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MLB

MLB DFS Picks: Stack Slants for DraftKings + FanDuel | July 28

Terry McBride

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MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Cheatsheet, 8/16/20 | Trevor Story + More

Get your MLB DFS fix in while we know there are games, things are starting to get bumpy out there. With the Orioles-Marlins and Yankees-Phillies games both scratching for the second day in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation with the Marlins. And now the Nationals reportedly staging a mutiny with the majority of players voting not to travel to Miami to play their scheduled weekend series, so pretty much anything is on the table. As always, stay tuned and check back with our Live Blog for the latest as we get toward lock. If yesterday was any indication, it’s going to be a season where being on the ball with news and late swaps is critical.

We hit on the Royals in this space yesterday. We also had a ton of Mets shares and a Pete Alonso home run call that I mashed into a ton of my lineups regardless of the chalk covering him, and I picked up a few nice finishes on a overall positive night. I’ll see some of you in the big price tag NBA return on FanDuel on Friday after punching a ticket in the $1 satellite. If you’re planning on getting a double-fix in when the NBA comes back, make sure you check out all our great hoops content. We have you covered.

Speaking of having you covered, make sure to jump over to my Quick Hits from late last night if you didn’t get there yet. That’s where I make my home run picks for each team, which you can treat as a general power index, and give my daily overall home run call, where I’m currently 4-for-5. Check out tonight’s pick.


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Our goal here is going to be a quick review of lineups in the afternoon — hopefully with some confirmed information — in the hopes of finding a different approach to some stacks or a high-quality, low-owned stack that we can exploit. We’re going to be focusing primarily on Awesemo’s Top Stacks Tool as a frequent reference point. While we may land on popular builds from time to time, we’re generally going to try to be different in this space, so bear that in mind when deploying ideas you find here.

Colorado Rockies – 8-1-2-3-5 or 1-2-3-5-6 – Dahl – Story – Blackmon – Murphy – McMahon (or Hilliard)

If you’re just casually glancing at the top stacks tool today, you’ll probably overlook the Rockies, and I hope that’s exactly what a lot of MLB DFS players are going to be doing here. They rank toward the bottom-middle if you simply sort by the probability of being the top stack, but there’s more to the tool than a simple ranked list. The percentage is what we need to focus on, and today is a day where the difference between the 12th-ranked Rockies and the fifth-ranked Cardinals is two percentage points. When bats like we find on this Rockies team are going untouched in ownership projections, I’m happy to roster them, and I think we can succeed with them here.

Oakland pitcher Daniel Mengden does not strike fear into the hearts of hitters with his arsenal. He generates minimal swing and miss and has a career 17.3% strikeout rate. In limited innings last year, he walked hitters at a more than 10% clip. That combination is completely unsustainable in the majors, and his 5.23 projected season FIP is a telling indicator. Fire away on the name-brand Rockies bats while mixing in one or two of the lesser-known hitters.

There is sneaky quality in the back end of the lineup. The Rockies can roll a ton of quality lefty bats here, and even an offbeat stack like Daniel Murphy, Ryan McMahon and Sam Hilliard with just one of the big names in the middle could be viable. The most likely approach here would be to start with David Dahl and just build down, but that will get you duped more often than not unless you get funky with your pitching or your other stack. I’m not saying to leave it out, but we want to focus on something that has tournament-winning upside where we aren’t sharing the pot with 12 other people. If you take nothing else away from today, it should be that: Don’t share pot.

I like the idea of getting unique with top of the lineup stacks by leaving out one of Trevor Story or Nolan Arenado. The suggested stack skips Arenado in this case, favoring the tight correlation between the top three hitters while grabbing the lefty Dahl bat and his .215 ISO projection. If you’re building multiple lineups, this is where we want to mix and match. The most common back end for me would be Murphy and McMahon, though a wrap-around play from Hilliard in the eight spot instead of McMahon at six is intriguing as well.


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San Diego Padres – 2-3-4-5-7 – Grisham – Machado – Pham – Hosmer* – Profar

The other off-brand stack I want to take a look at today is the Padres. They rank similarly to the Rockies in that they are a ways down the overall stack rankings, but their percentage isn’t far off and they aren’t getting the attention that other similarly ranked teams are receiving from the MLB DFS community. They’re playing in a pitcher’s park that suppresses power in general, but there’s a ton of quality in this lineup and less so on the mound here, so this could be just the kind of underappreciated spot we’re looking for.

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Manny Machado is a superstar. We would be wise to remember that when making lineups. Machado is pulling down a projected season-long ISO of .254 from Steamer and he looks excellent in individual projections and my home run model today. A player of this quality hitting in the middle of your stack for a discounted $3,300 and 1.3% ownership on FanDuel against Jeff Samardzija? Yes please. Samardzija had a FIP differential of more than a run in the bad direction last year, telling me he was mostly the beneficiary of some luck and defense. The prior year’s 6.25 ERA and 5.44 FIP are probably also outliers in the other direction, but it’s safe to assume that Samardzija is around a 5.00 FIP pitcher this year, and that’s precisely where Steamer has him. This is a pitcher to attack even in a bad hitters park.

Fernando Tatis Jr. is a superstar on the rise. Leading off, he’s a great option any night of the week, but his popularity tonight is out of line with the rest of this stack. You should definitely include him in a lot of your Padres builds if you’re making multiple lineups, but the true way to get different with this team tonight is by simply leaving him out and focusing elsewhere. That elsewhere can start with Trent Grisham hitting second, and you can pick up most of the salary discounts and positional flexibility provided by this lineup on the way down from there. Tommy Pham is a power-speed dream for MLB DFS purposes with more than 20 home runs and 15 steals each of the last three seasons (two 20/20 seasons). Pham loses a bit of his patience against right-handers, but that doesn’t worry me too much here. If a guy like this is going off at 2% ownership on DraftKings and under 1% on FanDuel, I want him in my stack.

Keep an eye on the status of Eric Hosmer coming into game time; he’s missed the last couple with a non-pandemic-related stomach bug. The suggested stack includes Grisham, Machado, Pham, Hosmer and Jurickson Profar, who can also break a slate with his combination of bat and speed at essentially zero ownership.

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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 Awesemo.com. 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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