DFS Primer – May 8

Gus Elmashni breaks down the DFS slate for Saturday.

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful women who raised such fine men who like to play MLB DFS. More importantly, Happy Mother’s Day to the wives who put up with our fantasy sports obsession. We are eternally grateful for all you do, especially when we are on our phones more often than a crack addict getting a quick fix.

Secondly, I sure hope you took my advice on Saturday. The sample lineups for both DraftKings and FanDuel cashed! You are very welcome!

Now we will focus on ways to keep building our cash pyramid. Absolutely take your profits from yesterday and buy something nice for your mother and all of the other mothers in your life, especially your wife! Still, we should also use our winnings to enter more lineups. So how do we keep the money train moving? Read on below.

 

Pitchers

 

Like Saturday, the main slate is smaller than usual due to so many doubleheaders this weekend thanks to the nasty weather on the east coast. There are really just two pitchers to consider: Alek Manoah and Gerrit Cole. I wouldn’t recommend rostering both of them on DraftKings since you are going to need the salary cap space for your stacks. Of course you must choose just one on FanDuel.

So who do we go with? I think the answer is easy. Take the man in pinstripes. Why? Whiff rate. That is a very useful metric you can find on Statcast. Manoah has been brilliant this season and is a rising star. He is one big dude, comes with a very good pedigree, and has a great offense to support him. The problem is that the Cleveland Guardians are no pushover. Not saying that Cole has a significantly softer matchup but pitching against Cleveland could be a dangerous proposition.

I digress so let’s talk about whiff rate. If you don’t know what whiff rate is, it’s not rocket science. It’s simply the number of pitches swung at and missed divided by the number of swings. It is a good measure of a pitcher’s strikeout potential. Manoah certainly is earning his stripes as a K master but Cole is better. Cole likes to throw the following combination of pitches: 4-seamer, slider, changeup, and cutter. Each of those pitches have a whiff rate of 31.6% or higher. FYI, any whiff rate above 30% is considered spectacular.

As for Manoah, he also throws a 4-seamer, slider, and changeup but his fourth pitch is a sinker. Only the slider has a whiff rate above 30%. The other three pitches don’t generate as many Ks, especially the sinker which has a whiff rate of just 14.7%. While I would like to ride with Manoah, I will take the slight savings I get with Cole on both DraftKings and FanDuel as well as the more reliable whiff rates. Furthermore, Texas has struck out quite frequently this week with a nearly 10 K’s per game over the last 7 days. Over the last 14 days, the Rangers’ OPS is 0.576 which ranks 2nd to last among all MLB teams.

Ride with Cole and you won’t regret it.

 

Batters

 

As I discussed yesterday, you will want attack the pitchers who allow a high barrel rate. There are two who stand out: Jordan Lyles of Baltimore and Daulton Jefferies of Oakland. While I would love to stack Minnesota, the weather has me concerned as well as the recent injuries to several of the Twins positional players.

That means we will turn our attention to the Royals which makes me a bit nervous. Kansas City is destined for another awful season but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a good offensive showing everyone once in a while. The two guys who I will roster from KC are Salvador Perez and Hunter Dozier. Both of them sport strong barrel rates. I would then add on other Royals batters who bat immediately before or after them.

Still, we need a stronger stack since the Royals could also fall flat as they have done for most of their games this season. There are two MLB teams who have been raking this week: Yankees and Brewers. Full stacks from each of them might be hard to pull off since the Yankees key players are priced very high and the Brewers core bats just experienced a pricing boost after going bonkers against Cincinnati a few days ago.

Rangers starting pitcher Dane Dunning has been decent this year but the Yankees offense is pretty much matchup proof. Time will tell if the current version of the Bronx Bombers can challenge the superiority of the 1927 Yankees or otherwise known as “Murderers’ Row”. For now, the Yankees bats are incredibly intimidating and we should consider the three Yankees’ batters with the strongest barrel rates: Aaron Judge (18.6%), Giancarlo Stanton (12.9%), and Joey Gallo (12.3%).

As for the Brewers, I like the lefties. I can’t think of any other pitcher this season besides Charlie Morton who has such a divergent split between righties and lefties. Against right-handed batting, Morton has been brilliant allowing 0.231 BA, 0.582 OPS, 0 HRs, 9 Ks, and 4 BBs over 58 plate appearances. The story is completely different against left-handed batting for whom Morton has allowed a 0.357 BA, 1.173 OPS (ouch!), 3 HRs, 9 Ks, and 10 BBs over 56 plate appearances.

Of course the sample size is small and maybe we will see some regression to the mean as we get into the dog days of summer. What we can’t ignore, however, is that the sample size against righties and lefties is nearly identical and that the Brewers lefties have done a lot of damage recently. Rowdy Tellez is a must start and you should do your best to jam in Kolten Wong and Christian Yelich. Those three batters have helped vault the Brewers to the top of the NL standings.

As I try to do after sharing my DFS analysis, I provide some sample lineups. I have two lineups I like on FanDuel. One of them represents full stacks for both the Brewers and Royals while the other has a nice blend of Brewers, Royals, and Yankees batters. I created just one DraftKings roster and the 2nd pitcher is a familiar name playing for a strong team and facing an inept offense.

DraftKings
P: G. Cole
P: J. Odorizzi
C: S. Perez
1B: R. Tellez
2B: K. Wong
3B: B. Witt
SS: I. Kiner-Falefa
OF: C. Yelich
OF: G. Stanton
OF: J. Gallo

FanDuel #1

P: G. Cole
C/1B: R. Tellez
2B: W. Merrifield
3B: H. Dozier
SS: W. Adames
OF: C. Yelich
OF: H. Renfroe
OF: A. Benintendi
UTIL: S. Perez

 

FanDuel #2

P: G. Cole
C/1B: R. Tellez
2B: K. Wong
3B: H. Dozier
SS: B. Witt
OF: A. Judge
OF: G. Stanton
OF: J. Gallo
UTIL: S. Perez

 

There you have it! Again, Happy Mother’s Day and stay off your phones. It’s their day, not yours!

 

Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Gus Elmashni

Gus Elmashni is a San Francisco Bay Area native and an avid fan of the NBA, NFL, and MLB. He has played fantasy sports since 1993 when a few high school friends and he would tabulate daily NBA results from the San Jose Mercury News and draft new teams every month. Gus has been with Pitcher List since April 2022 writing DFS articles and the Best Bets column. Additionally, Gus works full-time as an educator in Northern California and resides in Sacramento with his wife and two young children.

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