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MLB DFS Picks, Top Stacks & Pitchers: Cardinals Crush Lefties, While Javier and Lynn Go Against Weak Offenses as SP1s (Sunday August 14)

Eric MacPherson



Sunday, Aug. 14, wraps up the weekend with a featured slate locking at 1:37 p.m. ET. There are several top-shelf pitchers in tricky matchups which should make for an interesting tournament landscape. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks today for pitchers and stacks for DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.

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DraftKings & FanDuel MLB DFS Picks Today (8/14)

Main Slate: Atlanta Braves at LHP Braxton Garrett — 4.6 implied runs

Like many southpaws honing their craft, Braxton Garrett has hit a few rough patches. Atlanta has several hitters that we can focus on in this matchup, who will likely be underrepresented in tournaments. Do not let this low implied run total keep you away from this matchup.

Garrett celebrated his 25th birthday earlier this month, so he has plenty of time to see marked improvements in his abilities and to become more consistent. The last three starts have been rough for him with a 5.87 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP. He also has 22 strikeouts in this stretch, though while that is nice, it has not been enough to overcome his mistakes.

Austin Riley has been sublime in his last 278 righty-lefty matchups with a .409 wOBA and a .279 ISO. Matt Olson continues to be overlooked in same-handed matchups, which is just wild considering he has a .366 wOBA and a .273 ISO over his last 388 opportunities. He is also locked in at the plate with home runs in each of his last three games including both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader. Dansby Swanson is always in play at the top of the order as is Ronald Acuna Jr. Keep in mind that Acuna left the second game of the doubleheader with a sore knee and if he is out of the lineup on Sunday, even less of the field will be rolling out Atlanta stacks.

Mid-Afternoon Slate: St. Louis Cardinals vs. LHP Aaron Ashby — 4.4 implied runs

Clearly Aaron Ashby is a talented young lefty and he has tremendous strikeout upside. However, he is sort of in his Nuke LaLoosh phase where his pitching is kind of all over the place. Walks are an issue and though the 24-year-old has averaged 94.5 pitches thrown in his last two starts, he failed to close out the fifth inning each time with his 11 strikeouts more than offset by a dreadfully high eight walks.

Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are two of the best in the game against left-handed pitching. Since the start of last seasons, Goldschmidt has a .489 wOBA and .355 ISO, while Arenado has been as equally impressive with a .416 wOBA and a .380 ISO. Tyler O’Neill has been stellar in his own right against opposite-handed hurlers with a .376 wOBA and .248 ISO. Paul DeJong continues to rake since being recalled from the minors and Albert Pujols can be swapped in for Goldy to gain differentiation against other St. Louis stacks.

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Afternoon Slate: Minnesota Twins at LHP Tucker Davidson — 4.7 implied runs

This is a solid matchup for Minnesota against young southpaw Tucker Davidson. Davidson came over from Atlanta in the Raisel Iglesias trade. The 26-year-old is looking like he could be a Quad-A pitcher who is better than Triple-A competition, but who just cannot get a foothold in The Show. Most projection systems have him as a back of the rotation starter or multi-inning reliever who lacks strikeout stuff the deeper he goes in games. Perhaps the proverbial change of scenery will be a positive development.

To his credit, Davidson does a reasonable job of limiting power, but Byron Buxton (.348 ISO) and Jose Miranda (.278 ISO) should not be dramatically impacted by any stretch. Jorge Polanco and Carlos Correa will be operating with the platoon advantage and they round out the preferred core four from the top of the Minnesota batting order.

Best MLB DFS Pitchers

Primary Target: RHP Cristian Javier vs. Oakland Athletics — 3.0 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,700 | FanDuel $10,600

Over his last 10 starts, Cristian Javier has been outstanding with a 3.07 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and an eye-popping 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings rate. Though they are not horrible, the Athletics are still in the bottom third of the league when it comes to most metrics against right-handed pitchers. Seth Brown, Sean Murphy and Ramon Laureano are the only real threats and they do not profile particularly well against Javier’s pitch mix.

Secondary Target: RHP Lance Lynn vs. Detroit Tigers — 3.4 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $6,800 | FanDuel $9,000

Lather, rinse and repeat. Once again we have a struggling right-handed pitcher landing in the perfect “get right” spot against an abysmal Detroit offense. Lance Lynn has had a rough go of things this season after having surgery on a slight tendon tear in his right knee. The recovery took longer than expected and cost Lynn two months of action. In his last two starts, both against Kansas City, he was solid with 13 strikeouts across a dozen innings resulting in a 3.75 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP. Unfortunately he allowed three home runs and that has been a trend with the veteran ceding nine across his last 28.2 innings.

The Tigers have a 68 wRC+ against right-handed hurlers which indicates they are creating runs 32% less efficiently than league average. For perspective, they are a full standard deviation behind the the Reds who are the next worst team and the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, Padres and Twins have almost double the efficiency when compared to the Tigers. This is a ridiculous salary for Lynn on DraftKings with most of the downside risk being eliminated. Though his salary cap hit is not as favorable on FanDuel at $9,000, he is still just the ninth most expensive option. The quality start bonus is key on the blue site and while Lynn has only three in his 11 starts, he has a better than average chance of reaching that achievement on Sunday.

Afternoon Target: LHP Alex Wood vs. Pittsburgh Pirates — 3.2 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,000 | FanDuel $9,200

This is a cherry matchup for Alex Wood with the Pittsburgh offense looking like a field of wind machines when facing southpaws. The active roster has a 25.2% strikeout rate against lefties and today’s projected lineup has a two-year trailing strikeout rate approaching 30% which is incredible. In this same timeframe, Wood has been steady with a 24.8% strikeout rate and nearly half of all balls in play being grounders. Good teams can cause him issues, but sub par squads are usually just a minor inconvenience for the 31-year-old hurler.

Additional Opportunities

Zack Wheeler does not have an easy matchup against the Mets in CitiField this afternoon, though he should be live to reach the over on his 5.5 strikeout prop. The Stokastic MLB Player Props Tool has him for 6.2 strikeouts and a 60% of getting the half dozen whiffs needed to cash in with this wager. In his last 18 starts, Wheeler has fallen below six strikeouts just four times. Though there are not many holes in the New York lineup, Wheeler is arguably one of the ten best pitchers in the game.

If this wager feels a bit risky, you can still navigate things at an advantage with a RISK FREE BET up to $1,000 on BetMGM.

Other Pitching Options

  1. LHP Blake Snell at Washington Nationals (Early)
  2. RHP Zack Wheeler at New York Mets (Main)
  3. RHP Drew Rasmussen vs. Baltimore Orioles (Main SP2)
  4. RHP Chris Bassitt vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Main)
  5. RHP Jameson Taillon at Boston Red Sox (Late)

Other Hitting Options

  1. Juan Soto at RHP Paolo Espino (Early)
  2. David Peralta vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (Main)
  3. Jose Abreu vs. LHP Tyler Alexander (Mid-Afternoon)
  4. Coors Field Extravaganza (Afternoon)
  5. Rafael Devers vs. RHP Jameson Taillon (Late)

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Final MLB DFS Thoughts & MLB Weather Notes

Another low precipitation risk day with Cincinnati being the only worrisome spot. There really is no need to go to the pitchers in this game and the Stokastic Top Stacks Tool is not particularly fond of either offense.

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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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