MLB DFS Caught Looking Strategy for Thursday July 2, 2015 (LATE SLATE)

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Season long fantasy sports leagues have been around for decades now and have really revolutionized the way both casual and hardcore sports fans look at the game.  But a more recent adaptation of fantasy sports is the daily fantasy sports (DFS) approach where you are only committed to a single day’s worth of games at a time and can win some serious cash on a daily basis.  I personally have become very involved in DFS in addition to all my season long leagues, and so I hope that I can share some of the knowledge that I have gained and provide some helpful tips in that area from time to time as well.

***The primary site that I play on is DraftKings and I am mostly a GPP tournament player (I also play on Fantasy Aces).  So for the most part, any recommendations I make are meant to be for GPP tournaments, not cash games, and are specific to DraftKings (though a lot of the same concepts and picks carry over to strategy on other sites).


Weather for Thursday’s 7-game late slate beginning at 4:05 PM PST/7:05 PM EST should mostly be a non-factor.  There is a chance of a thunderstorm in the MIN/KC game, but it shouldn’t be impactful if it comes to fruition.  But the weather in the WAS/ATL game has some winds of 10+ MPH blowing out with a little humidity and an air density index of 58.  So that game may get a slight boost in offense. 



We have to go back to Max Scherzer on Thursday as he gets another prime matchup against a helpless Braves offense that has averaged 2.0 runs per game in the 11 games since they’ve been without Freddie Freeman.  I did just mention Atlanta as a possible boost in offense because of slightly favorable weather conditions, but that shouldn’t really scare us too much away from Scherzer.  He is expensive on DraftKings at $14,500, but recommending him is self-explanatory, even at the price.

The other faves of the day come from the same game in Oakland in a battle of the southpaws — Scott Kazmir squaring off against Roenis Elias.  For Kazmir, he gets a matchup against one of the worst scoring offenses in the league and Elias goes against an A’s team that is much more dangerous against right-handed pitching.  Both have a favorable environment to pitch in at the spacious Coliseum, and the Vegas over/under line is relatively low at 7, which is the lowest of the slate besides the WAS/ATL game at 6.5 thanks to Scherzer pitching.


I have to go with Chris Young as the cheap sleeper of the day and he can be paired nicely with Scherzer on DraftKings and still leave a little wiggle room for some of the top hitter plays of the day.  With a 2.71 ERA, Young has been greatly out pitching his SIERA of 4.89 and xFIP of 5.02.  But he has the penchant to be able to do so because of his extreme fly ball tendencies that aid his performance in limiting the number of base hits that he allows.  Of course with all those fly balls comes home runs allowed though, but he faces a Twins offense that does more damage against left-handed pitching and it’s the same offense that he allowed just 1 hit to in his last start against them in Minnesota.  The weather also has winds blowing in slghtly, which may not have a huge impact, but it surely doesn’t hurt Young the same as if they were blowing out.

Kevin Gausman of the Orioles also could make for a decent cheaper play for his strikeout upside.  However, he will be against a Rangers team that favors right-handed pitching and they could blow him up with a few bombs.  I may try him out in a lineup or two, but I would feel more comfortable with Young despite the lack of upside.


Tyson Ross has been better as of late, but he still can be shaky and on the road at St. Louis I think that the Cardinals offense should be able to be patient enough to get some bases on balls and then capitalize on Ross’ mistakes.  As the 2nd highest priced option on DraftKings, I would look to avoid Ross.


A strategy that has worked since the introduction of DFS is stacking multiple players (3-6) from one offense.  However, in certain situations it may be more beneficial not to stack as it is becoming more contrarian not to do full stacks since so many people are doing it now.  But for the most part, stacking (mini-stack at the very least) seems to be a component of most winning tournament lineups.


The obvious stacking situation of the day is the Toronto Blue Jays against the lefty Wade Miley.  Blue Jays rule the world versus lefties and they touched Miley up a little bit in a meeting earlier this season as well.  Jose ReyesJosh Donaldson, Jose BautistaEdwin EncarnacionChris Colabello, and Danny Valencia/Kevin Pillar are the players that I would use in a full stack but ownership of Blue Jays should be high.

For a lower owned big boy stack, I turn to the Arizona Diamondbacks against the lefty Chris Rusin.  The Diamondbacks two most dangerous hitters are lefty killers and Rusin is just not that good of a pitcher.  A.J. PollockPaul GoldschmidtYasmany TomasAaron HillWelington Castillo, and Nick Ahmed will consist of my full D-Back stack if they are all starting.


The sneaky stack of the day comes in the form of the San Diego Padres against rookie southpaw Tim Cooney. Cooney had a one and out debut a while back where the Phillies were able to knock him around a bit.  But he is back on Thursday to go up against a Padres lineup that can put out a very right-handed heavy lineup.  The Padres have been struggling to get any offense going being shutout in the last two games, so that should make them very hungry but also scare people away from using them to make them lower owned in tournaments.  A soft-tossing finesse lefty might be just what the doctor ordered.  Let’s go with Matt KempDerek Norris, and Justin Upton for sure, and then depending on who is in the lineup and where, Will MiddlebrooksJed Gyorko, and Clint Barmes are also good right-handed options.


  • Yovani Gallardo has surprised me so far and I can really see it going either way for him tonight.
  • The Boston Red Sox would appear to be in a nice spot against the rookie Matt Boyd who didn’t have great success last week in his debut against the Rangers, but Boyd is a fringe top prospect who has been dominating AA and AAA this season.  He could prove to be troublesome for the Red Sox.
  • Lefty Manny Banuelos is making his Major League debut for the Braves against the Nationals.  He is one of the Braves top pitching prospects that they acquired from the Yankees in the off-season.  He has some control issues, so I think that the Nationals could be able to take advantage of the youngster and the jitters.

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