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MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Leverage, Home Runs, Optimal Picks | Today, 4/6/21

Terry McBride



MLB DFS PIcks DraftKings FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Rankings Yahoo ESPN CBS Joey Gallo home run predictions best bets las vegas odds betting lines TExas Rangers. The MLB Slate Starter breaks down the games on Monday July 5 including Joey Gallo

A bit of a Tuesday multi-sport scramble might cut down the MLB DFS introductory word count a bit today — which could be met here with thunderous applause depending on how big a fan you are of nonsense. The slate is a loaded eight-game affair with a few quality pitching options and several excellent looking stacks to choose from for your MLB DFS lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel. There is warmer weather across the country and rising game totals and power metrics to work with, and there’s always the matter of another Coors Field series.

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The slate kicks off at 7:05 p.m. ET on both sites. The Awesemo team will be here for all of it, providing updates to tools and data throughout, and Live Before Lock airs from 4 to 5 p.m. ET. Speaking of tools, if you aren’t visiting the Top Stacks Tool on a regular basis, you’re just making your MLB DFS picks incorrectly. The Top Starters Tool is every bit as important in deciding who takes the hill for your daily fantasy baseball lineup.


MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Top HR Options

Home Run Ratings

Home runs are the holy grail when making MLB DFS picks. Finding the right combination of sluggers who will knock one, or better two, out of the park to drive in the teammates you stack with them is critical to winning GPPs. Identifying the likely home run hitters is trickier than just looking at the big names. Using a model of my own design, based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup, I am going to give one of the top choices from each team, though it won’t always be the absolute top-ranked player, particularly when there is an obvious star who would be in that spot every day.

Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great

Arizona Diamondbacks: Christian Walker — 4.15

Atlanta Braves: n/a

Baltimore Orioles: n/a

Boston Red Sox: Hunter Renfroe — 11.28

Chicago Cubs: Joc Pederson — 9.33

Chicago White Sox: Luis Robert — 12.87

Cincinnati Reds: n/a

Cleveland Indians: n/a

Colorado Rockies: C.J. Cron – 11.61

Detroit Tigers: n/a

Houston Astros: n/a

Kansas City Royals: n/a

Los Angeles Angels: n/a

Los Angeles Dodgers: Mookie Betts — 6.46

Miami Marlins: n/a

Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich — 8.37

Minnesota Twins: n/a

New York Mets: Francisco Lindor — 21.61

New York Yankees: n/a

Oakland Athletics: Mark Canha – 7.55

Philadelphia Phillies: Alec Bohm — 10.03

Pittsburgh Pirates: n/a

San Diego Padres: Manny Machado — 13.43

San Francisco Giants: Mike Yastrzemski — 3.21

Seattle Mariners: Kyle Seager – 6.15

St. Louis Cardinals: n/a

Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe – 7.57

Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo — 21.25

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Toronto Blue Jays: Marcus Semien — 5.99

Washington Nationals: n/a


MLB DFS Optimal Stacks & Leverage Plays

(Quick note: if it says 1-5 it means hitters 1-2-3-4-5, otherwise I will specify spots)

This section will feature a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays here. Make sure to check out the ownership projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.

TB 1-5 – Diaz – Arozarena – Brosseau – Margot – Lowe

The top stacks board is slanted toward Coors Field once again, with good cause as the Diamondbacks and Rockies have a game total significantly higher than the others on the slate. Knowing that there are some pricey stacks between that game, the Dodgers and some of the other options, quality value will be imperative tonight, which is where the Rays come into the picture.

Taking on veteran southpaw Martin Perez and the Red Sox, the Rays are in a good spot facing a pitcher that has had times as an absolute gas can in the league. In 2020 Perez threw 62 innings, putting up a 5.20 xFIP and just a 17.6% strikeout rate with a 10.7% walk rate — unsustainable numbers against a talented offense. He was not much better in 29 starts in 2019, posting a 4.66 xFIP with an 18.3% strikeout rate and a 9.1% walk rate. The Rays should have the opportunity to create plenty of runs on the base paths and with their power tonight.

A sometimes disrespected part of the Rays lineup, Yandy Diaz should be owned for his positional flexibility, low cost and obvious upside. Diaz saw 138 plate appearances in 2020, putting up a .307/.428/.386 slash with two home runs. He is a mid-range power bat, though he did knock 14 home runs in just 347 plate appearances in 2019. But if Diaz can flash anything like the hit tool and on-base skill he showed last season, he will have stacking value in a dynamic lineup. Diaz will be in the leadoff spot for the Rays tonight.

Following him in the lineup is fellow outfielder and team standout Austin Meadows, another former highly touted prospect who the Rays were able to wrangle from his original team, in this case the Pittsburgh Pirates. Meadows has been terrific for MLB DFS and for the Rays, he put up a 33 home run season and added 12 stolen bases to that tally in 2019, though he did crater to a .205/.296/.371 slash in his 152 plate appearances in 2020. Meadows makes for an intriguing option if he is in the lineup against a lefty, a split he has performed well in for his career, despite the team limiting his chances at times.

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Edit: Meadows is not in the starting lineup.

Playoff superstar Randy Arozarena will have a meaty matchup against a weak lefty pitcher here, and he has the team’s highest mark in the home run model for the night. Arozarena exploded onto the scene in the 2019 postseason, after seeing just 76 plate appearances during the year. He managed to his seven home runs and steal four bases in that tiny sample, posting a .359 ISO and .641 slugging percentage. While his real power production is not quite so gaudy, there is plenty to love in the bat.

Platoon man Mike Brosseau will get the start tonight and bat third against a lefty. Brosseau hit five home runs in 98 plate appearances last season, four of them against lefties. For his career, Brosseau has a .277 ISO and a WRC+ 51% above average against southpaws, compared to just .142 and 1% below average against right-handed pitching.

Manuel Margot has seen his popularity explode with his performance in the playoffs last year and to start this season. Margot was a highly regarded five-tool prospect coming into the league but never quite found his way with the Padres, eventually landing in Tampa Bay. He hit just one home run in 159 plate appearances in 2020 but used his blazing speed to swipe 12 bases despite just a .327 on-base percentage. In 441 plate appearances in 2019, Margot hit 12 home runs and stole 20 bases. The 20-20 upside is apparent, but Margot will be low-owned and affordable on both sites. He is hitting cleanup in the Rays confirmed lineup, adding to the appeal.

Brandon Lowe is another lefty in the Rays lineup who does not have too much difficulty with same-handed pitching from a power perspective. When Lowe makes contact the ball tends to travel, but he does have a troubling 38.4% strikeout rate against fellow southpaws in his career, making him a bit of an all-or nothing matchup that could easily take Perez deep. However, he could also help pad the pitcher’s MLB DFS score tonight.

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Willy Adames slots into the shortstop spot fairly inexpensively on both sites, batting sixth in the Rays lineup. Adames has upside in that role, having hit eight home runs in just 205 plate appearances in 2020, a year after putting up 20 in 584 opportunities. If the public is leaving him out of stacks, it makes a lot of sense to look in his direction against a flammable lefty.

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Francisco Mejia brings switch-hitting thump to the catcher spot, though he had a terrible 42 plate appearances last season, putting up just a .077/.143/.103 slash with a -12 WRC+. He is an afterthought for the field but could make for a sneaky catcher who could swat a random home run for us in the right situation. Double-dipping with him and Mike Zunino is not advisable unless the goal is building six strikeouts into your lineup tonight.

HR Call: Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers

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Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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