DOMINATE today’s DraftKings and FanDuel MLB GPP contests with these pitchers, stacks and one-off players!
Tier 1: The Core Pitchers (these are pitchers who will be in majority of my lineups)
- Lance Lynn – Thus far, the Royals rank in the top 10 of wOBA against right-handed pitching (RHP) but Lance Lynn has been lights out in four starts this season; he owns a 29.9-percent K rate to just a 4.1-percent BB rate, ranks 10th in the league in ERA- (league-adjusted ERA that personifies how hell he has performed versus the league average) and ranks 20th in SIERA amongst pitchers with at least 20 IP so far. In true Lynn fashion, he continues to excel relying heavily on a four-seam fastball that he is both able to control and generate whiffs on at elite levels. Meanwhile, the Royals strike out at just about the league-average against RHP and will likely roll out five righties in their lineup with two of the lefties being Ryan O’Hearn and Nicky Lopez. Why does this matter? Well, Lynn has held righties to a .290 wOBA since the start of the 2019 season and owns a slate-best 3.02 FIP in the split during that span. Given two of the lefties are extremely subpar hitters, there should be clear skies ahead for Lynn. The only issue here is he should end as the stone chalk and that would be the main case for fading him.
- Cristian Javier – If deciding that Lynn is too popular, or looking for a high upside pitcher to pair him with on DK, look no further than Cristian Javier against an extremely right-handed Jays lineup. Dating back to 2019, Javier’s splits are some of the more drastic in the league, having held righties to a .199 wOBA compared to a .320 wOBA against lefties. Additionally, the K rate difference in each split is wildly different as well for Javier as he has struck out 32.8-percent of righties compared to 22.0-percent of lefties over that two-plus year span. Luckily for Javier, the Jays are only expected to roll out two lefties in their lineup: Rowdy Tellez and Cavan Biggio. On paper, this Blue Jays team has struck out at the fifth-lowest rate against RHP, but Javier’s three-quarter delivery with sweeping breaking balls presents a tough matchup for each and every one of them.
Tier 2: Not Quite Core Pitchers
- Garrett Richards – While the matchup is not fantastic with either pitcher in tier one, the same cannot be said for Garrett Richards who will take on an Orioles squad that has struck out at the ninth highest rate against RHP. Furthermore, they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO in the split while only walking at an 8.0-percent rate. As if that were not enough, the Orioles rank 27th in xwOBA against right-handed sliders this year (Richards’ bread-and-butter pitch) and 28th in xwOBA against the pitch type since the start of 2020. From a downside perspective, there is still reason to fear this spot given Camden Yards’ power-friendly nature and Richards’ low ground ball rates in recent seasons. His control issues are not too worrisome today specifically due to the Orioles’ lack of discipline, and it should be noted Richards K rate and swinging strike rate are both up this year. After striking out 17 over the course of his past two starts combined, Richards possesses seven-plus K upside here as long as he is not serving up the longball from the get-go.
- Ian Anderson – Today will already mark the third time Ian Anderson has faced the Phillies this season which is the only reason he is ranked this low. In those two starts, the results were inconsistent, as he dominated through 5.0 innings in the season opener and then allowed four earned runs (ERs) in 5.1 IP his very next start. Back-to-back starts against the same team is tough, so he gets a bit of a pass there, but he has allowed three-plus runs in three of his six starts in total. Only two teams possess a higher swinging strike rate than the Phillies so Anderson’s K floor is quite comforting. Unlike Richards, Anderson will not have to face a designated hitter, and the Braves are the second heaviest favorites on the slate. On FD specifically, the $7,900 price point allows DFSers to load up on bats, but that probably leads to him being quite popular (arguably giving Lynn a run for his money for most popular pitcher on the site).
- Zac Lowther – Zac Lowther is a DK play only, but the reason he is a play is that he is priced at the absolute bare minimum and has displayed some solid skills in the minors. His pitch count is unknown, and there is a wide variety of potential outcomes, but that is worth taking a shot on given the minuscule cost. Throughout his three-year minor league career, Lowther struck out 26.0-plus percent of hitters at each level, although he only topped out at Double-A (and that was back in 2019). He throws left-handed, relies heavily on fly ball outs and has never made a start at the MLB level before, so this is a volatile play unquestionably. If playing multiple lineups, playing Lowther in one and stacking the Red Sox in another is a viable hedge, but, if the leash is decent enough, he could lead the SP position in per-dollar production tonight by default.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Pitchers
- Clayton Kershaw – Angels hitters strike out at the seventh-lowest rate against left-handed pitching (LHP), and Clayton Kershaw is coming off one of the worst starts of his entire career. If there was a price discount, it would make the rationale for playing him easier, but he is amongst the most expensive pitchers on each site.
- Dylan Bundy – Since the start of last season, only the Mets have produced a higher xwOBA against right-handed sliders than the Dodgers. Still, at times the pitch can be unhittable for Dylan Bundy, so there is a clear path to success if he has his best stuff.
- Merrill Kelly – The Mets cannot hit to start the year (.297 wOBA, .115 ISO versus RHP), but Kelly does not offer much in the strikeout department (which limits his upside).
Tier 1: The Core Stacks
- Texas Rangers – Erik Swanson has been announced as the Mariners starter Saturday, and he has struggled at the Major League level versus left-handed hitters (LHHs): .358 wOBA, 2.90 HR/9 rate, 6.46 FIP and a 39.6-percent fly ball rate in the split since the beginning of 2019. Other than Nick Solak and Adolis Garcia, the entire top of the Rangers lineup is left-handed down to the seven-hole. Consequently, names like Joey Gallo, Nate Low, Willie Calhoun and David Dahl are all on red alert to flaunt their power, and the Mariners only feature two lefties in their bullpen (and Anthony Misiewicz pitched yesterday). Texas’ home park (Globe Life Park) is not the hitters haven the old stadium (Globe Life Field) once was, but the matchup against Swanson more than makes up for that. UPDATE: Manager Scott Servais says the goal is to get Erik Swanson through 2-3 innings and then go to a “bulk guy.” Judging by their current bullpen, the true bulk options would be Robert Dugger (righty) or Aaron Fletcher (lefty). If Fletcher were to get the call, Nick Solak and Adolis Garcia would become viable additions to the stack, and it would make sense to get a bit less lefty-heavy.
- Chicago White Sox – Targeting the White Sox against a lefty has long been a profitable proposition, and I wonder if the allure of the Royals top prospect Daniel Lynch sends the field in a different direction tonight. Despite the talent of Lynch, Vegas is implying 5.0-runs for the White Sox, and Lynch looked the part of a young pitcher in his MLB debut: 4.2 IP, eight baserunners (four BBs), three earned runs and just three Ks. To put that differently, he posted a 14.3-percent K rate to a 19.0-percent BB rate or a -4.8 K-BB percentage. Amazingly, he did not give up a homer despite a 21.4-percent barrel rate, but that will change tonight if the White Sox can barrel him up. Luis Robert being out for most of the year hurts the depth of this lineup a bit but their active hitters still rank second in the league in wOBA against southpaws and lead the league in wRC+. Start with Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu and Yermin Mercedes and go on from there.
Tier 2: The Not Quite Core Stacks
- Atlanta Braves – The highest implied total on the slate belongs to the Braves which inherently means they should end up popular…and for good reason. Opposing starter Vince Velasquez has allowed a HR/9 rate of 2.24 since the start of 2019 and Ronald Acuna Jr./Marcell Ozuna hit towards the top of this lineup. Lefties have posted a 40-plus percent hard hit rate and 1.47 HR/9 rate against him during that same span so the lefties are quite playable as well. Behind Velasquez is a bullpen that has looked slightly above average to this point but the allure of multiple homers against the Braves is enough to consider playing them as chalk.
- Boston Red Sox – Speaking of potential chalk, the field will likely notice the Red Sox are facing a rookie making his first career start in power-friendly Camden Yards. J.D. Martinez’s career numbers against lefties are amongst the best of any active player and the team ranks in the top 10 of wOBA against LHP this year. The scariest part of the matchup is the fact the Red Sox rarely strike out in the split (their 17.6-percent K rate is by far the lowest in the league). Basically, they will be putting the ball in play, and are powerful when they do, so expect 40-plus percent roster rates for the likes of Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, etc.
- Houston Astros – Probable starter Steven Matz is another power-prone pitcher and speed upside is added benefit against him given his career -7 rSB (Stolen Base Runs Saved runs above average). Most who target the Astros will solely stick to right-handed hitters (RHHs) but lefties own an above-average .332 wOBA against Matz over a two-plus year span and a respectable 1.12 HR/9 rate as well. Clearly, the righties are the building blocks given Matz’s 2.06 HR/9 rate in the split since 2019, and Alex Bregman is one of the best handful of plays on the entire slate. Behind him, Yuli Gurriel, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve stack up pretty well also, although Altuve has struggled recently (.297 wOBA since the start of last season). A nice way to get different would be replacing Altuve with Yordan Alvarez in a stack as Alvarez is likely someone most will just skip.
Tier 3: Mass-Multi Entry Stacks
- Seattle Mariners – Kohei Arihara has been the definition of Jekyll and Hyde in his MLB starts, including two straight awful Hyde starts (11-plus FIP in each). If that trend continues, the Mariners could go out and win the slate.
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Fantastic offense at hitting right-handed sliders, which takes away Dylan Bundy’s x-factor.
- Los Angeles Angels – Clayton Kershaw is coming off one of the worst starts of his career and now faces an Angels team ranking in the top 10 of wRC+ and the bottom 10 of K rate.
- Baltimore Orioles – When Garrett Richards goes wrong, the control completely eludes him, and his HR/9 rate has sat over 1.25 dating back two seasons despite pitching in a park that has depreciated power. Camden Yards does anything but depreciate power so, even if the Orioles strike out quite a bit, they could make up for it with multiple bombs.
Top Players By Position
- Yermin Mercedes
- Christian Vazquez
- Yasmani Grandal/William Contreras (if need a cheap option)
- Nate Lowe
- Jose Abreu
- Freddie Freeman
- Ozzie Albies
- Jose Altuve
- Nick Madrigal/Christian Arroyo (50/50 to make lineup)
- Alex Bregman
- Austin Riley
- Kyle Seager/Ty France
- Tim Anderson
- Corey Seager
- Carlos Correa
- Joey Gallo
- Ronald Acuna Jr.
- J.D. Martinez
- Mike Trout
- Marcell Ozuna
- Mitch Haniger
- Mookie Betts
- Adolis Garcia
- Cedric Mullins
- Willie Calhoun
- David Dahl
Highest Scoring Hitter
Highest Scoring Pitcher
Highest Owned Pitcher(s) by Me
Lance Lynn (DK)/Garrett Richards (FD)
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!