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The MLB Slate Starter: MLB DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Monday, July 26

Eric Lindquist



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With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, this could be an especially wild week of late scratches. It likely will not match the pandemonium of NBA DFS, but it is impossible to know what could go down between now and Friday. Stay close to your computer post lock for any late-breaking news, and most importantly, let the @AwesemoMLB do the work (simply turn on notifications). With that said, there is a smaller seven-game fantasy baseball slate with gigantic contests on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight, so let’s find a few MLB DFS picks and strategies with a little help from Awesemo’s expert MLB DFS projections.

MLB DFS Slate Starter: Fantasy Baseball Picks | July 26

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Two Targets at Target Field Tonight

With just 14 starting pitchers to choose from, it is going to be an interesting day of deciding how to best deviate from the field. Bats are generally the easiest way to get different, as they are far more high variance and volatile. But since the foreign substance crackdown especially, it is hard not to mix and match starters to get different too. And there is some decent enough starters on this slate, as Shohei Ohtani at home, German Marquez out of Coors and Luis Garcia against a middling Mariners lineup all stick out as solid SP1’s on DraftKings and on FanDuel.

But if trying to save money with an SP2 underneath $8,000, the pickings are slim to say the least:

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Nothing about this screenshot is fun, although on FanDuel it is pretty easy to write off this entire range. It might take sacrificing a big bat or two over there, but the gap between strikeout rates amongst the top end and this terrifying range cannot be stressed enough. However, on DraftKings, being forced to roster two pitchers makes it more difficult to reach the likes of a Blue Jays or Red Sox stack without finding some way to pay down for at least one starter. And if trying to do just that today, it makes a lot of sense to take shots on both pitchers in the Tigers – Twins game and pray to the heavens it works out.

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It is time to roll the dice on the likes of Michael Pineda and Matt Manning. Beginning with Pineda, he only reached 73 pitches in his July 21 outing, his first start in two weeks. This is a short enough slate where even 80-plus pitches of serviceable work would put Pineda in play at $6,900, although it is certainly not ideal. He does not throw it hard and he does not throw it with spin, but he is surviving this season with a 3.94 ERA (4.56 xERA shows that could be in store for regression), which is good enough on this slate. The most enticing part here is obviously the matchup, as the Tigers strikeout at a 26.1% clip against righties (second in MLB), although their lineup has been performing markedly better of late. So it might feel gross, but all of this together puts Pineda squarely in play tonight.

As for Matt Manning, he disturbingly might be the preferred target of the two cheapies in this spot. The Twins lineups absent Nelson Cruz is not nearly as imposing, which is great for Manning who needs all the help he can get. Despite being FanGraph’s 14th-ranked prospect, Manning has underwhelmed massively since debuting this season. In six starts he has a 5.79 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and has routinely struggled to miss bats. Just look at his advanced metrics through his brief tenure:

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This is not the sort of arm to roster on a larger slate, but considering the back-to-back decent outings against the Rangers (19.9 DraftKings points) and these very same Twins (10.3 DraftKings points), it has to be considered at $5,800. The Top Pitchers tool at Awesemo will be the best place to turn for advice on these two arms. But there is next to nothing below $8,000 that sticks out otherwise, so get ready to hold your nose and take the plunge on these two Target Field targets tonight.

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Final Thoughts for MLB DFS Lineups

  • Still having no solution to the Ohtani pitching and hitting simultaneously situation is such a bummer. It sends the Angels stack to a place of obscurity and makes the overall experience less fun when rostering a top-two hitter in fantasy baseball is impossible.
  • The Top Stacks tool is the best fantasy tool on the planet if trying to be successful at MLB DFS tournaments long-term. Utilize it constantly on these shorter slates, as finding leverage with bats is the name of the game.
  • Just play Trea Turner.

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