MLB DFS Strategy

Pitching Breakdown 8/19/17

Hello class! Today we will be talking about percentages. Not the “if Arthur and Bernice have a pie with 12 pieces and Arthur eats 8, what percentage of the pie does Bernice get to eat” type of percentages. We will be talking about the “if Barto Colon is facing the Astros, what percentage of people don’t think he’ll be pulled to get his daily prostate exam in the 4th inning” type of percentages. What I am going to do is try to predict the ownership percentages for the pitchers on the upcoming slate (GPP only). This will help us decide who we want to take in GPPs to differ our lineup from the rest. Having a lower owned player who does well gives us the edge we need to get towards the top of the leaderboard. All players will be listed by salary from most expensive to least expensive.

DISCLAIMER: I tend to make BOLD predictions that usually don’t coincide with projection websites. I like to think of myself as a realist in my belief that not all of the 5k pitchers will hit 20 points on every single slate. I also don’t believe that all pitchers max out around 40 points. In real life anomalies happen and I try to predict them. That being said, let’s get right into it.

Today I am going to try something a little different. If a pitcher is an obvious fade and they will be owned at 1% or below I will be putting N/A in the “Why” section as well as the “like/dislike” section. This will save everybody time and let me publish earlier in the day allowing time before the slate to read this entire article.

The Chalkboard


Chris Sale ($11,500) NYY @ BOS – 27.5%

Why? – It’s a toss up between Sale and Strasburg for who will be higher owned tonight, but I think it will be Sale because of Strasburg’s return from the DL. Sale is the biggest favorite on the slate and understandably so. He is very possibly the best pitcher in baseball and everybody knows it. I think Sale will be slightly higher owned due to the fact that he is the safest play on any given night.

Like/Dislike? – Like (limit exposure) – I’m not crazy…I am obviously going to play Sale in a lineup or two tonight. That said, you must limit your exposure to both Sale and Strasburg tonight. They will have somewhere around 50% of the total ownership tonight which means limiting exposure is crucial. You will automatically be in the top 50% of the field if you can find a pitcher who gets you more points per dollar. It’s necessary to limit your exposure to the highest owned options in any GPP and these guys are no exception. Regardless of how appealing their matchups are. (Projected Points: 54)

Stephen Strasburg ($10,400) WAS @ SDP – 21.5%

Why? – He’s playing against the Padres who strikeout a ton. He’s a heavy favorite with high strikeout upside. He would be owned around 40% if Sale wasn’t on the slate with him.

Like/Dislike? – Like-ish (limit exposure) – I’m definitely going to play Strasburg in at least one lineup because of the strikeout upside. I don’t know if the Nationals will limit him and I’m a little worried about how many innings he will pitch.  I’m think some people will be in the same boat and be slightly worried about his return from injury, but I don’t think it will be enough to keep him from being owned over 20%. If you don’t think that he will have any restrictions placed on his pitches or innings then I think that he is a better play than Sale. (Projected Points: 49)

Zack Greinke ($9,800) ARI @ MIN – 9%

Why? – Minnesota has been putting up runs left and right over the past week. I think that will scare a good amount of people off of Greinke here. He will be owned by those who want a pitcher with a high strikeout rate as a pivot from Sale and Strasburg.

Like/Dislike? – Like – In his last outing, Greinke proved that an elite pitcher beats an elite offense by giving up 0 earned runs against the Astros. Does Minnesota have a chance to put up runs against Greinke? Of course they do. Do I see him getting pulled before the 6th inning and not getting a quality start? No, I think he’s safe for 6 or 7 innings, 2 earned runs, 8 strikeouts and probably the win. (Projected points: 48)

Trevor Bauer ($9,100) CLE @ KAN – 6%

Why? – The Royals have a lot of amazing hitters and Bauer is the definition of hit or miss. He’s not as reliable as some of the other options on the slate, so I think he will go lower owned.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – I think Bauer is a very very interesting play in a large scale GPP, but I don’t know if I can go there tonight. I love his massive strikeout upside, but I don’t know if I will be able to get 6 innings out of him. Ask yourself this. Would I play Sale, Strasburg or Greinke against the Royals? Personally, my answer to that is yes. What does that mean if we’re unsure about Bauer? It means that he is a much riskier option than those other guys. I of all people understand that GPPs are boom or bust, but you still need to play smart. You need a pitcher with high upside that still has a solid floor. I honestly don’t think Bauer has a solid floor and that is why I’m not hot on him tonight. He could go off and prove me wrong. I’m just not willing to put my money there tonight. (Projected Points: 34)

Kevin Gausman ($8,800) LAA @ BAL – 6.5%

Why? – It took  3 or 4 solid games, but people finally had enough confidence to roster Gausman. The former gas can has turned his game around and it seems like everybody has been playing him. I think he will be faded by most tonight because of the other options on the slate and his sub-par matchup against the Angels.

Like/Dislike? – Like – I like Gausman for the same reason that I don’t like Bauer. I think he has a solid floor. He has only had 1 game in his past 6 where he hasn’t put up at least 40 points. That start was against no other than the Angels. This is where ownership leverage comes in. I think people will look at that and will be scared of it happening again. Well, I’m not. He pitches better at home and has massive run support behind him. He’s one of my favorite low owned large scale GPP plays tonight. I don’t see him racking up massive strikeouts because the Angels have great plate discipline. I do however feel confident that he will pitch at least 6 innings with about 5 or 6 strikeouts, give up 1-2 earned runs and probably get the win. (Projected points: 44)

Jose Berrios ($8,100) ARI @ MIN – 3.5%

Why? – It’s a fact that people don’t play pitchers against Arizona. I don’t have data, but if my impeccable memory is correct, pitchers vs ARI are always low owned. This shouldn’t be any different. Especially with how Berrios has been playing.

Like/Dislike? – Undecided – My first instinct is to say that I like him tonight. In the last 7 days, Arizona has struck out 85 times. 85 times! That paired with his low ownership is enough for me to play him in one lineup, but I don’t feel comfortable playing him in any more than that. (Projected Points: 40)

Collin McHugh ($7,800) OAK @ HOU – 6%

Why? –  Oakland strikes out a ton, he has run support and he’s the only solid pitcher in this price point with a good matchup.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – I want to like him so bad, but Oakland has been hitting the ball really well recently. It’s like when you realize you forgot to put the milk back in the fridge and it’s been sitting out for 5 hours, you can’t trust it. (Projected Points: 26)

Ty Blach ($7,700) PHI @ SFG – 3.5%

Why? – Any pitcher against Philly will garner at least 2% ownership. I think he could be closer to 5% owned in this situation, but there are a lot of great pitchers to choose from tonight.

Like/Dislike? – Like – ONLY IN THE LARGEST GPPs. This is a huge risk, but one that might pay off. Blach has one start against Philly this year and he pitched 9 innings with 4 strikeouts and 0 earned runs. The Phillies have gained some traction, but they’re still bad at baseball. I don’t see a repeat performance, but he could definitely pitch 7 innings with 4 strikeouts and 1 earned run. (Projected Points: 34 points)

Jerad Eickhoff ($7,200) PHI @ SFG – 1%

Why? – The Giants are very disciplined and don’t strikeout that much which is why nobody will own him.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – I can’t trust a Phillies pitcher not named Aaron Nola. (Projected Points: 26)

Jason Vargas ($7,100) CLE @ KAN – 1%

Why? – Cleveland has one of the best offenses in baseball and they don’t strikeout. Nearly everybody will fade him.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike…ish – I’m solely putting dislike because I think there’s a 90% chance that he has an bad-average game. The other 10% of me is like “how contrarian can you be? Don’t be a bitch! DO IT!”. So here’s what’s going to happen. I will be playing Vargas in 1 lineup just because a tiny tiny part of me feels that he will be a solid point per dollar option tonight. (Projected Points: Logically-22, my insane brain- 38)

Julio Teheran ($6,600) CIN @ ATL – 1%

Why? – Cincinnati has proved that they are not to be messed with. They have put up insane totals and people know they’re out for blood every game.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – He played incredible in his last start, but I’m not going to poke the bear here. (Projected Points: 22)

J.C. (Jiminy Cricket) Ramirez ($6,600) LAA @ BAL – 1%

Why? –  Baltimore has been Cincinnati level good lately. Jimmy Cricket hasn’t proven that he can compete with high powered offenses and people know it. He’ll be faded like an old pair of jeans.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – Pinocchio would say he liked Jiminy here, but that would be a lie which would give him an even longer bat to hit the shit out J.C. tonight. (Projected Points: 18)

Martin Perez ($6,500) CWS @ TEX – 1%

Why? – High Over/Under will cause nearly everybody to fade.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – While Perez hasn’t been terrible in his last couple of starts I still trust Vegas here. Perez is a huge favorite While I normally like pitchers against the White Sox, they (mainly Nicky Delmonico) have been hitting the ball really well in the past few games. (Projected points: 14)

Kendall Graveman ($6,300) OAK @ HOU – 0.5%

Why? – N/A

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – N/A

CC Sabathia ($6,200) NYY @ BOS – 0.5%

Why? – Coming back from the DL and he’s going up against Boston.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – I can’t trust how many innings or pitches he will throw. Not even considering as a legitimate option. (Projected Points: 18)

Chad Bettis ($6,000) MIL @ COL – 5%

Why? – It’s hard not to root for this guy. He came back after battling cancer and performed well in his first start back. People will see Bettis’ name and see he’s facing the Brewers and pick him. I’m think his story plus one solid start will earn him ownership tonight.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – I dislike him as a play tonight, not his story, I’m not a monster… I think he will be the most popular punt play tonight, but I’m not going be taking him. While I hope he does well because of how much he has endured, I think he’s in the perfect spot to get lit up by the Brewers in Coors field. (Projected points: 12)

Rafael Montero ($6,000) MIA @ NYM – 1.5%

Why? – He’ll be slightly higher owned than the other punt pitchers because of his most recent performance. He put up 34 points against the Yankees and that will draw in a few more players than usual.

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – I don’t see a repeat performance. The Yankees strikeout a lot more than the Marlins and Miami is far too scary to roster a mediocre pitcher against. (Projected points: 24)

Travis Wood ($5,700) WAS @ SDP – 0.5%

Why? – N/A

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – N/A 

Vance Worley ($5,600) MIA @ NYM – 1%

Why? – N/A

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – N/A

Robert Stephenson ($5,500) CIN @ ATL – 1%

Why? – N/A

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – N/A

Derek Holland ($5,500) CWS @ TEX – 0.5%

Why? – N/A

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – N/A

Brandon Woodruff ($5,500) MIL @ COL – 1%

Why? – N/A

Like/Dislike? – Dislike – I like how he has performed since getting called up, but I can’t trust him in Coors. (Projected Points: 8)

Recap: Favorite Options

Safest play: Chris Sale ($11,500)

Highest upside: Stephen Strasburg ($10,400)

Highest upside contrarian pick: Kevin Gausman ($8,800)

Highest upside punt play: Collin McHugh ($7,800)

Safest punt play: Ty Blach ($7,700)

Feeling Lucky?: Jose Berrios ($8,100)/Jason Vargas ($7,100)

#NutCrumbler: Zack Greinke ($9,800)


I was going to do a batting breakdown, but ended up running out of time. Instead, I will just give some of my favorite stacks that I feel will be lower owned.

Colorado – Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Yes, I think the Rockies go underowned tonight. My reasoning is that everybody will be trying to afford Chris Sale and there is no possible way of fitting both into your lineup without sacrificing a solid floor for your team.

Milwaukee – I think Milwaukee will go overlooked for the same reason as Colorado. I think both teams will be chosen by most players who don’t take Strasburg or Sale, but they will still be owned lower than they should be given their fantastic upside.

Kansas – If you’re not playing Trevor Bauer then you should probably take a shot on a Kansas stack. I guarantee they are owned below 5% tonight. Pair them with a chalk stack and you’re good to go.

Cleveland – I’m not entirely sure about this one, but I think they may go overlooked. As much as I want to play Jason Vargas, I know it isn’t logical. Players will be too focused on rostering Texas, White Sox, Boston, Washington and Houston and I think they will forget about Cleveland. Just a hunch.

Miami – Once again, I think people will forget about Miami. They are fairly cheap and in a great spot against Montero.


Now let’s build a lineup just for funsies.



P: Jose Berrios ($8,100)

C: JT Realmuto ($2,900)

1B: Freddie Freeman ($4,100)

2B: Brandon Phillips ($2,600)

3B: Derek Dietrich ($3,200)

SS: Dansby Swanson ($2,300)

OF: Giancarlo Stanton ($5,300)

OF: Marcell Ozuna ($3,600)

OF: Matt Kemp ($2,800)


That’s it for this breakdown. I hope this article gave you some insight on some lower owned options that could give you an edge on the competition. Follow me on Twitter @JoeJBerg and let me know if this article helped you out. I would like to once again thank Sean Kane for allowing me the opportunity to give some of my advice through these articles. Let’s go win some money and show everybody the Lineup Logic crew means business!

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