DFS Army Full Count – MLB Game Breakdown Advice Strategy and Picks for Fanduel and Draftkings 5/17/2019

Hello again everyone!  nillyJay here – some of you may already know me; I’m a coach/contributor inside the DFS Army and my main focuses are NASCAR and MLB.  If you’re not already, you can find and follow me on Twitter, or, for DFS Army members, in our coaching channels (@nillyJay or just swing by my channel #nillys-garage-nas-mlb).

As always, if you aren’t familiar with my content, be sure to check out these articles to get up to speed: carnage rating system and tiers & classic batter sheets.

My take on a consistent process – looking at pitchers

Because I created the carnage rating system, it only makes sense that I would start there when looking at a new slate.  Let’s do just that:

It shouldn’t be too surprising to see deGrom at the top today.  If you’re playing cash games, just plug him in and move on.  There’s no need to get cute there.  The others make fine GPP targets, especially Scherzer and the kind of ceiling he has.  Mikolas and Montas are freebies for you guys today, though there are some other GPP options we’ll have for our VIPs.

Finding pitchers to attack

Just like it can help us find pitchers to use, the carnage rating system is great for helping us to find pitchers to attack.  Let’s take a look at some of the worst rankings of the day:

It’s not too surprising to see Porcello near the bottom here, as he has to face Houston, but seeing the Giants with the best spot is a bit interesting.  There are a couple of other juicy targets just beneath them, but I’m saving those for our VIPs.  The trick with the Giants is finding the right players, though we can use the classic batter sheet, coaches notes, or starting lineups page to help with that.

Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees

We’ll kick off this 15-gamer with a trip to The Bronx, where we’ll see a bullpen game on one side and a seasoned vet on the other.  That makes me a little worried about full stacks here, but a little bit of exposure here couldn’t hurt.  For my money, I think we’ll see more action with the other games.

Rays 5 star plays – none
Rays 4 star plays – Pham
GPP note – Not the best target to attack, but CC could allow a big hit or two.  Full stacks aren’t quite as appealing

Yankees 5 star plays – none
Yankees 4 star plays
– Sanchez, Voit, Torres
GPP note
– Bullpen games are hit or miss, so I would stack accordingly (go big or go elsewhere)

Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals

Happy Mad Max day!  While he doesn’t get the best matchup out there, we know what he’s capable of, so don’t forget to grab some GPP exposure to him today.  The same can be said about Hamels, too, as he’s certainly capable of a decent game when he’s on.  This one has GPP written all over it, so I’d recommend looking elsewhere for cash purposes.

Cubs 5 star plays – none
Cubs 4 star plays – Rizzo, Bryant, Heyward
GPP note – It’s Scherzer, so stack at your own risk

Nationals 5 star plays – none
Nationals 4 star plays
– Rendon, Kendrick, Turner(?)
GPP note
– More likely to go off than the Cubs are, but Hamels can contain an offense for a while if he’s on

Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies

This game has coin-flip written all over it.  For our pitchers, we get one who has mostly been good but definitely knows how to check out on occasion, going up against a newer pitcher that looked great in his debut, but we don’t really know what to expect out of him today.  For our batters, we have two teams that are loaded with talent, but also know how to snooze through a good matchup on occasion.  In other words, this game has a really high ceiling all around, but there isn’t exactly a reliable floor to be found.

Rockies 5 star plays – Arenado, Blackmon
Rockies 4 star plays – Story, Reynolds
GPP note – Irvin is still fresh so it’s hard to tell how this one will go, but stacks are still worth a look here

Phillies 5 star plays – none
Phillies 4 star plays
– Harper, Hoskins, McCutchen, Realmuto, Segura
GPP note
– Gray has been mostly good, but can have the random bad game.  If you go here, go hard with full stacks

Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers

Oakland will probably be popular today after the thrashing they gave the Tigers, and they’ll get another good matchup here today.  Be sure to grab some pieces of them for your cash games, then decide if you want to eat the chalk or fade it in GPP.  The Tigers don’t get a great matchup against Montas, so I can’t say I love them tonight.

Athletics 5 star plays – none
Athletics 4 star plays – Semien, Davis, Chapman, Piscotty
GPP note – After going off yesterday, they’re bound to be popular today, but they’re certainly in a good spot here.  Don’t be afraid to eat some chalk on a 15-game slate

Tigers 5 star plays – none
Tigers 4 star plays
– Goodrum, Stewart
GPP note
– Not really a team to go crazy, but they may be looking to even the score after that beating yesterday.  Can they actually do it?  Probably not, but nobody will be on them, either

Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox

Well, here we are.  All eyes will be on this game, as we get two of the most dangerous offenses in all of baseball squaring off at Fenway.  Boston will have the more difficult matchup here, so the Astros definitely have the advantage here, but we know both sides are capable of putting up some runs in a hurry.  Stack ’em up and tune in to this one, it should be fun!

Astros 5 star plays – Springer, Bregman
Astros 4 star plays – Correa, Brantley, Reddick
GPP note – They get the easier matchup in this game, though they’re nearly matchup proof with how how they have been lately.  Don’t be afraid to stack away

Red Sox 5 star plays – none
Red Sox 4 star plays
– Betts, Martinez, Benintendi, Bogaerts
GPP note
– Tougher matchup against Cole, but if you want a lower-owned stack that’s capable of 10+ runs, here you go

Baltimore Orioles at Cleveland Indians

This game will feature a couple of pitchers who are no strangers to imploding, and both offenses offer some good targets for all formats today.  If you’re feeling really brave, you could try taking one of these pitchers in hopes they have the random troll game, but you’re on your own there!

Orioles 5 star plays – none
Orioles 4 star plays – Smith Jr, Villar, Mancini
GPP note – Good matchup here and may have some momentum after putting up a decent amount of runs yesterday

Indians 5 star plays – none
Indians 4 star plays
– Lindor, Santana, Ramirez, Kipnis
GPP note
– Bundy tends to troll or implode, so if you go here, do it with big stacks

New York Mets at Miami Marlins

Our next ace of the day is deGrom, who will face the Marlins for the third time already this season.  He destroyed them the first two times, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make it three today.  Richards did well against the Mets as well, so don’t overlook him for GPP use.

Mets 5 star plays – none
Mets 4 star plays – McNeil, Cano
GPP note – May or may not have Conforto back, but one-offs or mini-stacks are still in play

Marlins 5 star plays – none
Marlins 4 star plays
– Granderson
GPP note
– Tough matchup against deGrom.  I would look for other options on this big slate

Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds

This one looks to be a bit weighted towards the Dodgers, so look to them for some fantasy production today.  The Reds aren’t in a very good spot, but they will probably be super low-owned, if that tickles your fancy.

Dodgers 5 star plays – Bellinger
Dodgers 4 star plays – Pederson, Muncy, Verdugo
GPP note – Good matchup for the Dodgers, so look for them to do some damage here

Reds 5 star plays – none
Reds 4 star plays
– Senzel
GPP note
– Hill is still a bit of a question mark this season, but when he’s on, he can really hurt an opposing offense’s ceiling.  I’d be careful here

Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves

One of MLB’s best offenses will face off against one of the best pitchers of 2019, so it’ll be very interesting to see how this one turns out.  I like the idea of having exposure to both Fried and the Brewers in this one, as one side is bound to go off and possibly be a bit lower owned than they might be on a smaller slate.  The Braves are in a pretty decent spot too, so don’t forget about them.

Brewers 5 star plays – none
Brewers 4 star plays – Yelich, Cain, Braun
GPP note – Fried has been a tough target this year, but stacks and/or one-offs with these guys are always in play

Braves 5 star plays – none
Braves 4 star plays
– Freeman, Swanson, Acuna
GPP note
– Acuna seems to like the lead off spot, so even if you don’t stack here, consider him as a one-off

St Louis Cardinals at Texas Rangers

The Rangers head home after putting up 5-million runs against my poor Royals, so hopefully the Cardinals will give them the same treatment.  Okay okay, I’m just hurting after that embarrassing loss!  Anyway, they’ll have a tougher matchup here against Mikolas, while the Cardinals might get a chance to tee off against Sampson.  I certainly like the spot the Cardinals are in more here, but realistically, both sides are viable today.

Cardinals 5 star plays – Carpenter
Cardinals 4 star plays – Goldschmidt, DeJong
GPP note – They might get Sampson after the first couple of innings, who is a good target to stack against

Rangers 5 star plays – none
Rangers 4 star plays
– Choo, Gallo, Calhoun
GPP note
– Like the A’s, they’ll be a little popular today after blowing up yesterday, though their matchup against Mikolas is tougher.  If I had to fade one for ownership leverage, I’d choose the Rangers

Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox

These two pitchers have looked pretty good this year, and it could turn into a low-scoring affair for most of the game.  I would give the nod to the White Sox here, though I’m not totally in love with either team today.  Both pitchers are certainly in play for GPP purposes, though.

Blue Jays 5 star plays – none
Blue Jays 4 star plays – Sogard, Smoak
GPP note – Nova has been decent, but taking a lefty or two against him is never a bad idea

White Sox 5 star plays – none
White Sox 4 star plays
– Moncada, Alonso, Anderson
GPP note
– Not the best matchup here, but the White Sox are good for the random 10+ run game.  If you go here, I’d do it with full stacks and hope Sanchez is a little off

San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

I can’t help but feel that this game won’t be overly exciting for DFS purposes, but an argument could be made for some one-offs or small stacks.  If the Giants go off, they’ll probably spread the love around a lot, making it hard to pinpoint a large chunk of production.  The Diamondbacks will have a harder time going off against Shark, who is pretty good at mitigating damage.

Giants 5 star plays – none
Giants 4 star plays – Panik, Belt
GPP note – Not the best stacking option, but there are a few smaller targets that could help tie together a lineup

Diamondbacks 5 star plays – none
Diamondbacks 4 star plays
– Dyson, Peralta, Marte
GPP note
– Shark isn’t the best target for stacking against, but one-offs or mini-stacks are still viable

Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels

A little bit of an interesting one here, we get two offenses that are capable of putting up some runs, but they’ll be facing two pitchers who are capable of limiting their ceiling.  Both pitchers are certainly in play for GPP, while there are good cash and GPP options from these offenses.

Royals 5 star plays – none
Royals 4 star plays – Mondesi, Merrifield, Gordon
GPP note – They know Harvey well, but I think one side of this matchup will do well while the other does not.  Pick a side, hedge, or look elsewhere if you can’t decide

Angels 5 star plays – Trout
Angels 4 star plays
– La Stella, Ohtani, Calhoun
GPP note
– Same as above.  Keller has had some pretty good games, so I think either he will score well or the Angels will.  It’s a bit of a coin-flip and depends on which version of Keller shows up

Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners

This one is similar to the KC/LAA game, in that we get two pitchers capable of good games going up against a couple of offenses that can do some damage.  While they all have similar floors, I would say this game has a higher ceiling, but a little bit harder chance of reaching that ceiling.  Either way, all four sides of this game are in play today (both pitchers and both offenses).

Twins 5 star plays – none
Twins 4 star plays – Cruz, Polanco, Cron
GPP note – When they go off, they go off…so either attack them with full stacks or fade them all

Mariners 5 star plays – none
Mariners 4 star plays
– Haniger, Santana, Encarnacion, Healy
GPP note
– Same as above

Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres

And finally, our hammer game features two very capable pitchers, so this one could be a little underwhelming for the batters, while providing some decent pitching targets for us.

Pirates 5 star plays – none
Pirates 4 star plays – Marte, Bell
GPP note – Not a great matchup against Lucchesi, so I probably wouldn’t go with full stacks

Padres 5 star plays – none
Padres 4 star plays
– Machado, Hosmer, Renfroe
GPP note
– Lyles can be tough to stack against, so stack with care.  I’d prefer one-offs here instead


Like I mentioned earlier, I provide a tiers breakdown for our members every day.  I figured since I was running the show today that I would slide in a freebie.  Let’s take a look at Tier 3:

Several good options here, though Pederson looks to have the best matchup.  He would make a fine cash option, while a case could be made for most of the rest of this tier for GPP purposes.

Closing thoughts

Thank you for joining me here today!  I hope you found this article helpful with your research for today’s slate.  I have some more GPP thoughts for you guys in the DFS Army, so be sure to check my channel and #mlb-news-and-notes this afternoon for those.

If you like what you see here and want to experience everything we have to offer, I’d encourage you to consider joining up with us.  As you saw, we cover (and win!) all sports, not just the common ones.  Just remember to use promo code NILLY to save 20% off for the lifetime of your active membership, for the best deal in daily fantasy sports.  Until then, I hope you all have a great day!