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MLB DFS Article by Stephen Smith

By: Stephen Smith – @SM17Hdfs

7/1/19 7:05PM Main Slate (5 Games)

What’s up everyone? My plan with this article is to guide you in the right direction on where to go with the slate for today. This article is written based off of the projected lineups from the night before so if anything drastic changes follow me on twitter (@SM17Hdfs) to get my updates! I will be referencing Fanduel’s positions due to it being less roster construction friendly over there. Let’s get right into it.

We have a 5 game main slate on both Fanduel and Draftkings tonight. With the 5 games, we have 5 starting pitchers with less than 35 innings pitched this year. Starting off with the Padre’s Logan Allen, he has 2 starts in 2019 and performed excellent in both showings – 46 and 37 FDP. Looking back at his AAA numbers, he had 57.2 innings pitched allowing 33 ERs, 8 HRs, 63 Ks, a 5.15 ERA, and 1.44 WHIP. In his first 2 starts with the Padres, Logan used his four seamer 48% of the time, followed by his slider at 25.7% and changeup 21.8%. His fastball is below average but is able to place it pretty well. His changeup is his best pitch as he owns a crazy 41.2% Whiff% with this pitch. Today, he gets to face an opponent with a slate low wRC+ (75), ISO (.160), and BA (.224) vs LHP.

Next we have Adbert Alzolay ($7,500) of the Cubs. Alzolay has also started 2 games going 4 innings in his first start and 4.2 in his second. He’s only allowed 1 ER in his first 2 starts and is averaging 26.5 FDP. In AAA this year, he has a total of 36 innings pitched and has a 4.00 ERA, 16 ERs, 5 HRs, 49 Ks, and a 1.08 WHIP. Alzolay faces a PIT team that has the highest BA vs RHP on the slate (.265) and a low K% at 21.5.

Jose Suarez ($6,500): has 21 innings pitched this season under hit belt and during that time he definitely struggled thus far. He has a FB% over 50, GB% under 30, a 5.25 SIERA, 5.82 xFIP and a 17.6 HR/FB%. The one positive would be to highlight TEX’s 33.2 K%.

Adrian Houser ($5,700): gets a pretty decent matchup tonight vs CIN. 84 wRC+ (2nd lowest on slate), .173 ISO, 27.2 K% (3rd highest on slate), and a .235 BA (2nd lowest on the slate). He has a great 58 GB% and 22.2 FB%. He struggles vs lefties and CIN is currently projected to only have 3 in their starting lineup, unfortunately, they are the better hitters on their team. However, Houser does have great K upside at only $5,700 on FD with his 27.5 K% to RHB and 31 K% to LHB. He also has a 32.4 Whiff% to LHB which could help shut down those 3 lefties in CIN’s projected lineup.

Jimmy Yacabonis ($5,500): coming in as the cheapest pitcher on the slate tomorrow, Yacabonis faces a tough offense in the Rays, and has possibly the worst stats on the slate. Lowest Whiff%, highest SIERA and xFIP, and the gives up the highest BA, ISO, xwOBA, and xSLG just to name a few.

Ok, now that we got the small sample pitcher out of the way, let’s go over the remaining 5 pitchers in highest salary to lowest salary order:

Mike Minor ($10,800): currently my 4th ranked pitcher, going against a tough LAA team in a hitter park. Minor has been relatively lucky this year with a 2.4 ERA and a 4.3 SIERA and xFIP. He is excellent vs LHB and is only projected to see 2 of them tonight.

Ryan Yarbrough ($6600): Fanduel has Morton starting but I’ve also seen Stanek starting with Yarbrough getting the bulk of the innings. I like Yarbrough, but definitely not as much as Morton. If Morton starts, I’m going to be playing him, if its Yarbrough, he’ll be in the mix, but it’ll make me think about paying up for Allen or looking elsewhere depending on how my roster construction looks.

The next 2 pitchers according to Fanduel salary are Allen and Alzolay. I have no interest in playing Alzolay tonight.

Trevor Williams ($7,200): This dude is just the definition of mediocre. I have no interest in playing him and I don’t think I’ll be attacking him with bats either.

Tyler Mahle ($7,000): He is interesting. He’s let up 11 HRs to LHB this season so far and he faces 4 of them tonight, that will be heavily owned. I don’t hate the idea of using him in a GPP, mainly because those 4 lefties have K% of 21, 24, 25, 40. Mahle strikes out righties a lot more than lefties but sometimes you have to embrace the variance in MLB DFS and hopefully it’s on your side. I’m also attracted to Mahle’s low BB%, lower SIERA and xFIP than ERA, low FB%, and high GB%.

Jeff Samardzija ($6,200): On to my 2nd ranked pitcher of the night, Samardzija faces a SD team with a 26% K rate to RHPs. He struggles vs LHB and he’s only projected to see 2 tonight, 1 that I’m worried about and that’s Hosmer. Samardzija’s away numbers are worse which makes me hesitant to use him in cash. I’ll list him as a GPP option due to the number of righties he should see.


TB both sides

TEX both sides

PIT lefties

CIN lefties

Top positional plays:

C/1B: Bell**, Rizzo, Jacob Stallings***, Grandal, Pujols, Choi**

2B: Moustakas, Frazier**, Lowe**, Russell

3B: Diaz**, Moran**, Bryant

SS: Adames**, Andrus**, Newman**

OF: Yelich (#1 play on the slate), Gallo**, Pham**, Dickerson**, A. Garcia**, Austin Meadows**, Bryan Reynolds**, Willie Calhoun***, Winker, Reyes, Mazara**, Heyward, Trout

*small sample for batter

**small sample for pitcher

***small sample for both

Small slates where half the pitchers have small samples kind of sucks but TB and TEX should both be good plays regardless of the small pitcher sample.

Slate approach:

As of now, my main pitching options are Allen, Yarbrough, Samardzija, Mahle (GPP only) or Houser (GPP only) in that order.

There’s plenty of options at the OF and C/1B positions so I would generally pick them last due to the options that are there. Start building your lineups with the weakest position to try to lock up the top guy. Tonight, I think the weakest position is probably SS. Lock in your pitcher and SS then head over to 2B and 3B then it’ll make your decision for OF and C/1B a little easier. Good luck everyone, feel free to shoot over any questions or suggestions you may have on twitter.

Updates 4:18PM

Things changed a little from last night when I initially wrote up the article. We now have Eshelman making his first start instead of Jimmy Yacabonis. In 74.2 IP this year in the Minors, Eshelman has 37 ER, 11 HR, .282 AVG and 1.35 WHIP. He also has 1.33 HR/9 and 7.23 K/9. He’s pretty much a guy with average stuff that throws a lot of strikes. Which could be dangerous going against the Rays tonight.

Pitching Breakdown:

Ok, so the Rays are throwing curveballs at us, no pun intended. It looks like Stanek is going to start with Yarbrough having the bulk of the innings, nothing too unusual there; however, they are having McKay DH today.

Allen ($9,300): His low FB% and high GB% threw his first 2 starts are very promising. He gets a matchup vs a team with the lowest wRC+, ISO, and AVG on the slate in a good pitcher’s park. I think he put up another performance that looks similar to his first 2 starts this year.

Yarbrough ($6,600): Will gain a decent amount of ownership tonight. I don’t think I’m as high on him as others are as his numbers vs RHB scare me, especially with a slate low 17.6% K rate and 19.9% whiff/swing to RHB. I think I’d rather fade and take the upside with the cheaper Houser.

Houser ($5,700): Struggles vs LHB and has to face 4 of them tonight, but a 58% GB rate paired with a 32.4% whiff/swing to LHBs has me a little excited about his upside. This slate is pretty bad so I think I could see myself on Houser for his upside and get all the bats I want tonight.

Samardzija ($6,200): He grades out as my top rated pitcher of the night, but he scares me a little. I just don’t trust his low K% and high SIERA and xFIP enough to play him tonight so I’m gonna pass.

RHB Stacks: TB, TEX


Top 10 batters on the slate: Gallo, Yelich, Bell, Diaz, Moustakas, Dickerson, Frazier, Dietrich, Rizzo, Moran.

Good luck and remember to reach out to me on Twitter with any questions @SM17Hdfs

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