Covering ALL the Bases: MLB DFS Advice for Fanduel & Draftkings

Hello Everyone and welcome back to Covering ALL the Bases, which should be your first read when researching any weekend MLB DFS slate for Fanduel or Draftkings. I go by “Thunder Dan” around here and you can find me @ThunderDanDFS on twitter. During the week I specialize in pivots for GPP contests, and on the weekends I write this piece in which I try to cover as much as I can about each of the slates.

This article is constructed in much the same way as Chop’s Chin Music is during the week. It is intended to point you in the right direction and start your process. It is by no means a comprehensive list of who play or not to play in today’s contests. Today we have 15 games spread out between 1:05 and 10:10, which can be a lot of fun but can also be somewhat tricky. At least it appears that FD and DK have the same groupings of games today, so that may make things a little simpler.

So what I am going to do is analyze each set of games in three groups, Early, Afternoon, and Evening (Main) and if you are playing an all-day slate on either site, just make sure you are continuing to check your lineups as teams confirm their lineups. You never know what kind of wonky looking lineups you might see from teams in some of these weekend games. I’m fresh off a little mini-vacation to Boston with my family and ready to hit all 15 of these games for you today.

I would recommend using some discretion on which slates you play today and as always practice some responsible bankroll management. If you don’t like a slate, skip it and play the one that you do like, or that you have more time to prepare for

Early Games (Rays @ Yankees, Astros @ Royals, Tigers @ White Sox)

I’ll keep my analysis of this early three-game slate pretty short. You should probably hit the lock button on Luis Severino against Tampa because the other 5 pitching options on this slate are bad and Severino is…well, good. And Tampa strikes out plenty, so this feels like a “don’t overthink it”kind of spot. I suppose you could roll the dice on Danny Duffy or Dallas Keuchal, but Duffy feels ripe for regression and Keuchal hasn’t been able to get anyone out lately.

As far as offenses go, I like using the White Sox bats to attack Jordan Zimmerman in his first start back off the DL. Zimmerman is about as hittable as they come, and the White Sox have some good numbers off him historically. A low strikeout pitcher vs a high strikeout team that has power favors the latter in my experience. The other offense I’d load up on is the red-hot Astros (preferably their righties against lefty Danny Duffy).

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Late Afternoon Games (Reds @ Pirates, Rockies @ Rangers, Angels @ A’s, Marlins @ Orioles, Nats @ Blue Jays, Twins @ Indians, Phillies @ Brewers, Padres @ Braves)

Here we have 8 games, over half of the total games on the day, yet the night slate is still classified as the “main slate” which is weird, but whatever.

The best pitching option in the afternoon is Max Scherzer and it’s not even close. However, his salary of 12k on Fanduel is really going to hamstring your lineups when it comes to offense. He needs 60+ on FD to pay off that price tag.  Sure, Scherzer could strike out 15 Blue Jays today if they can’t hit his slider.  But on the flip side, he is also facing an extra hitter today and is a fly-ball pitcher in a hitters’ park. So while I won’t recommend fading Scherzer, I will recommend looking at some other other options.

I won’t play Carlos Carrasco against the Twins. They have his number for some reason and seem to rough him up. He is coming off two awesome starts so his form is great, but all I can hear in my head is Admiral Ackbar saying “It’s a trap!”. Remember the Twins handled Corey Kluber last night, so I’d rather not try my luck with Carrasco today.

There are few compelling tournament options a little further down in the mid-tier. Zach Eflin is pitching against the Brewers today at Miller Park. Gulp! The narrative out there is that the Brewers own the Phillies this year and I can see them being a popular offense to stack. However, Eflin held to two runs on three hits over six innings in his last start, piling up nine strikeouts on his way to a QS and a win. That performance was good for 49 FD points, and at only 8k on FD, I’ll take a shot on him and hope for a similar outcome.

The other “is this guy a little crazy” play I am going to recommend is Kyle Freeland pitching in Texas this afternoon. I expect players to target this game for offense so going with a pitcher will be contrarian for sure. Freeland has been a good pitcher this season who rarely gets roughed up. He is a ground ball guy who can also pile up strikeouts (70 in 78 innings). The Rangers have never seen Freeland before and most of their power comes from the left side (Gallo, Choo, Mazara). They also strike out a lot, so I like Freeland’s chances of neutralizing the Rangers today on his way to a win with plenty of run support from the hot offense behind him.

A few quick words on offense as I’m running out of time before the first set of games. I absolutely love the Rockies again today against Mike Minor. Stack those righties up again!  I like some Pirates and Reds lefties today to take some pitches over the short porch in right field at PNC Park against Ivan Nova and Luis Castillo who both struggle against left-handed power.  And don’t forget about the last game at 5:10, in which the Braves should tee off again on Jordan Lyles (they smashed him for 11 hits and 8 runs last time out).

Mike Trout has some serious BVP against Sean Manaea if you can fit him. As does Bryce Harper against Marco Estrada. You probably didn’t need me to tell you to play those guys, but I am going to anyways….

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Evening Games aka “Main” (Red Sox @ Mariners, Cubs @ Cardinals, Giants @ Dodgers, Mets @ D-Backs)

This is a pretty tough little four-gamer tonight. There is no one pitching option that stands out, which can be kind of nice since ownership will be spread out. But it also makes finding the right pitcher that much more important. I think many players will look to Madison Bumgarner, Alex Wood, or Patrick Corbin tonight. These three lefties have the best pedigree of any of the pitching options. The bad news is Mad-Bum has looked bad since returning from injury and Alex Wood has not looked like himself for much of the season. I have no interest in either.

Corbin is in a good spot on paper, as the Mets struggle against lefties, but in this same spot a month ago he only managed 28 FD points and is coming off a poor start against Pittsburgh in his last outing. At 9500 he still feels overpriced for his recent production.  Carlos Martinez is another good pitcher who is struggling mightily since returning from injury and I want nothing to do with him against the surging Cubs bats.

By process of elimination, I guess I am landing on Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox tonight. If you’re not familiar with Wright, he is a knuckleballer, and when his knuckler is working well he can rack up plenty of strikeouts and weak contact. It’s hard to ignore his numbers this season. Between two starts and some time in the bullpen, he has compiled 25 strikeouts in 29 innings with a WHIP of only 1.07 and a 1.21 ERA. The Mariners have only a few at-bats of experience against Wright, which makes me think they may struggle to pick up on the knuckler tonight.

Recommending a 6900 knuckleballer as your favorite starter on a slate may seem like a stretch, but I think you’ll want that cap space to roster some of the elite hitters on this slate. The Red Sox righties (JD Martinez especially) against lefty Wade Leblanc and Diamondbacks righties (Paul GOATschmidt lock button) against Steven Matz are my two favorite offenses to stack tonight. But don’t forget about the Cubs-Cards game which could go over its total as well. I like Matt Carpenter against Hendricks and Anthony Rizzo against CarMar the most.

Well, I think I managed to give you the basics for each of the games today, as always don’t hesitate to contact me on Twitter or chat me up on Slack. Good luck in all of your contests and thanks for reading!

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