Welcome to Opening Day, it’s been a while. Our first day back to MLB DFS action is a bit light, so we won’t be going too deep here. In the future I expect to have this column up shortly after the main slate locks each evening, with the idea of providing a few quick looks at the next day’s slate from a brief pricing, stacks and ownership perspective. I’m also including a top option from each team in my home run model. If you’re looking for a bit more than these quick hits, your Ol’ Pal EMac and I broke down the slate in a bit more detail earlier tonight.
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The first MLB DFS slate of the year brings us just two games and one of them has a little bit of a weather concern. The Yankees are visiting the Nationals, and there are pop-up storms expected in the early evening. The game isn’t likely to rain out, but if a storm rolls through and delays the game by even 20 minutes, we could see both Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer make early exits, which would make the two-game slate interesting. With a lack of other options, it’s a risk that we’re probably going to have to grin and bear here. There simply aren’t enough points of differentiation.
MLB DFS First Look: Top HR Options, Stacks and Pitchers
Home Run Ratings
Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great
Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger – 13.00
New York Yankees: Aaron Judge – 8.04
San Francisco Giants: Wilmer Flores – 6.87
Washington Nationals: Juan Soto – 8.44
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MLB DFS Picks: Stacks & Ownership Plays
(Quick note: if it says 1-5 it means hitters 1-2-3-4-5, otherwise I’ll specify spots)
With only two games on the slate there’s not a lot of mystery here.
New York Yankees at Washington Nationals – 7.5-run total – Suggested Stack(s): Yankees 2-6
It’s a two-game slate and the Yankees are the most popular sports franchise in the world. This isn’t sneaky. If you want to differentiate, your only two options projected for under 20% ownership on either site are Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner. Give me Gardner out of those two every time, but neither is a great option. The heart of this Yankees lineup is the place to be, but the entire team is going to be owned. Given the popularity of the Dodgers, there’s a chance that the most common Yankees builds are three-man stacks. It won’t get you different enough to win, but you might gain ground by going to a full stack of Yankees and then finding another spot to work with that isn’t the Dodgers. Aaron Hicks stands out at just $2,600 on FanDuel in this lineup.
The Nationals are somewhat easier to own from a popularity standpoint. As I mentioned to EMac on the podcast, on a two-game slate I don’t hate the idea of going to a nine-hitter and getting weird with some wrap-around stacks that start with speedy Victor Robles. Going from Robles around to the top of the order gives you a ton of speed. You’re hoping to capture some off-brand points if they make things happen on the basepaths then get driven in by bigger bats behind them. Adam Eaton and Starlin Castro hitting second and third in this lineup for $2,600 and $2,500, respectively, is an opportunity to help mix in a variation of the big bats on the slate with some less-likely bats that are still quality.
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers – 8.0-run total – Suggested Stack(s): Dodgers 3-5-6-7-8
The Giants lineup is a total disaster here, and they’re not even that contrarian on this slate. You’re taking a major gamble playing this stack, and you still have to find creative ways to make it different. The alternative would be to look to the very unpopular pitcher on this team. Johnny Cueto is our pitching differentiation option. I don’t like it, you don’t like it, even Cueto probably doesn’t like it, but at just 8.0% ownership on DraftKings and 1.6% on FanDuel, it’s easy enough to bite the bullet and get over the field. It’s not a play I would come close to making on a real slate, but with two games …
The Dodgers, on the other hand, look amazing here against Cueto, but you knew that. So does everyone else playing MLB DFS today. This is a lineup that is going to be difficult to get different with. Think right-handed hitters instead of lefties just as a differentiated starting point. Guys like Justin Turner can succeed here as easily as the lefty cohorts. Getting weird has to be the theme here, hence the recommended stack bypassing the two best hitters and best individual options in this lineup (Mookie Betts/Cody Bellinger). The back end of the Dodgers lineup is shockingly affordable on FanDuel. The blue site never seems to price up Joc Pederson, which I don’t get. Take advantage of the discount on him and A.J. Pollock if you can figure out a creative angle on ownership.
HR Call: Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees)
Related MLB DFS Content
- Spotlight Hitters
- MLB Cram Session Part 1
- MLB Cram Session Part 2
- MLB Cram Session Part 3
- Top MLB DFS Stacks, quick hits for Opening Day
- The MLB Strategy Show
- The MLB DFS Hub