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.
Seattle Mariners (@ Oakland) – Opposing Pitcher – Cesar Valdez (RHP)
Currently implied for 4.2 runs, the Mariners head to Oakland to square off against the Athletics and 31-year old Cesar Valdez ($8400) in divisional matchup tonight. Valdez is making his major league debut tonight, and not much is known about him as he’s spent most of his time recently south of the border pitching in Mexico. What we do know is that after putting up a 10 spot yesterday, the Mariners have won 5 of their last 6 and have a few bats who can really mash right-handed pitching.
Since Valdez is such an unknown, we want to take the top established hitters in the Mariners lineup, which works out well because those also happen to be their best hitters against RHPs anyway. The 2-5 spots in the order is where the bulk of the production should come from, so Mitch Haniger, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager are who we should look to target. Haniger, Cano and Seager all have positive wOBA & ISO splits vs RHPs, and while we would prefer Nelson Cruz against lefties, Nelly does not discriminate against whom he mashes.
This whole stack will only cost you $32,700, but Mitch Haniger in particular is underpriced for his production at just $7200, and he is a top value play on the night as well.
Washington Nationals (@ Atlanta) – Opposing Pitcher – R.A. Dickey (RHP)
The NL East-leading Nationals head south to Atlanta tonight to face the Braves and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey ($12,300). It’s good hitting weather in Atlanta – a warm night with winds blowing out to left field between 10-15 mph. Currently implied for 4.5 runs after exploding for 14 yesterday, there a few guys in the Nationals lineup that you may have heard of before, and that’s exactly who you should look to fit in your lineups again tonight.
Obviously anytime you’re looking to stack the Nationals, you begin with be all-world superstar Bryce Harper and tonight is no different. After going 4-4 last night with 2 dongs (including a grand slam), Harper has now hit 4 homers in his last 3 games. He’s #good, and figures to be a key cog in any Washington runs scored again tonight. The fun doesn’t stop with Bryce, however. One of the biggest reasons for the Nationals offensive success the past year plus has been the addition of Daniel Murphy and his emergence into one of the best hitters in the league, especially against RHPs. If teams choose to pitch around Harper (and many still do), things don’t get too much easier as Murphy steps to the plate after him. The other 2 batters you should be including in this stack are Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Although both of these guys bat from the right side of the plate, handedness doesn’t matter near as much when it comes to facing knuckleballers. Some guys can just really hit it well, and while I’m not a BvP proponent at all, with knuckleballers it does have some merit if the sample size is sufficient. For that reason, Jayson Werth (if he’s in the lineup) is a must for any Nats stack tonight, as he has gone 13-27 with 2 HR’s in his career against Dickey. The final bat to include in this stack is infielder Ryan Zimmerman, who is priced at just $6600 and is far too cheap for his recent production. Recently he has been hitting the ball far, hard and high, which is a good combo for fantasy production. Combine that with the wind blowing out and the fact that he’s batting behind Harper and Murphy so there’s likely to be runners on, and I love me a Nats stack tonight!
In total, these 4 guys will run you just $32,100. If Werth is out, you could easily swap in Anthony Rendon, who costs $800 more and has positive wOBA and ISO numbers and has been getting extremely unlucky despite hitting the ball hard, or leave this as a 3-man stack and look for a one-off elsewhere.
Kansas City Royals (@ Texas) – Opposing Pitcher – Andrew Cashner (RHP)
The Royals tonight head to the Ballpark at Arlington tonight to face off against the Texas Rangers and Andrew Cashner ($10,800). The Royals are currently implied for 4.7 runs and will see a ballpark boost playing in Texas.
Cashner is slightly better (though not great) vs righties, so look to the lefties in the Royals lineup, although I also like Sal Perez if you wanted a full 4-man stack. The top players to use tonight would be a stack of Mike Moustakas (still somehow just $7200), Eric Hosmer ($8800) and Brandon Moss ($8100). Not only do all 3 of these guys have positive wOBA and ISO numbers vs RHP, they also have been hitting the ball very hard recently, which matches up well with Cashner’s elevated FB rate vs. LHBs. The running joke with the Royals is that they can kill you with a thousand singles, and lots of people don’t like stacking them because of the style of small-ball they play. But facing a pitcher like Cashner who has a low K-rate, BB% above 10, AND allows a lot of hard contact to hitters from both sides of the plate (over 40% HC% to LHPs!), I’ll take my chances, although I’d strongly recommend using at least 3 of them because of the correlation they would provide.
Milwaukee Brewers (vs. St. Louis) – Opposing Pitcher – Carlos Martinez (RHP)
I know, it’s ridiculous to think that a team that has been absolutely crushing the ball recently like the Brewers would go under-owned on just a 7-game slate, but that appears to be the case tonight. As home dogs implied for just 3.9 runs and going up against division rival St. Louis and flamethrower Carlos Martinez, that appears to be the case tonight for the Brew Crew.
The 3 guys in particular that I am looking at in this stack are Eric Thames ($7600), Ryan Braun ($990) and Travis Shaw ($7200). I’m leaving off Villar because he just hasn’t been hitting the ball well at all recently, which doesn’t bode well against a strikeout guy like CarMart, and even if he gets on base the SB upside is limited with Molina behind the plate, but if you want a full Brewers stack then I understand using him. The other guys listed, however, are seeing the ball VERY well. Thames continues to light the world on fire, doing his best 2016 Gary Sanchez impression, and until his price catches up to his production, he’s a plug and play every night for me. Braun has been crushing the ball recently in addition to lowering his GB rate and increasing his FB rate, which is essential for success against a pitcher who induces groundballs when contact is made like CarMart. Last but not least comes Travis Shaw, who went yard yesterday and should have some chances to drive in some runs with the aforementioned guys ahead of him on base. The icing on the cake here is that there’s some pretty strong winds (>15 mph) blowing out to left field as well, making Braun especially more enticing to me as a lot of people may not want to pay up for him with the other options on the slate.
While I do expect the Brewers to have some ownership, it shouldn’t be close to being able to match the potential upside they can provide tonight, so if they hit then it could be the key to your big cash in GPPs.