This slate is a little bit different than most, so I think I’ll attack it a different way to explain a slightly different process today. Stacking may be a bit harder to do today even in GPP’s if you want to maximize upside. There are a lot of great pitchers and some terrible ones too. You’ll love the expensive pitchers and the expensive hitters and that’s always a tough way to build. I think the cash and GPP lineup construction should be almost completely opposite. I talked about a similar strategy last week and today is a great place to implement it IF you can find 2 good SP at a cheap price tag on DK. On FanDuel, the construction is a little simpler where almost everyone will be paying up and mixing and matching the clear values on FD will be the best way to go.
DraftKings pricing forces you to make tough decisions. Do you want to stack the Yankees? Braves? Red Sox? Well, you will then struggle to play guys like Severino, Kluber, Paxton, Morton, and Stripling. Through my first overall slate look, I assume I will pay up for one SP and the second pitcher will come down to which stacks I want. Paying up for one of these guys is going to be prohibitive and every lineup you make will leave you asking for more salary. Understanding and implementing an overall strategy on this slate should allow you to gain an edge on the field.
The main strategy comes in on DraftKings, so that’s where I will be focused when discussing it. I find it hard to believe that anyone under $7.5K will be super chalky, although I do think Lynn, Lopez, and Matz are the only pitchers down here that even have a chance to gain significant ownership. The top is loaded and I think all 5 guys over $10,000 are viable, some more than others, but they will all garner ownership. What this causes is a lack of ownership on elite bats, especially if you play multiple elite bats together.
I believe this is the best strategy to implement, but we still need to find ways to do it. Here is an example: Let stack the Braves against Matt Harvey and lock in Albies and Freeman. Severino is the top play on the slate so let’s plug him in too. Now we need an SP2. Hmmmm. Let’s take the impressive rookie Freddy Peralta. He has flashed upside and is in a good spot against the Royals. Welp, we have under 3.1K per player for 6 guys. You can’t do it all and people always play the pitching first. Now, I think we have to play the pitching as well because I think at least one or two of them will have stellar games, but we need to get the expensive bats as well.
How many people can play Severino, Freeman and Albies or Kluber, Judge, and Stanton? Virtually no one, but if we do something no one wants to do, we can. I will be implementing 3 lineup constructions, with varying tiers of players and trying to lay out my favorite plays for each style. I will start with what will be the most common idea and finish with my favorite leverage construction.
Take the two pitchers you like for their prices and deal with the rest later:
I highly doubt that I will use two high-end guys, but I will use around $20k in salary or more on 2 pitching slots today and so will a lot more people than normal. The top pitchers all have appeal so I’ll break them down quickly.
Severino is probably the highest projected pitcher on this slate and I actually think he is the best pitcher on this slate, period (HOT TAKE, maybe?). He gets a match-up with the Phillies that strike out a lot and shouldn’t give an elite pitcher like Severino a lot of problems. I think he is safe and easily can have a monster game that you feel like you needed to have to have a successful night.
Kluber takes on a Cardinals team that should struggle against righties but has seemingly started to be a lot peskier as of late. I think Kluber is in a good spot, but the Cardinals offense seems to have been good enough lately to lead me in different directions.
James Paxton has been struggling a LITTLE bit more but faces an Orioles team that has been dreadful in almost every aspect all year. Paxton will be in my player pool and probably ahead of Kluber but behind Severino, even point per dollar.
Charlie Morton is someone that I rostered at 9k, but not 12k. Morton has been slowing down just a tick and Toronto has been a solid offense this year in terms of getting to pitchers. Morton is probably going to get you 20 points, but on a slate like this, I don’t love that. He will be on none or very few teams of mine.
Ross Stripling gets the worst(?) matchup of the $10,000 guys vs. the Cubs. I hope Stripling goes overlooked because I think he very well may and he is close to Paxton as my second favorite option. The Cubs just scored 13 runs against the Reds in a 4-game series and struggled yesterday as well. If the Cubs struggles go unnoticed, Stripling may be a nice pivot off of the top 4 guys.
If you are playing these pitchers with anyone not mentioned in my final lineup construction. You need cheap bats.
The Padres are rather cheap and they in a massive park upgrade in a game with a 10 run total that will be 99 degrees at the first pitch. All of the Padres are in play and I assume will be popular to fit the expensive pitchers.
The Giants also offer cheap players in a bad ballpark but facing a bad pitcher. Bettis has struggled all year and the cheap bats can get to him here even in a park upgrade for Bettis.
Attack the middle:
Fading the top end for guys a little lower can go a long way in getting some bats into your lineups. This is one way to get these guys in and it actually may make you feel a bit more comfortable than what I will most likely be doing. If the Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, ect. score 14 runs, a stack of them will win GPP’s. Your pitching will be an afterthought. People win GPP’s with their pitcher getting 0 points if you have the correct bats. On a slate like this, the bats with high ownership will be the cheap ones and the top tier will all be overlooked because you can not afford them. Hoping you can get 35-45 points out of 2 mid-tier guys and fit 2 or 3 studs give you a huge edge to win tournaments since there aren’t a lot of options in the tier that would lead people to play 2 of them.
Freddy Peralta is talented and faces a Royals team that isn’t too scary. The main selling point for Peralta is that he has the upside to compete with the top arms on the slate, which is perfect for a night like tonight.
Zack Godley is completely hit or miss but he is in a great spot for a “hit” game against the Marlins in Miami. I like Godley but do not know how much I will play him due to his price, but if he fits, I support the play.
Kevin Gausman tends to put up some sort of decent numbers. Odds are Gausman gets you 10-15 against a good Seattle lineup at 7.5K. Do you want 12 points, no? Could he get more? Yes. The thing to understand is who this play lets you get in your lineup. Gausman 10 instead of 17 doesn’t matter if you have 2 Stanton home runs at 3% ownership because no one could afford him.
Lance Lynn is a good major league pitcher that seems to have found his groove after the strange offseason. The White Sox are not that imposing and Lynn is very solid against right-handed batters, which is where most of Chicago’s power comes from.
Batters in this build are a mix-match of the top and bottom teams for the most part. I would suggest just mixing in different things that fit and implement stack I have mentioned or will in the final lineup construction.
That’s right Elieser Hernandez and Ryan Borucki, come on down. I don’t love them. I don’t like them either. They can maybe, possibly can get you 10 points, maybe a little more, but again, that barely matters. You play either of these two to stack the elite teams with a good pitcher.
Hernandez hasn’t been great but he isn’t THAT bad and is in a decent spot against Arizona. I wonder on the pitch count for Henandez but I assume he will be fine. I am playing him hoping for 12 and expecting 7 fantasy points.
Borucki has more unknowns, which is probably beneficial to him. Houston has never seen him before and he is a deceptive left-hander that is the 6th ranked prospect in the Jays system. He isn’t a world-beater but I think he can squeak by a few times without getting hit hard much. WARNING: You should probably also stack against these guys if you actually use them any decent amount.
Here’s the cool part; we can play all of these bats.
The Braves face Matt Harvey, who is still horrible as a member of the Reds. They have been hitting well, especially Ozzie Albies, who I will use in as many lineups as I can.
The Red Sox have struggled vs. Lefties all year but they face a pretty bad one here in John Lamb, at home with a very high implied run total. No one can afford J.D. and Betts, but maybe we can and they will be centerpieces to most of the runs the Red Sox score.
Jake Arrieta has been unimpressive and the Yankees are an elite offense. I hope people stay away from the Yankees because of the Arrieta name value and the prices. I think this will happen for the most part and I will get Stanton, who is batting close to .500 the last week and other elite bats from this lineup.
The Indians are a great play against Carlos Martinez. He is clearly not himself and the game logs will tell you that rather quick. His last start, Martinez kept the walks down, which was nice but still got hit around by the Brewers for a WHIP of 2.5. Martinez is a great pitcher but we can get a team with a massive ceiling, against a highly-respected pitcher at prices no one can afford.
LEVERAGEEEEEEEE. Sign me up.