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DFS Baseball 101: Stacking Strategies, Part 2

Michael Rathburn

Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.

Last week, I started a series on stacking and referenced strategies to choose hitters. I went over the stacking combinations and how you should play them.

This week, I will look at pitching in the same light. Even though I advise selecting the four-player stack for hitting first, then your pitcher, this will show what type of pitcher will work with the types of stacks based on the price. Before I get into the pitching strategies, let's look at the data.

The starting pitcher pool is broken down by:

Value Pitcher -
33 percent of the pitching pool is priced $4,000-$6,900

Mid-Priced Pitcher -
50 percent of the pitching pool is priced $7,000-$8,900

Expensive Pitcher -
17 percent of the pitching pool is priced $9,000 or higher

Therefore, 83 percent of the starting pitching will be less than $9,000, which means there are more options there and it will be easier to build stacks with cheaper starting pitching.

Here are some of the combinations you can use with your starting pitching along with some examples using salaries from Friday, July 7.

Value Pitcher, Two Expensive Stacks

P German Marquez COL $6,000 37.0
C Gary Sanchez NYY $3,500 0.0
1B Mike Napoli TEX $2,900 6.0
2B DJ LeMahieu COL $3,600 28.4
3B Nolan Arenado COL $4,700 44.9
SS Trevor Story COL $3,500 10.0
OF Brett Gardner NYY $3,500 12.0
OF Aaron Judge NYY $4,900 21.7
OF Clint Frazier NYY $2,200 12.5
TOTAL $34,800 172.5

You can see how this is a high-risk strategy in that you are taking the two most expensive stacks and probably the highest owned in the Rockies at Coors and the Yankees against the Brewers. There's also the wrinkle of going with Marquez, the Coors starting pitcher at just $6,000. He was -170 (61 percent favorite, which is just above the 60 percent threshold I like to get for my value or average starting pitcher). He was also facing the White Sox, who are one of the worst team against right-handing pitching.

The Yankees stack is batters 1-3-4-6, not 100 percent ideal but needed to fit Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge along with Coors. Also, getting Clint Frazier at $2,200 hitting sixth was great value. The Coors stack is 2-3-6 with LeMahieu, Arenado and Story against weak left-hander Derek Holland. Mike Napoli had been red hot entering the matchup against Ricky Nolasco with four homers in the last week and only priced at $2,900.

Mid-Priced Pitcher, Expensive Stack with Value Non-Stack Hitters

P Cole Hamels TEX $8,900 51.0
C Wilson Ramos TAM $2,500 15.7
1B Jesus Aguilar MIL $2,100 57.9
2B DJ LeMahieu COL $3,600 28.4
3B Nolan Arenado COL $4,700 44.9
SS Trevor Story COL $3,500 10.0
OF Gregor Blanco ARI $2,400 0.0
OF Charlie Blackmon COL $4,400 34.1
OF Keon Broxton MIL $2,800 3.0
TOTAL $34,900 245.0

This lineup construction gives you an arguably the No. 1 SP with Hamels at a great price of $8,900, which is just less than our $9,000 threshold. Then we have the Rockies stack of 1-2-3-6, and a mini stack of Aguilar/Broxton, who are not connected but provided huge power upside at less than $3,000. The other two pieces are Wilson Ramos at $2,500, who is coming off an injury and at a ridiculous price. Blanco has been a stud in the leadoff spot for Arizona, but you get him hitting in the seven-hole here.

Expensive Pitcher, Mid-Priced Stack with Value Non-Stack Hitters

P James Paxton SEA $9,200 52.0
C Wilson Ramos TAM $2,500 15.7
1B Edwin Encarnacion CLE $3,300 3.0
2B Jason Kipnis CLE $2,700 27.6
3B Travis Shaw MIL $3,900 15.4
SS Andrelton Simmons LAA $2,800 3.0
OF Ryan Braun MIL $4,100 15.4
OF Keon Broxton MIL $2,800 3.0
OF Domingo Santana MIL $3,600 15.2
TOTAL $34,900 150.3

While Paxton might be not that top-shelf $10,000-plus pitcher he is still in that $9,000 range and had a great matchup against the A's. Ramos was the play at catcher, and his salary is just too low. The Brewers have been the best mid-priced stack all season, but they are starting to finally get a little more pricey. This is the 2-3-4 piece of the lineup along with Broxton at eighth, and an Indians mini-stack but not connected (1 and 4). The remaining punt was Simmons at shortstop as a right-handed batter against the left-handed Hamels hitting fifth. Simmons has been a top 20-percent hitter against left handers this season.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.