Baseball GPPs are predictable only in the sense that you can get a rough idea of who is going to be owned. Pitchers facing strikeout prone teams with low run lines will be owned, and hitters with good splits and a high run line will be owned. There are some other important factors that go into determining which stacks will be owned, and now let’s discuss what you can do in terms of finding some of the more solid contrarian ones.
In baseball, the C/2B/SS positions generally have a handful of very skilled batters with a dramatic dropoff after that. Therefore, ownership at the catcher position is fairly easy to predict, especially if you spot catchers that:
- Are batting high in the order
- Have a favorable run line, price, or matchup
If all of these factors are present, that catcher will be mega chalk, and generally I think it’s a pretty big mistake to own the chalky catcher, even more so than a chalk 2B/SS. The reason for this is that catchers are extremely volatile, and don’t steal bases, which lot of 2B/SS are capable of. The reality is it’s very likely that the best catcher on the slate will be the one that hits at least one home run, and even the best C is a massive underdog to do that.
Catchers that I do like are generally poor, low order hitters on teams with good run lines, because it’s a good way to go contrarian with a popular stack. In addition, I recommend taking good hitting catchers on teams with mediocre run lines. The benefit of taking the bad hitter on a good stack is that he will way better opportunities to get lucky hits and RBIs if the rest of the stack does well and gets on base for him.
A creative option as well when stacking is to choose two teams that both have excellent catchers. For example, if you wanted to play NYM tomorrow, it’s very likely you’d use a stack with Travis D’Arnaud at catcher, and JT Realmuto if you were stacking the Marlins. It makes some sense to stack these two teams together because you’d now be using either a NYM or MIA stack without their catcher, which is going to be contrarian.
It’s important to take into consideration leverage as well. Geovany Soto has a decent matchup vs Wade Miley and could hit a home run off him maybe 1 in 10 games. Miley should be owned a bit which would make a Soto/White Sox stack fairly good leverage against him. In the ideal situation, a Soto grand slam would net you 20 points, while subtracting 8.6 points from Miley’s score and really burying all of his owners. This is a slightly better outcome than getting a grand slam off an unowned pitcher with a chalky catcher, as you don’t gain nearly as much relative to the other entrants in the contest.
POSITIONAL SCARCITY STACKING OPTIONS
These are teams with at least 2 reasonably good value plays or strong hitters to stack at C/2B/SS. They will be most likely used in conjunction with another team that has strength at 1B/3B/OF, but rarely with another positional scarcity type team.
Miami: JT Realmuto (C), Dee Gordon (2B)
Houston: Brian McCann (C), Jose Altuve (2B), Carlos Correa (SS)
NY Mets: Travis D’Arnaud, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera
LA Dodgers: Yasmani Grandal, Corey Seager (SS)
Washington: Matt Wieters, Trea Turner (SS)
Boston: Dustin Pedroia (2B), Xander Bogaerts (SS)
Cleveland: Jose Ramirez (2B/3B), Francisco Lindor (SS)
All of the aforementioned teams have run lines of at least 4.2 and are very easy to stack with another 1-2 players on their team.
UNSCARCE POSITION STACKING OPTIONS (1B, 3B, OF)
Colorado: Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon
Arizona: Paul Goldschmidt, AJ Pollock, Jake Lamb
Baltimore: Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, Adam Jones
In general, the teams with unscarce positional value and scare positional value will be combined together, as this offers the most logical and dynamic roster construction.
However, my personal strategy is to try to fade a lot of the real popular scarce positions in stacks, especially on teams where there isn’t a lot of stack continuity with the C position. If you stack the Marlins with Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, JT Realmuto, and Christian Yelich, there will be synergy with everyone but Realmuto, who generally bats 7th, quite far away from Stanton and Gordon, lowering his correlation quite a bit.
American League catchers who bat 8th or 9th actually have some good synergy with top of the order hitters, since if they get on base, now the top of the order hitters in your stack can now drive them in, and this really boosts the correlation of your overall 4 or 5 man stack. Furthermore, DFS players tend to avoid “bad” catchers batting 8th or 9th, not taking into consideration the synergy they have with the 1-4 hitters in the lineup. Also, the times your stack goes off, the 8-9th hitters will likely see 4 plate appearances, which is quite a big gain over their most common plate appearances of 3 (a 33% boost).
“BAD” CATCHERS THAT FIT WELL INTO “GOOD” STACKS
These are catchers, primarily in the AL, that are likely to bat low in the order that will synergize with the top of the order hitters. They are also likely to not be extremely highly owned, thus adding some value there. Remember to look at starting lineups as they come out, since catchers tend to rest quite often.
Christian Vasquez (BOS), Yan Gomes (CLE), Caleb Joseph (BAL), Matt Wieters (WAS), Dustin Garneau (COL), Jeff Mathis (ARI).
Jonathan Schoop (BAL), Josh Rutledge (BOS), Kolten Wong (STL), Brandon Drury (ARI), Jason Kipnis (CLE)
Trevor Story (COL), Ryan Flaherty/JJ Hardy (BAL), Adeiny Hechevarria (MIA)
Finally, I don’t recommend going overly contrarian as you’ll still want to include some good bats in your stacks as well. Just remember that if you’re playing 50 lineups and choose a popular stack with the addition of 1-2 scarce players on that same team that bat low in the order, your stack will have a lot more value in GPPs than the copied 1-4 or 1-5 stacks that most people will be using.