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MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Leverage, Home Runs, Optimal Picks | Today, 10/12/21

Terry McBride



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Tuesday features a three-game slate of MLB DFS action that starts in the early afternoon with the Astros and White Sox picking up yesterday’s postponed Game 4 in the American League Division Series, while both National League games land later in the day, with the Brewers facing the Braves and the Giants and Dodgers doing battle out West. The slate features a solid list of MLB DFS pitchers after the addition of the American League game, there should be room for getting some great one-off DFS picks and creating unique tournament lineups for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

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MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Top HR Options

Home runs are the holy grail when making MLB DFS picks. Finding the right combination of sluggers who will knock one, or better two, out of the park to drive in the teammates you stack with them is critical to winning GPPs. Identifying the likely home run hitters is trickier than just looking at the big names. Using a model of my design, based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup, I will give each team one of the top choices. However, it will not always be the absolute top-ranked player, particularly when there is an obvious star in that spot every day.

Home Run Ratings

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Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great

Atlanta Braves: Jorge Soler — 11.06

Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu — 4.91

Houston Astros: Alex Bregman — 6.63

Los Angeles Dodgers: Justin Turner — 7.80

Milwaukee Brewers: Rowdy Tellez — 5.94

San Francisco Giants: Brandon Crawford — 3.23

Power Index

This is intended to capture the full range of home run upside for each team. It is not meant as a stack ranking and does not account for pricing or popularity — only home run potential. The first column is the average rating for the full projected lineup (pitcher bats not included in non-DH games), and the second is for the top six hitters in the projected lineup.

MLB DFS lineup picks today DraftKings FanDuel fantasy baseball rankings free expert projections ownership optimal lineup optimizer stacks MLB playoffs NLDS ALDS Braves Dodgers Astros White Sox Brewers Giants tonight odds lines predictions parlays best bets home run calls ESPN Yahoo CBS

MLB DFS Picks: Pitchers, Optimal Stacks & Leverage Plays

This section will feature a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays on DraftKings and FanDuel. Ensure to check out the Awesemo Ownership Projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.

On the Hill

The Tuesday pitching slate gets a boost from the addition of the American League game, which will feature two premium starters. The White Sox are running out Carlos Rodon, as was the plan yesterday. The lefty comes with concerns about his ailing shoulder, but he posted a 34.6% strikeout rate over the course of his excellent 132.2-inning season. Rodon will face stiff competition in an Astros team that was one of the best in baseball, possessing the highest home run rate and lowest strikeout rate of any team in the league. Rodon is in a difficult spot, but he is a true ace, he will be dueling Lance McCullers, with the Astros taking the opportunity given by the extra day to skip lesser starter Jose Urquidy. McCullers pitched to a 3.69 xFIP with a 27% strikeout rate over the course of 2021, he allowed just a 5.3% barrel rate but a 40.4% hard-hit percentage and a bumpy 11.1% walk rate that suggests the White Sox patience at the plate could pay dividends if they can connect at the right time. The Brewers will have Eric Lauer on the mound, the average lefty had a reasonably good year for the team, posting a 23.9% strikeout rate and a 4.26 xFIP that did not blow anyone away. Lauer is a low-cost SP2 option on DraftKings, he is more difficult to get to on FanDuel for the price in a matchup against the powerful Braves lineup. On Atlanta’s side, Charlie Morton is a strong consideration taking on a team that was largely average throughout the season. The Brewers were seven percent below league average for run creation against right-handed pitching this year. The Dodgers have not officially confirmed their starter, some sources are reporting that Tony Gonsolin is taking the hill, while FanDuel is listing Walker Buehler as the starter, which seems unlikely. If it is Buehler, he is a clear go-to option, where Gonsolin seems more likely to hand off to the bullpen early in the game. On the other side, Anthony DeSclafani will be taking the mound for the Giants. The righty had a 22.5% strikeout rate and pitched to a 3.95 xFIP and a 1.09 WHIP this season. DeSclafani is inexpensive on both sites, though he is going up against a Dodgers team that is loaded from one through eight and well above average across the board against pitchers of both hands. DeSclafani could provide sneaky quality from the bottom of the board on a short slate if he lands at low enough ownership.

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The Top Stacks Tool shows the Astros in the lead position, but efficient ownership up and down on most of the quality options. The confirmed lineup is the typical configuration of excellent hitters, the team is playable from one through eight on both DraftKings and the blue site. The go-to bats include Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel, as well as shortstop Carlos Correa. Outfielder Kyle Tucker is a ludicrously talented player to have hitting seventh. Tucker blasted 30 home runs and stole 14 bases in 567 plate appearances in a major breakout season. The lefty swinger slashed .294/.359/.557 and created runs 47% better than average, he is an excellent option in stacks as well. Jake Meyers is a solid bolt-on option, while Martin Maldonado fills out a catcher requirement where needed.

On the other side of the contest, the White Sox come up with positive leverage against a pitcher who has a propensity for putting runners on base via the free pass. McCullers is very talented and has strikeout acumen, but with a few additional base runners in play, Chicago’s power and quality contact abilities could be enough to get them over the top. Go-to bats for the White Sox include Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal and Eloy Jimenez. The bottom end of the lineup features three usable bats as well, with Gavin Sheets adding some pop, while Leury Garcia and Cesar Hernandez fill out several positions with switch-hitting quality that gives managers fits as they try to matchup bullpen arms.

While the Brewers have not been a frequently featured team in this space, and they underperformed for most of the season on the offensive side of the game, the team does come into tonight with a chunk of positive leverage that should not be ignored for MLB DFS purposes. Milwaukee’s lineup includes a few interesting hitters at the top, though they have operated better in small stacks and as individuals for most of the year. The primary options in the lineup include Willy Adames, Christian Yelich, Avisail Garcia, Rowdy Tellez, and Eduardo Escobar. Bookending that list in the lineup are Kolten Wong from the top and Omar Narvaez with Lorenzo Cain from the bottom. Any combination of Brewers bats is likely to be under-owned in this spot. There is an appeal in including Yelich when others may not. The struggling superstar had a lousy season, slashing just .248/.362/.373 with nine home runs and an anemic .125 ISO over 475 plate appearances, but rostering former MVP pedigree on this type of slate when we can do so with a drop of leverage is an upside play.

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HR Call: Jorge Soler — Atlanta Braves

To get even more action down on tonight’s MLB slate, check out the betting markets and Awesemo’s expert MLB betting picks for today.

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Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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