Pitchers to Use
Anytime Thor is on the MLB DFS slate, he is in play. He is among the elite arms in the league, and pitching at home against an AL team coming to the NL and losing the DH is a bump to him. The only concern I have with using Thor tonight, especially on DK, is the lack of cheap SP2 options to pair with him. I currently don’t see a path to being able to fit him in.
However, when lineups come out things can change. Last night I had zero interest in Fried until the Rockies lineup came out and then we decided in chat to go all in on Fried at 5% owned. So make sure you’re in chat to get last minute updates as a bad lineup against a cheap arm could change the outlook on being able to use Thor tonight.
Ray is a tournament pitcher to target, especially on FD tonight as he is priced in the middle of the pack over there. He should also go relatively unowned on DK due to being priced up a bit which makes him a great play over there as well. I would avoid using Ray in cash, though.
The issue with Ray is his control as he walked 13% of guys last year and is sitting at 22% currently this year. However, his strikeout ability is among the best on the slate. He had a 32% whiff rate last year and is sitting at 33% this year.
The walk rate can hopefully be minimized some in this matchup as he only walked 6% of lefties last year and the Rangers love to roll out a lefty-heavy lineup as their best bats are left handed. If the Rangers do decide to go righty-heavy, that will decrease my interest some, but the righty bats wouldn’t be as dangerous.
Again, this is a tourney only play, but the upside is elite here. Vegas thinks Ray can limit the damage as well as the game total opened at 8.5 and has been bet down to 8 at most books with Lance Lynn going on the other side.
This is a play that should go completely overlooked tonight. People don’t want to use pitchers against the Yankees, but I think we can get away with it here. McHugh has some really good predictive estimators as his xSLG sits at .220 this year and was only .339 last year and his xwOBA is .212 this year and was .273 last year. The slugging estimator is important because that is where the Yankees do damage against you. He also is great at limiting hard contact.
McHugh also has a high whiff rate as he was at 31% last year and sits at 31% this year as well. Pair that with his zone contact rate of 79% last year and 76% this year and you have a guy who can miss bats in the zone. That is important against the Yankees.
Vegas has the total set at 8 runs and they have McHugh favored even with Paxton pitching on the other side. McHugh is my favorite tourney arm on the slate.
I keep going back to Woodruff each time he pitches just because he is a good pitcher with strikeout upside. He has started the year with two tough matchups against the Cardinals and Cubs and showed his K upside in both outings as he sits at a 30% K rate to start the year. He is priced in the mid-range on both sites and is a nice pair with McHugh on DK, another mid-range priced arm.
Part of the reason I have interest in Woodruff is he is the cheapest arm on this MLB DFS slate that actually has good talent. The matchup isn’t great as the Angels haven’t struck out a ton, but as mentioned, Woodruff does possess some quality strikeout stuff himself, which can help the Angels swing and miss. He also gets a ballpark boost here pitching in LA. Vegas opened this total at 8.5 and it has been bet down to 8 with the juice being increased on the Brewers side, both good signs for Woodruff.
Pitchers to Pick On
Straily is just not a good pitcher. He allows a ton of homers as he gave up 1.5 HR/9 to both sides of the plate last year. The only downside to picking on Straily here is the A’s should be one of the highest owned stacks tonight.
His xSLG was bottom 8% last year and is currently among the worst in the league this year as well. I expect the A’s to hit a few homers tonight in a hitter-friendly park. The way you can be different with them is to consider some of the bottom of the order guys in a wrap around stack.
Hellickson is walking into a buzzsaw here against a really good Phillies team that is swinging the bat well. Hellickson pitches to contact, which isn’t ideal against a team with as much power as the Phillies. He is among the league worst in xSLG and xwOBA each year and is near the bottom of the pack in strikeout rate. All good indicators for a Phillies team that has a lot of power throughout the order.
The Nationals have shown they can hit good pitching this year as they have scored five or more runs in six of their 10 games to start the year. These games have come against some good arms too as they have faced a good Mets rotation twice, and have faced Nola twice.
Pivetta is prone to get blown up too as he allowed 1.3 HR/9 last year. His estimators also indicate that he is getting hit hard as his xSLG and xwOBA are up, his zone contact rate is up, and his whiff rate is down. Not ideal against a hot Nats team. This is one of my favorite tourney stacks tonight.
Odorizzi is a fly ball pitcher who gives up a lot of home runs. We discussed in chat yesterday how the Mets have been scorching hot in terms of batted ball exit velocities, and they are loaded with power throughout the order. This is a spot where the Mets could hit multiple home runs.
Fillmyer is another pitcher who has no strikeout ability. He recently got blown up in his minor league start to the tune of six runs, seven hits and four walks in only four innings.
This game is being played in really good hitting weather too as it is projected to be 80 degrees with 16 mph winds blowing out to left.
The Mariners are the hottest hitting team in baseball too, so this is a great spot to go right back to the well. Similar to the A’s, if the Mariners are going to be high owned, just try to be different with your stacks as they possess power throughout the order and you can use some of the bottom of the order guys at depressed ownership.
We can keep going right back to the well on the Brew Crew stack. Pena really struggles with lefties and currently sits at an xSLG of .611 and xwOBA of .430 to start the year. The Brewers lineup should be loaded with lefties who are swinging the bat really well right now. There is also some slight wind blowing out to right, which should help a tad, but it won’t be as helpful as the wind last night.
Matt Dickason has been playing DFS NFL, MLB and NBA for 3 years now. I have been in season long football leagues since the age of 10, so football has always been a passion of mine. Outside of fantasy sports, I played baseball for 19 years including college and eventually Semi-Pro. MLB and NFL are my two strongest sports when it comes to betting and DFS.