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The MLB Slate Starter: MLB DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Friday, 7/9

Eric Lindquist

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The MLB Slate Starter breaks down the games on Friday July 9 including Kenta Maeda

There is really not much to say at this point besides everything about starting pitching is now different. Coming off a Thursday where the hapless J.A. Happ led all arms in fantasy points and Max Scherzer gave up the first grand slam to a relief pitcher since 1985, there is more uncertainty at the top of the board than ever before. Fortunately, Jacob deGrom still exists. But this is not a deGrom day, so let’s decipher through a few MLB DFS picks and strategies to utilize on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight and hopefully find some pitching options that stick.

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MLB DFS Slate Starter: Fantasy Baseball Picks | July 9

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Trusting This Trio Should Be Fun

After yesterday’s Scherzer and Yu Darvish debacles, it is OK to feel frustrated. The security blanket that used to exist in the $10,000 range at pitcher is far from what it used to be in the aftermath of the sticky substance ban. That means meandering down to the bottom of the barrel on DraftKings and FanDuel is more viable than ever before.

However, looking at the options that exist on today’s slate, it is hard to find anything to get remotely excited about:

Jake Odorizzi’s sub-25% strikeout rate is the highest-priced arm, so today will be a real treat. Without stepping on the toes of the Top Pitchers tool, which should be the go-to for ownership and leverage concerns in the pitcher department, there are three obvious spots that will surely soak up most of the ownership on this slate: Charlie Morton against the Marlins, Kenta Maeda against the Tigers and Alek Manoah against the Rays.


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But these are obviously not normal circumstances, and thus pitchers should be treated as higher variance than they were as recently as one month ago.

Manoah is the only one of the three who has experienced a decline in spin rate with no rebound. However, he has by far the smallest sample size with only seven careers starts, all of which have come in 2021. He has also been electric in all of these outings with a 29.1% strikeout rate and outrageous .188 xBA thus far, so this drastic drop in spin could be something or it could be nothing. While he feels less secure than Morton or Maeda, he is the cheapest on DraftKings, which should mitigate the risk in this boom-or-bust matchup with the Rays. On FanDuel, however, he is the most expensive pitcher on the board, at $10,300.

As for Morton and Maeda, both saw a drop in spin within their past three starts, but each recovered to reach near-high points on all of their pitches in their last starts. Will that maintain this time out? The weak matchups against the Marlins and Tigers — teams that strike out at the second- and sixth-highest rates, respectively — should help qualm fears. Still, nothing is guaranteed in fantasy baseball at this point, so as good as these pitchers grade out today, have a hedge stack or two on the other side just in case.

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Try Our Awesemo MLB DFS Top Stacks Tool

The Awesemo MLB DFS Top Stacks Tool helps you answer the tough questions when building your MLB DFS lineups. Like what are the highest-projected stacks, what are the probabilities they will hit, and how does that compare to the ownership? This premium tool breaks down the percentage chance a stack is the top stack on the slate, how owned the stack will be and the leverage you get by using it.

Final Thoughts for MLB DFS Lineups

  • The Top Stacks tool will be a fascinating thing to follow throughout the day, as there is no obvious and glaring spot to target on this massive 14-gamer. That means gamers should have access to multiple positively leveraged stacks tonight, making this slate a GPP player’s dream.
  • For once, Shohei Ohtani will not be an easy plug-and-play one-off tonight. Mariners southpaw Marco Gonzales has been crazy good against lefties on the year, yielding only a 0.67 WHIP to that side of the plate on the season. As much fun as it has been to ride the wave, lay off Ohtani in this spot.
  • Just play Rafael Devers.

Tune into the MLB Strategy Show at 11 a.m. ET for all of our free expert MLB DFS picks and advice for DraftKings and FanDuel fantasy baseball lineups.


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