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MLB DFS Yahoo! Strategy: May 3rd (FREE)

Eric MacPherson

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Welcome to the Friday Yahoo! MLB strategy guide.  We have thirteen games on tap and reasonably good weather across the board so Update: some weather has changed since this was written, so please do stay up on the news, though we should have plenty of viable options to choose from.  Be sure to keep tabs on TBR at BAL, MIN at NYY, OAK at PIT and TOR at TEX as things may have changed since this article was posted on Thursday night so be sure to have backup plans and pivot options so you can utilize the late-swap feature prior to the official scheduled first pitch (i.e. you will not be able to change your lineups if a rain delay occurs after the originally scheduled starting time of a game).

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We will utilize this series to point out the different nuances, tips and tricks to building a solid Yahoo! tournament lineup.

Salary Cap

Yahoo! has a similar roster setup as most of the two-pitcher formats, but their salary cap is quite a unique puzzle to tackle each day.  It’s worthwhile to spend some time trying out different roster combinations – playing with how much of the salary cap you are allocating to pitching and hitting. The savvy gamer will be able to find some gems among the hitters in the $7-10 range which is crucial to working in some top-shelf talent.

Scoring System

For those of you new to the site, please note that the scoring has been tweaked since last season. When compared to the other popular scoring formats it’s more punitive for pitchers allowing base runners and is less rewarding for “team stacking” (i.e. taking three or more hitters from the same team in adjacent or nearly adjacent spots in the batting order) with runs and RBI slightly discounted when compared to individual batter scoring of slightly more points proportionally for extra base hits, walks and hit by pitch categories.

Basic Strategy

In the past, I’ve found that even though the Yahoo! format allows us to roster as many as six players from the same team, their unique pricing and two-pitcher format have somewhat muted the need for team stacking and as detailed above, the slight changes to their scoring system will continue to encourage that trend.

Target Pitchers

For those of you new to Yahoo!, learning how to read into the pitcher pricing is key to building competitive lineups.  The minimum price for pitchers is $25 while we can see some of the top-shelf aces like Chris Sale, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander crest just over $60 depending on their recent performance and matchup.

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Clayton Kershaw at SDP ($52) while I am on the record as of last Saturday when I was wildly nervous about going with Clayton Kershaw his 7 innings with four hits, eight strikeouts and just one run against the Pirates have buoyed my feelings towards him.  Well the matchup against the San Diego Padres helps as well.  We want to keep in mind that this is a much improved Pod Squad from prior seasons and they likely will only have one lefty, if any, in the lineup against Kershaw.  One a positive note, San Diego has an 80 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus is an advanced metric that neutralizes park factors and creates a league-wide scoring efficiency baseline of 100) which means they produce runs 20% less efficiently than the average MLB team against southpaws and is the sixth lowest rate this season and they are also striking out a healthy 25.1% of the time, though when they connect, they have a .180 ISO which is the eighth best figure in the league.

Since the beginning of last season, Kershaw has struck out 24.7% of the right-handed hitters he has faced with a .ow 4.6 BB% and a solid .82 HR/9 with a stellar 51.8 GB%.  While this is not vintage three time Cy Young Award winning CLAYTON EFFING KERSHAW, he is in a solid spot tonight and there will be enough savings with our hitters that we can work him into lineups if we so choose.

Sonny Gray vs MIA ($45) it will be interesting to see how the pitching popularity is spread out on Friday with so many intriguing options in the $45-$52 range and outside of Kershaw, Chris Sale and James Paxton not many of the choices carry much name recognition.  Well, some do remember how awful RHP Sonny Gray was during his season and a half in Yankee Stadium. 

Last year was particularly egregious as he had 59.1 innings at home with a 6.98 ERA, 11 home runs allowed with a 1.95 WHIP and 6.8 K/9 – while on the road in 71.0 innings (nearly half of which came in hitting friendly AL East venues) he tallied a 3.17 ERA, three home runs with a 1.15 WHIP and a 9.9 K/9 strikeout rate.  Of course the truth is somewhere in-between those numbers and while Great American Ballpark is batter friendly, Gray no longer has to deal with the designated hitter while in NL venues.

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Saving the best for last, the current hitters for the Giants have a 69 wRC+ against right-handed hitters this season which is the worst in the league.  Yes, this is a hitting upgrade for them, but remember as mentioned above weighted runs created plus (wRC+) eliminates ballpark factors.

Mike Minor vs TOR ($46) while the veteran southpaw has been amazing since giving up six runs on Opening Day allowing just seven runs across his last five starts spanning 36 innings and coming off a career high 13 punchouts against the Mariners last Saturday, we are paying full price.  Minor is a solid pitcher who does not get a lot of credit from the DFS world, so we are going to have to hope that The Masses will be looking elsewhere on Friday with this hefty price tag and his excellent game logs.

While this matchup is in Arlington the game time temperature should be in the upper-60s, the only worry is some potential rain in the forecast.  Toronto has a below average offense against lefties with an 88 wRC+ and their .114 ISO is better than just three teams (PIT, CLE, MIA) and for added perspective some batters with a .110-.115 ISO since the beginning of last season include the likes of Lorenzo Cain, Starlin Castro, Buster Posey and Adam Engle (all RHB vs LHPs with 500+ at bats).

Tyler Beede at CIN ($28) in general, players getting called up from the minor leagues for spot starts are typically priced below $30 and RHP Tyler Beede is an intriguing prospect who did not break camp with the big team and instead went to the minors to focus on becoming a full-time starter and building up his stamina.  In 22.2 innings across five starts for the AAA Sacramento Rivercats he was masterful with 34 strikeouts and just five runs allowed with one longball, a 1.99 ERA and a 1.059 WHIP.  Not to bury the lede, but he is worth a chance on a squad or two if you are playing multiple lineups or if you are playing just one lineup, he will help upgrade at least three hitters significantly.

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Discount Dandies

As mentioned above, it is important to know how to find discounted hitters in solid situations and also understand what the “opportunity” cost may be by giving up a key power hitting position like 1B/3B for a discounted option who may not have a lot of power.

C – Wilson Ramos – NYM at RHP Brandon Woodruff ($9) this is a nice park boost and a nice price for The Buffalo who should be batting in the heart of the order for the Metropolitans and he is solid against same-handed pitchers.

1B – Chris Davis – BAL vs RHP Tyler Glasnow ($7) is a solid pitcher, but Davis is showing signs of life with hits in four of his last six games including a pair of home runs and two multi-hit games.  It is not easy giving up our first base spot, but you literally cannot beat this price point.

2B – Rougned Odor – TEX vs RHP Trent Thornton ($8) we are getting Odor at an extreme discount because of his poor performance this season where he is batting .136 with one lonely home run in 17 games.  We cannot forget that the sixth year veteran is just 25 and he had 30 home run season sin both 2016 and 2017.

3B – Vladimir Guerrero Jr – TOR at LHP Mike Minor ($10) yes, we are still waiting for his first home run, let alone his first grad slam – but this price is going to be hard to ignore, even if you are playing just one lineup AND rolling with LHP Mike Minor.

SS – Cory Seager – LAD at LHP Eric Lauer ($11)  we should have Seager batting near the top of the order, even against a fellow lefty and if we look at the three seasons heading into this one (aka prior to last year’s injury) though 400 at bats against southpaws, Seager had a .280/.338/.460 triple slash line with 14 of his 50 round trippers during that same timeframe against lefties.  LHP Eric Lauer has been in 142 lefty/lefty matchups since the beginning of last season and he has just a 14.8 K% with a healthy 7.8 BB% and 1.44 HR/9 – just saying do not be completely afraid of this platoon “disadvantage” for Seager.

OF – Starlin Marte vs LHP Brett Anderson ($10) this will be Marte’s third game back since his return from the injured list and he has been outstanding in his career against lefties.  Enjoy!

As always, you can reach out to me in Awesemo.com Premium Slack or on Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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