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Ben’s MLB DFS Game Theory (7/22/21)

Welcome to Ben’s MLB DFS Game Theory. In this article, I will provide my top pitchers, bats and stacks for each day’s Main Slate. You can find all of our Core Plays through our MLB Premium Package, or you click here to join our FREE Discord channel.


Pitcher 1B/C 2B 3B SS OF
Sean Manaea Shohei Ohtani Brandon Lowe Josh Donaldson Fernando Tatis Jr Nelson Cruz
Blake Snell Matt Olson Ozzie Albies Austin Riley Wander Franco Meadows + Arozarena
Walker Buehler Ji Man Choi Rougned Odor Manny Machado Dansby Swanson Hunter Renfroe
Tanner Houck (DK) Jared Walsh Jorge Polanco Bryant + Wisdom Xander Bogaerts Bradley Zimmer
Andrew Heaney

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We have another mid-sized slate on tap tonight, with no standout ace pitcher. Walker Buehler is someone I consider a real-life ace, but he isn’t on the same level as guys like Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer in terms of DFS locks every time they toe the rubber. He is, however, the best real-life pitcher on this slate and can certainly be used in all formats on both FanDuel and DraftKings tonight. My top graded option is going to be Sean Manaea against the lowly Seattle Mariners. Manaea is someone I’ve truly been writing up since I started producing DFS content years ago. He doesn’t have huge strikeout upside, but a 25% strikeout rate will more than get the job done against this Mariners offense.

Then there’s Blake Snell. I expect Snell to be extremely popular on DK tonight, priced at only $7,800 vs the Miami Marlins. Snell has not been great during his first season in San Diego, but the good news is the Marlins aren’t great either. His biggest issue has been control, sporting a walk rate north of 14% heading into tonight’s start. Not only are the Marlins one of the worst offenses in baseball vs LHP (27% K%), they have the third-lowest walk rate as a team (7.8%). This is the type of player I’m comfortable fading in GPPs, but you probably should just eat the chalk and roster him in cash games / H2H’s.

We have a pair of young pitchers that can be used as pivots off of Snell in larger-field tournaments — Zach Thompson and Tanner Houck. Both have arguably the highest strikeout upside on this slate, but are in tough match-ups. Houck in particular is someone I’m bullish on moving forward. He’s been dubbed the “right-handed Chris Sale” and has flashed strikeout ability any time we’ve seen him in the major leagues. He’s just coming back up from the minors, however, so there’s no guarantee he goes more than around four innings. He is the cheapest SP on DK, so he is still worth a look in GPPs if you are going to jam in an expensive stack. The Yankees strike out at a top-ten rate in baseball vs RHP, so he could pay off his price tag even in a few innings if he racks up enough strikeouts.


With the lack of quality at pitcher tonight, there are tons of stacks you can use. The clear top two for me are the Rays and Braves, and these are teams I will be targeting heavily in my cash game lineup.

Cal Quantrill has been terrible vs left-handed batters this season allowing a .368 wOBA and .263 ISO. Loading up on the Rays lefties makes sense — Meadows, Lowe, Franco and Choi. I also want to point out that Randy Arozarena has been absolutely locked in at the plate recently. As we saw late last season, this is a guy that can get hot in a hurry and when he’s seeing the ball well you want to be on him. Over the last 14 days, he owns a huge 57% fly ball rate and 37% hard hits.

My favorite leverage stack on this slate is going to be the Twins vs Andrew Heaney. Heaney is someone that always gets ownership in DFS, and is someone I have loved to fade this season — similar to Blake Snell. His surface numbers are actually much better than Snell’s, the problem is just the hard hits and fly balls. He allows too much power, so when things go bad, they go bad quickly. The Twins offense has overall been a letdown this season, but this is another night to target them at hopefully low ownership. The top six batters in their projected lineup all have hard-hit rates north of 40% vs left-handed pitching this season.

Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)

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