We have a 12-game MLB Tiers fantasy baseball slate for Friday. Something to always remember when playing Tiers is with a player pool so limited, it is likely a large portion of the field is aware of who the “best plays” are. But in a sport such as baseball, where variance reigns supreme, you will need to avoid the chalk in a few spots in order to take down a GPP. Stacking in Tiers where you can is another thing to take advantage of.
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Tier 1OF Charlie Blackmon, COL vs. SD
OF Mike Trout, LAA at TB
SS Fernando Tatis, SD at COL
Is it really a Tiers slate if we aren’t fading Coors? This slate’s Tier 1 has just three players in, and two of them will be facing off on opposite sides of a game in Colorado that has a run total of 12.5. Blackmon is a staple of the Rockies’ lineup, while Tatis has been a rookie sensation, hitting .312 with eight homers and seven steals in just 34 games. It is clear that both players will be quite popular.
Trout, meanwhile, has a very difficult matchup against Blake Snell, one of the best pitchers in baseball, at Tropicana Field, one of the more pitcher-friendly parks. Still, he is the absolute best player in baseball, and does have an edge in this particular matchup that could go overlooked. Snell doesn’t use his changeup at all when facing lefties, but deploys it against righties 25% of the time. To say Trout crushes changeups would be an understatement. He has a .500 ISO against lefty changeups, and a .426 ISO against all changeups since 2016.
There is definitely some risk involved in playing Trout, particularly for cash-type contests. But in tournaments, I love the idea of leveraging the field with someone who could legitimately be the greatest player to ever play the game. He can certainly go off in any matchup.
Tier 3OF David Dahl, COL vs SD
SS Elvis Andrus, TEX at CIN
SS Francisco Lindor, CLE at DET
3B Rafael Devers, BOS at BAL
Once again this tier is led off by a Coors player, who I am promptly recommending as a fade. The Rockies are spread out a bit in the tiers, which makes it easy for people to stack them. Expect that to be a popular strategy, which is the main reason I recommend pivoting. When I recommend fading Coors players, it isn’t just to do it, it is to differentiate from the field and give you a chance to take down a GPP. The range of outcomes is simply out-priced by the ownership of the players.
A player who, in my opinion, has a similar range of outcomes as Dahl, but will come at lower ownership is Lindor. The Indians have struggled overall this year, but Lindor has still put together a solid season, hitting .302 with 11 homers and seven steals in 48 games. The Indians have a 5.4 run total today and are facing the extremely weak Ryan Carpenter. Through 52 career innings, Carpenter has allowed 44 earned runs and given up 17 home runs. Lindor has a .419 wOBA and .246 ISO against lefties since the start of 2018.
The total has come down in the game between the Rangers and Reds, but I still like targeting their lefties against Tyler Mahle. Andrus hits from the right-hand side, but Santana is a switch-hitter who has been batting towards the top of the lineup with the absence of Joey Gallo, and moved down the lineup for Rougned Odor. Mahle has been crushed by lefties since the start of last season, allowing 110 more points of wOBA and 142 more points of ISO. Santana has big positive splits versus righties in that same time frame, gaining an additional 103 points of wOBA and 48 points of ISO.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Santana is not in the lineup tonight.
Tier 41B Daniel Murphy, COL vs. SD
OF Shin-soo Choo, TEX at CIN
OF J.D. Martinez, BOS at BAL
OF Max Kepler, MIN vs KC
SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS at BAL
SS Jorge Polanco, MIN vs. KC
OF Andrew Benintendi, BOS at BAL
Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Continue to fade Coors. This is a loaded tier, with both Boston and Minnesota in fantastic spots, and Choo available for us to continue the Rangers stack from Tier 3. There is no reason to roster Murphy. Speaking of Choo, he is another lefty we can target against Mahle. He has a .226 ISO and .398 wOBA when facing righties since the start of 2018. He should also be hitting leadoff, with Santana presumably hitting second.
Boston is facing an Orioles team that is depleted of available arms. This would have been a bullpen game for them, but they had to use too many relievers in a 12-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday. They will call an arm up from AAA to pitch the bulk of the innings. Luis Ortiz is the pitcher in Norfolk on regular rest, but he has a 7.01 ERA over 11 starts. The Orioles are also 29th in bullpen ERA. I would pass on Benintendi given the season he has had, and roll with either Martinez or Bogaerts. Either player could be stacked with Devers from Tier 3 if you so choose.
The Twins are also in a great spot against Brad Keller, who has a 4.93 xFIP this season. The team has seen its run total improve by 0.7 runs today, indicating that the market expects them to score a boatload this evening. Both Kepler and Polanco make for good plays, and he should be used equally in your lineups. When facing righties, they have .216 and .202 ISOs respectively since the start of 2018. I would give favor to Kepler, who hits sinkers better and has more power upside, but would not argue against Polanco.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is amicsta) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.