Get your MLB DFS research started with DFS Army’s Full Count! Pitching advice, stack strategy, home run calls, and everything you need.
Welcome to another year of 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 Eric aka @Razzle11Grinds 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!
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My Take on a Consistent MLB DFS Process – Looking at Pitchers
I always start an MLB 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. Below are the two pitchers that popped out to me at first glance.
- Aaron Civale – It pains me to write up Civale against my Twins but he lines up pretty well against them. He has a solid history and his pitch profile is one that the Twins can struggle with. They struggled mightily with Ks against Bieber but have gotten to Clevinger and Carrasco a bit. I know the Twins have opened as a favorite but I have to believe that by the time the first pitch happens, CLE will be the favorite as the Twins are going with a bullpen game.
- Yonny Chirinos – Chirinos throws some really nasty things at hitters. I am sure you have seen some of the YouTube pitch videos of the movement some of his stuff gets. It really explains why he is a reverse-splits guy. That intrigues me here as the Orioles don’t hit RHPs very well at all and his reverse splits can neutralize any of the LHBs. I expect him to be a strong option on a slate that is EXTREMELY weak in SP options.
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Full Count Breakdown for MLB DFS:
St Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers – PPD DUE TO COVID
Cardinals – Jack Flaherty
Brewers – Brett Anderson
Anderson is making his season debut here while Flaherty gets to take on a team that is struggling at the plate. Not often we see the Brewers a home underdog but Flaherty is a dominant SP. Flaherty struck out 35 Brewers in 25 innings last season but he did manage to also allow 8 HRs against them. Anderson just doesn’t scare me much at this point in his career and hard contact could be an issue here. There is no line for the game at the moment as there is a chance it doesn’t happen after Friday’s game was PPD due to positive tests.
STL 5-star plays: Paul Goldschmidt
4-star plays: Tyler O’Neill, Paul DeJong
GPP Note: Goldschmidt has dominated Brett Anderson in his career
MIL 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Keston Hiura, Ryan Braun
GPP Note: Braun has really nice BvP against Flaherty but a lot of the MIL lineup is struggling to begin the season.
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Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees
Red Sox – Austin Brice/Matt Hall
Yankees – James Paxton
No line or total set for this game but I have to imagine that Paxton and the Yankees are solid favorites here. Boston just can’t string things together at the plate. A couple of guys profile well but I have a hard time trusting them right now. The Yankees will face an RHP to open and then an LHP long-man after. I want to target guys that hit LHPs well as Brice shouldn’t be in very long.
BOS 5-star plays: JD Martinez, Jackie Bradley Jr.
4-star plays: Xander Bogaerts, Christian Vazquez
GPP Note: The Red Sox were shut down by a Yankee LHP on Friday and we know that Paxton is a better pitcher at this point than Montgomery. Some interesting BvP in Boston’s favor.
NYY 5-star plays: DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton
4-star plays: Aaron Judge, Luke Voit
GPP Note: All the power, all the time.
New York Mets (-106) @ Atlanta Braves
Mets – David Peterson
Braves – Kyle Wright
The game has opened with the Mets as a slight road favorite and an extremely inviting game total of 11 runs. Wright has been knocked around at the MLB level and this is a tough spot with all of the left-handed bats plus right-handed power. On the other side, Peterson hasn’t faced the Braves so there will be some feeling out but I think long-term he’s just an average MLB guy so the Braves should have some upside here as well.
NYM 5-star plays: Jeff McNeil, Robinson Cano
4-star plays: Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso
GPP Note: The Mets are in an interesting spot as Wright has been knocked around and has trouble with both sides of the plate.
ATL 5-star plays: Travis d’Arnaud, Marcel Ozuna
4-star plays: Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman
GPP Note: Right back on the Braves after they scored 11 runs as one of my top stacks on Friday and then put up 7 runs on Saturday. I love playing them at home and just wait until Acuna and Albies get hot.
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Cleveland Indians @ Minnesota Twins (-115)
Indians – Aaron Civale
Twins – Tyler Clippard/Tyler Duffey
The Twins are using an opener and then following with basically a bullpen game. Duffey came up as a starter but has pitched in relief for a bit now so I kind of see this as a 6 pitcher type game for the Twins. Civale has solid numbers against the Twins hitters and the Twins lineup takes a hit if Donaldson sits out another game.
CLE 5-star plays: Francisco Lindor
4-star plays: Jose Ramirez
GPP Note: Cleveland intrigues me as I am a bit shocked to see MIN open as the favorite. The Twins bullpen isn’t lights out.
MIN 5-star plays: Max Kepler
4-star plays: Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco
GPP Note: Twins bats have struggled against Civale so far in their careers. This is a tough spot but I always have stacks due to their power upside.
Cincinnati Reds () @ Detroit Tigers – GAME 1
Reds – Anthony DeSclafani
Tigers – Rony Garcia
Both SPs here are going to be on a pitch limit. DeSclafani is making his first start off of the IL and threw just 4 innings in his final summer camp appearance. Garcia threw just 3 innings (42 pitches) in his first appearance. Should turn into a bullpen game a little bit which I never understood being the 1st game of a double-header.
CIN 5-star plays: Eugenio Suarez, Mike Moustakas
4-star plays: Nicholas Castellanos
GPP Note: We are looking at stacking CIN to take advantage of the bullpen.
DET 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Jonathan Schoop
GPP Note: Most likely fading DET bats
Cincinnati Reds (-162) @ Detroit Tigers – GAME 2
Reds – Trevor Bauer
Tigers – Michael Fulmer
This game also opened with a total set at 9 runs. Bauer just faced DET in his first start of the season and picked up 13 Ks in 6.1 innings while allowing just 2 hits. He has massive upside and after CIN allowed DET to beat them on Friday, I think we see a pretty focused Trevor Bauer. Fulmer was given a little longer leash than I thought he would get in his first appearance but I also don’t see him getting much larger of one in this start. The word in DET was they were going to ease him back in and use him more like an opener at times.
CIN 5-star plays: Eugenio Suarez, Mike Moustakas
4-star plays: Joey Votto, Nicholas Castellanos
GPP Note: We are looking at stacking CIN to take advantage of the bullpen having to be used behind Fulmer.
DET 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Miguel Cabrera, Niko Goodrum
GPP Note: Most likely fading DET bats but the two guys above have a solid history against Bauer
Tampa Bay Rays (-185) @ Baltimore Orioles
Rays – Yonny Chirinos
Orioles – Tommy Milone
The game has opened with a total set at 10 runs. That feels high to me as TB’s offense hasn’t been on fire and I really like the way Chirinos pitches. He has solid upside as a big road favorite, against a very weak lineup. The Orioles roster has just 8 hits in 58 PAs against them in their careers. Chirinos is a bit of a reverse-splits SP while Milone gives it up to everybody at this point.
TB 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Yandy Diaz, Hunter Renfroe, Jose Martinez
GPP Note: Each of the 3 guys above had ISOs at or above .293 against LHPs in 2019
BALT 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Renato Nunez (BvP)
GPP Note: No interest in attacking Chirinos
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Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals
White Sox – Dylan Cease
Royals – Jakob Junis
Junis allowed 4 HRs to the White Sox in 17.2 innings in 2019 but did manage to pick up 23 Ks. Cease has a big-time arm and has upside but this Royals squad is scrappy and Whit Merrifield is extremely good at the top. We aren’t seeing a game total or line yet as I assume we are still waiting for official word on Junis and how deep he is expected to go, coming off of the IL.
CWS 5-star plays: Yoan Moncada
4-star plays: Eloy Jimenez
GPP Note: The White Sox let me down a bit Friday night but they bounced back on Saturday. I really like the idea of sliding Robert into the lead-off spot while Anderson is on the IL.
KC 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Whit Merrifield
GPP Note: The Royals aren’t overly dangerous but there is some upside. Merrifield is the only one I can trust at this point.
Los Angeles Dodgers (-172) @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw
Diamondbacks – Merrill Kelly
We get to see Kershaw finally as he is set to make his season debut after being scratched last minute on opening day. As long as he can control Christian Walker (5 for 11 with 4 HRs against), he should be in a great spot as a -172 favorite. The word is that he should be able to go 4-5 innings but the problem is he isn’t cheap for us so he might not have the upside we covet. Kelly was dominant against TEX in his first start but let’s be honest here, Texas is not the Los Angeles Dodgers.
LAD 5-star plays: Mookie Betts, Corey Seager
4-star plays: Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner
GPP Note: We are always getting stacks of this Dodgers lineup. They are so deep and dangerous.
ARI 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Christian Walker
GPP Note: I have no interest in the Diamondbacks against Kershaw (other than C.Walker and his ridiculous BvP)
San Diego Padres (-125) @ Colorado Rockies
Padres – Zach Davies
Rockies – Antonio Senzatela
The game has opened with a total set at 13. That’s higher than both of the games in this series so far. We should see plenty of offense here as I really like the top half of the Padres lineup the most. They have history in their favor against Senzatela and I love the road team in Coors after they’ve had a couple of games to get adjusted.
SD 5-star plays: Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr.
4-star plays: Trent Grisham, Wil Myers
GPP Note: Coors Field, should I say any more?
COL 5-star plays: Trevor Story
4-star plays: Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado
GPP Note: The Rockies don’t have strong numbers against Davies but it’s still Coors and the total is very high.
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Pittsburgh Pirates @ Chicago Cubs
Pirates – Steven Brault/Chad Kuhl
Cubs – Jon Lester
Again no line for this game so we have to wait to get a wind update at Wrigley. Lester is by far the better SP but he was kind of babied in his first start of the season (76 pitches and 1 K). The Pirates appear to be looking at piggybacking Brault and Kuhl this season or at least for the first few weeks. I want to be on the Cubs when they explode for a 4 HR, 13 run game and this just might be that occasion.
PIT 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Josh Bell, Adam Frazier
GPP Note: I just don’t see myself playing many Pirate hitters at all this season.
CHC 5-star plays: Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo
4-star plays: Kris Bryant, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward
GPP Note: There’s so much BvP for the Cubs against Brault and Kuhl. I just pray the wind isn’t blowing in because the Cubs are going to be a nice stack to have exposure to.
Texas Rangers @ San Francisco Giants (-110)
Rangers – Kolby Allard
Giants – Jeff Samardzija
Allard shouldn’t be stretched out too much as he is sliding into Kluber’s spot in the rotation and making his season debut. He gets an inviting match-up against a weak offense, in a pitcher’s park. The problem is that he doesn’t miss many bats and that can be a bad thing, no matter who the opponent is. Samardzija had an ERA of 3.55 in 88.2 innings at home in 2019 and has always been a very competent SP. The Rangers lineup just isn’t producing so he could be in play here, even though he was roughed up against SD in his first appearance this season.
TEX 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Joey Gallo, Todd Frazier
GPP Note: Just interested in GPP one-offs from TEX
SF 5-star plays: Darin Ruf
4-star plays: Mike Yastrzemski, Donovan Solano
GPP Note: A couple of the SF bats have been getting it done but I would probably only use them as one-offs or mini-stack options.
Oakland Athletics @ Seattle Mariners
Athletics – Chris Bassitt
Mariners – Kendal Graveman
Graveman takes on his former teammates while Bassitt takes on a sneaky-hot offense in Seattle. I love Bassitt’s ability as I own him in Dynasty. I am torn here as I really like the way the SEA lineup is producing, especially the hit machines that are Lewis and Crawford and the RBI machine that is Kyle Seager. The game has no line or total as of around 3 AM CST.
OAK 5-star plays: Matt Chapman, Ramon Laureano
4-star plays: Marcus Semien, Matt Olson
GPP Note: The OAK offense has to bust out soon, don’t they? Graveman can offer some reverse split tendencies.
SEA 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Kyle Lewis, Kyle Seager, JP Crawford
GPP Note: Lewis just keeps racking up multi-hit games!
Houston Astros (-123) @ Los Angeles Angels
Astros – Josh James
Angels – Shohei Ohtani
This is an interesting game. Ohtani failed to get an out in his return to the mound from Tommy-John while Josh James was expected to put up a monster performance in his season debut but he fell very short of that monster. I love the upside both SPs should have this season but we may have to wait till we see it first. The game has opened with a total of 9.5 runs.
HOU 5-star plays: Michael Brantley, George Springer
4-star plays: Yuli Gurriel, Kyle Tucker
GPP Note: I always recommend stacking the Astros as they should break out at some point but Springer, Altuve, and Bregman are all struggling to begin the season.
LAA 5-star plays: NONE
4-star plays: Brian Goodwin, Anthony Rendon
GPP Note: Goodwin is swinging it really well and is benefiting from Trout being on the paternity list.
Stacks of the Day: Main Slate
- San Diego Padres: The road team in Coors generally is in a GREAT spot. With them being essentially guaranteed to hit in the 9th, that extra at-bat becomes huge for DFS purposes. Add in the fact that the top of the order is extremely dangerous AND producing while getting to face an SP that they’ve had success in and you have a recipe for great things.
- Chicago Cubs: I was EXTREMELY close to making the Cubs my top stack of the day. I love the way they match-up against Brault/Kuhl for the Pirates. They have very strong history against both of them and the wind could benefit us here in Wrigley.
- New York Mets: Kyle Wright has NOT been very good at the MLB level and the Mets REALLY let me down on Saturday as I LOVED the LHBs against Toussaint. I am going to go back to the well here and hope they figure it out in a spot where they really should. This game makes for an interesting stack as well.
MLB Dinger of the Day – Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
I think it’s a Cubs hitter in this Dinger of the Day section. If you told me for sure that Kris Bryant was back in the lineup, I think he would be my choice as he is a combined 16 for 36 with 6 2Bs and 2 HRs against Brault/Kuhl. I went with Baez because of Kuhl’s reverse splits lean and he’s one of the Cubs bats that isn’t rolling right now (Contreras, Schwarber, Rizzo). I wish there wasn’t a game at Coors so that I could just go extremely overweight on this Cubs squad.
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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