has always allowed a ton of power (1.94 HR/9 rate since the start of 2019) to right-handed hitters (RHHs). Mark Canha is the top threat from the lineup, but Matt Olson, Ramon Laureano and Matt Chapman are all powerful bats with the ability to take Ray deep also. If willing to stomach that risk, Ray has immense K upside.
- Max Fried – Struggling this year but has a .513 BABIP against and just a 4.13 SIERA. In other words, positive regression is on the horizon.
- Casey Mize – Casey Mize is a better pitcher than Vegas is giving him credit for, and he would be massive leverage on a chalky Red Sox stack.
Tier 1: The Core Stack
- Minnesota Twins – Probable starter Hyeon-jong Yang was a good pitcher in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) last year, but he was not even great (4.70 ERA, 1.42 WHIP). Therefore, it is tough to expect him to be anything but average at the MLB level, and he has been extremely lucky in the early-going: .192 BABIP, 89.3-percent strand rate and just a 1.04 HR/9 rate despite an 11.1-percent barrel rate allowed. Over time, I expect Yang to be closer to his “THE BAT” projection of a 4.56 FIP, and I believe that regression starts tonight versus a Twins team loaded with right-handed power. Since the start of last year, Nelson Cruz leads the team with an insane .533 wOBA, 251 wRC+ and .361 ISO and is the clear top play on the slate. Behind him, Byron Buxton (.411 wOBA), Josh Donaldson (.353 wOBA) and Jorge Polanco (.343 wOBA) all own respectable numbers in the split as well, and there are at least six guys worth targeting in the lineup. Eventually, the Yang good luck is going to run out, and if it is tonight, it will happen while the Twins fly mostly under the radar. Personally, I love that setup.
Tier 2: The Not Quite Core Stacks
- Atlanta Braves – Rostering the Braves is a bet against Erick Fedde, who does appear to be a bit of an improved pitcher. Prior to this year, his career-best FIP sits at 5.34, and it is only at 3.65 through five starts in 2021. Furthermore, his xERA, xFIP and SIERA are all career-bests despite a career-worst barrel rate. Fedde is throwing harder than ever, which would explain the uptick in K rate, but the .276 BABIP and 10.0-percent HR/FB are both below his career average. He is inducing fewer grounders than ever and is almost a perfect even splits pitcher for his career (.345 wOBA allowed to RHHs and .346 wOBA allowed to lefties). Consequently, the lefties and righties are both in play, starting with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman, of course.
- Los Angeles Dodgers – The 4.2-run implied total does jump off the page for the Dodgers because it is expected to be around 48-degrees at game time with the wind blowing in slightly. Sure, the elements are not a perfect setup, but the Dodgers present an insanely tough task for Adbert Alzolay. Not only is Alzolay wild (career 7.4-percent BB rate), but he relies heavily on fly ball outs (37.3-percent GB rate) and barrels (9.8-percent) to retire opposing hitters when he is not striking them out (28.4-percent K rate). Meanwhile, the Dodgers own the second-highest BB rate versus RHP, lead the league in wOBA and wRC+ and have only struck out at a 22.8-percent rate in the split. Basically, Alzolay can exploit none of his strengths against this team because they are a patient team with power. Judging by initial projections, this team will not be popular whatsoever, so expect low single-digit ownerships.
- Houston Astros – Playing in Yankee Stadium will help enhance the power potential of this already powerful lineup, and the Yankees implied total will draw people to their side of the game. Jordan Montgomery has long dominated LHHs (.239 wOBA, 2.15 FIP in the split since the start of 2019), but this team is loaded with right-handed power bats: Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa to name a few. All profile well against Montgomery’s fly-ball heavy approach, and he has allowed a HR/9 rate of almost exactly 1.50 since the start of last year. Montgomery is not a huge strikeout pitcher, so Michael Brantley could turn contact into liners (which in Yankee Stadium could leave the yard by accident). 1-7 is all in play for me, and the righties with home run upside are the most intriguing.
- Boston Red Sox – Really, Casey Mize is not as bad as Vegas seems to think, but he has allowed 14 runs over the course of his last three starts, so he is not exactly an ace yet, either. Still, he managed a quality start versus the tough White Sox his last time out while allowing no homers and mixing up his pitches (season-low split-finger rate). Lefties have excelled against Mize in his young career to the tune of a .432 wOBA, .305/.407/.619 slash line and ridiculously bad 7.79 FIP/5.95 xFIP. If targeting the Red Sox, start with the likes of Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers and even potentially Marwin Gonzalez and build from there. Behind Mize, the Tigers bullpen ranks fourth-worst in terms of SIERA, so the fun will not stop once he exits the game.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Stacks
- New York Yankees – Will be extremely chalky, so if worried about completely fading them up until this point, go ahead and add them to the MME pool. However, Luis Garcia owns a 3.66 xERA and 4.10 SIERA to this point and has dominated RHHs (.223 wOBA allowed), so the matchup is no walk in the park for an extremely right-handed lineup.
- Milwaukee Brewers – Not a ton of talent in this lineup with Christian Yelich back on the injured list (IL), but Chase Anderson’s .369 wOBA allowed to RHHs since the start of 2019 is the second-highest of any pitcher on the slate (behind only Lewis Thorpe). Unfortunately, the only righties worth a damn on this team are Lorenzo Cain, Avisail Garcia and Luis Urias (who is amidst a five-game hitting streak and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games).
- Philadelphia Phillies – Freddy Peralta can get wild and, when he goes bad, it is typically due to the long ball (1.83 HR/9 rate allowed to RHHs since the start of 2019). Rhys Hoskins is my favorite bat here, with J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper not far behind.
Top Players By Position
- J.T. Realmuto
- Mitch Garver
- Sean Murphy/Yan Gomes
- Freddie Freeman
- Ryan Zimmerman
- Jeimer Candelario/Miguel Cabrera
- Jose Altuve
- Ozzie Albies
- Jorge Polanco
- Josh Donaldson
- Alex Bregman
- Rafael Devers/Austin Riley
- Corey Seager
- Carlos Correa
- Gleyber Torres/Xander Bogaerts
- Nelson Cruz
- Ronald Acuna Jr.
- Byron Buxton
- Mookie Betts
- Alex Verdugo
- Mark Canha
- Marcell Ozuna
- Bryce Harper
Highest Scoring Hitter
Highest Scoring Pitcher
Highest Owned Pitcher(s) by Me
Biggest Bust Hitter
Biggest Bust Pitcher
Top Value Play
Hit me up on Twitter @RSandersDFS or visit the MLB Chat Room with any lineup questions!