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The MLB Slate Starter: MLB DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Tuesday, July 27

Eric Lindquist

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Awesemo's expert MLB contest breakdown on Jock MKT MLB for today + top MLB DFS picks + fantasy baseball advice with Jesse Winker on 8/5/21.

Monday made for an exciting seven-game fantasy baseball slate, with some chalk bats failing and the likes of unowned Jorge Soler and Andrew McCutchen coming through for massive fantasy outings. There are double the games in store for Tuesday, but the same principles apply: Build smarter tournament lineups that embrace variance and avoid massive ownership. With 30,000-plus entries in the major GPP’s on DraftKings and FanDuel, the obvious MLB DFS stacks today are copied hundreds of times over, so it is time to find the MLB DFS picks and strategies less traveled that can take a lineup to the top.

MLB DFS Slate Starter: Fantasy Baseball Picks | July 27

Playing Both Sides Is Not a Mistake

Working in the daily fantasy sports industry, it is astounding how often readers and listeners want hot takes or strong stands to build help differentiate their lineups from the herd. There are a number of off-the-radar calls that stick out from the past year of the Slate Starter article and podcast, but giving out crazy takes for the sake of being noteworthy is not the goal. The goal is routinely providing solid advice — be it in MLB DFS or NBA DFS — and hoping that teaching the nuances of fantasy sports will be more beneficial long term than trying to hit absurd takes.

However, fantasy baseball is one of the most fascinating DFS sports for tournaments because there are times to leverage against one’s own hot take. Yesterday, for instance, Michael Pineda was a pitcher that ended up in an uncomfortable number of lineups due to a matchup with the Tigers and a cheap price point. His underlying metrics were awful, but the savings were too good to pass up. But despite him being a large part of the Slate Starter portfolio, Tigers mini stacks of Akil Baddoo, Jonathan Schoop and Eric Haase were also rostered at a high clip in the event that Pineda continued to surrender hard contact. While some would argue playing both sides like that is not taking a stand or embracing a Pineda hot take, it is just good business in MLB DFS.

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Today there are a number of pitchers at every range — specifically Robbie Ray at the top end, Adbert Alzolay in the mid-range and Jordan Montgomery at the bottom — that have exceptional strikeout stuff but can also get lit up by hard contact from time to time. If making a few lineups, it is best to probably roster only one side of those spots and move on with the day. But if building 20 or more, the ownership discount on a team as potent as the Red Sox against Ray is likely way too good to pass up.

In fact, while Ray will probably jump to the top of Awesemo’s Top Pitchers tool due to his absurd 31.3% strikeout rate, he is arguably the best of the three to target with bats on the other side. Check out the advanced metrics for Ray, Alzolay and Montgomery over at BaseballSavant today:

Free expert Fantasy Baseball Rankings Yahoo ESPN CBS MLB DFS Picks DraftKings FanDuel home run projections predictions ownership

Free expert Fantasy Baseball Rankings Yahoo ESPN CBS MLB DFS Picks DraftKings FanDuel home run projections predictions ownership

Free expert Fantasy Baseball Rankings Yahoo ESPN CBS MLB DFS Picks DraftKings FanDuel home run projections predictions ownership

The Red Sox are slightly worse against left-handed pitching this season, but they are still well above league average with a .178 ISO and 104 wRC+. Plus, they only strike out at a 21.4% clip against southpaws this season, the fourth-best mark in baseball. Put that together against Ray giving up the sort of hard-hit percentage he does with that 15-degree launch angle, and home runs could be plentiful if Ray is not on his game. The same could be said for Alzolay in Wrigley against a lefty-heavy Reds team and Montgomery in a boom-bust spot against the Rays with new lefty killer Nelson Cruz at the top of the lineup. All three of these pitchers are viable arms to roster, but there is no argument that the offenses on the other side could do a ton of damage as well.

The moral of the story here is baseball can be unpredictable, especially in the aftermath of the sticky substance ban. So rather than thinking in absolutes — “this will happen” or “he will mow them down tonight” — think more about range of outcomes. A lineup or two that hedges a pitcher that is in a majority of lineups is never a bad thing, and casting a net that is capable of taking down a tournament can be far more important than being right about one pitcher. So fire up all the Ray tonight, as he will surely come in low owned in such a brutal matchup. But refraining from rostering Red Sox bats as a result of taking a stand with Ray is a mistake, as there is no doubt the potential for a blowup is there.

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Final Thoughts for MLB DFS Lineups

  • Awesemo’s Top Stacks tool continues to be worth its weight in gold. One trend on these massive slates has been expensive stacks going quite a bit under-owned, as the false sense of security with pitchers on the top end has led players to roster less of the Blue Jays and Dodgers-type offenses. That should make them more of a priority, as they are day in and day out the teams capable of creating the most runs in any matchup.
  • Two weather notes: It looks as though Boston could be dicey tonight and the wind will be blowing out in Wrigley Field. Make sure to follow the NewzGod’s updates on the @AwesemoMLB channel to stay apprised of any/all concerns around both spots.
  • Just play Jesse Winker.

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