DFS Army Full Count – MLB Game Breakdown, Advice, and Strategy for FanDuel and Draftkings – Sept. 20th, 2019

Welcome to the DFS Army MLB Full Count! You have to start your research somewhere, and oftentimes going game by game and breaking down every matchup and its key players is the first step in our process. My name is Michael aka @MadnessDFS on Twitter, make sure to give me a follow as I’ll occasionally make updates to the advice in the article out on Twitter as well as inside our coaching forums.  With that said, let’s get it started!

My Take on a Consistent Process – Looking at Pitchers

I always start a slate by looking at pitching, not only do you get a grasp on who the pitchers are that you want to target. But it also gives you an idea of what offenses are in good spots against bad/vulnerable pitchers. I start my research by going straight to the Nilly’s MLB Carnage Report, this is where we can analyze all the pitchers on the slate in a compact, yet detailed manner, but I’ll leave that for our VIP Members. Below are three pitchers that I find particularly interesting and are in good spots here on this slate.

  • Clayton Kershaw – Kershaw will likely be my spend up option as long as we don’t hear that he’s on some type of pitch count here. He gets a great matchup with the Colorado Rockies who are simply not good on the road. There isn’t a total on this game yet but the Dodgers are favored by -315. The Rockies really aren’t striking out all that much against lefties at 20.2%, but Kershaw counterbalances that with his strikeout rate of 26.8%. I think Kershaw shuts them down here as he prepares for the postseason.
  • Dylan Cease – Oh what a difference a matchup can make… in his last start we were looking at possibly stacking against him, but certainly not here against the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are the worst offense in the league, but they do have an implied run total of 4.7 here which is a bit higher than I was expecting. That said, Detroit is striking out at a 26.6% rate against right-handed pitching this season. Cease has a respectable 24.3% k rate on the season as well. We have streamed pitchers against the Tigers all season, so why stop now with just over a week remaining in the regular season.
  • Jordan Zimmerman – Alright… here me out here. I normally like to try and get a value guy in here with the third spot just in case you want to stack an expensive offense but don’t want to sacrifice at SP1. With that said, this is not a cash game play!!!! Zimmerman is a gas can but gets a decent matchup with the White Sox where I think he could come through and hit value. The White Sox are striking out at an insane 27.9% against right-handed pitching on the season, guess what… Zimmerman is a right-handed pitcher. He also has a 16.1% strikeout rate which is about what we can expect for a guy priced at $4.8k. He’s averaging 9.2 Draftkings points per game over his last ten games and if he gets that for you here, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself. Again, this is not a cash game play!!

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Full Count Breakdown:

St. Louis Cardinals (+114) @ Chicago Cubs (-123)

As always, the Cubs play the lone day game on Friday’s slate. This game will feature a pitching matchup of Michael Wacha and Alec Mills. These two teams are fighting over an NL playoff spot, as the Cardinals are three games up on the Brewers for the division lead and the Cubs are a game back of the Brewers in the final wild-card spot. Clearly this is a game that both teams have incentive to win. Be sure to keep an eye on the wind here, it looks like it will be blowing out to left-field at about five mph which is pretty neutral considering what it has been over the past week. Due to the pricing being much different than the main slate I’ll let the coaches break this one down for you in slack. Also, be sure to check out our Coaches Notes/Player Picks on this game for a more in-depth look on player analysis since the pricing for a showdown slate is much different than the full slate.

-> COACHES NOTES/PLAYER PICKS <-


Seattle Mariners @ Baltimore Orioles

This game features a matchup of Felix Hernandez and long-reliever Aaron Brooks. Both of these pitchers are pretty terrible at their respective points in their careers. This is a spot where you can look to the offenses. Brooks has a 6.06 era on the season so I don’t hate getting to the Mariners here and are my preferred offense in this game. King Felix has a similarly bad 6.31 era on the season but I just don’t like the talent of this Orioles lineup, they’re more of a 150 max entry team.

SEA 5-star plays: Kyle Seager, Dan Vogelbach

4-star plays: JP Crawford, Austin Nola

GPP Note: No total on this game yet, but I would expect the Mariners have the higher total (I could be wrong). They are my preferred side of this game.

BAL 5-star plays: Jonathan Villar, Trey Mancini

4-star plays: Anthony Santander, Renato Nunez

GPP Note: I just don’t see the need to here on this slate, that said Felix Hernandez has been bad this season so if you want a low-owned stack against a bad pitcher, here you are.


Toronto Blue Jays @ New York Yankees

Yet another game that we don’t have a total on yet, but we work with what we got! JA Happ will start this game for the Yankees and he has pitched great as of late. He has at least 20 Draftkings points in three of his past four games and gets a decent matchup against the Blue Jays. All that said, I can’t see myself spending $9.2k on him, this Jays offense has a ton of young talent. The Jays are expected to start Jacob Waguespack who really doesn’t scare me especially in Yankee Stadium against this offense. The Yankees are good stack here.

NYY 5-star plays: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu, Didi Gregorius

4-star plays: Gleyber Torres, Edwin Encarnacion, Luke Voit

GPP Note: Make sure to watch the lineup here as the Yankees clinched a playoff berth last night, but I like them here at home against Waguespack.

TOR 5-star plays: Bo Bichette

4-star plays:  Vlad Guerrero, Justin Smoak, Cavan Biggio

GPP Note: Happ has pitched well, and although I won’t get to a lot of him I don’t think I’ll get to a whole lot of the Jays either.


New York Mets (-146) @ Cincinnati Reds (+135)

What a matchup we have here as Jacob deGrom and Luis Castillo take the mound tonight. Both of these guys are the aces of their loaded pitching staffs and this game has a total of under eight runs which is rare to see this year. That said, I think we will stick to pitching here. deGrom is the second-highest priced pitcher on the slate, but is averaging 27.6 Draftkings points per game over his last ten games. It’s tough not to like him here, get to him if you have the salary. Castillo is a bit cheaper and has started a game against the Mets this season in which he scored 20 Draftkings points. He makes for an elite GPP play and you can make a case for him in cash games.

NYM 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Pete Alonso

GPP Note: This is a game where I’ll be focusing on the pitching, I won’t talk you off of a one-off or two though across a couple of lineups.

CIN 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Aristides Aquino, Eugenio Suarez

GPP Note: Similar story here, just stick with the guys that could get you a home run to hit value, I don’t see a whole lot men on base in this game.

The starting lineups page is a useful tool to get a quick view of all of the teams, and gives you a nice clean view of the DFSArmy grades as well!


Boston Red Sox (+164) @ Tampa Bay Rays (-178)

It’s pretty crazy that the Red Sox aren’t going to make the playoffs with the amount of explosion they have in their lineup, but pitching does matter in the MLB. The Rays will send Charlie Morton to the mound here who has been one of the pitchers in the league this season, I will not be stacking against him, but I also won’t be using him as a pitcher this Red Sox offense can hit. Rick Porcello will take the mound for the Sox with his 5.77 era, the Rays have an implied run total of 4.9 runs here an makes sense as a secondary stack on this slate.

BOS 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Rafael Devers, Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts

GPP Note: Charlie Morton is a great pitcher so I’m not going crazy here, I won’t talk you off of a power one-off option though.

TBR 5-star plays: Austin Meadows, Tommy Pham

4-star plays: Ji-man Choi, Travis d’Arnaud

GPP Note: The Rays will make my list of teams as a secondary stack, Porcello is not good and this lineup is pretty good.


Chicago White Sox (-137) @ Detroit Tigers (+126)

So, I wrote-up both pitchers in my pitcher’s section from this game and I’m going to stress it again, ONLY PLAY JORDAN ZIMMERMAN IN TOURNAMENTS. I don’t need people screaming at me because they lost all their cash games because they used Zimmerman, no he’s a GPP play in order to jam in a high octane offense. I do like Dylan Cease though and you can certainly play him in cash games. If you’re not playing Zimmerman you can stack up the White Sox as they have an implied run total of 5.4 here. Also, if you decide to go crazy with Zimmerman than get a White Sox hedge stack!

CHW 5-star plays: Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu

4-star plays: Eloy Jimenez, Tim Anderson

GPP Note: Again, Zimmerman can explode at any point, so they are not a bad GPP stack

DET 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Victor Reyes, Harold Castro

GPP Note: Just one-offs here and that’s being generous, I love Cease here.


Philadelphia Phillies (+187) @ Cleveland Indians (-204)

Shane Bieber will get the start for the Indians and has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. He’s coming off of a rough start against the Twins, but I’m willing to write that off due to that Twins offense being great. He has a 3.26 era this season and is averaging 24 Draftkings points per game over his last ten games. The Phillies have an implied run total of just 3.6 here, I’m just not going to get there. That said, I don’t think I’ll be paying this price for Bieber either with some of the other options on this slate. Drew Smyly will start for the Phillies and he has a massive 45.5% hard contact rate on the season to go along with the Indians 5.4 implied run total. They are a borderline tier-one stack for me.

PHI 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Bryce Harper

GPP Note: Shane Bieber is too good for me to want to go here.

CLE 5-star plays: Francisco Lindor, Yasiel Puig, Oscar Mercado

4-star plays: Franmil Reyes, Jordan Luplow

GPP Note: As I mentioned, Smyly is not good, you can get to the Indians with confidence here.

Watching the weather is half the battle when it comes to MLB DFS. The DFS Army Weather Station has you covered, from games that have delay and postponement potential, to games that could have significant winds that will play a roll in selecting a team to stack or a pitcher to use.


Washington Nationals (-206) @ Miami Marlins (+189)

Anibal Sanchez was close to getting a write-up from me in the pitcher’s column. I’ve been streaming pitchers against the Marlins all season and his price makes him viable as an SP2 option especially in Miami. The Marlins have just a 3.7 implied run total here so you can definitely go with some Anibal if you land on him. Robert Dugger will take the mound for the Marlins and I simply don’t stack in Miami, so even though I won’t get too much Dugger here, I won’t get a lot of the Nats bats either.

WAS 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Trea Turner

GPP Note: This offense has a ton of upside, but I hate the ballpark. I won’t talk you off of them if you like them for GPPs however.

MIA 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: None

GPP Note: I’ll have some Anibal interest here, so no reason to go here on a massive Friday slate.


San Francisco Giants (+177) @ Atlanta Braves (-193)

Tyler Beede and Mike Foltynewicz will get the starts here and are both pitchers that I don’t see myself getting a ton of. You can make a case for some Folty, but with a hard contact rate of over 41% this season and a Giants team that has upside when clicking, I’ll go elsewhere. Beede gets an incredibly tough matchup with the Braves who are an elite stack for me on this slate with an implied run total of 5.6 runs at home.

SFG 5-star plays: Mike Yastrzemski

4-star plays: Brandon Belt

GPP Note: I don’t love Folty and I don’t love this offense, this will likely be a stay away spot for me.

ATL 5-star plays: Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna, Josh Donaldson

4-star plays: Ozzie Albies, Matt Joyce

GPP Note: It’s hard not to like the Braves here, they are a top stack on the slate for me.


Pittsburgh Pirates (+178) @ Milwaukee Brewers (-194)

The Milwaukee Brewers are the hottest team in baseball and are just man-handling every team in their way. They will send Chase Anderson to the mound who I don’t think I will get much of here. Craig Counsell has had a very quick trigger on the bullpen when there is any sign of trouble with these Brewers pitchers, so I’ll go elsewhere. The Pirates will start gas-can Steven Brault, so you can bet I’ll have some Brewers stacks at home. They have an implied run total of 5.6 runs and Brault gave up 10 earned runs against the Cubs in his last start.

MIL 5-star plays: Keston Hiura, Ryan Braun, Mike Moustakas

4-star plays: Yasmani Grandal, Manny Pina

GPP Note: Brault is not good, the Brewers are. I like the Brewers to stay hot here with a boost from the offense.

PIT 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Kevin Newmann

GPP Note: Without Marte and Bell in this lineup it is pretty bad, not a team I will be getting to.

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Los Angeles Angels (+303) @ Houston Astros (-337)

The Astros are massive favorites here as they send Zack Greinke to the mound and will be facing Jaime Barria. The Angels have an implied run total of just 3.1 runs and are really hurting without Mike Trout. I like Greinke a lot here and makes a ton of sense for cash games. Barria, on the other hand, is a complete gas can who we can definitely target with bats. The Astros have an implied run total of 6 runs here and are an elite stack on this slate and are right up there with the Braves as a top stack for me.

LAA 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton

GPP Note: No need to get to a whole lot here against Greinke.

HOU 5-star plays: George Springer, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve

4-star plays: Yuli Gurriel, Carlos Correa

GPP Note: This stacked lineup only gets better with Correa back, anyone who cracks the lineup is in play tonight. The Astros are a great stack here.


Kansas City Royals @ Minnesota Twins

Drew Smeltzer and Erik Skoglund will take the mound here. Smeltzer would make sense as an SP2 option, but he’s not stretched out enough for me to have interest. Skoglund has a hard contact rate over 50% on the season so you can bet I’ll be getting to the Twins bats here. He also has an era of 8.36, the Twins are an elite stack right up there with the Braves and Astros.

KCR 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Whit Merrifield, Jorge Soler, Adalberto Mondesi

GPP Note: I don’t hate some one-offs here, but I have a lot more interest in the other side of this game.

MIN 5-star plays: Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano

4-star plays: Marwin Gonzalez, Mitch Garver

GPP Note: Anyone that cracks the lineup is in play here against Skoglund, I like stacking up these right-handed power bats and hoping for one of those four home run games that the Twins have been great at getting this season.

Playing some cash games today?  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these 7 Tips for MLB Cash Games!


Texas Rangers (+146) @ Oakland Athletics (-158)

Mike Minor is a guy that I do not target with bats especially in Oakland where pitchers have a huge advantage because of all the foul territory. I’ll even consider him as a pitching option on this slate. Jesus Luzarado will be the long reliever for the A’s and would make some sense as an SP2 option, but I don’t think he’s stretched out quite enough to warrant the price tag. I’m probably staying away from both offenses here.

TEX 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: None

GPP Note: This is mostly a stay-away game for me, the Rangers have an implied total of just 4 runs.

OAK 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: None

GPP Note: I don’t target hitters against Mike Minor, he makes for a solid pitching option as well.


Colorado Rockies (+284) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-315)

Clayton Kershaw is probably my favorite pitching option on the slate as long as we don’t hear that he will be limited in any type of way, which I don’t expect. The Rockies are simply not good away from home. They will send Peter Lambert to the mound and his 6.99 era is just asking to get hit-around by this lineup. There’s not total on this game yet but I have to imagine the Dodgers will be around that 5.5 run total similar to the Braves and Brewers, I like them here but make sure to watch the lineup they roll out.

COL 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: None

GPP Note: I’ll too much Kershaw here if things go as planned, I’m not going with any Rockies.

LAD 5-star plays: Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Gavin Lux

4-star plays: Joc Pederson, Corey Seager

GPP Note: I like the Dodgers quite a bit here, they will fall in my secondary stacks however because I can’t trust that they’ll get guaranteed at-bats at this point in the season with Dave Roberts running things.


Arizona Diamondbacks (+110) @ San Diego Padres (-119)

As much as I think Merrill Kelly is a fraud, I think he’s usable here. This Padres team is striking out a ton with Tatis and Reyes now gone. They have an implied run total of 4.2 but I think that’s a bit high considering the ballpark. If you fall on Kelly I think he makes sense as an SP2 option. The Padres will send Eric Lauer to the mound who really doesn’t have a ton of upside and a pretty low floor, so I won’t be going there. Considering the ballpark I don’t think I’ll go with much of either of these offenses.

ARI 5-star plays: Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar

4-star plays: Christian Walker

GPP Note: Just one-offs here, mini-stack if you’re feeling dangerous.

SDP 5-star plays: None

4-star plays: Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado

GPP Note: One-offs here as well, I may fall onto Merrill Kelly as an SP2 if my builds go that direction.


As always I appreciate everyone who gave the article a read! Feel free to mix it up with me in our coaching forums as news breaks and lock approaches.

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The only thing you are missing at this point is the key to unlock the next level of your game.  Come inside and check us out!!  We have the experts sharing their secrets and experience on a daily basis.  Combine that with the actual ability to ask them questions and get quick answers in return, and you have a recipe for success that puts our army hats on leaderboards all over the face of DFS.

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