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MLB Daily Fantasy Primer: Sunday (8/15)

Aug 15, 2021

I don’t know how many MLB DFS articles I’ve written for FantasyPros, but this has to be one of the worst slates of pitchers I’ve ever witnessed. Even the best guys have tough matchups, making it extremely difficult to know what to do. That’s why we have a ton of value at that position, and it should lead to some easy lineup construction with so much salary left over. There’s a lot to talk about, though, so let’s get into it!

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Sunday's Starting Pitching Strategy

Freddy Peralta (MIL) at PIT
There aren't many great pitching options out there, but Freddy is the best option of the bunch. This talented righty has pitched to a 2.26 ERA and 0.91 WHIP this season, striking out 162 batters across 119.2 innings. That makes him hard to fade against Pittsburgh, with the Pirates ranked 25th in OBP, 29th in OPS, and dead-last in runs scored. In his four matchups with the Buccos this year, Peralta has at least 43 FanDuel points in three of them.

Sean Manaea (OAK) at TEX
The Hawaiian southpaw has always struggled with his ability to strike out hitters, but something has changed this season. Over his last 12 starts, Manaea has a 2.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 10.7 K/9 rate. That's one of the best stretches of his career, and it could continue against a Texas club that ranks dead-last in both OBP and OPS.

Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) vs. BAL
E-Rod is one of the most volatile pitchers out there, but we love him when he's rolling. Since the end of June, Rodriguez is providing a 3.62 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 13.0 K/9 rate. That K rate might be the most impressive thing here, making him a godsend the way DFS is scored. We certainly don't mind that he faces Baltimore either, with the O's sitting 25th in OBP and 20th in OPS.

Triston McKenzie (CLE) at DET
McKenzie is a great pitcher to stack against when he faces a tough offense but is a fantastic one to use when facing a crappy lineup. That happens to be the case here, with Detroit ranked 21st in runs scored and 25th in K rate. That was on full display when McKenzie threw five one-hit innings in their one meeting about a month ago.

Alec Mills (CHC) at MIA
This is really risky, but we love using pitchers against the Marlins. Not only does Miami own one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball, but they also rank 26th in OPS and dead-last in xwOBA. That makes a solid arm like Mills a good option, with Alex attaining a 3.09 ERA and 1.33 WHIP since the end of June.

Cash Game Recommendations:

Peralta is the only true cash-game option out there.

GPP Recommendations:

Manaea, E-Rod, McKenzie, and Mills.

Top Lineup Stacks

Boston Red Sox (vs. Keegan Akin)

It feels like Boston has been killing Baltimore pitchers all season. It's really no surprise when you see how bad this rotation is and how scary the Sox lineup is, and they should continue that dominance against Akin. The O's lefty has an 8.23 ERA and 1.79 WHIP for the season, projecting Boston for more than six runs.

Kansas City Royals (vs. J.A. Happ)

The Royals don't have a great lineup, but it's a good team to use whenever they have a quality matchup. That's definitely the case here, with Happ having a 6.34 ERA and 1.51 WHIP for the year. Those horrific averages are bad news against a bunch of contact hitters like this, especially when their two best bats hit from the right side.

St. Louis Cardinals (vs. Kris Bubic)

The Cardinals have been struggling mightily for two months now, but this is a good spot to get them going. Bubic has been bombarded for most of the season, generating a 5.96 ERA and 1.56 WHIP since the first week of June. That obviously won't get it done, especially when you see how many potent righty bats the Cards possess.

  • This J.D. play is one of the easiest decisions all year. Akin has been a gas can all season, and Martinez has absolutely slaughtered left-handed pitching. In fact, J.D. has a .400 OBP, .629 SLG, and 1.029 OPS, with the platoon advantage in his favor since 2019. Not to mention, he hit a three-run homer on Saturday.
  • Nolan has also obliterated left-handed pitching throughout his career, generating a .952 OPS against them over the last three years. That's bad news since he's hot, collecting a .938 OPS over his last nine games played.
  • Whit is leading the league in steals and has been one of the most underrated players in fantasy atop this KC lineup. Since we love the Royals, we have to love Merrifield against a lefty.
  • J-Ram is one of the highest-priced players on the slate, and rightfully so. The switch-hitter gets to bat from his more favorable left side and faces a guy who hasn't even thrown a Major League pitch this season. That's rough against a hitter who's averaging a position-best 9.2 DK points per game.
  • Eloy has been mashing since he came off the IL. He's got five homers and 13 RBI over his last five games, making him one of the best options on the board against a southpaw.

  • O'Neill seems to be in this section a lot. A big reason for that is his price, playing at a $4,500 level on DK and a $3,800 level on FD. Not only does he gets to face a crappy lefty here, but O'Neill is also one of the league leaders in hard-hit rate and xwOBA.
  • Renfroe also hit a dinger on Saturday against this terrible O's staff, and that success should continue here with Baltimore throwing out another lackluster lefty.
  • It's always tough to pick the right Brewers, but Garcia is always a good option when they face a lefty. In 90 at-bats against southpaws this year, Avi has a .433 OBP and .592 SLG.
  • Canha has been awesome atop this A's lineup, and it's a wonder why he doesn't get more respect. We're talking about a guy who's flirting with a .400 OBP over the last three years while providing a rare power-speed combo. That makes him an incredible option against a lefty with a 4.93 ERA.
  • Luplow has been a sneaky platoon guy throughout his career, and it's such a Tampa move to add him to their roster. Since 2019, Luplow has a .401 OBP and .995 OPS, with the platoon advantage in his favor.

Sunday's Hitter Strategy

We've already discussed this, but the pitchers on this slate are terrible. That means you should have a ton of salary to spend on hitters, and it should allow you to use whoever you want. The chalkiest stack of the day happens to be Boston, but it honestly feels like they could score another 10 runs after dropping a 16-spot on Saturday. My lineups will focus on those Red Sox hitters, and then I'll build from there with the other teams I mentioned before.

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Whether you're new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to a more advanced strategy - like Maximizing Your Potential in Multi-Lineup Contests - to learn more.

Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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