MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Focus on Reds and Rangers Bats! (March 31)

Sunday brings wall-to-wall MLB DFS action, with contests locking at 1:35 p.m. ET on DraftKings, and FanDuel, while Yahoo is going with a five-game featured slate locking at 4:07 p.m. ET. Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help in identifying today’s MLB DFS top stacks, key pitchers and MLB DFS picks. Look to Chris Sale and Jack Flaherty as today’s aces, with the Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers the key offenses.

Still trying to find your MLB DFS edge? Luckily Stokastic has a new tool to help you get there — the MLB Sims Tool! With it you can simulate any MLB DFS contest you are playing on a given night and see what lineups are the likeliest to be profitable. And if you need a head start on strategy, we’ve broke down how to use the MLB Sims Tool to create the best DFS lineups on a nightly basis.

MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | March 31

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: LHP Chris Sale at Philadelphia Phillies — 4.1 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,800 | FanDuel $9,600 | Yahoo $47

Now we are in the fun part of MLB DFS, as there is a decision to be made with LHP Chris Sale, who is the leading man in the Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool. Additionally, he is the top projected fantasy option across every major data provider. So let’s unpack things a little … this will make more sense on a site-by-site basis.

DraftKings gives Sale a palatable cap hit, particularly with a couple of cheap SP2s, and we should see a few discounted reserve outfielders or utility players get into lineups today, providing additional discount dandies. Sale has a 21.6% probability of being a top-2 scoring pitcher on DraftKings, though his current projected popularity of 37.0% indicates he will be overrepresented in tournaments.

FanDuel is similar, but the likelihood of Sale being the top pitcher on the slate is just 7.9%, and with him probably being on around one in five rosters, he has a -12.2% leverage score.

When healthy, Sale still brings the strikeouts, even in his age-35 season. This spring he made five appearances, totaling 14.2 innings with 14.11 strikeouts per nine innings. Yes, it is hard to trust early-season action, but it is at least positive information. Philadelphia is never a fun lineup to attack, but it is somewhat weak at the bottom of the order, and while players like Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos have above-average power against southpaws, they also strike out at an elevated clip.

Ultimately, the decision point comes down to how you feel about taking Sale, who only has a couple fantasy points of cushion on his median projection over the next four hurlers. Caveat Emptor!

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: RHP Jack Flaherty at Chicago White Sox — 3.8 implied runs

First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,900 | FanDuel $9,000 | Yahoo $30

It is going to be in the upper-40s, which is about 15 degrees cooler than the weather in Philadelphia, plus the Windy City is living up to expectations with a 7 to 12 mph breeze coming in from left field. RHP Jack Flaherty will be making his debut with Detroit after spending the better part of seven seasons in St. Louis before a brief stop in Baltimore.

Flaherty also had a strong spring, though not as illustrious as Sale’s. The 28-year-old brings an above-average strikeout rate to the table, which is key in taking advantage of a projected ChiSox lineup that has five players strikeout out above league average, including Yoan Moncada (28.8%), Luis Robert (28.0%) and Martin Maldonado (34.0%).

Late Slate Pitching Target: RHP Brandon Pfaadt vs. Colorado Rockies — 4.0 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,300 | FanDuel $9,100 | Yahoo $42

Hat tip to the Rockies, who plated nine runs last night after putting just four across the plate in the first two games of this series. This is an offense we will be targeting in most road games, so get used to seeing a semi-standard writeup. Last year, RHP Brandon Pfaadt had a rough start in The Show, being sent back down to the minors a couple of times to work on things. After the All-Star Break, he appeared in 13 games, making 12 starts, and was respectable with 73 strikeouts in 70.1 innings, a 4.22 ERA and 4.35 FIP. The 13 home runs in this stretch were a little high, but that is often the case for young hurlers as they learn the hard way that mistakes are often crushed by the pros.

Colorado has mediocre power against right-handed pitching, with only lefties Charlie Blackmon (old), Nolan Jones (young) and Ryan McMahon (inconsistent), worthy of mentioning. Oft-injured Kris Bryant has mostly been lost at the plate in his two-plus seasons with the Rockies. The back half of the lineup is barely replacement level, and that includes gifting it half its games in Coors Field.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Cincinnati Reds vs. RHP Jake Irvin — 5.8 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:40 p.m. ET

After being selected in the fourth round of the 2018 MLBA Draft, RHP Jake Irvin worked his way through every rung in the Washington farm system, finally reaching The Show last year. He is an average pitcher at best who needs to induce weak contact and ground balls to survive an elevated home-run-to-fly-ball rate (13.8%). Across 530 batters faced last season, he had a marginal 18.7% strikeout rate and a horrible 10.2% walk rate. Crooked numbers are in the forecast if he is unable to limit base runners this afternoon.

Six different hitters in the Cincinnati lineup had a .200 ISO or better against right-handed pitching last year. Irvin allowed opposite-handed batsmen a .222 ISO, so look to Will Benson (.255 ISO), Jake Fraley (.201), Jeimer Candelario (.229), Elly De La Cruz (.218) and Nick “Double-Dong” Martini (.361) as the core building blocks. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Spencer Steer and Jonathan India can be employed as differentiation plays or part of full stacks.

Mid-Afternoon Slate Target: Texas Rangers vs. RHP Jordan Wicks — 5.0 implied runs

First Pitch: 2:35 p.m. ET

Rookie RHP Jordan Wicks is a top-75 prospect on most industry lists, though his strikeouts have fallen off dramatically each time he has leveled up, including a low of 6.23 per nine in his 34.2 innings in the majors last season. He does have a 45%-plus ground ball rate, which bodes well for him reaching his ceiling as a back-of-the-rotation “innings eater,” and there is no shame in that.

The defending World Champion Rangers have an All-Star-laden lineup ,and they bring power from both sides of the plate. Wicks has done a decent job of limiting home runs, but this is one of the best offenses in the league, with few easy outs. Corey Seager, Josh Jung, Adolis Garcia, Marcus Semien, Ezequiel Duran and switch-hitting catcher Jonah Heim provide ample options to mix and match Texas bats across every position. That allows this malleable crew to be employed as full stacks, mini-stacks or one-offs on both the featured and afternoon slates.

Late Slate Target: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. RHP Ryan Feltner — 5.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

San Diego, Cleveland and even Oakland all have potential as secondary and mini-stacks, but it is once again the Arizona bats that are the coveted targets. RHP Ryan Feltner has serious walk issues, allowing 4.16 per nine across his 147 MLB innings, including 5.82 last season. While he limits home runs, he does not have enough strikeouts to get himself out of jams, and relying on double plays is folly.

Pretty much everyone in a Diamondbacks uniform is in play this afternoon, with Corbin Carroll, Christian Walker and Ketel Marte being the trio to target. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is dialed in at the plate right now, and Joc Pederson does not have too much pinch-hit risk against a bullpen boasting just one lefty in Jalen Beeks, who tossed 20 pitches last night and 23 on Thursday.

Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

Tonight we can look to Jarren Duran in the sports wagering market with his +540 prop to hit a home run. The True Odds feature on OddsShopper shows this longshot bet has +446 “true odds,” and the +540 line currently available at Unibet and BetRivers are the books to place this wager, with a lofty 17.3% expected return on investment (ROI). Looking at the other books, we can see most are in the +330 to +375 range, which are actually negative bets.

Be a savvy shopper when dabbling in the home run market, as you can almost always find dramatically better odds at one of the books. This is why having accounts on several is a sound strategy in order to gain every little edge possible.

Home runs are, of course, very fickle, and this prop has an 18% probability of coming to fruition. Duran will likely lead off, which means he will see at least two at bats against RHP Bryce Miller and potentially three. Miller is a talented young pitcher, though he allowed a .255 ISO across 256 opposite-handed matchups last season. Duran had a .195 ISO, and while he is not frequently launching moon shots, he has enough pop to make this wager one to target.

Did you know that you can get up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets paid back if your first wager does not win at BetMGM? Claim here today!

Final Thoughts for Sunday, March 31 — MLB DFS Picks

Keep tabs on the weather in San Diego and Los Angeles; it is a wonky weather system that has SoCal seeing precipitation. This is a rare event, and it appears there should be time to get in these games tonight, as the local start times should allow for an easy push of two hours if necessary to get to a clean weather window.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show, get 30% off the Stokastic MLB Packages including DFS Sims, Lineup Generator and Data, with promo code DINGER.

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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