If you’re familiar with MLB DFS, then you know that scoring and fantasy production among any one team are highly correlated, so in order to maximize the upside of your lineups, it’s beneficial to stack batters of teams that are in good spots or that you believe will pop off. Since the majority of your lineup’s scoring usually comes from the batters, the key to those big scores and taking down a GPP is hitting on your stack or stacks of choice. This article is designed to help you do that, and in it I will highlight the top 2 overall stacks of the day, a value stack that is underpriced for the matchup and expected production, and also a HULO (High Upside, Low Ownership) stack that should go under-owned on the slate but has the potential to explode.
Hopefully you all faded chalk Vargas and Garrett last night, as both pretty much laid a dud amongst massive ownership. However, just fading those 2 SPs wasn’t enough, as a few teams put up double digit run totals and multiple stacks went absolutely bonkers. As last night’s games reminded us, more often than not the path to massive scores is via your bats, and more specifically with the right stacks. Here’s who you should be targeting for that tonight!
Washington Nationals (@ Colorado) – Opposing Pitcher – German Marquez (RHP)
Ahhhh – decisions, decisions, decisions. Tonight we get a Kershaw start (in the best park for pitchers, mind you) combined with a Coors game featuring one of the best hitting teams in the league vs RHP. The Nationals are currently implied for 5.6 runs tonight, which is the most on the slate, and face Rockies righty German Marquez, who will be making his fourth career start and first this season. That’s quite an unenviable task, as the Nats are one of the best team in the league vs RHP, and Coors Field isn’t very, ummm, pitcher friendly.
I’m not going out on a limb here by recommending the Nationals, but they are the top stack of the night in Coors with a team wOBA of .326. The bats to target are the 1-5 hitters, as they should be generating the bulk of the production for the Nats. Trea Turner ($9900), Adam Eaton ($10200) Bryce Harper ($12000) and Daniel Murphy ($10800) all have positive wOBA and ISO splits vs RHP, and they are the obvious targets. Trea Turner may be my favorite of the bunch, as his salary is still somewhat down compared to where it should be tonight and provides stolen base upside at the top of the lineup. Another bat to target to hopefully get some differentiation here is adding Ryan Zimmerman ($9900) to the stack. Zimmerman has been destroying baseballs recently, averaging 242 ft. batted ball distance and increasing his exit velocity and hard hit % substantially over the last 15 days. We know that good things happen when you’re hitting the ball harder, further and in the air, especially in the altitude of Coors.
Hopefully the combination of the weather and people paying up for Kershaw can depress the ownership on some of these bats a little bit, and even more so on the full stack.
*Note – As of this writing, the weather forecast isn’t the best baseball weather, so be sure to keep an eye on the weather well before lock. If it even looks a little dicey, you may want to consider swapping these guys out.
Arizona Diamondbacks (vs San Diego) – Opposing Pitcher – Clayton Richard (LHP)
The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently implied for 5.2 runs tonight, which is the highest total outside of Coors. They are at home to square off against the Padres and southpaw Clayton Richard, who just a week ago shut down the D-Backs in San Diego, allowing 1 ER while striking out 8 in 6.2 innings. Don’t let that deter you, though, as he still allowed 9 hits and tonight’s game is in the best park for hitters other than Coors. In addition, the weather in Arizona is very favorable to hitters tonight, with temps in the 80’s and winds blowing out to left. For that reason, the right-handed power bats of Arizona are a phenomenal pivot off the pricey (and likely chalky) bats in the Rockies-Nats game.
Richard is pretty good against left-handed hitters, so the bats to target tonight from Arizona are going to be AJ Pollock ($8400), Chris Owings ($7200), Paul Goldschmidt ($9600) and Yasmany Tomas ($7800). All four of these batters have positive wOBA and ISO splits vs LHP and are hitting the ball well recently, with increased batted ball distance and hard hit % over the last 15 days. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tomas’ MASSIVE .305 ISO. Yasmany…Yasmoney… Yes, money.
While those 4 bats are the preferred ones, I think that the D-Backs will get to Richard early and often, forcing SD to the pen. For that reason, lefties Peralta ($7600) and Lamb ($8100) are both intriguing bats to add to make a full stack and be a little contrarian. It just so happens that they have been on a tear recently too. For the same upside, I love a full D-Backs stack tonight at a huge discount in salary from Coors bats and should have slightly less ownership.
Oakland Athletics (@ LAA) – Opposing Pitcher – JC Ramirez (RHP)
One of my favorite stacks to use here early in the season has been the Oakland Athletics. Tonight, they are implied for 4.1 runs as they head south to take on the Los Angeles Angels and right J.C. Ramirez, who is making his third start of the season. He got roughed up by the Royals in his first start, but then came out and struck out 9 Astros in just 5.1 innings his last time out. However, if you want to fit Kershaw or big bats into your lineups tonight you’ll have to find some value, and look no further than the A’s. While the park isn’t the greatest for hitters, it is still an upgrade from the Oakland Coliseum, and the weather is warm with winds blowing out to right. Furthermore, only the Tigers, Indians and Red Sox have a higher HH% vs RHP than the A’s this year.
The bats I’m looking to play from Oakland are infielders Yonder Alonso ($5200), Jed Lowrie ($5100) and Stephen Vogt ($5700), plus OFs Matt Joyce ($4400) and Khris “Khrush” Davis ($7200). Side note – Khris Davis needs to motion for rights to the nickname “Crush Davis” or any spelling variants of that, or at the very least make a Twitter handle @TheRealKhrushDavis until the Orioles bats wake up. Alonso hits very well against RHP, and everything you want to look for in recent batted ball stats is there – increased distance, HH%, exit velocity and FB%. Lowrie is a switch hitter at the top of the order, giving bang for your buck and with no risk of being pinch-hit for. There’s no such thing as an Oakland stack without Davis. And Matt Joyce has really been putting good wood on the ball, and while the results haven’t quite come yet, they will. I tweeted out the other day that it was the day Joyce’s recent stats turned into fantasy production – I was wrong then, but he’s on the positive side of his splits again so I’m sticking to it tonight.
All 5 of those guys cost a measly total of $27600, leaving you plenty of salary to take Kershaw, another quality SP AND a big bat or 2.
St. Louis Cardinals (vs. Toronto) – Opposing Pitcher – Marco Estrada (RHP)
With a game at Coors and Kershaw on the mound, most people are going to gravitate to either one or the other, using value plays to fill out the rest of their lineups. This means that a lot of teams in good spots will go overlooked, and my favorite of the bunch is the St. Louis Cardinals, who are implied for 4.1 runs at home against the punchless Blue Jays and RHP Marco Estrada. While the Cardinals started the season slowly themselves, they have really come on of late with the return of slugger Matt Carpenter, and the numbers match up really well tonight for some of their bats, as Marco Estrada is a fly-ball pitcher with slight reverse splits favoring righty bats.
The targets here are the meat of the order, spots 2 through 5 – Aledmys Diaz ($7600, .358/.225 wOBA/ISO vs RHP), Matt Carpenter ($8000, .388/.251), Jedd Gyorko ($6600, .352/.291) and Stephen Piscotty ($7800). Diaz, Carp and Gyorko all have positive splits and all have been hitting the ball very well recently. Gyorko in particular seems to be an incredible value at just $6600 with those splits and recent batted ball data. Rounding out the stack is Piscotty, who isn’t on the positive side of his own splits vs. Estrada, but has increased his average batted ball distance, hard hit %, FB% and exit velocity recently as well despite limited fantasy production. Should regression strike for him tonight, it should be with runners on base and line up for a big night all around.