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The MLB Slate Starter: MLB DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Friday, July 30

Eric Lindquist

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Awesemo's FREE MLB DraftKings Picks Daily Fantasy Baseball & DFS cheat sheet based on Alex Baker's expert projections for today's slate 9/21.

Thursday was quite the day for the Awesemo community, as the avatars were rampant atop both the early and main slates on DraftKings and FanDuel. Even on a night that may not have been so good personally, that sort of group win helps soften the blow knowing the vast majority of subscribers are succeeding. Friday’s gigantic 15-gamer is shaping up to be another fantastic fantasy baseball slate with a plethora of pitching options and tons of leverage with bats to be had, so it is time to find a few MLB DFS picks and strategies that can be difference makers and run it back tonight. Let’s break down some of the top plays and MLB DFS stacks today.

MLB DFS Slate Starter: Fantasy Baseball Picks | July 30

Touki Toussaint Fever

A lot of the discussions in recent Slate Starters have revolved around pitching trends post-sticky stuff, and rightfully so. There was a huge shift required from a number of pitchers, as reinventing certain pitches to account for grip changes or lack of movement in the middle of the season was going to lead to some wonky results. Also, discussing stacks and bats the night can prove to be a bit of a challenge, as so much of MLB DFS tournament play is identifying points of leverage based on ownership (which, ironically enough, requires ownership). Plus, there is rarely analysis that could be given here regarding which teams to target that is more valuable than checking the Awesemo Top Stacks tool, which naturally leads to a more pitcher-heavy discussion for you first thing in the morning.

Projecting pitchers has become exponentially more difficult in recent weeks, as results for aces and mid-level plays alike have seen results all over the map, usually for worse. But one pitcher in particular made radical shifts to his arsenal by necessity too, but not due to any perceived substance ban. That would be the Braves’ Touki Toussaint, a dynamic prospect who has always possessed strikeout stuff (near 25% career strikeout rate) but at the steep cost of a career ERA near 6.00 due to a massive walk problem. And in 2020, it was not just control that plagued the Toussaint, as the .510 xSLG he surrendered led to an eye-popping 8.88 ERA in 24.1 innings pitched.

But in two starts since returning off the 60-day injured list, this is not the same Toussaint. And it comes down to one pitch and one pitch alone:

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Toussaint’s five-pitch arsenal has become four, as he has done away with the slider completely through two games. But his sinker, which he threw only 5.1% of the time in 2020, has become his featured pitch in 2021, being thrown 58.6% of the time. Just how important has this shift been for Toussaint? Take a closer look:

free expert fantasy baseball rankings yahoo espn cbs DraftKings FanDuel MLB DFS Picks projections ownership las vegas betting odds lines today how to bet on MLB home runs strikeouts

The sinker is not generating whiffs, but his ability to locate it and sprinkle in the curveball and split finger ahead in counts generates some serious swing-and-misses that have led to 15 strikeouts two outings. More importantly, Toussaint has only walked two batters in those starts, which is a super small sample size but encouraging stuff to see from a notorious walk artist, nevertheless.

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So for MLB DFS purposes tonight, the question becomes whether or not this is repeatable for Toussaint or just a flash in the pan. At $8,500 on FanDuel there is no discount to find out, so perhaps erring on the side of caution is the proper play on a one-pitcher site. But at $6,900, he feels like the perfect tournament SP2 to combine with the likes of Corbin Burnes and Lance Lynn on this slate, especially against the Brewers sans Christian Yelich. With a hefty 25.4% strikeout rate and 89 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season, Milwaukee is far from imposing against any given pitcher, let alone a markedly improved one. So it feels safe to say that if anyone beats Toussaint tonight, it will be Toussaint himself via the walk. Otherwise, this could be a super-high upside spot for him.


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Final Thoughts for MLB DFS Lineups

  • The trade deadline dust will have most likely settled by the time first pitch rolls around at 7:05 p.m. ET. Fortunately, no one got pulled mid-game the past few days, so crisis avoided in that regard. But unfortunately for the American League East and National League West, dealing with the Yankees and Dodgers has become a crisis in and of itself.
  • The Blue Jays return to Toronto tonight for the first time all year, accompanied with by far the largest implied team total on this slate at 6.4 runs. Their price tags should temper ownership slightly, but there is no question they will (and should) be the top projected stack of the night.
  • He is not DFS viable whatsoever, but it is hard not to cheer for Carlos Carrasco making his debut with the Mets tonight. Having overcome leukemia a few years back to now getting through a lingering hamstring issue that put him on the 60-day injured list to start the season, it is one of the better stories in baseball should he be back to some resemblance of the form he had with Cleveland.
  • Just play Corey Seager.

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